The greatest fear of the alchemist and archaeologist alike is neither man nor monster, but mutation. Known as False Chimerism, this condition strikes those messing with ancient artifacts or arcane mysteries, stripping people of their humanity and turning them into monsters. Like the namesake Chimera from which it takes its name, False Chimerism is a condition that forces features from creatures other than the affected to manifest in their physiology, such as fur, claws, or even new limbs. Unlike Therianthropia, which causes full transformations temporarily, False Chimerism is a permanent condition with effects, although the changes are generally less extreme.
False Chimerism is generally caused by the abuse of alchemy, typically in an attempt to improve the user's body gone wrong. This can be caused by both true alchemy and false alchemy, with it being more likely to happen with false alchemy but more devastating effects with true alchemy. Other causes can be alchemical devices, such as those found in ancient Sovranese ruins, which can even include devices that intentionally cause false chimerism in their victims.
Symptoms of false chimerism tend to be highly varied and very apparent, ranging from generic features like fur, feathers, scales, or claws, to more extreme features like goat's heads, scorpion tails, and elephantine trunks. Other symptoms can range from physiological to psychological, including chronic pain, depression, and body dysmorphia.
As it stands, there is no known method of treatment for false Chimerism. Current forms of treatment are focused on prevention, advising those interested in alchemy to avoid messing with the body and those in archaeology to not use artifacts without knowing what they'll do for certain. In extreme situations, amputation can be used to remove parts of the body affected by Chimerism, though it generally does little to completely remove the condition from the body, only removing some chronic pain if necessary or potentially aiding mobility.
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