This page provides an overview of all the magical effects available in Oblivion. In most cases, these effects are used in a number of different ways - for example to make spells, potions, or enchanted items. Certain magical effects may have limitations to their use; others may not be available to the player at all. More information concerning this and other details of magical effects can be found on the individual effect pages.
The following pages have information on specific ways of using magical effects:
Availability of Effects
The tables below list all magical effects available in Oblivion, sorted by magical school. The columns indicate:
- Type: The purpose of this effect (although other applications are often possible: for example, see Cursed Enchantments).
- Offensive: Used against opponents and generally considered to be hostile unless otherwise stated. In enchanting, typically used on weapons.
- Defensive: Used for protective purposes and never considered to be hostile. In enchanting, typically used on armor and apparel.
- Restorative: Used to undo damage. Restorative effects are never available as enchantments, although one or two items such as the Truncheon of Submission are pre-enchanted with such effects.
- Other: Non-hostile magical effects which do not fit in any of the categories above.
- Spell: shows whether this effect exists as a standard spell (an asterisk in this column indicates that non-standard spells may be possible under some circumstances).
- Custom Potion: Can you make your own potions from raw ingredients containing this effect with Alchemy apparatus?
- Built-In Potion: Is this effect available through standard potions?
- Scroll: Can this effect be found on standard scrolls?
- Sigil Stones: Can this effect be acquired from Sigil Stones?
- Custom Spell: Displays whether this effect is available via the Altars of Spellmaking.
- Custom Enchantment: Shows if this effect may be accessed through the Altars of Enchanting.
In the columns:
- Yes means the effect is available.
- — means the effect is not available.
- * means that under rare circumstances, the effect is available (see the individual effect's page for details).
|Command Creature||Offensive (Non-hostile)||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||Yes||Yes|
|Command Humanoid||Offensive (Non-hostile)||Yes||—||—||Yes||—||Yes||Yes|
Drain vs. Damage vs. Absorb
Each of these spells reduces the points of a target's statistic. Health is most commonly affected, but Fatigue, Magicka, Attributes, and Skills can also be affected. These spells differ in various ways:
- The spell school that governs the effect.
- Whether the spell affects the target only, or both the target and the caster.
- Whether the damage instantly reverses at the end of the spell's duration, or whether healing is necessary to repair the damage.
- The latter spell type is also cumulative, i.e. if the duration is more than one second, additional damage is dealt - at the listed magnitude - each additional second of duration.
- The availability of the effect as a standard spell, and therefore how easy it is to create custom spells with the effect.
- The relative cost of casting the spell.
- The availability of the effect as a potion.
- All Drain effects are part of the Destruction school.
- Drain only affects the target.
- Drain effects last for the duration of the spell; they are then automatically reversed. (To reverse the Drain effect more quickly, Dispel can be used.)
- Drain Fatigue and Drain Health are available as standard Novice Destruction spells; Drain Magicka and Drain Skill are available as standard Apprentice Destruction spells. Drain Attribute is not available as a standard spell, but can be obtained for custom spells, as detailed on the effect page.
- Drain is the cheapest spell for the amount of power delivered, i.e. it will cost less gold to obtain and Magicka to cast than the other two types at the same magnitude.
- There are built-in potions with Drain effects for Health, Magicka, Fatigue, and all eight standard attributes, but Drain is generally not available for custom potions. One notable exception is that a master alchemist may make a Drain Health potion with a Nirnroot. The other exception is the new ingredient Unrefined Greenmote - added by Shivering Isles - which has Drain Health and Drain Fatigue effects, allowing potions to be made with these effects by combining with Nirnroot.
- All Damage effects are part of the Destruction school.
- Damage only affects the target.
- The effects of Damage spells will accumulate over their duration, unlike Drain spells. For example, Damage Health 5 pts for 10 seconds will result in 50 total Health points lost (assuming 100% Spell Effectiveness).
- The points lost to Damage remain lost indefinitely, until reversed with the appropriate Restore effect (including general healing options such as a blessing at an altar). Fatigue is automatically and continuously regenerated over time by all characters, and Magicka by all characters without the Atronach birth sign, but there is no instantaneous reversal of the effect at the end of the duration, unlike with Drain spells.
- Damage Fatigue and Damage Health are available as standard Novice Destruction spells; Damage Magicka is available as a standard Apprentice Destruction spell. Damage Attribute exists as an effect (e.g., for poisons) but cannot be found as a spell. Damage Skill does not exist in any form.
- Damage Attribute is available as a standard or character-created poison ("potion magic effect") for Health, Magicka, Fatigue, and all eight standard attributes.
- Damage is more expensive than Drain for derived attributes (Health, Magicka, Fatigue), i.e. it will cost more gold to obtain and Magicka to cast, given the same magnitude. It is the most expensive of the three for standard attributes.
- All Absorb effects are part of the Restoration school.
