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My idea of magic is that it means MUCH more than a sword and shield--in fact, it's about a third of character skills. So, it should be complex, but in a perfectly role-playish way. Rather than using damage or strength effects, as I used to, I think a spell should come with POWER, which means simply the effect it takes relative to other spells of the same effect. Power is then modified by SpellPower, a factor derived from willpower, skill in the particular school, and familiarity with the particular spell (yes, casting a fireball at the wall five hundred times should make you more effective with fireballs than with other fire spells).

However, I also believe magic should have more spell effects, and each magical skill should be more involving, requiring summoners to specialize in conjuration, battlemages in destruction, and so forth. Then, each school should have effects that imitate certain needed functions from other schools. E.G.:

  • Paralyze (illusion)
  • Slow (alteration)
  • Roots (conjuration)
  • Imprison (mysticism)
  • Drain/Damage Speed (destruction)
  • Holy Fear (restoration)

All these effects slow down or stop a target. Even healers need to escape sometimes, and the effects system I propose would allow them to do so. Anyway, it's an idea, and I think it's a good one. Magic means such a wide variety of things, and mages shouldn't be forced--or even allowed--to be masters in every magical art.

Valtur Naa


Thanks to contributions from Sarudak, and my own (VN's) input, I think we may have a working system. This system views the schools of magicka thus:

  • Illusion - the altering of perceptions to pretend change
  • Alteration - the altering of actual energies and objects
  • Elementalism/Destruction - the harnessing of raw elemental power
  • Restoration - the altering of life processes for both good and bad
  • Conjuration - power derived from demons, including possession, relocation, etc
  • Mysticism - power derived from gods, including fear, domination, spell reflection, etc

This system also uses a basic implementation of power and many types of spell options:


Derived from stats and, chiefly, skills, power is the determinant of the strength of the spell. Your basic power stat is derived thus:

Willpower + Level + ( Magic Skill x 3 )

This stat is modified by casting time, similar to swords' strikes in vanilla MW. Hold down the cast button to get a stronger spell.

Spell Options

Among other things, I believe it can be said that multiple effects are not out of the question. Want fire damage that adds an explosive knockdown effect? No problem. Use either a new effect or a side effect.

The options available to you in the spell editor/creator include the following:

  • Spell Strength (formerly simple stat under the same or similar name)
    • This serves as a final multiplier for your power
  • Spell Duration
    • Power acts as a multiplier for this, also
  • Spell Radius
    • Power may act as a multiplier for this
  • Side Effects (can reduce cast cost or can increase it, depending on effect)
    • Example: to produce chain lightning, add a lightning effect and the side effect "chain". The spell will then cost more, but it will jump from one opponent to the nearest actor (which might be you)

Spell Sorting

A mage's spell array may become so vast that he needs to sort them somehow. I feel the need for multiple tabs in the spell menu. Ideas for sorting spells include:

  • Primary effect (the one that costs the most and determines school) alphabetically
  • School of Magicka
  • Absolute cost in magicka
  • spell name alphabetically

Separate Tabs for:

  • School of Magicka (with one tab for all spells)
  • Primary effect (if desired)


Illusion is geared toward the appearance of change through manipulation of sensual data. In other words, hallucinations, sounds you thought you heard, scents you can't place, and touches and tastes that bring back memories. The entire purpose of illusion is to fool you.

Illusion's chief effects are based upon the following:

  • Sights
  • Sounds
  • Touches

Less commonly used effects, and fewer of them, may target smell and taste, but since at this point only khajiiti and argonians have good senses of smell, these senses need less developing.


