Notes on Magic

Teach/Learn, Research and Memorize Spells

* You can only teach a spell that is listed on your character’s spell list. This means you cannot teach spells supplied by familiars or items or spells that you only have in your Memory (and not on your spell list, see below for this possibility). It also means that if you have a group-spell, you can cast any sub-spell, but you cannot teach such a sub-spell. This is of course no problem, except for spell 211: if you have that spell acquired by Rite of Passage, you can still cast spells 205-209, but no longer teach these… ..nor can you teach 211.

* When a Learn order is issued, the System checks the spell list of the Teacher to see if he knows the spell. So he’d better not forget the spell between teach and learn order (e.g. cast the familiar spell, which is erased from memory.).

* The only requirement for Teach/Learn orders is that in the phase when any of the two orders is done, both characters must be in the same province; they can move in between these moments (also away of each other). The Teach/Learn orders do not have to be given in any sequence (Teach/Learn or Learn/Teach) and they do not not have to be done in any particular phase, the same phase, the same turn or even the same month (they are not cancelled at production), provided you do not loose the outstanding order by in-between actions (see next points).

* The phrase “A Character may only perform one of the two functions of teaching and learning (S13) at any given time” on p. 218 is in my humble opinion rather ambiguous. What has to be done is to close the teach/learn cycle before a new cycle is opened. So a Teach order, when given, will be outstanding until it is completed by the matching Learn order; after that a new Teach order can be given. So you could teach or learn more than one spell per turn, as long as each ‘loop’ is closed before a new one was opened. Otherwise the new teach or learn order would overwrite the old outstanding and non-completed order. 

* Look at you character overview in the LPE. There you will find one slot for Teaching and Learning spells (only one single education slot, hence the “may only perform one of the two functions of teaching and learning (S13) at any given time”). Only one order can be in there, and it’s the outstanding order that needs to be closed and completed by a reciprocal teach or learn order. If you would issue a new teach or learn order before the old cycle is closed, the new order will overwrite the old order (which is then completely lost) and becomes the new outstanding order in that education slot. 

* The same principles (when both orders are done, teacher must know the skill plus teacher and pupil must be in the same province + the teach-learn cycle must be completed first before opening a new one) apply to Teach/Learn Skill (S3/S4); and note that Teaching/Learning Skill (S3/S4) or Teaching/Learning Spell (S12/s13) are two totally seperate education cycles which have nothing to do with each other. Note the LPE character overview lists a seperate education slot for Teaching and Learning skills.

* You can Research a spell you already know – and it can still blow in your face at failure, meaning that you will be cursed and wounded for researching a spell you already knew… So perhaps it is not wise to give more than one Research order for a spell per turn.

* When conducting Spell Research, it’s your effective Arcane rating that matters, so your basic skill levels plus any arcane levels that an item may add (e.g. orbs).

* Putting a Battle or Duel Spell into Memory is a special process – see p. 213. The mirror image is taking such a spell out of Memory, i.e. to have no spell loaded at all, which may well be sensible if you have a second go at a nearly crushed monster, and you want to save your spell points for some more useful purpose, like Rune-researching his goodies next turn. 

* Note that if you have a Battle/Duel spell in Memory, then even if the spell is no longer on your spell list (you Forgat it with order B21), then you can still cast that spell, until you un-memorize it! Actually you could drop your arcane skill and still that spell would remain in your memory! If you have no arcane or priest skill, and thus no spell overview on your character, then the loaded spells do not show, and are NOT cast, but as soon as you get an arcane or priest skill again, and the overview thus appears, then the loaded battle/duel spells appear again! This means e.g. that with your new priest skill you can cast the duel/battle spells that your old arcane skill knew.


Rune-researching items

* Runespell 208 gives the sum of the information from spells 205-206, while spell 209 gives the sum of spells 205-6-7. Runespells 205-206-207 all apparently give slightly different info, depending on the item type a bit. Spell 205 gives stuff like base AF, charge/rout bonus, str/dex needed for weapons, terrain modifiers, effects on activation like cure insane/poison, teach spells/skills. Spell 206 gives user restrictions and bonusses vs specific targets, modifiers on stats/skills, autocasting spells. Spell 207 gives free mana, mana recovery, mar/sar bonus, wounds/marks/status/new race/religion/sex you get on activation, if it’s one time use only, what spells it allows you to cast when equipped, SA value, winternight bonus, battlemorph chance. (This overview was kindly supplied by Michael Lanting). 

* You can rune-research both items in possession and equipped items.

* At present it is not possible to runeresearch mounts.

* If rune-research tells, that an item gives X free mana for casting groupspell A, and Y free mana for casting spell B, with B belonging to group A, then casting sub-spell B will give you X+Y free points of mana.


Free mana and mana recorvery

* Free mana can be used above and beyond your base mana pool that is restricted by your arcane skill level. So if you have an arcane skill of 20, and a full mana pool of 20 derived from that, plus an item or familiar that gives 3 free mana when casting spell X, then you can cast spell X with 23 spell points.

