The bulk of this page was originally posted by u/hazardoss on the Ultimate Skyrim Reddit page. I’ve retained as much the original post that is still relevant, however have made edits specific to wildlander itself.
Spell Research can be somewhat intimidating to new players, so I thought I would share what I’ve learned so far. Thank you to u/Alexandregd for creating this very useful reference sheet, and to all the users who have contributed to it. The ‘cheat’ sheet makes the mod more accessible to newcomers, since the in-game guides do not provide sufficient information. Without such a reference, the amount of guesswork involved in composing spells can be too prohibitive.
You may also find this video tutorial useful.
Here are several things you can do with this mod:
- Research learned spells, and gain XP in the corresponding skill tree and various archetypes.
- Learn (compose) almost any spell in the game by raising enough XP in the corresponding spell archetypes.
- Craft valuable spell tomes and scrolls, while gaining XP in the magic schools.
- Analyze magical solutions with an alembic to increase XP in archetypes and alchemy.
- Study/disenchant ancient artifacts and gain XP in enchanting and archetypes.
- Study ancient texts and grimoires for more archetype XP.
Tools and materials
Research Journal: required for most spell-related activities in the mod. Can be purchased from general goods merchants or court mages. Can be crafted at a crafting table or just using Player Crafting with 5x paper rolls + 1x leather + 2x linen threads.
Writing materials: rolls of paper + inkwell + a quill. Required for composing theses, crafting spell tomes and scrolls. Sold by merchants, or found in containers around Skyrim. Paper rolls and inkwell can be crafted using the alembic (Mix Solutions menu). Also, one ruined book can be converted to paper rolls using breakdown keybind.
Alembic: Required for analyzing or mixing magical solutions. Can break down (dissolve) small quantities of ingredients into solutions. Can be purchased, or crafted at a forge using 1x steel ingot + 5x building glass + Craftsmanship perk + Alchemy toolkit.
Cauldron: Used to break down large quantities of ingredients, potions, Misc Items, Ore, Pelts and enchanted artifacts, into magical solutions. Requires fuel to work. Any ingredients or poisons that have a ‘weakness’ effect can fuel the cauldron (e.g. Salt pies). Can be purchased from alchemists, or crafted at a forge using 8x Iron Ingots + Craftsmanship perk + Alchemy toolkit.
Tongs: Required for studying/disenchanting ancient artifacts. Can be crafted at a forge using 1x Iron Ingot + Craftsmanship perk + Smithing toolkit.
Hammer : Required for safely breaking ancient artifacts. Can be crafted at a forge using 1x Iron Ingot + 1x Wood + Craftsmanship perk + Smithing toolkit.
Most activities in the mod, e.g. performing research, composing theses and spells, crafting tomes and scrolls, or studying ancient artifacts and texts, cause mental exhaustion (ME) in the form of reduced magicka. Therefore, the player’s ability to perform these activities directly affects the player’s magicka pool (maximum magicka). Mental exhaustion is displayed in the active effects screen.
ME is cured with sleep. In the early stages of the game you can try the following rule of thumb to recover from ME: take the amount of magicka lost, divide it by 10, and sleep for that many hours. As your magicka pool grows with leveling, you will need less sleep.
Crafting spell tomes and scrolls
Crafting tomes and scrolls is a relatively easy way to make some gold, and gain some magic XP in the process. All you need is writing supplies and at least one learned spell. A level-1 Orc with only 60 base magicka is able to craft Novice and Apprentice spell tomes, as well as Adept level scrolls (see table below). Some useful scrolls to consider crafting are Knock III scroll (unlocks Expert level locks), or powerful Conjuration and Restoration scrolls. These scrolls can be useful to non-mage characters who can’t cast the spells.
The magicka requirements for crafting tomes and scrolls are listed in the table below. To craft a tome or a scroll, simply equip the spell, activate the research journal, and select “Craft Tome / Scroll”.
