This article is about the phenomenon. For the god, see Magnus.
Magic (magicka in the Ayleid language) is the general term used for the focusing of raw energy into various properties and for various purposes. This raw energy, often referred to as magicka or mana, flows from Aetherius into Mundus by way of the sun and stars, and from it the Mundus was created. Magicka comprises every spirit, it is the energy of all living things and can be harnessed in a variety of ways. Despite thousands of years of study, there is an enormous amount of speculation about how magic is generated, how it might be used by Aedra and Daedra, and how it might flow between living things.
Magnus was the god who designed Mundus, the mortal realm, during its creation. After it was completed, however, he ordered the project terminated, and left for Aetherius at great cost. In doing so, he tore a hole in the veil of Oblivion through which the magicka of Aetherius flows into the world. The great rift he left behind, the sun, is itself known as Magnus. Soon, other et'Ada who agreed with Magnus followed his lead, leaving smaller holes which are the stars, through which magicka also flows. This is why the stars under which a person is born have such a great influence on that person's fortunes and fate, and why many materials which fall from the heavens have great magical properties.
Some of the first recorded uses of magic were by the Ayleids of the First Era. Through the salvaging of fallen fragments of Aetherius, they attained great arcane power, which they used to enslave the early Cyrodiils. A common phrase in the Ayleid language is "Av molag anyammis, av latta magicka", which means "From fire, life; from light, magic". With one or two exceptions, wizards of the early First Era were generally solitary, and there was little collaboration beyond the master-apprentice relationship, or standardization in magical practices. Until the Second Era and the construction of the Arcane University, the Crystal Tower of Summerset Isle was considered the pinnacle of magical research and learning in Tamriel.
Many different magical arts have been developed during Tamrielic history for purposes ranging from warfare to technological advancement to religion and divination, and there is often much scholarly disagreement between various researchers. Notable magical endeavors include the Redguards' Shehai Shen She Ru, the Nords' Thu'um, the Bosmer's Beast Tongue, the Maormer's sea serpent-taming magic, and the numerous innovations of the Dwemer. There are many other little-understood magical phenomena, like the mysterious constructs the Towers, as well as the process of surpassing worldly limitations known as CHIM. A person's reserves of magicka are determined by numerous, often unknown influences, and some people are naturally very gifted in various ways, but no one has the infinite power of Magnus himself.
The power of the Aedra and other deities is sometimes, but not always, within the meaning of "magic" on Tamriel, depending on the context. The worship of deities is suspected to be desirable to those spirits due to the belief that they transform the energy exuded by the worshipper into another, distinct kind of magic they can wield for the benefit (or downfall) of all.
A myriad of great wizards have come from the Altmer from Summerset Isle and the Bretons from High Rock, as well as powerful Nibenese battlemages, Telvanni magelords, and Sload necromancers. Many rulers of the Summerset Isle were advised by the Psijic Order, a body of mages concerned with the practice of Mysticism. In particular, the formation of the Mages Guild in the early Second Era altered the political and societal landscape. By forming the Guild, its ex-Psijic founder, Vanus Galerion, allowed magical items, potions, and spells to be bought by any member of the public that could afford to pay. In effect, magic was no longer dictated by the aristocracy or intelligentsia.
Some time before the Three Banners War, the curricula of the Mages Guild was seen as haphazard and disorganized. Gabrielle Benele saw that the Shad Astula Academy divided magic into eight "schools" and that this resulted in novice mages being trained in half the time, so she proposed the Mages Guild follow this model as well. The Guild did adopt this and while the number of schools have changed over time, the concept has endured since its adoption.
The magical arts are not always met with warmth. Often this has been with good reason, as magical studies have proven to be all-consuming in numerous cases, making the mages threats to themselves and others. The Psijic Order, the oldest known magical organization in Tamriel, is now considered a rogue organization by the Thalmor of the Aldmeri Dominion, and the two have clashed before. Most Redguards consider wizardry both "weak" and "wicked", and it fell out of favor with the Nords in the First Era. Necromancy is reviled in most societies. Daedra summoning/trafficking is also hated in many provinces, especially in the wake of the Oblivion Crisis, which many believed was a result of magic gone wrong. Shadow Magic, while rare, is feared because of its power.
There are numerous ways the use of magic can manifest. The most obvious is the practice of casting spells, but one can also brew potions to apply an effect, among other things. There are a few ways in which a spell is different from a synthesis, including the ways in which their failure manifests. A badly put-together spell likely won't work at all, but alchemy gone wrong can be poison.:39
The act of drawing on one's own magicka reserves in order to generate some kind of effect in the physical world is called "casting a spell". The Psijic Order consider it an intensely personal exercise. No two mages weave their spells in exactly the same way. Like painting or sculpting, each artist has their own distinctive style. Despite this, each race does have a spellcasting habit. The Altmer are into spectacle, Bretons do "flamboyant gesticulations", Nords are into bellowing, while Redguards are more reserved in their spellcasting. The arcanist Azandar al-Cybiades describes a spellcaster as a "willworker". A spellcaster changes reality using their own will and personality, and techniques are useful to ground their mind and thinking to help connect to magic. For example, incantations or hand-waving are methods which may help accomplish initiating a spellcaster's spell.
There have been seven widely accepted schools of spellcasting over time, each with a number of spells that pertain to its particular purpose:
- Destruction spells harm the target by damaging its health with either elemental or magical attacks, draining and damaging its attributes, skills, health, magic, and fatigue, making it weak to the elements, poisons and magic, and corroding its armor and weapons.
