Aspects are the basis for all of Thaumcraft 4's resources, structures and research. They represent the "flavors" of magical energy, and the underlying knowledge used for research. Nearly every item, block, construct, and entity (including mobs) in Thaumcraft (or add-ons designed for Thaumcraft) is represented by a characteristic combination of aspects. (Players have Humanus and two random aspects.) Mobs and objects from other mods may also have aspects, if specified by the mod or supplied by a "bridge" mod connecting it to Thaumcraft. Crafted items added by a mod may have aspects calculated automatically according to their recipe, even if the mod itself has not specified them.
Each aspect is identified by a Latin name, an icon, and a characteristic color. The six Primal Aspects are Aer (air), Aqua (water), Ignis (fire), Terra (earth), Ordo (order), and Perditio (entropy), which are combined pairwise to produce successively more complex Compound Aspects. The example from the Thaumonomicon is combining Terra and Aqua to produce Victus. There are 48 aspects present in Thaumcraft itself, but some "add-ons" add additional compounds.
The player begins with knowledge and research points for each of the primal aspects. They can gain more research points, and learn compound aspects, by scanning mobs, blocks, constructs, items, or nodes with a Thaumometer. This scan will reward the player with research points in the associated aspects. However, if the scan target has aspects the player has not yet learned, additional restrictions apply: The item cannot be scanned unless the player knows at both the component aspects of the unknown aspect. If the player does have this basic knowledge, they will learn the new aspect (and gain triple points for "discovering" the aspect).
In general, most scannable items will yield research points equal to their own aspect values. However, nodes will give points of approximately one-tenth the nodes strength in its various aspects, and if a player's point totals become high enough, they will receive fewer points than they would otherwise expect. A common Warp effect can also give single research points in random primal aspects. These points are spent in the process of researching new devices and informational topics. Once scanned, an item's aspects can be viewed at any time by hovering the cursor over the item in any inventory. The Thaumonomicon keeps a list of all aspects discovered by a player, along with a listing of their combinations, and a summary of the items containing each aspect.
The research table also allows combining aspects to discover new ones or gain points for known compounds. Note that the example of Victus given in the Thaumonomicon is necessary to proceed with research, because no item or mob contains Victus without also bearing an aspect which cannot be discovered without knowing Victus. Other aspects which are useful to discover at the research table are Spiritus (found only in certain items from the Nether), and Tempestas, which is not otherwise found in the world (the occasional wisp notwithstanding). Note that combining research points is "lossy", you get only one point of the compound for 1 point apiece of each component. The research table cannot separate compounds into their component aspects. However, the Deconstruction Table can be used to produce primal research points from surplus items, which can then be combined as above.
The two forms of magical energy, vis and essentia, can both appear with any aspect.
Vis is generally extracted from nodes and stored in wands (including staves and scepters), but slain mobs will also drop "aspect orbs" which a wand (etc.) can absorb. However, vis of compound aspects cannot be directly used, whenever it is extracted or transmitted, each point of a compound aspect is replaced by a point of one of the primal aspects the compound is ultimately composed of.
Essentia, in liquid or crystalline form, can appear in any aspect. It is normally extracted as a liquid from objects, by dissolving them in a crucible or distilling them in an Arcane Furnace. However, the advanced item Liquid Death can also extract aspects (in crystalline form) from mobs. The liquid form of compound aspects can be separated into its components with a centrifuge, yielding at most 1 point of either component for each point of the compound.
Neither vis nor essentia may ever be combined aspect-wise, thus the more complex aspects must be collected from items or mobs.
Aspect Combinations and Sources Edit
These are the aspect combinations, and sources for the aspects, as of version 4.2.2 of Thaumcraft. Starred aspects changed their composition in this version. Italicized sources are "perfect", containing only that aspect. Note that any aspect can be obtained from mana beans or ethereal essence.
