A wand is the most basic magical tool of a thaumaturge -- indeed, the section of the Thaumonomicon dealing with wands and related magics, is simply titled "Thaumaturgy". Wands and their variations gather and store magical energy ("vis"), and use it for various purposes.
The career of a thaumaturge will normally begin with an iron-capped wooden wand. The only virtue of this crude tool is that it can be crafted on the vanilla crafting table, with no magical tools needed. This first wand is not only inefficient, but offers a risk of damaging the nodes upon which a thaumaturge depends for vis. At the first opportunity, a player should replace their wand with a gold-capped greatwood wand, and discard the iron/wood one. By this point, the player should also have mastered the "Node Preserver" ability, so that they own abilities will back up the potential of their tools. More advanced thaumaturges will combine cores of silverwood or elemental materials, with caps of mystical thaumium or void metal. They will also find more use for scepters and staves, which grant greater vis storage at the cost of more specialized functionality.
Crafting Wands Edit
Each of these components can be made of various materials which affect the abilities of the wand: The metal used for the caps controls the level of efficiency when using vis, providing a surcharge or discount for magical costs. The material used for the core determines the storage capacity of the wand, and some materials also allow wands to regenerate small amounts of vis while held. Naturally, more effective wands are more difficult and expensive to craft. including the final assembly of core and caps.
Advancing thaumaturges can also craft two variations on the wand theme, each of which requires a Primal Charm in their crafting. These are the staff and the scepter:
A scepter is crafted from a wand core, a primal charm, and three wand caps. Any sort of core or cap may be used, but the caps must match each other. A scepter cannot hold a focus, but holds 150% as much vis as a wand with the same core, and gives an additional 5% discount for costs, beyond any discounts from its caps or the user's worn equipment.
A staff requires an extra step for crafting: Two (matching) wand cores must be combined with a primal charm, to produce a staff core. (While the recipes are all similar, each type of staff core requires a separate research topic to be learned.) This staff core then is equipped with two wand caps, just as for making a wand. A staff cannot be used for crafting, but holds 250% as much vis as a corresponding wand. It can even serve as a backup weapon for melee (however, it cannot receive weapon enchantments).
There is also one special staff core, the "Staff Core of the Primal" (there is no matching wand core). Merely researching this staff core is difficult: Besides being forbidden research in its own right, just seeing the topic requires having learned the researches for all previous wand and staff cores, experiencing the Eldritch Epiphany, and scanning a Primal Focus. Creating it requires a massive infusion, to combine all seven advanced wand cores, large amounts of essentia, and a couple of primal charms for good measure. The resulting Staff of The Primal can hold 250 vis in each aspect, and will regenerate up to 10% of that total in all aspects.
As the materials involved become more advanced, the final binding of caps to a wand or staff becomes rapidly more expensive. In particular, binding thaumium caps to a silverwood core takes slightly more vis than a gold-capped greatwood wand can contain. However, a greatwood-and-gold scepter, can hold enough vis. This pattern can be continued for still more advanced craftings, such as the silverwood/voidmetal staff and Primal/thaumium staff. Sadly, as of version 184.108.40.206 there is no combination of discounts and crafting scepter sufficient to produce a Void Aspected Primal Staff.
As a curious note, it is also possible to create a bizarre hybrid of staff and scepter (sometimes called a "staffter"), by using a staff core instead of a wand core in the scepter recipe. The resulting device can neither hold a focus nor be placed in a crafting table, but it can still be used to activate constructs, or as a "vis battery" for Repair-enchanted equipment or Runic shielding.
Charging with Vis Edit
To be useful for anything but the simplest constructs, a wand, staff, or scepter must be charged with vis. It collects vis separately for each aspect -- for example, a wand could be full of Ignis while being empty of Perditio. In all cases, only primal aspects of vis can be stored. Whenever holding a wand etc., you will see a graphic display in the upper-right of your screen showing how full your wand is in each aspect. Pressing "shift" will show numbers for how many full points are in each aspect, and hovering over the wand in your inventory will show the exact values with fractions.
There are several ways to charge these tools, depending on the level of their user's advancement. The first few methods apply to all three varieties of the tool:
The "classic" way to charge a wand (etc) is to point it at a node and hold right-click. This will charge the wand while draining the node. However, if the node is drained to 0 in any aspect, it can be permanently damaged: regenerating that (or all) aspects more slowly, or losing the aspect entirely. To avoid this, the user must have learned the Node Preserver research, and their wand must not be made with a wooden core nor iron (or copper) caps. If the node is not damaged, it will recover its strength over time (though only while its chunk is loaded).
Aspect Orbs: Edit
There is a "backup" charging method which is likewise available to all players. When any mob (hostile or tame) is killed, it will drop "aspect orbs" of various primal aspects. The selection of primals will depend on the natural aspects of the mob, being components of those aspects. If the player moves near these orbs with a wand (etc.) in their hotbar, the they will pick up the aspect orbs much like items, but instead of their inventory, the vis will be gathered into the wand. If there is more than one wand in the hotbar, the leftmost one will take priority, but once that is full in a given aspect, the next wand will take the energy, and so on.
