Alchemy is an ancient art. At one time, its secrets were known only by the dwarves, but as the Dwarvish empire rose and then fell, it secrets were learned by outsiders and in these times knowledge of alchemy is shared by all, although dwarves still claim a special affinity to the art and are generally at the core of the various guilds and mining companies.


The base material of alchemy is a substance known as Lyrium, which can be acted upon in myriad ways to produce almost any effect imaginable. However, the preparation procedures involved are extremely precise and amateur alchemists will often end up with a useless brown sludge (or something other than what they intended, if they are unlucky.)

Lyrium is mined from deep beneath the surface earth. This is a lucrative business for those who understand how to find and extract it; a business that is still dominated by the dwarves. There are rich Lyrium veins in the North of Albion, but fewer in the south. The Brighthelm alchemist's guild (like most guilds around the country) import Lyrium by barge and by cart, with entourages of wardens which are said to exceed the royal guard itself.

It has been known for some time that the efficiency of using Lyrium in preparations is enhanced by blood, and that this process also effectively ties the lyrium to that alchemist. A drop of blood is required before any preparations are made, and once a potion is completed. Fortunately, once combined with lyrium the blood ceases to be a powerful arcane connection to the alchemist. Once activated, lyrium keeps for one fortnight before degrading and becoming useless.

In ancient times, raw lyrium was used as a base ingredient. This meant that any alchemist with proper training could use raw lyrium according to the same technique to obtain the same effect. However, activating lyrium doubles the effective yield from a single dose, and means that an alchemist's supplies are only useful to themselves, making it useless if stolen.

There is nothing supernatural about how this process binds lyrium to a particular alchemist– as each person's blood is slightly different, the resulting activated lyrium requires slightly different preparation from alchemist to alchemist. As each alchemist learns to make preparations using their own blood, the fine manipulations involved are slightly different. While in theory with enough practise an alchemist could learn to use another's resources, in general this is exceedingly difficult as they would effectively need to relearn alchemy from scratch, while avoiding falling into the same patterns that they use for their own preparations.

The Alchemist's Guild and Lyrium

The Brighthelm Alchemist's Guild, like many similar guilds throughout the country, controls and regulates the trafficing of Lyrium within the city. In practise, this means that almost all alchemists within the city are guild members. The guild expects a contribution from members, normally in the form of alchemical preparations which the guild sells, though also has positions for lecturers and demonstrators as it provides training for its members. Some alchemists do not work directly for the guild but are still expected to make a monetary contribution to cover their membership. In return, the guild supplies enough activated Lyrium to cover the production of these alchemicals, plus a surplus that the alchemist can use for their own purposes (so long as they neither run serious competition to the alchemist's guild nor bring the guild into disrepute.) The more skilled the alchemist, the greater this surplus is, as described on the alchemy-skills page.

Activated Lyrium is distributed in the guild from 6AM on Thursday morning. Blood is collected on Wednesday until midnight, at which point the distribution department goes about activating quantities of the raw lyrium stores and packaging the activated Lyrium up for each alchemist, starting with elemental elves. Elemental elves are required to be present at the distribution centre at midnight if they wish to receive Lyrium, due to the fact that their blood quickly decomposes to the relevant element once outside their body. The distribution centre make their supplies up there and then. Fortunately, relatively few elemental elves practise alchemy full-time, but those at the back of the queue may still find themselves waiting for a little over an hour.

Blood collection is a high-security operation; in the wrong hands, a person's blood can be used as a connection to that person to inflict magical or spiritual effects against them. Therefore this department is composed almost entirely of dwarves (who have a natural dis-affinity for spiritual and magical arts, generally seeing themselves as being above such supplicative practises) and very trusted members of the alchemical community.

Guild alchemists wishing to receive supplies are expected to provide a small vial (a few centimeters cubed) of blood to the distribution centre each fortnight. Registered guild members may give blood directly at the distribution centre.

Sale of Raw Lyrium

The alchemist's guild also sells raw Lyrium. Technically non-guild members may purchase lyrium for their own purposes, but it is sufficiently expensive that running a business this way is not a feasible prospect. Raw lyrium is sold for 25Sh. A dose to guild and non-guild alchemists alike. Alchemists must remember to activate this with their own blood first if they wish to use it, in which case it counts for 2 doses of activated lyrium, and will expire in 1 fortnight. Unactivated lyrium does not seem to expire. Attempting to perform alchemy with raw lyrium (for someone who has trained using the activated form) usually results in a wasted preparation.

Sale of Elixirs

The alchemists' guild makes the majority of its income through selling elixirs; these are specially preparted potions which do not require an alchemist to apply. The guild sells most elixirs up to size 2, though please bear in mind that some preparations may be difficult to obtain or at least raise eyebrows as indicated on the list of alchemical preparations. It may be possible, in rare cases, to obtain larger sizes by prior arrangement. In general the alchemists guild will only sell 4 doses-worth of elixirs to a person per-fortnight, to ensure they do not run into shortages. In some cases it may be possible to obtain more doses by prior arrangement.

Preparing potions

Potions may be created by any method of combining ingredients that is appropriate to your character, and takes 5 seconds per ingredient.

Preparing elixirs requires access to distillation equipment in the alchemists' guild, but these are available to guild members at all times. If you leave the bar to prepare an elixir you can expect to be back in 10-15 minutes (the length of a monstering encounter or two.)

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