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Runic magic is truly something different; no spellbooks or reagents are needed for this way of magic. Beside the inner powers of the mage, only two items are needed to use this way to cast magic. It is an experimental way of spellcasting, however; it is unreliable and sometimes even downright dangerous, because the effects are unpredictable and spell backfires are common. This is why runic magic is only an experiment in Britannia, and a majority of magic users still place their trust in the established ways of magic. Darker forces like the Guardian aren't so careful, and brutally force experimentation with this magic on some of his worlds. With increased skill in casting however, its unpredictability drops considerably.

The Items[]

The Runebag[]


The Runebag is essential, because only in this specially enchanted black bag can the Runes can be transported without problem; without it, their magical powers aren't activated. Every rune not actively needed is stored in it, ready for fast access in case of emergency.

The Rune Stones[]

The most important items in runic magic, Rune Stones are small, metallic squares, with the runic letter of the corresponding Word of Power engraved into them. These stones are what provide the bridge between the Ether and the real world, focusing the will of the spellcaster. It should be noted that not every Word of Power is present, and only 24 runes exist. There are no XEN and ZU runes.

The Casting[]

Casting is very simple. The needed Rune Stones (up to three) are held between the fingers of one hand, and the fitting Words of Power are spoken. The rest depends on the mana storage and experience of the spellcaster.


In Britannia, Runic Magic was first encountered in Ultima Underworld I, where it was used in the Abyss. In Ultima Underworld II, Nystul experimented with it as well, studying its prior usage and noting that it only works with weakened dimensional walls.

On other worlds, such experiments were done as well, like Tarna, Killorn Keep and Rhiannon. It is unknown if runic magic was standard on the dead worlds, but Altara was surprised that the Avatar made use of it, clearly showing that it is NOT their usual way of doing magic.


Underworld I spells

Underworld II spells

Here are the lists of all the known spells of Underworld I and II, which came with the games. Note that each spell only consists of a maximum of three runes.

The Armageddon spell is missing and won't be listed elsewhere, as the consequences of the spell are horrible, locking in the caster for all eternity as a result of the horrible deed.

However, despite having every known spell documented, there are several spells whose knowledge has to be gained. Note that this goes only for Ultima Underworld II, since all the secret spells from the first part are known and in the spell chart by that time.

Below is a list of these unknown spells:

Spell Circle Words of Power Description
Bounce 1st UUS DES POR The mage becomes as elastic as a rubber ball. So after a fall, the mage jumps right back up the same hight.
Location 1st BET WIS EX Allows the mage to identify the location on the map after a teleport.
Negate Hunger 2nd QUAS MANI YLEM Instantly feeds the mage, even better than Create Food.
Valor 2nd QUAS AN CORP Allows the caster to fight much better than normally possible (20% weapon profiency increase).
Frost 4th IN AN FLAM Shock-frosts the enemy into an ice block.
Thick Skin 4th IN SANCT Thickens the casters skin to protect from blows.
Paralysis Rune 5th IN TYM JUX Creates a floating rune. Every foe foolish enough to touch it won't be able to move any longer.
Mend 5th REL SANCT YLEM This spell repairs damaged equipment. It is also good for refilling items such as a lantern.
Map Area 6th WIS EX Maps the area surrounding the mage. The more experienced and skillful the mage, the larger the area mapped.
Enchant Item 7th VAS ORT YLEM Can enchant weapons and armor. Also improves an already existing enchantment. If it fails, the item is destroyed.
Smite Foe 8th VAS JUX MANI This spell heavily damages the targeted foe. Only works on living creatures, not magical constructs or the undead.