Alchemical laboratories are home to some of the strangest smelling, poisonous and most volatile substances in the known world. As such, alchemists are usually given an extremely wide berth: the only other guilds willing to have the Approved Alchemy Association anywhere near them at the time of founding were the forge-blackened War Smiths’ guild and the Halls of the Spirit (who saw the benefits of the increased likelihood of trauma patients for junior spirit practitioners to train on, and cadavers for anatomy lectures).
Any living soul in the Kingdom is therefore required -under pain of imprisonment- to pass the basic tests required for approved status to be granted by the master alchemists.
The Alchemists are an essential part of the Guilds, and their new symbol represents not only the three major divisions of the craft, but of the recent research which spans all three of the divisions.
These divisions are known as one thing outside of the Vale, and quite another inside.
The herbalist of human lands have a mixed reputation. In one town, they are mistaken for distillers who make healing salves, poultices and medicines, in another they are mistaken for the enhancers who follow strict formula to produce strange effects.
Actually herbalists are the essential brewers of common plants and and herbs to create the most basic of healing remedies that will reduce fever or cure a hangover, ******* snufflepowder and leech-based remedies are seen as the very limit of quackery; allegations abounding of poorly-peddled panacea can see them chased out of villages – or worse! The best apothecary shops in Ironmark are, allegedly, able to source the rarest ingredients, from tundra rotcaps, to the euphoric lion leaf of Caerlyn. Deliberately harmful or toxic creations are banned under pain of death; this does not mean that a skilled enough herbalist could not concoct such things.
In the Vale they are seen in a far different light creating compounds you add to food, or mix into tea giving marvellous healing effects and intense bursts of energy for mages. It is further rumoured that the elves know of rare recipes that hide the use of magic!
Enhancers & Transmuters
These alchemists specialise in the arcane discipline of change and enhancement. Their creations require precise measures and perfect cooking, to create the splendid results they are acclaimed for. Battles can be won by a stone-arm potion given to the troops. There are rumours of formulae that can change the very physical or magical nature of a creature, but such secrets would never be given out to the uneducated populace – and are probably the result of vulgar tavern tales like “The Skinless Aunt” and “Ol’ Goatey the milkmaid rustler”.
In the Vale they are the ones that you should go to if you require an application to aid you in battle. Refining their enhancing process, they can now produce effects that coat weapons in elemental magic, and on rare occasions armour that can be hardened even to the shot of arrows.
Distillers & Chymists
Of all the alchemists, it is this sort who are most feared and misunderstood. Typically irascible, antisocial individuals, chymists and distillers are highly protective of their precious phials, aludels and stills. To this end, they will lock themselves away in fume-filled towers and deep, scorch-painted vaults that lie far from botherance by the uneducated. There are many rules governing the volatile, often caustic solutions they use and the Ironmark city watch and other local authorities do not take kindly to rogues who flout these laws. In Graben, Waltus Weiß, former Burgher of the village of Heysen, is still at large for trafficking in dangerous mana crystals.
First ordered into the Vale to aid with the creation of healing potions, they have since found a new niche to fill. The creation of suspensions: Surpassing the skills of the transmuters to create artificial potions that replace the more common materials used in crafting with other types not necessarily of the same structure. This new form of creationism has been coined Transmutation a name the Transmuters have argued long over.