- Restoration spells augment the target by restoring its health, attributes, stamina, and magicka, fortifying its health, attributes, skills, stamina, and magicka, granting it resistances to the elements, magic, disease, paralysis, poison, and un-enchanted weapons, curing it of disease, poison, and paralysis as well as harming the target by absorbing its health, magicka, stamina, attributes, and skills.
- Conjuration spells call upon otherworldly entities through telepathy, certain skilled Conjuration mages can develop telepathic links with each other. Conjuration spells augment the caster by granting them Daedric and Undead guardians, Daedric weapons and armor, and the ability to repel the undead and banish Daedra.
- Alteration spells alter the physical and magical properties of the target. Alteration spells harm the target by making the objects it is carrying heavier and augments the target by making the objects it is carrying lighter, granting it elemental and physical shields and the ability to breathe water and walk upon its surface as well as open locks.
- Illusion spells affect light and a sentient target's mind. Illusion spells harm the target by commanding, demoralizing, paralyzing, silencing, and causing it to frenzy, as well as augmenting it by rallying, charming, calming it, granting it invisibility, night-vision, translucency, and illuminating it.
- Mysticism is an obscure school, though its spells seem to manipulate magicka itself. Due to its spells that bind the target's soul, this school is closely related to necromancy. Mysticism spells augment the target by granting it the ability to detect life, reflect damage, absorb and reflect spells as well as harm it by dispelling its magical effects and trapping its soul, including the ability to move objects through space with telekinesis. The nature of the School of Mysticism is the subject of much scholarly debate.
- Thaumaturgy does not change the appearance or structure of a force or object, but can manipulate laws temporarily.
The schools of magic have often been subject to revision by existing magical institutes, and some have fallen out of favor. For example, following the Warp in the West the school of Thaumaturgy was rearranged into other schools and was largely replaced by the growing popularity of Conjuration, while in the fourth era the school of Mysticism was gradually consolidated into the other five extant schools. Ultimately, the schools of magic are arbitrary and artificial constructs used to simplify the study of magic.
Enchanting is the act of endowing objects with magical properties through the use of various ingredients and tools, and a soul, almost always with the use of a soul gem. An enchanted item's power diminishes with use, in which case additional souls may be used to replenish it. The strength of an enchanted item and the amount by which it can be recharged is directly related to the magnitude of the souls used. The enchanting discipline concerns imbuing physical items with magical properties called enchantments. The simplest enchantments are magical scrolls with a single enchantment that are destroyed with one use. The most complex enchantments are enchanted artifacts, objects with one or more magical effects powered by built-in soul gems. Skilled enchanters also use enchanted items more efficiently, with less waste of the magicka trapped in the soul gems, and even make greater use out of the enchantments. It is said that a skilled enchanter is also a catalyst, and that a ring that can generate warmth for a novice, on the hand of a talented enchanter could "bake a forest black".
It is said that Raven Direnni created the art of enchantment in the First Era, though grand enchanters such as Ahzidal of Merethic Era predated her discoveries. According to other sources, the enchantress merely improved an existing process by developing the Rules of Eldritch Binding. Before her work, the process failed nine times out of ten.
Prior to Vanus Galerion's foundation of Mages Guild magical services, including enchanted items were not available to the general public in the Summerset Isles. The art of magic, including enchantment, was primarily limited to the aristocracy or intelligentsia. The creation and use of magical items were generally kept within the confines of magical institutions such as the Psijic Order, and the general public had limited access to them.
It is possible to utilize alchemical reagents for enchantments.
Some materials are prized by enchanters for their properties in the forging of enchanted weapons and armors, such as Meteoric Iron. Cold Iron is known for holding enchantments very well.
Sigil Stones can be used to enchant gear, and can even surpass the strength of enchantments made with bigger soul gems.
Alchemy is the act of mixing, boiling, and distilling various substances to obtain their chemo-magical properties and create potions and poisons. Potions are usually imbibed orally and usually grant the imbiber with positive effects. Poisons are introduced into the target's bloodstream by pouring it onto a weapon and attacking the target with it and usually gives the target negative effects.
Alchemical ingredients include extracts from plants, animals, undead, and Daedra. Certain ingredients are very valuable to alchemists due to their rarity, many of which are extracts from Daedric creatures. Prospective alchemists often need to experiment with ingredients to gauge what effects can be created, usually by eating samples of ingredients. This practice is referred to as wortcraft. Stationary alchemical stations are often used for the preparation of potions.
In the Iliac Bay, they were often utilized by the temple clergy and the elusive Dark Brotherhood as a service to their members. In Skyrim, such stations were not only used by apothecaries but also installed by court wizards and even some taverns. Some landowners may also have an alchemy laboratory in their own homes. In contrast, within Cyrodiil and Morrowind it was far more common for a smaller travel apparatus to be used by alchemists. These portable laboratories had four components:
- Mortar and Pestle: used for grinding the ingredients together into a paste to be boiled, required for potion brewing
- Retort: used for distilling the brew, increases the magnitude of the potion's positive effects, optional for potion brewing.
- Calcinator: used to increase all effects of the brew, both positive and negative, optional for potion brewing.
- Alembic: also distills the brew, used to decrease its negative effects, optional for potion brewing
Around 4E 8, tests for discerning an ingredient's four "virtues" (primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary) were developed.
Auramancy is an arcane art that involves evoking memories from the auras left behind on objects by individuals' emotions. By casting auramancy on a lingering aura or magic tied to objects, it may reveal a scene from the past in the form of harmless phantasms that act out a scene of the memory. Auramancy works best on personal possessions that are imbued with a significant emotional aura or have arcane residue clinging to them. As powerful emotions are the most likely to leave their mark on objects, the memories that auramancy reveal are usually those of important events. Some consider auramancy to be a useful tool for unraveling the history of ancient, forgotten places. For instance, Count Verandis Ravenwatch used auramancy to recall memories of the vampires in Nighthollow Keep.
