Magic is one of the three specializations in Morrowind, and constitutes a major part of gameplay. Magic ranges from using spells and abilities, to making enchantments, and even eating or mixing ingredients. The basics of magic are covered here.
Nine skills are found under the magic specialization. Six of these skills are referred to as "schools" of magic and all spells fall under these schools. The schools of magic in Morrowind are:
- Illusion — Spells that alter perception, such as Invisibility and Charm.
- Conjuration — Spells that summon creatures and equipment from other worlds, such as Bound Items and Summon.
- Alteration — Spells that manipulate the laws of nature, such as Water Breathing and Levitation.
- Destruction — Spells that cause physical harm, such as Fire Damage and Damage Attribute.
- Mysticism — Spells that shape and focus ethereal forces, such as Telekinesis and Soultrap.
- Restoration — Spells that heal, such as Restore Health and Cure Common Disease.
All spells fall under these schools of magic, and your ability to cast a given spell is determined by your Willpower, skill level in that school, as well as your current Fatigue and Luck. The remaining skills under the magic specialization include:
- Enchant — The ability to add magical effects to clothing, armor, and weapons.
- Alchemy — The ability to create potions from ingredients and identify their magical effects.
- Unarmored — The ability to resist damage when not wearing armor.
In addition to skills, there are three "magic" attributes; two primary, and one derived. The primary attributes are Intelligence and Willpower. Intelligence is used to determine a character's Magicka, while Willpower affects the ability to successfully cast spells and the ability to resist Paralyze and Silence effects. These attributes are essential to be a magic-oriented character.
The derived attribute is Magicka, the energy used to cast spells. Maximum Magicka is calculated by multiplying your Intelligence by your Magicka multiplier (which is 1 by default). It can be increased and replenished by a number of ways. A spell's casting cost is the amount of magicka needed to cast it.
Types of Magic
There are several ways to use magic in Morrowind.
Spells use one or more magic effects to damage or hinder opponents, enhance one's abilities, or to alter the in-game world to some extent. They can be bought from spell vendors and customized with the help of Spellmakers. Similar to weapons, spells must be readied before they can be used.
In addition to cost, a spell also has a chance, which is the probability of casting it successfully. It is similar to a weapon's chance to hit. A spell's chance is affected by its cost and your skill in its magic school, as well as your Willpower, Luck and Fatigue.
Also, like a weapon, some spells have a damage range; for example, the Cruel Firebloom spell can inflict anywhere between 10–16 points of fire damage. However, unlike a weapon, where its damage is determined by how long the player holds the attack button, a spell's damage is simply a random number within the given range. This damage can be further modified by the target's resistance or weakness to the spell's effects.
The Spells page lists all in-game spells; it also includes formulas for calculating a spell's cost, chance, and damage.
Powers are similar to spells. They are accessed and used in the same manner; however, there are several distinct differences. You can acquire powers during character creation through races and birthsigns; a few other powers are acquired by finishing certain quests. Each power can only be used once every 24 hours of game time. Powers never fail and cost no Magicka to use. They are independent of any Skills you have; using a power does not contribute to increasing any skill levels. They can also be used even while silenced.
The Powers page lists all Powers and how to get them.
Enchanting is the process of permanently applying a magical effect to an item by harnessing the power of a creature's soul. One can enchant their items using the Enchant skill, or enlist the service of Enchanters to do it for them, though their services are very expensive. Enchantments are powerful because they are not governed by skill level in the relevant spell school and can recharge, allowing infinite uses. Enchanted items can be set to be used like a spell (Cast When Used), or in the case of a weapon, whenever the weapon strikes a target (Cast on Strike). A ring of Fire Shield on Self can be used over and over again as long as the ring has enough charge in it. A more powerful type of enchantments is Constant Effect items; these give you the enchantment effect by just equipping them, without needing to cast anything. For example, a ring enchanted with a Constant Effect Fire Shield on Self enchantment will give you this effect by just putting the ring on, and will last until you take it off.
To enchant an item with a spell effect, one must have a filled soul gem. More powerful souls allow for the creation of greater enchantments. One can enchant weapons, armor, clothing, and even paper. For more info on enchanting, see the Enchant article.
Scrolls are pieces of parchment that have been enchanted with a spell effect. They can be purchased from merchants or can be randomly found in loot. They have no casting cost, but can only be used once before being destroyed.
Alchemy is the ability to detect the magical effects of food and ingredients, and using these effects to create potions. Every ingredient, from bread to hackle-lo leaf to diamonds, has up to four magical effects. The Alchemy skill allows one to recognize these effects and combine them with other ingredients with the same effects to make a potion. Alchemy can be a powerful tool, letting you create potions for profit or combat. For more information on the skill and the tools necessary to create potions, see the Alchemy page.
Special abilities may also be granted by a character's birthsign and race. Abilities are permanent effects, such as Argonians' 100% resistance to poison, or Bretons' 50% Resist Magicka ability. Abilities are always in effect, and do not have to be cast.
Diseases are effects contracted from animals, undead, and NPCs. Diseases, like abilities, add an effect to your character that is continuously active. Diseases can be cured through the use of a spell, potion, or enchantment with a Cure Common Disease effect, or a Cure Blight Disease effect, depending on the type of disease. Diseases are contracted through melee and marksman attacks received from infected creatures or NPCs, or by searching their corpses. Pickpocketing infected NPCs can also infect the player.
Things to Keep in Mind
- Magicka can only be replenished by resting, using Restore Magicka, Spell Absorption or Absorb Magicka effects.
- Those born under the sign of the Atronach cannot replenish Magicka by resting.
- More powerful spells cost more Magicka to cast.
- Spells are more likely to fail when you are low on fatigue.
- Spells will fail often if your respective skill for that school is low. Trying to cast a last minute Divine Intervention with a Mysticism skill of 5 will take a lot of luck. Consider leveling up your magic skills if you plan on casting successful spells.
- Enchantments are a powerful tool; they allow you to have little ability in any school of magic but still use magic.
- Any character can benefit from magic. Whether a thief needs to teleport to safety or turn invisible, or a warrior needs a powerful healing spell or to summon armor. Even if you don't plan to be a mage, investing in magic can make a big difference.
- The speed at which magic projectiles travel is influenced by the character's weight. For example, ranged spells fired by a male Orc move 50% faster than those of a female Breton.
Bretons and Altmer have a racial bonus to their Magicka pools. The birthsigns of the Apprentice, Atronach, and Mage also give characters a Magicka bonus. The only way to permanently increase your Magicka after character creation is to increase your intelligence when you level up.
Magicka can, however, be temporarily fortified by using potions, spells and enchantments. The Fortify Intelligence effect recalculates your maximum Magicka for the duration of the effect, and Fortify Magicka effects do the same thing directly.
Some items that can increase your Magicka include:
- The Mantle of Woe grants an additional 5.0 to your multiplier.
- Necromancer's Amulet increases Intelligence by 25.
- Keening adds 50 points of Magicka.
- Aesliip's Ring adds 75 points of Magicka.
- Mentor's Ring increases Intelligence by 10.