Magna et Ultima Arcanum:
An Introduction to Spellcrafting and Alchemy
Last revised: December 3, 2002
(Information on enchanting and recharging added)
Copyright © 2002, Mythic Entertainment
guide may be freely re-distributed for online publication, as long as no alterations
are made to its content. The original and most current version may be found
Spellcrafting and Alchemy are the two advanced tradeskills that have been introduced into Dark Age of Camelot. With them, players will have the power to create any magical item that could conceivably be found within the game, and more that have not been. Skilled alchemists are able to craft poisons and potions, and both alchemists and spellcrafters are able to imbue weapons and armor with special magical properties that will fulfill the longstanding promise of Mythic Entertainment to tradespersons; that at the pinnacle of their craft, they will be able to produce the finest equipment to be found in the game.
This guide will explain how players will accomplish this.
The basics: What are Spellcrafting and Alchemy?
Spellcrafting and Alchemy are considered “Advanced Tradeskills”. They follow many rules of other tradeskills, but have some important differences. One of the first that players will discover is that unlike other tradeskills, players cannot use the “consignment system” to assist them in gaining skill and money while working their craft. Players will probably not be able to use Spellcrafting or Alchemy as self-sustaining skills while learning their trade. They will need outside assistance, whether that of a friendly guild or another, wealthier character (or their own income from killing monsters, assuming they kill a great deal of them).
Spellcrafting is the art of enchanting – the ability to magically imbue a player-made item with magical properties. An accomplished spellcrafter will be able to, for example, take a player-crafted longsword and turn it into a longsword that has +2 Blades skill, adds +7 to the player’s strength, and also adds +15 to the player’s Cold resist.
Alchemy is the art of alteration – the ability to magically transmute a player-made item with magical properties. An accomplished alchemist will be able to take the longsword in the previous example from the spellcrafter, and add a “proc” of a Greater Lethal Poison “damage over time” spell.
As you can see from the above example, these two skills are designed to work closely together. Although individually both crafters can create powerful items, only by cooperating can they create the most powerful items available to them.
Who can do this?
Persons who have already chosen a “mundane” trade specialization (armorcrafting, tailoring, etc.) may not train in Spellcrafting or Alchemy. There are quests available for the “clearing” of one's trade specialization so that current trades characters may choose to begin Spellcrafting/Alchemy; however if that is done the characters’ current tradeskills are all reset to 0. The reverse is also true: once a character specializes in a "magical" tradeskill (spellcrafting/alchemy) they cannot gain any skill in "mundane" trades. To do so, please consult the following august personages in your realm's capitol city:
Albion – Edie Wharton
Hibernia – Fabrice
Midgard – Gudmund
Spellcrafting is available to “pure casters” as well as healers (basically, any class that cannot specialize in a weapon). Specifically:
Albion: Cabalists, Clerics, Sorcerers, Theurgists, Wizards
Hibernia: Druids, Eldritches, Enchanters, Mentalists
Midgard: Healers, Runemasters, Shamans, Spiritmasters
Alchemy may be taken up by “hybrids”, or fighting classes that have some form of magical or roguish bent. To wit:
Albion: Friars, Infiltrators, Minstrels, Paladins, Scouts
Hibernia: Bards, Champions, Nightshades, Rangers, Wardens
Midgard: Hunters, Shadowblades, Skalds, Thanes
Alchemists and Spellcrafters can develop a limited skill in each others’ trade, similar to the way other crafters can develop secondary skills. (Note that “mundane” tradespeople – armorcrafters, weaponcrafters, etc. do not get a “secondary training cap” for Spellcrafting, Jewelcraft or Alchemy. Those skills are limited to Spellcrafters and Alchemists only.)
(Jewelcraft is a secondary-only tradeskill, similar to Siegecraft, used to create bracers, necklaces, belts and jewelry slot items, and is scheduled to be implemented later this year.)
