THE HISTORY OF ALCHEMY
The practice of alchemy originated amongst the peoples of the vanished Fourth Continent. It was brought by the fleeing Thulhun to Machen and Maturin where it flourished in various cults and courts, supplanting the shamanistic and priestly traditions extant in those cultures. The Coven of the Sun, the Iron Cabal and the Golden Cabal are the three greatest alchemical traditions of the southern continents.
Alchemists, historically, have been powerful political forces no matter their location or disposition. The ability not only to raise and command the dead but to
Aligher makes use of alchemy only in the totemic binding of man and beast.
THE ALCHEMICAL SUBSTANCES
Almost every substance known to Man is readily transmutable by a capable alchemist. Notable substances include:
Obsidian is the only substance which cannot be transmuted. It is also inert as a reagent.
Some results achieved with alchemy are not reversible and do not in principle flow both ways. These are referred to as Products and include:
Charged by an alchemist's will, a reagent facilitates the transmutation of one alchemical substance into another. All substances are reagents.
THE FORBIDDEN SUBSTANCES AND REAGENTS
Transmutation of thought: Facilitated by gold. Thought is prohibited as a substance not because of its nature but because it responds only to gold, which is itself taboo. Any attempt at transmutation of thought results in an explosion of alchemical energy rendering everyone within a quarter mile irrevocably mad. It is fabled, but unproven, that the process can result in the alchemist gaining unspeakable knowledge.
Transmutation of age: Facilitated by the life's blood of an exsanguinated sacrifice. Forbidden for obvious reasons, and delivers diminishing returns.
Transmutation of memory: Facilitated by silver, the transmutation of memory divorces the transmuted party from reality and plunges them into another world. They lose their language and speak thereafter in a strange tongue undecipherable by Men. Eventually they become silent and then, undying, sit and turn to stone.
Transmutation of distance: Facilitated by iron. Transmutation of distance results in the collapse of distance as a concept within the area effected by the transmutation. Over time, if the transmutation is exercised repeatedly, the locale will collapse into an aleph, the confluence of many locations at one point.
The use of gold as a reagent is expressly forbidden by most or all alchemical covens. Historically, gold was used by various cults as a ceremonial reagent for its occasionally spectacular results. It is, notably, the only reagent capable of imparting life to inanimate objects. Common results of transmutation via gold include madness, explosion of alchemist, alchemical substance or both, destruction of the alchemist's soul or, in cases recorded apocryphally, the summoning of a demon.