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During the First Age, the undisputed master of alchemy was a solar named Wyr'palja, whose ritual space for creating potions and elixirs in the eastern city she founded were renowned in both Creation and Heaven. While this was in no small part a credit to her talent in the art, she also had very little competition, as most celestial exalts felt the art was beneath them, particularly other solars. What they did not realize is that Wyr'palja shared this opinion, and spent a great deal of her life looking for ways to elevate alchemy beyond its mortal, thaumaturgic roots. While she was killed by her lunar lover before she took her art as far as she theorized, she did manage to uncover methods of using magic during alchemical rituals to form substances beyond the abilities of mortal men.

Wyr'palja authored a series of books containing equal parts theory and practice, starting from nothing and guiding the reader into the art of alchemy. The first three of these, Salt, Aether and Gold are the most widely circulated, still considered the classic bedrock texts of mortal alchemy and relatively easy to find within thaumaturgical circles. While these are her most lucid works, one page in ten of these text contains either coded text or flowery margin notes containing obscure metaphors or inscrutable languages. Some dismiss these sections as the rantings of Anathema and many copies of these tomes are made excluding these sections entirely. Others believe these sections contain secrets of vast import. While modern savants endlessly debate the passages they can actually read, none of the coded pages were deciphered until segments of Wyr'palja's fourth book, Alkahest were uncovered in the southern deserts.

Written in Old Realm, these pages were significantly more arcane that those of the prior volumes; however, one section contained the key needed to decode one of the sections from Salt, though it took centuries for savants to notice this. That section, combined with other elements of Alkahest found later, made it clear that Wyr'palja considered alchemy to be connected to the universe on a much deeper level than even savants had considered. For example, she clearly considered alchemy as a series of concentric rings. Much like sorcery is layered as emerald, sapphire and adamant, the coded section suggested eight circles of alchemy: salt, aether, gold, alkahest, berith, quintessence, ambrosia and eterna. Since she had used the first four of these as titles for books, an assumption immediately took hold that she had written a book on each of the others as well and a quest for them began that continues to this day.

Alchemical Circles

Like sorcery, necromancy and martial arts, alchemy is organized into "levels" called circles. Alchemy is thought to have eight circles, but at least two of them are still theoretical. Mechanically, the circles function as follows:

  • Thaumaturgical Alchemy
    • Salt Circle Alchemy forms the very weakest base, sometimes acting as nothing more than folklore. Products of this circle are the weakest of potions, but also the easiest to make. This circle focuses on the "three essentials" of alchemy -- salt (the contractive force), sulfur (the expansive force) and quicksilver (the integrative force) -- so is sometimes called "sulfur circle" or "quicksilver circle" alchemy. In Second Edition, mortal Initiates (i.e. those with the first Degree of the art of Alchemy [ex2e.138]) can produce salt circle alchemy. Under First Edition rules, salt circle alchemy refers to those products that need only one or two dots of the Science of Alchemy [see play.136].
    • Aether Circle Alchemy requires true study and dedication. Its formulae are more complex, but also more effective. This circle focuses on the "elements" of alchemy: air, earth, fire, water and wood. In some corners, it is trendy to further divide this circle by the elements. Anyone who has become an Adept (2nd edition) can produce potions of the aether circle or (in first edition) those potions requiring three or four dots of Alchemy.
    • Gold Circle Alchemy represents the perfection of mortal alchemy, symbolized by the most perfect of mundane metals. Alchemists practicing in this circle tend to be obsessed with either turning other metals into gold or creating potions allowing the ingestion of gold and thus, it is (incorrectly) thought, immortality. While eternal life remains out of reach, alchemists of this circle can transmute mundane items. Only Master alchemists can practice in this circle. First Edition items requiring five dots in Alchemy are products of this circle.
  • True Alchemy
    • Alkahest Circle Alchemy transcends mortal abilities, requiring both essence use and knowledge of charms to function, though mortals can make use of the results. Named after one of the holy grails of mortal alchemy, the universal solvent, this circle produces truly magical wonders. Any liquid or otherwise consumable rated as artifact ●, or that replicates an an Essence 1 effect (see below) can be produced by this circle.
    • Berith Circle Alchemy derives its name from the pinnacle of some mortal alchemist's dreams, the element with which all metals could be transmuted into gold, sometimes called the philosopher's stone. While no mortal has discovered Wyr'palja's Berith volume, it is known to exist by some sidereals, spirts and few lunars. This book details how to produce the consumable artifact ●● or Essence 2 effects of this circle.
    • Quintessence Circle Alchemy is known only to a very few, and even those who learned it from Wyr'palja herself are unsure if she ever actually wrote about it. Named after the currency of heaven, a liquid generated by prayer, this circle is not currently known by anyone outside of Yu-Shan or the Heptagram. It can produce consumable artifact ●●● or Essence 3 effects.
    • Ambrosia Circle Alchemy is believed by some to never have been actually practiced, not even by Wyr'palja, though she theorized about what it might be capable of doing. If an Ambrosia book exists, it would probably be entirely theoretical and would detail what might be possible with artifact ●●●● potions or Essence 4 effects.
    • Eterna Circle Alchemy was Wyr'palja's ultimate goal. Much as mortal alchemists idealize gold, Wyr'palja considered all of the magical materials (which she called the "eterna") to be perfect and that incredible effects could be achieved based on their principles. Products of this circle, if they existed, would produce artifact ●●●●● potions or Essence 5 effects.