To begin your Spellcrafting/Alchemy career, seek out the masters of the field. They're usually near the local Mage's Guild (whatever form that may take in your realm) or you can just ask a guard /where the following people are:
|Spellcrafting||Hradi Thorleif||Clayton Gage||Shannen|
|Alchemy||Armod Dag||Adelaide Dinsmore||Aslander|
Spellcrafting and Alchemy: Your Path To Power, Profit and Possibly Exploding Messily
Spellcrafting works through attaching specially created gems the crafter has created to a customer’s items. The gems are created by the spellcrafter from power gems, dust reagents and tempers. All of these, except in very special and unique cases, are available from NPC vendors in the major cities of the realm. The gems are crafted from base components sold by merchants in the crafters' home city (labelled [Merchant] and usually around the "trading zone" of the city). Spellcraft/Alchemy merchants have quite a few items now, and you will need to use the new "Page Arrow" buttons on the lower right to scroll through their entire inventory of stock goods. (Note that you may also have to scroll down on some pages as well.) (Note that there are no new merchants - seek out pre-existing ones you already know and love.)
Spellcraft gems are created similar to every other player crafted item in the game - drag the recipe for the gem from your Spellcraft skill list into your quickbar, have the items in your inventory, then click the quickbar icon to craft the gem. (See the list below for what each gem corresponds to what skill.) Once crafted, these gems have bonuses based on what type and material level they are (similar to material levels and types for other player-crafted items). Each player-crafted weapon or piece of armor has four “slots” which can be used to house these gems.
In action, the customer will give the Spellcrafter the item (and, presumably, the money in trade) via the trade window. The spellcrafter then, on his or her trade window, places the jewel(s) to imbue into the item. The crafter is free to mix and match various spellcraft gems from his/her inventory onto the weapon to create their ideal combination. Both the crafter and the customer sees the results of this mixing and matching; this should allow for some negotiation of price and service (“Well, I can give you THIS one… but it will cost you…”). Your trade window should appear like so:
The spellcrafter then hits the "Combine" switch (on the lower left corner of the trade window). The window should now say "Combining for" instead of "Trading with".
In addition, the Spellcrafter is limited by his/her level of skill in Spellcrafting. The maximum amount of spellcraft imbue points a Spellcrafter can “spend” on a weapon is their Spellcraft skill divided by 20. Thus, a Spellcrafter with 800 skill points will be able to imbue 40 points (in comparison, a 100 quality item of the highest material grade will have a capacity of 32 points).
Once the crafter and customer agree on a configuration, the Spellcrafter and the customer both hits their “Accept” button. If the Spellcrafter has the appropriate skill, and the item doesn’t explode and kill the crafter (more on that …minor detail later), the item is imbued and placed in the customer’s inventory.
Note that if a customer isn't handy, the spellcrafter can also imbue these items from his or her own inventory. We've added a new key (default is SHIFT-R) to "craft" an item directly from the player's backpack. A small mini-craft window appears when you press this key with three options: Repair, Salvage and Craft. Note that when you repair, it will repair the item, but information on the repair won't be updated until you move the item from one inventory slot to another.
The Alchemy process is similar, although instead of jewel slots, the alchemist will be able to directly alter the fabric of the item – its “procs”, or “reverse procs”, etc. Alchemists have a different process for creating potions and poisons, similar to other trade skills, which will be detailed later.
“Yes, but what was that about explosions and death?”
Spellcrafting is the art of tampering with the core forces of the universe. Sometimes the universe disapproves.
Specifically, the master spellcrafter will have the option of “overcharging” an item, or imbuing an item with up to 5 more Spellcrafting imbue points than its capacity to hold. The problem here is when you overcharge something… that overcharge goes somewhere. Sometimes in an extremely violent matter. The item may explode. The crafter may explode. Both may explode. So far a customer hasn’t yet exploded, as that would be bad for repeat business.
More information about overcharging (items, not customers) is left as an exercise for the adventurous reader.
(Note that experience or CON is not lost when dying to an unfortunate crafting accident. The Crafters Union Local 712 successfully petitioned King Constantine to grant dead spellcrafters recognition that they have died in service to their Realm. Hibernia and Midgard followed suit shortly thereafter.)
Applied Spellcrafting 201: What can be imbued into an item?
