The Ultima series of computer role playing games uses a system of magic which works by stringing words of power together. This system is used starting from Ultima IV, which uses the runic alphabet listed below. One advantage of this is that one can quickly identify a spell with a couple of letters.

Ultima IV is lacking a couple of the runes; these were added in Ultima V.

These power words seem to be set in the language of the gargoyles, and related to the mantras for virtues. For instance, the gargoyle Beh Lem's name means "just one," and "Beh" is the mantra for justice.

A common staple of the game was the need for reagent in order for the spells to work. These were typically black pearl, Blood Moss, garlic, ginseng, mandrake root, Nightshade, and Spider's silk. Different spells would require different combinations.

Power Word Meaning Notes
An Negation
Bet Small
Corp Death
Des Down
Ex Freedom
Flam Fire
Frio Cold Added in Serpent Isle
Grav Energy / Field
Hur Wind
In Create
Jux Danger
Kal Invoke
Lor Light
Mani Healing
Nox Poison
Ort Magic
Por Movement
Quas Illusion
Rel Change
Sanct Protection
Tym Time
Uus Up
Vas Great
Wis Knowledge
Xen Creature
Ylem Matter
Zu Sleep

Sample spells[]

  • In Lor – "create light"
  • Vas Lor – "great light" or sunlight
  • An Sanct – "negate protection," or curse
  • Ort Por – "magic movement," or teleportation
  • Kal Xen Corp – "invoke creature of death" (A.K.A. summon daemon)
  • Vas Corp Bet Mani – the infamous Armageddon spell

Ultima VIII: Pagan[]

Ultima VIII: Pagan employed a different set of magic systems than that seen in prior installments of the series. Magic was divided into five schools, four of which were available to the player. Each school had a unique method of casting.

  • Necromancy — governed by the element of Earth. Spells in this school were cast by consuming a token magically prepared in advance from various reagents sealed in a bag. Necromantic spells generally involved communing or fighting with the undead or golems.
  • Theurgy — governed by the element of Air. Spells in this school were cast by using specific, non-consumed holy symbols and generally involved healing and wind-powered movement or manipulation.
  • Sorcery — governed by the element of Fire. Spells in this school were cast by consuming magically crafted tokens created from reagents and specific candles arranged on the points of a pentagram. Spells of this school generally dealt with manipulating fire and demons.
  • Tempestry — governed by the element of Water. Passed on via heredity among the Tempests, and not available to the player. Said to control the weather and the seas.
  • Thaumaturgy — a non-elemental school taught by a reclusive wizard. Spells were cast from a spellbook and consumed reagents, some of them also used by Sorcery and Necromancy.


In The Silver Seed, the expansion pack for Ultima VII: Part 2, the player could acquire the powerful Ring of Reagents which would allow him to cast any spell as if he had an unlimited supply of reagents.