Gluby's Comprehensive Guide
to Magicka and Spell Effect Mods

A guide to Morrowind mods affecting
Magicka availability, magic skills and general spell usage


Version 1.03 (Nov. 3, 2009)


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Contents

 


Introduction


This guide covers mods that make significant changes to the way magic works and is used in the game, and covers five rough categories of mods:

While none of these mods should be considered absolute requirements, they all do redress areas of the game that many consider poorly-implemented, and are generally considered improvements that make the game much more enjoyable and balanced.

 

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Magic Skill Gain Mods


Under the default skill gain system, a spell that costs one Magicka produces as much progress toward magic skill gain as a spell that costs one hundred, two hundred or more. Many consider this a flaw, on both logical grounds and gameplay grounds.

This section contain mods that alter how the game handles magic skill gain from spellcasting by making it so casting more powerful spells results in proportionately more progress in the relevant magic skill. All of them involve somewhat complex workarounds as a result of some limitations of the game engine. (For more information, see What's so wrong with the game's magic skill gain system? in the FAQ at the end of this document.)

There are three mods that provide this functionality: (1) one that uses Aerelorn's Morrowind Enhanced (MWE) to circumvent the game engine limitation, (2) one that renders it irrelevant by using Galsiah's Character Development (GCD), and (3) one that can work as a standalone mod but uses a somewhat-awkward way of implementing magic skill gains. Obviously, you will want to consider whether you intend to use MWE or GCD (see the guide on Character Development mods about the latter) before deciding which of these mods you wish to use. Each has particular advantages and disadvantages, but many who have tried them find the improvement in quality of game experience well worth the effort, and some simply will not play without them.

Compatibility Note: Note that these mods are fully compatible with Magicka regeneration mods, though they may occasionally register a slightly-lesser-magnitude spellcasting (on the order of a Magicka point or two) because of the simultaneous regeneration of that amount. The occasional inaccuracy is insignificant and will have no appreciable effect on play or skill development.

The following chart provides a rough summary of the advantages, disadvantages and requirements of each:

 

Magic Skill Gain Mods Summary

Mod

Requirements

Spellcasting Cost Reduction? ‡

Other Limitations

Azrael's Magicka Based Spell Advancement v1.0a MWE Included Some users have had trouble using MWE with other extenders like MWSE and MGE (though many use both together with no problems).
PirateLord's Improved Skilled Magicka GCD required for mod's skill gains to count for leveling Not included Designed to work alongside GCD. Without GCD, its magic skill gains do not count for purposes of leveling and attribute gain.
HotFusion's Magicka Based Skill Progression v2.1 None Included

Skillbook method awkward in play; likely incompatibility with mods that remove skill caps.

‡ See the entry for Aragon's Spell Casting Cost Reduction v3.0, listed below, for a full explanation of this feature.

 

Magicka Based Spell Advancement v1.0a [Azrael]: The most full-featured mod of its type, and the one that offers the least divergence from the game's base skill gain system, Magicka Based Spell Advancement allows for Magicka-based magic skill progress by using the advanced functionality provided in Morrowind Enhanced (MWE) to measure the amount of Magicka used in casting a spell and then apply a resulting bonus (if any) directly to the skill progress counter for the appropriate magic skill. By applying the bonus the same way the base game engine does, the mod is able to work within the game's built-in skill progress system, instead of having to circumvent and replace it.

The mod also makes it so the Magicka costs of spells are progressively reduced as the player character's skill in the relevant magic skill increases, thus making highly-skilled mages more formidable, and consequently making magic-specialized characters more playable. The mod does this by incorporating Horatio's Spellcasting Mod v1.2 into the mod in such a way that the two mods, which were formerly incompatible, are merged into the same script and allow for the player to have both functions.

The mod has three difficulty settings, allowing for more or less skill progress progression from Magicka spent. [Dec. 2005. Requires Morrowind Enhanced (MWE) v1.6.]

Technical Notes: The mod is reportedly compatible with Galsiah's Character Development. It is incompatible with the spells portion of Morrowind Sound Enhancement, as it does not check for the new spellcasting sounds. It is incompatible with Aragon's Spell Casting Cost Reduction v3.0, since it fulfills the same function. The mod has been reported encounter occasional minor inaccuracies in skill progress when used with mods and/or items that grant Magicka regeneration, as described in the note above. Both of these issues, according to those reporting them, can be fairly easily patched by a knowledgeable modder; see Heckur's and Eisenfaust's comments in the mod's PES download page.

For alternative spellcasting cost reduction mods, see the corresponding section, below.

Improved Skilled Magicka v1 [PirateLord]: Augments the game's built-in skill progress system for magic skills with its own separate system that tracks Magicka usage in each of the different spellcasting skills, providing in each skill gain based on difficulty and Magicka. It does not replace the game's base system — the game engine also tracks magic skill progress and yields skill gains according to its standard methodology; ISM provides a second system tracking a different aspect of spellcasting, balanced to work in combination with the base system to provide a mildly improved rate of improvement overall, with a more substantial improvement in low-frequency, high-cost areas like Conjuration.

The mod is designed to work alongside Galsiah's Character Development (GCD), which allows the augmented magic skill progress provided by the mod to count for leveling and attribute gain purposes. It can be used without GCD, but a portion of magic skill gains will not be counted for purposes of leveling and attribute gain multipliers, and this may result in lower maximum player level and attributes. The mod provides a book in the Census and Excise Office that allows the player to check current levels of magic skill improvement progress. [Aug. 2005. Does not strictly require GCD, but is recommended to be used with it for the reasons described above.]

Magicka Based Skill Progression v2.1 [HotFusion]: Replaces the game's built-in skill progress system for magic skills, but it uses the in-game functionality used for skill books (books which grant a skill increase when read) to trigger skill gains from spellcasting, thereby allowing its skill gains to count for leveling attribute multipliers.

Like Azrael's mod, above, it also incorporates Horatio's Casting2 mod, thus also providing spellcasting cost reduction for high magic skill level.

The mod is very specifically designed to adhere to the skill gain pacing of vanilla Morrowind, using the same formula Bethesda uses. Under HotFusion's system, 15-point spells are the default measure of one casting. A spell that costs 30 Magicka will provide twice the skill gain progress for one spellcasting in the default system, but a 10-point spell will provide less: 66.66%. Thus, the player has a specific incentive not only to cast higher-powered spells, but to avoid the use of the lower-powered ones.

