The following is a transcript of the Alchemy and Herbal lecture that I am on occasion honored to be asked to review for people. The reading through may help tie together some of the methods used and questions you may have. Please note that this was originally given in 2005, and as of April 2009 I have not gone and added any new systems, checked for accuracy on some of the Q&A questions, etc. However, all the basic how-to's of the tools should still be accurate.
This evening we will be giving an overview of alchemy, particularly in relation to how it is used by the members of the Empath Guild, focusing on how to use the different tools and going over how to prepare basic healing herb combinations.
I will not be going into detail about the rich history of alchemy in Elanthia, but there are some wonderful resources in the libraries around the lands that I do encourage you to read if you wish to get a broader perspective on the different types and tools of alchemy
Commonly found is the book titled "Alchemy", call number "MRxxA", which can be found in most of the main city libraries
Other recommended reading titles are 'A Brief History of Alchemy' and 'A Shaydee Guide to Alchemy', which although not as common to find, are also very good resources for the alchemist and worth searching out
Alchemy in Elanthia covers a broad range of activities
The most widely seen use is in the manipulation and preparation of the healing herbs and, as this is the most beneficial to the Empath Guild at this time, will be the form of alchemy we will be going more into depth this evening
While practicing alchemy, one will find themselves learning the Mechanical Lore skill, and will find that as their abilities in this skill increase, so will their success rate in their activities and the speed in which they can complete their activities
There are a few fundamental tools of the trade that you should familiarize yourself with to work with the healing herbs
Your most useful, and probably your most used tools, will be the mortar and pestle
This pair of instruments will be used in the first step of all herb preparations, the crushing of the herb into a pulp or powder
Holding one in each hand, if you crush the item in your mortar with your pestle, you will begin to see the item ground down from its natural form
Syntax is: crush <item> in my mortar with my pestle
It may take a few attempts to break your herb down into a pulp or powder, but it will get easier as your skill increases
The next few items are for more specialized herb manipulations
In order to dry out a foraged herb, you will want to use the Wayerd pyramid
To use this device, open it and put in the herb you would like to dry. These are quite roomy, and will hold in excess of 200+ items. However, the amount that dries over time is speculated to be proportional to your mech lore skill, so drying all 200 may take a long, long time.
Close the device and, during good weather in the daylight hours, head outside and look for a place you can safely place the pyramid on the ground
A good rule of thumb to help prevent honest mistakes is to guard your pyramid once on the ground, and to tie a piece of string around your finger to remember to pick it up when you move on
Once on the ground, if the sun is shining, you should hear a low humming come from the pyramid
After a number of hums, and it is said the number of herbs in the pyramid will affect the length they need to dry, collect your pyramid and remove your dried herbs; they are ready to be used or crushed into a powder
Kindheart says, "Whre can you purchase the pyramid"
Shinzoo says, "alchemist shop"
Each herb-type will take different amount of hums. For instance, saps will dry very quickly, with say 5 or 6 hums. Roots take longer with 10 or more, flowers even longer with 15
Be forewarned, the pyramid is a large device, and will only fit into larger containers and, of course, your vaults, so plan ahead when you are ready to purchase one as most backpacks will not hold the pyramid
Amorisse quietly says, "A sack from Berolt's will hold it, though, and you can sling it o'er your shoulder."
Shinzoo says, "can you over dry"
Nae, I've never seen any herbs wither up completely
The pyramid will just move along to the next item within it until they are all done
You can also ask a ranger with enough skill to use one of their beseeches to dry herbs for you. The same rules apply with the pyramid though, you need to have the sun out. There are also a limited number of cambrinth capped pyramids around that can be used indoors, night time, etc. They are currently on a limited basis.
Now then, if you are looking to freeze an herb or during the summer need some ice for your lemonade, you will want to use the unlonchai bucket
To use the bucket, put your herb or water in it and close, shake it once, then wait...in a few moments, the water or herb will have cooled to freezing
Kindheart asks, "Why freeze them?"
Right now, there is no need to freeze things for healing herb preparation...however, we may need that method one day, so am just going over it with you
Be forewarned, the elementals that live in the buckets have formed a sort of union, and no longer tolerate excessive shaking of their homes. If you push your luck with shaking them too much, they may leave the buckets, thereby leaving the bucket useless.
Annael says, "Or stuff you inside in place."
Aye, they are pretty tempermental
Annael says, "Quite embarrassing to those it happens to. Be kind to your elementals."
If you wish to heat up an herb or water to boiling, you will want to familiarize yourself with the portable stove
To use this device, you will need a combustible material, such as charcoal, peat, sticks or pig root oil"
Place the combustible into the stove and light it. You can use a flint and knife, or other newer methods
You get a small magma viper meticulously crafted from red gold from inside your silver fob.