- Absorb spells can only be cast on Touch.
- Absorb spells transfer points of the given statistic from the target to the caster, simultaneously damaging/draining the target's statistics and restoring/fortifying the caster's.
- The effects of Absorb - with respect to instantaneous reversal and regeneration - vary depending on what statistic was targeted.
- For Absorb Fatigue, Absorb Health, and Absorb Magicka spells the effect on the target is the same as a Damage spell; the effect on the caster is the same as Restore spell.
- For Absorb Attribute and Absorb Skill spells, the effect on the target is the same as a Drain spell; the effect on the caster is the same as a Fortify spell.
- All Absorb effects are available as standard Novice Restoration spells, and therefore Absorb is the easiest effect to acquire for creating custom spells.
- Absorb is slightly more expensive than Drain for standard attributes, i.e. an Absorb spell will cost more gold to obtain and Magicka to cast than a Drain of the same magnitude. It is the most expensive of the three for derived attributes.
- Absorb is not available for any poisons.
- Additional Information
- The description of Drain provided in the official game guide uses the misleadingly equivocal phrase "The magnitude is the units reduced each second of duration", which can be inferred as meaning that units are reduced cumulatively - which is wrong - or that they are reduced by no more than the magnitude, for a period of time, which is correct. The definitions in the above sections are the correct ones.
Magnitude to Level Conversion
Several magical effects are described in the game based upon the level of the creature that will be affected: Calm, Command Creature, Command Humanoid, Demoralize, Frenzy, Turn Undead. (Rally does not). Internally, each of these spells has a magnitude in points, used for example to determine the magicka cost of a spell. The equation used to convert from magnitude (in points) to level is fairly straightforward:
Level = Magnitude/4
The level is always rounded down. So magnitude 3 yields level 0, magnitudes 4-7 yields level 1; magnitude 100 yields level 25.
Spell effectiveness is applied to the spell's original magnitude; the actual levels affected by the spell are then calculated from the resulting, reduced magnitude. Therefore, the levels shown for any spell are likely to be incorrect if your character is wearing armor. For example, Touch of Rage claims it works "up to level 18." However, if your character's Spell Effectiveness is 85%, the spell's actual magnitude will be 63.75 (75*0.85), resulting in a spell that only works up to level 15.
The maximum possible level of these spells, even at the Spell Making altar, is 25. However, the maximum strength spell, despite claiming to only work "up to level 25," will in fact work on any level enemy — as long as your character has 100% spell effectiveness. For example, casting a level 25 Command Humanoid on an NPC of level 34 will succeed. This quirk prevents these spells from becoming effectively useless for high-level characters, who will only meet creatures and NPCs with levels higher than 25. If you are wearing any armor - even with armor skills at 100 - the maximum magnitude of a spell becomes 95 and therefore will only work on enemies up to level 23.
Options for Healing
Multiple effects listed here provide various types of healing: Cure Disease, Cure Paralysis, Cure Poison, Dispel, Restore Attribute, Restore Fatigue, Restore Health, and Restore Magicka all help in recovering after combat. Which approach is necessary depends upon how you were injured (disease, spell, poison, weapon) and what your injuries are.
If you see a red value in your journal statistics and can't remember what caused that damage, the best place to check is on the Active Effects page on your journal. In most cases, you should find a corresponding entry that provides details on what is inducing the damage. If the details mention Poison, you need to use a Cure Poison effect; if the details mention Disease you need to use a Cure Disease effect. If you do not see anything in your Active Effects page, the chances are that a Restore spell will do the trick.
The various Restore effects will heal magically-induced damage as well as mundane types of damage (loss of Fatigue from a hard fight, loss of Magicka from casting spells, loss of Health from weapon or fall damage). Restore effects will not work on injuries due to Drain effects, nor will they work on injuries induced by disease or poison.
Dispel will work to undo Drain effects and other effects (both positive and negative), but only if caused by spells. Dispel will not work on injuries induced by diseases, poisons or enchantments. In other words, a Drain effect that was induced by poison will not be undone by a Dispel spell or potion. Also, Dispel will not work on Drain effects from lesser powers (e.g., Spriggan's Curse that drains Luck).
Another option for healing is to visit any chapel altar (i.e., the chapels in cities or the wilderness chapels such as Weynon Priory or Gottlesfont Priory). At these altars, all negative effects will be healed, provided your Infamy is lower than your Fame; there is no need to figure out what caused the damage or which specific spell is necessary to fix it. Wayshrines provide similar healing, although not quite as comprehensive. For evil characters, the Vile Lair official plug-in provides a Shrine of Sithis which provides similar effects, but only works if your Infamy is greater than your Fame.
Resistances and Weaknesses
There are a large number of Resist and Weakness effects that can be used to magically reduce or enhance a wide range of different aspects of the game.