Because of the skillbook skill-increase methodology used by the mod, it is unable to raise magic skills above 100, and therefore will not cooperate well with mods that remove skill caps. [Jan. 2006.]

 

 

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Magicka Regeneration Mods


By default, the character's reserve of magic power, Magicka (known as spell points or mana in other games), does not regenerate except when the player is resting. Other than resting, Magicka is only recovered by drinking Restore Magicka potions and by Absorption spells.

Given that many players find mages already woefully underpowered in vanilla Morrowind when compared to warrior-type characters, this makes playing a magic-focused character somewhat frustrating for many. Consequently, a number of mods have been released that made it so Magicka regenerates over time. Opinions differ on the matter; some consider it cheating, but the preponderance of opinion seems to be that, rather than imbalance the game, Magicka regeneration redresses an already-existing imbalance in the vanilla game, and makes magic-focused characters far more playable.

Either way, Bethesda indirectly weighed in on the issue in its release of TES IV: Oblivion, which incorporates Magicka regeneration into the game in a way very similar to that of several of the Morrowind mods listed herein. And, since Oblivion's release, several mods have been released that bring its specific Magicka regeneration system into Morrowind.

The mods vary in speed of regeneration, what factors are considered in their recovery formulae, the overall speed of Magicka recovery, and other respects, and much of it will be largely a matter of preference. However, there are three major characteristics that bear some explanation:

Flat and Dynamic Rates: While all Magicka regeneration mods differ in how they go about determining the rate of regeneration, all can be described as using either a flat rate or a dynamic rate. A "flat rate" means an absolute rate that does not change according to the character's maximum Magicka, expressed as a simple amount of Magicka per time interval (say, a rate of one Magicka per second). A "dynamic rate" means a proportional rate expressed as a percentage of maximum Magicka (say, a rate of 1.2% per second). A flat rate of 1 Magicka/second for a character with 200 Magicka comes out to 1 Magicka/second, while a dynamic rate of 1% per second for the same character comes out to 2 Magicka/second. Whether a mod uses a flat or a dynamic rate is indicated in main text of each entry on the summary chart below.

Compatibility with Custom Races and Birthsigns: A handful of the Magicka regeneration mods that use dynamically-determined regeneration rates use a hard-coded formula for determining what the character's maximum Magicka is, and may not recognize bonuses to maximum Magicka granted by custom race, birthsign and other mods. If used in combination with these sorts of mods, they may yield inaccurate (generally lower) rates of Magicka regeneration than they would otherwise, though they will work fine in other respects. See the explanation in the FAQ for a full explanation. This is indicated in the far-right column on the summary chart below.

Note on Atronach Characters: Characters born under the Atronach birthsign get a hefty boost to their maximum Magicka, but do not recover Magicka normally by resting. Not all mods take this into account. Those mods that do not are imbalancing in favor of Atronach characters if used with them (in other words, they're effectively cheats when used that way). Most Magicka regeneration mods check for Atronach characters, though there are a few that do not; they are so noted in their descriptions and in the summary chart below.

 

Magicka Regeneration Mods Summary

Mod

Author

Magicka Regeneration Mechanic

Atronach Recognized?

Custom Birthsigns, Races, etc. Accommodated?

Mana Regen v1.3

Fukuro Flat rate of 1 Magicka per 1-10 seconds determined by Willpower; no recovery if Willpower is less than 10 ‡‡‡ Yes Yes

Magicka Regenerate v2.0

Aragon Flat rate of 1 Magicka per 1-10 seconds determined by average of Intelligence and Willpower; no recovery if Willpower is less than 10 Yes Yes

Adjustable Magicka Regen (Fair Magicka Regen)

GlassBoy Flat rate of 0.1% - 1.0% of maximum Magicka per second, determined by Willpower; alternate plugins with slower rates included No

No

Fair Magicka Regen, WGI version

BTB As base version, but modified to be compatible with WGI's changes No

WGI only

Fair Magicka Regen v2.0b

Smoke As base version, but modified to recognize maximum Magicka changes from spells, potions, custom races, custom birthsigns, and so forth; also modified to recognize Atronach characters Yes

Yes

Dynamic Magicka Regeneration v2.0

Duncan Slow dynamic rate in 60-second intervals, dynamically determined by the character's relevant attributes, certain magic skills, and current physical and Magicka state, tending to producing full recovery from 0 Magicka in 4 to 5 game hours or more, but significantly faster than default recovery rate while resting Yes

Yes

Dynamic Magicka Regeneration v2.1

Greevar As base version, but modified to add a leveled bonus giving high-level characters a progressively increasing recovery rate ‡‡‡ Yes

Yes

Amulet of Magicka Regeneration v1.0

Duncan As base version, but attaches the Magicka regeneration script to an amulet that can be worn, activating the script, or removed, deactivating it Yes

Yes

Aprogas' Magicka Regenerate

Jasper Jongmans Flat rate of 0.1 to 0.5 Magicka per second determined by Willpower attribute; only characters with Willpower 50 or higher regenerate Magicka No

Yes

Magick Oblivion Regeneration v1.4

kiasyd Dynamic rate of 0.1% - 1.0% of maximum Magicka per second, determined by Willpower and two other constants that can be adjusted via an in-game control panel Yes

Some

Magicka Regeneration v1.1

giu1 Flat rate of 0 to 3 Magicka per 2 seconds, determined by Willpower and Intelligence No

Yes

Oblivionized Magicka Regeneration v1.22

andylam222

Dynamic rate of 0.1% - 1.0% of maximum Magicka per second, determined by Willpower and two other constants that can be adjusted via an in-game control panel ‡‡‡

Yes

Yes

Advanced Magicka Regen Plugin Hybrid v1.2

LennartSchultz12

Dynamic percentage of maximum Magicka recovery per second at a highly-configurable rate producing full recovery in 15 minutes by author's recommendation, but optionally taking as short as 1 minute and as long as 120 minutes; leveled bonus to Magicka

