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Research Table (Thaumcraft 3)
The research table is the most important tool for any thaumaturge. It is used to unlock all the hidden secrets of the universe and discover new ways of harnessing magic.
To research something new you simply need to place some paper in the bottom middle slot and the objects you wish to study in one of the left slots. When you press the magnifying glass icon you will study the aspects on those objects and have a chance of discovering a fragment of arcane lore associated with it. The aspects possessed by the items you are examining will be shown in the bar to the right of the items. Multiple items with the same aspect do not stack - the highest aspect present is always used, so make sure not to waste resources.
Below the slot where you keep the paper is a toggle bar that can be set to 'Cursory' or 'Thorough'. When in 'Cursory' mode, you only have a small chance of losing the item you are studying, but your chance of discovering or progressing your knowledge is small.
In 'Thorough' mode, your chance of discovering something is far greater, but you also have a higher chance of losing the item you are studying. The idea is that with cursory mode you are just looking at the item but with thorough mode you are breaking and closely observing the item.
As you progress with research some of the aspect symbols on the left side will fade. When this happens it means that the theory you are researching does not use that aspect in its makeup and you should not research that aspect further.
At first you will know very little about the knowledge you have discovered, but as you progress more and more information will be revealed. At first you won't know which aspects to examine, but the type, number and progress of the research into each aspect will slowly reveal itself.
Once all the progress in all the revealed aspects reaches 100% you will make a brand new discovery. Simply right-clicking with the discovery in your hotbar will allow you to learn it and examine detailed information about it in the Thaumonomicon.
You might also notice that sometimes the aspects found in an item you are studying has a second, glowing number in its top left corner. This means that something in the environment is granting a bonus to that aspect for research. The bonus could be granted from nearby blocks, creatures or something else in the environment nearby. Even the location or placement of the research table might grant bonuses.
The interface for the Research Table can be very daunting at first, as it has a lot of slots and a lot of places to display things, and unfortunately none of them are very clearly indicated.
- On the left are several slots where you will insert ingredients that may have aspects of what you are trying to research. You can place multiple different ingredients in here if you'd like, and they will be inspected together at the same time. Putting two or more items in a single stack will be inspected one at a time. Putting two of the same item in different slots is of no benefit.
- To the right of that is a little display which will show the aspects of those ingredients.
- Below those is a toggle switch between whether we will do a Cursory or Thorough examination of our ingredients.
- In the middle slot is the current research theory you are working on will appear; usually you don't place items in this slot.
- In the middle lower slot is a space for Paper, which will be used to store research notes. Keep it stocked with paper.
- At the right is a big empty area. This will show the aspects that are a part of the current theory, and a page in the top-left which can expand (on mouse over) to show a description/hint of the research.
Cursory vs Thorough
When researching aspects, the ingredients have a chance to be destroyed in the process. In fact, you should anticipate destroying a good many items while doing research. With a cursory inspection (by having the switch toggled so that it says "Cursory"), there is less of a chance of destroying the item, but also less of a chance of learning anything from it. With a thorough inspection (switch toggled to "Thorough"), it is more likely to get the aspect from that item, but also more likely to destroy the item in the process. Thorough is preferable over Cursory, as the average rate of return per item is higher. Cursory mode has a 15% chance of furthering research, and a 25% chance of being destroyed, whereas Thorough mode has a 55% chance of furthering research, and a 75% chance of being destroyed.