Alchemy Charms

Much like sorcery, knowledge of a charm is needed to work alchemy that uses real magic. Anyone can practice the first three circles without such aids, but higher circles are only possible through these charms. No one has yet managed to figure out how to design charms for the last two circles, but the three charms that are known appear to be similar to sorcery, in that they may be learned by different types of exalts and even spirits, though with occasionally different requirements.

While the charms below allow access to the circles of alchemy, the actual effect has more to do with the procedure used (see below). In addition to the requirements mentioned, using these charms require that the caster be a Master of alchemy (2nd ed: Master Degree, 1st: Alchemy ●●●●●); however, learning these charms has no such requirement and, in fact, gives such insight into alchemy that its mortal practice becomes easier.

Lunar versions of these charms substitute Intelligence for Occult. Spirit versions substitute Temperance.

Comprehensive Deliquescence Cauldron

Cost: 10m; Mins: Occult 5, Essence 2; Type: Simple
Keywords: None
Duration: Varies
Prerequisite Charms: None

The character commits essence to start a procedure of Alkahest Circle Alchemy. This essence remains committed until the procedure is completed. Under First Edition rules, learning this charm magically provides a permanent increase in the Alchemy science by one dot (to a maximum of five).

Transformative Touch Crucible

Cost: 15m; Mins: Occult 5, Essence 3; Type: Simple
Keywords: None
Duration: Varies
Prerequisite Charms: Comprehensive Deliquescence Cauldron

The character commits essence to start a procedure of Berith Circle Alchemy. This essence remains committed until the procedure is completed. Under First Edition rules, learning this charm magically provides a permanent increase in the Alchemy science by one dot (to a maximum of five). Under Second Edition rules, learning this charm magically and permanently makes the user an Alchemy adept, if she is not already.

Prayer Subverting Tears

Cost: 20m; Mins: Occult 5, Essence 4; Type: Simple
Keywords: None
Duration: Varies
Prerequisite Charms: Transformative Touch Crucible,

The character commits essence to start a procedure of Quintessence Circle Alchemy. This essence remains committed until the procedure is completed. Under First Edition rules, learning this charm magically provides a permanent increase in the Alchemy science by one dot (to a maximum of five).

Other Charms & Spells

A number of existing charms and spells are also used heavily in alchemy:

  • Occult excellencies, naturally, and other charms that increase the various rolls used in alchemy always help an alchemist.
  • Charms that allow the manipulation of the five-magical materials are often useful.
  • Wyld-Shaping Technique and Wyld Cauldron Technology can be used to make reagents. In some cases, procedures require materials fashioned in this way.
  • Some procedures may only be possible using All-Encompassing Sorcerer's Sight or other essence-sensing charms to monitor the progress of the ritual.
  • Charms or spells that allow for command of or interaction with animals are often useful when gathering reagents.
  • Demons and elementals, in addition to being useful assistants, may be required for certain rituals, making Demon of the First Circle and Summon Elemental essential tools for an advanced alchemist. Charms to control such are also useful.
  • The spell Ravenous Fire plays a part in a number of procedures, as it allows the incineration of materials that do not normally burn.
  • The Ritual of Elemental Empowerment is also used in some procedures, as a way of aspecting ingredients.
  • Some spells leave behind objects, either by design or side effect, which are used as reagents in some procedures. Gems produced by Theft of Memory are common in certain types of alchemy. Less commonly, residue left over by spells like Plague of Bronze Snakes, Unconquerable Self, Eternal Crystalline Encasement or Magma Kraken are used as components in some procedures.

