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Enchantment is the name given to thaumic radiation, which may be given off either by a specific object, or by the background and dynamic enchantment in a room.


The eighth colour that exists on Discworld, it is the colour of enchantment, seen when magic happens and around magical objects or even whole areas.

"The basic colour of which other colours are merely pale shadows impinging on conventional reality. The colour of magic."

--Discworld Noir[1]

Octarine is described as a fluorescent greenish-yellow purple by those who can see it. It is said that the reason some people can see octarine is that their eyes have octagons in addition to rods and cones.

If someone who cannot see octarine was extremely perceptive and knew where to look, octarine might look like a kind of blackness, a hole in space as mentioned by 71-hour Ahmed as related in Jingo. So far, however, there is no report of anyone seeing an empty space when people who can't see octarine look where it should be on the mud.

Witches, wizards and cats can see octarine just by looking at it.

Werewolves, who can see smells as clouds of colours when in wolf form, can see-smell octarine's distinctive fluorescent sparkle amidst smells left by magical things or beings.[1]

On the mud people who can see octarine see the item enchantment line which sometimes shows other magical effects, the delusion line of would-be and actual talismans as well as the room enchantment line in room descriptions.

Both performing the ritual Detect Magic or zapping an object with a short wand (Wand of Magic Detection) on an object shows what is emitted in the octarine spectrum by the object, as per the level of enchantment of the object.

Enchanted items

Effects of enchantment on items

Enchanted items have the following effects, which vary in proportion to the degree to which they are enchanted:

  • Enchanted armour has the following effects associated with it:
    • It provides additional damage reduction.[2]
    • It is more durable.
  • Enchanted weapons have the following effects associated with them:
    • They deliver more damage on striking
    • They are harder to use
    • They are more durable.

Enchantment capacity

Each item has an enchantment capacity proportional to its weight. The enchantment capacity is the amount of thaumic energy that can be channeled into the item and can be calculated with the equation

Total Capacity = floor(2.25 * weight in lb + 5) thaums

As general guidelines:

  • Items with a lesser enchantment capacity are quicker to enchant than items with a greater capacity.
  • Items with a lesser enchantment capacity are harder to enchant to a given fraction of their total capacity than items with a greater capacity.

Enchanting an item

Almost any item can be enchanted, via one of three means:

Each casting of the above will raise the enchantment level of the item by a fixed amount, until a limit is reached based on:   research If this has been marked on a page, it's because there was something that probably isn't known, that the person who edited the page thinks could be found out. Perhaps you could figure this thing out, and be famous evermore. 

  • The type of spell cast - Master Glimer's Amazing Glowing Thing allows an item to be enchanted to its maximum enchantment capacity, whereas the other two spells are capped at a lesser fraction of the total enchantment capacity, affected by the following:
    • The item's weight - the lighter the item, the lower the limit is.
    • The caster's magic.spells.misc bonus - the higher the better.

It should be noted that some magical items such as artifacts and constructs from the Academy of Artificers come 'pre-enchanted' from the shops.

Item enchantment levels

The degree of enchantment on an item may be seen in its description when a wizard or witch looks at it, and is displayed as follows, based on the degree of enchantment as a fraction of the item's total enchantment capacity:

  1. 1-10%: 'It occasionally pulses with octarine light'
  2. 11-20%: 'It emits a slight octarine glow'
  3. 21-30%: 'It softly pulses in dull octarine shades'
  4. 31-40%: 'It gives off a steady but dull octarine glow'
  5. 41-50%: 'It gives off a steady octarine glow'
  6. 51-60%: 'It glows an intense octarine'
  7. 61-70%: 'It emits a bright octarine colour'
  8. 71-80%: 'It brightly pulses octarine'
  9. 81-90%: 'It glows brilliant octarine shades'
  10. 91-100%: 'It radiates pure octarine brilliance'

For example, if we take the tiger fang, with a weight of 1 5/9, it can take a maximum of 8 thaums. If we add 1 thaum to the tiger fang we have an enchantment level of 1 / 8 * 100% = 12.5% or "slight octarine glow". If we have 2 thaums in the tiger fang 2 / 5 * 100% = 25% or "softly pulses in dull octarine shades". At 8 thaums it will be 100% and "radiates pure octarine brilliance". As you can see in this example, some levels are skipped.

For how to calculate the maximum number of thaums for a given weight see here.

For some items, the enchantment line is replaced with a description of something in octarine light. The items can still be enchanted normally, but the enchantment level will not be visible. You can still use a thaumometer to determine the number of thaums radiating from the item.

