Daggerfall:Spell Maker

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The Spell Maker (sometimes styled SpellMaker) is a powerful tool for magic-using characters. Use of the Spell Maker is the first benefit you gain when joining the Mages Guild, and is also available at the Temple of Kynareth for members of at least rank 6. With the Spell Maker, characters can create customized spells with a wide variety of effects. For purposes of some quests, custom spells cannot substitute for circinate ("canned") spells.

For more information, see the main lore article.

Spell Maker Basics[edit]

Using the Spell Maker, you can create custom spells with up to three effects. Depending on which spell effects are selected, many parameters of these custom spells can be adjusted to a large degree. Besides the spell effects, the purchase cost and the casting cost are the most important considerations when creating custom spells.

Different icons, in various colors, can also be chosen for each spell to appear on the HUD while the spell is active. These are unimportant for spells which are instantaneous (such as attack spells, teleports, etc.), but it can be useful to color-code icons for various types of spells with lasting durations, since these icons start to blink on the HUD when a spell is about to expire. For instance, it can help to know at a glance that the spell that is about to expire is a levitation spell which is keeping the character from falling from a great height, rather than a regeneration spell.

Purchase Cost[edit]

The purchase cost represents the amount of gold you must spend to buy the custom spell. This is simply a function of the spell's power. The more power a spell packs, the more it costs to buy. There is no negotiation process for this price; the game simply calculates the cost of a spell as it is created.

Casting Cost[edit]

The casting cost in Spell Points is calculated for each spell according to several separate elements:

  • Your skill level in all applicable schools of magic, and
  • The relevant attribute governing the skill in question, and
  • The power of the spell.

Skill levels vary widely from character to character, and throughout a character's lifetime, so no hard-and-fast advice can cover every contingency. Some general advice nevertheless follows:

  • Having two spells with identical effects, but with differing parameters, can be helpful. A short-duration levitation spell used to circumnavigate typical dungeon obstacles may need a longer-duration counterpart in the Mantellan Crux, for example.
  • Spells based entirely on the Destruction skill can easily be practiced for free, thereby resulting in a rapid rise in that skill. This can alter the casting cost of such a spell greatly in a relatively short amount of time.


The spell effects available in the Spell Maker duplicate all of the effects of the circinate spells with a large degree of flexibility in several ways. Chance, Duration, and Magnitude of spell effects can be manipulated, although not all effects can be manipulated in all three ways.

  • When creating spells, variable costs can be manipulated in one specific way to increase spell power in a subtle, yet powerful, way. A variable of 1-1 has the same casting cost as a variable of 1-2. A variable of 3-3 has the same casting cost as 3-4. This pattern continues with each increase of pairs of integers, as long as the first integer is an odd number. At mid- to high levels, these small increments can become significant.
  • While any three effects can be combined in a given spell, it is easier to combine complementary effects in most cases. Having their durations set the same can also simplify matters. Examples include:
  • Chance of effect should not be neglected with attack spells. Even the most powerful Paralyze spells will be of little help if powerful targets routinely make their saving throws against them.
    • Some spell effects, notably Paralyze and Soul Trap, are all-or-nothing. Chance for these spells should have precedence over Duration in most cases.
  • For a Destruction-based Damage: Health effect, you can choose an appropriate elemental sphere; not only the default Magicka, but also Fire, Frost, Shock and Poison are available. Take the sphere into consideration and make a Destruction spell that corresponds to enemies' elemental weaknesses and resistances.
    • Most spells in schools other than Destruction (including offensive, defensive, and utility spells) have Magicka as their base elemental sphere. This creates a lot of confusion among players, as sometimes the Magicka sphere is called simply "Magic". It is therefore important to distinguish between Spell Absorption, Spell Resistance, and Elemental Resistance: Magicka:
      • Spell Absorption is an effect which nullifies any direct damage spell (i.e. any spell transmitting a Destruction-school effect, including Continuous Damage, Damage, Disintegrate, Drain, and Transfer - e.g. Fireball - but not a spell transmitting a non-damaging hostile effect, such as Paralyze or Silence), and adds the spell point cost of the spell to the target's current spell point pool, as long as the target has sufficient free/"empty" spell points to absorb the spell's full cost, with the cost calculated as the cost of the spell if the target had cast the spell. Spell Absorption may nullify "Area at Range", "Target at Range", "Area around Caster", "On Touch", or "Caster Only"-type effects. This effect can be gained by creating and casting a custom protective spell with the eponymous effect (in which case the effect will also be subject to a chance of failure), or by choosing the Spell Absorption special advantage during character generation (in which case the effect will always apply according to the conditions of the selected advantage: either at all times, only when the character is in darkness, or only when the character is in natural light).
      • Spell Resistance is an effect which nullifies any offensive spell (i.e. any spell transmitting a Destruction-school effect, including Continuous Damage, Damage, Disintegrate, Drain, and Transfer - e.g. Fireball - as well as any spell transmitting a non-damaging hostile effect, such as Paralyze or Silence). Spell Resistance may nullify "Area at Range", "Target at Range", "Area around Caster", or "On Touch"-type effects. This effect can be gained by creating and casting a custom protective spell with the eponymous effect, or by increasing your Willpower.
      • Elemental Resistance: Magicka is an effect which resists a Magicka-based offensive spell by nullifying or halving its damage. This effect can be gained by creating and casting a custom protective spell with the eponymous effect, or by choosing either the Magic Immunity or Magic Resistance special advantage during character generation.
This is why the Magic Resistance or Magic Immunity special advantages won't save you against your first imp's Wizard's Fire attack; only your Willpower and/or corresponding Fire elemental resistance/immunity will (possibly) protect you from this Fire-based spell! However, these special advantages should be of use against enemy spells like Silence or Sleep, since those are Magicka-based. Therefore, don't try to exploit the character generation system by taking Magic Immunity and then choosing Fire/Frost/Shock weaknesses to lower the game's difficulty dagger; once again, Magic Immunity will not override these other elemental weaknesses. Nevertheless, due to a frequently-exploited bug, Magic immunity/resistance/low tolerance/critical weakness apply also to Disease, Paralysis, and Poison effects. Thus, due to this bug, choosing Magic Immunity will also render you immune to diseases as well as any paralysis and poison effects. (In Daggerfall Unity, Magic immunity/resistance/low tolerance/critical weakness only refers to the Magicka element of spells, similar to the Fire, Frost, and Shock elements, and no longer provides immunity/resistance/low tolerance/critical weakness to Disease, Paralysis, or Poison effects.)
  • The game normally does not allow you to specify the elemental sphere of your spell if it does not contain a Damage: Health effect, always forcing you to create a Magicka-based spell. However, this can be overcome (mostly for the aesthetic effect of changing the casting animation) by adding a Damage: Health effect after your main spell effect(s), setting the desired sphere, and then deleting the Damage: Health effect. The sphere will remain as long as you don't add any other effects after this procedure. You can in this way safely set yourself as the spell's target and create something like a Fire-based Light spell, which when cast will appear as if you've conjured flames to light a magical candle before you. Unfortunately, while this trick works for spells with one or two effects, it won't work for spells with three effects, for which there's simply no room to 'add then delete' the sphere-changing Damage: Health effect.

