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Magic in Thaumcraft is used for several sorts of crafting, enchanting, and building, including items which can project various spells or give other abilities. As with vanilla Minecraft, the player's abilities don't change overtly, though they do unlock recipes and gain magic-related skills such as research and node tapping. Thus, there are no "spells" -- everything is done by one of several forms of crafting, producing tools or weapons that can produce various effects. The Thauminomicon maintains a current record of the information, abilities, and recipes that the player has accumulated.

The "essence" of magic, Thaumcraft's form of "mana", comes in two basic forms which cannot be interconverted, "vis" and "essentia". Both sorts are "flavored" by various Aspects, which are inherent in all blocks, creatures, and other items.

  • There are 6 Primal Aspects, but aspects combine with each other pairwise, to produce new Compound Aspects. There are 44 Compound Aspects, for a total of 50 Aspects.
  • "Vis" is "free" or "loose" magical energy, which is gathered by and stored in Wands for various purposes. Wands can draw from the nodes scattered around the landscape, or absorb "aspect orbs" which are dropped at the death of mobs.
    • Wands can absorb and store only energy of the Primal aspects, which cannot be combined.
    • Vis can be used for Arcane Crafting, for the magical Building of structures (such as the Infusion Altar), or with various wand foci bearing offensive or utility purposes.
  • The second form of magical energy, "essentia", is extracted from objects dissolved in an Arcane Furnace. Essentia is stored as a liquid in Warded Jars and Phials.

If magical energy is released into the environment (usually from use or abuse of various tools), it can form Flux, which if left alone can Taint the vicinity and/or spawn Thaumic Slimes. Flux can be gaseous or liquid; either sort can be destroyed only by replacing it with a block, but if no block is above it, gaseous flux will float harmlessly upward into the sky.