No

Yes

Tyrthyllanos Magicka Regen v1.0 Tyrthyllanos Flat rate of 0.1 to 3.0 Magicka per 3 or 6 seconds, primarily determined by Willpower but influenced by Intelligence and all magic skills; offers improved handling of regeneration during sleep Yes Yes
Magicka Regen v1.0 (Percentage) Assman Dynamic rate of 0.5%, 1.0%, 2.0% or 5.0% of maximum Magicka per second, depending on which plugin is selected; other rates can be obtained via a simple constant easily-modified in a mod editor No Yes
Magicka Regen v1.1 (Willpower) Assman Flat rate of 0.1 to 2.0 (or more) Magicka per 5 seconds, determined by Willpower; rate can go higher with fortified or uncapped Willpower higher than 100 ‡‡‡ Yes Yes
Galsiah's Character Development v1.08 Galsiah Flat rate determined by Willpower and all other magical skills, with their initial values being taken into account; can be disabled in order to use a different Magicka regen mode (pending better description of the rough rate that can be expected) Yes Yes

Regional Mana v2.0

Wildman Designates various regions as low- or high-magic areas, and optionally increases or decreases rate of Magicka recovery (and possibly drains it) depending on the magic level of a region ‡‡‡ Yes

Yes

Magicka Regen for NPC's v2.0 Kalamestari_69 NPC-only Magicka regeneration at a rate of 2-3 per second (see description) N/A N/A

Inflexible Hard-Coded Regeneration Formula: This mod uses its own hard-coded determination of maximum Magicka for purposes of regeneration rate that make it likely to come up with an inaccurate (usually lower) rate when used with mods that change or add birthsigns, races and other factors that grant or modify Magicka multipliers.

†† Flexible Hard-Coded Regeneration Formula: This mod uses its own hard-coded determinations of maximum Magicka for purposes of regeneration rate similar to those of the kind noted above, but of a more flexible type that may still recognize Magicka multipliers from some changed or custom races, birthsigns and other factors.

‡‡‡ Cautionary Note: This mod contains errant GMSTs or dirty refs, alters the Main game script, or is problematic in some way that warrants precautions in using it; read the entry for the mod, below, for further information.

 

Mana Regen v1.3 [__c4.ep and LanceVorgin, fixed by Fukuro]: The original Magicka regeneration mod, Mana Regen runs a simple global script that regenerates Magicka at a rate determined by the character's Willpower, amounting to between one to ten seconds per point of Magicka recovered (and no recovery if Willpower is below 10). The mod checks for Atronach characters, who do not receive the benefit of Magicka regeneration. [Aug. 2002. This mod alters the Main game script, which is generally considered a bad practice and poses a high risk of conflicts; see the FAQ for more information.]

Magicka Regenerate v2.0 [Aragon]: Based on Fukuro's Mana Regen but rewritten from scratch, Aragon's mod uses a simple global script that regenerates Magicka by one point every 1-10 seconds, depending on Willpower and Intelligence. The mod checks for Atronach characters, who do not receive the benefit of Magicka regeneration. [Mar. 2003. Alternate download at author's web site.]

Adjustable Magicka Regen [GlassBoy]: Formerly known as Fair Magicka Regen, but rewritten to be more efficient and consume less CPU time. A development of Fukuro's Mana Regen, GlassBoy's variant seeks to make Magicka regeneration more smooth and fair. Under the mod, Magicka is restored by a percentage (determined by Willpower) of 1% of its its maximum value every second, such that, at the default setting, a character with 100 Willpower will recover 1% Magicka per second. This amounts to full recovery from 0 to maximum in 100 seconds. For example, with a Willpower of 50 and a maximum Magicka of 100, the amount recovered will be 50% of 1% of 100, or 0.5 Magicka per second, and it will take 200 seconds for full recovery from 0.

In addition to the base version, three other versions with slower regeneration rates are provided, allowing for lower base percentages (0.5%, 0.25%, or 0.10%) that result in full recovery with 50 Willpower taking 400, 800 or 2,000 seconds, if preferred.

However, note that the mod uses an inflexible hard-coded formula for determining maximum Magicka, and will not recognize bonuses to maximum Magicka conferred by custom races, birthsigns and other factors, when determining the regeneration rate. [Aug. 2003. This version supersedes the version hosted at PES, Fair Magicka Regen, which is obsolete and contains a minor dirty ref.]

Fair Magicka Regen WGI version [GlassBoy, ed. BTB]: A modified version of GlassBoy's Adjustable Magicka Regen that updates its hard-coded formula to specifically recognize the changes to races, birthsigns and other factors made in Wakim's Game Improvements (WGI). [Dec. 2008. Note that the revising author uses the older name for this mod, but the base version he modified is GlassBoy's revised Adjustable Magicka Regen version.]

Fair Magicka Regen v2.0b [GlassBoy, ed. Smoke]: A major update of GlassBoy's Fair Magicka Regen that allows it to work with any race, birth sign, Magicka fortification effect, or other sort of mod that changes or grants Magicka multipliers by checking the character's actual maximum Magicka value itself, rather than merely going by its own calculations of what it should be. The mod takes any amount above that which GlassBoy's base scripting recognizes, and incorporates it into the regeneration formula as a generally-recognized bonus. It thereby gives an accurate regeneration rate that is not dependent upon its specific recognition of whatever birthsign, race and other effects the character may be under. Smoke's update also updates the mod to check for Atronach characters, ensuring that they do not regenerate Magicka. Otherwise, it is similar to GlassBoy's Adjustable Magicka Regen. [Feb. 2006.]

Dynamic Magicka Regeneration v2.0 [Duncan]: A Magicka regeneration mod aimed at a much slower rate of regeneration (hours instead of minutes) than other similar mods. It features a more complex Magicka regeneration script under which Magicka regenerates once per 60 seconds, at a rate that dynamically changes as a function of Intelligence, Willpower, Restoration skill, Mysticism skill, and maximum Magicka, further modified by the current state of the character's current Magicka, Fatigue, and Health stats. In other words, characters at low levels of health, fatigue or Magicka will experienced dramatically slower rates than when only somewhat depleted.

In practice, according to the examples given in the readme, recovery of Magicka from 0% to 100% will take an otherwise-healthy character with 50 in all relevant attributes and magic skills approximately 5 hours and 14 minutes of game time, with regeneration starting out slowly and becoming more rapid as the character's Magicka reserves recover. For a character with an ideal 100 in all relevant stats, the time decreases to 4 hours and 16 minutes. However, if Health or Fatigue are at 50%, the time to regenerate is doubled; if both are at 50%, the time is quadrupled. If either is 0%, neither is regenerated. (Of course, the rate will normalize as Health and Fatigue themselves recover.)

