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See also: Thaumaturgy

A Thaumaturge is a practitioner of the science of thaumaturgy, a general name for magic in Bas-Lag. The spells and techniques used by thaumaturges are generally known as "hexes", although some techniques, like those used by the Grindylow, are more difficult to categorize.


Bas-Lag is home to numerous kinds of thaumaturgy and associated practitioners. Although the kind and type of thaumaturgy vary from city-state to city-state as well as from species to species, all thaumaturges use various artifacts and fetishes to increase the effectiveness of their hexes, sometimes accompanied by verbal components and finger signs.

Physiological effects[]

The use of thaumaturgy charges the practitioner's blood with thaumaturgical energies, which can cause any spilled blood to boil off quickly as the energies dissipate. In some cases, the strain of advanced thaumaturgy can cause the user's eyes to bleed and their clothes to smolder.

For advanced practitioners, such as renowned bio-thaumaturge Montague Vermishank, the use and exercise of the occult muscles necessary for bio-thaumaturgy can result in a layer of excess, necrotic skin.

Types of thaumaturges[]

As Bas-Lag is home to literally innumerable races and species, categorization of the types of thaumaturges can be difficult. The types listed here represent a few distinct categories, but can overlap in minor ways with other types of thaumaturges in terms of general hex knowledge and usage.

New Crobuzon-affiliated[]

  • Abyssonaut - A subset of thaumaturge focused on extraplanar exploration.
  • Bio-thaumaturge - Thaumaturges who excel in the manipulation of flesh and muscle tissue. New Crobuzon employs numerous bio-thaumaturges in its punishment factories, where they remake criminals and dissidents with new and often debilitating features as a form of punishment. Armada also has a handful of bio-thaumaturges who work as doctors and surgeons.
  • Communicatrix/Communicator - A thaumaturge who specializes in remote communicate via psychic channeling. Communicatrixes (female)/ Communicators (male) are born with the necessary talents, further honed through intense study.
  • Cryomance - Mentioned briefly in Iron Council, a cyromance is likely a thaumaturge who specializes in the use of ice or cold for attack and defense.
  • Elementarius - A thaumaturge specializing in the summoning and control of Elementals. The New Crobuzon Militia have a number of elite elementarii.
  • Empath - Thaumaturges specialized in sensing other creatures, such as by detecting their presence and emotions.
  • Karcist - Specializes in contacting Hell and making deals with demons for both diplomatic and military purposes.
  • Meteormancer - Thaumaturges who specialize in controling and predicting weather patterns and other atmospheric phenomenon. Some are employed in the New Crobuzon Merchant Navy to hide ships from nauscopists, who are able to discern a ship's approach from minute changes in the sky.
  • Shockjack - Mentioned briefly in Iron Council, a shockjack is likely a thaumaturge who specializes in the use of electricity for attack and defense.
  • Somaturge - Also referred to as "golemetrists", somaturges specialize in the creation of golems. Somaturgy is a rising occupation in New Crobuzon following the destruction of most of the city's constructs in the Construct War.
  • Whispersmith - A type of thaumaturge adept at issuing commands via whispers, which can be projected over considerable distances and to specific targets.


  • Hecatombist - A general name for thaumaturges capable of the complex ritual necessary to summon Phasma Urbomachs, also known as murder spirits.
  • Unknown - During the Tesh-New Crobuzon War, unknown Tesh thaumaturges send a Witnessing to intimidate New Crobuzon. Reference is also made to Teshi thaumaturges who are able to enact strange hexes that turn soldiers' eyes into blood-filled sacs or cause them to grow extra limbs, as well as inflict other, equally strange injuries.


  • Witch - Seemingly a general name for thaumaturges originating from the Witchocracy and the islands in the Firewater Straits. The only witch seen, as a hunter-mercenary working for the Transcontinental Railroad Trust, uses peculiar sleep magic to hunt down striders. The witch is described as "sleeping a hunt-sleep" in order to conjure "dream-devils" that kill striders and bring back their hands, which she uses to create grotesque hand-bouquets.


  • Shaman - A term used to refer to both Grindylow and Vodyanoi thaumaturgists/religious leaders. Grindylow shamans channel ancestor spirits and are capable of warping space.