With some research, a thaumaturge will learn to build a Recharging Pedestal. When placed near a node, a wand etc. can be placed in the pedestal, and will automatically drain from all nearby wands. (The hazard of draining the node dry still applies for low-quality wands.) An additional accessory can be added to the pedestal, called the Compound Recharing Focus (no relation to wand foci). With this in place, the wand can also drain compound aspects from a node, receiving one point of some primal (a component of the aspect) for each compound point drained. Once the thaumaturge has learned the Node In a Jar construct, they can collect nodes from the landscape to create a Node Room for easy recharging of all aspects. See the article on nodes for more details on node rooms.
Once an Energized Node has been researched and created, it can be used to distribute energy through Vis Relays. A special version of these relays is the Vis Charging Relay, which can be placed atop an Arcane Workbench. Once this is set up, the relay will rapidly charge any wand or scepter placed in the workbench. However, since staves cannot be placed in a workbench, they cannot be charged this way.
A moderately advanced crafting, this amulet can store a large amount of vis. (There are also "apprentice" versions found in loot chests, which store only a few points but are otherwise similar.) The vis amulet itself can be charged in only two ways: By placing it in a Recharging Pedestal like a wand; or by wearing it while the player stands near an Energized Node or active Vis Relay. (Note that the charging range for the amulet is shorter than usual, pershaps 3-4 blocks.) After (and while) being charged, the amulet will slowly feed vis into any wand, staff, or scepter which is being held in hand (that is, active tool). This method is much slower than using a Charging Relay directly, but it does work on staves.
Arcane Crafting Edit
A wand or scepter, but not a staff, can be placed in the special slot of an Arcane Workbench. When the ingredients of a magical recipe are arranged in the workbench, the wand will be checked to see if it has enough vis of the proper types for that recipe. Only if it does, the result item can be taken, and the appropriate amounts of vis will be used up. If the wand does not have enough vis in any aspect, this will be indicated in the GUI, and the aspects which are short will flash.
The very first use of a wand is to activate various magical constructs, devices built in the world and then transformed with a right-click from any wand, staff, or scepter. The simplest of these constructs are single blocks, which require and use no vis from the wand:
- Creation of a Thaumonomicon produces an item rather than a block, but is otherwise similar to the others.
- Activating a Table produces an Arcane Workbench, which thereafter acts as any other block -- it can be mined with an axe and placed elsewhere.
- Activating a vanilla Cauldron produces a Crucible. This is likewise a block which can be mined (with a pickaxe) and placed elsewhere.
The more advanced constructs are multiblock constructs (described in the Thaumonomicon), which require considerable amounts of vis from the wand to be activated.
- The Node In a Jar, referred to above, is used to convert a node into an item which can be picked up (mined) as an item, and later placed elsewhere. However, the node is more likely than not to be damaged by this handling, reducing it one level from Bright to normal to Pale to Fading. When a jarred node is rightclicked with a wand (etc), the jar is opened and the node is released.
- The Infusion Altar is a complex construct which provides Thaumcraft's most advanced form of item crafting. Once activated, if any or the original blocks is mined, the construct will be broken and deactivated, though it can be remade if the block is replaced.
- The Infernal Furnace represents a major advancement in smelting, being able to smelt items with no fuel except Ignis essentia or centivis. Again, if any block is mined, the construct will be broken; in this case, a Blaze will also be released and likely attack the player.
- The Thaumatorium is an automated version of the crucible which pulls essentia from jars rather than items, meaning that there is no wasted essentia. And no flux. Again, it will be broken if any block is mined.
- The Advanced Alchemical Furnace is an Eldritch level construct that melts blocks and items and turns them into essentia. It needs Ignis, Aqua and Perditio in vis form to run. In particular, it needs to build up a buffer of Ignis vis, which means that it takes a while to start for the first time.
Vis Battery Edit
Vis is also needed for certain equipment features: Tools and armor with the (Thaumcraft-special) Repair enchantment can automatically repair themselves, but to do so, they require vis. Likewise, items which provide Runic Shielding use vis to regenerate the shield after it has absorbed damage. This vis will automatically be taken from any wand, staff, or scepter in the player's inventory. In this case, it will be taken first from such items in the player's main inventory, rather than those in the hotbar. (This avoids having one's "working" wand or staff accidentally drained.) These items can also be supplied with vis by a Vis Storage Amulet, but this must actually be worn in its proper slot, not merely held in the inventory.
Wand Foci Edit
A wand or staff, but not a scepter, can be equipped with any of several wand foci. When the focus-equiped wand is right-clicked, it will activate the special ability ("spell") of the focus, using up vis.