|Spell Rarity||Very Rare|
|Spell Type||Instant Spell|
|Transfers the ownership of a Global Enchantment to the caster, who is now in full control of it as though they cast it themselves. They must pay its Upkeep Cost as necessary, and may cancel it from the Magic Screen if they so choose.|
|As of Master of Magic v1.31, Spell Binding is known to be malfunctioning in at least one way. Please read the Known Bugs section below.|
Spell Binding is a Very Rare Instant Spell of the Sorcery Realm. It may only be cast on the overland map, and must be targeted at an existing Global Enchantment that belongs a rival Wizard. For the base Casting Cost of 1,000 it will take control of that enchantment, which will now behave in all respects as if it was cast by Spell Binding's caster.
Spell Binding steals one Global Enchantment currently controlled by a rival Wizard. The caster of Spell Binding becomes the new owner of this enchantment, enjoying all of its benefits - but must also pay its Upkeep Cost.
Stealing Global Enchantments Edit
When Spell Binding is cast, a menu will pop up showing each rival Wizard still in the game, as well as a list of all Global Enchantments currently in play under the control of each of these Wizards. Selecting one of the enchantments will target it for takeover. If successful, which it nearly always is (see below), then the target enchantment completely changes ownership. It is now owned entirely by the caster of Spell Binding - exactly as though it was cast by this Wizard to begin with.
Therefore, all beneficial effects from this Global Enchantment will now be bestowed on Spell Binding's caster and/or their units, Towns, or other assets, as appropriate. Ill effects caused by the enchantment will now afflict their rivals, and their assets instead. Of course, the stealing Wizard must now also pay the Upkeep Cost for the enchantment they took.
Spell Binding should never fail - unless, of course, there are no Global Enchantments to be stolen at all. At least, there is no indication in any of the game's documentation, nor its Official Strategy Guide, that Spell Binding has any chance whatsoever of not succeeding. However, in practice, it actually does. Spell Binding invokes the same code that is used by Disjunction-type magic, albeit with an overpowering 20,000 set as its Dispel Strength. This yields a success rate of over 94% against even the highest-cost Global Enchantments that can be stolen in the game ( 1,250), and naturally more against those with a lower Casting Cost.
Whether the Wizard could cast the target enchantment themselves has no bearing on the outcome of a Spell Binding. For example, a player with no Life Spellbooks will have no problem stealing a Crusade enchantment cast by another Wizard - despite the fact that there is no way that they could've researched or cast it themselves.
Spell Binding may only be cast on the overland map, for a basic Casting Cost of 1,000. It must always target an active Global Enchantment controlled by a rival Wizard. This can be selected through a special interface that pops up immediately upon successfully casting the spell, listing all of the available target enchantments, along with the portrait gem of the player controlling them.
If there are no rival Global Enchantments currently in effect, the player is notified of this before being allowed to try to cast Spell Binding. If it is cast anyway when no valid targets exist, it will automatically fizzle - and its Casting Cost is entirely wasted. Should Spell Binding's caster already own a copy of the same Global Enchantment as the one they are stealing, Spell Binding will instead dispel the stolen enchantment immediately. This is because each Wizard can only have one instance of a Global Enchantment running at any one time.
While Spell Binding does not itself have an Upkeep Cost, all of the enchantments it can appropriate do, and once its theirs, the caster must pay the normal Upkeep Cost for the Global Enchantment they stole! Failure to do so will simply cause it to dissipate however - it will not return to the control of its original caster. Furthermore, the new owner may now cancel the enchantment manually by opening the Magic Screen and clicking on the enchantment's name - just as they would their own Global Enchantments.
It' also worth noting that it is not possible to dispel Spell Binding after it has been cast. The only way to return a Global Enchantment to its previous controller is for them to cast their own Spell Binding on it! Of course, rival Wizards may always use Disjunction or Disjunction True on the enchantment itself, if they wish to remove it from existence.
As a Very Rare Spell of the Sorcery Realm, Spell Binding may become available to any Wizard who acquires at least 3 Spellbooks. With any less, the spell can normally not be learned during the campaign. This is the minimum requirement for it to be traded for, appear in Treasure, or be found in the spoils of victory when conquering the Fortress of a rival Wizard who already knows it.
The base chance for Spell Binding to be researchable (at some point) in the campaign is roughly 10% (with 3 books), which gradually increases with the amount of Sorcery Spellbooks possessed or found during gameplay. With 10 or more, the spell is certain to show up sooner or later, unless acquired from another source. It has a Research Cost of 3,500, although its research is quicker for Wizards possessing the Sage Master, and/or Sorcery Mastery Retorts; or a bookshelf containing 8 or more.
Spell Binding may not be acquired at the start of the game, regardless of the amount of Sorcery books selected from the starting picks. It must always be either researched or found. However, a bug exists in the official game, that may occasionally allow Spell Binding to be researched with only 2 books despite its Rarity. This can happen if, and only if, the second Sorcery Spellbook comes from Treasure, as it then allows a random Very Rare Spell to be researched, which has a flat 10% chance of being this spell. This oversight is corrected in the Unofficial Patch 1.50.
Since it is so expensive, there is no real point to casting Spell Binding to steal a Global Enchantment the player can themselves cast. It is nearly always cheaper to just cast the desired Global Enchantment. The only benefit to stealing in this case is that it also deprives the opponent Wizard of their Enchantment. Therefore it could be seen as casting a Disjunction as well as the enchantment itself, all at the same time, for 1,000.
More commonly however, Spell Binding is a great way to get hold of a Global Enchantment that a Wizard can't cast, such as one from a magical Realm not accessible to them, a spell missing from their magical repertoire, or a spell that they have not yet researched. In all of these cases, the player gets a Global Enchantment under their control that would otherwise be unavailable to them.
It is usually best to steal the most powerful enchantments - assuming their Upkeep Costs can be afforded of course. Since the random chance involved is minimal, it is nearly as easy to steal an Armageddon as an Awareness, so it's typically better to take the most powerful ones. However, the player should always weigh the benefits they get from the spells based on their situation. For example, a conjurer who has an army of Fantastic Units will gain almost nothing from the powerful Crusade spell, and might prefer a lesser Just Cause. Naturally, it is usually better to steal as many Global Enchantments as possible - gathering up bonuses at the expense of the poor rival Wizards who keep casting them. However, it needs to be remembered that no player can have two copies of the same Global Enchantment under their control (see above).
Known Bugs Edit
Although it is unknown whether this is intended or not, Spell Binding actually makes a dispel check similar to Disjunction. However, the Dispel Strength of Spell Binding is so strong ( 20,000) that its success rate is usually above 99%, so most players never see it fail. Regardless, this feature is entirely undocumented, and may be deemed completely unnecessary. As such, it has been removed in the Unofficial Patch 1.50.
Another problem with this spell is that when an AI player casts Spell Binding, usually nothing actually happens, and there is even a very small chance of memory corruption. This bug is also fixed in v1.50.
Finally, there are certain spells that will not grant their full effect when stolen. These are typically those that have an extra effect when cast, with two prime examples being Awareness and Aura of Majesty. The former spell reveals all existing Towns only when initially cast, while later on it simply marks those that are newly founded, which will be the only effect conferred when the enchantment is stolen. Similarly, the latter spell will not grant its one-time boost to Diplomatic Relations if appropriated through Spell Binding.