For more information, see the Lore article on the Mages Guild.
The Mages Guild is a professional organization, located throughout Tamriel. It is dedicated to the study and application of magicka and alchemy, but has certain restrictions, such as the Necromancy ban. Its charter from the Emperor specified that the guild must provide magic services to the public. Anyone can purchase potions, alchemical ingredients, magical items, and a selection of standard spells from the guild. However, training, goods, and services are cheaper for members, and the guild stewards are sometimes able to provide members with work. Furthermore, exclusive services such as spellmaking and enchanting, deemed potentially dangerous to the public at large, are only made available to higher-ranked guild members in good standing.
The Mages Guild is led by an Arch-Mage, and guided by the Council of Mages, made up of five archmagisters (including the Arch-Mage). The Arch-Mage and the Council of Mages are headquartered at the guild's Arcane University in the Imperial City. The Council decides important Guild policies, such as its policy on the use of Necromancy and also administers recruitment, sale of spells in each local guild hall, and the enforcement of Guild law. In addition, guild halls exist in most cities in Tamriel, each of which is run by a local guildmagister.
The Mages Guild was founded by Vanus Galerion in the early years of the Second Era as a way of centralizing magic and thus moving away from the many separate groups (like the Psijic Order of which Galerion was a member) that had dominated the study of magic until that time. The Guild Halls were overseen by an Archmagister. Below him were the Master of Incunabula and the Master at Arms. The Master of Incunabula had a counsel of two, the Master of Academia and the Master of the Scrye. The Master at Arms also had a counsel, the Master of Initiates and the Palatinus (the leader of the local chapter of the Order of the Lamp). This hierarchy is not present in Oblivion, however.
 The Council of Mages
At the time of Oblivion, the Arch-Mage of the Mages Guild is Hannibal Traven. He was selected as Arch-Mage two years earlier in 3E431 by a narrow margin, mainly because of his strict stance against Necromancy. He implemented new restrictions against the practice (following a discussion documented in The Black Arts On Trial), which were strongly supported by some members, but also strongly opposed by others. Half of the Council of Mages subsequently resigned in protest. Traven also implemented new regulations governing guild membership (see the Mages Guild Charter), which made it more difficult to make the most out of joining the guild (compared for example to Morrowind).
At the start of the game, the Council of Mages consists of Arch-Mage Hannibal Traven, Caranya, Irlav Jarol and Council Steward Raminus Polus. Information on a possible fifth member of the Council is not available. It is possible that the Council is short of its full quota, following the earlier resignation of half its members. The fifth member could also be Bothiel; she occupies the same room as Raminus Polus and - like Caranya and Irlav Jarol - uses a ground floor bed in the Mages Quarters. However, she is one rank lower than the Council Mages. Another possibility is that High Chancellor Ocato or Tar-Meena is the final member of the Council, as they also hold the appropriate Council rank of Master-Wizard.
At the end of the Mages Guild questline, the only members of the Council left are Raminus Polus and the player as the Arch-Mage. This means that the only possible 'complete' Council at this time would be the player, Raminus Polus, High Chancellor Ocato, Tar-Meena, and Bothiel. It is also possible though that other unknown members could be serving the Guild, or that the Council simply remains a twosome.
 Guild Halls
Mages Guild Halls are located in almost every city in Cyrodiil. In the Imperial City, the Mages Guild is found at the Arcane University. The Guild Hall in Kvatch has been destroyed in the Oblivion Crisis.
|Anvil Mages Guild||Restoration|
|Bravil Mages Guild||Illusion|
|Bruma Mages Guild||No specialty|
|Cheydinhal Mages Guild||Alteration|
|Chorrol Mages Guild||Conjuration|
|Leyawiin Mages Guild||Mysticism|
|Skingrad Mages Guild||Destruction|
Even without joining the Mages Guild, any player can take advantage of the several services offered to the public by its members:
- A large number of standard spells can be purchased from spell merchants, most of whom are guild members. Spells from a given school can generally be purchased at the guild hall specializing in that school.
- Every guild hall - except Skingrad's - has a guild member who sells potions, ingredients, alchemy equipment, soul gems, and other miscellaneous magic items.
- In Skingrad the non-guild store All Things Alchemical provides similar services.
- Each guild hall has an enchanter who will recharge magical items... for a fee.
Speak to any one of the seven guild hall leaders in order to join the Mages Guild. If you do not know who the leader is, try asking one of the Mages Guild members. The only requirement is to not have a bounty.
Joining the Mages Guild gives you certain privileges throughout Cyrodiil. The most obvious is that by joining, you "belong" in a guild hall. Not only can you sleep in most of the beds (check that your cursor is not red before you attempt to sleep), but most items there belong to you as well. This means that you can pick them up and sell or use them as you please.
Joining the guild increases the Disposition of all Mages Guild members by 20 points. You receive an additional 20 point disposition boost with every promotion you receive. In other words, when you reach the rank of Conjurer, you will have a guaranteed 100 point disposition with all other guild members (unless you have somehow decreased a member's disposition toward you).
To an alchemist, each guild house is a treasure trove of basic alchemical supplies: potatoes, apples, meats, grapes etc. In most of the guild houses, you can find enough raw materials to make dozens of potions, each of which can be sold back to the guild alchemist for a profit if you don't want to use them for adventuring. In fact, most guilds (if not all) have each of the four Novice alchemy tools lying around on shelves, so you save quite a few pounds of encumbrance not having to carry your own.