Requirements for crafting tomes & scrolls: (duration, paper requirement, mental exhaustion)
|Novice / Fundamental||2 hrs, 3 paper rolls, -30 magicka||1 hr, 2 paper rolls, -20 magicka|
|Apprentice / Advanced||4 hrs, 6 paper rolls, -60 magicka||2 hrs, 4 paper rolls, -40 magicka|
|Adept / Sophisticated||6 hrs, 9 paper rolls, -90 magicka||3 hrs, 6 paper rolls, -60 magicka|
|Expert / Superior||8 hrs, 12 paper rolls, -120 magicka||4 hrs, 8 paper rolls, -80 magicka|
|Master / Masterly||10 hrs, 15 paper rolls, -150 magicka||5 hrs, 10 paper rolls, -100 magicka|
Spell structure, archetypes, performing research
Researching and composing spells is the core feature of the mod. It allows mages to level up the magic schools and learn almost any spell in the game including master-level spells. This means that mage characters no longer need to join the College of Winterhold in order to master the mage craft, which is ideal for role-playing as a freelancer or a rogue mage.
Analyzing spells with the research journal reveals the associated archetypes, in the format shown below. The reference sheet contains all known spells and their archetypes.
- Casting / School techniques
- Targeting / Misc techniques
There are two casting archetypes: Fire & Forget and Concentration (listed under archetypes MCM page 1). Every spell in the game uses one of those two casting methods. The school technique (MCM pages 8-9) is determined by the spells magic school, e.g. all Destruction spells have the Destruction technique. There are 34 elemental archetypes in total (MCM pages 1-8), and several Targeting / Miscellaneous archetypes (MCM pages 9-12).
An archetype becomes visible in the MCM once the player receives at least 1 XP in that archetype.
Archetype XP is increased mainly through researching learned spells, which also levels up the main perk trees. The archetype XP is distributed between multiple tiers of the archetype, e.g. Novice tier receives the highest amount of XP, Apprentice tier receives less, etc. Researching higher-rank spells grants much more XP in all the tiers.
To perform research:
- Equip a spell in both hands. (Note: Only right hand is required, but equipping both hands will double the XP gain).
- Activate the journal from the inventory, or using a hotkey, and select “Perform Research”. This step only prepares the character for research, i.e. the character is now in “Researching” mode (shown as an active effect). The player’s magicka is immediately reduced by 50 points. After a few seconds, a message will scroll across the top left corner of the screen, saying that the player is ready to begin research.
- Activate the journal again, and select “Perform Research” one more time. Select the duration of the research session (1, 3, 6, or 12 hours). Research begins.
The maximum research duration depends on the player’s available magicka. Research causes mental exhaustion of -10 pts of magicka per spell rank, per hour. For example, researching a Novice spell for 12 hours will cause 1210=120 magicka reduction, while researching a master-level spell will cause 1250=600 magicka reduction.
Another way of adding XP to elemental archetypes (the middle archetype) is by analyzing magical solutions. For more on this read further down.
Composing theses and spells, chance of success
Composing (or learning) an unknown spell requires a few things:
- Have a thesis ready for at least one of the archetypes associated with the spell. Having more theses increases the chance of success (more detail in the following sections). All theses must have equal or higher rank than the rank of the spell you are trying to compose.
- Sufficient XP in the corresponding archetypes. See “Chance of success” below.
- Enough magicka: 50 MP per spell rank. A master level spell, for example, requires 250 magicka.
Composing a thesis is relatively easy – as soon as an archetype is ‘discovered’, i.e. it is displayed in the MCM, a thesis can be made for any tier of that archetype. The amount of XP in the archetype is irrelevant here. A thesis composed with just 10 XP in an archetype is the same as a thesis composed with 10,000 XP.
Each thesis requires 1 paper roll per thesis rank, and causes mental exhaustion of -10 MP per thesis rank. For example, composing a master thesis requires 5 paper rolls and 50 MP.
No writing supplies are used in spell composition.
Chance of success
Composing a spell is never guaranteed to succeed or fail; there is always some random chance involved. The most important factor affecting the chance of success is the XP in the corresponding archetypes, and the number of theses. Generally, having a thesis for each of the spell archetypes, even at low archetype XP, increases the chance of success. At low XP, a composition may fail 9 times and succeed on the 10th attempt. In general, if a composition fails a few times in a row, with a message saying “after reviewing your papers, you realize one of the theses had a fatal mistake in it”, that usually means that you need more XP in some of the archetypes. That message may be somewhat misleading, because the theses themselves do not have ‘quality’, and do not contain errors. It all comes down to the amount of XP, and the RNG involved in spell compositions.