Thus, under the mod, regeneration in useful amounts is still more likely to take place while resting (the examples given taking around 4 to 5 hours of rest time), but resting yields significantly faster Magicka recovery under the mod than it does under the game's default mechanic.

The mod checks for Atronach characters, in which case Magicka does not regenerate. [Apr. 2003. See also Duncan's Amulet of Magicka Regeneration v1.0, below, which confers the same effect via an equippable object.]

Dynamic Magicka Regeneration v2.1 [Duncan, ed. Greevar]: A tweak of Duncan's regeneration script that adds a leveled bonus the regeneration rate, allowing higher-level characters to regenerate Magicka faster. Otherwise, it is as version 2.0 above. [Oct. 2004. Dirty GMSTs present in plugin for non-Tribunal version and must be cleaned before use.]

Amulet of Magicka Regeneration v1.0 [Duncan]: Adds an amulet to the game that gives the same effect as in Duncan's Dynamic Magicka Regeneration when worn. [Sep. 2002.]

Aprogas' Magicka Regenerate [Jasper Jongmans]: Another of the earlier Magicka regeneration script mods that seeks to make mages more competitive and magic more useful in the higher levels by making it so characters with a Willpower attribute of 50 or higher will regenerate Magicka, thus giving developed mages a bit more of an edge. Regeneration occurs at a variable rate going from 0.1 per second at 60 Willpower, on up to 0.5 per second at 100 Willpower. The mod does not check for Atronach characters. [Oct. 2002.]

Magick Oblivion Regeneration v1.4 [kiasyd]: A more recent Magicka regeneration mod that employs the same dynamic regeneration formula used in Oblivion (which is, in turn, is strikingly similar to that used in the line of Magicka regeneration mods based on Fukura's Mana Regen).

The mod uses Willpower to determine what fraction of 1% of Magicka is recovered per second, resulting in a set time to recover 100% Magicka; a character with 100 Magicka and 100 Willpower will recover 2.75 Magicka per second, while a character with 50 Magicka and 50 Willpower will recover at a rate of 0.875 per second. If slower rates are preferred, the mod includes a control panel, accessible in-game, that allows the player to choose different base rates of regeneration. The mod checks for Atronach characters, for whom it does not regenerate Magicka.

The mod uses a hard-coded formula for determining the regeneration rate, but it does so in a more flexible way that can recognize custom race and birthsign Magicka bonuses as long as they use one one of the three generic Magicka multiplier bonus effects (5, 10 and 15). Other than that, it only detects specifically for Fay and Elfborn birthsign abilities. Any effects or modifications that do not fall into one of those three multiplier bonus categories (for example, one that increases it by 20, or that uses some other method) will not be detected by this mod. [Apr. 2008.]

Magicka Regeneration v1.1 [giu1]: A very simple and lightweight Magicka regeneration mod intended to make Magicka regenerate at a rate "slower than in Oblivion, but more realistic." Regeneration occurs at a rate of up to three Magicka points every two seconds dependent on Willpower and Intelligence. A character with 50 Intelligence and 50 Willpower will recover 1.5 Magicka every two seconds (0.75 Magicka per second), while a character with only 20 in the relevant attributes will recover 0.6 every two seconds (0.3 per second). It does not check for Atronach characters. [Jan. 2007. Naked ESP download; not in a ZIP or other archive file. No readme included.]

Oblivionized Magicka Regeneration v1.22 [andylam222]: Another mod that incorporates Oblivion's dynamic Magicka regeneration system into Morrowind (see the description for kiasyd's Magick Oblivion Regeneration v1.4, above). It includes a check for whether the player is of the Atronach birth sign, in which case Magicka does not regenerate. [Jul. 2009. Naked ESP download; not in a ZIP or other archive file. No readme included. Caution: This mod is not recommended for use in its current state, as it has several problems that, taken together, are fairly serious. Specifically, it alters the game's Main script to start the mod's Magicka_Regeneration script (see the FAQ), even though it also uses a StartScript. It replaces the game's Startup script with an apparent unnecessary duplicate, which is effectively a dirty ref that can cause problems with other mods. And, finally, it contains a full slate of dirty GMSTs. These problems should all be fixed before this mod is used.]

Advanced Magicka Regen Plugin Hybrid v1.2 [LennartSchultz12]: A highly-configurablee two-part mod does two things: (1) it makes it so maximum Magicka increases each level by a certain percentage of maximum Magicka (as determined by the game's computations of Intelligence and Magicka multipliers), and (2) it optionally allows for Magicka regeneration at a configurable dynamic per-second rate ranging from one minute for full Magicka recovery to 120 minutes, with many options inbetween (1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 15, 30, 45, 60, 90 and 120; the author recommends 15). There is also a selection for "Infinite Magicka," which could be used as a cheat, but is only an option. The mod implements Magicka regeneration primarily via the use of a script that applies a constant-effect Restore Magicka spell effect on the character. It does not check for Atronach characters. [Apr. 2005. Author states mod is compatible with Mephisto's Cap Remover and all other regeneration mods.]

This mod is also listed under the Magicka Attribute Leveling Mods section.

Tyrthyllanos Magicka Regen v1.0 [Tyrthyllanos]: One of the most recent of the Magicka regeneration mods, Tyrthyllanos's entry provides Magicka regeneration at a flat rate every three seconds (one "tick") determined by the sum of the character's Willpower, Intelligence, and all the character's magic skills, with Willpower weighted six times heavier than the others. The rate yielded for a character with 50 in Willpower, Intelligence, and all other magic-oriented skills (including Alchemy) will be 0.75 Magicka per tick. A character with all relevant scores at 100 will regenerate at 1.5 Magicka per tick, and the mod allows for up to 3.0 per tick with high levels of attribute fortification.

The mod includes a separate scripting subroutine which handles Magicka regeneration differently during sleep to control for distortions that occur when different timescales are set. It includes an optional variant plugin for slower regeneration that increases the time interval per tick to six seconds instead of three. The mod checks for Atronach characters and ends itself when one is detected, a slightly more efficient method than simply continuing to idle in the background, as is done by most other Magicka regeneration mods. [Sep. 2009.]

