The Forbidden Art of Alchemy
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Alchemy is a study entirely forbidden by the Sacred Council of the Eidai. Decreed to be a heretical mutation of science and magic, it is publicly denounced as an affront to the gods — stealing from them rather than asking for their blessing by using their symbols — and is one of the few crimes that carries a capital punishment.

That great risk however does not deter the few individuals who make the transmutation of substances and elements their life's work. They are just very good at keeping a secret.

Overview

Alchemy does not have any immediate dueling purposes. It is not fast work. Rather, practitioners are slow and methodical in the construction of their elaborate symbols and diagrams.

More complex than anything used by the priesthood, there is still a similarity between the two to the untrained eye. The similarity is made only worse by the reassigning of attributes to the sacred symbols of the gods, bringing only further credence to the belief that the study of alchemy is — at its very roots — blasphemy. There is also an eighth seal that appears in their spell-casting that is entirely absent in the workings done by the temples.

It can be used for a myriad of purposes from constructing objects to transmuting substances into poisons or creatures into monsters. It's a dangerous practice both to the people who practice it and to those who are around it.

Alchemical Balancing & Other Principles

Like with the temple magics, good alchemical practice is supposed to seek balance in its exchanges. Materials transmute into other things, never really disappearing or appearing from nothing.

Materials are a vital part of the equation. There must be a complete understanding of what is being formed. The more complex the undertaking is the more difficult it will be to create. For example: a wheel as opposed to a wheelbarrow what can be created… can also be destroyed. Much like the methodical process of alchemical construction, an object can be deconstructed back into its original components. An alchemist becomes an active component in the process of creation.

If concentration or activity is broken, the formula either fails to work or, depending on the complexity of the project, causes an alchemical backlash. Alchemists of all levels are at risk and will suffer the consequences of such failures.

Training

In order to start the process, there needs to be a deep and good understanding of the materials and the use of arrays and alchemical circles. Because of alchemy is a forbidden practice, learning it is not easy. If one can read, being in possession of any scrolls detailing alchemical practices is dangerous. Alchemists need to be apprenticed by more experienced alchemists in order to learn where to start and to have a good standing in the practice.

Finding an alchemist is another story.

Typically one starts into alchemy in one of two ways: either it's a family practice passed down or a stumbling first effort produces an effect that catches a master's attention. (And the alchemist gets there before the priests do.) While neither way is particularly safe, the latter is certainly inherently more dangerous.

Due to the fact that all alchemical practices are considered heresy and are punishable by death, alchemists have been careful to hide their studies with other professions and involvements. Unlike the system used within the temples, there are no real ranks among alchemists, save experience. Learning takes years. Years. This cannot be stressed enough. Patience and concentration are key. When fools rush through their work, bad things are more likely to happen.

Notes About the Forbidden Art

Crystals can be used as amplifiers — another noticeable similarity to magical practices and crystal dust is a nearly universal component. Alchemists can be very choosy about which crystals are ground down for use of a component, others far less so. Suffice to say though, because of the rarity and/or high cost associated with this component, it keeps alchemists humble in the extent of their practice.

Alchemy is expressly forbidden in Calliden and punishable by death. This means that practicing characters MUST be approved by staff AND waive consent about character death if the priesthood discovers it IC'ly. Alchemy's a dangerous game to play on more than one front and it's even more dangerous to forget that.

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