The following table explains what skills, attribute bonuses, and resist bonuses can be imbued into items, depending on the quality of the gem used. Gem qualities use the following ranking system, from least effective to most:
An important note: the quality of a gem that can be successfully imbued into an item is controlled both by the skill of the spellcrafter and the quality level of the item, which is usually controlled both by the type of item – whether it is a spiked mace or a war hammer – and the material used to craft the item – whether it is using fine alloy or mithril, for example. This controls the item’s actual “level” (a 30th level mace would “con” yellow to a 30th level player). The item’s level acts as a “capacity” for the item, and generally can not be exceeded (overcharging allows one to possibly exceed item capacity to a limited degree). With the current level of items in the game, only attribute bonuses and resist bonuses can be imbued into precious, flawless and perfect games without using overcharging. Skill bonuses, since they are more “expensive”, can only be imbued at “faceted” level in the highest quality items.
But enough exposition: here’s what you can actually imbue into a gem, and thus an item.
JEWELS - Stat increases
JEWELS - Melee skill increases
SIGILS - Weapon skill increases
SIGIL - Cleric/Paladin/Minstrel spell skill increases
SIGILS - Caster spell skill increases
SPELL STONES - Weapon skill increases
SPELL STONES - Naturalist spell skill increases
RUNES - Weapon skill increases
RUNES - Hybrid spell skill increases
RUNES - Magic skill increases
Note that some skills (such as Chants for Paladins) don’t actually give the user any benefit if increased. We’ve included them into the Spellcrafting system anyway, so that if in the future increasing those skills did bring a concrete effect, you have the ability already in game to take advantage of it. All that being said, the answer is to be aware of what you are making.
Spellcrafted items also fall under the general item level cap rules – a user must be of a certain level to gain full benefit from an item. What levels are those? Here’s the exact formulas in question. (All decimals are rounded down.)
Attributes: Level x 1.5
Resists: (Level / 2) + 1
Skills: (Level / 5) + 1
Hit points: Level x 4
Power: (Level / 2) + 1
A user can, of course, equip an item that is too high a level for them; they just won’t derive the full effect from it.
Items have 4 slots. The formula for how many points can be imbued into an item is based on two factors – the item and the abilities to be imbued. What the item brings to the table is fairly static - the item’s quality and material level – a level 5 item with 94% quality has 1 point, while a level 51 item with 100% quality has 32 points available.
The second factor, how “difficult” each skill or attribute bonus is to add, is fairly complex, but we’ll make a go of explaining it here. Remember that the game does calculate all of this for you automatically “on the fly” as you work on an item, before you commit to imbueing an item, so experimentation is probably the easiest way to “get a feel” for what an item is capable of.
The magic formula is (brace yourself, algebra incoming):
mVal x 2) + (2nd mVal) + (3rd mVal) + (4th mVal))
“mVal” here stands for Multiplied Value – the bonus granted by the gem, multiplied by a preset “difficulty value” for each type of bonus. Those difficulty values are as follows:
Attribute bonuses: 1
Resist bonuses: 2
Skill bonuses: 5
Hit point bonuses: ¼
Power bonuses: 2
There are a few exceptions just to make things a little more interesting. First off, of any skill, resistance or power bonus, the first “level” on each gem is 0.5 (zero point 5). This is ONLY if an item only has one "level". If an item has more than one level, that first level is 0 (free). (This is close as we could get to "first level is always free" without the Mythic world servers exploding into puddles of green goo. While that was aesthetically pleasing, it did prove to be counterproductive to actually getting spellcrafting into the game.) Note that since all calculations round down, this will almost always result in zero. So, for an item with +3 Blades, it really counts as a +2 Blades for purposes of calculating the mVal (in this case, 10). To get the most bang for your buck, if you’re making a resist or attribute based item, it’s always to your benefit to throw an extra skill level onto the item, since it’s the most expensive of bonuses to imbue.
