The laws of nature and physics in the "Call to Arms universe" are for the most part the same as in how own, the most obvious difference being the extraordinary powers of the Magistrates. The Magistrates are an all-male caste in Imperial Society who rule and govern. Their powers are manifested through two major powers:
Aura of Authority: an invisible "field" surrounds and emanates from all Magistrates. As the name implies, it fills those within the vicinity of a Magistrate with a feeling of awe, and a sense of a palpable authoritarian presence. It is also nearly impossible to lie in the presence of a Magistrate. The Aura of Authority cannot be turned on or off, making it can make it very difficult for them to hide their identity should
the need arise. The Aura of Authority is
especially channelled in the Magistrates' Truth Staves (badges of office that ignite with violet energy when held by a Magistrate and are a potent weapon in their own rite). Only a Magistrte can
touch a Truth Stave without being seriously harmed or even killed.
The Aura can also be used to influence people outside the sphere of the "field" (which is usually felt most strongly within 10-15 feet of a Magistrate). Magistrates can "project" it to make their orders more clearly heard, understood, and obeyed over distances (earshot) and also clouds the minds of enemies who attempt to target the Magistrate, making him incredibly difficult to hit with blaster fire.
Cleansing: the all-important powers that allow them to remove the
Disease and to give life-force. Technically, their combat powers are a
way of cleansing the unrepentant, but that power is also derived from
their governing powers.
There are four ranks of Magistrate, though being "promoted" does not give one more power:
The Emperor – the ruler of the Empire is also the highest ranking Magistrate, elected for life by the Consular Senate. He is responsible for the lives of every being within the Empire. The Emperor wears magisterial robes of silver with gold embellishments, including the gold Imperial Crown and truth stave.
Consuls – They are the sole electors of the Emperor (all consuls are automatically members of the Consular Senate) and senior governors/administrators of the Empire. Proconsuls serve as governors of prestigious core worlds and consuls serve as bureaucrats in the massive government on Remula. Consuls wear purple magisterial robes with gold embellishments; their crowns and truth staves are gold.
Prætors – They carry the full-sized truth stave, a six-foot long staff with an ornate mace-head that crackles with energy when in use. They are also given an important badge of office, a crown which further channels their powers, making them more formidable than quæstors. Proprætors serve as governors of worlds; they will often have assistant prætors to whom the delegate the governance of various regions of a planet. Pætors can also serve as bureaucrats or operate as leaders of special commissions or military contingents. They wear purple magisterial robes with silver embellishments and accoutrements (including the large cope of office).
Quæstors – the most common members of the magisterial class, these men are the primary conduits to the general populace of the ability to remove the Disease. They carry a shorter version of the truth stave, a three-foot long mace. They wear plain purple magisterial robes and their truth staves are burnished steel. Certain quæstors who have been given the honourary title of aedile have thin gold piping.
In theory, any male Imperial citizen can become a Magistrate, as their powers have nothing to do with any in-born abilities or capabilities. The powers come to a person purely through being conferred them by a praetor or consul – thus the powers have been passed from one to another since the inception of the Empire over 20,000 years ago. In practice, only a relatively small portion of the population joins the Magisterial ranks. One must have certain aptitudes to enter their academies, but once in the academies there is a high attrition rate. To be a magistrate requires years of intense study (ranging from 7 to 14 years)
at a magisterial academy, often in combination with study at a
Not everyone is prepared to make the sacrifices necessary, but also few have the necessary qualities to responsibly use the grave powers that are entrusted to Magistrates. As such, a careful screening process ensures that only the best become Magistrates. With the advent of the New Order, the low calibre of many Quaestors and even Praetors and Consuls has made itself distressingly obvious. Further, the ethos of the New Order has led more and more of the Imperial governance to be handed over to laymen and even laywomen.
The general population has traditionally held Magistrates of every rank in very high esteem – among the Old Loyalists and some others who remember the old ways, everyone in a room will stand when even the lowest ranking of quæstors enters. They are seen as powerful and sometimes mysterious individuals upon whom the fate of the Empire has always hung. However, this esteem was greatly eroded during the internecine wars following the convocation of the “Estates General” which decimated the ranks of the Magistrates and changed the face of the Empire. The philosophy of the New Order greatly reduces the prestige of the Magistrates and has ‘unlocked’ for laypeople many positions of power which for a thousand generations have been the sole purview of Magistrates.