Magic in the world of Bas-Lag is omnipresent. Everyone knows about it
and knows someone who has used it. However - skills in the field of magic are
rare. While there may be 1 in 10 people capable of minor magics, the more
skilled and more powerful occur 1 in 1000 or even less frequently.
Bas-Lag, like much of life in general, comes at a cost. Puissance (the power
for a magic) must come from a source. Either the stamina and blood of the
casting mage, the sacrifice of others, or chymical and thaumaturgic batteries
constructed for the purpose.
Magic can come from the Gods as well - but the
Gods must be bargained with and magic must be bought. For example, in the case
of the monks of the Moment of the Hidden and the Secret - a Teshian order that
worship the god Tekke Vogu have the powers to find hidden pathways (teleport of
a kind), to remain unseen and to learn secrets. For each use they must have
something of theirs hidden - they forget a memory, or have a skill removed,
lose their native language or have a body part taken away, hidden forever by
The water magic of Vodyanoi. All
Vodyanoi seem to possess the power to shape water like clay, which it retains
up to an hour. Shamans, however are able to summon Undine as well - a water
The magic of the Gryndylow - probably
unable to be converted to Hero. The Grindylow have such an alien view of the
world that they should always be NPCs. The Grindylow specialise in dimensional
magics, and have rather strange versions of offensive and transport spells at
the very least (shown in The Scar).
Able to contact Hell. In New Crobuzon, you
usually don't summon Demons, you tend to go to Hell and negotiate. Practicing
Karcism makes you a Karcist. The mayor of New Crobuzon (Bentham Rudgutter) has
an ambassador from Hell in one of the rooms at Perdido Street Station
Able to communicate over vast
distances with psychometry. A female of this art is called a communicatrix.
Mixing technology and constructs with
magic. All magic is classed as part of thaumaturgy. Fetishes/props/foci for
Thaumaturgy often include chymical batteries, charms, animal parts, and
The animation and creation of Golem. From
simple clay up to shadow and sound golems.
Mixing technology and biology. Most
biothaumaturges work in the Punishment Factories creating Remade from
Mind control through suggestion and
whispers. Powerful Sussurators (or Wordsmiths) can whisper to a specific target
Manipulation and sensing of the
earth. Turning rock to mud, detecting Smokestone eruptions or finding types of
Elementarii summon elemental spirits
which behave similarly to wild animals and must be tamed. The correct element
for the Elementalist's particular specialisation (all elementarii must
specialise in one element only) must be present for the summoning. A torch can
be used for fire elementals, a herd of horses for flesh elementals.