Spectre's Guide to Magery

Hail, young Gandalf!

Ever want to smash legions of enemies to pieces with fiery meteors? Or maybe just a politician? Then this is the place for you. From creation to retirement, this tome of the elders is replete with lore culled and fermented for all seekers of wisdom.

Table of Contents

So you want to be a wizard?
What about guilds?
The Template of a Mage
Skills for the serious
Methods and tactics
UO Mage events
What now?
Role-playing (and a note on hacking)
About the article

Back to table of contents

So you want to be a wizard?

Deciding to be a mage is something that should be done at character creation, even more so than with the fighter or thief genre. Both of those character types (remember, UO has no classes!) are in-your-face characters. They can, with a little training and exercise, make relatively quick progress between each other. The ranger is also similar, but will have a tougher time in changing weaponry skills. The mage, on the other hand, is a much more refined and difficult character. You will have a tough beginning, with the weak first and second level spells, spending lots of money on reagents, and so on, but hey, summoning a daemon or earth elemental can take care of quite a few of the fighter types. Or, at least, it should, after the beta is play-balanced. One on one, a grandmaster mage should be able to easily beat any other grandmaster. I mean, really now: they're running up to you with their little sword and their sharp pointy teeth, and you're laying napalm on their ass and also throwing over a few "Hail Satan" in the form of a Daemon you've summoned. Is that fighter going to open up a can of whoop-ass on you? No way. He's lunch. Even if he did get close to you, you've got all those potions of healing that you made, and your poisoned blade.

So, being a mage is a "good thing." If you're just in it to throw meteors, you can do that, but it's a bad reason to be a mage. The truth is, there is so much more. The mage is the Yoda and the Q of UO. It is the character type that takes UO away from historical and into the fantastic. So, one should take on the character with that in mind. The mage can do things differently--and should. Why walk into a tavern when you can recall or teleport inside? Make a reputation by giving speeches in the town square--while invisible. Go to the dueling pit in Jhelom, and taunt your fighter opponent by making a wall of stone separating you and them, and then hail fire down on his ass. The utility spells and clever things one can think of to do with the other spells lead to the truly rich mage character, the Lord grandmaster, the wizard. This article will detail the basics and some of these niceties.

Back to table of contents

What about guilds?

With the exception of some mage guilds, most guilds out there are of the hack-and-slash type that has a few mages around to make use of our obviously indispensable spells and abilities. Mages are underrepresented in guilds, yet are one of the most popular choices in polls. Why is this? It's because most mages are smart enough to know we don't need guilds. In fact, we're better out without having them drag us down. If you're a mage in a guild, it's usually because they're a bunch of your friends from IRC or whatever. Now, most of these hundreds of guilds are simply going to dissolve when the release of UO occurs, due to the simple fact that they won't be able to maintain a real organization in anything but their web pages. What a mage needs, anyway, is just a buddy--that's a young mage to practice with--and people to watch. No problem. Besides, guilds in general aren't worth it. Too much politics for people of real action. Makes for nice pre-release amusement, but many of these people are just lame. Yes, even the ones who say they rock or think they're "elite" or "f-cking k-rad." Weak, spineless, blathering little bastards, many of these guild people. Nietzsche sums it up nicely (from his On the Genealogy of Morals, Third Essay, end of section 18 - italics in original)

"For one should not overlook this fact: the strong are as naturally inclined to separate as the weak are to congregate; if the former unite together, it is only with the aim of an aggressive collective action and collective satisfaction of their will to power, with much resistance from the individual conscience; the latter, on the contrary, enjoy precisely this coming together-- their instinct is just as much satisfied by this as the instict of the born "masters" (that is, the solitary, beast-of-prey species of man) is fundamentally irritated and disquieted by organization. The whole of history teaches that every oligarchy conceals the lust for tyranny; every oligarchy constantly trembles with the tension each member feels in maintaining conrol over this lust. (So it was in Greece, for instance: Plato bears witness to it in a hundred passages--and he knew his own kind--and himself . . .)"

Yeah, that's right, everyone out there who thinks guilds is the greatest thing for making their character unfuckwithable are all wrong. Guilds are for the weak or the social atmosphere. The best guild that I can conceive of is the small, neutral, social guild. Such a guild only serves to change the atmosphere of the game for its members, with little illusions of power. It's sort of like "official friendships." It also gives one the joy of creation. Who wouldn't enjoy having a cool web site for you and your buds? These offline benefits may be more than the on-line benefits. But overall--mages, since you're the toughest character in the game anyway, and since in role-playing tradition you usually have the lone mystical mage, just have some guts and do it yourself (D.I.Y.). If they want to contract jobs out to you, fine, sure. But you have no need for membership.

