A magic scroll is a roll of parchment charged with a particular spell or effect, from which a single casting can be made before it is consumed. Unlike spellbooks, scrolls may be used by anyone, regardless of their experience in the mystic arts.
Age of Darkness
Spell scrolls were the only way of casting spells in the earliest Age of Darkness, since magic had only recently been re-discovered and the magical arts were still in their infancy. Magic Shops sold these scrolls in Ultima I to the adventurer. Such scrolls also appeared in the time-warped Earth on Ultima II, only that shops sold them in bundles of five and they were only usable in dungeons.
By the time of Ultima III, magic had become mainstream again and scrolls fell out of favor.
Age of EnlightenmentAge of Enlightenment in Ultima V, magic scrolls varied by only a select handful of spells and were considered items of treasure, as shops did not sell them and they could only be found.
However, these scrolls never reached the popularity they had held in past times, since in Ultima VI, spells were purchased in the form of inert scrolls, which then had to be moved into the spellbook before they could be invoked. Direct casting from scrolls was impossible. Spell scrolls however did appear in functional form in Ultima Underworld.
Age of Armageddon
Spell scolls continued to hold little importance in Britannia in the Age of Armageddon, only appearing seldomly in Ultima Underworld II, although it showed the concept was known on other worlds as well.
On the Serpent Isle in Ultima VII Part Two, scrolls played a far more prominent and versatile role in shaping the magic system of lands. Not only could most spells be incidentally found in scroll form and used in the same fashion as previous appearances in Ultima V and the two Underworld chapters, they could also be permanently rendered within the spellbook and cast as normal by using the Transcribe spell. For a handful of conjurations, it was only by the latter method that they could be collected for repeated use.
Magic scrolls would go on to appear in Ultima IX, wherein they were consolidated as a crucial step in acquiring spells for the grimoire. These incantations first had to be found or purchased as scrolls, then transcribed into the spellbook by way of the Ritual of Binding. See Ultima IX Magic for specific details about this process.
Scrolls in Pagan
On the Guardian-controlled world of Pagan, several different kinds of magic scrolls existed that, when read, had different effects activating as soon as they were opened. Unfortunately, these could not be transcribed and added to the user's repertoire of existing spells. All of them were one-use, except the one for finding secret doors, which was special.
The following scrolls could be found on Pagan:
- Secret Door Scroll
- Trap Detection Scroll
- Trap Destruction Scroll
- Scroll of Healing
- Scroll of Invisibility
|“||Magic scrolls are simply spells written on fine vellum parchment with inks made from the reagents necessary for their casting. Other syllables are written to impart the power needed by the spell itself, thus rendering the scroll usable by anyone who reads it, regardless of their own magical ability. As such, scrolls are among the most dependable and reliable form of magic. Lady Hayden of the Lycaeum was gracious enough to supply a list of those spells which commonly appear in scroll form.|
|“|| I might also note that I have discovered scrolls engraved with spells in this new realm. I know that such spells can be cast directly from their scroll (rendering them subsequently useless, unfortunately), and I am investigating the possibility that they can be transcribed into my spell book for repeated use.|
|“|| In addition, enchanted, single-use scrolls that require no other components can also be used to cast spells. Most of the spells from the other forms of magic can be distilled to their basics and put into scrolls and books as well — by a Thaumaturge of sufficient skill, that is.|
|“|| During your travels, you may uncover articles of parchment covered in runic, the oldest language of Britannia. These scrolls contain magic of simple form, elegant application, or thunderous might.|
When you find a scroll for a spell unfamiliar to you, it is best to scribe it to your spellbook by performing a Ritual of Binding. Thus bonded, the spell is at your disposal in perpetuity, provided you have the mana to cast it. To bind such a spell, however, you must have its Circle of Magic open to you.
Through the clouded flows of ether, such is not now possible.