Magic is everywhere in Oblivion and it has to do with everything from food to actual spells. It is almost impossible to go through the game without magic because most of everything in the game has to do with magic. Magic is the lifeblood of the Elder Scroll Series and Tamriel.
In Oblivion magic is separated into 6 schools: Destruction, Conjuration, Restoration, Mysticism, Alteration, Illusion. All spells and magical effects fall into one of those categories. Their is a seventh skill that falls under magic and that is Alchemy. Alchemy is where you make potions that grant magical effects, the poitons are a means to get the magical effects of the other schools without having to use a spell.
 Types of Magic in Oblivion
Spells are what usually everyone thinks of when they think 'Magic'. Spells are an easy, direct way to get a magical effect. They are easy to use, easy to get, but do require some skill. For example a low level character will be able to cast the beginner spells, but if they want to cast higher level spells they will need to have 2 things:
- enough Magicka to cast the spell (Intelligence)
- a high enough skill to cast the spell
Magicka is the energy that fuels spells, without any magicka you won't be able to cast a spell. Magicka is represented on the HUD by a blue bar. This blue bar depletes whenever you cast a spell and can be refilled over time by not casting a spell (provided you don't have stunted magicka- see Birthsign under Atronach for information on stunted magicka and ways to work around it) and can be refilled by a Restore Magicka effect (the most practical way to gain this effect is by using potions).
Also all spells have a skill requirement for the school of magic the spell falls under. If you do not have a high enough skill in that school of magic you won't be able to cast the spell.
 Acquiring New Spells
You can get new spells in a multitude of ways. The easiest way to get new spell is by buying a spell from a Spell Merchant. You can also get new spells as a reward completing certain quests. Also if you have the Spell Tomes add-on you will be able to find books called 'Tomes' that will teach you new spells.
 Spell Making
Spellmaking Altars (Located in the Arcane University or Frostcrag Spire) allow you to make your own spells. To make a spell you must have the effect that you want the spell to have already, for example you have to have the Weakness to Fire magical effect already if you want to make a new spell out of it.
 Spells and Armor
Your spells are affected by armor. If your wearing armor your Spell Effectiveness will go down. Without any armor you will have a 100% spell effectiveness, it will do the magnitude and/or duration of the spell as listed on the spell's description. With armor on this number goes down based on your skill in that armor and your skill in the magic school that spell falls under. You can never have 100% effectiveness (tops out at 95%) and still wear armor (which is why most NPC spellcasters wear robes). Fatigue does not affect spell effectiveness (although you do lose 1 Fatigue for casting a spell although you regenerate fatigue constantly so under most circumstances this can be ignored).
Casting speed is fixed for each spell. Although when blocking with a weapon your spells will cast at almost twice as fast if you weren't blocking, this is very helpful in training your magic skills and repetitive casting of spells during combat.w
Powers are like spells in the fact that they are cast. But unlike spells you cannot make a power or buy a power you can only be granted a power. Powers are bestowed upon a character when they choose their Race and Birthsign, by becoming a vampire, visiting Doomstones, and by completing certain quests. Their are other major differences between powers and spells:
- Powers cannot be Silenced like spells can.
- Powers do not require a certain skill to cast.
- The magicka cost of a power is not affected by skill.
- Powers are not affected by armor.
- Some powers cannot be reflected or absorbed.
- Some powers do not require magicka to cast.
Their are two types of powers, Greater Powers and Lesser Powers:
- Greater Powers- These powers can only be cast once a day and at no magicka cost (For example, The Lover's Kiss Greater power granted by the Lover Birthsign)
- Lesser Powers- These powers can be cast an unlimited number of times per day, but have a magicka cost to them like spells. As long as you have enough magicka to cast them they will cast.(For Example, the Blood of the North lesser power granted by the Lord Birthsign.