Below are some baseline XP values, which in my experience almost always result in a successful spell composition (equal XP assumed in all the required archetypes). Compositions are possible at much lower XP values, just not as likely.
- Novice / Fundamental: 30 XP in Novice archetypes
- Apprentice / Advanced: 1000 XP in Apprentice archetypes
- Adept / Sophisticated: 2500 XP in Adept archetypes
- Expert / Superior: 8000 XP in Expert archetypes
- Master / Masterly: 25,000 XP in Master archetypes
To my knowledge, fundamental (novice) spells can be composed as soon as the spells archetypes are discovered, i.e. have some amount of XP in each archetype.
Composing spells while missing some archetypes
Spell composition is also possible, if some of the archetypes have not been discovered (0 XP), as long as other archetypes have more XP. It is not uncommon to accumulate a lot of XP in certain archetypes, and no XP in others, over the course of researching many similar spells. For example, the casting techniques and the school techniques (the first-line archetypes) usually level up much faster than other archetypes, because every spell in the game uses one of two casting archetypes, and all spells in the same school share the same school archetype. With enough XP in those few archetypes, spell compositions will become possible, even if other archetypes are lacking in XP. Experimentation is encouraged, since the only downside to failing a composition attempt is losing some theses (just need more paper and ink).
I had learned the spell Soothe Rank 1 (Novice Illusion), which contains the following 6 archetypes: Fire and Forget, Illusion, Frost, Self Targeting, Curing, Pacifying. I researched the spell for about 15 hours total, until I had about 500 XP in those 6 archetypes, at the novice level. I noticed from the reference sheet that a few other Illusion novice spells share 3 of these archetypes: Fire and Forget, Illusion, Self Targeting. I composed novice theses for those 3 archetypes, then I attempted a composition, and lo and behold I learned another novice Illusion spell - Darkvision! It worked, even though I had only 3 of the 5 archetypes associated with Darkvision. That’s because 500 Novice XP in the available archetypes is more than enough to make up for the missing ones.
There are many artifacts found in loot, such as broken weapon parts and soul fragments. Activating an enchanted item in the inventory opens the following options: Cheat Sheet
- Analyze - this will reveal clues about the associated archetypes
- Study (disenchant) Item – requires tongs . Grants XP in archetypes and enchanting. Has a chance of destroying the item (details below)
- Break Item – requires a blacksmith’s hammer. Grants enchanting XP.
When studying an artifact, the player can choose between Primary properties and Secondary properties. The primary properties relate to the base material of the item; e.g. enchanted weapon fragments usually have Metal or Weapon archetype as a primary. The secondary properties relate to the enchantment(s) of the item, which in most cases are other elemental archetypes.
At low enchanting levels, studying an artifact will most likely end up destroying it in the process, while gaining minimum experience. Breaking the item with a hammer may be preferable in the early game, because it guarantees some amount of enchanting XP. At higher enchanting levels, artifacts can be safely studied multiple times without being destroyed.
Ancient texts, translation tomes, old grimoires
Ancient texts can be ‘translated’ for some XP in a random archetype. To translate a text, you need to have the corresponding translation tome in the inventory. With a high Enchanting level it may be possible to translate a text without a translation tome.
One issue (bug?) is that there are 6 types of ancient texts in the game, but only 3 different translation tomes are added by the mod (confirmed in TES5EDIT).
- Ancient texts: Ayleidoon, Daedric, Dragon, Dwemeris, Falmer, Yoku
- Translation tomes: Ayleidoon, Dwemeris, Yoku
Those names are not displayed in the game, so it is never obvious which translation tome corresponds to which ancient text. The player needs to do a bit of an ‘archeological’ analysis. When you activate a text or a tome in the inventory (Misc tab), they will display a vague description of the symbol structure and the language. A matching pair of an ancient text and a translation tome will have the exact same symbol description. Only then it is safe to examine the text and attempt a translation without much risk of destroying it.