You flick the switch on the back of your viper quickly, causing it to spout a stream of flames at Amorisse's right foot! She doesnt quite duck in time, getting just a bit singed
to use the knife and flint, you hold each and light <item> in stove with my flint
Once you have the fire started, close the stove and drop it, then guard. Get yourself a small jar and fill it with what it is you want to heat. Put the jar onto the stove, and wait for the heating process to move
Annael leans to Amorisse and whispers, "Hot cocoa."
Finally we have the tincture jar
With this, you can stretch out a single dose of healing herb into more doses by using grain alcholol to make a tincture
This is a time consuming process, but well worth it if your herbs are at a premium or in some cases as a more potent remedy
Amorisse asks, "Well, I won' say I'm lazy, but is it truly worth the time...making tinctures, I mean?"
Lija says to Amorisse, "i'll say it.. I'm lazy"
Well, it all depends on what you do with your herbs...it does make the per-dose weight lighter, and it will stretch say 1 does out into 4
Amorisse says, "Ooooo.."
Amorisse says, "That does sound good."
Annael says, "As with all things, effort is rewarded."
But, if you go through a lot of herbs, it may not be worth it
(Amorisse opens her mouth, but then doesn't seem willing to disagree with her guildleader.)
Taureldhil asks, "where do you acquire the grain alcohol?"
(Crossing alchemy shop)
Annael says, "And wisdom comes with age."
(Purehand makes an effort to ask Annael out for Tea)
Taureldhil exclaims, "for alchemy, nor drinking!"
Annael says, "Hush now, Kythryn is lecturing."
I have some detailed notes on current research that can be viewed here: http://drkyth.freeservers.com/tincture.htm
Regardless, there are different methods to each person's herb consumption. Personally, I don't use them either because I can find so many with ease and tend to go through quite a few when I am using them...but that is not to say that I haven't appreciated them.
And, the potential for using them is great, and well worth familiarizing yourself with
That covers the basic alchemy tools...before we move along, are there any questions about them I missed?
Amorisse says, "One little question about jars..."
Taureldhil says, "the vial for acquiring water"
Amorisse says, "And vials and such...and bowls...Why use a jar, vial or bowl"
Amorisse asks, "And why the different sizes?"
You exclaim, "those are good questions...sorry I didn't address them!"
One thing you'll be needing for most of your healing potions and salves is water. Now, you don't need a vial, but it makes your careful measuring much easier.
There are numerous water sources around the 4 provinces you can gather the water from, and vials, small bottles, etc can help you dose them out.
You point at a pool.
With the jars and bowls, they both make excellent containers to do your mixing in. Small jars are useful because they will fit on your stove, but as the name indicates, they won't hold as much, so if you make large batches, not as useful.
The large jars, good for mixing...as are bowls which will hold even more than the large jar.
We will go over the specifics of making a potion in a few moments, but there are 2 methods you'll be able to use.
If you decide you wish to mix something by SHAKEing it, then the jars are good because many are closeable
If you wish to mix via STIR, then the bowls are good because of the large capacity
Shinzoo says, "i like mine shaken not stired"
Annael grins at Shinzoo.
Taureldhil asks, "One quick question on breaking down the water from multiple parts to one part, I had 10 parts of water in my jar and could not break it down to one part?"
No, break does not work on liquids...you need to POUR things to separate out the doses
Taureldhil says, "I attempted that as well, it said the vial was too small to hold the water"
Vials only hold 2 does, so you would need to pour from the vial into something larger. For instance, I keep a fletching pouch on hand, it will hold up to 150 doses, and I use it as a secondary container to help me with my measuring
Taureldhil asks, "how do you get one dose from the pouch?"
Let's say I just want one part of my ithor potion
Syntax would be: pour pot part into my fl pou
If you count that then, you'll see I was able to separate just one dose.
Taureldhil says, "I see the key word is PART"
Annael says, "It's like magic. "
Now then, with the basics covered for the tools, let's say we want to make a simple potion
First, you'll need to decide on a catalyst
There are 4 known types of catalysts, and in order of potency, they are as follows: dracon crystals, tukai stones, seolarn weed, glaysker flowers.
The first two are the most powerful catalysts, and can be found on critters and also can be bought in various alchemy shops, and the dracon crystals can be made with a more complex recipe
To make dracon crystals, combine at least 4 draconaeia blossoms, crush them and dry the oil in a pyramid
The last two catalysts can be foraged in many places around Elanthia, and can on occasion also be bought in shops
To use the seolarn, which is found as seolarn weed, crush it into a pulp to make it an active catalyst
To use the glaysker, which is found as glaysker flower, first you need to dry the flower using your Wayerd pyramid, then crush the dried flower into a paste
The final thing you will need to prepare an herb is water, which we've gone over a little bit
Every basic potion, salve or solution you make will require a portion of water to complete the mixture (please note the special recipes that do not use water)
Water is also readily available from many natural sources, such as brooks, streams, ponds, etc.
