To start researching you will need several things.
Firstly, and most importantly, you need a Quaesitum. This block allows you to research any item placed in the input slots in the hopes of discovering something new.
Secondly you need paper. This is used like a fuel source for the Quaesitum, but it is only consumed when something is successfully researched.
Lastly you need items to research. Theoretically you can research anything, from the humblest block of cobblestone to a stack of diamond blocks. The more valuable or complex and item is, the greater your chance of discovering something of interest. Most normal items will only produce lost knowledge with an extremely small chance of producing some other type.
Once you have made at least four discoveries or obtained eight fragments (see below) you can also craft yourself the Thaumonomicon . This wonderous tome serves as a convenient record for all your discoveries thusfar and also hints as to what discoveries you can make in the future. There are two ways to craft the Thaumonomicon:
Note:These cannot be made in the current Technic Pack
Occasionally you might find interesting items in the world that will be marked as Artifacts. The items have little use for anything other than research, but they have a much larger chance of successfully producing a discovery than normal items. They also allow one to discover avenues of research that one would not normally have access too.
There are different types and rarities of artifacts. The rarities are common, uncommon, rare and extraordinary. The rarity determines how big a chance they have of granting you a new research item - the rarer they are, the bigger the chance.
Artifacts can be found in dungeon or stronghold chests, as mob drops or through other means. Some mods also allow artifacts to spawn in the mods loot chests.
The knowledge gained through studying lost knowledge is fairly everyday and mundane - as far as things can be mundane in Thaumcraft. You can expect to gain improved versions of existing tools, new uses for common items or other simple but useful items.
When you delve into forbidden knowledge you can expect to discover dark and slightly suspect knowledge. Things that are best not known, but are oh so tempting. Necromantic arts, dark sorceries and evil versions of existing items are all possibilities in this avenue of research.
By studying the Taint you may discover ways to fight it more effectively... or even use it to your advantage.
Who were the builders of the monoliths? What ancient secrets do they hold? Well, don't just stand there - get to your Quasitum and find out! Of course, such knowledge might not have been meant for a mortal mind...
The Research Process
The Research InterfaceIt may seem quite complicated, but let us break it down piece by piece.
The blue slot (top right) is where you place your paper.
The nine slots marked in green (bottom right) are your output slots and this is where your research results will go.
The three slots on the left marked in red are the input slots. This is where you place the items you wish to research. The large slot at the top is the primary input slot and the item placed there determines the type of knowledge that will be gained and your base success, failure and loss chance.
The other two input slots are the secondary slots. Any items place in them act as boosters for the primary slot and increase your success chance. The bonus they give is much smaller than it would be if they were placed in the primary slot. Items that are related to the item in the primary slot do give a bigger bonus (like similar types of artifacts) when placed in the secondary slot.
The runed bar in the lower center area of the GUI is your progress bar and will show you how far along your current research cycle is.
The three bars in the center of the GUI indicate the following:
This bar shows you the chance of losing any items in your input slots. The chance is calculated separately for each slot. During the final phase of research this only applies to items in your secondary input slots.
Improving Your Chances
There is a simple way to improve your chances at successfully researching during all three of the following phases. Simply place bookcases, and later Brain-in-a-jars, surrounding the Quaesitum like you would an Enchanting Table.
Phase 1 - Knowledge fragments
This is the phase during which you research items or artifacts. It is a slow and tedious process and chances of gaining anything are usually fairly low. If you do succeed you will be rewarded with a Knowledge Fragment. Most items will only produce lost knowledge, but artifacts are guaranteed to produce a Knowledge Fragment linked to their type.
There is a small chance of gaining something other than a knowledge fragment during this phase. It is possible to gain a theory directly. Some discoveries can only be made this way - by gaining a theory during this phase. (see the discoveries page for more information regarding this)
Phase 2 - Theories
Now that you have some Knowledge Fragments you can move on to phase 2 - attempting to formulate a theory.
You need to choose which type of knowledge you want to research by choosing what type of fragment to research.
Researching a knowledge fragment proceeds much like in phase 1 and if successful you will be granted a theory. A theory will reveal the name of the object you have developed a theory on and how difficult it will be to research.
The difficulty can vary from trivial, through easy, moderate, hard, tricky and finally tortuous. The higher the difficulty of a theory, the lower your chance of success and the longer it will take. Even with your Quasitum fully surrounded with Brain-in-a-jars, tortuous theories are almost impossible to successfully research, with a meager 5% chance of both success and failure, this is definitely the place to use a few artifacts as boosters.
IMPORTANT: They difficulty of a theory can vary between research attempts. You might get a tricky theory your first time, but continuing to research the same type of knowledge might reveal a hard, or even moderate version of that theory instead... or possibly a tortuous one.
PREREQUISITES: You can only discover the theory for an item if you have already discovered the theory for an item you need to create it. For example, you cannot discover the theory for any item that has to be crafted in a Dark Infuser until you have actually discovered the theory for the Dark Infuser itself. There is the occasional exception to this rule, but that is usually for items that can be attained by some other means (like Void Ingots).
If your fragment research starts returning nothing but other fragments it means you have exhausted all possible avenues of research in this category. You may continue if you wish, because there is a random chance to receive another type of knowledge fragment.
Phase 3 - Discoveries
Now you need to prove your theory in the hopes of receiving a discovery.
When you place a theory in the primary input slot a new bar will appear to it's left. This indicates your current progress in proving the theory. In total you need to fill all four dot's in the bar and then successfully research it a fifth time to get the theory.
This is easier said than done. While you have a chance to succeed at progressing the theory each research cycle, you also have a chance to reduce your progress with that theory. There is a small chance if your progress is at zero and you get a failure that the theory will increase in difficulty or can be lost. It is a slow process, but if you persevere and stack the odds in your favor you will be rewarded with a discovery!
Right clicking with a discovery in your hand will bring up a short description of the item you researched and a diagram showing you how to craft the item. You will also get a message in the chat window showing you that you are now able to craft that recipe. The recipe is also now viewable from the Thaumonomicon.
You now know all you need to get researching in Thaumcraft, so get out there and get researching!