A successful career as an alchemist requires a great many years of specialized training, necessitating an apprenticeship or patron for most practicioners.
Payment & Reimbursement
Some alchemists accept commissions to search for specific potions and mixtures, relying upon their employer's funding for research costs in addition to payment. The Society of Scientific Exploration and Discovery has been known to award research grants for the study of alchemy using specific materials or for the analysis of materials from a specific geographic location. The Goldaming Family acknowledges alchemy as a sister science to the study of magic and has supported their members' research into the field. Still, it is fairly common for an alchemist to forge their own path, utilizing their personal alchemical knowledge to craft and sell potions to the public in support of their own research priorities. Many alchemists will also publish portions of their work and discoveries in tomes available for purchase by other alchemists, as well as Chemists, Herbalists, or anyone else seeking to benefit from crafting their own practical applications using alchemical knowledge.
Alchemists strive to unlock the secrets within their surroundings, discovering the different individual properties of materials and reagents and then combining these effects, through experimentation, to reach desired goals.
Alchemists are viewed by the general populace as intelligent scientists responsible for many of the technological breakthroughs of their society.
Alchemists have been known to invent their own tools as required both in the laboratory and in the field, but there are some items that remain fairly standard across the industry. For obtaining and preparing samples an alchemist requires an assortment of clippers and knives, dependent upon their required materials. A mortar and pestle is used to grind up dry ingredients, while a kettle or pot of water or other liquids, typically over heat, used to leech certain reagents out of their original materials. Clean unreactive containers such as those made from glass or ceramic are required for storage of reagents and potions. Every alchemist who intends to live a full life will also require an Alchemy Box to allow the safe preparation of toxic materials or reactive compounds.
An alchemist's choice of materials is limited only by their imagination and their intended results. If they can find a way to bend a material's properties to achieve their desired results that material is fair game for their research. Provided, of course, they can obtain the item.
Alchemists generally keep a stationary laboratory as their primary workplace. This allows them to collect a vast array of precise equipment for their work, and to run multiple long-term experiments under precise conditions. These labs also allow for multiple pre-treatment methods of bulk collected samples, allowing the alchemist to test the strengths of sample properties after drying or steeping or other reagent extraction methods. Many laboratories also include sections for raising small animals as eighter alchemical sources or test subjects, if permissible by the laws governing the settlement housing the lab. It is common for alchemists to also keep a travel kit of essential tools and test apparatuses, enabling them to also perform preliminary testing in the field to identify the reagents and samples of most interest for their efforts. These items can then be gathered in higher quantities and transported back to their laboratory for more precise testing.
Alchemists are scientists and researchers, experimenting to discover and develop new concoctions for improving the lives or desires of their target audience. While many focus purely on the research itself or select their own intended goals some choose to take commissions to develop potions for clients. These requested products could range from obscure medical remedies or enhancements to specialized fabric treatments for clothing to a new variety of high grade exotic tea.
Dangers & Hazards
Alchemy requires a fair amount of trial and error to determine the exact effects of each reagent, both separately and combined. Some materials react violently towards one another when initially combined, whereas others have unexpected effects and interactions when used together. An alchemist must utilize processes to protect themselves from unwanted side effects and reactions. This also includes protections against inhaling their reagents or the results of any strange interactions. As a result most experienced alchemists encourage newcomers to the field to obtain and use an Alchemy Box for all preparation and experimentation.
- Research / Scientific
- Some countries or cities have strict laws regarding the testing of new alchemical solutions. Each alchemist is responsible for ensuring they follow all safety and ethic requirements for their tests performed on creatures or in public spaces. Some potential alchemical reagents are also restricted or protected from use due to suspected alchemical effects or to conserve the creature or item from which the reagent is extracted. Alchemists are encouraged to verify their reagents have been procured legally and sustainably.