Back to table of contents

The Template of a mage
Character creation - Starting cities

Character creation lets you choose your base stats and skills, given a certain point total for each to distribute. You also get to choose your looks. As for your looks, it's personal preference. You can be the archetype Merlin with the long beard and gray hair, or you can be Passenger 57 mage. Either way, it's what you do, not what you look like. Obviously you want to throw the vast majority of your stat points at intelligence. There seems to be no obvious advantage for strength over dexterity, or vice versa, so I'd take the remaining 20-40 of your 100 points and put them evenly into those. Remember, these stats can change with time and usage, so this is just to get you going. As for skills, what will a newbie mage need? You won't be casting spells right from the start, so you'll need something to make some cash (if you don't want to harvest fields or bake bread all year). Alchemy is good for that. It's also a nice long term skill. Alchemy, inscription, and magery are the three obvious skills, then. You'll want magery around 50, because spell failure can be the bane of a young mage using expensive reagents. Plus, you'll need magery at 50 to use spells of the next circle higher. Just let the other skills bring themselves up by practice.

I'm going to revise my previous words here and state that those skills are all "musts." Since at the start of the game NPCs will be short on gold from everyone else selling them things, begging may not be effective enough to justify not taking alchemy, which is both a profitable and a long term skill. A tailor is more of a job to "pick up" than to spend your points on--tailors may not be in demand, and it's easy to practice. Further, since mining and lumberjacking are now skills, those potential areas of income are now significantly more difficult to utilize. One reader asked me why blacksmith wouldn't also be a good skill for the money-hungry mage. While blacksmith could possibly be useful to the intermediate or novice mage who needs weapons, and will be a skill that has money-making potential similar to alchemy, blacksmith will probably be dominated by fighter types, and the mining skill makes it more difficult for a smith to obtain raw ore. Best to stick with alchemy, which will always benefit a mage, and may make you a few more connections not only with fighters buying your wares, but also other mages. After all, being an alchemist is the perfect start for a mage who wishes to be a reagent dealer! Just buy those weapons. Specific details about making a nest egg, which will be necessary before alchemy en masse, are found below in the newbie section and making cash section.

Starting cities are a wonderful feature of UO, providing an easy route to relatively even population across a huge world. As a mage, if you don't have previous arrangements with friends or allies, the best choices for a starting city are immediately obvious.

Britain - although most likely overpopulated, has benefits from its size. Every sort of opportunity for making quick money is there, and the first Mage's Gathering will be in Britain. Britain has a strong magical community, and provides quick access to other cities. According to the Atlas, it is second to Moonglow in magical research. Lastly, you get the role-playing joy of living with Lord British.
Moonglow - the number one choice for a traditional mage. While not in a great location, basically isolated except by moongate or boat travel, Moonglow is the home of magic. It should be unpopulated enough to let a newbie make an easy living, but don't count on selling potions via alchemy to the locals, because they'll be mostly mages and making their own. Moonglow is the perfect place to make connections with other mages and get some free spells, or get into mage groups. Garreth lets us know that Moonglow is also blessed with beautiful surroundings, and the air of superiority that suits a mage. Lastly, who could forget the center of learning, our grand Lycaeum?
Yew - an attractive choice back on the mainland. As the home of justice, pkillers preying on newbies should thankfully be harder to find. As the home of the rangers, other fellow ranged-attack types may be able to help you with melee instruction and light equipment. The druids that inhabit the area seem to be on par with Moonglow in terms of alchemy, something important to any mage. Lastly, it houses the Empath Abbey as in previous ultimas, a nice counterpart to Moonglow's Lycaeum.
Skara Brae - another gathering point for rangers, and a small, peaceful town. As the home of spirituality and philosophers, it should naturally draw a few mages to its borders. Perhaps even some will go in sentimentality for the old Bard's Tale series from Electronic Arts. The most pragmatic reason to go to Skara Brae may be the low prices for reagents--as a smaller town with not much draw, the demand for reagents is bound to be lower than, say, in Moonglow.
Trinsic - makes an interesting situation for the new mage, but perhaps Trinsic may not provide the best atmosphere for a player who is completely new to UO. Still, it's a cool enough town to be included in the roundup. In the southern peninsula of Britannia, it is home to many of the more rowdy fighter types. But, it has excellent security within the city moat and walls, and is home to the guild of engineers. Further, as a city where magic is less of a priority, reagents will be less expensive. A port city and on the road just south of Britain, Trinsic has easy access to most other cities.

Back to table of contents

Skills for the serious
Basic skills - Combat skills - Supplementary skills

Okay. After an exhaustive combing of all the skills in UO, here's the set of skills that the mage will need and why, with possible variations also listed.