Through the use of auramancy, a memory of the caster's choice can be implanted in an object, subsequently causing the object to glow. Upon interaction with the object, the auramancy will activate and display the memory like it would normally if directly cast. Auramancy can appear as golden or red light.
Blood Magic is a dark and ancient form of magic. It is most often used by vampires belonging to powerful bloodlines, who can use it to drain life, reanimate the dead, telekinetically lift others from a distance, summon gargoyles, and paralyze others. Vampire Lords can only perform blood magic while levitating and can use their life drain effect to slay mortal men and enhance their blood magical power.
To a lesser extent, non-vampires can also use blood magic in combat to siphon health from enemies. Argonians are said to be naturally competent at blood magic. Blood magic can be also used to drain memories.
Dream Magic is an arcane art involving the manipulation of dreams. It is associated with the Daedric Prince Vaermina and her followers. The Omens, powerful, malicious Daedra that serve Vaermina, are proficient users of Dream Magic. Practitioners of Dream Magic can control the dreams of sleeping victims, binding them within their created nightmare.
Those under the influence of Dream Magic cannot be woken up by traditional means, but outside disturbances may have an effect. Prisoners within their dreams maintain a capability for resistance, being able to find objects within the dreamscape and send aspects of their uncorrupted mind to ejecting it from Nirn forever. While influenced by the magic, the bodies of those afflicted can be taken over. By breaking the victim's spirit through repeated visions failure, loss, and betrayal, the victim can be killed within their dream, leaving them permanently possessed.
Flesh Magic is an obscure and ancient form of magic, believed by some to be older than the world itself. It is characterized by what practitioners call the "sixth element", otherwise known as Flesh. According to legend, the element of Flesh was birthed in ancient times by the original five elements of Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Light when darkness turned into day and the Void took form. Said to have been hidden by virtue of its own self-awareness, it remains largely unknown and esoteric among modern societies.
Flesh sculpture is a style of magic based around the manipulation of flesh of living beings, be it for healing or for cosmetic purposes such as changing one's face.
While seemingly obscure, flesh sculpting isn't something reserved to the underworld of Tamriel. Legend speaks of the Wailing Wheels of Vindasel, where the Ayleids derived strange pleasure by subjecting Nedic slaves to the "art-torture" of using their skin for flesh sculptures. The exiled Barsaebic Ayleids brought this horrific art form with them to Black Marsh, where they enslaved local Argonians for the color and texture of their skin. Cloudrest contains a Faculty of Chirurgeons where masters of flesh sculpture teach their art. Nohotogrha, an oasis found in Hammerfell, is also home to flesh sculptors known as the Hollow-Faced Men. One known practitioner of this art, Galathil, claims to have learned her art in both of these places circa 4E 201. According to Galathil, flesh sculpting cannot be used on the dead, which includes those afflicted with vampirism. Despite its magical nature, changing one's appearance requires conventional surgical tools such as knives.
Hist-magic is a unique form of magic associated with Argonians born in Black Marsh and their connection to the Hist. Practitioners of this magical art are known a Histmages, and some have been known to come from the city of Thorn. Hist-magic operates on distinct principles compared to traditional spellcasting. House Telvanni mages strongly disapprove of Hist-magic and often use magic-suppressing manacles on known practitioners, among their slaves all the time, even while they sleep. Eoki, a skilled user of Hist-magic, was once a slave recognized for his abilities, but even his expertise wasn't considered enough to secure his freedom. It was believed that Argonians far from the Hist couldn't receive its aid. Some Argonians spellcasters, such as the Hist Speakers, are known to draw power directly from the Hist.
Kiai is an Akaviri magical practice similar to the Thu'um. Little is known about Kiai's applications. It was utilized by Tsaesci swordsmen in combat, who articulated their power in a similar fashion to Nord Tongues. The use of the Thu'um was once described as "letting it out in a kiai". The martial and mystical arts of the Dragon Knights, known as Ardent Flame, were known to descend from Akaviri teachings. The abilities of the Dragon Knights were also linked to Dragons, and were believed to differ fundamentally from common magic. Whether or not the Dragon Knights were using Kiai is unclear, but at least some Tsaesci swordmasters used abilities identical to Ardent Flame.
Mind magic (also spelled mind-magic) is an arcane art that involves the manipulation of the mind and memories of living beings. Using mind magic, the caster is able to evoke madness and manipulate the thoughts and memories of their victims without them realizing that their minds have been affected. The Sea Sload are notable for having demonstrated skill in wielding mind magic. Some forest spirits communicate using some form of mind-magic.
Mind magic can also be used to speak directly into the minds of others, which is described as a strange and defiling experience for the recipient. Molag Bal invades the minds of his prisoners as a form of torture, a process that is agonizing for the victim. By forcing his way into a mortal's mind, he can show them horrific visions. When a practitioner of mind magic forces their way into another's mind, they run the risk of opening their own thoughts to the person whose mind they're intruding upon. Those who have been troubled by a mental link of this nature can see through their assailant's eyes if they concentrate hard enough.
Mycoturgy is a branch of magic involving control and manipulation of fungi. Practitioners of this arcane art are known as Mycoturges, Fungimancers, and Shroomtenders.