Magicka Regen v1.0 (Percentage) [Assman]: One of two recent Magicka regeneration mods by Assman, this mod regenerates Magicka at a simple dynamic rate, depending on which of four provided variant plugins is used, of 0.1%, 0.5%, 1.0%, 2.0%, or 5.0% of maximum Magicka per second. The regeneration script maintains its own calculations of what the player character's maximum Magicka should be by checking current Intelligence and applying a Magicka multiplier determined, the first time it is run, by measuring the ratio of the player's maximum Magicka to the normal amount resulting from her Intelligence attribute.

In addition to providing four variant plugins allowing for differing rates of regeneration, the mod author also provides quick instructions for modifying the script to provide a different preferred percentage rate. The mod cannot detect later in-game changes to a character's Magicka multiplier (for example, if a race or birthsign mod altering it is swapped into a running game), though the author also provides instructions on how to fix the problem. The mod checks for Atronach characters, in which case Magicka does not regenerate. [Sep. 2009. Contains all 72 errant GMSTs; remove before use.]

Magicka Regen v1.1 (Willpower) [Assman]: One of two recent Magicka regeneration mods by Assman, this one running an extremely simple and lean script that regenerates Magicka at a relatively slow rate of 2% of Willpower per five seconds, resulting in a rate of 1.0 Magicka per five-second "tick," or 0.2 per second, for a character with a 50 in Willpower. There is no cap, so characters with high levels of Willpower fortification can see significantly higher rates of Magicka recovery. The mod checks for Atronach characters, in which case Magicka does not regenerate. [Sep. 2009.]

Galsiah's Character Development (GCD) v1.08 [Galsiah]: A complete alternative attribute gain system, fully covered in the Comprehensive Guide to Character Development Mods, but included herein because it includes Magicka regeneration scripts that run by default, but can be disabled by following instructions provided in the readme. GCD provides a flat regeneration rate determined by a complex formula that takes into account Willpower, the current level of all magic skills, and what the character's initial values were for all magic skills. [Oct. 2005.]

Regional Mana v2.0 [Wildman]: Not strictly a "Magicka regeneration" mod in same sense as the other mods in this category, this mod, in part, offers something akin to it. The mod has two separate plugins. The first, Regional Mana, makes it so some geographical regions have their own level of ambient magic; in high-magic areas make spellcasting is easier, the player's Magicka is increased, and spells are more difficult to resist. Low-magic areas have the opposite effect in each case. Some areas, and all interiors, are normal, having the effects of neither high- nor low-magic.

The second plugin, Regional Mana Regen, makes it so the character's Magicka regenerates (or drains) according to the region's ambient magic level, and the weather (rain, snow and thunderstorms increase the rate, while ash storms, blight storms and blizzards drain Magicka drain Magicka). The mod's Magicka regeneration scripts for high-magic areas do check for Atronach characters, who do not receive the benefit of that area's Magicka regeneration. [Jul. 2006.]

Magicka Regen for NPC's v2.0 [Kalamestari_69]: Makes it so all NPCs of the standard races regenerate Magicka at a rate of 2 to 4 per second, depending on the race. It does this by changing all races to include a constant-effect NPC Magicka Regeneration ability, and running a small script that removes this ability from the player.

To be clear, the mod does not affect the player character, as is therefore quite compatible with the rest of the mods in this category that do so. However, it does conflict with mods that make changes to character races, though the conflict is easily resoluble by performing an objects merge with TESTool.

The mod contains a dialogue option, "zero magicka regen," that can be used to remove the Magicka regeneration ability from companions. This allows the mod to avoid running afoul of the Morrowind game engine bug that reapplies a power every time the NPC changes cells, eventually wrapping ("flipping over" into the negative) when it reaches the maximum (e.g., a Health regen ability gets doubled, tripled, quadrupled, and so on, until it hits the maximum, when it suddenly wraps to the lowest possible negative value and becomes a monstrous Health drain that likely kills the companion instantly). It also allows it to remain compatible with companions that have their own scripted Magicka regeneration. So, though it is not as deadly as the Health regen example, be sure to use this dialogue option on companions to avoid this bug.

The mod comes in a number of variants to provide support for Qebehsenuf's Immersive Chargen, Wakim's Game Improvements, and the author's own alteration of the races to have Oblivion-like racial abilities. As noted above, it will not work for custom races, though this could be quickly and easily fixed by adding the ability to the custom race in the CS. [Oct. 2009. Alternate download here.]

 

 

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Spellcasting Cost Reduction and Other Mods Affecting Magicka Availability


As noted above, many find the game frustratingly difficult to play as a mage, given that the amount of Magicka required for the simplest of magic combats can drain most or all of one's reserves, requiring either excessively-frequent resting or constant use of Magicka potions. It can be crippling and limiting, as the player often has no choice but to return to town far sooner than planned.

While the mods in the Magicka Regeneration category seek to redress the balance by making Magicka recovery quicker, the mods in this category seek to do so by other means, such as granting spellcasters increasing reductions in spellcasting cost as their skill in the relevant magic skills improve, or simply making Magicka potions more available.

The use of these mods along with a Magicka regeneration mod simultaneously is quite possible without imbalancing or spoiling the challenge of the game, by many accounts, but such a combination might be unbalancing if done with one of the faster-regenerating mods (or, if using one of the adjustable mods, at their faster settings). It should go without saying that spellcasting cost reduction mods are incompatible with each other.

Spell Casting Cost Reduction v3.0 [Aragon]: Reduces the casting cost of spells based on skill level in the corresponding magic school, as done in Bethesda's TES2: Daggerfall, in order to improve the playability of spellcasting-focused characters, which in the unmodified game is generally considered overly difficult and imbalanced. Cost can be reduced by up to 50%, and reduction begins at skill level 20. Based on Horatio's Horatio Spellcasting Mod v1.2 mod, but is a complete rewrite that corrects bugs in Horatio's scripts. [Mar. 2004. Alternate download at author's web site. Dirty GMSTs present in both plugins and must be removed before use.]

