A Wild surge is an event that occurs 5% of the time when a Wild Mage attempts to cast a memorized spell, or 100% of the time when they attempt to cast through Nahal's Reckless Dweomer. When a wild surge occurs, a 100-faced die is rolled, matching one of 100 rows in a table containing 100 effects. If the roll exceeds the mage's wild surge threshold, the effect from the table will replace the spell. Otherwise, the desired spell is cast.
Wild Magic is a young school of magic born after the Time of Troubles, as scholars started to study the wild magic zones created from the descent of so many gods on Toril. In such places, the Weave, a "fabric" that serves as a convenient interface letting casters more easily and more safely manipulate raw magic, has become damaged or distorted. Spells cast through the Weave in such a state behave differently, sometimes becoming more potent, sometimes being more difficult to aim as desired, or sometimes producing entirely unpredictable results.
Soon enough, Wild Mages became able to reproduce this phenomenon in areas where the Weave is intact. Since it involves a more direct manipulation of raw magic, it is harder not to make mistakes, mistakes don't just result in spell failure, and there seems to be an irreducible part of chaos to the process. As the mage shapes magical energy into the desired spell, a mistake or that irreducible part of chaos may get in the way and force them to release the raw energy in a sudden surge called wild surge.
As a way to lift the limitations on spellcasting that go in hand in hand with a full reliance on the Weave, Wild Magic is a promising school. Research focused on improving raw magic manipulation and reducing risk enabled the creation of items such as the Robe of Goodman Hayes or the Thayan Circlet, and spells such as Chaos Shield, Improved Chaos Shield and Nahal's Reckless Dweomer.
Nahal's Reckless Dweomer
- With this spell, the mage purposefully makes the raw magical energy surge with the intent of shaping it into any spell they understand, memorized or not, way over their level or not. If it is in their spellbook, they can cast it.
- Additionally, there is no issue with the residual energy that lingers around a mage or priest who just cast a spell: Through the dweomer, this energy is just re-used raw immediately, whereas normal spellcasting requires waiting for its dissipation before chanting another spell.
- Last but not least, because the surge was generated on purpose, odds that the mage will succeed in shaping the correct spell are increased by a value equal to their level.
Note: Casting this spell means a wild surge will occur, odds are not 5% but 100%.
Whenever a wild surge occurs, a D100 is rolled. The result is compared to a wild surge threshold. If the roll is strictly greater than the threshold, the wild surge table effect designated by the roll will happen. Otherwise, the Wild Mage succeeded casting the spell they wanted to.
The wild surge threshold is calculated as the sum of the following:
- A base value of 0, overwritten by either Chaos Shield, Improved Chaos Shield or Robe of Goodman Hayes
- A wild surge bonus, the only source of which being the Thayan Circlet
- The Wild Mage's level, only when Nahal's Reckless Dweomer is used
Note: The Wild Mage's +/- 5 level modifier does not affect the wild surge threshold, which uses the flat, unmodified level with NRD.
When a surge happens from normal casting, the surge table includes effects from row 1 to row 100. When the surge is triggered through NRD, it goes from 2 to 101 instead.
Highest odds to cast the desired spell
In the original Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, several Chaos Shield spells can be made to stack when stuffed together into a single sequencer or contingency. This exploit allows a Wild Mage to drastically increase the odds that a wild surge be kept under control to cast the intended spell. Odds go up to:
- 100% through Nahal's Reckless Dweomer:
- Chain Contingency with 3x Improved Chaos Shield, setting the base to 75
- Level 23
- +3 surges casting the right spell between #99 and #101.
- -1 since surge #1 is not rolled over
- 80% while casting a memorized spell, counting #90 Area effect. That means odds to cast the wrong spell can fall from 5% to 1%.
In Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition there is no such exploit, but the Wild Surge table may have been made more lenient [verification needed] and the Thayan Circlet was introduced. The highest achievable odds to get the correct spell cast then seem to be:
- 77% through Nahal's Reckless Dweomer:
- 51% while casting a memorized spell -- not counting surge Oops, wrong target #48. That means odds to cast the wrong spell can fall from 5% to 2.45%.