Necromancy, also called the Necromantic Arts, Dark Arts, or Dark Practice, is the manipulation of the souls or corpses of the dead. Dragons know it as alok-dilon. Practitioners of the Dark Arts are known as necromancers (or necros in the common parlance). Different groups and cultures have varying positions on what exactly constitutes necromancy. In its broadest sense, necromancy can be understood as any form of soul manipulation. Some might consider it a subset of the conjuration school of magic, as both involve the summoning of spirits and utilizing the powers of Oblivion. However, necromancy is more generally understood to connote the manipulation of the souls of mortals and the reanimation of their corpses. Typically, this soul manipulation is accomplished by binding a soul to a physical form which has been prepared by the necromancer.
Necromancy has generally been considered immoral in most cultures, and sometimes even illegalized, as it is believed to contravene the natural process of life and death and violate the sanctity of spirits. However, there have been significant exceptions, and the relative risks and merits of Necromancy have been a controversial subject for centuries. Much of the knowledge of it is often attributed to Daedric influences, specifically Molag Bal. Molag Bal is also the father of vampires, undead creatures who often practice and have a heightened affinity for necromancy, or work alongside necromancers. Vampirism is sometimes considered to be directly related to necromancy.
Shadow Magic is an obscure but powerful form of magic believed by some to be related to the schools of Illusion and Mysticism. It was originally harnessed by Azra Nightwielder, who was the first to discover that shadow was not simply an absence of light, but a reflection of possible worlds created by forces in conflict. Shadows can be produced by mundane forces such as light hitting a rock, or by more powerful forces such as nations at war. Shadows are the records of the clash, past, present and future of these forces. Shadow Magic involves the manipulation of shadows to affect the forces creating it. At its strongest, it even has the capabilities of reaching into and affecting the multiverse. Shadow magic has the potential to carry a high price for its usage, for its nature is to turn on their casters, and shadowmages are often distrusted because of this. Shadow Magic is common around the Western Reach area, but is only occasionally used elsewhere. It is often harnessed by "Nightblades".
A Shehai, also known as a "Spirit Sword", was a magical sword created from the soul of a warrior through sheer willpower. Elite Yokudan Sword-singers, called Ansei, were famous for using this technique in ancient times, but knowledge of it was gradually lost to history.
The Sight, sometimes referred to as divination and scrying, is the ability possessed by some individuals that allows them to divine information through visions and prophecy. Such users may be called Oracles, Seers, Farseers, Soothsayers, Prognosticators, or (parasynonymously) Prophets. The manner of visions attained by Sight vary. Such visions can include foretelling potential futures, seeing into other realms, revealing hidden things, finding lost places, and even communicating at a distance.
Snake Magic is an arcane art connected to snakes and sea serpents. A powerful form of snake magic was practiced by the Maormer. They used it to tame the sea serpents of Pyandonea for use as steeds and war beasts. King Orgnum was believed to practice rituals that allow the Maormer to control sea serpents and use them to support their fleets. Snake magic can be also used to warp snakes to make them more aggressive, alter their eggs, and charm snakes and serpents of all sizes. Practitioners of snake magic were known as serpent-mages and snake-charmers. They were known to use instruments such as the snake-charmer's pungi and double reedpipes as tools to command serpents. Such instruments were rare in the Summerset Isles.
Spider Crafting is an art of magic involving the creation of artificial spiders imbued with magical properties. It is considered adjacent to Alchemy and Daedric magic. Practitioners of this art are sometimes referred to as Spidersmiths.
Telepathy is a magical ability allowing individuals to establish a strong mental connection with others, enabling them to communicate over great distances through thought alone. Masters of this skill like the monks of the Psijic Order, the Dwemer, and the Sea Sloads are particularly good at it, and Morian Zenas and Seif-ij Hidja are a notable example of individuals who developed a mutual telepathic link. Conjuration links the caster's mind with the summoned, forming a delicate connection primarily for control and dismissal, but in skilled hands, it can become more formidable.
Thaumavocalism is an arcane art of both musical and magical nature that involves channeling magicka through song. Practitioners of this art are known as Thaumavocalists. In order to cast magic, thaumavocalists need to sing. At least some thaumavocalists are incapable of performing magic through traditional means with the usage of gestures or innate mental powers. Their magic is focused through music. In order to improve their abilities, they must study both magic and music. Some scholars link this ability to Tonal Architecture, though the connection between the two is doubtful. Thaumavocalists can cast spells accidentally through singing, even as children without formal magical training. Resonance crystals can be used to improve the strength of the magic of the thaumavocalists.
The thu'um, also referred to as the Masculine Breath, the Storm Voice or simply the Voice, is a form of magic most commonly practiced by the Nords and some others which uses the words of the language of the Dragons to form "Shouts", the equivalent of spells, of immense power. The word actually means "shout" in the Dragon language. It is said that dragons make no distinction between debating and fighting, and so their words have always been magical and powerful, for those who take the time to learn and understand their meaning. The Nords believe that Kyne, the embodiment of the wind who is viewed as the Nordic aspect of Kynareth, breathed onto the land at the Throat of the World to form them. As such, the Nords believe that their voice and breath is their very essence, and that channeling this life essence is how the thu'um operates. Those who can wield this power are called Tongues by the Nords. Most, if not all, people have some capacity for the thu'um, but it takes a particular talent and many, many years of study and training to become a Tongue. The thu'um can be used for a wide variety of purposes, anything from sharpening blades to quickly traveling across the land, even controlling animals or killing enemies. Some stories suggest that the ancient Tongues even had the power to "sing Shor's ghost into the world". The most powerful Tongues must be careful when they speak and are often gagged for safety, as their voice can cause great destruction.