Magicka Based Spell Advancement v1.0a [Azrael]: Also listed above in the Magic Skill Gain Mods section, this mod incorporates Horatio's Spellcasting Mod v1.2 into its own scripts in a way that the two mods, which were formerly incompatible, are merged into the same script and allow for the player to have both spellcasting cost reduction and magic skill development based on the Magicka cost of spells cast. [Dec. 2005. Requires Morrowind Enhanced (MWE) v1.6.]

See the main entry for Azrael's Magicka Based Spell Advancement v1.0a, above in the Magic Skill Gain Mods section, for a full description.

Spellcasting Mod v1.2 [Horatio]: A revision of Eldar's Mana Cost that reduces spellcasting Magicka cost based on the character's level of magic skill in the corresponding school of magic. The mod comes in two variants, each providing a different method of calculating the reduction at each skill level: one that provides a reduction that increases in a linear progression amounting to 9% per 10 skill points (and thus, for example, 40 skill providing a 36% reduction), and one that provides a reduction curve that improves at a progressively increasing rate based on the square of the relevant magic skill (10 skill providing 1% reduction, 40 skill providing 14% reduction, 70 providing 44%, and 90 providing 73%). In either case, the maximum reduction is 90%. [Dec. 2002.]

Mana Cost v1.0 [Eldar]: The original spellcasting cost reduction mod, Eldar's Mana Cost was designed to reintroduce the magic system used in TES 2: Daggerfall into Morrowind. Eldar's Mana Cost reduces the Magicka cost of spells according to the character's overall magic skills as determined by her six magic skills. The mod takes the total of the six magic skills and divides it by 600, mutliplies the result by a constant of 0.9, and returns that much Magicka to the player when a spell is cast.

Under this formula, the maximum possible rate of reduction is 90% for a character with 100 in all magic skills. A character with, for example, a score of 40 in two magic skills, 20 in two others, and 0 in the remaining two (for a total of 120 total magic skill), who casts a 50-Magicka spell, will only spend 41 Magicka to cast it (120 divided by 600 is 0.2, multiplied by the constant of 0.9, coming out to 18% casting cost reduction). An intermediate-level skilled mage character with 50 in all magic skills will have a reduction of 45%, and a highly-skilled character with 80 in all magic skills will have 72%, up to a total maximum possible reduction of 90%.

The mod requires the character to travel to Balmora for the script to be activated. [Nov. 2002. One poster at the mod download page reports a possible error in the mod's scripting, but this is unconfirmed and may be due to mod conflicts or other issues. Note that this mod may not play well with skill cap remover mods, as magic skill totals exceeding 600 could actually produce the absurd result of the character gaining Magicka by spellcasting.]

Leveled Magicka v1.1 [hessi9]: A relatively simple mod that makes it so the character's maximum Magicka increases by 4% every level, making magic-specializing characters more playable at higher levels. [Sep. 2003. No readme file included.]

Nymeria's Magicka Potions Adder [Nymeria]: Adds magicka potions to most Mages Guilds, apothecaries and alchemists, to redress the low availability of such potions for mage characters, who are, after all, dependent upon heavy magic-use. [May 2004. As always with mods that modify merchants, watch for possible conflicts with mods that modify those same merchants.]

 

 

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Other Mods Affecting Spell Use and Spell Effects


This is the catch-all category for the rest of the more game-impacting mods affecting spell use and spell effects. Not all such mods are listed herein, as there are many, many of which are niche and special-interest mods. I focus here on mods that tend to be of more general interest.

 

Spell Fix v1.00 [PetrusOctavianus]: A fairly radical (and effectively experimental) change that eliminates all casting by NPCs of spells not specifically in their spell inventory, with the goal of eliminating inappropriate spellcasting by generic fighter-type NPCs and making it so only Mage and Sorcerer generic NPCs will have access to the most powerful damaging spells. The mod does this by changing all spells to not Auto-Calc.

Under the mod, with all spells set to not Auto-Calc, NPCs can only cast spells that are in their own selection. This makes more sense, logically, but it does have the overall impact of making the game somewhat easier, as guards and fighters no longer can cast spells. Furthermore, there are a number of mages in the game who were not assigned specific spells, instead relying on the Auto-Calc function to assign them appropriate spells; this mod effectively takes their spellcasting ability away, making them unimpressive melee combatants.

This mod is not recommended for casual use.

Compatibility Note: Spell Fix conflicts with other mods that change any of the stock Morrowind spells, though the conflict is easily resolvable by either (1) merging the two mods, or (2) using the CS (or another editor such as MWEdit) to uncheck Auto-Calc for the spell's entry in the conflicting mod. Mods that add new spells are compatible, though if the modder set the spell to Auto-Calc, it will be available to all NPCs (and likely cast excessively) unless the spell entry is edited to uncheck Auto-Calc.

[Mar. 2007. The mod is available in a standard version and a version designed to work with Wakim's Game Improvements (WGI).]

Explanatory Notes on Auto-Calc: An explanation of this "Auto-Calc" feature is in order, and the function really should be understood before trying out this mod. "Auto-Calc" is a spell feature that, if flagged for a given spell, allows all NPCs in the game to cast that spell as long as (1) they have sufficient Magicka and (2) the AI determines them to have sufficient skill to cast it successfully. In the unmodified game, as the author explains, this leads to bizarre experiences like a guard casting Paralyzation on the player, or killing a bystander with a powerful area-effect spell.

The phenomen becomes more pronounced if NPCs are given more Magicka by adjusting the game settings, as is done by the much-used Wakim's Game Improvements (WGI) (it increases the NPC Magicka multiplier from 2.0 to 3.5), simply because the higher Magicka pools allow marginal spellcasters, like the aforementioned generic fighter-types, access to more powerful Auto-Calc'd spells. Hence, fighter-types casting Paralyzation on the player.

However, if a spell is flagged as "Always Succeeds," NPC skill then becomes irrelevant. and the only factor considered is whether the NPC has enough Magicka to cast it. This could produce absurd results, and did with the infamous "Brittlewind bug."

The Brittlewind spell was introduced by the Bloodmoon expansion, and is a devastatingly powerful Destruction spell with a relatively low cost, flagged as "Always Succeeds." It likely survived playtesting because non-mage NPCs did not usually have enough Magicka to make it preferable to the AI. But once they got a bit more (usually by virtue of WGI's increase of NPCs' Magicka pools), it resulted in the Brittlewind spell being highly-prioritized by the Auto-Calc AI, and therefore preferentially cast by NPCs of all types. The resulting barrages of Brittlewinds tended to result in a considerably shorter player life-expectancy.

