Auras and Nodes is an introductory research located under the Basic Information tab. It covers the basics of what Nodes are and do and what the Aura is.
What it Is
The Aura is described, by the Thaumonomicon, as "a field of magical energy prevalent throughout the world". In essence, the Aura is a "viscous" conglomerate of the 6 Primal Aspects and the Aspect of Vitium, also known as Flux. These aspects reside in different concentrations per chunk throughout the world.
The Aura and the Aspects contained therein can be looked to almost as "an ocean of thick glue", as stated in the Thaumonomicon. Aspects in the Aura are free to move from chunk to chunk, albeit slowly, to equalize and replenish each other. However, this process is slow enough that the concentration of aspects will never quite become even, but will become closer and closer to each other as more time passes. If the concentration of a Primal Aspect becomes too low, however, there is a chance that flux will be generated, a problem one should try to prevent, as one can read into on the appropriate page. In addition to this, certain areas are more likely to contain higher and lower concentrations of specific Aspects than others. For example, an ocean or beach is more likely to contain higher concentrations of the Aspect of Aqua and lower concentrations of Ignis, while the opposite would be true for a desert. Although naturally the concentrations of these aspects will never be nonexistent, some can be significantly lower than others, even more so if a Thaumaturge has taken up residence in the area.
Although the Aura itself, excepting Flux, has no direct or inherent effects on the player or their environment, the Aura is the source from which one draws Vis, the name for any one of the 6 Primal aspects that has been stored in an, although intangible, usable form, such as in a Wand. As such, the Aura is of great importance to any Thaumaturge, especially if one has taken up residence in an area for too long, as Flux can build and concentrations of Aspects can decrease, both of which ranging from petty annoyances to immense dangers to a Thaumaturge, the latter to any poor soul who may be unfortunate enough to experience it.
What they Are
Nodes are the portal or vessel from which the Primal Aspects and, on occasion, Flux, enter into the Aura. Although intangible and all but invisible to the naked eye, they are extremely important entities, replenishing the Aura and even possibly helping to clean it. However, as most of Thaumaturgy is, Nodes are not a simple subject, as there are several types of Nodes.
There are 6 different types of nodes that can be found, all of which can be "tuned" to their own individual Aspect and be of different sizes, making there near an infinite number of individual Nodes that can be found throughout the world. These 6 types, however, are: Astral, Hungry, Pure, Sinister, Tainted and Unstable.
- Astral Node - the Astral Node is a rare Node type that replenishes the respective Aspect it is attuned to depending on the amount of light it is exposed to, with higher levels of light correlating with faster output of aspects into the Aura.
- Hungry Node - the Hungry Node, a relatively rare Node type, instead of replenishing the Aura, slowly absorbs aspects from it, growing in their size and the speed of which as they adsorb more and more aspects. This makes them potentially dangerous, but more so a great annoyance.
- Pure Node - the Pure Node is a relatively rare Node type that can be found naturally or created artificially by the growing of Silverwood trees. These Nodes are often regarded as the most welcome and useful Node type, as they slowly remove Flux from the Aura while simultaneously replenishing its respective Aspect. The Node will slowly become damaged and shrink in size, however, as it absorbs Flux. As stated earlier, though, these Nodes are a renewable resource, making their property of shrinking and fading a mere annoyance.
- Sinister Node - despite the name, Sinister Nodes are, although relatively rare, less of an unwelcome find than one would expect. They are near the polar opposite of the Astral Node, working better in darkness than light. However, they also have the added effect of creating the Eerie biome in the areas around them. Other than this, they have few significant properties of their own.
- Tainted Node - the Tainted Node, a rare Node type, is an unwelcome to anyone with common sense, excepting at great distance from one's home or other significant structures or areas. The Tainted Node slowly generates Flux as it replenishes the Aura, eventually leading to Taint in the area in which it resides, making it extremely dangerous, if not potentially a good source of research material.
- Unstable Node - the Unstable Node is a relatively rare Node that, despite being attuned to a certain Aspect, will at times randomly replenish a different aspect in the Aura, making them, to an extent, useful, if not unpredictable.
Nodes can be attuned to any Aspect, not solely the 6 Primal Aspects. Nodes tuned to non-Primal Aspects regenerate the Primal Aspects comprising the compound aspect, or, if the aspect in question is more complex, the base Primal Aspects comprising the different complex aspects leading to the attuned complex aspect, meaning that Nodes embodying more complex Aspects generally replenish more aspects than others. Other than this, Nodes are, like the Aura, invisible, but can be seen using either Goggles of Revealing or a Thaumometer, the latter of which also allows one to see the concentration of aspects in the Aura. In addition to this, Nodes, based on their size, naturally are attracted to one another, meaning that Nodes in too close of proximity can merge, causing the smaller of the two Nodes to be absorbed into the larger, which retains it's Node type and attuned aspect, but increases in size. Generally, larger Nodes replenish the Aura faster, meaning that dangerous Nodes, such as Tainted and Hungry Nodes, can be intentionally destroyed by merging them with larger, more useful Nodes, such as Pure Nodes, which can be created and then merged to a certain size and then slowly moved to the Node intended to be merged with the main Node by growing Silverwood trees and allowing the Nodes to move towards one another. Although there is research to allow for more efficient movement of Nodes, it is, with good reason, Forbidden Knowledge, and greatly taints the Aura when used - the Node Magnet.