A specific kind of an empire
or organisation set in a world where magic is possible and/or supernatural exists, whose agenda is against said magic and supernatural things. It forbids practicing magic, prosecutes mages and supernatural creatures and so on. It may set itself up as the Well-Intentioned Extremist
faction trying to cleanse the world
of 'dangerous and unstable' magic for the greater good of all
; it often employs technology instead; or if the setting has a divide between "arcane" and "divine" magic, the faction may wield "divine" magic instead while trying to stamp out "arcane" magic (especially common if the faction is some kind of religious sect or organization). This is a Type A faction, genuinely against magic and the supernatural.
However, it may have a more sinister hidden goal
- not to cleanse the world of magic but to hypocritically gather it all in its hands. In this case, the magic is restricted to its elite followers
or just the leaders
. This is a Type B faction.
Both types are likely to wield some form of Anti-Magic
. Their goal is often to impose a total Ban on Magic
. Their ideology often contains a notion that Magic is Evil
, but even if they're right
, their extreme methods often make for Black and Grey Morality
or Evil Versus Evil
. If the faction employs technology, the result is likely to be The Magic Versus Technology War
. Such a faction is the group equivalent of Does Not Like Magic
May also be combined with Muggle Power
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- The anti-esper organization called "Normal People" from Zettai Karen Children is probably one of the most shamelessly blatant examples of this.
- This appears to be the aims of Twilight and his followers in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight comic.
- If mutant powers qualify as "magic," these guys show up as X-Men villains every other week. Perhaps the most notorious of such groups is the anti-mutant hate group "Friends of Humanity."
- Doctor Strange runs afoul of these from time to time, though in the Marvel Universe they tend to be lone fanatics who've amassed a following. In World War Hulk his primary accuser was a wild-eyed woman who claimed he "dances with the Devil" (not true; they're just acquaintances) and had nearly killed civilians (which was true).
- In With Strings Attached, the law in Ketafa is that magic is forbidden; those accused are, at the very least, publicly flogged. Not that it stops a lively magical underground, the Hiddenwizards. (We never see them, but Lyndess mentions them a few times, as do Terdan and Remlar.) And the “Favorites of the Gods”—Baravadans—are exempt from this law.
- The kingdoms of the Aldabreshin archipelago in Juliet E. McKenna's Aldabreshin Compass tetralogy. The collected warlords ban magic on pain of having your skin ripped off while still alive and then nailed to a post. Since magical dragons and wizards exist on the mainland it's a little unclear why. And of course Astrology is seen as perfectly okay and non-magical.
- In the Deryni works, the coalition of human spiritual and temporal lords who became regents for King Alroy Haldane installed one of their own as Primate of Gwynedd (at sword's point), passed the Laws of Ramos, and started persecutions of Deryni that lasted for over two centuries. This was a complete effort, with civil liabilities, harsh punishments, and a book of anti-Deryni propaganda authored by a cleric and promulgated throughout the kingdom.
- Karse in the Valdemar series has a habit of killing magic users when and where it finds them, although as it turns out, if the magic-user is caught young enough they're actually recruited into the priesthood, so more of a type B.
- The Baron in The Wee Free Men has ordered witches on the Chalk burnt since he (wrongly) believes a witch took his son.
- Also a theme in I Shall Wear Midnight, with Tiffany dealing with the spirit of an overzealous witch hunter who has become some sort of Anthropomorphic Personification of the hate and mistrust people have for witches and other outsiders.
- The Star People from The Light Fantastic are apparently this, although they're also pretty much anti- everything that's human.
- Arguably the wizards themselves in Discworld are the anti-magic faction; their role is not to use magic, but to regulate magic and ensure it is not used very much, because the last time magic was used a lot, the world was almost destroyed.
- Witch And Wizard's New Order takes this a notch further and condemns art - although the two persecuted protagonists do have powers.
- In Dragonlance groups like the Minotaurs and the Gnomes disdain magic for various reasons, though they (generally) don't actively hunt magic-users down- they just don't do it themselves, and look down on anyone who does.
- The Old World from Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth is a type B example. Ultra powerful wizards and various magical weapons are used for the cause of Magic Is Bad. At the same time, the Anti-Magic Faction's leaders are conferring Immortality upon themselves.
- The Whitecloaks in The Wheel of Time, as well as the country of Amadicia and the Seanchan (The first two kill, the third enslave and treat like pets. YMMV on which is worse.)
- Tear is an odd variation- channeling is illegal in Tear, but channelers aren't actively hunted so long as they keep it to themselves, and the Tairens actually send more daughters to the White Tower than anyone, if only because it's the handiest way to quietly get rid of a channeling relative.
