Morrowind Character Guide Series: The Mage

Morrowind Character Guide Series: The Mage


For those who watch my let's plays and livestreams, you'll know that we're all about role-playing and not at all about min-maxing. This series is not about the ultimate [insert class] build, let's face it, sooner or later your character will be a god-killer whether you min-max or not. In addition we tend to always want to play the same way, with the same style, the same weapons, and the same game play. So instead, I want to suggest ways to play a class and mods that can make the experience fresh and more unique. For more general role-playing mod recommendations, you can check this guide.

Skills, Race, and Birthsign

All right, let's not split hairs here, you want to be a mage, either pick an Altmer or a Breton. If you want magic written all over your face, try Westly's Westly's Young Mystic Males Headpack, warning, Westly's stuff is pretty and not to everyone's taste.
If you cannot choose, install Westly's Altaran Race: You will be the child of an Altmer and a Breton.
Naturally, the Mage is an excellent birthsign: it gives you more magicka without any disadvantage. I am personally weary of the Apprentice, especially with an Altmer, it's like you are just asking to be killed by magic. The Atronach is about the only vanilla birthsign that effectively changes your gameplay: more challenging, more fun.


Gameplay and Mods

Looking the part

  • Please refer to my Healer Guide for robe mods.
  • Daduke's Wizard Hats
  • Want a familiar? Try Emma's Companionable Cats or the more complex but also more useful Pocket Pals by Andoreth. This mod lets you fill figurines with souls and then use these figurines to summon the creatures. Unlike regular summons, these creatures level up, stay summoned and go back to the figurine when they die.
  • And a pipe à la Gandalf: Smokable Pipes by Cikmatt

Mages Guild mods

House Telvanni mods

Tel Uvirith mods

  • Stuporstar's Uvirith Legacy. If you get only one Telvanni mod, get this one.
  • If this is all too much but want to add functionality to Tel Uvirith, try Archimaestro Antares's Tel Uvirith. (not compatible with Building up Uvirith Grave.
  • Rise of House Telvanni by Pozzo, Karpik and bhl. A must-have for Telvanni glory and dominion over Vvardenfell.
  • Bullding Up Uvirith Grave by Acheron & Artimis Fowl: this mod lets you expand the exterior of Tel Uvirith into an actual village.
  • Tel Uvirith Underground by Morphera, adds a large dungeon beneath Tel Uvirith.

Other mods

To regen or not to regen magicka.

  • Purist Friendly Magicka Regen by Greatness7 and Remiros. Magicka Regenerates fast enough that you won't be drinking potions like a drunk, but not so fast that you can cast spells non-stop in a fights. My go-to mod for characters that don't specialize in magic.
  • Something a little more challenging that I would recommend for a mage: Idle Magic Regen by RazoX9 where you magicka regenerates if you are not fighting, not taking damage (including from a lingering spell).
  • Smoke's Fair Magicka Regen is a classic but also the more generous one.
  • Another option is Mastering Magicka by Dopey. This mod changes how magicka regens (the higher your magic skills, the faster your magicka regenerates ). It also adds realism elements: casting costs fatigue as well as magicka, wearing armour matters, unarmoured is now more useful (you get a sanctuary bonus). Heads up! Not compatible with the latest version of Ashfall.
  • If all you want from this is a magicka pool based on your skills (rather than simply Intelligence), then grab Skill-based Magicka Bonus by Helswake.

Spectacular spells.