Basic skills
Alchemy - The description says we can create AT LEAST 8 different potions. That's right, there very well may be more, secret recipes out there. Perhaps some made with the carved brain of another player? One can only wonder. Anyway, all you need is a bottle, and you can make these great things. Perfect for the mage who will have the reagents anyway. Further, the better you are, the better the potion. Sure, a fighter may have a potion of healing, but did he buy it from Spectre? Which raises another point: this will be a great source of income. In previous Ultimas, having a healthy stock of potions was always useful. Lastly, they have to be replenished much faster than the wares of the blacksmith.
Arms Lore - Gives you critical information about equipment, such as if you're strong enough to effectively wield it, or if the poison you put on your dagger has worn off yet. If you have to fight, you might as well do it competently. Really easy skill to practice.
Evaluating Intellect - Easy to practice, and invaluable for usage with spells like mind blast. Also, who knows in what other aspects intelligence comparisons might be useful?
Inscription - For adding spells to your spellbook. Essential.
Item Identification - Easy to practice, and great to have. If you're going to sell that nifty mace you found on the fighter you just torched, might as well find out if it's magical or not, and get the extra cash. Besides, mages are all about information. If you don't know as much as possible about the equipment you have or use, then you're not being as butt-kicking as you can be.
Magery - Essential, of course. Must be at 50 or higher to use spells of the next circle. Can affect the power and reagent usage of the spells that you cast, not just the chance of casting. It is likely that casting the higher circle spells will affect this skill more than casting fireball all day long. The 64 spells listed may not be all of the spells in the game--as noted elsewhere, not all of the words of power are used, and rumor has it that OSI once had a ninth circle of power posted on their web page (sans spells). The spells are in an appendix, and there are multiple resources on the UO Vault that correlate spells with reagents.
Poisoning - Naturally complements Taste Identification, and helps the mage's weak blade or arrow. Since we can create poison potions with Alchemy, it should be easy to practice.
Resisting Spells - This can be easily raised by training another mage, such as casting magic arrows at each other, or clumsy, or other relatively harmless spells. The mage is in danger of ignoring this skill and getting wasted by magic-using monsters or PCs. That should not happen to the careful mage. With any luck, watching poor saps getting blasted by our spells all the time will naturally raise this skill!
Spirit Speak - Aside from the temples, mages will be the primary source of resurrection, especially when travelling in groups. Since we will be more likely encountering the dead, and helping them (for a price?), we are the most naturally suited to have this skill.
Tailor - For the young mage needing reagents and spells, the freshly resurrected, those who want flashy clothing (mage robes!), or when you just need that extra 15 gold for your "Chain Lightning" spell. Really easy skill to practice. If you're set against being a tailor, a good skill to replace it with is begging.
Taste Identification - For the alchemist and poison expert, this skill will be a natural. Identify the potions you find, or make, so you can sell them for all of there worth. Be able to tell if a blade, or a foodstuff [grin] is poisoned or not, and when the poison might wear off. Easy skill to practice.

Combat skills
Fencing / Parrying / Tactics - For the traditional dagger wielding mage. You're better off with fencing than Swordsmanship because either is effective for defense, and the mage traditionally doesn't have the extra strength to waste carrying or effectively wield a sword. However, if you find Swordsmanship to be more effective for your character, it's an equivalent skill. Parrying, of course, is your defense, and tactics is the general melee combat skill.
Archery / Bowcraft and Fletching - For the mage staying at a distance (Bowcraft and Fletching not required, but it makes life easier)

Supplementary skills
After, or if, you've mastered all of the basic mage skills and combat skills, these would be the next best bet for a mage. However, maintaining all of your skills could be difficult if you want to master these supplementary skills as well. To that end, not every skill in a supplementary set is critical for the mage, but I have given a complete listing in case one would want to master them all. We'll see how OSI does the skill balancing.

Enticement / Musicianship / Peacemaking / Provocation - That "other" magic, the bardic arts.
Anatomy / Healing / Forensic Evaluation - The ultimate cleric or doctor character
Animal Lore / Animal Training / Veterinary - Get some pets to help with melee defense

Other combos, such as mage/thief or mage/swordsman (as noted above) seem foolhardy or much more unnatural. Of course mage/(other tradesman) combos are possible if gold is a problem. If this is the case, I would suggest being a tailor. When it comes to dye colors and your mage's robes, you can D.I.Y., like everything else in a mage's life.

Skills such as camping and tracking which are general purpose will also naturally be trained are not addressed in this article.

Back to table of contents

Methods and tactics
for Newbies - General combat - Intermediate melee - Escape and evasion - Making cash - Travelling

Newbie methods generally apply across most character types. Bunny bashing and taking out the local wildlife is a common and smart practice. As a mage you're going to have relatively little skills, take on only easy opponents. This means bunnies and deer, not bears. The newbie mage should fight in groups if possible (reference the "what now?" section on apprenticeships): you pick up on their skills, and have protection if the spell fizzles or enemy gets into melee range . Plus, if there are other mages in the group, you may be able to gain some of their spells from inscription (with their permission) and practice casting weak spells against each other for the magic resistance skill. Avoid semi-intelligent or aggressive monsters, like orcs, since you won't have the quick escape and evasion tactics available to you just yet. There is time enough to utilize your higher powers. Get to know the locals that are on at the same time as you, and hang out around the town getting to know the mechanics and social aspects of the game--just don't make a bad rep with the locals, the time to do that is after you have power, not before. Makings friends gets you in adventure groups, as most groups don't accept strangers, newbie or not, due to pkiller traps. If you're nice, or have a female character, those friends might just give you some nice extra equipment of theirs. Learn how to effectively organize your inventory to guard against theft and for quick access by using bags--making macros is very effective here. A bag reserved for reagents prevents great amounts of clutter in your pack. Make your name known by intelligent comments on the local bulletin boards. All of these little common sense things will be important later in the game, so start building your skills and reputation now. After all, you're only young once. Have some fun with the game, being awed by the power of the established characters, knowing that one day you will be in their place.