Abilities are magical effects that are permanent on your character and will always be in effect. Abilities are commonly associated with Races, Birthsigns, and vampirism but some quests offer abilities too (most often in the form of skill increases and attribute increases). An example of an ability is the Trollkin ability granted by the Lord Birthsign.
Scrolls are like spells in the fact that you cast them, but unlike spells they require no magicka to cast. Scrolls can be bought from merchants and can be found in loot randomly. A scroll can only be used once, once you cast it its gone. Scrolls are used the same way as spells and selected the same way too.
 Magic and Combat
Destruction magic is the only magic school that will cause actual damage to your opponent. While using a burden spell on them might help you out, the only way you're going to kill someone with magic is by roasting them with a Destruction spell (or electrocuting, etc.) Another thing you can do is augment your abilities with spells such as Fortify Strength, Shield, etc. As they say, the best offense is a good defense.
 Offensive Magic
The one thing you have to remember about magic is that it costs magicka, without which you won't be doing anything magical. When you're on the offense you'll probably be burning through magicka like crazy so it is very important to remember to use those Restore Magicka potions. Also, give your magicka time to regenerate by using scrolls instead of spells. You have to balance out your offensive spells, your defensive spells, and your magicka, so that you won't be left dry in any category. Alchemy can help you save a lot of magicka. You don't have to worry about healing yourself with a spell, since you can get that effect easily with alchemy. Also, you have to remember what spells are good against what enemy. Casting a spell an enemy is immune to is just a waste of magicka and time. Remember to switch up your spells and don't rely on one single spell. It is also smart to have different types of spells, for example have one spell that does area effect damage, which will not only hurt the enemy it hits but also any enemies in a certain radius. It doesn't matter how much damage it does as long as your're always doing damage to your enemy. It can be as small as one point of damage but just have it to where you can damage multiple enemies at the same time. When you find yourself fighting multiple enemies and are in trouble stop trying to block enemies attacks and start trying to kill an enemy faster, let your armor (whatever power it may be) do its work and start inflicting as much damage to an enemy as you can. When you get low on health just use some potions you made using alchemy instead of using healing spells as they cost magicka.
 Defense Magic
Mages are very vulnerable if they aren't wearing armor. While shield spells are good they tend to cut out at bad times and can get you into trouble if you aren't careful. The best thing to do is to use a shield enchantment on your clothing. This way you will have a good defense that won't tamper with your spells and that won't weigh you down. Also, if you need to block just equip a small dagger to block with, but remember to never stop moving in a fight or you'll be the one dying instead of your enemies. Conjuration is good here too, as you can summon a weapon when you need it and the weapon won't weigh you down either. Also the monsters you can summon with conjuration can help out a lot in a fight. Even a lowly scamp can be a distraction for your enemies so you can use that healing spell. Illusionists can put up a sort of offensive defense in the fact that they can paralyze, demoralize, and all the other effects they can use to hinder their enemy/enemies.
 Chaining Spells
You need to get in the habit of learning to chain different spells together to get a better overall effect on an enemy. For example, use those weakness spells for a change, a small weakness to fire 100% for 5 seconds can easily double the amount of damage you put out with another fire spell. Also, if you have enough magicka, combine a spell like this with an area effect and a small damaging area effect spell and you'll have yourself a nice BBQ. Also, make use of those enchanting altars and make youself a weapon with an absorb magicka effect on it. That way if you run out of magicka just start hacking away at enemies and watch that blue bar shoot up. Also, combining a 1 sec paralysis spell will give you about 3-4 seconds to cast your next spell seeing as enemy NPCs fall down and take a while to get up and fighting again. Basically, just chain together different spells to get a better effect and when your're out of magicka use your enchanted weapon to get more.
To see about training in a skill look at the following pages for more information:
- Use weakness spells to do more damage to an opponent.
- Use every way possible to save magicka, be it with a drain magicka effect on your weapon, using scrolls, or magicka potions.
- Use Nighteye and/or Detect Life enchantments on your rings and amulets.
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