It can also be found often in wells, basins, birdbaths and other man made water catch-alls.
Syrenie asks, "Birdbaths?"
Syrenie's eyes bug out!
The best thing to use to collect the water, in my opinion, is a vial (one may be purchased at most Cleric shops), and when needing water, you simply fill your vial with water from the source, then pour water from your vial into your mixing container. There are also waterskins, jars and botas, among many other containers, you can fill with portions of water.
syntax for that would first be: fill my vial with water from <source> or in some cases just fill my vial with water
then pour my vial into my <container>...you can then COUNT water in my <container> to see the doses
As a note, be sure and always remember to do things with MY container and vial...
When you are counting up doses, one of the most common mistakes is to just COUNT, and forget to specify which one...it's been the headache of many burgeoning alchemists
Now then, if you are not already familiar with the healing herbs and what areas of the body they heal, I would encourage you to take the time to look at the book "Healing Reagents", call number MrbaHR, a copy of which can be found upstairs in the Empath library
Taureldhil asks, "can you mix multiple doses at once or only one at a time?"
You can mix up to a 16 dose herb currently"
A chart with healing properties and foraging ranks needed can be viewed here: http://drkyth.freeservers.com/herblist.htm
Now, not all herbs will need to be prepared to get the most out of them, however all should be dried to increase the potency, weather being used ‘as is’ or being prepared to a different form.
The roots, yelith, nemoih and cebi, the saps, muljin and sufil, the leaves, riolur and plovik, nuloe stem, jadice pollen and flower will all work effectively in their naturally foraged states
They can be manipulated, but it is not necessary for them to be effective healing agents. But, many of the others need to be prepared to be an effective healing herb
It should be noted that all the herbs you buy at the city herb stores are specially prepared to work, so although they may need preparation if found through foraging, if you buy them from the stores, they are ready to go
Let's pull all this together now and walk through preparing a healing herb for use
A common herb that can be foraged is blocil berries, which will heal your internal back wounds
(Kythryn shows off the luscious berries)
First, crush your berries with your mortar and pestle, which may take a few tries
Annael says, "Tasty in pie, also."
Annael says, "They make a marvelous salad dressing, too."
Well, let me back up...first, you would dry it.
Once you have 'some dried blocil berries', you would then crush them, and you would get...
You get some blocil powder from inside your glass mortar.
I use the MIX method with my preparations, so, I will be using a jar
first, I'll break off one piece of blocil powder
to break off just one piece, the syntax is break my <item> piece
you can also break my <item> half
Then, I'll use dracon for my catalyst, so one piece of that...
And finally, one dose of water...
Shinzoo asks, "broccle potion right?"
Blocil potion, yes
>look in jar
Now, if you count the 3 items in the jar, each has an equal dose
Mershad quietly asks, "is it always going to be equal parts?"
That's a good question that I will address in a moment
Shinzoo says, "i took the tea class this is a good followup"
Amorisse says to Annael, "You taught us well, m'lady."
Then, you simply mix the contents with the mixing stick
the syntax for which is: mix my jar with my stick
You get some blocil potion from inside your ebony jar.
Kindheart asks, "Can you also close and shake?"
(yes, you can close and shake too)
Now, as for the doses...you will find that the easiest to mix combination is equal parts herb to catalyst to water
Amorisse softly asks you, "It is possible to mix unequal parts if one is skilled, then?"
However, with skill, you will eventually be able to play around with that equation
There isn't currently any benefit to doing so, folks that have done research have seen no increase/decrease in potency. However, as more about alchemy is known, that may change one day
For sanity sake though, I always encourage people to start with the 1/1/1 ratio and then go from there
There are a few unusual recipes that I feel I should also point out
details on them can be viewed here: http://drkyth.freeservers.com/recipes.htm
Lujeakave elixir is one of the new ones, and will heal nerves...very handy…it is composed of ithor potion, ojhenik potion, and a catalyst
Aevaes solution is also new, and is composed of sufil sap, eghmok potion, and a catalyst, that will heal the internal eye wounds
And, aloe balm, made from seolarn pulp, almond oil and aloe pulp, will heal the skin wounds
These three have yet to be seen in the herbalist shops, so we are the ones who can provide it
Annael says, "The aloe balm is particularly nice. Gentle to the skin."
You rummage through an herb pouch and see a dried jadice flower, a dried jadice flower, a dried yelith root, a dried yelith root, some nilos salve, some muljin paste, a hulnik potion, some blocil potion, some georin salve, some riolur tea, some nemoih powder, some eghmok potion, some plovik tea, an ithor potion, some dried sufil paste, some aloe balm, a dry cebi root, some hisan salve, some nuloe powder, some jadice pollen, some aevaes solution and some lujeakave elixir.