Although texts and tomes can be fun and add immersion to the game, they are not the most reliable source of archetype XP, mostly because each text grants XP in a random archetype. Also, the amount of XP is not that great to justify collecting all texts until the proper translation tome is found. In the best cases, the XP gain from a single text is equivalent to researching an adept or expert level spell for a few hours.
Old Grimoires are extremely rare, and they do not require translation tomes. The rewards from studying a grimoire can be significant. With a high enchanting level, a grimoire can be studied multiple times, and it can grant different things like XP in a random archetype, complete theses, and even spell tomes. Grimoires are fun to use, but they have limited usefulness, given how rare they are, and the random nature of the rewards.
Magical solutions, alembic, cauldron
Spell Research extends the alchemy/spell system with the introduction of magical solutions (solutions).
First of all, why should you bother with this complicated system when vanilla alchemy is sitting right there? Well, there are a few reasons:
- ‘Elixirs’ have 4 identical effects on them, so they can be combined with standard ingredients to add an extra effect to your potions/poisons. A Dilute Paralysis Elixir would be a great addition to your poisons for example.
- Any 3 Elixirs can be combined together to make any 3 effect potions or poisons.
- Elixirs can be concentrated to make potions and poisons much much stronger than ones made with vanilla ingredients.
- And, for our users, this system is the only way to make Fortify Enchanting potions.
The basics are this: ingredients, potions, ‘imbued’ or ‘broken enchanted’ objects, and some clutter can be broken down with an Alembic or Cauldron to make alchemical solutions, which have obfuscated names. These can then be combined at an alembic to make alchemical elixirs, which have obfuscated effects.
This system is a step away from alchemy, and a step towards chemistry. Think Victorian-Era medicine. The goal here is to find what effects are produced by different solutions, and what patterns there are. (And there are some patterns if you look close enough.)
These solutions can be used with an alembic in a few ways:
- Analyzing solutions with an alembic grants elemental archetype XP and some alchemy XP.
- Solutions can be mixed into potent elixirs, and different salts, e.g. void/fire/frost salts.
- Solutions can be upgraded or downgraded.
There are 34 different kinds of solutions - one for each elemental archetype. They are categorized into six tiers based on potency:
|Potions Equivalent||Suffix (weakest to strongest)|
Refer to the cheat sheet for a list of solutions and the corresponding archetypes. Each one can be upgraded or downgraded using an alembic (Mix ingredients menu). Upgrading solutions requires 3 of the same kind to produce one stronger solution, or each one can be reduced to 2 weaker solutions.
Each solution is associated with one elemental archetype (the middle-line archetype when analyzing a spell). Analyzing solutions with an alembic provides another source of XP in those archetypes, as well as some alchemy XP.
Depending on the tier of the solution being analyzed, XP is added to different archetype tiers. For example, Haelia and Goria solutions mostly grant XP to novice and apprentice levels of an archetype, and little XP in the higher levels. The stronger solutions, e.g. Adonai and Sila, grant high XP in all the archetype tiers including expert and master.
Analyzing solutions in bulk grants exponentially higher XP than analyzing them one at a time. For example, a single Haelia grants 4 XP in the novice tier, while 50 Haelia’s grant 3125 novice XP, instead of the expected 50*4=200 XP. So, to substantially increase the XP gain from solutions, it is worth amassing large quantities of them before analyzing them all at once.
Elixirs are not potions, as the name may suggest. They are in fact ingredients that can be used to craft potions. Elixirs are created from magical solutions in the Mix Ingredients menu of the alembic.
There are 6 tiers of elixirs based on potency: Dilute, Weak, Mild, Strong, Potent, Concentrated_. Each one is crafted from 3 different solutions of an equivalent tier. For example, a Mild elixir (rank 3) is crafted from three different Gravia solutions. Refer to the table of elixir recipes that I’ve added to the alchemy section of the cheat sheet.
Note: many of the elixir recipes will not appear in the alembic menu until you have at least one of the required solutions for the recipe.