- Galbatorix in Inheritance has the ultimate goal of restricting all magic use, though he doesn't wish to wipe it out entirely. He claims that magic is the great unfairness in the world, as someone either can or cannot use it; there is no learning to use magic.
- The Heresy of Galla in V. Panov's Secret City. Their battle cry goes "The Sleeper wasn't a mage!". Galla's Heresy mostly takes male Lyud' who are generally incapable of magic, but also has a significant fraction of Chud', as the Chud' society carries a strong bias against those unable to live up to the Magic Knight ideal. Mages will forfeit their and their children's magic upon joining the Heresy, and the Heresy's temples serve as Power Nullifiers.
- The thinly-veiled Church of the One God in works of V. Ivashchenko is most often of the "divine vs. arcane" variety.
- The Maesters in A Song of Ice and Fire, which are something halfway between monks and scientists.
Live Action TV
- The Monster of the Week in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Gingerbread" brainwashes people into becoming this, (and has apparently been doing so for a long time). Buffy nearly gets burnt at the stake by her own mother before managing to kill it.
- Uther Pendragon tries to ban magic in Merlin. At the time it's set, he has largely succeeded in destroying a culture. Most of the conflict in the story comes from people hating him for the various repressions and executions involved in this, usually with Arthur stuck squarely in the crossfire, and from Merlin trying to do his thing without getting outed and killed as a traitorous sorcerer.
- Ironically, though, with the exception of Merlin, the series is rather vague on how justified Uther's crusade was. Gaius, himself a magic-user, seems to be of the opinion that there was a significant fraction of evil wizards and witches back then. At the same time, however, we're treated to stories of the brutal slaughter of the relatively benign druids. The magic-users left now aren't really unethical in killing their version of Hitler.
- As time goes on, it's clear that the magical faction wasn't that innocent either. Apparently, the High Priestesses had a magical tower where they sent people to be brainwashed, a serpent they'd summon from the depths of the underworld if they needed to do it quickly, would tear the veil between life and death every solstice (although the summer one was quite tame if done right, the winter solstice set hundreds of depraved souls loose on innocents), and had extremely harsh methods of keeping the non-magical in line. Of course, the remaining high priestess who does all this is pretty far off the deep end, so we're left to draw our own conclusions about how much of this was actually done when Uther declared war.
- Warhammer: The Dwarfs are a fairly straight example, since Dwarfs can't use magic directly and don't seem to trust it, but they do have magical items and for game balance purposes the Anvil of Doom can be used to cast spells.
- The Bretonnians set themselves up as this, but hypocritically, since they have "Prophetesses" who can cast "prayers" that look suspiciously like the spells used by other factions. Similarly, the knights consider missile weapons and siege engines to be unchivalric, but are perfectly happy to let commoners field them.
- It's less "Anti-" as much as it is simple mistrust. Magic-potential children in Brettonia are taken away by the Green Knight. The girls come back as Prophetesses, the boys don't come back at all.
- The Ascended from Feng Shui are this, since the only thing that can revert them back to their original animal forms is magic and they are not very willing to undergo that.
- Warhammer 40000's Imperium is a borderline example. They employ Psychic Powers but persecute any psykers that are not on their side (and occasionally them too). The Inquisition is particularly skilled in this.
- It should be noted, the setting being what it is, that aforementioned psychic powers come with a chance of getting your entire planet eaten by demons or inadvertently drawing the attention of your friendly neighborhood Chaos Space Marines. The Inquisition, though it can be a bit overzealous at times, is Properly Paranoid.
- The Dark Eldar would also count, they don't have any psykers, any one found is immediately considered a plaything. They also have methods of countering their psyker powered counterparts.
- To understand why that is: The Dark Eldar belongs to a race which caused the birth of one of the newest of Chaos gods, a god who still actively hunts for their race's souls. Not having the discipline of their Eldar brethren, a Dark Eldar being around a psyker is about the same as standing right next to an open cage door of some hungry monstrosity.
- Then there are the Necrons, who kill any psyker they can target. Because their gods the C'tan are vulnerable warp energies, to which psykers can channel.
- The Tau do not necessarily actively hunt psykers, but they don't have any themselves and are the faction that put the most trust in science and technological advance as opposed to the dogma found in most other species. What, exactly, they do with psykers that arise in their human protectorate domains is a question yet unanswered.
- The Tau are much nicer to psykers. A race of psykers called the Nicassar are allied with the Tau, and the Tau try to keep them a secret from the Imperium, knowing what they do to psykers.
- The Technocracy of the Old World of Darkness could certainly be interpreted this way.
