Alteration is one of the six schools of magic. Spells in this school change the world around the caster so normal physical truths no longer hold. It is sometimes confused with Illusion magic, as both schools seek to change normal truths. Illusion magic, however, is not bound by the laws of nature but Alteration magic is. The power of Alteration comes from the fact that the nature of its changes applies to all, whereas Illusion magic affects only the caster and the target.
The spells of the school seem to have originated with the Ayleids of southern Cyrodiil no later than the second century of the First Era, when they used them to resist the armies of Alessia as they swept across the continent. Their mastery of such spells extended the siege of the area around what would later be Bravil by some time. The usefulness of the school in the art of war was illustrated again at the end of the first era, when the Imperial forces used it to outwit Vivec by sending an entire army underneath Lake Coronati to take the city of Ald Marak. These military applications were evidently in the mind of Berevar Bero, an illusionist who, between late 3E 399 and 3E 426, made a speech that argued the School of Destruction should be merged into the School of Alteration.
Typically, the spells boil down into the following types: shielding, changing weights, water effects, actions on locks and movement through the air.
- There are two types of shield spell: one simply protects the caster from a proportion of physical damage, and the other does this but also adds extra protection against a particular elemental attack.
- Weight-changing magic can produce a "Feather" effect that reduces the weight of any items carried, or a "Burden" effect that increases their weight.
- The effects of alteration magic are among the most useful, with spells that allow the caster to breathe underwater or to walk on its surface. Also in this class is a spell that enabled the caster to swim more quickly, but this spell has fallen into disfavor, as the Fortify Speed spell from the college of Restoration is useful on land as well as water.
- Alteration magic can be used on locks, whether to open them or secure them.
- There are three alteration effects that change the caster's motion through the air. One greatly increases the power and range of leaps, making genuinely superhuman jumps possible. The second effect reduces the speed at which the target falls, eliminating all falling damage. The third effect is genuine levitation, allowing the spell's target to move freely through the air. These effects have all fallen afoul of the Levitation Act of 3E 421, and are no longer practiced.
- Glowlights can be summoned to provide a light source for the caster, or to illuminate a target.
|Jumping||Jump||Detect Life3||Detect Life|
|Water Breathing||Water Breathing||Water Breathing||Waterbreathing|
|Water Walking7||Water Walking||Water Walking||Waterwalking|
|Free Action||Cure Paralyzation1|
|Spell Drain8||Damage Fatigue9
|Spell Resistance10||Resist Magicka1|
1Moved into Restoration school
2The damage aspect form Morrowind's Shield spells was not seen in Oblivion, but reappeared in the Cloak spells in Skyrim
3Inherited from Mysticism school
4Inherited from Thaumaturgy school
5Inherited from Illusion school
6Moved into Illusion school in Morrowind, then back into Alteration in Skyrim
7Shared with Thaumaturgy school
8Shared with Destruction school
9Moved into Destruction school
10Shared with Restoration and Thaumaturgy schools
In addition to the flagship titles, other games have had effects in the Alteration school:
|Fire Shield||Disarm Trap(?)|
1This is in no way related to the Frenzy effect found in the Illusion school in Morrowind and later games
- Reality & Other Falsehoods
- Daughter of the Niben — Sathyr Longleat
- 2920, MidYear — Carlovac Townway
- Response to Bero's Speech — Malviser, Battlemage
- Mages Guild Charter