Additionally, several of the Mages Guild Halls have locked display cabinets which can be picked safely for the purposes of raising your Security skill. As an added bonus, it's usually not considered stealing to take what's in the cases and the contents are often valuable.
If you gain all the Mages Guild Recommendations, you will eventually be allowed into the Arcane University, which allows you to make custom spells and enchanted items. Its garden is also a free and convenient source for most of the plants that grow in Cyrodiil.
In the Practice Rooms in the Arcane University, you can stand between a practicing apprentice and a target. Unlike archers who stop shooting when you get too near, the mages will continue to cast their spells, which can be good for players using the Atronach birthsign to quickly recharge their Magicka.
Moreover, once you become Arch-Mage, you will gain the Arch-Mage's Quarters in the Arch-Mage's Tower. This includes personal altars of spellmaking and enchantment, as well as an Enchanted Chest which allows you to duplicate ingredients.
- The Enchanted Chest will only duplicate "common" ingredients from the vanilla game; consequently, Nirnroot, Human Heart, Painted Troll Fat, etc. are specifically ignored, as are all ingredients from Shivering Isles, official plug-ins and third-party mods.
- There are three containers in the Arch-Mage's Quarters. However, both the Enchanted Chest and the drawers at the foot of the bed are not safe for storage. You will lose anything you put in them except when using the chest to duplicate ingredients. The Arch-Mage's Night Stand is not flagged to delete its contents, but it does have scripts on it. Using these containers as storage is therefore not advisable.
You also have the ability to have Mage Apprentices follow you.
There are no major limitations associated with the Mages Guild, though you have to complete quests in order to gain some of the related perks.
If you get suspended from the guild, you need to talk to Raminus Polus to get reinstated. He can be found in the Arch-Mage's Lobby during the daytime (usually between 8am and 6pm). He will assign you to collect alchemical supplies, depending on your offense and whether it is your first or second suspension.
If you are suspended while inside the Arcane University, your key will be removed and all the doors will be automatically locked. The only way to leave the Arcane University is to fast travel or use console commands.
You can be suspended for:
- Assaulting or killing a guild member (including hitting your horse during combat prior to the Oblivion 1.2 patch);
- Stealing from the guild.
Information on how to regain your membership can be found here.
- Join the Mages Guild: Join the Mages Guild and earn recommendations from all guild leaders to gain access to the Arcane University.
 Recommendation Quests
- Anvil Recommendation: Investigate a number of deaths along the Gold Road to obtain a recommendation from Anvil.
- Bravil Recommendation: Recover a fellow mage's staff to obtain a recommendation from Bravil.
- Bruma Recommendation: Find a missing mage to obtain a recommendation from Bruma.
- Cheydinhal Recommendation: Recover a lost ring to obtain a recommendation from Cheydinhal.
- Chorrol Recommendation: Sort out a problem with a former guild member to obtain a recommendation for Chorrol.
- Leyawiin Recommendation: Help a mage regain her sanity to obtain a recommendation from Leyawiin.
- Skingrad Recommendation: Find a missing mage to obtain a recommendation from Skingrad.
 Raminus Polus's Quests
- A Mage's Staff: Complete your induction into the Mages Guild by creating your own staff.
- Ulterior Motives: Retrieve a book from the Count of Skingrad.
- Vahtacen's Secret: Find out how the Mages Guild's excavation of Vahtacen is faring.
- Necromancer's Moon: Find out about Black Soul Gems.
 Hannibal Traven's Quests
- Liberation or Apprehension?: Locate a Necromancer informant and return him safely to the Arcane University.
- Information at a Price: Travel to Skingrad to receive information from Count Hassildor... at a price.
- A Plot Revealed: Travel to Bruma and find out why the Mages Guild there has stopped correspondence.
- The Necromancer's Amulet: Find the Necromancer's Amulet and return it to the Arcane University.
- The Bloodworm Helm: Find the Bloodworm Helm and return it to the Arcane University.
- Ambush: Oversee a contingent of Battlemages in their fight against the Necromancers and retrieve a unique Black Soul Gem from an old "friend".
- Confront the King: Find the King of Worms and end the Necromancers' attacks on the Mages Guild.
 Other Quests
- Alchemy Acquisitions: Use the expertise of Julienne Fanis for your own benefit.
- Mages Guild Suspension: Collect alchemy samples to regain your guild membership.
|Rank||Completed quests or other requirements|
|Associate||Inquiring about the Mages Guild and starting the Recommendation Quests|
|Apprentice||Completed all the Recommendation Quests|
|Journeyman||Completed A Mage's Staff|
|Evoker||Completed Ulterior Motives|
|Conjurer||Completed Vahtacen's Secret|
|Magician||Completed Necromancer's Moon|
|Warlock||Completed Liberation or Apprehension?|
|Wizard||Completed A Plot Revealed|
|Master-Wizard||Completed The Bloodworm Helm and The Necromancer's Amulet|
|Arch-Mage||Started Confront the King; full benefits upon completion|
These tables provide the names and ranks of all named Mages Guild members. In addition, there are ten unnamed apprentices and six unnamed scholars who live in the Arcane University. All together there are sixty-three guild members but seven end up being killed.
- All Guild Halls and the Arcane University can be accessed directly using warp portals located in Frostcrag Spire if you have installed Wizard's Tower, regardless of if you are a member of the Mages Guild or not.