Enchantment decay

All items have a 'natural enchantment level', which is typically around 50% (between 48% and 51% confirmed) of the item's maximum enchantment capacity. If enchanted beyond this level, then the enchantment level of the item will gradually decay over a period of time (usually weeks to months) until it returns to this level.   research If this has been marked on a page, it's because there was something that probably isn't known, that the person who edited the page thinks could be found out. Perhaps you could figure this thing out, and be famous evermore. 

Talismans stop decaying at a higher percentage of the thaum capacity. Research indicates that enchantment decays down to two thirds (66.7%) of enchantment capacity.   research If this has been marked on a page, it's because there was something that probably isn't known, that the person who edited the page thinks could be found out. Perhaps you could figure this thing out, and be famous evermore. 

Deluded items that haven't turned into full talismans yet behave like normal items.

Mudlib-unconf.gif This section contains formulae or data from the distribution mudlib. This information may be several years out of date, so needs to be verified as correct. You can help by performing research to validate it.

The following simplified formula shows what enchant is returned after a given amount of time for items with the standard degrade threshold of 50%.

new enchant = ( enchanted - 49.01 ) * ( 1 - time_since_enchanted / 8 weeks ) + 50

The following is the original formula that uses integers.

new enchant = ( ( (enchanted - degrade_threshold) * 100 + 99 ) * ( 100 - (time_since_enchanted / 8 weeks * 100) ) ) / 10000 + degrade_threshold

The degrade threshold is usually 50 (50% of max thaums) but it can be changed to some value other than 50 by the code.

Thus 8 weeks after enchanting the object it returns to the degrade threshold.

Item delusion levels

A magic user can observe an item to see how far along it is in the delusion process or if it is a talisman:

  1. It has a faint octarine shadow about it that disappears if you look at it squarely.
  2. It has a faint octarine shadow about it.
  3. It has an octarine shadow about it that flickers occasionally out of the corner of your eye.
  4. It has a flickering octarine shadow about it.
  5. It has a flickering octarine haze about it.
  • It has the hazy octarine sparkle of a magical talisman.

Room enchantment

Room enchantment is the sum of the background enchantment and the dynamic enchantment in the room, measured in thaums.

Background enchantment

Background enchantment does not decay, it is made of thaums that come with the room and that are a permanent part of it.

Dynamic enchantment

Dynamic enchantment decays, with more thaums decaying much faster. It is made of thaums created by casting spells, recharging, smashing shards or that occur naturally in the libraries in wizard's guilds.

Effects of room enchantment

Room enchantment has the following effects:

  • It increases the power of magical spells - for example, the item enchantment spells listed above can impart more thaums into their target items in a higher room enchantment level.
  • Higher levels of room enchantment attract Thyngs from the Dungeon Dimensions. The Thyngs are very eager to get close to magic users; so eager in fact that they may cause damage, break or tear off limbs of anyone casting magic in such rooms.
  • Thaum crystals are charged from the dynamic enchantment of a room.
  • Players with high room enchantment might be more likely to be the destination of a misportal.
  • Higher levels of room enchantment cause strange things to happen to coins that are flipped.

Natural room enchantment

All rooms on the disc have a natural background enchantment level. Usually it is at 0 thaums or very low, however, rooms in the vicinity of large magic sources gain a higher natural level due to thaumic fallout.

Examples of rooms with a high natural background enchantment level include:

  • Rooms near the hub, which gain a lot of thaumic fallout as a result of the disc's magical field passing over the hub.
  • Rooms near to the Unseen University (for example Unreal Estate) suffer from the fallout from the wizards' experiments.
  • Rooms near to the Illusionary Institute of Learning likewise suffer fallout from the nearby wizards' experiments.
  • The Bes Pelargic L-space Bubble has rooms from low to high background enchantment.
  • Holy Wood is built around a rift in the fabric of reality where the power of dreams can build up, a natural gateway to the Dungeon Dimensions. Several rooms have high enchantment levels.

Some rooms have initial dynamic enchantment that then proceed to decay towards 0 thaums. Dynamic enchantment can also be negative.

Examples of rooms with a natural dynamic enchantment include:

  • Rooms in the libraries of the various wizard's guilds.

Increasing enchantment levels

Room enchantment levels can be increased by generating dynamic enchantment via the following means:

  • By casting any spell (either wizard or witch) in that room; casting spells will generate thaums equal to 1/5 the size of the spell in units of mind space.
  • By recharging a magical artifact; this will generate thaums equal to 1/5 of the Guild Points used.
  • By smashing a thaum crystal, which changes dynamic enchantment so that the room enchantment level is no more than 500 thaums. Below that limit it adds the thaums in the crystal up to 500 thaums.