The Brittlewind Bug was easily fixed by patches, but the lesser irregularities of logically-questionable NPC spellcasting (particularly with WGI) remained. It is a somewhat difficult problem to solve, as it is essentially a balance between (1) avoiding inappropriate spellcasting by non-spellcaster NPCs, and (2) giving the AI more of an edge in making spellcasting NPCs actually a challenge (as it is, they tend to often cast ineffective spells too often, making them substantially easier than they should be).

Pointing to these sorts of situations and logical inconsistencies, some have argued that the Auto-Calc feature is of questionable merit altogether, and this mod answers this criticism by eliminating it entirely. Others have argued that the Auto-Calc feature is an important aspect of the game, central to its functioning, and is the basic mechanic that allows it to be at least somewhat adaptive, dynamic and less predictable.

Many, if not most, of the more absurd results have been addressed in the Morrowind Patch Project (MPP) as of this writing, as, according to Quorn, "In the MPP, I've removed auto-calc from a myriad of spells that shouldn't have it, like shrine effects, birth sign powers, creature-specific spells, trap effects, and other spells that caused issues with auto-calc'd NPCs, especially high-level NPCs. My goal wasn't to rebalance spellcasting, but to at least sort spells for their intended use, and fix some of the obvious auto-calc blunders." Specifically, the MPP contains 236 changes to spells that are identical to those in Spell Fix, though 479 of the spells are still dealt with differently in some way (some may make the same change, but may not incorporate other fixes and updates in the MPP, and therefore are detected as different in the TES Plugin Conflict Detector [TESPCD]).

So it is, in the final analysis, highly debatable whether Auto-Calc is a problem in itself, or if the desired results would be better achieved by rebalancing spells. However, the mod may no longer be of as much benefit with the MPP's recent changes (and, indeed, it may reverse some of them as well). If it is used, though, the player should probably, to retain game balance and challenge, use it along with one of the various mods that increases the challenge of the game, either at the character level (Galsiah's Character Development (GCD) or TAD Balancing, for example) or at the opponent level (a major creature mod like WormGod's Morrowind Advanced, for example).

 

 

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Appendix: Individual Magic Effect Mods


 

This section may be expanded in the future.

 

 

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FAQ


 

What's so wrong with the game's default skill gain system for magic?

Morrowind's skill system is intuitive and well-designed in many ways. However, because of what many consider an oversight in how skill gain is implemented for spellcasting, the unmodified game requires a great deal of tedious "practice spellcasting" of small, otherwise-useless spells in order to improve magic skills. The problem is worse for some skills than others; it is much easier to increase, say, Destruction, by virtue of the repeated castings that will come naturally in combat, than Conjuration, which is notoriously difficult.

The problem, which many consider to be a rather serious design flaw in the game system, is that the game's method of recording skill progress does not differentiate between a spell that costs, say, 5 Magicka and much-more-powerful one that costs 50, or 200 for that matter. It simply incremements the skill progress counter by one every time a spell, any spell, of that magic school is cast.

This means that casting only spells of one's power level will result in frustratingly slow progress that, combined with the difficulty in recovering Magicka in practicable amounts, makes magic-focused characters significantly less playable than warrior-types. Developing one's magic skills in reasonable time will consequently involve either paying for skill training or "cheap" practices like making a custom spell that costs precisely one Magicka, and constantly casting it, just for the purpose of training the skill.

While the need for practice is certainly realistic, the game loses out in both realism and playability when success at difficult, high-power castings provides no more progress than success at the most trivial. After all, a journeyman becomes a master by performing increasingly more difficult tasks, not by repeating the simplest of apprentice-level exercises.

In the end, as in the skill system overall, the game rewards exploitation of these quirks, while punishing intuitive, natural play—particularly for players who try to play mage-type characters.

Technically, the magic skill gain mods try to remediate this problem by making it so that higher-powered spells (i.e., spells with higher Magicka costs) translate into accordingly more skill progress. However, since the game's scripting engine has no internal way of allowing mods to the increment or change skill progress counters, trying to accomplish this requires some complex workarounds. It is, apparently, not at all an easy thing to pull off technically, as Azrael explains in his readme for Magicka Based Spell Advancement:

There have been a few mods which have attempted to rectify this situation; Magicka Based Skill Progression by Hotfusion and Improved Skilled Magicka by PirateLord are the two I am familiar with. Those authors have gone to incredible lengths to work around the Morrowind scripting engine's limitations; namely, that you can't update the skill progress bar with native Morrowind scripting functions. As a result, while the mods they've created are excellent and worthy of worship, they have certain inevitable shortcomings, through no fault of the authors. The mods keep track of magicka usage and update their own counters. The problem is that skill increases don't count towards levelling up and they don't influence the stat multipliers. The authors have worked out a system to get around this, but it isn't a seamless integration.

Nevertheless, the mods covered herein succeed admirably at coming up with working methodologies that measure how much Magicka was spent and do the additional work of translating that into skill progress with what tools are available.

 

What is the problem with "inflexible hard-coded" Magicka regeneration mods?

The problem is that these mods (specifically, GlassBoy's Adjustable/Fair Magicka Regen, BTB's version of it, and kiasyd's Magick Oblivion Regeneration) use their own internal computation of what your maximum Magicka should be when determining your rate of Magicka regeneration (recall that these mods regenerate a certain proportion of your Magicka per second, or whatever time interval). Since they have the different possible bonuses hard-coded into their calculations , they cannot take into account any changes or additions to those factors that may be introduced by mods (typically, mods that customize, rebalanced or add races and birthsigns).

As a result, when used with such mods, they are likely to underestimate the character's maximum Magicka in their regeneration rate computations, yielding a slower regeneration rate than they should (it is also possible that they could overestimate it if your custom race or birthsign uses some sort of effect that reduces maximum Magicka). It is not a critical problem, but it is an unnecessary complication and a minor flaw.