It is useful to be aware the following:
- That random, harmless visual and sound effects are highly likely to occur on both caster and target whenever a wild surge occurs, even if the desired spell is cast
- That the target of the desired spell is retained or modified to fit the surge spell, following a set of rules
Most of the 101 wild surges described in the table below entirely replace the spell that the Wild Mage was trying to cast. But there is one element that remains: the target.
A spell target can either be a creature or container, or a point on the ground. Single-target spells such as Blindness require the former type in order to be cast, whereas AoE spells like Grease demand the latter type. A sub-type of single-target spells require that the target creature be the self -- the caster -- like Mirror Image.
When a Wild Surge occurs and replaces the desired spell, the spell target may not be appropriate to the surge spell selected by the D100. The game uses the following rules to address that concern. If the spell target was:
- All surge spells use it as-is.
- Surge spells that require a Self target will ignore it and just occur on caster
- Creature surges will use it as-is.
- Point surges will use the creature's position as their target point. Exception: Burst #76 will fail silently when the creature is not the caster.
- Self surges will ignore it and just occur on caster
- Creature surges will be retargeted, even when the target point is a creature's position. A random creature in a radius 150% the size of the caster's visual range will be selected as the new target.
- Point surges will use the spell target as-is. Exceptions: Burst #76 will fail silently if the target point is not the caster's position, and Invisible #29, Held #61 and Color change #98 will fail silently in all cases.
Wild surge effects
Below is the large table describing all possible wild surges.
- Surges with None in the
Targetcolumn affect the entire area and work regardless of spell target
- An Upheld value in the
Targetcolumn is just a way to signal that the actual spell is going to be cast with its actual target unchanged, whatever it was
- For the
Block or removecolumn, none of the means to block effects ever work on the caster for Self and Creature surges. This remains true even in situations where a Point spell gets randomly retargeted on caster due to targeting rules, since it becomes a Creature surge then. Means to remove effects do work, however.
- Spell Immunity never works on caster period, because it doesn't block a mage's own spells
In the large surge table below, icons are used to convey ways to either block or remove all of a surge spell's effects.
Shorthand icons are used, regrouping several spells of a particular kind. The following icons mean that the following spells are effective against a surge:
- All sources of Protection From Evil
- Reflected Image and Mirror Image
- Stoneskin and Iron Skins
- Minor Spell Deflection, Minor Spell Turning, Spell Deflection, Spell Turning, Spell Trap and Shield of the Archons
- Minor Globe of Invulnerability, Globe of Invulnerability and Protection From Magic
- Globe of Invulnerability and Protection From Magic, but not Minor Globe
- Protection From Magic, but not the Globe spells
- All Spell protection removers
- All sources of Dispel Magic, including Protection From Magic *if* used after the surge spell took effect
Wild surge table
- In green are surges that let the desired spell be cast in desired conditions
- In orange are surges that need particular attention
- In blue is the one failed surge that's most often better than the desired spell
- A 15-foot radius describes an area the size and shape of a Fireball spell
|Roll||Message||Effect||Target||Save or MR||Block or remove||File|
|1||Wild color changes||Caster shines and flickers for 1 turn||Self||No||No||SPWM102|
|2||Wild color changes||Caster shines and flickers for 1 turn||Self||No||No||SPWM102|
|3||Squirrels... Everywhere squirrels!||Summons 8 squirrels around caster for 2 turns||Self||No||No||SPWM103|
