Magitech is a generic term referring to any device that combines elements of magick and technology. The primary advantage of magitech is that it allows unawakened humans to use magick on a limited scale. When using large, complex, and powerful magitech devices (like transit beacons), however, it's always a good idea to have a technomancer nearby for damage control if things go wrong. In rare cases, some magitech devices (like Gymelifs) are designed to enhance a mage's existing magickal ability, and therefore can only be used by a mage.
Throughout the series the words "Magitech" (noun) and "Technomagickal " (adjective) have been used interchangeably and mean the same thing. "Technomancers" are mages who specialize in magitech equipment.
How It Works
How exactly magitech work in the TI Universe has been left intentionally vague. From what little that has been established, however, it appears that certain magickal effects have been automated through electronic and mechanical means, with the supernatural power needed to cast the spell being drawn from quintessence (raw magickal energy) stored in a "crystalline battery," thus allowing unawakened people to perform magic on a limited scale, despite not actually being a mage.
A normal electrical battery is also needed to run the electronic parts of the magitech device. If needed, an (ill-defined) "quintessence valve" can convert quintessence into a form of energy compatible with regular technology (usually but not always electricity), allowing both the magickal and non-magical parts of the device to both run off the crystalline battery.
When designing magitech devices for use in a Tech Infantry plotline, keep the following limitations in mind, and remember that the Editor/Storyteller has the final say.
Magitech has three main limitations: Size, Power, and Cost.
The greater the magickal effect, the larger the magitech equipment needs to be. As a general rule of thumb, double the size of the device for each additional magickal effect it can perform (i.e., a magitech device that can perform two magical functions will be twice as large as a device that can only perform one, etc.).
For example, etheral scanners perform only a single, simple function (reading auras), and thus are small enough to fit in a pocket. On the other hand a gravity drive, which can rip the fabric of spacetime apart to form a multi-kilometer wide portal to hyperspace and keep it open long enough for a warship to pass through, is so enormous that only spaceships the size of a Heavy Cruiser (one kilometer long) or larger can carry one.
Generally speaking, the greater the magickal effect, the more power the device consumes. Magitech equipment that occasionally performs a single, small, simple function (like an etheral scanner) require little power and can run for a long time on a single crystalline battery. A digital gate, in contrast, requires 400 nuclear reactors.
Magitech equipment that can perform several different magickal functions will require more power to work, and will use it up faster. Devices that are always on (like control collars) require a constant source of power, and will stop working when the power runs out.
Any magitech device is expensive, as they are difficult to manufacture and there is a limit to how fast they can be produced. Anyone can work in an ordinary factory, but only an awakened person can craft magitech devices, and most of them are generally busy serving on the front lines in the Tech Infantry or Imperial Army. The rituals and ceremonies needed to imbue a device with supernatural properties can often be time-consuming and difficult to speed up; rare ingredients and material spell components may be in short supply, and impossible to find mundane substitutes for. Generally speaking, a magitech device will ALWAYS be more expensive than non-magickal equipment that performs the same basic function (i.e., a flamethrower will be cheaper than a Wand of Fire, etc.).
Partly because of the other two limitations of power and size, the greater the magicakal effect performed by the device, the more expensive it is. Etheral scanners are a mass-produced consumer good, but constructing a single jumpgate could easily bankrupt an entire star system.
Legality & Availability
How legal (and therefore available and expensive) a magitech device is can vary widely from planet to planet depending on how volatile the local government considers the device to be (and thus players/writers have considerable flexibility in that area). In the Holy Terran Empire, for example, etheral scanners are fairly harmless and therefore commonly available. Gravity Drives, however, are tightly controlled and heavily regulated.
Known Magitech Devices
- Control Collar
- Digital Gate
- Etheral Scanner
- Gravity Drive
- Spatial Distortion Accelerator
Behind the Scenes
Magitech has always been a part of the Tech Infantry Universe, mainly as a excuse to do an end-run around physics to provide for otherwise-impossible technology (like jumpgates and transit beacons). Later on, it became a useful and convenient way to give normal human characters a fighting chance against supernatural characters if the plotlines required it.
The "Quintessence Valve" was made up on the spur of the moment in TI 4.3 as a random broken component needing to be replaced in some magitech equipment. Ironically (and somewhat amusingly), however, quintessence valves have popped up a few other times in the story since then, despite none of the authors really having any idea what it is or how it works.