Spell casting skills fall within two distinct groups, the main group are true magic casters, in which some form of casting skill is their main offence and defence. The second group are warriors, for whom the casting skill enhances and supports their weapons ability.
Magic users’ casting skills are magery, mysticism, necromancy and spellweaving. Three of these have an essential support skill, bracketed together these pairs can be referred to as a ‘skill set’ and are as follows:
- Magery – Evaluate Intelligence
- Mysticism – Focus (or imbuing)
- Necromancy – Spiritspeak
Magery, without evaluate intelligence, is sometimes used in templates. In these cases the damage spells have little impact and some buff/debuff spells, such as ‘bless’ cannot be cast at all. The spells cast by these templates are mainly, though not exclusively, travel spells, healing and cure, invisibility and summoned creatures.
In pvp playstyles consideration is also given to the ‘spell damage increase’ property found on some items and effective for magic users, though not for warrior’s casting skills. This bonus from items is capped against other players at 20% except for ‘pure’ templates;
ie those that focus in only one spell school. Focused players, having no more than 30.0 modified skill points in another main skill set will be able to benefit from a raised cap to 25%.
In addition to the skills mentioned above: Magery & Evaluate Intelligence, Necromancy & Spiritspeak, Mysticism & Focus or Imbuing, Ninjitsu, Bushido, Chivary and Spellweaving; Animal Taming, Parry and Musicianship also count when determining whether a template is focused or not.
- A template of Magery/Evaluate Intelligence/Meditation/Inscription/Wrestling/Anatomy would be a ‘pure’ template and benefit from the cap of 25% sdi.
- A template of Magery/Evaluate Intelligence/Focus/Inscription/Wrestling/Anatomy would not – Focus belongs in the ‘mysticism’ skill set.
- A template of Magery/Evaluate Intelligence/Meditation/Animal Taming/Animal Lore/Veterinary would not – Animal Taming is on the list of skills that count.
It should be noted that this cap applies to bonus from items only, sdi bonus from inscription skill is not affected by it. A ‘pure’ template which includes grand master inscription and 25% sdi from items would therefore have a total spell damage increase of 35%
As with everything in Ultima Online nothing is set in stone and some overlaping and hybrid templates exist, warriors who use necromancy etc.
All spell casting ‘schools’ require the relevant spellbook, those of the ‘warrior’ group of schools are bought from NPCs complete with all spells included. All three books can be bought from the relevant trainer in New Haven, Paladins outside Luna also sell Chivalry books and Scribes in Zento sell Bushido and Ninjitsu books.
The magic casters’ spell books need to be filled with spell scrolls. Some of these can be bought from NPC’s, some looted from monsters, some looted from dungeon barrels and chests. It is possible to completely fill a magery spell book by buying from NPCs and emptying barrels in Dungeon Despair, level One (crates in the dungeon may also contain scrolls, but crates are locked and trapped; barrels are not). The Hallowed Spellbook is a part-filled book obtained from the Inscription New Player Quest and a full necromancy spell book is the reward for completing the necromancy new player quest in New Haven
Vendor Search may also find filled spell books sold by players.
Spellweaving is unique in several ways. It cannot be selected as a starting skill, nor can the skill be trained by an NPC. Instead the player must complete a quest given by Heartwood Elves the reward for which is the spellbook and 2 spells. A further 2 spells can only be obtained from quests, all others are obtained as monster loot. While magery, necromancy and mysticism spells can be written by players, spellweaving spells cannot. Players do loot and sell the spells, so seeking them through vendor search is possible.
All spells require mana, the size of the character’s mana pool is derived from the intelligence stat, but can be enhanced by use of items having Intelligence Bonus or Mana Increase properties. The rate at which the mana pool is replenished is determined by the meditation or focus skill. That too can be enhanced, or in some cases even replaced, by items having Mana Regeneration property. Elves have a racial bonus of +20 mana.
Bushido, Ninjitsu and Spellweaving need no reagents
Chivalry uses tithing in place of reagents
Magery, Mysticism and Necromancy require a variety of reagents
Both tithing and reagents requirements can be off-set, or totally replaced, by the property ‘lower reagent cost’ on items.