The reason is that Morrowind's scripting engine provides no way to simply query what the player character's maximum Magicka is. Some earlier Magicka regeneration mods (of the kind that regenerate a certain percentage of the player character's maximum Magicka per time interval) got around this by using their own internal formula to determine maximum Magicka mathematically within the script, hard-coding into it the normal factors affecting it. Specifically, they check for whether the player is High Elf or Breton, and whether the character is under the effect of the Fay or Elfborn abilities associated with the The Mage and The Apprentice birthsigns. Given the scripting engine limitation, this was a clever way of getting the job done.

Later, a simpler and more flexible workaround was figured out that would allow a mod to determine the character's actual maximum Magicka, as determined by the game engine's normal processing of the relevant factors, allowing the mod to simply obtain and work with that value. This workaround, which is now considered the standard way of going about it, was what I might call "awkward but elegant": it is done by (1) storing the current Magicka level in a temporary variable; (2) adding an arbitrarily high number like 10,000 to it, which causes it to rise to its maximum value but no further (i.e., Magicka is capped at maximum value, so modcurrentmagicka 10,000 will only cause it to rise to its cap—say, 50 for a character with 50 Intelligence and no bonuses); (4) measuring the now-maxed-out current Magicka and storing it as a separate Maximum Magicka variable; and then (5) restoring the original current Magicka value. This is all done instantaneously, and Magicka never appears to have been changed, but it allows a mod to accurately determine maximum Magicka without any of the other complexities or limitations.

Indeed, Smoke's update of GlassBoy's Fair Magicka Regen combined the two methods, albeit somewhat unnecessarily, it might be argued.

In the final analysis, though, a bit of perspective is helpful. Is a player truly likely to notice an "incorrect" rate according to the mod's proper formula and be bothered by it? It works, and will regenerate Magicka. Indeed, some people, after all, prefer slower rates for purist or game balance purposes. In the end, it's a minor consideration of fairly technical concern; if you like how the mod goes about Magicka regeneration and how quickly or slowly it does it, then it is a good, effective mod for your purposes.

 

You mention a problem with mods that replace the Main game script. Why is that a problem?

The Main script is the game's primary script, started automatically every time a game is loaded. Before the Tribunal expansion introduced Startscripts, a function that lets a mod author have his script started automatically without further hassle, many mod authors simply altered the Main script to include a command starting their own script. (For example, Fukuro's Mana Regen adds a line to the Main script that starts his own script, mana_regen.) The problem with this method, of course, is that this is a likely place of conflict with other mods; if two mods replace the Main script for their own purpose, one will override and effectively erase the other's changes.

Even before Tribunal, many preferred instead to place an activator in Seyda Neen that would start their script. Not foolproof, but it avoided conflicts. So, even though this practice can keep a mod from being dependent upon Tribunal for those sad souls still playing Morrowind without the expansions, there is still a better way to do it.

Because of these facts, altering the Main script is now considered a bad practice, and mods that do so should either be avoided or, for those comfortable with the Construction Set, manually changed to use a Startscript or activator instead.

 

The readme for so-and-so mod says that the part of the script disabling Magicka regeneration for Atronach birthsign characters doesn't work; he says it's broken. Does this mean that some of these mods do not work as you describe?

Nope. I checked them. They worked for me, using an up-to-date (September of 2009), MCP- and MPP-patched installation of the game running under MGE.

Aragon, Fukuro, and possibly other modders put notes to this effect in their readmes. It seems that it may have been a game bug that has since been fixed, because when I personally tested the mods with both Atronach and non-Atronach characters, they made the correct distinction and Atronach characters did not regenerate Magicka under the mod. Disregard these notes in the readmes; the problem has been solved, and they do work properly.

 

I installed it and have it in my mod loadout, but I am not getting Magicka regeneration. I am not using an Atronach character.

A few of the mods do not use a Startscript to automatically start their Magicka regeneration scripts. It is likely the script is not running, especially if you have added the mod to an ongoing game. Check the mod's readme to find the name of the script (or check the mod's regeneration script names in MWEdit or another editor) and try manually starting the script using the console: "startscript <scriptname>". Example:

startscript mana_regen

If that still does not work, it might be helpful to try stopping it then starting it again:

stopscript mana_regen
startscript mana_regen

 

 

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Version History


Version 1.03 (Nov. 3, 2009)

Version 1.02 (Oct. 19, 2009)

Version 1.01 (Oct. 5, 2009)

Version 1.0 (Sep. 24, 2009)

Version 0.9 (Sep. 14, 2009)

Version 0.8 (Sep. 7, 2009)

Version 0.7 (Aug. 30, 2009)

 

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Credits and References


As with my other guides, I have drawn heavily for inspiration and research on the work of the Morrowind Mythic Mods team, and these guides are largely built upon their efforts. Thanks also to them for hosting these guides.

In particular for this guide, I found Reffa's Mage Mod List central to my early efforts. I also found very helpful Aragon's Morrowind Mage Strategy Guide and BTB's explanation of Magicka regeneration at BTB's Morrowind Mod List, both of which offer a wealth of helpful tips and explanations. Big thanks to these folks for their efforts.

For further information and mod suggestions, these pages continue to be excellent and comprehensive resources. Check them out.

Thanks to the ES Forums community for information provided and questions answered, with particular thanks to the following: C Mireneye and Hastarl, and especially Quorn and Dragon32, for explaining and helping me figure out the sticky over-my-head spell Auto-Calc issue, and Dragon32 for helping me figure out the brass tacks of Magicka regeneration.

Thanks to Wrye for making Mash, which makes mod management and testing so much easier than it ever was.

And, of course, thanks to those whose who have shared their time, energy and talent with the community in making and releasing these mods.

 

Feedback

I welcome feedback. Corrections, suggestions, things I've missed, broken links, additional information that would be useful, better technical explanations, hey-that's-kinda-obtuse-writing and all other kinds of feedback help me to make these guides better, so don't hold back. I'm not touchy.

I can be contacted at the Bethesda ES Forums, or by e-mail using the Contact Us links on these pages.

For licensing and permissions information, please see the Permissions section of my main guide. Short version: You are free to link, cite, expand on, incorporate, and use my work without permission, so long as you share alike on the same terms. The mods themselves, and any other linked materials and resources, are subject to the wishes of their respective creators or maintainers.

 

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Mythic Mods >> Gluby's Comprehensive Guides >> Magicka and Spell Effect Mods

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