Free mana can derive from several sources:

1) Free mana for in-discipline casting: The free mana derives from the combination arcane skill/spell type. You only get it for casting spells in your own discipline – the well-known bonus of 3 mana.

2) Free mana from items: There are many items that give free mana to casting certain spells (provided the user fits the use-requirements) and there are a few standard items that give free mana to all arcanists or to certain arcane disciplines. In the latter case, the free mana derives from the item type as used by a needed discipline, and is not restricted to in-discipline spells. That is, such an item gives its free mana to every spell that is cast by the required user. E.g. a Seer’s Crystal (spell #155) allows the Seer to get free mana also for casting non-seer spells; the same applies to the Encanter Tools (spells #471-474) which also allow casting of non-Enchanter spells by the Enchanter, and the Wizard staff (spell #14) gives free mana to any spell cast by a wizard, also to non-wizard spells. 

In rare cases in which an item gives x free mana points to a certain spell, and also y free mana points to the group spell to which this individual spell belongs, then you will get x+y free mana when casting that individual spell.

3) Free mana from Familiars: The free mana derives from the Familiar type. In its overview, each familiar has some spells mentionned, and a familiar owner can cast these spells as if he knew them himself. And has some free mana when casting them: being the Strenght STR given behind each spell on the Familiar overview.

* Mana recovery has the following factors involved: the province’s magic mana recovery, racial modifier for magic mana recovery, status modifier for magic mana recovery, and equipped items modifier for magic mana recovery. Provinces have a great range of possibilities including negative recovery so that it would drain you of your magic. 

* Note that on top of these normal factors, an arcanist or priest recovers extra mana at production at a rate related to their skill level. This is offical and certain, but the exact details have not been revealed. Most players say:

1 extra recovery starting with level 14, plus 1 extra recovery for every 4th level above 14

(so: lvl 14-17 = +1, lvl 18-21 = +2, lvl 22-25 = + 3, etc)

* You can be ‘supercharged'(=have more mana then arcane skill) between productions, if you had equipped an item that supplied magic skill adds before Production 1 and had unequipped it in the turn after Production 1; however at Production 2 your ‘supercharge’ will be lost.


Magical Items and Combat spells

* Never activate an item that you have not researched! Apart from being highly risky (insanity or teleport are not uncommon), it could also be a waste. Some items can only be activated once, and then disappear. And if it tried to heal something you didn’t have, or tried to teach a skill when you already had three, or tried to teach AA spells while you’re not an arcanist, or when you just did not have the right requirements, then the item will disappear without having had any effect. Equiping an item is less hazardous: any negative effects are temporarily, till you unequip again. Reading a book (S21) [not the same as Using one!! U3] is without any danger.

* Teleport via item activation or via adventures completely ignores Carrying Capacity and overburdening (unlike with the teleport spells, for which you need to be still mobile). 

* An item that says on your character overview, after equipping it, that it will allow you to cast an arcanist’s spell, then regardless of being a Magic user you could cast the spell!! However if you are not an arcanist then you do not have a magic overlay which holds personal knowledge of your spells. In some cases this means that item is still useless: for example, if the spell was a Cast Familiar spell, then you could cast it, sure, but it would have no lasting effect: the familiar cannot ‘stick’ on your non-arcane shoulder…

* The same principle applies to priestly spells. A priest of religion X finding an item that allows him to make Blessed-of-X soldiers can train these, even if that spell is not listed on his standard spell overview. Also, an item that allows to cast “Blessed of religion X” with some free points, will allow a character who is not a priest but is a worshipper of religion X [religion is checked!!] can train Blessed-of-X soldiers anyhow!

* A priest, being allowed by an item to cast an arcanist spell that does not belong to his normal set, can cast it, but always with order S9! Non-priests should always use S8 for casting spells, ALSO for casting priestly spells allowed by items. Note that in this way, priests can also Memorize (S9) a duel or battle spell that an item allows to cast, which is handy as some good religions tend to have no or poor combat spells on their standard spell list. You can Memorize a duel/battle spell that an item allows to cast, and after you have done that you can take the item out of In Use slot and transfer it away – in line with what was said in a previous paragraph, a once Memorized spell remains in memory even when the circumstances that allowed casting it have disappeared.

* In a case like was just mentioned, of a priest who can cast via an item a duel spell (e.g. Greater Fireball) that is not on his priestly spell list, the priest’s skill will be used to work out the amount of damage inflicted.

* If you activate an item that bestows Arcanist skill X at level A, but you have already Arcanist skill Y at level B , then you will still be Y at level B – no overwriting. This is a general point, in fact: items will never erase existing skills after activation. Not in the above case of ‘conflicting’ skills, and not in the case when the item wanted to teach a non-conflicting skill but there were no skill slots left. And if it teaches a skill you have, but at a lower or higher level, then this will not work either, you’ll keep what you had.

* If a Priest with religion A activates an item that converts to religion B, then the Priest will indeed be converted (of course provided he met the activation requirements). He will keep his base levels, but will loose the bonusses of the Holy Symbols of religion A.