Time Magic also known as time travel magic, time alteration, and chronomancy, is a type of magic which involves the manipulation and perversion of time. Manipulating time is notoriously difficult, with most known successes being entirely accidental or full of unintended, and very dangerous, consequences.
Tonal architecture is the manipulation of sound to alter reality. The most notable users of tonal architecture were the Dwemer tonal architects who could shape tones through their own vocalizations, amplified by magical torcs; they would wear protective headgear known as Dwemeri tonal attenuators, which would protect their ears and thought-organs from the harmonic feedback fluctuations of their work. The Dwemer exhibited near total mastery of tonal forces and would use it in mining, medicine, architecture, and even psychology. Ancient Chimeri scholarship states that the Dwemer could employ tonal forces to bend weaker minds to their will—a form of complex aural hypnosis. The Dwemer were able to create massive devices called tonal resonators, complex architectural wonders that stood taller than the most imposing giants, and filled cavernous chambers with pipes, dials, and pistons. When enabled, the resonators released a series of powerful tones that could alter the brainwaves of lesser mer and men, with the ability to induce deep calm, profound pleasure, or paranoia and terror; it is said these devices had virtually limitless uses.
Varliance (also known as Aetherial Magic, Ayleid Magic, Star-Magicka, or simply Star-Magic) is a type of radiant blue magic that emanates from the stars in the night sky. The word may translate to starlight, which the ancient Ayleids believed was the purest form of light, one of the four elements they acknowledged. Of the races of Tamriel, the Ayleids are more closely associated with it. They use both Welkynd and Varla Stones (types of meteoric glass) to store the starlight and repurpose it for a variety of reasons.
Void Magic is an arcane art associated with the Daedric Prince Namira and her followers. Its spells typically resemble Void energy, glowing in a faded gray-green light, though exceptionally powerful incantations do not possess this trait and instead shine radiant blue. Some Void Magic can be cast at any time like other schools, while some forms involve the manipulation of voidstuff. Practitioners of the art are known as void mages, and are most frequently witches of the Reach. Overuse of Void Magic can cause a condition known as Void Pathosis, darkening the skin of the afflicted and giving them glowing white eyes. Alternatively, overexposure to the magic can turn those hit into shades, twisting their souls.
On Tamriel, water is composed of memory. When a mortal dies, his or her memories become water, and in this way all the memories of Tamriel's histories are stored within its waters. This fact is considered to be one of the most dangerous secrets about the natural order of the world, and is therefore closely guarded by the Demon of Knowledge Hermaeus Mora. Achieving a true understanding of this principle requires a lifetime of study and contemplation, but in the wrong hands this knowledge can be extremely dangerous. For example, circa 2E 582 the water spirit of Halcyon Lake, a nereid named Lorelia, attempted to twist the natural order by stealing the memories of her mortal followers to prevent the desertification of her lake, forcing the servants of Hermaeus Mora to intervene. The burial grounds of Honor's Rest had memorial pools that allowed one to view the past through the eyes of those involved in the Siege of Orsinium.
Weather Magic (also known as Storm Magic and Air Magic) is magic that involves manipulating the weather. There are quite a few recorded instances of mortals altering the weather using magic.
Weather magic has never been an exact science because of the temperamental nature of what it seeks to control. Minor spells to conjure gusts of wind or forks of lightning are common, but manipulation of a region's climate is much more difficult to achieve. Maormer war wizards have longed for the ability to lower catastrophic hailstorms onto enemy borders as a preamble to invasion, or to halt a blizzard to make an unexpected march through inclement weather.
Although weather magic is sometimes attributed exclusively to certain races such as Maormer, everyone can learn how to manipulate weather.
Arcanists are spellcasters wielding eldritch powers learned from a tome touched by the forces of Apocrypha, the Oblivion Realm of the Daedric Prince of Fate and Forbidden Knowledge, Hermaeus Mora. This enigmatic tome allows them to learn untold secrets and make use of forbidden knowledge to warp reality, influence and weave fate, call upon the Abyssal Sea and wound the mind among other eloquently impressive and highly disturbing things. A theory of the mortal world has the mystic tome of an arcanist be the sediment of Apocrypha itself. This theory is based on how creatures, spellwork, and even mortal beings transported to Oblivion realms will conform or change due to the influence of a Daedric Prince within their domain and vice versa on Mundus. In the case of the Endless Library of the Demon of Knowledge, a piece of the realm exiting would assume the shape of a tome, Oblivion substrate shaken loose and given home not only on Nirn but also in an arcanists mind. It is worth mentioning that just as the many eyes of Mora are unique, so too are the obscure tomes of the arcanists. Indeed, the knowledge in each tome is unique to the mind and soul of each arcanist, which results in the tomes being drivel and impossible to learn from to others. Just like the tomes themselves, the process of becoming an arcanist is equally unique- the discovery of a tome and the bond it forms with the caster are believed to be fully specific to each arcanist.
Clever Men (also spelled Clever-Men, and Clevermen) and Clever Women are Nordic mages and practitioners of the old hedge magic, and totemic Old Ways, also known as clever craft, clever art, and clever magic. Those terms were also, more rarely, used by Nords to refer to all Nordic practitioners of magic and magic itself in general, though they made a distinction between the rare Nords who followed the old ways and those who practiced magic sanctioned by factions such as the Mages Guild. As of the Second Era, even though the term was considered archaic, it was still in use. They were considered to be a kind of witches.