Your immediate concern will be to make enough money for a decent nest egg. At the start of the game, in order to acquire enough reagents to make a profit via alchemy, you're going to have to do some serious grunt work. Reagents, at least early in phase two, are very expensive. Your nest egg should be started by carefully gathering reagents from the wild, fishing and selling the fish, harvesting from farmer's fields and selling the food, and the ever-popular killing bunnies and selling the meat. This nest egg will purchase your reagents for alchemy, basic spells for your book, and basic equipment so that you can tag along with the more powerful adventure parties (they know you won't be much of a help, but people are generally tolerant of and even nice to new characters). The making cash section below can help with many more ideas.

Geneal combat will necessitate having macros set up for all of your usual spells and some of your potions. This means things like fireball, greater heal, lightning, recall, gate travel, teleport, and magic reflection, whatever you can use at the time. As for potions, you're going to want those red and yellow potions for your health, and green potions for your weapons. If the game lets us throw purple potions as a bomb, those can also be useful. Further, if we can use black potions on our weapons.....heheh....that would be truly interesting. All of your enemies....blind. Okay, so you've got all of these neat-o tools, what to do with 'em? Fire away! No, really, anyone can do that, but it'll work in most situations. If you don't know the basics of spell fighting, it's not that tough. Use spells together: don't just cast lightning at your opponent, curse him also. Mind blast against fighters, but probably not mages unless you've cast feeblemind or evaluated intellect first. Depending if OSI makes it so you'll get all the experience for it or not, it would be nice to polymorph dragons or daemons into lesser enemies first. If you have a pet, and are desperately losing against an enemy which seems resistant to polymorph, one can always try and polymorph your pet in the hope of making little Fido or Morris into Puff the Magic Dragon. And of course, polymorph, mana vampire or mana drain against magic users. Beware, as those of similar power may reflect or resist.

Oh, did I mention the Earthquake spell? It proved its value in phase one of the beta, although one effective user of it (Indigo, a Merc) fell prey to what he thought was a bug with his own Earthquake damaging him--doubtless it was a magic reflection spell, not a bug. Which leads to the more subtle tricks: don't start off attacking high power magic users with your best offensive spell. Start off with something like magic arrow, clumsy or weaken, because they might have magic reflection set up around them. It would really suck to have your flamestrike (or earthquake, heheh) thrown back at you. Which is another thing: have your own magic reflection set up as much as possible. You should also come into combat after casting protection, bless, or whatever other self-help spells you have. When you're fighting, stay at a distance! This means paralyze your opponent, teleport, or invisibility. Not much else to it. When you run out of mana: if you're using a bow, fire off as many shots as possible, but if they close on you, find cover or get away. With a dagger, only close if they're not too dangerous in melee and preferably near death. Mages do not want a melee fight. Which brings up another point: we don't know if Origin will have mages automatically defend themselves with their spells if the user is away and the mage is attacked. It sure would be nice if the AI or client somehow cast spells for you.

One last note on combat: there has been some discussion that a mage could also be the ultimate warrior, by sword fighting after casting a bunch of high-mana spells, using all your mana. This possibility is unlikely because in the beta successful sword fighting decreases intelligence, and the average mage will probably not have the requisite strength and dexterity to consistently compete in melee combat. Further, if your opponents aren't usually dead after your mana is gone, you either need a rest or should be taking on lighter opponents. If you're intentionally spending all the mana on larger groups of lesser opponents (or just wasting mana) and then going melee, you should be taking on stronger opponents to gain more wealth and experience faster.

Intermediate melee is an unavoidable hurdle for the growing mage. From late third to fifth circle, while fighting the likes of orcs and making the occasional foray into the underworld, the mage's arsenal of offensive spells will most likely not be powerful enough to prevent enemy melee, and the defensive spells not reliable enough to escape or wait for help from your companions. You should acquire some leather or studded leather armor, and if possible have some form of magical weapon--while magical weapons are not common, the upper-level warriors or mages will have little need for the magical daggers they find. It helps to have friends, you know? Take your weapon, whether bow or blade, and put in plenty of practice on the target dummies. It's something you didn't have time to do as a newbie, and when you didn't want to risk lowering your mage skills too much. At this level, even if you have the fifth circle spells, their mana cost may limit their usefulness.

Your new best friends will be fireball, lightning, poison, curse, and teleport. Without mark, or at least the help of a greater mage to mark an item for you, recall isn't going to help you escape. So, you'll blast away for as long as possible, and then teleport out if the melee looks daunting. From this stage forth, you have a decent chance of escaping through magic, so be sure and keep a mana "reserve" for your escape spells. In a similar fashion, your combat setting in UO should reflect your armor status--have the AI make you flee if your health is threatened more quickly than one would with a fighter--you take damage more quickly and deal it more slowly. Unfortunately, the lack of higher spells limits complex tactics at this level. So, use your magely common sense. Bless yourself, and curse, poison, weaken, whatever your opponent. Simple tricks will be based on smart application of your spells to your type of opponent, and if you're really on the ball, application of your new wall spells to the terrain (for escape, to isolate your opponent to an area where your allies can attack him, or to prevent groups from ganging up on you). Lastly, a zero mana attack that's rather effective for a mage is throwing purple potions at an enemy....ka-boom!