|4||I'm so itchy||Caster suffers a -2 penalty to casting time and weapon speed factor for 1 turn||Self||No||No||SPWM104|
|5||It's so bright!||Saturated colours on caster for 1 turn||Self||No||No||SPWM105|
|6||Area effect||The effects of the desired spell are applied to all creatures in a 15-foot radius centred on caster. Spells with an area of effect that triggers several times only get to have one trigger. ||Self|
|7||Sex change||Caster's gender is reversed for 2 hours (see Bugs section)||Self||No||No||SPWM107|
|8||Color change||Caster turns golden for 1 turn||Self||No||No||SPWM108|
|9||What was that? Over there!||All in a radius twice the caster's visual range face towards the same point, that can be quite far away, where a "soul rising" animation is played||Self||No||No||SPWM109|
|10||Explosion?||Harmless fire effect on caster||Self||No||No||SPWM110|
|11||Entangled||Movement speed set to 0 and -2 AC penalty on caster for 1 turn||Self||MR||SPWM111|
|12||Slowed||Slow effect to all in a 15-foot radius centred on Point, for 1 turn||Point||No||No||SPWM112|
|13||Polymorphed||For 70s, target is affected by:
① Polymorph Spirit Wolf: 100% resistance to Cold and Electricity
② Create weapon: Magical +1, 4 APR, Normal Haste, spellcasting disabled
|14||Held||Caster affected by Hold Creature for 70s||Self||MR||SPWM114|
|15||Hastened||Caster affected by Normal Haste for 1 turn||Self||No||No||SPWM115|
|16||Polymorphed||Polymorph Squirrel on caster for 40s: Spellcasting disabled, Base HP = 5, STR = DEX = 3, APR = 1 -- see Bugs section.||Self||vs Poly
|17||Gold Destroyed!||80% of party gold is destroyed||Self||No||No||SPWM117|
|18||Weakened||Target suffers -6 Strength for 1 turn||Creature||No||No||SPWM118|
|19||Burst||The Sunfire spell bursts out from caster||Self||SPWI523|
|20||Legs... so... heavy.||Caster's movement rate reduced by 4 for 1 turn. (Base rate for player characters is 9.)||Self||No||No||SPWM120|
|21||Caster also targeted||The desired spell is cast twice: ① On target, ② On caster, where it affects all creatures in the potential AoE.||① Upheld
|22||Held||Caster is affected by Hold Creature for 1 turn if they are humanoid||Self||vs Spell
|23||Fear||All creatures in a 15-foot radius centred on Point are affected by Panic for 14 rounds. The caster is never affected.||Point||Spell -4
|24||Roll twice more||Roll twice more. If one surge modifies the target, subsequent surges will use the new target. Should #24, #46 or #63 be among the extra rolls, the target will not be modified a second time. No other characteristic than a once-modified target is inherited from previous surges.||Point|
|25||Area explored||The entire area is now explored||None||No||No||SPWM125|
|26||Globe of Invulnerability||For 7 rounds, target becomes immune to all spells of level 1, 2 and 3||Creature||MR||SPWM126|
|27||Silence||The Silence, 15' Radius spell is cast, centred on caster||Self||Spell -5
|28||Dizzy||Caster suffers from 100% spellcasting failure and -4 penalty to THAC0 for 1 turn. Innate abilities can still be used.||Self||No||No||SPWM128|
|29||Invisible||The Invisibility spell is cast on Creature target. Nothing happens if the desired spell used a Point target.||Point||SPWI206|
|30||Pretty sparkles||One of eight visual effects occurs on caster, while a harmless blue projectile flies towards Point||Self||No||No||SPWM130|
|31||Caster becomes target||The desired spell is cast but on caster, and all creatures are affected within the potential AoE||Self|
|32||Invisible||The Invisibility spell is cast on caster||Self||SPWI206|
|33||Colors!||The Color Spray spell is shot away from caster and towards Point||Point||SPWI105|
|34||I've always said that bird magic is the most difficult.||Summon 8 non-selectable birds on Point, they vanish after 2 turns||Point||No||No||SPWM134|
|35||Shouldn't this spell do something?||Only the visual and sound effects of the desired spell are "cast" on Point.||Point|
|36||Gems!||After a one-second delay, caster receives 3 to 5 gems among Aquamarine, Garnet, Horn Coral, Pearl and Sphene||Self||No||No||SPWM136|
