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A spell is the general name given to any magic effect available to characters or creatures through the use of items such as scrolls, wands, staves, or spellcasting abilities. Spellcasters need resources to cast. Most often mana is required but sometimes other ingredients may be needed for spell to work or included as amplification of effect.


Usually spells are grouped into categories or magic schools. Commonly used categories are:

  • Good/Light/White

Effects involve healing, curing, creating protective auras, giving benefits to caster or target creature or object.

  • Evil/Dark/Black

Effects involve destruction of, harming or weakening targets.

  • Clerical

Enchantments, spells of nature, protection and healing. Favored by priests, druids and paladins.

  • Arcane

Mostly elemental spells. Used mainly by wizards, elementalists and mages who prefer more scientific approach to magic.

  • Conjuration

Violent and destructive area of magic concentrated on doing damage to everything that can be found in a dungeon. Most spells used for killing monsters belong to this category.

  • Summoning

Calling demons, elementals or other creatures from various worlds and planes to serve caster temporarily. Summoned monsters not necessarily are friendly to person who called them to this world. Beings often disappear after bond tying them to current place fades but some roguelikes allows them to stay indefinitely with the caster.

  • Enchantment

This subtle area of magic specializes in binding magical properties to items and creatures. Offers range of handy utility effects. Enchantments alone rarely provide enough staying power for caster to lead him or her to victory but combined with other realm of magic may be a great boon.

  • Necromancy

Necromancy allows to raise slain foes as undead slaves. Some games define undead as an soul bound to animated corpse (or part of) therefore limiting material for undead to intelligent beings. Other claim that only corpse of formerly living creature is needed for these spells to work. Apart from creating slaves Necromancy allows different use of corpses and offers palette of other effects closely connected with death. Some of them are very cruel.

  • Conveyance/Escape/Teleportation/Translocation

A whole school of magic used to flee situations. Typical uses are to teleport away from monsters, to teleport the monsters away from oneself, or even to speed up oneself or slow down monsters in order to run away faster. Spells differ as to how far the affected objects will travel and to whether the caster can control the destination; some games even allow long-distance travel between dungeon floors. Some games permit the establishment of permanent portals between remote locations. In a few roguelikes, the hero can even summon remote objects or return fleeing monsters. The ability to teleport is so useful that non-mage characters will seek items that provide this capability.

  • Divination/Clairvoyance

Magic intended to reveal knowledge. Often used to locate monsters, objects, or traps, to see invisible things, to magically map the dungeon, to probe the status of monsters or the hero, or to predict the future fate of a character.

  • Transmigration/Transmutation

Magic dedicated to rapid changes and mutations. Used to warp one's body, polymorph creatures or items, transform obstacles. Commonly casters polymorph dangerous foes into other organisms to put them in advantageous situation or change their form to more powerful one to deal with nasty encounters. Casters mutating themselves take great risks but rewards are very tempting.

  • Elemental
    • Fire
    Great for demolition purposes but often damages items badly during the process. Scrolls are destroyed most often.
    • Ice
    Quite good for offense. Has means to slow not resistant targets.
    • Air
    Air magic spells can produce clouds which can be used to block monsters' LOS, to provide cover, poison or to create other effects that can be carried by gaseous substance. Among destructive capabilities lightning is especially worth noticing. Known to bounce off obstacles and strike nearby creatures. In some games flying targets are immune to electrocution because they are not grounded. Air magic often bears useful enchanting spells.
    • Earth
    Many protective spells fall within this realm. Any offensive capabilities usually deal physical damage.

The typical use of an elemental spell is to attack a monster (as with conjuration), but the choice of elements is crucial to effectiveness against certain monsters. For example, it might be difficult to hurt a salamander with a fire spell, but an ice spell will do much damage.