The Dragonknights (or Dragon Knights), also known as the Children of the Mundus, were followers of a new martial tradition that emerged during the Interregnum of the Second Era, originating from the dispersed Akaviri Dragonguard. They were skillful masters-at-arms taught by a former member of the Dragonguard, whose name was lost to history, only known as the Grandmaster. He took it upon himself to ensure that the martial and mystical arts of the old Akaviri would survive into the new and turbulent Second Era. However, he would teach his skills only on condition that those he taught would go on to teach others. Their abilities were said to descend from the powers of dragons. Although initially, arts of the Dragonknights were of Akaviri origins, the art was relatively widespread among various races of Tamriel as of Second Era.
Dragonknights were particularly skilled at manipulating fire, and could wreathe themselves in it completely without being harmed. They were known to channel the energy of the earth, fire, and molten rock associated with the powers of the very heart of the Mundus. Their martial magic, known as Ardent Flame was fearsome art that pounds, shatters and physically alters the world around the caster. It was described as "Dragon magic" and was used to set foes afire, create flaming lassos, wreathe casters in a cloak of flame, and even breathe fire or poison similar to the legendary dragons. It was erroneously considered a branch of Destruction Magic (as defined by Shad Astula academy) by Gabrielle Benelle, a representative of the Mages Guild.
Druids (also known as vinebeards) are children of the land whose kind have their origins in ancient High Rock. They are practitioners of Y'ffre's True Way (also known as Druidism), in which one is to lead a life connecting with, valuing, and stewarding the growth of the natural world referred to as the Green. The eponymous god takes the forefront of their faith, with some reverence also being shown to the stars. The True Way is a promise made to the "groves, to the seas, to the sky", and under the Oak's Promise, druids are to "stand strong, stay true, and shelter all". Druids serve in accordance to Y'ffre's will in roles such as priests, arbiters, teachers, healers, and soothsayers. Druids have little interest in the quarrels of monarchies, often leading many to believe that they are pacifists. However, as champions of nature, they are not afraid to defend their ancient sites from the cruelty of civilization, as violence and death are natural.
Y'ffre and his Earthbones sacrificed themselves during the Dawn Era to create the Green, an act which bound Nirn to the laws of nature. Their voices are sought by druids so they may best be their advocate, and to ensure a life guided by natural principles and the willfulness of nature. Druidic spellcraft (which differs from the arcane) is said to be the first truly Breton creation, and its practitioners utilize the wellspring of primordial energy the Earthbones left behind, which flows via lines through the ground. Junctions where this resource intersects are known as "bonelines", places where druidic spells exhibit strange properties, and where prayers carry deeper emphasis. It can be harnessed by druids to overcome their physical limitations, shapeshift into various animals, terraform the environment around them, or even invoke natural disasters to consume their foes. Druids are also known animists who can call upon nature spirits to aid them.
The Frostcasters are Skaal shamans of All-Maker known for their mastery of Frost Magic. Not all Skaal shamans are Frostcasters; the title is reserved for those who specialize in Frost Magic. They were known to skillfully integrate Stalhrim into their arms and armor, creating decorative pieces.
The Greenspeakers (also known as Greenshapers, Green-Singers, Home Singers, Pod-Singers, and Tree Shapers) are Bosmeri practitioners of nature magic who work in tandem with the Green Pact to shape the environment into settlements such as villages and even cities. They enhance the growth of Graht-oak trees and branches to form furniture, weapons, and even housing called Pod-Homes. They also craft it into bridges and platforms, as well as gates and large temples. They also create items of everyday use with the usage of the magic, such as flatware.
The Greybeards, an ancient and honored order of monks, live in silence at the ancient monastery High Hrothgar near the summit of the Throat of the World. They are the most famous of the Tongues, or masters of the Voice. Jurgen Windcaller founded the order in response to the Nord army's defeat after battling at Red Mountain. After the battle, he meditated for approximately seven years, and arrived at the conclusion that the power of the Voice should be used primarily as a means of attaining enlightenment, rather than a tool of war. Jurgen called his new philosophy the Way of the Voice, and preached a lifestyle of meditative study of the Voice which the Greybeards carry on to this day.
Some people believe that the Greybeards are not, strictly speaking, pacifists; that the Way of the Voice teaches only that violence is the least of the Voice's uses, and it should be used for that purpose only in times of "True Need". The coming of a Dragonborn is considered such a time. The Dragonborn is not a Greybeard, and so the violent use of the Voice by a Dragonborn can be "overlooked", though the followers of the Way are expected to remain peaceful. There have been times when students of the Greybeards cannot handle the demands of their lifestyle; renowned figures such as Dragonguard member Grundwulf and eventual Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak have either failed to develop their skills or failed to live by the ascetic lifestyle of the Way. Paarthurnax, the Grand Master of the order, made his home alone above High Hrothgar, at the summit of the Throat of the World.
For more information, see the main lore article.
Nightblades are opportunistic adventurers known for their ability for getting in and out of trouble. They wield magic and use it to enhance their mobility, concealment, and stealthy close combat. They move swiftly and with haste by darkness and use spells to benefit their circumstances. Nightblades thrive on conflict and misfortune, spell and shadow are their friends. Believed to be the most intriguing and shadowy of people, they trust their luck, cunning, and intelligence to survive, combining the skills of thieves with the powers of mages. They have a sinister reputation, as many nightblades act as thieves, enforcers, murderers, or secret agents. The mastery of their arts allows them to thrive as infiltrators and spies. Their presence is seldom seen but certainly felt.