- A few of these exist in Mage The Awakening. The Seers of the Throne aren't necessarily "anti-magic," but they are "anti-the wrong type of people using magic." They want to make sure that the only people who get to Awaken are the ones who will throw their will behind their ascended masters. The Banishers, on the other hand, are mages who had their Awakenings go horribly wrong, and now hunt other mages out of a desire to cleanse the earth of their "sins."
- The Coalition States in Rifts is anti-magic in the same way they're Anti-Nonhuman.
- They weren't always this way. The Coalition actually was starting a nascent Special-Ops program using mages, then they got into a bloody war with the one magic-using faction that was nearly as bad as they are (or would be). They turned anti-magic after that, but a few surviving ex-Coalition mages (and their descendants/students) formed a group called The Vanguard, and chose to continue helping the Coalition from the shadows.
- Can be found in Dungeons & Dragons on occasion, though it's more usually a faction enforcing a "nobody in this town/country is allowed to use magic but us" rule. That said, you do get factions like the (now technically former) Cult of Entropy based in the city of Lutcheq in the Forgotten Realms who consider all use of arcane magic an abomination punishable by death, or the Principalities of Glantri on Mystara, an actual magocracy where the use of clerical magic is punished with similar harshness on principle.
- In Age of Wonders II: Shadow Magic, the aptly named Phobian Empire is on a crusade against magic... or so they say, since their commanders actively use magic, which makes it a Type B.
- In Overlord II the Glorious Empire hunts down magical creatures and magic in general. The creatures that are not killed outright are drained of their magical energies and then put into the Arena. All the energy is accumulated in a vat in the palace for Emperor Solarius' ascension to godhood. A textbook Type B.
- In Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, the Azadi Empire is of that variety with an added flavour of religious fervor, what with repressing and commiting genocide against 'magicals'. They put up a lot of various Steampunk-esque machinery everywhere instead, the purpose of which is still not known but seems to be linked to the overarching plot. Despite their vehement persecution of magic, their Prophet seems to employ it and command magical creatures, and there are indications that they employ magic-by-any-other-name thaumaturgy, and that some of the things they use are relying on magic as well as technology, but due to the nature of the ending (or lack thereof) it will not be clear until the sequel comes out.
- In Exile/Avernum III: Ruined World, part of the game takes place on an island that's become the epicenter of a religion whose followers reject the use of magic. They aren't particularly sinister, but trying to complete the game as one of them definitely qualifies as a Self-Imposed Challenge.
- The Anama only reject arcane magic and find the use of priestly magic perfectly acceptable. Since divine magic can fill some of the functions of arcane magic and has exclusive access to healing, the trade-off is really whether cheap and early access to the best priest spells is worth giving up magery.
- Zork: Grand Inquisitor
- The Qunari in Dragon Age. They use technology instead of magic and kill or silence any mages they come across (by removing their tongues). The Qun, their religion, has no place for mages, and the Qunari's ultimate goal is conversion of all races to the Qun and therefore removal of all mages. This places them in contrast to the human religious institution, the Chantry, which teaches that magic was made to serve man. The Chantry permit mages and even use them against the Qunari (in fact, it is the reason why the Qunari haven't overrun most of the world yet), although they don't really trust them and practically monopolize the training of mages; non-Chantry trained mages are called apostates and are hunted down by the Templars.
- Not that the Qunari are above using the mages as living weapons, either, with each saarebas (dangerous thing) being handled by another Qunari as their keeper. Any saarebas that goes unsupervised is automatically assumed to be possessed by a demon, so the Qunari come across as fearing mages even more than the humans though, it's more like their philosophy doesn't allow them to act any other way.
- Indeed, their dislike of saarebas seems to be rooted in the Qunari philosophy basing itself around achieving total control of one's self. Mages on the other hand, have access to incredible power, yet require no discipline to use it. Such abilities are open to abuse and given that Demons seek to possess Mages to do just that, the Qunari do not believe anyone can safety wield it.
- There's also the Inquisition, an ancient group of mage-hunters that was absorbed by the Chantry and turned into the Templars. They will serve as the focus of the upcoming third game, where the player is given the task of rebuilding them.
- The Inquisitors of the Citadel in Adventure Quest Worlds are out to eradicate all magic. Only it turns out that they're actually sucking the magic out of people to create powerful Mana Vacuums because the Grand Inquisitor wants all that magic for himself, so that he can summon a magic-devouring demon by the name of Belrot to hunt down and drain all magic from the land. So they're basically a mixed example.