* In general, you can equip the same sort of item twice to get a double effect, like two Holy Symbols or two Seer Crystals.

* If you have an item equipped that autocasts a battle or duel spell, then autocasting does not happen if you don’t meet the item requirement. Also note that such an autocast of a duel spell (or battle spell) is also cast during a battle (or duel), i.e. the battle (or duel) report says that such a spell is indeed autocast, BUT its effect is zero, for duel spells ONLY take effect in duels (and battle spells ONLY work during battles).

* If one of your equipped items says that there is a chance of x% that you, the user, will be changed during combat into the supernatural status of Y, then this will only happen if you meet the item-restrictions.

* An interesting bit from The Mentor section of the Strategic Reserve, answered by Edi Birsan:

Q: I have this item that when equipped I go into battle and on the battle report it says that the item casts a spell. Is this in addition to my normal spell or do I have to load this up or what?

A: What is happening here is what is called an Auto-Cast spell. This means that when ever you have this item equipped it will automatically cast a spell in combat. Usually the spell points are covered by the item. This is a very very valuable item in that it allows you add spells cast in a battle other than the usual 1 for 1 character limitation! [Reports however say that at the moment (2004), autocasting does not work, due to a database bug.]

* Combat spells work like this: 

  1. a) Defensive spells (spells that have an effect on yourself like increase MAR, SAR etc) come before offensive spells (spells that do bad things to other characters/slots).
  2. b) Defensive spells go off simultaneously, as do offensive spells. 

The latter means, e.g., that Empathic Self Cure would not use and reflect your wounds inflicted in the same magic round.

* As already indicated in a paragraph above, a character that is arcanist nor priest can never cast a duel or battle spell, as it will not show on his spell overview as being memorized. So even if he has an item that allows to cast some spells, then he will be able to cast the non-combat spells among them, but not the combat spells among them (as he has no memory structure to cast them from).


Ancient Arcana (AA)

What are the difference between ancient arcana research and normal spell research? Well, you can research normal spells (id#1-256, 400-499) everywhere, but in order to research AA spells (id #301-399, 501+) you need to be in a magic guild with a sufficient AA strenght and AA level. A guild gets its AA ratings from certain items, items which say on their runepower info: “ancient arcana add of x at spell level y”. You need to put such items in the possession slots of a magic guild, and then you can research AA spells up to level y, with a x% bonus to your chance of success. Your Guild overview will say:

Ancient Arcana Research level: y at effective guild AA strength: x

Please note the normal Guild Strenght bonus that you get for normal spell research does NOT apply to researching AA spells – the effective guild AA strenght (= the sum of the “AA add”s of the items in the guild) replaces the normal guild strenght; see S11 (instead of 2*Guild strenght you get 2*AA strenght). AA items are cumulative in strength, but you get only the highest level.

Example: If you have an item giving an add of 20 with level 1, one with an add of 10 and level 6 and one with an add of 30 and level 0, you can research any spell up to (and including) level 6 (the highest level on any item in the guild) with a guild AA strenght of 20+10+30=60. So if you would research a level 1 spell, you would not do so with an AA guild strenght of 20, but of 60. Note also that it thus pays to add items with a lower spell level, as they still provide bonuses.

Example: You have a guild with these items: Item 1 gives 5 points at level 3, Item 2 gives 10 points at level 1, Item 3 gives 2 points at level 7. Find the item that has the highest level – level 6, in this case – and this is the highest level AA spell you’re allowed to research. You can research lvl 6 spells max with a bonus (2* AA strenght) of 2*17(=5+10+2) = 34%. Remember, you don’t get any bonus for guild level.

Note: only one specimen of a certain item id# counts for contributing to a guild’s AA capabilities (i.e. only one item per possession slot counts).

Note: researching a higher level AA spell than is allowed will automatically fail without any backfire. 

Note: some players insist that the AA chance bonus from items is 1* AA strenght, and not 2* AA strenght like the Rules Book says with S11. But it seems that the AA level is really what it says, the effective guild strenght for AA research, so replacing the normal guild strenght.

Note: some NPCs (like monsters) may have AA spells, and you can teach them in a normal way to your PCs if you gain control of the NPC (via diplomacy or geas/charm). Also some books or special NPC guilds may know some.



It may happen that some modules allow Priest-Mages, who have both a priest skill and an arcane skill (normally not allowed). Such characters may use both S8 and S9 to cast spells depending on whether they want to cast a spell from their arcane spell listing or from their priestly spell listing. There is one mana pool that may be used for arcane and priestly spells. The highest amount of mana that will be available is based on the highest level of the two skills (mage or priest, incl. the effects of items), and basic mana recovery is the average of priestly holy mana recovery and magic mana recovery, including the adds of items, race, etc. Only the spells on their arcane spell list may be taught to others, not their priestly spells (of course not). 

You usually can only become Priest-Mage at setup with certain modules; in normal games, you can NOT become one by item activation or normal skill learning – in normal games you may only be either arcanist or priest, not both (like you may only have one arcane skill).