|37||Berries in my pocket.||The legendary Goodberry spell is cast||Self||SPPR207|
|38||Berries in my pocket.||The legendary Goodberry spell is cast again and solves world hunger||Self||SPPR207|
|39||Projectile changed||A different projectile that carries the effects of the desired spell is hurled towards the target. AoE spells become single target and friendly fire becomes possible if it wasn't.||Creature|
|40||What's this in my pocket?||Rich random treasure created on caster||Self||No||No||SPWM141|
|41||What's this in my pocket?||Rich random treasure created on caster||Self||No||No||SPWM141|
|42||Combat ready!||All creatures in a 15-foot radius centred on caster receive a +2 bonus to THAC0 and damage for 1 turn||Self||MR||SPWM142|
|43||Combat ready!||All creatures in a 15-foot radius centred on caster receive a +2 bonus to THAC0 and damage for 1 turn||Self||MR||SPWM142|
|44||*hiccup*... *hic*...||All creatures in a 15-foot radius centred on Point get hiccups, suffering -1 penalties to THAC0 and weapon speed factor||Point||No||SPWM145|
|45||*hiccup*... *hic*...||All creatures in a 15-foot radius centred on Point get hiccups, suffering -1 penalties to THAC0 and weapon speed factor||Point||No||SPWM145|
|46||Roll twice more||Roll twice more. If one surge modifies the target, subsequent surges will use the new target. Should #24, 46 or #63 be among the extra rolls, the target will not be modified a second time. No other characteristic than a once-modified target is inherited from previous surges.||Point|
|47||Polymorphed||For 70s, caster is affected by:
① Polymorph Spirit Wolf: 100% resistance to Cold and Electricity
② Create weapon: Magical +1, 4 APR, Normal Haste, spellcasting disabled
|48||Oops, wrong target.||The desired spell is cast, aiming at a random creature selected within a radius 150% the size of the caster's visual range. Potential AoE is upheld, but friendly fire becomes possible if it wasn't.||Point|
|49||I feel refreshed.||The desired spell doesn't happen. Instead, caster recuperates as if they rested.||Self|
|50||Monsters summoned||The Monster Summoning II spell is cast on Point||Point||SPWI407|
|51||Is that snow?||If outdoors, it starts snowing. If indoors, turns into surge #46 Roll twice more.||None|
|52||What's with the noise?||The desired spell is cast on target with a faint thump||Upheld||SPWM155|
|53||Double Hit Points||The target's Hit points are doubled for 1 turn||Creature||No||No||SPWM153|
|54||Oops, a gate... Is that a pit fiend?!||Gates in this Nabassu on Point. It will vanish after 2 turns.||Point||No||SPWM154|
|55||What's with the noise?||The desired spell is cast on target with a faint thump||Upheld||SPWM155|
|56||Duration halved||The desired spell is cast on target but the duration is halved where applicable||Upheld|
|57||Swirly things||All creatures within a 15-foot radius centred on Point get a swirly smoke effect with a noise around them. It can repeat a few times but stops after 80s.||Point||No||SPWM157|
|58||Projectile speed halved||The desired spell is cast on target but both the projectile and the shock wave speed are halved||Upheld|
|59||Weapons glow||All wielded weapons in the area glow for 10s||None||No||SPWM159|
|60||No Save||The desired spell is cast on target and no saving throw is allowed against its effects||Upheld|
|61||Held||Creature target is affected by Hold Creature for 70s. Nothing happens if the desired spell used a Point target.||Point||MR||SPWM114|
|62||Detect magic||Any creature within a 15-foot radius centred on Point gets highlighted if it is affected by dispellable magic.||Point||No||SPWM162|
|63||Roll 4 more times!||Roll 4 more times. If one surge modifies the target, subsequent surges will use the new target. Should #24, #46 or 63 be among the extra rolls, the target will not be modified a second time. No other characteristic than a once-modified target is inherited from previous surges.||Point|
|64||Slowed||For 45s, all creatures in a 15-foot radius centred on Point are affected by the Slow effect and a -4 penalty to AC and THAC0.