Useful Custom Spells[edit]

  • Create Item spell: This creates items that are salable, but are usually otherwise of limited utility to your character.
  • Shield spells: These spells absorb physical damage. Custom versions are very easy to scale according to character level/attributes/skills.
  • Combination spells that provide complementary effects can be highly desirable. One example is a spell with the Shield effect, which defends against physical attacks, and either Spell Reflection or Spell Absorption. Factors such as duration and magnitude have a great effect on the spell cost and, more importantly, the casting cost. What works for one character may have too high a cost for another, and those types of equations vary over the course of an individual character's development as well.
  • Identify is an effect that lends itself to customization in particular. A high chance of success usually carries a high casting cost. A low chance of success has limited utility outside of Mysticism practice. Having two spells with this effect, one high- and the other low-chance, thus offers flexibility. Note that if you cast a spell with this effect inside the Mages Guild, you will still be charged gold for the identification as if the Guild service had identified the item.
  • Any spell with the Open effect will open any exterior door in any town, city, or village, no matter how low the chance is set. This is very useful for completing in-town quests, and makes for a wonderful training spell for Mysticism.
  • Invisiblity (True) effects allow one to battle multiple opponents singly, continuously surprising individual opponents in large groups. However, some opponents, especially undead, are rarely fooled by any invisibility effect.

Example of Spell Making[edit]

Making a beginner's Fire Ball:

  1. Find a Mages Guild member (or other NPC) who offers [ Make Spells ] as an option and click it.
  2. Under [ Spell Name:_____ ] type in the name, "Fire Ball", and hit Return.
  3. On the right hand side (for focusing the spell's target), click the large square box for the third choice: "Single Target".
  4. Above that, in the ICON box, repeatedly click that box until a red (or other suitable) icon appears.
  5. Click the very large square box filled with stars to Add Effect.
  6. Select, from the pull down list of effects, the general nature of the spell. For this example it's "Damage".
  7. Double click and select from the next pull down list the type of damage. For this example it's "Health". Hit Return.
  8. The next screen is complicated, showing: Magnitude [1]-[1]+[1]-[1] per [1] level.
You should read this as: Base damage 1 to 1, plus per level damage of 1 to 1 multiplied by the character's level.
There is really not a lot for a low level player to do here but click the square Exit box.

 9. Choose a spell base, that is the type of health damage. Here, in the first choice, is Fire Damage, so click its square box.

10. Note the spell's gold pieces cost and casting cost in magicka. Is it affordable, and can you cast it?

11. If everything looks to be in place, click the square Buy box; otherwise, click the square Exit box.