Now, that is what I consider to be a fully stocked herb pouch
Annael says, "Ready for any emergency."
The jadice pollen and the nuloe stem are optional, but as I can forage them, I add them in...
With that pouch, you can heal any wounds via herbal remedy, if you are without magic or just for fun
(Kindheart gives Kythryn a tablet to record all the questions)
Annael says, "Tis handy to have near if you have others around you that need assistance also."
Kindheart asks, "Is plovik tea better than leaf?"
I have heard that powder works just as well as tea Kindheart, but I am so used to making it, I just continue with that last step
Although as empaths we have magic to rely on as well, sometimes you don't have all you need, and herbs can help make or break a hunting trip
Annael says, "You may not always be in a position to help them personally through healing, so back up plans are good."
Kindheart says, "What things have to be heated to work versus just mixed or shaken"
Well, right now none of the healing herbs need heating, but if you want to make candles, you'll need the stove
Candles are pretty fun to make if you have the time for them...you need to forage up some honey comb and crush it to separate out the honey, put the comb into a small jar and heat it until it is melted wax, then pour it into a mold bought at the alchemy shop"
Shinzoo says, "is there a way to combine more than one healing herb into a multi effect item"
Not at this time Shinzoo
Mershad quietly asks, "what would be the cause of something that just doesn't want to mix? or you end up soaking yourself because it won't shake?"
As long as you always remember to close your container, you should never soak yourself
Amorisse fidgets nervously.
Annael twitches her lips.
The possible causes could be that you don't have equal doses of what is in the mix, or that they aren't combined...for instance, you should always have just 3 items in the mix...if you need 4 doses water, they should be in one large item, not 4 one dose parts
Or, in some cases like with the unusual recipes, you may not have the skill needed, those are a little tougher to complete than the basic mixes
Kaetrys asks, "How much does one's foraging skills actually affect an herb's potency?"
Empaths have been given the ability to forage things precisely, and, it's been tested and shown that this method of finding things will get you the best, most potent herb available
For training, you don't necessarily want to use this method, but, when you are gathering your herbs for healing and use, make sure to use this method
Kaetrys asks, "But actual foraging skill, if say I foraged precisely and then you foragd precisely, would your herbs be significantly better than mine?"
However, there has been nothing shown to suggest that someone with a lot more foraging will find a better herb than someone who can just find it
It would make for a good test though
However, there hasn't been any noticeable difference, so my tentative reply would be that someone who just learned how to find jadice precisely will have the same quality herb as someone who's well past that skill level
There is speculation however that empaths and rangers may have an intrinsic bonus to finding things, empaths being limited to the healing herbs, and, with that, who knows, there might be a slight potency increase too...further testing would be needed
Annael says, "Alchemy is still very much an exploratory field"
Annael says, "K'Xonei and K'alris both spend days upon days at their notes and tools."
Annael says, "I believe the notes they have aren't ones we'd necessarily want. I'm told K'alris is making broccoli cookies of late."
Borodon says to Annael, "I'd be interested in the recipe for your own potion..."
Borodon gets a glass of Annael's potion from inside his lunch pail.
Annael says, "Ahh that I will never tell."
But yes, I have done some limited testing on things, and there are others among the empath guild you can seek out for even more testing...what I've tried to go over here today was just the basics to get folks up to speed on where common alchemy practice is today
Annael says, "A very worthy effort, Kythryn. It's a lot of information to compile, let alone present in a coherent manner."
I am sorry there was so much technical detail, but some of this is all in the details
Annael says, "Thank you for the lecture and information...I should return to the guildhall. People get cranky when I'm gone too long."
If I havent mentioned it before...COUNTing is definately an alchemists best tool!
Kindheart asks, "Ok now where we buy all these things?"
(Most any alchemy store in the major cities)
thank you all for being so attentive...I hope I've answered any questions you might have had"
I could speak for another hour on the fun things in store for us, but this quote from former GM Fial is a good indication of how Empaths will be in the forefront of the changes and of potentially some very exciting things for us:
“Alchemy should be exciting for the novice and the adept, the dabbler and the expert alike. Much of what is existing will remain practally the same, but there will be many new processes and formulas to work with. And you empaths, have no fear, Brigdha and Rhook will not let me do anything to dilute your guild, if anything, alchemists will require your services more often from their 'mistakes.'”
Thank you to those that attended the January 29, 2005 lecture:
Also here: Priest Dshaan, Celestian Aunrae, Master Telein, Akieran, Healer Syrenie who is sitting, Alchemist Borodon, Sympath Kaetrys, Catrisa who is sitting, Ranger Virge, Mershad, Guildleader Annael who is sitting, Battle Empath Zalila who is sitting, Medic Shinzoo who is sitting, Medic Kindheart who is sitting, Purehand who is sitting, and Restorer Amorisse.