Background magic

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Background magic is the amount of magical energy present in a room, measured in thaums.


A thaum is a unit of magic, and a large majority of magical practises will leak thaums into the background magic of a room:

  • Spellcasting - casting spells will generate thaums equal to 1/5 the size of the spell (in units of mind space).
  • Recharging - recharging an artifact will generate thaums equal to 1/5 of the Guild Points used (even if no charges are added to the artifact).

The level of background magic decreases exponentially over time, i.e. the more thaums present in the room, the faster they will degenerate.


High levels of background magic is known to increase spell power. Other minor effects included increased difficulty to scry the room and increased chances of the room being the anchor for a misportal.

Extremely high levels of background magic also make it dangerous to cast spells in the room. Rooms containing over 1000 thaums above normal have been known to break or remove limbs on spellcasting, and cause damage or even death in some cases.

Levels of background magic

Witches and Wizards can see an approximation of the background magic level in the verbose description of the room, and anyone can get a more precise reading by using a thaumometer. The various levels are:

Range Description Notes
50 - 149 There is the residual taste of magic in this place.
150 - 249 This place has seen some use of magic.
250 - 500 A considerable amount of magic has been used here.
500 - 749 A very large quantity of magic has been manipulated here.
750 - 999 You can feel the Dungeon Dimensions trying to push in. At this point you will recieve red warning messages, and it's time to think about moving if anyone is casting spells. Damage can be taken here if your skills are low enough.
1000 - 1499 Little sparks flash in from the Dungeon Dimensions. At this point you may take damage from spellcasting. You may also suffer dismemberment.
1500 - 1999 Apparitions of things with lots of tentacles seem to be on the edge of your vision. At this point you will suffer dismemberment from spellcasting regardless of skills.
2000 - ???? So much magic has been expended here that the area is in danger of dumping itself into the Dungeon Dimensions. Just don't cast spells.