Editable Codex

This article is about an in-game item. For the Ultima IX manual, see Spellbook.

Holding a spellbook

The spellbook is the most important part of casting spells in Britannian Magic, and without it, no magic can be done. In the spellbook, all spells known to the mage are written down for easy access. Spells can be learned from other mages (of course after paying in gold), and are then recorded in the book for later use. Typically, the more experienced a mage is, the more expansive his or her spellbook becomes.

Thankfully, the usage of a spellbook makes the mixing of reagents obsolete, as the book uses the right qualities of reagents once the spell is spoken.


Spellbooks came into widespread use beginning in Ultima VI. Before this, spellbooks weren't required, and the spells were mixed directly. In Ultima V, magic scrolls appeared which duplicated the various spell effects, but they were somewhat unpractical, and fell out of use.

In Ultima VI, spells can be readily purchased from other mages and then added manually to the spellbook, and Lord British even has a spellbook ready for the Avatar in his castle. In Ultima VII, purchased spells were automatically recorded into the book. Again, Lord British had a spellbook ready for the Avatar, while two more could be found in the dungeons Destard and Hythloth.

The rules for spellbooks changed significantly in Ultima IX, see Ultima IX Magic.


The pages of a Spellbook

The first component necessary for the successful casting of spells by a mage is his spellbook. It is his principle tool and without it the mage cannot function. This book contains the formulae and incantations required to cast the specific spells that a mage knows. As mages become more experienced they can acquire new spells. A wise and long-practicing mage may have a great tome filled with strange drawings, diagrams and writings. These writings will be explained in greater detail in a forthcoming section. Every mage's spellbook contains several basic magical spells called linear spells. These too will be explained in their own section.

- from The Book of Fellowship (Ultima VII)

The spellbook is the most fundamental facet of casting, for within it lie the complete details for every spell in the mage's repertoire. Descriptions of the necessary reagents, explanations for the words of power and listings of the incantations are all presented. Most such references are unreadable by the common person, but a wizened spell caster can understand any spell he has already learned. The more enchantments a wizard has in his spellbook, the more powerful he becomes.
I might also note that I have discovered scrolls engraved with spells in this new realm. I know that such spells can be cast directly from their scroll (rendering them subsequently useless, unfortunately), and I am investigating the possibility that they can be transcribed into my spellbook for repeated use.

- from Beyond the Serpent Pillars (Ultima VII Part Two)