  • Magicka Expanded by OperatorJack is the latest addition and boy oh boy is it good. New spells, new spell effects and maybe most exciting of all, a new framwork for spells so modders can give us yet more mods for the mages. The latest update includes a re-write or some of Cortex's spells.
  • Magic Diversity will replace the visual spell effects as well as their sounds. Most spells now have their own sound as opposed to schools of magic in vanilla Morrowind. My favourite are the Blind visual effect (a thick purple cloud of smoke that truly makes you blind for a few second, and the Sound spell sound that is a high-pitch sound so you suffer with your character. That being said, watch DarkElfGuy's showcase (right there in the mod description) to see if this mod is for you.
  • For visual spell effects that stay closer to vanilla, try FIM's Better Spell Effects
  • And for spell sounds that also stay truer to vanilla, grab Spell Sounds Enhanced by Mothrug.
  • Magical Trinkets of Tamriel by Chris Wood comes in separate downloads 1, 2, 3, 4 and, this patch by Dragon32. This mod adds many magical items such as sigils, emblems and ioun stones, and interesting scripted spells. Personnally, I keep this mod for a sorcrer that relies more an powerful objects rather than casting abilities but it works great for a mage too!
  • Cortex's Scripted Spells will let you do the impossible such as steal spells from someone's mind or transform into a beast.
  • Tome of Ancient Knowledge by Mephisto. Lets you create your own spells using the tome.
  • Animation Compilation to cast spells like a boss.
  • 4NM_Magic by Archimag. There is so much to this mod that it is almost too much. Magic resistances and spell damage have a whole lot of new formulae (they make sense imo). Then there are the new spells, a lot of them are quite spectacular: a fire aura (much like in Skyrim), a mana shield, homing projectiles, etc. The major drawback with 4NM_Magic (at this time of writing) is that it does not play well with mods that also add spells with LUA script.


  • PC Voice: Old Wizard
  • Proportional Progession by NullCascade to hasten or slow how you skills progress.
  • NM_Magic also by Archimag, scales the damage dealt with willpower and a synergy of magic schools. For example, a mage adept in Restoration and Destruction will deal more poison damage. With this mod, creatures have a greater resistance to the elemental damage they can inflict. Some are so resistant they can heal (hitting a Fire Atronach with a fireball will heal it). DO read the read me, many features are added regularly. There is so much to this mod that it is almost too much. Then there are the new spells, a lot of them are quite spectacular: a fire aura (much like in Skyrim), a mana shield, homing projectiles, etc. The major drawback with 4NM_Magic (at this time of writing) is that it does not play well with mods that also add spells with LUA script.
  • Pillow Mage Manor by Stuporstar and Denina. Do the quest and get a lavish manor in Balmora and the ability to summon very special golems. Also has a furniture shop that would please an Altmer of exquisite tastes.
  • Cult of the Clouds by MWoody aka Martin Woodard adds a new faction of mages that intend to control the weather through magical means.
  • As always when playing vanilla guilds, install Archimaestro Antares' BigMod.
  • Too many house mods to list them all, but here are a few that stand out:
    • Korana's Magus Realm Tower: like all Korana's houses, it is pretty and full of features. This one also has fairies and a unicorn.
    • Corsair's Tel Raloran with its unique alchemy and staff making tables, as well as improved landscape.
    • Telvanni Strider House by WolfShaman: a lovely house for the modest Telvanni mage on his way to glory.
    • Tel Dranori by the DrunkenMudcrab: a magical tower house close to Seyda Neen, complete with its vault, garden, spell-making and enchanting altars.
    • Ravensong's Archmage Tower 2, a classic mage tower in Pelagiad.
    • Orrutus Cavern by Nicholiathan. I really loved this house back in the day, especially for its magic lab and library: ingredient sorter, ingredient desorter, book sorter and gem crafter.


Handicaps and Goals

  • If you play as an Altmer, only accept the very best: don't sleep rough, wear fancy clothes, don't eat raw food, bathe regularly, etc.

  • You have the short blade skill, but you have all the spells of Tamriel at your fingertips: forget about that dagger already.

  • Specialise! Be a Pyromancer or a Cryomancer for example. Elemental Magicka has some fun spells for the mage specialist. I would recommend using either the Fire and Frost add-on, or the Air and Earth add-on.

  • Be a Night Mage using Merlord's character background

  • Never cast the same spell twice in a row.

  • While you are more than proficient in Conjuration and Enchant, leave those for the Sorcerer: he likes to rely on minions and powerful items to prevail.

  • Complete the Mages Guild and or House Telvanni mods.

Final words

If you want more ideas for random handicaps and goals, check this blog entry with wheels to click, you can find my permadeath modlist (and all the others, actually) here and if you'd like to see many new characters created, join us on Twitch every Sunday for our permadeath runs ;)
Mages are very versatile, how did you play yours?
Happy Morrowinding!