Another thing to remember is, as alluded to above, that every calculation in this formula is rounded down. This can be used to your advantage, if understood properly. As an example – if an item has 4 attribute bonuses, +5 STR, +3 DEX, +3 CON and +3 QUI, it would have an imbue value of 10 + 3 + 3 + 3 (remember, the highest mVal is doubled) for a total of 19, divided by 2, to have an imbue value of 9.5. Since that is rounded down, it really has an imbue value of 9. Congratulations, you’ve just squeezed an extra attribute point into that item.
Finally, attribute bonuses gain a bonus in effectiveness of 1.5x off the top. This is part of the recent rework to attribute buffs, and doesn’t play into any calculations here. Just be aware that when you pay for a +5 STR item, it actually will appear to the user as a +7 STR item. (It does count as +7 for the purposes of attribute level caps.)
Remember, skilled spellcrafters can possibly “overcharge” items past these limits. In fact, overcharging is the only possible method for creating the most powerful of skill bonuses.
We've made a calculator available so you can see exactly how these formulae work in the field.
Journeyman Spellcrafting 304: Some Examples In The Field
Given that, let’s detail the creation of two items: The Holy Sword of Honor, suitable for the greatest of paladins, and Mott’s Gloves of Filching, suitable for, well, someone not a paladin. (Note that while I’ve named them just for this example, you unfortunately cannot name your own spellcrafted items. Or, judging from the choices some have made in naming, perhaps fortunately.)
The gloves first. Mott is an up and coming Nightshade, who’d like a little boost in his combat effectiveness, but since he’s only level 15, he can’t afford a whole lot. He uses poisons, critical strike, and to a lesser extent piercing.
The spellcrafter takes a pair of tanned cruaigh gloves (level 16) that has a 98% quality. That has a capacity of 8 “imbue points”. He asks Mott – do you want a significant boost to one skill, or just a little of everything? Mott can’t decide, so he says a little of everything.
The craftsman takes the gloves from his inventory, puts them into a trade window with Mott, then hits “Spellcraft”. The imbue window appears, and he begins experimenting with imbue gems, showing Mott as the process goes what his hard-earned gold will buy. After a while, they agree on the following item:
+ 2 Envenom (1st skill is free, so it counts as +1 * 5, doubled to 10)
+ 1 QUI (1 * 1 = 1)
+ 20 HP (20 * ¼ = 5)
+ 1 Slash resist (1st resist is 0.5, which will round down to 0. “You want some free Slash resist, Mott?” “Uh, sure!”)
The game, behind the scenes, adds all that up, divides by 2, and displays the imbue value for this item as 8. Everyone agrees on the item, and the spellcrafter hits the “imbue” button. Presto chango!
Mott goes on his way, with one of the better items in the game for a young rogue, that he built himself. Well, with help, but let’s not shatter Mott’s illusions.
Next we have the Holy Sword of Honor. Truly one of the greatest items in the game, crafted in honor of a paladin’s giving his life while stopping a Midgard war party from seizing the Scabbard of Excalibur single-handedly. Based on a 100% quality Arcanium two-handed sword, this mighty weapon was imbued with the following attributes:
+6 Two Handed (1st skill is free, so it counts as +5 * 5 = 25, doubled to 50)
+2 Slash (1st skill is free, so it counts as +1 * 5 = 5)
+4 Constitution (4 * 1 = 4)
+52 HP (52 * 1/4 = 13)
A whopping 35 imbue points, this sword would ONLY be possible with overcharging, and is a risky overcharge even when imbued into the finest crafted sword in the game. And a failure would be… painful. Reducing the Two Handed bonus to +5 makes it more of a sure thing for imbueing – but a +6 makes it the stuff of legend. You take your choice, you take your chances.
Note that skills cannot be given to classes that don’t already have them – for example, a mercenary given a dagger with +3 Envenom will still not be able to actually apply poison to any items. A wizard given a staff with +3 to Staff may be able to wield it, since they can equip staves, but won’t receive any bonus for using it, since only Friars can specialize in staves.
Alchemy 101: A Brief Tour of the Bubbly Arts
The most basic use of alchemy will be to craft poisons and dyes that you can buy at poison and dye vendors, but for only 55% the cost. Now you can finally put the NPCs out of business. Dyes require a skill level of 40 to 836 to craft (depending on how rich they are in color and value).