Baldur's Gate I & II Classic
This icon indicates content from all original Baldur's Gate games, extensions included. See Bugs section.
|65||Oops, wrong spell.||Instead of the desired spell, a different spell is cast on target, selected randomly from a pool of spells of the same level. Spells from the pool don't need to be known by the caster. The contents of the pools are unknown to this Wiki.|
|66||Lightning bolt.||The Lightning Bolt spell is cast at the target.||Creature||SPWI308|
|67||Strengthened||Target benefits from a +6 Strength bonus for 70s||Creature||MR||SPWM167|
|68||Heal||An AoE version of the Heal spell is cast, affecting all creatures in a 15-foot radius centred on target||Creature||MR:
• Cure Intox
|69||Entangle||Movement speed set to 0 and -2 AC penalty on target for 1 turn||Creature||MR||SPWM111|
|70||Weakened||Caster suffers -6 Strength for 1 turn||Self||No||No||SPWM118|
|71||Fireball||The Fireball spell is cast, centred on Point||Point||SPWI304|
|72||Turned to Stone||The Flesh to Stone spell is cast on target||Creature||SPWI604|
|73||Spell cast and I feel refreshed.||The desired spell is cast on target and the caster recuperates as if they rested||Upheld|
|74||Heal||An AoE version of the Heal spell is cast, affecting all creatures in a 15-foot radius centred on caster||Self||MR:
• Cure Intox
|75||Dizzy||Target suffers from 100% spellcasting failure and -4 penalty to THAC0 for 1 turn. Innate abilities can still be used.||Creature||No||No||SPWM128|
|76||Burst||The Sunfire spell bursts out from Point, but only if that's the caster's position. Nothing happens otherwise, though multi-roll #24, #46 and #63 will fix that if a surge preceding #76 retargeted on caster.||Point||SPWI523|
|77||Held||Target is affected by Hold Creature for 1 turn if they are humanoid||Creature||vs Spell
|78||Blinded||Target is affected by Blindness for 2 hours||Creature||vs Spell
|79||Charmed||Target is affected by Charm Creature for 1 hour. Elves have a 90% chance to be unaffected and Half-elves 30%. Contrary to most charm spells, blue-circled creature will not become hostile when this spell wears out.||Creature||vs Spell
|80||Gems!||After a one-second delay, 3 to 5 droppable but unstealable gems are created on target. See #36 for the list.||Creature||No||SPWM136|
|81||My legs! What have you done?||Target's movement rate reduced by 4 for 1 turn. (Base rate for player characters is 9.)||Creature||No||No||SPWM120|
|82||What's in my pack?||Droppable but unstealable Rich random treasure created on target||Creature||No||SPWM141|
|83||Silence||The Silence, 15' Radius spell is cast, centred on Point||Point||Spell -5
|84||Silence||The Silence, 15' Radius spell is cast, centred on Point||Point||Spell -5
|85||Sex change||Target changes gender for 2 hours. Many creatures will be unaffected. (See Bugs section)||Creature||No||No||SPWM107|
|86||Explosion?||Fake, harmless Flame Strike on target||Creature||MR:
|87||Stinking cloud||A Stinking Cloud-like spell centred on Point. The only difference with the real spell is that Elves have a 90% chance to be unaffected by this surge, and Half-elves 30%.||Point||Death +2
|88||COW!||Cow falls from the sky for 3d10+3 crushing damage on target. The cow may explode on impact in a thunderous noise, dealing a shock wave blow to the target and all within a varying radius. Walls break the spread of AoE attacks.||Creature||MR||||SPWM188|
|89||Dizzy||Target suffers from 100% spellcasting failure and -4 penalty to THAC0 for 1 turn. Innate abilities can still be used.||Creature||No||No||SPWM128|
|90||Area effect||The effects of the desired spell are applied to all creatures in a 15-foot radius centred on Point. Spells with an area of effect that triggers several times only get to have one trigger. ||Point|
|91||Itchy||Target receives a -2 penalty to weapon speed factor for 80s.