Escape and evasion will occasionally be necessary. For a mage or thief, this is not a dishonorable thing. To facilitate this, you should have various items marked in strategic places: one for the healer in your home city, one for a good moongate location, one for your home, one for each city, etc. Then the recall spell should be on a macro. Teleport, make yourself invisible, or whatever, and then get away. If those won't do it, recall yourself. To make it more difficult for them to track you, whether at night or in a dungeon, a mage should never use a lantern or candle. Instead, cast night sight. If you can't get away, you've got problems. A little trick might help here: have a bag with magic trap cast on it put away in a special place in your pack. If it's a PC, offer to give them this bag with all of your money. Put the bag on the ground, and get away. When they open it to see what's inside, they'll be sorely surprised. The same thing is good if you're running away in a place with doors: close a door behind, you, cast magic trap, and run. If you're going into a city that doesn't like you too much, incognito can always help. A good hide skill can help, but you should be able to do without it, given invisibility, etc.

Here's a possible thieving trick for a mage: try (with a character that either you don't care about, or has great escape spells) stealing something in broad daylight in a town, with the intention of getting caught. Then, when the guards come, either let yourself be killed and do a quick second death option resurrection or do a quick pair of recalls taking you far outside town and then back to the scene of the crime. Either way, if you still have the stolen item and if the guards aren't out to kill you anymore, you have an excellent way of being a thief at the newbie and Archmage levels, respectively. Yes, the recall-as-evil theory can also be applied to infiltrating buildings. Mark a building you own and sell it, or mark a place in the city, intending to return with evil intentions at night. The Idle Prophets have further explored mark and recall in their column "Either Here, or There" on the UO Vault.

Making cash has been a traditional problem for the mage. Spending all of our hard earned gold on reagents will get us through the early levels, as will the niceness of strangers. To tell you the truth, that's what you might have to rely on for a while. Begging can help, and it's easy. It's also a skill used on NPCs, so it's not like you're shaming yourself to another PC. If you have the reagents and extra bottles, I'd suggest taking up alchemy right away and selling healing potions to those fighters out there. It's either that, or begging and chopping wood. If you are set against begging and alchemy, then as I inferred in the skills section, a job like tailor is also good. The only problem with being a tailor at the newbie levels is that it's bound to be a rather popular profession, and there may not be enough materials around. Hopefully, this will not be a problem, and being a tailor is a long term skill that would be more helpful than begging. Plus, you get to have cool colored clothes. After you're a middle level mage, there's no excuse for making money by either dyeing, sewing, or begging for your primary income. You should be powerful enough to waste enough monsters to have a tidy profit. Put this money into furthering your alchemy skills. As a master alchemist, you could make very powerful potions which would bring a nice price on the open market.

You're going to want to make a few backup copies of your spellbook in case yours is stolen. So....why not make a few spellbooks for sale? An excellent source of income: the rich new character or the established character who needs your spells will be quick customers. However, I would argue against distributing some of the harder to come by, powerful spells. Let's not take all of the fun and rarity out of these spells. A good way to both get to know the countryside and make money is by exploring the wilderness and harvesting reagents. You can both discover probable regenerative sources of free reagents and sell those reagents to shops or other mages (or use them for your spells and alchemy). A final source of income you should have is by contracting out your work to groups. Whether getting into a small adventuring group for a more than equal share of your loot, or contracting out certain actions, hits, or whatever to large guilds, the mage will always be in demand.

Travelling may as well be the mage's most appreciated other advantage. While the glory and gold is in the combat, mages also happen to be perfectly suited in getting around the world, especially at the upper circles of magic. With spells like bird's eye, we don't need maps. Note on bird's eye: as Mental noticed, casting bird's eye more than once makes the amount you can see larger. Night sight gives us a night fighting advantages and lets us ignore candles and lanterns. Magic trap, magic lock, and the wall spells let us defend, deny, and harass static locations. Telekinesis lets us operate portcullis and the related castle implements from a distance. Teleport gets us out of trouble in a hurry. Mark and recall give us easy access to the whole world, safe escape. Those two spells will be the joy of every travelling mage. Everyone else has to travel at speed of horse or boat, and you have instantaneous travel. This doesn't mean that mages should ignore horses! A mage casting spells from a horse has a great advantage in simple escape and evasion over a mage on foot. While not necessary, it can prove useful in travelling with groups before you have gate travel, and when you are low on reagents or mana. We'll see if this feature will be around in the final release of UO.

Finally, gate travel is the ultimate spell for quick group travel across the world. What's even better, is that you can use combinations of these spells to make people totally confused. For instance: if you're trying to lose somebody following you, cast gate travel, and then cast teleport, recall or invisibility on yourself. Most of the time, unless they really knew what was up, they would think you stepped into the gate and jump in themselves. The travel section wouldn't be complete without a mention of Moongates, but for the mage, those will only be really useful if you're without mark and recall, or with and group and without gate travel. I'm not down on Moongates, though: they're just plain cool.

