The Northwest Barony
There are some members of The Imperial Church whose faith and devotion are so great that they can summon divine magical power. This gift is not present in every clergyman, and even some of the highest ranking members of the church have little to no magical power. Practitioners of the faith who show a talent for spell casting are typically sent to special monasteries devoted to training them in the ways of divine magic. When their training is complete, they are sometime sent to serve a particular town or region. more often than not, they are used by the church as soldiers and agents.
Sorcery was first practiced by The Elves, and it is what ultimately led to their downfall. The Imperial Church has long decreed that the practice of sorcery is heresy, and they have been trying to get the emperor to outlaw its use. Since sorcerers are able to use magic without appealing to god, the church believes that they must be receiving their powers through pacts with demons and unholy rituals. Many sorcerers argue that their power simply comes from natural reserves of energy that contained within everything on earth, and one simply needs to attune himself to act as a vessel for such energies. It is not clear which side is correct, but the answer might lie somewhere between the two extremes.
Regardless of its source, there is no doubt that prolonged use of sorcery can be dangerous. The recent war with The Elves has shown that sorcery, when used long enough and often enough, can cause madness and derangement in the user. If used long enough in the same general location, or if it is used collectively by a large group, it can drain the very life essence from anything in the area.
Spellbooks are used by sorcerers to learn and refine spells. Some sorcerers keep a record of every spell they have learned, usually taking great precautions to protect their recorded knowledge, but actually having a apellbook on hand is not required to cast a spell. Once the spell is learned, it is usually remembered for life. Only very old, senile, or deranged sorcerers seem to actually forget spells they have learned. These sorcerers typically keep their spellbooks close at hand so that they can restudy their spells from time to time.
Permanent magic items are very rare and often unique. A magical sword, for example, would not just give a +1 or +2 bonus. It would have a unique history and one or more extraordinary powers or effects. The odds of just finding one just laying about randomly in some cave, or being wielded by an opponent, are very slim. Permanent magical items are the stuff of legends, and very few people have ever seen one, much less owned one.
Scrolls and Potions
Temporary magic items, such as scrolls and potions, are slightly more common. Alchemy does not carry the same stigma as sorcery, and in fact The Imperial Church trains some of its members in the alchemical arts. Likewise, the church has devised a method of inscribing divine spells onto scrolls. It can be argued that the church’s method of creating scrolls is fundamentally the same method used by sorcerers, and in fact the technique may have been directly lifted from sorcery and the additional religious rites that go in to it may be completely unnecessary to the process. This sort of talk is considered heresy.