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To create and use magical devices, the player will need to research the nature of the things around them, and from this deduce the details of how to create their desired items. This begins with the use of the Thaumometer to scan various things (objects, blocks, creatures, items, and nodes) thus accumulating research points in each of the magical Aspects. (Each player does start with a small supply of research points, about 16 for each primal aspect.) Use of a Research Table then lets the player explore for recipes using those aspects. The research table can also be used to combine aspects into new aspects; the (necessary) example from the Thaumonomicon is that Aqua (water) and Terra (earth) combine to form Victus (life). Every aspect discovered either by scanning or research will be listed with its recipe in the Thaumonomicon. Note that in 4.2, several aspects had their composition changed, and two (Saxum and Granum) were removed entirely.
|Name||Ingredients||Input » Output||Description|
|Thaumometer||All 6 Shards + gold ingot + glass||The Scanner. This is the 4.1 recipe. In 4.2 only two shards of any type are required.|
To gather research points you need a Thaumometer, which can be crafted from one of every type of aura shard, plus a bit of gold and glass. When you make your first one, you should also make a set of Scribing Tools as below, and keep paper in your inventory -- as you go about scanning things, you will occasionally get research notes (see below) for free.
Nearly every block, object, mob (and other entity), and especially node, has one or more aspects associated with it (read the entry in the Thauminomicon for more info). Known things will have those aspects displayed when viewing them through the Thaumometer. (Non-placeable items can be scanned by dropping them and scanning the dropped item.) By right-holding the Thaumometer, an unknown object can be scanned, and you will gain research points equal to the monster, entity, or item's points. For a node, you will gain research points equal to about 1/10 of the node's strength in each aspect.
Note that a monster or item can't be scanned and "learned", unless you know each of the component aspects for the scanned thing's aspects. However, when you scan anything that teaches you a new aspect, you get double points for that scan. (So it's better to discover aspects on mineral blocks, rather than individual ingots or pieces.) New aspects will automatically be entered into your Thaumonomicon. You'll still want to use the research table to make Victus (see below), but aside from that, it's time to go around scanning everything you own and everything you see.
|Name||Ingredients||Input » Output||Description|
|Table||slabs + planks||Tables are used for making the Research Table and Arcane Worktable|
|Scribing Tools||glass bottle/Phial + feather + ink sac||Used to write on research notes|
Start off by reading the Thaumonomicon's entry on research. Then make your Research Table, by building a Table and clicking it with a set of Scribing Tools. Add some paper, and you're good to go. While you're at it, you might make your Arcane Crafting Table, by placing a third table and zapping it with your wand.
Your Thaumonomicon contains many icons for researches. More icons will appear as you scan key items, and perhaps in response to other events. An entire new page can appear as you delve into forbidden magic and acquire warp. Unlocking these discoveries will cost research points, gained by scanning stuff (mobs and other entities, nodes, and items) in the world.
- If you need more points, your first recourse should be "scan more stuff" -- not just items and resources you've picked up, but also everything you craft.
- If you need more points for a compound aspect, you can combine aspects in the research table, but be warned this can cost a lot of points; you only get one point of the combined aspect for a point each of the components.
- For primal aspects, you can research and build a Deconstruction table, which consumes items to give you research points (this is somewhat time-consuming). Aspect-heavy items are most likely to give you points -- crafting tables and wool are particularly productive and cheap.
- You do get an extra point if you are also discovering the aspect, as with making Victus. It's generally better to discover aspects by scanning, because the bonus will be higher, but you won't find Victus elsewhere, and you need it early.
- The combinations are sometimes obvious, sometimes not so much, but every aspect you discover by any means will be listed with its recipe in the Thaumonomicon. A tip: Perdito often gives a "broken" or reversed version of the aspect you combine it with. Knowing that, how might you produce Mortuus (death)? Ordo's combinations are less obvious, but often give a "next level" or "more magical" connection from an aspect it's combined with.
Most of the research icons will require playing a minigame to actually gain the knowledge, but some of the minor researches can be bought "up front" for research points. By editing the configuration file, it is possible to choose "hard", "normal", or 'easy" mode for research. Normal is as above, hard mode requires the minigame for all research, while easy mode lets you buy all researches directly, avoiding the minigame entirely. Note that the names are slightly misleading; in easy mode, you will actually use more points for the research, with less flexibility for what aspects you need.
Once you have completed the minigame for a research note, it will change from an flat page to a tied scroll. Put that in your hotbar and right-click it to gain the new ability or unlock the recipe(s) that it represents. General tips:
As of 4.2, Some of the research topics are marked as "forbidden"; even researching these will twist your mind and so will creating the items. That said, the minor and "mostly harmless" topics won't cause much trouble (and some, like Research Mastery, are fairly necessary). Indeed, with small amounts of warp the most common effect actually gives you free research points. See the Warp page for more details.