- Quite a bit more prominent in Adventure Quest Worlds' sister game, Dragonfable. The Big Bad of chapter 3, Jaania, was Driven to Madness by being magically sealed in ice for several centuries as the end result of a Love Triangle that went out of control. The abuse of magic by the Big Bads for the first two chapters almost succeeded in destroying the entire world. Between that, the elementals' never ending wars and frequent dragon attacks, Jaania becomes convinced that magic is an inherently evil force. One of her first acts is to seal away the Hero in an icy prison much like her own. After a Time Skip, the Hero finally breaks free, only to enter a world where most people have come to despise magic, and magic using beings like him/herself are being hunted down by Jaania's organization, The Rose.
- In Quest for Glory, the scientists are Flat Earth Atheists to a man, and while Dr. Cranium is a nice if dismissive fruit cake, the scientists in QFG 5 try to assassinate your mage allies on this principle (they attempt to do you in too, but for different reasons).
- While the five other factions in Heroes of Might and Magic IV are heavily inspired by Magic: The Gathering and use corresponding styles of magic, the Might faction are True Neutral, in the center of the magic wheel. Instead of magic, they prefer brute force combined with the magic resistance skill.
- Orks in Heroes Of Might And Magic V are similar, using magic dampening and war cries.
- The Krewlod branch of the Barbarian/Stronghold faction had a bias against magical things, though it wasn't very strong (their king arranges for a powerful artifact to be destroyed as a test of someone having left magic behind forever, but they also have respected Battle Mages), or reflected in the game mechanics.
- Used interestingly in Total Annihilation Kingdoms. The world was broken in the past by a civilisation of Precursors, the Kandrans, whose use of magic resulted in their own annihilation. For thousands of years magic was banned until a mage emperor, Garacaius, arose to unite the world. He vanished after the death of his wife, leaving his empire to his four children—two of them keep the magic ban and only use it sparingly for military purposes, while the other two use it freely. In the expansion pack, a fifth Steampunk faction, Creon, invades with a more fundamentalist anti-magic policy; it turns out that they were founded by Garacaius after he fled into exile.
- Team Plasma serves this role in Pokemon Black And White, with a dosage of Fantasy Gun Control. The goal of their leader is to stop the use of Pokemon and have them all released. The organization itself does not agree, and is being manipulated by Ghetsis to leave him the only one left with Pokemon, rendering the rest of the population completely powerless.
- The Ziguranth from Tales of Maj'Eyal are opposed to arcane magic. Specifically, this means magic that relies on mana, Vim, Paradox, Positive or Negative energy. They themselves use Anti-Magic drawn from nature, and freely recruit psionics and the Afflicted. They're extremely ruthless and merciless about hunting down and murdering mages, mage sympathizers, and anyone who might even look like a mage, but with magic still uncommon in the Age of Ascendancy, they're one of the only functional checks against Evil Sorcerers in all of Maj'Eyal.
- The Crimson Order from The Gungan Council vowed to kill all Force-users, Jedi and Sith included.
- The squirrel species in Tasakeru forbids the use of magic, seeing it as an affront to the Goddess of Life.
- In The Legend of Korra the Equalists are a rising anti-bending and Muggle Power movement within the metropolis of Republic City, where both benders and non-benders are supposed to live together in harmony. They believe the benders of Republic City use their Elemental Powers to oppress non-benders, a belief strengthened by the presence of the Triple Threat Triads, a bender organized crime gang. The Equalist soapboxers advertise a revolution against the bending class, and foster hatred for benders in general. Led by their masked general Amon, the Equalists employ new technologies against benders, and their fighting style makes use of the same Pressure Point chi-blocking techniques notably used by Badass Normal Ty Lee from Avatar The Last Airbender.
- But as of the first-season finale, it seems that Amon is actually de-bending people with bloodbending (a form of waterbending), of all things!
- The Life and Times of Juniper Lee has Humans for the Abolishment of Magic (HAM), a secret government agency that employs Powered Armor and Power Crystals that allow its agents to see through The Masquerade.
- In the TV series American Dragon Jake Long, the Huntsclan seek to find and destroy all magical creatures, believing them to be unnatural.
- Implied with Lord Farquaad in Shrek. Farquaad banishes all magical creatures from his kingdom, apparently finding them to be disgusting all for the sake of making his kingdom perfect. However, his possible anti-magic beliefs were never looked into or discussed, so it's a little unclear.
- A bit of hypocrisy to that is that he keeps the Magic Mirror with him.
- Pre-modern witch hunts, as well as the Salem witch trials of 1692. Both of these were based on biblical literalism in the interpretation of one passage in Exodus, 22:18: "Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Witch to Live."
- Saudi Arabia has an anti-witchcraft unit that hunts down any one convicted of witchcraft or sorcery of any sort. The punishment is usually death by beheading.