The mechanics of each individual Resist/Weakness pair is the same. A Weakness is basically just a negative resistance. Any creature's or character's total effective resistance is the sum of all active Resist and Weakness effects:
Total_Resistance_to_X = Resist_X - Weakness_to_X
Unfortunately, the character's Active Effects menu screen displays separate entries for resistances and weaknesses. Therefore, when interpreting the Active Effects menu, you need to be sure to check both the resistance and the weakness entries. All tables on this site (e.g., at Creature Resistances or Races), use the convention that a positive value in a "resistance" column is a resistance and a negative value is a weakness.
One implication is that immunities are not guaranteed. For example, all Vampires have a 100% Resist Disease effect and therefore are described as being immune to disease. But it is still very possible for vampires to catch a disease if any Weakness to Disease is active, which could occur if the Boots of the Swift Merchant are being worn or if the Staff of Vulnerability was used, to name just a couple of possibilities. Another example is that Ghosts can be damaged (even killed) using Frost Damage spells, as long as a Weakness to Frost spell is cast first. The only absolutely impenetrable immunity is 100% Resist Magic, since any Weakness to Magic spell would have its magnitude reduced to zero, and there are no ingredients with a Weakness to Magic effect. Fortunately, magic-immune enemies are extremely rare, and the few that do exist are vulnerable to elemental damage poisons (no NPC is immune to both poison and magic).
The various possible resistances (and weaknesses) that are available are:
- Resist Disease: alters the chance of catching any disease.
- Resist Fire: alters the damage done by any Fire Damage effect (from spells or poisons).
- Resist Frost: alters the damage done by any Frost Damage effect (from spells or poisons).
- Resist Magic: alters the magnitude of any spell effect (from a spell being cast, or from an enchantment on a weapon or staff). Certain types of poison effects are also altered: Damage fatigue, Damage health, Damage attributes, Damage magicka, Silence, Drain attributes, Drain magicka, Drain health, Drain fatigue, and Burden poisons ARE resisted by resist magic. Paralysis and Elemental damage (Fire, Frost, and Shock damage) poisons ARE NOT resisted by resist magic. In other words, all spells are resisted by Resist Magic and all poisons except for Paralysis and Fire/Frost/Shock Damage are resisted by Resist Magic, but since NPCs don't use Fire/Frost/Shock poisons players don't have to worry about them.
- Resist Normal Weapons: alters the damage done by normal weapons, i.e. non-enchanted weapons except for bows, silver, Daedric, and a few other rare weapon types.
- Resist Paralysis: alters the chance of being paralyzed (from spells or power attacks).
- Resist Poison: alters the magnitude of any effect delivered by a poison, including poisons such as Fire Damage.
- Resist Shock: alters the damage done by any Shock Damage effect (from spells or poisons).
Whenever resistances of different types combine, their effects are multiplied. For example, a Fire Damage spell is altered by both Resist Fire and Resist Magic. The total damage done by the spell would be multiplied by:
(100 - Total_Resistance_to_Fire)/100 * (100 - Total_Resistance_to_Magic)/100
Restore vs. Fortify vs. Absorb
Each of these spells increases the value of a statistic - such as Health, Fatigue, Magicka, attributes and skills. Restore will only increase statistics back to their usual values (i.e., healing earlier damage). Fortify increases statistics past their usual values.
Restore is a permanent increase (at least, until you get injured again!), whereas Fortify effects only last for a limited period of time.
Restore will not always repair damaged statistics, even if they are shown in red in your journal. Restore will not repair decreases due to Drain effects (use Dispel instead), nor will it repair decreases caused by Diseases (use Cure Disease instead).
Absorb transfers points of a statistic from the target to the spellcaster. The effect upon the spellcaster varies. For Absorb Health, Absorb Magicka, and Absorb Fatigue, the effect is the same as a Restore spell, i.e., values are healed up to their base value. For Absorb Attribute and Absorb Skill the effect is the same as a Fortify spell, i.e., the values are temporarily increased past their base values.
Reflect vs. Absorb vs. Resist
All of these spell effects help prevent enemy magic from harming you. Reflect attempts to bounce harmful effects back: its magnitude is the percentage chance that it will succeed, and if it does, all of the effect is applied to the caster of the incoming spell. Absorb attempts to convert incoming magic into magicka for the target: its magnitude is the percentage chance that it will succeed. If it does, all of the incoming effect is negated, and the target with Absorb on it receives magicka proportional to the magnitude of the incoming spell. Resist Magic always works, and reduces the effectiveness of the incoming spell by a certain percentage.
If two or more effects are active, there can be interesting consequences. Reflect Spell will always be counted above the other two, so those with the Atronach birthsign will have to be especially cautious using this.
Spell Absorption is counted after Reflect Spell, and if you have less than 100% Reflect and it fails, Spell Absorption kicks in. It still trumps Resist Magic, however, so if you have no Resistances or 100% Resistances, it won't matter.
Resist Magic is taken into account last.