Enchantment proof rooms

There are a few rooms on the disc that have been specially proofed against enchantment: it comes without any enchantment and the thaumic radiation from spells cast in these rooms immediately leaks away, and does not build up. There is usually a demon trapped in these rooms to provide targets for spell practice. These rooms include:

Magic circles

Magic circles drawn by witches have the following special properties with respect to room enchantment:

  • All magic circles have zero room enchantment in them when drawn, irrespective of the room enchantment level of the room containing them.
  • Immediately after the circle is drawn, the room enchantment measured by thaumometer is multiplied by around 30% with a small variation at every reading or casting. (The enchant line in room description and Dungeon Dimensions intrusions when casting take the "real" enchantment level into account, not the multiplied one.)
  • All spells cast inside a magic circle affect and are affected by the room enchantment level of the circle, not the room containing it.
  • The enchantment level inside the circle is not affected by the enchantment level of the room containing it.
  • When a magic circle is dispelled or fades, it does not transfer enchantment accumulated within it into the room containing it - this enchantment just fades away with the circle.

Room enchantment levels

The following are the room enchantment levels - in order of lowest to highest room enchantment - which may be seen by a wizard or witch:

Thaum range Enchant line in room description Notes
0 - 49
50 - 149 There is the residual taste of magic in this place.
150 - 299 This place has seen some use of magic.
300 - 499 A considerable amount of magic has been used here.
500 - 749 A very large quantity of magic has been manipulated here.
750 - 1000 You can feel the Dungeon Dimensions trying to push in. At this point red warning messages are displayed on any attempts to cast, and it is possible to take minor damage on casting.
1001 - 1500 Little sparks flash in from the Dungeon Dimensions. At this point it is more likely that damage will be taken from spellcasting. Broken legs and lost limbs are also very possible.
1501 - 2000 Apparations of things with lots of tentacles seem to be on the edge of your vision. From this point beyond it is highly likely that legs will be broken or limbs lost from spellcasting.
2001 - 5000 So much magic has been expended here that the area is in danger of dumping itself into the Dungeon Dimensions.

Dungeon Dimensions casting messages

When casting spells in the range of "You can feel the Dungeon Dimensions trying to push in." you can see messages such as:

You shudder slightly, sensing the presence of something you wouldn't want to meet on a bright sunny day.
You sense an other worldly presence fighting to break into this world.
You feel like something cold and slimy touched your sleeve.
Something with tentacles appears in front of you briefly.
A tap drips slowly in the shadows.
A cold wind drifts up your back.

These messages did not cause harm, though it is possible that there is a skillcheck that if failed leads to injuries.

When casting spells in the range of "Little sparks flash in from the Dungeon Dimensions." (or sometimes in the previous section) you can see messages such as:

You suddenly bend down onto one knee, looking up you see something nasty munching on the air in which you used to stand.
You sense something going for your elbow, but you duck aside!
Something pops into being briefly in front of you and takes a swipe, luckily vanishing just before it connects.

The messages above didn't result in damage, though they implied that it was narrowly averted. The messages below did result in damage.

You gasp in pain as something cold and icy digs into your head. (23 hp)

Dynamic enchantment decay

Room enchantment levels in a room with dynamic enchantment will decay to the room's natural background enchantment level, at a rate roughly proportional   research If this has been marked on a page, it's because there was something that probably isn't known, that the person who edited the page thinks could be found out. Perhaps you could figure this thing out, and be famous evermore.  to the amount of dynamic enchantment in the room. This is a considerably faster process than item enchantment decay - left alone, rooms will typically return to their natural levels within approximately an hour.

Measuring enchantment

Both object and room enchantment can be measured in absolute terms using thaumometers and much more vaguely with divining bobs.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 From Discworld Noir, in a conversation between werewolves:
    The conversation is between Carlotta von Uberwald and Lewton.
    L - There was something else about it. Like a kind of fluorescent sparkle.
    C - Like a greenish-yellow-purple?
    L - That's the one.
    C - That's octarine.
    L - Octarine? Sounds like a type of fruit.
    C - It's the eighth colour of the spectrum.
    L - Eighth?
    C - The basic colour of which other colours are merely pale shadows impinging on conventional reality. The colour of magic.
    L - Conventional reality?
    C - Or what passes for conventional on the Discworld.
    L - What's that supposed to mean?
    C - If I always knew what I meant I'd be a genius.
    L - So what smells of octarine?
    C - Anything magical.
    L - Then how come I have never seen it before? There must be a hundred magical things in the city - Unseen University should glow like a sparkler.
    C - Mortals can't see it, only wizards - although we can smell it, of course.
    L - That doesn't explain why Unseen University doesn't reek of it.
    C - Well, it fades quickly in sunlight, and in extreme cases walks away.
  2. Tested in Edition 108 of the AM Daily.