Unlike standard ingredients, elixirs have 4 identical effects, which means that each elixir can be used to craft a single type of potion. Despite this limitation, some of the elixir types (e.g. potent, concentrated) are much stronger than standard ingredients, and can be used to craft much better potions. using the best standard ingredients, with a elixir will produce a potion 4 times stronger than the best and second best combined.
For example, the strongest “Fortify 1 hand” potion that can be made using standard ingredients (level 50 alchemy, both levels of Alchemical Lore perk, no gear or items), is a potion with +13% increase in 1H damage. If one of the ingredients is replaced with a Potent Elixir with the fortify 1 hand effect, the resulting potion will have +22% 1H damage; and if it’s replaced with a Concentrated Elixir, the potion will have +31% damage. That’s a significant improvement which gets even more pronounced at higher alchemy levels.
Elixirs can benefit any alchemist character who relies heavily on potions. Instead of using up all the available ingredients to craft standard potions, it may be worth saving some of them to dissolve into solutions, then mix the solutions to craft stronger ingredients (elixirs), and then craft stronger potions using the elixirs. The process is lengthy and more involved than simply using an alchemy table, but the end result could certainly justify the effort.
One drawback when working with elixirs is the naming convention. All elixirs of the same rank have identical names, regardless of flavor, e.g. a Dilute Elixir with the “Fortify 1 hand” effect has the same name as a Dilute Elixir with the Spell power effect – both are called just “Dilute Elixir”. And like standard ingredients, the elixir’s effect remains hidden until the player ‘discovers’ them either by consuming it, or by using it to make a potion. This means that when you first start mixing solutions with an alembic, you won’t be able to see what kind of an elixir you are producing.
Other Alembic recipes
The Mix Ingredients menu provides various other recipes for items such as inkwell, paper rolls, different kinds of salts (fire/frost/void), glow dust. The Elixir cheat sheet had the specific recipes if you prefer not to discover them yourselves.
For example, if you are short on paper rolls, you can make some by mixing a wood with one of these solutions Betayammis sa Haelia, Mer Garlas sa Haelia or Mora sa Haelia. for more info on how to produce these items, refer to the Alchemy tab of the cheat sheet.
Breaking down materials with an alembic or a cauldron
Ingredients, potions [v2.0], and enchanted artifacts can be dissolved into magical solutions.
The alembic can dissolve small quantities of materials - up to 0.5 units of weight at a time, e.g. a single potion, or 5 Blue Mountain flowers (0.1 each), or 25 Orange dartwings (0.02 each), etc.
A cauldron can break down large quantities of material including heavy items like enchanted artifacts. The downside of using a cauldron is that it is not very portable (100 weight), and it requires fuel to work. Most ingredients or poisons with a weakness effect, e.g. Arcane Disruption, Cryolysis, Electrolysis, Pyrolysis, Toxicity, can be used as fuel (see alchemy sheet for a list of fuels). Salt pies are an abundant source of fuel, found in many containers. With at least one perk in alchemy, crafted weakness poisons become more efficient at fueling the cauldron than raw ingredients like salt. For example, a Salt pie and a Creep cluster provide a total of 0.6 units of fuel, when used directly (Salt=0.2, Creep=0.4). However, if you first combine them into a poison (10% Arcane Disruption with alchemy 5 and one point in the base perk), it will provide 2.0 units of fuel which is higher than the original 0.6. In general, a poison with ‘X% weakness’ effect will provide [X/5] units of fuel, which goes up with alchemy level and perks, whereas the fuel from raw ingredients remains constant.
Note: Fuel is measured in units of material weight. For example, 2.0 units of fuel will dissolve 2.0 units (pounds) of material.
Item categories which can be broken down inside of a couldron include the following (N.B not all items in the catagory will produce results):-
- Misc Clutter Items
- Imbued bones, Enchanted weapon heads, Soul gem fragments
- Ores and ingots
- Animal Skins / Bones
Why and How to use Spell Research Elixirs
This Section was taken from the Wildlander Reddit Sub from a post written by Irondusk.
Disclaimer: I should mention I’m not actually using the modpack. I just make mods Dylan happens to like. So your effects may vary in the pack itself or with just Requiem.