Trickery, illusion, stealth, and agility make for a deadly combination, giving nightblades an edge in war. Nightblades also wield Night Magic which not only grants them additional magicka, but increases the accuracy of their spells. They're capable of creating night runes which ravage the souls of foes while siphoning life-force from them. In the Second Era, nightblades were known for their use of Shadow Magic. Despite shadow stepping being commonplace in a nightblade's repertoire during this time teleportation spells were seemingly no longer associated with them come the Third Era. The term nightblade was considered a fancy title with little relevance to the magic educators.
Templars are traveling knights who wield restoration magic and call upon the powers of light and the burning sun.
Although Templar Knightly Orders devoted to various Divines existed for a long time, the arts and martial practices of the Templars were considered rather recent as of 2E 582. It was believed that they were inspired by the martial magics originally developed by the Resolutes of Stendarr. Despite the fact that Templar magic was often referred to as Aedric or divine in nature, it was certain that the ability to use these spells had little, if anything, to do with the faith of the wielder, and just like regular magic, required an appropriate approach and aptitude. In fact, certain Templars were known to defy the Divines and follow Daedra, such as Molag Bal, and retain their powers. Despite that, texts written by the Resolutes of Stendarr expected templars to exterminate Daedra, Undead, Vampires and Werebeasts without halt or mercy. The term "templar" was considered a fancy title with little relevance to magic educators.
Certain texts, authored by members of the Resolutes of Stendarr and the Sect of Harmonious Masters, were linked to the Templars.
The Wardens are worshippers of Y'ffre and defenders of the Green. They are master storytellers whose nature tales become magical reality. Wardens weave spells to cause plants and fungi to grow rapidly. They can also call animals to come to their aid, and wield frost spells to combat their foes. Wardens of all races have been found protecting Tamriel's wilds, and as a whole they do not bow to any specific organized group or guild. For centuries they were mostly silent, focused on watching, guiding, and protecting the Green, but they were called to rejoin the world of man during the Interregnum.
The scholar Phrastus of Elinhir claimed that Wardens are nothing more than a militant group of Bosmer Spinners, though this is contested by his rival Lady Cinnabar of Taneth. Both groups may worship Y'ffre, but Wardens can be of any race, while only Bosmer can be Spinners. Additionally, Spinners are typically nonviolent, while Wardens are more than willing to shed blood to varying degrees of those who seek to harm the wilds. Another difference is that Wardens draw upon the environment to shape reality, and cast powerful spells utilizing conjuration or alteration magic, while Spinners specialize in entrancing their audience in stories via illusions. Lastly, Wardens do not follow the Green Pact either (excluding those who are both Warden and Bosmer), as they're willing to make full use of nature's bounty to survive.
A Warden corresponded with Dhulef, the court mage of House Mornard, requesting information on the warriors of the Green as a part of the interview. After some heated arguments between Druid Laurel of the Stonelore and some Mages Guild members (some of which are Wardens themselves), it was speculated that Wardens and Druids are related, but moreso in the heart rather than in the mind. Druids use the True Way to guide their magics, while Wardens feel Nirn calling to them in their gut. Wardens are also possibly being a way for the old world to walk tall in the new, with Wardens being the Green fighting back. Despite their unique magical practices, the term warden was considered a fancy title with little relevance to some magic educators.
Warlocks are individuals who, similarly to Morrowind witches, have entered into a pact or oath with Daedra Lords or Daedric Princes, typically of the House of Troubles. However, there are also warlocks who are associated with the Good Daedra, such as Boethiah. According to a text from a follower of Boethiah, it is claimed that "Warlock of Boethiah wields the magic better than the weaklings of Azura." In exchange for their loyalty and service, warlocks were known to receive knowledge and supernatural abilities from their Daedric patrons. Warlocks are known to engage in various dark and dangerous forms of sorcery. They possessed considerable expertise in the art of summoning Daedric Princes, and were known to form cults. Their actions were frequently subject to prosecution under the laws of both the Tribunal Temple and the Imperial legal system, as well as other groups such as witchhunters.
Warlocks, just like witches, gathered during the Witches Festival to create or summon dangerous creatures. Warlocks were known to craft necromantic objects in preparation for the Witches Festival. Plunder skulls, associated with the festival, were objects of particular interest to them. They were known for their practice of utilizing familiars, magical creatures bound to serve them, atronachs, and casting malevolent hexes, invoking curses and spells to bring misfortune upon their adversaries. The excavation of ammonites experienced a significant surge during the 1E 2800s, fueled by the fashion among Nibenese warlocks.
These warlocks should not be confused with Warlocks of the Mages Guild, a rank within the faction, positioned above Magician but below Wizard, which granted certain privileges. Some Dremora are also referred to as warlocks.
Arcanists are mages who draw their powers from Apocrypha. Although both Warlocks and Arcanists draw their powers from Oblivion they are different from eachother. One significant difference is that Arcanists, by definition, exclusively draw their power from Apocrypha through a bonded tome. In contrast, Warlocks can draw power from otherworldly sources, although the specifics of how they acquire these powers from their patrons may vary and are often unclear. According to Azandar al-Cybiades, any mortal who derives their power from a plane other than Apocrypha would not be classified as an arcanist.
The Windcallers, also known as the Blessed of the All-Maker are Skaal witches who adeptly invoke the winds. They are distinguished by delicate markings on their faces and are renowned for their creature companions. Circlets worn by them feature stalhrim nestled between wolf embellishments, symbolizing their connection to the winds and their trained wolf guardians. The flowing body art of a Solstheim Windcallers reflects the breezes and gusts of air accompanying them on their journeys, with some believing these marks tell a tale of self-discovery along the path set by the All-Maker.
Witches and Witch-men are practitioners (typically female) of hedge-magic known as witchcraft. They tend to gather in covens that vary in faith and practices (see below). Witchcraft is often seen in a negative light, and so witchhunters is a job title used for anyone that specializes on rooting out and destroying dark cults and profane sorcery.