The most common use of this is, perhaps, night eye, which adds a light filter to your perceptions. However, it covers many differing effects, such as:

  • Night Eye
  • Invisibility
  • Blindness
  • Color Blindness (just an odd variant to confuse your enemies)
  • Vision (for a time, shifts the camera to a random place in MW)
  • Mirage (stores one creature/NPC form and projects it six feet in front of you, you can then control it)


Spells of this type include:

  • Sound (a target/missile spell that creates a random 3D sound wherever it hits)
  • Noise (MW sound, a distraction in the ear)
  • Project Voice (useful only with a Call action, lets NPC AI think you're wherever this spell lands)
  • Silence
  • Quiet Step (puts a damper on your footsteps and AI chance of detecting them)


  • Hit (deals minimal hand-to-hand damage, generates a slapping sound, and startles NPC)
  • Caress (can be used with other effects to relax an NPC)

Other Senses

  • Smell (each spell stores the smell of one person or creature, then projects it onto the target)

Merging of Types

Some of the best illusions merge these types to create a multisensual illusion. One example is this:

  • Mirage projecting yourself
  • Project Voice, targeting the mirage
  • Smell, targeting the mirage, projecting yourself (if target is Khajiit)
  • Send this assembled mirage ahead of you into a potentially hostile camp. If attacked, the mirage will melt away, leaving the NPCs staring around stupidly while you plan your next move.


This is based on the warping of magical energies and physical properties. Its effects include:

  • Stone Skin (natural armor bonuses)
  • Solidify Water (water in target radius acts as ground. Anything inside it its paralyzed)
  • Spell Shield (if your blocking hand or weapon touches a magical projectile, the projectile is disabled)
  • Animate Object (target inanimate object, such as a corpse or unmoving golem, starts moving)
  • Turn to Mud (targets ground, anything inside radius slows down anyone on it)
  • Transform (open to any creature, not only for targets but also yourself)


The old Destruction, this is a manipulator of elemental energies. Its effects include:

  • Fire
  • Ice
  • Lightning
  • Air Shield (creates a whirlwind that carries away arrows)
  • Breathe Water
  • Drench (implements and exacerbates environmental damage as from rain or snow)
  • Sun Damage (plus reverse effects)
  • Summon "Elemental"
  • Form "Shield/Weapon" (changes elemental materials into a weapon or shield)
  • Form "Armor" (does the same for armor and apparel)
  • Change Weather (can't affect whole regions, but you can make a pocket of sun, rain, or storm)


The manipulator of life processes, this school includes all of the following:

  • Heal (in as many varieties as there are health/fatigue/magicka stats)
  • Damage (targeting all the same stats as above)
  • Weaken (targets attributes temporarily)
  • Poison/Venom
  • Cure Poison
  • Disease
  • Cure Disease
  • Weakness to Disease, Poison, etc
  • Sleep (target sways and falls down, doesn't get up until spell wears off)


The magic of daedra, this includes the following effects:

  • Conjure "Daedra" (conjured creatures and objects stay permanently)
  • Conjure "Undead"
  • Conjure "Animal"
  • Conjure "Item" (summons a potion, ingredient, or miscellaneous object you can use)
  • Summon "Undead" (summoned creatures are temporary)
  • Summon "Daedra"
  • Summon "Animal"
  • Possession (caster's body enters hibernation, player controls target)
  • Command (as per MW command)
  • Banish "Summoning" (gets rid of permanently summoned creatures). Yes, this is specialized...
  • Banish to Oblivion (sends target to Oblivion: out of game. May be either permanent or temporary)
  • Interview "Daedra" (summons a Daedra but doesn't control it; only good for talking or killing)
  • Bind to "Armor" (targets only daedra, forms permanent bound armor when they die)
    • Can't be used in conjunction with soul trap
  • Bind to "Weapon" (as above)
  • Conjure "Armor" (former bound armor)
  • Conjure "Weapon"
  • Channel Soul Gem (creates a soul gem from the fabric of the spirit of a dying creature/size depends on skill and soul)
  • Summon "Object" (limited form of telekinesis, works only to pull something toward you)
  • Banish "Object" (opposite from above, only pushes something away)


The magic of gods (Akatosh, Dibella, etc), this includes all the following:

  • Spell Absorption
  • Absorb "Stat"
  • Terror (equivalent to demoralize)
  • Furor (equivalent to rally)
  • Wrath (equivalent to anger)
  • Peace (equivalent to calm)
  • Holy Shield (armor bonus/dodge bonus)