Note: The visual effect can be negated with an odd save vs Polymorph.
|92||Hit Points doubled||The caster's Hit points are doubled for 1 turn||Self||No||No||SPWM153|
|93||Held||Target is affected by Hold Creature for 1 turn if they are humanoid||Creature||vs Spell
|94||Hastened||Target affected by Normal Haste for 1 turn||Self||No||No||SPWM115|
|95||My gold!||80% of gold on the target is destroyed||Creature||No||No||SPWM199|
|96||Spell cast twice||The desired spell is cast twice on target||Upheld|
|97||Spell cast, +4 save||The desired spell is cast on target; victims make any Saving throws against it with a +4 bonus||Upheld|
|98||Color change||Creature target's skin turns red, their major color turns light green and their minor color turns light yellow/dark purple for upwards of 3 years (and you cannot simply change the colors back via ingame menus). Only works with certain spells cast on certain targets, for example: casting Invisibility on yourself works, but not when cast on allies, but casting Breach on allies does work.||Point||vs Spell
|99||Spell cast at double level||The desired spell is cast on target, but at double the caster level. Note: The growth of most spells caps at level 20, but higher caster level makes them harder to dispel.||Upheld|
|100||Spell cast normally||The desired spell is cast on target||Upheld|
|101 (9B)||What was that? Over there!||The desired spell is cast on target||Upheld|
- In the original Baldur's Gate II, the Fireshield (Blue) and Fireshield (Red) spells will never surge. If cast through the Reckless Dweomer, they will always get surge #100 Spell cast normally. That makes them level 1 spells that don't even need to be memorized.
- It seems safe to romance both Neera and Hexxat at the same time in a single playthrough, without consequence, which is possible because of the bug with surges Sex change #7 and #85. Since Hexxat only romances females and Neera males, it seems that Beamdog developers didn't bother writing a conflict for this pair.
- Burst #19 and #76: Like the real Sunfire spell, these surges will have no effect if the casting command is given while the character is walking and casting speed is 0.
- Entangle #11 and #69: When combined with #20 Legs... so... heavy. or #81 My legs! What have you done? on the same creature, they can make it move at teleporting speed.
- Polymorphed #16: The character turned into a squirrel will retain an effect that sets their Attacks per round to 1 even when back to human form. Since it lasts for 500 days, it is advised to dispel this effect. Dispel has a chance to fail, however. A player could verify that the effect has been removed by equipping a weapon that sets attacks per round to something else than 1. If APR remains 1, the effect was not dispelled. Any dart will do. Boomerang Daggers will not.
- Sex change #7 and #85: These surges can trigger companion romance if they affect the protagonist. This romance will continue even after the sex change is reverted.
- Baldur's Gate I & II Classic
This icon indicates content from all original Baldur's Gate games, extensions included. Slowed #64: When the victim succeeds in their save roll, all effects are negated. But in Original BG2 only, the slowed sound and portrait icon are still applied.
- Confirm with further in-game tests the accuracy of the table's column Block or remove when casting each of Self, Creature and Point spells. [verification needed]
- Check differences between the current data, which was researched on BG2EE 220.127.116.11, and the original edition of Baldur's Gate II with Throne of Bhaal
- Research which spells of each level can be randomly selected by Oops, wrong spell #65, and under which targeting conditions. It doesn't seem to be the whole array that's made available.
- Wild Magic school - Forgotten Realms wiki
- Raw magic - Forgotten Realms wiki
- Wild magic zones - Forgotten Realms wiki
- The dweomer itself aside, and in Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition, sequencer and contingency spells are excluded as well.
- This is true for spells cast through the combat interface by the player -- AI is more flexible.
- Containers cannot be randomly selected.
- By default that's a 45-foot radius, or 3 times a Fireball's.
- The selection area ignores walls, meaning the spell will reach the new target through any obstacle.
- They should be Creature surges but behave like Point surges that have no effect if fed with a point target. They require a creature or self target.
- This applies to cloud spells, Web, Agannazar's Scorcher, etc. But not True Sight or Flame Arrow, because all of their effects are pinned to the target on initial application, rather than waiting to trigger again on anyone in range.
- 0, 40 and 135-foot radii were witnessed.
- Spell deflection type of spells will only protect against the direct impact, not the shock wave.