The current minigame, introduced in 4.1 and still used in 4.2, requires a fair bit of knowledge about the aspect system. When you click the research icon, you will gain a "research note". Placing this into the research table will reveal a grid of hexagons, with aspect symbols arranged around the edges. To complete the page, you need to drag research points of various aspects to place their icons on the grid, and connect all the original aspect symbols. Unlike the "old" game, the path can fork, and the connections can be in any order. However, two aspects will only connect if one of them directly contains the other. You can go both ways in a given path, moving from a compound down toward its primals and then back up to a different compound. Besides consulting the Thaumonomicon, unlocking the Research Mastery topic will let you see how to make a compound by hovering over it in the research table itself.
- Try for repeating loops of primals and common compounds (Arbor, Metallum, Bestia, etc.) whenever you can.
- There are several sequences that can turn a two-aspect loop into a three-aspect one, for example, Aer->Motus->Aer can be expanded to Aer->Motus->Volatus->Aer. Likewise with Terra/Vitreus/Metallum, Terra/Victus/Herba, or Aqua/Victus/Limus. This is often useful for getting the right length for a path.
- Minimize the amount of aspects you combine, and try to use up your commoner aspects for that. (Each combination gives you 1 point for 2).
- The Research Helper linked below is useful for figuring out paths. If it tries to lean on an aspect you're scarce on, you can disable that aspect, or use this handy trick: Pick the first aspect on either or both ends yourself, and then use the helper to compute the resulting shorter path. Also, any time it offers a loop, (say, Aer->Auram->Aer) you can replace the middle with any eligible aspect, in this case any compound of Aer.
This section discusses the research system that was used before 4.1.
There are three ways to get a research note to explore. Most commonly, you will spend one research point of a given aspect to look into some topic related to that aspect (or try to -- if there is no available research using that aspect, the point is wasted). You sometimes get research notes from scanning as well, and you can rarely assemble one from Ancient Fragments of lost research. The note is researched by playing a mini-game to connect all the nodes of the research map. The research topic will have one or two other aspects as well, and you then spend points of all of these aspects to activate or deactivate their runes. Some non-obvious points:
- When you start a research note, one node will be active, your "starting node". This node has to be at one end of the connected chain, not in the middle. The chain can't fork, either.
- Each aspect will activate the same number of runes. This can be used to spot and pre-place the runes for other aspects, before you've even found them -- for example, if the first aspect activates three runes, look for other runes which have exactly three of them on the page. Note that some "wrong' aspects will be marked as "red herrings", which will remove some of the inactive runes from the page.
- Not all minigames are solvable. If confronted with an unsolvable or overly difficult research note, you can discard the note and try again. After activating your first aspect, look at the distance between the nodes, and figure out how many runes will be needed to make all the connections. Look at how many nodes you activated, and remember that the early topics only have two or three aspects, each of which will activate the same number of runes. (Some of the advanced topics do have four or even five aspects.) If you can't find enough aspects to light enough runes for the job, then there's no need to waste research points on an unsolvable puzzle. Be particularly suspicious if the nodes are widely scattered.
- You can use inactive runes to block unwanted connections. Be warned that they might be removed by a red herring!
Normally when you run out of an aspect, it will be removed from the list in the table. However, it is possible to get "ghost points" for various aspects, indicated by a "shiny" marker on the aspect's icon. If you run out of an aspect with a ghost point, you will be left with an unnumbered icon. You can use this one more time before it disappears, and when you do so, it will eventually recover and reappear. Ghost points are obtained by placing crystal clusters and/or bookshelves near your research table (within 9 blocks or so). Crystal clusters will give a ghost point for their element, and a mixed crystal cluster will provide one of the primal aspects at random. Bookshelves can give any (eventually, all) of the other aspects, but it will take time for them to "cover" all the aspects.
Ghost points allow your research to proceed slowly, even when you've used up all points for a key aspect. Of course, you can also try to earn more points by scanning new items or monsters (try making some of the stuff you've been researching), and especially by finding and scanning new nodes. Special tip: Ghost points are figured separately for each research table, so it is possible to get extras by maintaining two or three such tables together.
Spoilers and Cheat Sheets
Several lists and webpages may be useful in research:
- A online Research Helper for the new minigame, (all 4.x versions) which can help you work out paths.
- A routine for discovering all the aspects, for 4.0. While the page doesn't mention it, it's also more profitable to discover aspects from storage blocks than from loose items; that is, a Block of Iron instead of an iron ingot.
- Here is an extensive guide to 4.0 research.
- There are also a few more cheat-sheets at the Aspects page.