Back to table of contents

UO Mage events

The Mage's Gathering is the monthly, pre-eminent social event for mages. Held the last Saturday of each month, it is a convention for mages. Mages can swap stories, tips, spells and reagents. Further, competitions suchs as duels (with awards for the victor) and magic shows will be held. It is also intended as a demonstration of the justice and power of mages, and will include an exchange and marking for hunting of the names of those who have unjustly killed mages or stolen spellbooks. The Gathering will rotate cities often, the first being in Britain, and the second most likely Moonglow. For more information check out its web page or drop by the UO Vault's Mage Tower, a bulletin board for mages where the Gathering's organizers hang out. The UO Vault's Magik Shoppe has additional information about mage events and resources for mages in general.

Back to table of contents

What now?

Okay, you've romped it up all through the lands and your name is known. What was all this work for anyway? Well, ultimately, it's to get into whatever Origin has planned for super- high skill characters. This is called the city of Wind. But until then, you're stuck with Lord British's minions. Well, you're gonna have the cash, so you have to get a mage tower. I mean, how friggin cool to have a tower all to yourself. Buy one of those things, or the closest design to it. Mark a place deep inside on one of your main pieces of equipment, and now proceed to seal that place shut forever. Magic locks, regular locks, and magic traps on all the doors. Traps, guards, walls, general clutter that prevents movement wherever you can put 'em. This is your stronghold, and nobody is ever getting inside. On top of all that, you can lay waste to the countryside and let it be known that anyone who comes near your place is asking for a can of ass whoop to be opened up on them. This is only necessary if your place isn't secluded enough to live in secrecy, which would be the ideal. Either way, keep your money in the bank (nice and safe) and all of your goodies locked up tight in the tower. The best items should be on your person, of course, since no way is anyone going to kick your ass, and if you happen to trip and fall on a glass sword, there is always the second death option.

If you aren't at your top form yet in spell casting, when you get there, be sure to recast magic lock on your doors. It may very well be more powerful that time--casting it repeatedly may also help, but this is unknown (and unlikely). Unfortunately, every stronghold has an Achilles' heel, and against other mages of similar power, your only defense may be your reputation and social skills, unless they weren't quite expecting your such-well-prepared tower. The simple fact of the matter is that wizards are better off not fighting each other. While fodder for stories the heralds will tell for years, mages should have a certain respect for each other's power, common skills, goals, and interests. Only by maintaining a certain degree of unity can any character type develop a reputation for integrity and nobility to which mages aspire.

Okay, so you have a rep and a place. What to do? Well, there are some dungeons that need to be cleared, and that's cool. You can always lurk around the same area of the world and let it be known that area is your zone, for better or worse. However, what would be the coolest thing the mage could do? Go talk to strangers :). Whether to add spice to the game through malice, or to amaze people by joining in and saving their sorry butts in fights (newbies and experienced alike), your notoriety will quickly be known through all the lands, if it wasn't already. For one reason or another, everyone's going to be knocking at your door. The medieval version of the lone ranger, mercenary, or supervillian. My personal favorite mercenary task: get paid a whole bunch of gold and magic items to take out a guild headquarters. Easy, fulfilling, and just plain cool. Fighters and rangers would have slim chances attempting something like this, and no chance against reasonably established guilds Yet, in either one or repeated visits, a mage's power knows no limits.

Be sure, in whatever your actions, to stick to the one true ethical guide of any player: be sure to keep the game fun for all. While the occasional pkill is an exciting threat for players and gives motivation to the populace to defend the virtues, the irrational stalking of one particular player and killing him again and again is unjustifiable by any stretch of the imagination. Lastly, if you're tired of being alone in your tower and activities, a truly noble and admirable activity would be to take apprentices on for care and training. These newbie mages could gain magery by both practicing their spells with your reagents (remember how hard it was to get money as a newbie mage?), and by watching you cast high level spells. Further, you can train them similarly in alchemy and round out their spellbooks with low-level spells. Spells of higher circles should be kept to oneself to preserve their special nature and fun within the world. They gain the obvious benefits, and as well are not tempted to turn to a guild for support, which all mages should avoid (for support). You gain the satisfaction of an elder, and as your students grow of age, some very powerful friends and allies. Further, the reputation of such a wizard will have absolutely amazing effects in a game as social as UO.

Back to table of contents

Role-playing (and a note on hacking)

I don't bother with role-playing much more than occasional Olde English. If everyone did it, the game would suffer. So boring. If nobody did it, we'd all miss an element of the game that can be cool. Just whatever you do, don't be one of those subhumans who go around shouting "WAD DA F.UCK MAN!?! I M GONA KICK SUM ASS!!" Those people suck and should be destroyed. They come off as a pre-pubescent illiterate, and that doesn't help in a social game. They're the sort of people that like to *think* they can hack the UO servers.

Note: I have argued vehemently in IRC that UO will be hacked, and have been supported by the senseless but slick pearl exploit on the owo server by PODW. There's an even higher chance of hacking now that OSI is using Sun servers--anyone on a good security mailing list (like me) gets Solaris, etc, exploits sent to them all the time. It's sad that there are such lamers out there who would want to mess with the UO servers when their efforts will only be overturned quickly after OSI figures out what they did, and create server downtime for all.