You can also create poisons and more general potions that are unavailable to NPC vendors. Potions can be used by anyone, while poisons can only be used by players with the appropriate level of skill in Envenom. These comestibles include:
potions are 8 minutes in duration, others are 10 minutes in duration.
The easiest potions to craft are the "old" vendor-sold assassin poisons, which range from 0 to 504 skill to craft. Stat buff potions require 352 to 619 skill, Healing potions require 392 to 684 skill, "special" potions such as regeneration, haste and damage shield potions require 509 to 649 skill, and magic poisons require 689 to 724 skill.
The most powerful potions/poisons, such as some of the new combat poisons and the in-combat heal potions, require reagents that cannot be purchased in stores. You’ll have to hunt for them, which means that they will be commensurately more valuable.
High level alchemists can also imbue items with attributes, similar to spellcrafters. (Note however that unlike spellcrafted jewel imbues, they do not take up jewel slots, but are added directly to the item itself.) The abilities that can be imbued include:
"Ablative Aura" is a new effect introduced with Alchemy (replacing Bladeturn, which would have been too powerful a reactive effect). This spell gives the player additional magical hit points. Everytime you are hit 1/2 the damage goes to the Aura and the player takes the other 1/2. This occurs till the Aura is broken. At that time the player will take full damage again.
All imbued items require tinctures, which range from 594 to 1084 skill to craft.
Here is an illustration of how a special potion is created, an Elixir of Might. This is an advanced potion, so it has 2 potion components, as well as its own material component.
First we need to create an Elixir of Strength. Here's its recipe:
We've already purchased all the required components, so we drag the Elixir of Strength, Elixir of Fortitude and Elixir of Might potion recipes to our quickbar:
and click on the Elixir of Strength icon.
After the usual interval, it creates an Elixir of Strength, a low level strength buff potion. This could be used, sold, or used for what we're doing now, a component in a more advanced potion. We create the Elixir of Fortitude in the same fashion, then click the Elixir of Strength icon. Since we have both component potions now, it combines successfully and we're left with a potion!
To use a potion, drag it to your quickbar, then when using it, press the Use Item key (which usually defaults to "E") followed by whatever number its quickbar slot is (if it's in slot 8, you'd type E8). You've now buffed yourself, which if you're a nightshade can definitely impress your friends and frighten your enemies. Here's the delve for the Elixir of Might effect:
Enchanting and Recharging Items: Frugal Skills for a Spendthrift Vocation
As the spellcrafter and alchemist gain in skill, they each gain unique abilities that help them to save a little coin for themselves and their associates.
The spellcrafter may enchant items with a bonus (similar to what NPC enchanters have been providing, but at a higher cost). To do this, the spellcrafter uses dusts (coppery imbued dusts to platinum ensorcelled dusts) and combines them with the item in question to graft an enchantment bonus on it. The enchantment bonus can go all the way to 35% for the highest level items, and you can imbue partial enchantments (if, for example, you wish to save on the cost of dusts). You can also enchant an item partially and then come back later to imbue the remainder. You'll see all of this reported in your chat window when you combine the dust to the weapon or armor.
The alchemist can recharge items that previously had charges (either their own, someone else's, or looted from a monster). This is an all-or-nothing proposition, unlike enchanting items. The alchemist uses distillates that are of the same level as the item's tincture being recharged (alloy to arcanium). If the alchemist has enough skill, the item is recharged. The amounts of distillate used are the same regardless of how many charges remained on the item. Note that in addition to being cheaper than the NPC recharger, the alchemist can actually recharge items anywhere - which should make him or her quite popular on the battlefield when items start running low on charges.
The Journey Onward
The previous is a very brief guide to Spellcrafting and Alchemy. Of course nothing we produce will be as detailed or complete as the work of the fan community that makes Dark Age of Camelot great.
See you at the crucible!
More discussion: DAOC Tradeskills forum
Another excellent guide: Prissy's Guide to Alchemy
An excellent off-line "shopping list" for Spellcrafting: Leladia's Spellcraft Calculator