Since essentia can be either centrifuged from (other) compound aspects of distilled from items/blocks, the table below gives both kinds of sources. In the Source Aspect(s) column you find which compound aspects a specific aspect can be centrifuged from, in the In-world Sources and Notes column you find a list of items than can be distilled into essentia of the relevant type.
|Aspect||Icon||Keyword||Component 1||Component 2||Source Aspect(s)||In-world Sources and Notes|
|Aer||air||Primal||Volatus, Auram, Sensus, Motus, Lux, Vacuos, Arbor, Tempestas||tall plants (notably sugar cane)|
|Aqua||water||Primal||Limus, Victus, Venenum, Tempestas||cactus, sugar cane|
|Arbor||tree||Aer||Herba||logs (greatwood and silverwood are not perfect), any wooden items|
|Bestia||animal||Motus||Victus||Corpus, Pannus, Humanus||raw meat, eggs, spider eyes|
|Cognitio||mind||Ignis||Spiritus||Humanus||paper, zombie brains|
|Corpus||flesh||Bestia||Mortuus||rotten flesh, all meat|
|Exanimis||undead||Motus||Mortuus||zombie brains, ghast tears|
|Fabrico||craft, repair||Humanus||Instrumentum||crafting tables, also cooked meats and wool|
|Fames||hunger||Vacuos||Victus||Lucrum||melon slices, meat nuggets, cooked food|
|Gelum||cold, ice||Ignis||Perditio||snowballs, snow blocks|
|Herba||plant||Terra||Victus||Arbor, Messis||wheat seeds, pumpkin seeds, vines, nether wart, most plants|
|Humanus||human||Bestia||Cognitio||Fabrico, Instrumentum, Lucrum, Messis, Perfodio||rotten flesh|
|Ignis||fire||Primal||Cognitio, Gelum, Lux, Potentia, Telum||coal/charcoal, gunpowder|
|Instrumentum||tool||Humanus||Ordo||Fabrico, Machina, Meto, Pannus, Telum, Tutamen||flint, shovels, axes|
|Iter||travel||Motus||Terra||boats, ender pearls|
|Limus||slime||Aqua||Victus||slimeballs, eggs, tainted goo|
|Lucrum||greed, wealth||Fames||Humanus||gold, emeralds, gold coins, gold items|
|Machina||machine, device||Instrumentum||Motus||buttons (wood or stone), redstone, other devices|
|Messis||crop||Herba||Humanus||Meto||pumpkins, wheat, other crops|
|Metallum||metal||Terra||Vitreus||metal nuggets, ingots, metallic items.|
|Mortuus||death||Perditio||Victus||Corpus, Exanimis, Spritus||bones|
|Motus||motion||Aer||Ordo||Bestia, Exanimis, Iter, Machina, Vinculum, Volatus||trapdoors, doors|
|Ordo||order||Primal||Instrumentum, Motus, Permutatio, Potentia, Sano, Vitreus||silverwood logs, smooth sandstone|
|Pannus||cloth||Bestia||Instrumentum||string, wool, leather|
|Perditio||chaos||Primal||Gelum, Mortuus, Permutatio, Tenebrae, Vacuos, Venenum, Vinculum, Vitium||cobblestone, cactus, gunpowder|
|Permutatio||exchange||Ordo||Perditio||quicksilver, droppers, dispensers, shimmer leaf|
|Praecantatio||magic||Potentia||Vacuos||Auram, Vitium||greatwood logs, silverwood logs, chiseled sandstone, nether wart, magical items|
|Sano||healing||Ordo||Victus||healing potions, regeneration potions|
|Sensus||senses||Aer||Spiritus||all dyes, carrots|
|Spiritus||soul||Mortuus||Victus||Cognitio, Sensus||soul sand, ghast tears|
|Tempestas||weather||Aer||Aqua||Only available from mana beans or ethereal essence|
|Terra||earth, ground||Primal||Herba, Iter, Metallum, Perfodio, Tutamen, Victus, Vitreus||dirt, smooth stone, potatoes, cobblestone|
|Vacuos||void||Aer||Perditio||Alienis, Fames, Praecantatio||wooden bowls, chests|
|Venenum||poison||Aqua||Perditio||quicksilver, spider eyes|
|Victus||life||Aqua||Terra||Bestia, Fames, Herba, Limus, Mortuus, Sano, Spiritus||eggs, raw meat. This is the Thaumonomicon's (necessary) example for combining research points.|
|Vinculum||trap||Motus||Perditio||soul sand, amber, potions of Slowing|
|Vitium||taint||Perditio||Praecantatio||tainted goo, tainted tendrils, crusted taint|
|Vitreus||crystal||Ordo||Terra||Metallum||glass, diamonds, emeralds|