Anyway, if you're going to role-play, at least do it all the way. There are a bunch of cool books out there other than the standard, awesome Tolkien series that can provide role-playing ideas. Take the book The Stone and the Flute by Hans Bemann for example. Get creative: you can be not only Merlin, but Rastilin, or various war mages from throughout the ages. It can often be fun to pick a specialty as a mage, and play that out. For instance, the pacifist mage. Unusual, but very possible (the field doctor type). Or the cleric or bardic mage. Or the mage who uses no equipment (a traditional staff carrying, robe wearing mage). Or one who parades around in full armor, sans pants (sound familiar?). I mean, there are so many options (see Thrin's article), behave a little different than everyone else. People will realize that you don't have to go with the grain, and even risk a little, and say "hey, look at that crazy bastard. Pretty cool." What did you expect? He's a mage.

Back to table of contents

About the article
Author - Credits - Revision History

Spectre is a veteran of Ultimas 1-3, and 5-7. Also all of the Bard's Tale trilogy, Wasteland, a little bit of SlothMUD, and various other role-playing games, including some old fashioned board D&D. You can recognize me in the game when you find yourself thinking "Where the hell did *he* come from?" or hearing "Thus spoke Zarathustra" after your enemies gets torched by some lone mage.

Contact me at bbarnes@uts.cc.utexas.edu if you have any ideas on how to revise or add to this article; revisions will be uploaded to the UO Vault and all contributors will be credited. If you have questions or critiques of the article, send me those also, and they will be included with responses in a revision of the article. I really want to hear the feedback! After all, UO is a dynamic world, so this article will also have to be dynamic. This article may be redistributed in any media as long as its content is not changed (HTML tags may be changed for presentation), and the author is notified. Quotes, properly credited, are also encouraged.

Palpatine for Swordsmanship, mana reserve, and Blacksmithy comments (leading to my response)
Daniel (Senan) for creating the Mage's Gathering, and other services
Althas for making me include an intermediate melee section
Metus Everwinter and Mike for offers of adventure, which led to my apprenticeship idea
JoJo for making me defend Arms Lore
Dolgan for making me defend and revise my guilds section, and leading to my comments on ethics
Gasper for creating the UO Vault and the Magik Shoppe
OSI's UO team for carefully working with its intended customers and their feedback
...and last but not least, everyone who sent all those great comments. With your responses, this work will stay current and grow for the future.

Revision History
25-June-97: First release on the UO Vault. Responses received same day.
16-July-97: First revision completed, taking into account knowledge from responses and the start of phase two of the beta. Added: new look, table of contents, intermediate melee, starting cities, credits and revisions, UO Mage events. Revised or added comments about: small/neutral/social guilds, wizard-on-wizard combat, tower defense, apprentices, blacksmithy, swordsmanship, mana reserve, polymorph, ethics, mark, arms lore, mining, lumberjacking, tailor, beggar. Many other sections slightly changed. Copy posted to the Mage Tower for limited but public outside review before personal proof and uploading to UO Vault proper.
18-July-97: Revised starting cities section again, added a part about horses, further toned down guild comments. Various other grammatical and presentation changes. Artilce mailed off to the UO Vault for posting.

Back to table of contents

Spells - Alchemy - OSI tips


1. Wis Uus (Bird's Eye) Uus Jux (Clumsy) In Mani Ylem (Create Food) Rel Wis (Feeblemind) In Mani (Heal) In Por Ylem (Magic Arrow) In Lor (Night Sight) Des Mani (Weaken)
2. Ex Uus (Agility) Uus Wis (Cunning) An Nox (Cure) An Mani (Harm) In Jux (Magic Trap) An Jux (Remove Trap) Uus Sanct (Protection) Uus Mani (Strength)
3. Rel Sanct (Bless) Vas Flam (Fireball) An Por (Magic Lock) In Nox (Poison) Ort Por Ylem (Telekinesis) Rel Por (Teleport) Ex Por (Unlock) In Sanct Ylem (Wall of Stone)
4. Vas An Nox (Archcure) Vas Uus Sanct (Archprotection) Des Sanct (Curse) In Flam Grav (Fire Field) In Vas Mani (Greater Heal) Por Ort Grav (Lightning) Ort Rel (Mana Drain) Kal Ort Por (Recall)
5. In Jux Hur Ylem (Blade Spirits) An Grav (Dispel Field) Kal In Ex (Incognito) In Jux Sanct (Magic Reflection) Por Corp Wis (Mind Blast) An Ex Por (Paralyze) In Nox Grav (Poison Field) Kal Xen (Summon Creature)
6. An Ort (Dispel) Corp Por (Energy Bolt) Vas Ort Flam (Explosion) An Lor Xen (Invisibility) Kal Por Ylem (Mark) Vas Des Sanct (Mass Curse) In Ex Grav (Paralyze Field) Wis Quas (Reveal)
7. Vas Ort Grav (Chain Lightning) In Sanct Grav (Energy Field) Kal Vas Flam (Flamestrike) Vas Rel Por (Gate Travel) Ort Sanct (Mana Vampire) Vas An Ort (Mass Dispel) Kal Des Flam Ylem (Meteor Swarm) Vas Ylem Rel (Polymorph)
8. In Vas Por (Earthquake) Vas Corp Por (Energy Vortex) An Corp (Resurrection) Kal Vas Xen Hur (Summon Air Elemental) Kal Vas Xen Corp (Summon Daemon) Kal Vas Xen Ylem (Summon Earth Elemental) Kal Vas Xen Flam (Summon Fire Elemental) Kal Vas Xen An Flam (Summon Water Elemental)

