Skyrim Special Edition

About this mod

Years in the making, Arcanum is a massive spell mod that aims to combine unique gameplay with visual effects of a quality never attempted before in Skyrim. With 200 spells complete, 300+ spells planned, and inspired by everything from Dragon's Dogma to Planescape, Arcanum may be the most ambitious magic mod ever made.

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Illusion Update 3.8.2

An update that rebalances a lot of popular spells, and expands on the Arcane Archer archetype that had gotten support before, and was well received. 


Have you ever downloaded an exciting spell mod full of creative and interesting spells - only to find yourself spamming fireballs over and over again anyways? Or wished that all the amazing visuals from a mod like Colorful magic were actually incorporated into something lore-friendly and balanced?

Too often in Skyrim, magic turns into a chore. A finger-tapping exercise of using the same spells over and over again, with no room for creative combos or adaptation. Arcanum seeks to change that. Rather than being just a collection of overpowered lightning bolts, Arcanum is designed to be a journey of magical experimentation. Different schools of magic, and different styles within those schools, have been given unique identities and gameplay mechanics, that lend way to creative combos and synergy. As a mage player myself, the mod is made with full awareness of other popular magic mods in mind, and intended to be a lynchpin that can breathe new life into older spell mods, too. 

And, after years of experimentation, practice, and communication with some of the most prolific and talented artists and NIF wizards out there, Arcanum has some of the most unique and advanced visual effects of any Skyrim mod out there. Fully animated spinning tornadoes, giant crashing meteors and the ability to summon stars at will are only a handful of the powers at your disposal. Of course, powerful magic isn't easy - and many of these spells require arcane rituals or other setup to use effectively. It's up to you to figure out how to make the most of these spells. 

If you enjoy my mods, please consider supporting me on Patreon!

And Join my discord if you wanna offer feedback or suggestions!

Recent Updates


3.5 refines the roster of spells, removes redundancies and tries to create more interesting options that fit in with each school mechanically and thematically. To that end, a handful of old spells were moved to the reformulation desk, while others were added. Of particular interest to me is the spell Scapegoat, which is an idea I've had for a long time but only recently gotten to work properly, so I'm quite proud of that. As with the previous patches, 3.5 also brings ever more bugfixes and balance changes. Oh, and it comes in a compressed archive, too, so the mod is much smaller!

Probably requires a clean save to update. Lots of spells got moved around, some got deleted. Wouldn't use this on a save with previous arcanum spells. 


3.1a brings with it new spells and bugfixes, but the main focus is on making Arcanum more balanced. Arcanum is a lot more complex than most spell mods, and while it can be easy to balance a fireball or a lightning bolt, making the bizzare and strange spells in Arcanum balanced and fair can often be a challenge. Thanks to everyone who joined the discord for offering feedback and suggestions, their ideas were heavily taken into consideration. 

Notably, Reformulated spells have been... Reformulated. Now the recipes are standardized and reformulated spells are easier to create at lower ranks, and more Escritoires are placed around the world. 

Apprentice reformulated spells now always require two spell tomes and 1 lesser soul gem
Adept and expert reformulated spells now always require two spell tomes, one ingredient, and 1 common/greater soul gem
Master reformulated spells now always require two spell tomes, one flawless gem, and one grand soul gem

You can find the full list of balance changes in the changelogs section. 


When designing the destruction spells, I split the school into three distinct styles along the elements. Each has a different playstyle, strengths, weaknesses, and players may choose either to focus and go all in on one element, or use the others to help mitigate their element's weaknesses. All playstyles will be rewarded with unique combos and payoffs. 



How many spell mods have had restoration spells as just a bunch of uninventive heals and plague spells? Arcanum's take on restoration is different. You won't find any overpowered "Fast Healings" in here. God knows there's enough out there - and the vanilla spells aren't bad for healing yourself. No, Restoration in Arcanum takes a different approach. Turn your allies into gods as a battle cleric, protect the weak by sacrificing your own life, or become a dark doctor that turns healing itself into harm. To help guide my design, I divided Restoration into three sub-categories



Illusion always gets the short end of the stick in Vanilla, doesn't it? Fear, Frenzy, and Calm spells simply don't scale all that well, do very little against bosses or dragons or difficult enemies, and it's almost always something you ignore, or take for the occasional utility. Spell mods like Apocalypse go out of their way to ignore vanilla mechanics, and perk mods like Ordinator turn it into a mishmash of random stuff. I say, no more. There's real potential in Illusion. Arcanum gives renewed purpose to vanilla illusion spells with special synergies, and really lets you fulfill that fantasy of playing as a deadly, deceitful, mind mage. There's also plenty of spells that support spellthief, spellsword, and even magicka archer playstyles, and some mage characters might even find it more useful to spec into illusion than restoration, since it provides a lot of support functions and a teeny amount of healing. 


Spell List







How to Obtain

Most of the spells contained in this mod can be bought from vendors, and are seamlessly integrated into the leveled lists of magic merchants. 

Some spells can only be obtained through mini-quests and custom dungeons. I like leaving those a little secret, and I prefer you to go through blind but I'll upload a walkthrough on my Patreon. 

Reformulated Spells and Spell Crafting

Reformulated spells are a form of spell crafting I mostly envisioned to make more use out of the assets I developed, but quickly grew into something unique, and one of the most beloved features of Arcanum. It's a form of combining spell effects and visuals to create spells that are a fusion of other spells. This number is gradually growing, but can be considered a school in and of itself. Recent patches have made it more accessible at lower levels, so don't be afraid to buy some extra tomes and reformulate!

There are multiple stations spread out through skyrim, in Winterhold, in Whiterun, etc. Some locations may conflict with city overhaul mods and require a patch.


Arcanum should play nice with all other spell mods, perk overhauls, etc. Its specifically designed to work with things like spell charging, chaining, etc, or any other magic modifications you have installed. I might make my own perk mod one day, but that's off in the distance and would be a separate mod. 

Note that you shouldn't use mods to add spells directly from the mod. Add the spell tomes instead if you want to cheat. Not every spell is castable and 90% of the spells in the mod files aren't used, they're placeholders or designed to trigger some backend stuff that makes the real spells function. 

Future Plans

Alright. That was a lot of work. With major bugs and kinks ironed out, I'm going to take a short break, then get back to working on DDC. I guess at this rate my update schedule is once every 8 months, but I might make a minor patch to put in a handful of eldritch and vampire spells before going to Alteration or Conjuration. Assuming my graphics card survives that long. 

I've also started a Patreon for anyone interested in playing Beta versions, getting walkthroughs or hints for the quests and dungeons, or want to vote on the next school or suggest spells to put in. But mostly to replace this dying computer. Don't buy AMD, kids. 

Special Thanks

To billyro, to mikhail, and so many others for their help with resources. 
To Enaisaion for advice, and elysses for help with brainstorming nif structure
To Trainwiz, for his always relevant advice and scripting help.
To po3, for his excellent Rune meshes, and obsidian dawn for his textures
To Ricky from discord, who's been a great help with these screenshots. 

And numerous others.