Mage Weapon is an Item Property that converts a sorcerer's Magery skill into the weapon's Required Skill, subject to any listed penalty (which typically range from -29 to -21, or anywhere down to -0 for artifacts - at least one -30 item is known to exist, but it may perhaps be the only one!). By way of example, a Mace with the item property of Mage Weapon -22 Skill would allow a legendary sorcerer to wield it as if he or she had a Mace Fighting skill of 98 (120-22=98). Equipping a mage weapon directly affects your magery skill level so your casting ability is also hampered; however, you can get around the penalty by wearing magery enhancing jewelry (or other such items).
Combat skill inferred by a mage weapon does not count towards your ability to execute Special Moves.
Mage weapons are not immune to unequipping the Right and Left Hand equipment slots upon spell casting. However, the item property combination of Mage Weapon and Spell Channeling allows a sorcerer to become a pure Mage-Warrior who can cast spells while engaged in direct melee/archery combat (Wand items usually have both properties).
When equipped with a mage weapon, your magery skill can be improved by hitting opponents with it, provided that the original skill required for that weapon is lower than your magery skill including racial bonuses like Jack of All Trades or Deadly Aim. This provides an alternative to training by casting spells. The skill penalty applied by most mage weapons also helps training in that you can gain off lower level spells (which have a less demanding casting time/mana cost). Also keep in mind that prior to reaching a skill level of 25, you will gain off nearly all spell attempts (successful or otherwise) - With a mage weapon, you can potentially bring your skill up to 54 (25 + 29) before losing this perk.
Mage Weapon Artifacts (And skill mods)
- Ember Staff (-10)
- Jaana's Staff (-20)
- Staff of the Magi (-0)
- Staff of Power (-15)
- Staff of Pyros (-0)
- Swords of Prosperity (-0)
The following resources are required to imbue the lowest penalty Mage Weapon property (-20):
- The author is unsure if the property has any affect on Necromancers.