All alchemists are able to create at least eight distinct potions, each one derived primarily from one of the eight reagents.
>From the BLACK PEARL is brewed a RED potion of REFRESHMENT.
>From BLOODMOSS is brewed a BLUE potion to increase AGILITY.
>From GARLIC is brewed a BLACK potion which strikes the drinker BLIND.
>From GINSING is brewed a YELLOW potion virtuous for the HEALING of wounds.
>From MANDRAKE is brewed a WHITE potion for the enhancement of bodily STRENGTH.
>From NIGHTSHADE is brewed a GREEN tincture of most deadly POISON.
>From SPIDER SILK is brewed an ORANGE draught of SLEEP.
>From SULPHUROUS ASH is brewed a volatile PURPLE mixture which produces a formidable EXPLOSION.
While the alchemist's laboratory customarily contains a copious selection of tools and vessels, a skilled alchemist in truth needs little more than the proper reagent and a vessel to hold the finished distillation in order to create any of the potions here listed.

The following are excerpts from a "Useful Tips for Beta Testers" document by OSI. Since these aren't all in the playguide, contain many useful little tips, and may not be posted forever, I've decided to include them. These are not mage-specific, naturally.

Bladed Items
You can use anything with a blade to do a variety of tasks. If you double-click on a bladed item, such as the knife you started the game with, a targeting cursor will appear. If you target a corpse, you will try to carve away meat, hide, feathers, and other useful items from it. If you target a dead player, you can carve them up into teeny bits, even down as far as removing the brain or the liver. If you use a bladed axe on a tree, you can chop away wood. Meat, hides, fur, feathers, and wood are all saleable items that many NPCs will be willing to buy.
How to sell
To sell an item, merely drag it to the NPC. If the NPC is not interested in the item, he will tell you so and give it back. Sometimes NPCs cannot give you money for an item, because they do not have any to give. In that case, they will try to reward you with another item--and often they are terrible judges about what makes a good trade. It is possible to be rewarded with magical artifacts for a simple gift of cloth. At the very least, an NPC should be able to supply hints about the location of magical artifacts. Virtually every NPC is interested in foodstuffs, so hunting and selling the meat, or gathering crops, can be very lucrative and is an excellent way to get started. Asking an NPC what they need will often tell you what they are looking for.
Rumors and news
If you are looking for something to do, try asking the tavernkeepers and innkeepers for rumors or news. Often they can tell you information about nice items and terrible creatures that may be about.
Useful things about NPCs
NPCs recognize the names of players--if you can't find your friend, try asking the NPCs if they have seen them. If they have seen your friend recently, they can give fairly accurate directions. NPCs can also give you the in-game time. If you ask them where a particular shop type is, ("where is the blacksmith?") they can usually provide directions.
Hiring NPCs, handling pets
The playguide has very detailed info on exactly what commands you can give a pet or hireling. Here's a few extra tidbits: NPCs that can be hired respond to words like "job" and "hire." They will give a cost per hour for hiring them; the number is actually per day (don't worry, we'll fix it). A hint: pick hirelings based on their name as well as on their abilities. Since you have to give them orders based on their names, easy to type names make life easier. Alternatively, make macros for giving them orders. In the case of pets, of course you get to pick their name: simply click-and-drag off of them to get their small status window, and you can delete and type over the name, and hit Enter to confirm renaming your pet.
Ten great ways to build a nest egg without risking your neck (too much)
1.Hunt animals, dress the carcasses, and sell the meat and hides in town.
2.Gather crops and give them to farmers.
3."Apprentice" with a tailor by using his tools and materials to make clothing, then give him the finished product. The tailor will try to reward you for your labor with payment of some sort.
4.Gather wood by using an axe on trees, and sell the lumber to a carpenter.
5.Help a blacksmith out by getting a shovel and using it on rock to mine ore. Sell the ore to the blacksmith.
6.Or, you can apprentice with the blacksmith too.
7.Steal, if you are so inclined.
8.Or beg!
9.Pluck the feathers from the corpses of birds and sell them to the local fletcher for use in making arrows.
10.Charge other players for dyeing their clothes upon request.
Emoting, bowing and saluting
If you just type, you speak. If you type a single quote ', then a space, and then text, that also speaks. (That is a MUD convention). If you type a colon : then a space, and then speak, you will "emote"--your text will be surrounded in asterisks automatically, and it may appear as a different color if you have it set that way (look in your options window). You can use this for things like *grins* and *smiles*. But you don't need to use it for waving or bowing! Try typing .action bow or .action salute, and your character will animate in those actions. Be sure to include the period before the word "action"! You can also macro these actions to any key you prefer.
Bulletin boards
Most likely, there is a bulletin board in the inn in which you started. bulletin boards can be a great way to get in touch with friends, leave messages, or find new friends. Try posting on the board and see what responses you get!
Training dummies
You can double-click on a training dummy to practice combat without any risk. You can also just watch others practice on training dummies, and you will likewise improve, though of course not nearly as quickly.

Back to table of contents

Last modified on 18-Jul-97 by Spectre.