Wyrd Covens (also known as Wyresses, Wyrd Women, Wyrd Sisters, the Wyrd, Ward-Sisters, Name-Daughters, and nature-witches) are female-only, animistic witch covens that serve as wardens of the Green. They draw their power from the Earthbones, and revere nature and the elements. The leader of a coven is referred to as a "beldam".
The Wyrd originated from the ancient people that dwelled in High Rock who are referred to by retroactive nomenclature as the Druids of Galen. A religious schism brought about the Wyrd's separation from their druid brethren. The Wyrd abandoned civilization in favor of living in the wilds, and believe that they are nature itself: the forest, the plants and beasts within it, and even the weather. In contrast, while ancient druids revered nature, they were not keen to isolate themselves and worship the untamed wilds. The druids accepted what they interpreted as their "proper place" as people, and embraced the idea that civilization can coexist alongside nature.
Wyrd witches are primarily Breton, though membership also extends to outsiders, even those from other races. Once a singular entity, the Wyrd split into subgroups by the time of the last Druid King's voyage to the Systres. These sisterhoods remained behind on the mainland to safeguard the forests of High Rock, with some of the dozen or so covens even spreading throughout Tamriel.
- Cheesemancy (the manipulation of cheese) and Visceromancy (divination using human entrails) are two obscure fields of magical practice. Practitioners can be found among the insane mortal residents of the Shivering Isles.
- Ovamancy is an obscure field of magical practice that involves eggs, where one is able to produce eggs with smaller eggs inside. The only known practitioner is Revus Demnevanni.
- Earth magic is an obscure arcane art described as harnessing the magicka of the earth, Practitioners may use it to force their way through land. Certain geodes can enhance earth magic, giving off a traceable magical signature. Practitioners of earth magic are known as geomancers.
- Topiary-mages are an obscure denomination of magic users. They were active in the Imperial City during the reign of Tiber Septim and the previous Cyrodilic dynasties. They used sorcery to construct several heads of former Emperors into the hedges of Green Emperor Way. When Tiber Septim needed advise from them, birds would move the branches and speak through their song, emulating the facial expressions and voice of the former monarch.
- There is an ancient figure known as Thorgrima, who held the title "Lord of Magicka". He is also known as the "Keeper of Crimson Fire". A stone is commemorated to him in Skyrim, raised by his wife, Lungerd.
- Some mages are said to be so powerful, radiating waves of magic can be seen by fellow trained mages nearby.
- Spread across Tamriel are many special crafting stations which provide unique effects to weapons, armor and jewelry created in such places. One example is Night's Silence, which was created by the mad wizard, Mesanthano. Arcane power still lingers in places such as his ruined tower. Another possible example is the Lunar Forge. It is unclear if these crafting stations are related to the arcane art of enchantment.
- Hoodoo is a mystical craft cultivated by hedge mages. The practitioners are known for their extravagant and intimdating attires. Among the hoodo practitioners were the Hoodoo Tinkers residing in the Dragontail Mountains.
- For game-specific pages, see the Arena, Daggerfall, Battlespire, Morrowind, Stormhold, Dawnstar, Shadowkey, Oblivion, Oblivion Mobile, Shivering Isles, Skyrim, and Blades pages.
- Nymics — Information on incantory names.
- Ooze — Information on the formless chaos which the Bosmer believe all of creation is derived from.
- Psijic Endeavor — A process of achieving divinity.
- Sigils — Information on the symbols used in Daedric magic.
- Ayleid Reference Text — Raelys Anine
- Magic from the Sky — Irlav Jarol
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: Arena Supermundus: The Tapestry of Heaven — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- King Edward, Part XII
- The Monomyth
- Before the Ages of Man — Aicantar of
- 36 Lessons of Vivec, Sermon 33 — Vivec
- The Firmament — Ffoulke
- The Final Lesson — Aegrothius Goth
- Arcana Restored — Wapna Neustra
- The Apprentice's Assistant — Aramril
- Lost Histories of Tamriel
- Overview of Gods and Worship — Brother Hetchfield
- The Affairs of Wizards — Turedus Talanian
- Origin of the Mages Guild — The Archmage Salarth
- Galerion the Mystic — Asgrim Kolsgreg
- Proposal: Schools of Magic — Gabrielle Benele, Daggerfall Mages Guild
- Ancano's dialogue in Skyrim.
- The Black Arts On Trial — Hannibal Traven, Archmagister of the Mages Guild
- Keyes, Greg. The Infernal City. Del Rey Books, 2009.
- Loremaster Celarus's dialogue in ESO: Summerset
- Wind and Sand — Afa-Saryat
- Loremaster's Archive - The Arcanists
- Mysticism — Tetronius Lor
- Cheesemancer card in Legends
- The Prophet Arden-Sul
- Revus Demnevanni's dialogue during Heroes of Blackwood in ESO
- Parisse Plouff's dialogue in ESO: High Isle
- Wilderking's dialogue in ESO
- Lord Felipe's dialogue in ESO: High Isle
- Telvanni Geomancer, Ghost Geomancer, and Dremora Geomancer in ESO
- Geomancer's Druid Deck Fragment, and Geomancer's Ansei Deck Fragment in ESO
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: Cyrodiil — Imperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
- Drain Vitality second word wall in Skyrim
- Rinyde's dialogue in the Manor of Masques quest in ESO
- Felarian's dialogue in ESO
- Mesanthano's Tower
- Hedge Wizard's Claw Cap's item description in ESO