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So you want to be an Alchemist?

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  • So you want to be an Alchemist?

    This touches on something I have long thought about and the recent post about magic enlightenment drugs brought it to mind once again. What does alchemy do? Creation has alchemy. It mentions mortals doing it and flat out calls them alchemists. It shows up in things like the White Elixer making vampires. It is one of the paths to sorcery. What is alchemy then? Is it just drugs? What about the transmutation of metals? If you use mystical mirrors to use sunlight on gold to get Orichalcum is that a kind of alchemy? The Yennin with their children made with 10 fathers talk about a formula so is that a kind of it? Is Craft: Alchemy a thing? What are its limits? Is it just fancy named chemistry or more in a setting like Exalted? Does it make the world too mystical and magical?

    Plenty of games and fiction and stuff from our own wold that certainly could fit into Exalted it seems have their own stuff that works too. The Witcher books and games, Taoist Alchemy, Atelier series of video games, Weapons of the Gods game, numerous manga, and plenty more all take the idea to different degrees. Game of Thrones, one of the listed suggested materials for Exalted inspiration even uses alchemy to make its Wildfire.

    I ask about all this not only because I am honestly curious what people think, but because the setting seems to include it without any definition. I also think the idea expands Creation to make it something more. If alchemy is a thing across Creation and not just these weird random pop ups it can become elements of stories. Merchants trade in strange reagents and we know why they would want them and why it is valuable. Artifact making gets more interesting because now you have more you can raise up to that level just like you have artifact swords as the step up from just a steel sword.

    So yeah. What do you think alchemy is in Exalted? What can it do? What can't it do? What should or shouldn't it do?


    https://www.youtube.com/BogMod I play a lot of videogames.

  • #2
    For me Alchemy and thaumaturgy blend together in Exalted.

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    • #3
      My assumption is two parts alchemy being the old-timey word for chemistry, one part the kinds of things chemists thought might be possible back when it was called alchemy. With the latter trending towards higher difficulty than the former.

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      • #4
        I'll say what I've said elsewhere; if the game is going to introduce something like alchemy, it's irresponsible to do so in a manner so piecemeal that a thread such as this becomes necessary.

        Also weird to introduce the idea that the capacity to transmute things, but maybe only if you include something like magical materials into the mix (?), functions as a mundane craft in the Hundred Devils entry for bats.


        I have approximate knowledge of many things.
        Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
          Also weird to introduce the idea that the capacity to transmute things, but maybe only if you include something like magical materials into the mix (?), functions as a mundane craft in the Hundred Devils entry for bats.
          The transmutation of things is one of the classic goals of alchemy. Turning things from their base into their pure form. The whole lead into gold for example.


          https://www.youtube.com/BogMod I play a lot of videogames.

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          • #6
            Transmutation of metals I think should be a thaumaturgic ritual but that’s the exception, not the rule.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Sith_Happens View Post
              Transmutation of metals I think should be a thaumaturgic ritual but that’s the exception, not the rule.
              What craft skill would you require for a roll for someone who wanted to turn gold into Orichalcum with special sunlight reflecting mirrors? Or do you think that example from the Core should be a special thaumaturgic ritual?


              https://www.youtube.com/BogMod I play a lot of videogames.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by BogMod View Post

                The transmutation of things is one of the classic goals of alchemy. Turning things from their base into their pure form. The whole lead into gold for example.
                I'm quite sure Isator was commenting not on the transmutation itself, but on where it was mentioned.



                The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.

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                • #9
                  I always assume Alchemy is the "potions" skill, but Exalted is really against magic potions (that one sorcerous initiation aside), which feels like a fertile ground left untouched. There's a handful of magic drugs in the book (see ghosts, prophylactic, antidote), but i think the devs were really against DnD style Potion of Water Breathing or Potion of Stoneskin. Which is a shame, because those things are awesome, and it's kinda just kicked over to "do a Working, the rules of which are vague by design and almost certainly include a unintended side effect".

                  On the subject of Gold into Oricaclum, I think the same logic holds: we don't want rules for this because we don't want you doing it lightly (see: every artifact craft thread). Its supposed to be a Special Adventure designed by your ST.


                  Please be warned: this is not champagne, this is most likely a duck.
                  -Chausse

                  Message me for Japanese translations.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sorcerous Overlord View Post
                    I always assume Alchemy is the "potions" skill, but Exalted is really against magic potions (that one sorcerous initiation aside), which feels like a fertile ground left untouched. There's a handful of magic drugs in the book (see ghosts, prophylactic, antidote), but i think the devs were really against DnD style Potion of Water Breathing or Potion of Stoneskin. Which is a shame, because those things are awesome, and it's kinda just kicked over to "do a Working, the rules of which are vague by design and almost certainly include a unintended side effect".
                    I'm pretty sure that the Unintended Side Effect of your Water Breathing Working being that you have to drink a potion to turn it on for a scene is perfectly valid.


                    Hi, I'm JohnDoe244. My posts represent my opinions, not facts.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BogMod View Post

                      The transmutation of things is one of the classic goals of alchemy. Turning things from their base into their pure form. The whole lead into gold for example.
                      Setting aside the whole subject of how the goals of alchemy were primarily spiritual (transmuting lead into gold being intended as something that would correspond directly to an inner transformation of the self), the... full sentence that you just quoted was talking about the oddity of transmutation (in the more nondescript form of "change one thing into another") as an apparently mundane craft.

                      In addition to the matter of it being a tangential space to introduce it.

                      If it's going to be a thing, it requires more attention, because the implications are significant.


                      I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                      Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

                        Setting aside the whole subject of how the goals of alchemy were primarily spiritual (transmuting lead into gold being intended as something that would correspond directly to an inner transformation of the self), the... full sentence that you just quoted was talking about the oddity of transmutation (in the more nondescript form of "change one thing into another") as an apparently mundane craft.

                        In addition to the matter of it being a tangential space to introduce it.

                        If it's going to be a thing, it requires more attention, because the implications are significant.

                        I definitely agree on the matter that it should get more attention. Of course part of the point of the thread as it is a thing that is referenced in different places in the 3e materials. As for the part about transmutation reading back I see I misunderstood what you were going with in that response. As for the aspect of how mundane it would be I suppose to me it would always kind of fall into the same zone as other crafts. You have mundane things which do limited stuff and then you have the next...tier? Like if you are armoror you can pick up craft artifact and make fancy armor. Presumably you could have your craft alchemy and then craft artifact to do really fancy stuff?


                        https://www.youtube.com/BogMod I play a lot of videogames.

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                        • #13
                          I'd be inclined to let "Craft: Alchemy" just be "Craft: Chemistry", and allow you to build alchemical wonders (like a Philospher's Stone) with "Craft: Artifact".


                          Hi, I'm JohnDoe244. My posts represent my opinions, not facts.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
                            I'd be inclined to let "Craft: Alchemy" just be "Craft: Chemistry", and allow you to build alchemical wonders (like a Philospher's Stone) with "Craft: Artifact".
                            Chemistry part of alchemy definitely is a craft specialty. Creating some magical stuff indeed seems like Craft: Artifact. On the other hand, stuff like transmutations seem to me to lie more in the province of Occult than Craft.



                            The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.

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                            • #15
                              See I wouldn't allow mundane (Basic/Major project) alchemy any transformations (outside of chemical reactions). It's a fancy name for "Craft: Pharmacology".


                              Hi, I'm JohnDoe244. My posts represent my opinions, not facts.

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