So, let's walk through how my character made some potions. My character is an artificer, and so uses Bound Sword almost exclusively. A good potion for them would then be a Fortify One-Handed, Fortify Conjuration, and Fortify Stamina potion. It'd be hard to find the right ingredients for that, but I can make that potion relatively easily through this system.
First, I just experiment. I find some imbued and enchanted items in my journey, toss them into the cauldron, and see what I can make with the solutions that come out. I also make sure to use only 'Sa Haelia' solutions, as they're the weakest, and I won't lose much by experimenting with them.
I mix some elixirs, taste them, and see their effects. I might not get the exact effects I want, but I might get close. For example, instead of a Fortify Conjuration elixir, I found out I made a Fortify Destruction elixir.
SpoilerThe Destruction Elixir is made through Maluta Magicka, Mer Ayammis, and Agea solutions.
Okay, so I look through the Alembic, and see there's 4 other Dilute Elixirs colored Blue that require the exact same solutions. They must all be Fortify Magic Skill Elixirs! I make them and finally find which one is Fortify Conjuration.
I do the same with tracking down Fortify One Handed, and Fortify Stamina.
Now that I know how to make the effects I want, I need to find the materials to mass produce the solutions needed. To get some clues, I analyze the solutions needed for the effects:
Fortify Conjuration: Arcane Energy, Mortals, Magicka
Fortify One-Handed: Flesh, Mortals, Weapons
Fortify Stamina: Nature, Resistances, Stamina
Now that I know what the solutions mean, I can easily track down ingredients or clutter to produce them.
Magicka and Stamina solutions are relatively easy to make, as I can salvage weak or unusable Magicka and Stamina potions or poisons with my Alembic to produce those solutions.
Resistance solutions can likewise be made by salvaging weak or unusable Resistance Potions or Weakness Poisons. Or, I can always produce more of these with standard alchemy with the expressed purpose of turning them into solutions. Weakness to Poison is a very common effect, so I can make a few dozen of those poisons for this purpose.
Nature is also very easy to make, as any plant matter produces it. So I can dissolve some bushels of the several hundred mountain flowers I've collected.
The last 4: Flesh, Weapons, Mortals, and Arcane Energy, are a bit harder to get. They are common in the imbued/enchanted artifacts you find. Broken Weapons give Weapon Solutions, and Imbued Remains give Mortal essence, and occasionally Flesh essence depending on how...recent they were made. Arcane Energy is also a common secondary characteristic in these artifacts, particularly filled soul gem fragments. So, my character actually had a stockpile of these built up.
But, if I wanted to ensure I had an avenue of producing more of these elements, a bit more experimentation, and some common sense, would produce the ingredients I needed to focus on collecting:
Fish Ingredients and Troll Fat give Flesh solutions
Human Flesh, Hearts, and Skulls give Mortal solutions
Claws, Antlers, and Tusks give Weapon solutions
Hagraven Feathers and Claws, and Nirnroot give Arcane solutions</details>
Now that I have all the solutions, and know where to get more, I can concentrate them to make the Elixirs of the strength I want. Let's say I want to go for the 2nd Highest concentration. Those would be Potent Elixirs, and they require Adonai solutions.
If I was just making them all from Haelia solutions, it'd be a lot of work, as it takes 81 Haelia solutions to make one Adonai. But, I can be smart and use rarer but still plentiful ingredients to skip a few levels. For example, using Nightshade instead of Mountain Flowers produces Gravia (Tier 3) Nature solutions. Of which I only need 9 to make an Adonai. I can also make stronger Poisons of Weakness to Poison to make higher rank Resistance solutions, and stronger simple Magicka and Stamina potions to get higher Magicka and Stamina solutions.
After all the work, my character, with a +12% Alchemy Necklace, and +120% Potion magnitude from perks, produced a potion that gives:
+115% Damage with One Handed Weapons
+145% Duration to Conjuration Spells
+115 Points of Stamina.
And, now that I know how to acquire the ingredients for this potion, I can make a dozen more with relative ease. I'd say that's worth it, don't you think?