Alchemy Procedures

The actual effects of alchemy, including true alchemy, depend on the procedures. In general, the result is an item of some kind, usually a consumable liquid. There are some procedures which have a permanent effect, such as transmutation of one material into another, but the vast majority of alchemy produces one-shot effects that only last a short while after being consumed.

Alchemical procedures of all circles cost the same amount to learn (1 xp), but vary widely in complexity. As the circle of the effect increases, ingredients become more and more esoteric and difficult to obtain. High circle alchemy often requires extremely exotic ingredients, without commentary on how to actually acquire them. For example, while a mortal alchemy procedure may call for "the menstrual blood of a virgin", a high circle procedure might require "the unrequited love of a virgin for a stranger". How this is captured and transported is up to the alchemist. It is also conceivable that a procedure might require ingredients that can only be produced by higher circles of alchemy than the formula in which they are used.

Once alchemy crosses into the magical realm, it also requires essence, often committed for days at a time. Rituals become longer as well, and often require the maintenance of a very specific set of circumstances for a sustained period, or the result is ruined.

Products of true alchemy are more formidable than their mortal counterparts, which have a number of limits [play.138]. Some of these do not apply to true alchemy. In particular:

  • Benefits of true alchemy stack with other effects (including mortal alchemy) as if they were charms. As such, they do not allow dice pool limits to be exceeded, nor to they allow similar effects to happen more than once. For example, if a potion provides a reflexive dodge in some way, a charm could not be used to gain another reflexive dodge of the same attack.
  • Charm use does not burn away similar potion effects, but generally the user can only gain the benefit of one or the other.
  • Magical alchemy can affect spirits, demons, god-blooded and exalts as well as mortals.
  • A character can only be under the effects of single magical potion at once. Drinking more than one potion in a scene (even if the effects of the first fizzled or have worn off) not only prevents all such potions from working, it acts as an immediate failure on an internal alchemy test [play.138] with "failed by" result equal to the highest artifact rating of the positions consumed.

Basic True Alchemy

After the design of the alchemy charms, Wyr'palja's most important and basic discovery involved the condensation and distillation of certain charms into liquid form. The bulk of known procedures in true alchemy (that is, of alkahest circle or higher) involve capturing one charm or another into an elixir, which can later be invoked by the one who drinks it.

Only certain charms can be captured in his way. In particular:

  • Charms with a duration of less than a scene cannot be captured by alchemy.
  • Charms with a duration longer than a day usually cannot be captured by alchemy. The storyteller may wish to allow certain charms with durations longer, such as Bestial Traits Technique, to be captured as potions but the resulting potion effect will only last one day.
  • Charms producing effects clearly external to the caster, such Chaos-Repelling Pattern or Object-Strengthening Touch, cannot be captured by alchemy. Integrity-Protecting Prana, on the other hand, could be distilled because its effect is internalized to the caster.
  • Charms that allow the character to shape essence into external items or energy, such as Inexhaustible Bolts of Solar Fire, Spirit-Repelling Diagram, Phantom-Conjuring Performance or Glorious Solar Plate, cannot captured as potions.
  • Charms that empower the caster with an effect that can affect other people may be captured with alchemy only if the effect is not targeted. For example, Respect Commanding Attitude affects anyone who can see or hear the character, so could be captured by alchemy. Irresistible Questioning Technique or Heroism-Encouraging Presence, however, affect only specific targets (the interrogated or the caster's allies, respectively), so could not be captured. Since the pool-reducing effect of Snake Form applies to anyone who attacks the caster, it too can be captured.
  • Charms that require a permission of a maiden or those that cannot be learned by the Eclipse caste can never be captured. This, for example, disqualifies lunar shapeshifting charms like Tool Hand Technique, which Eclipses cannot learn because they are prohibited from learning Finding the Spirit's Shape, one of its prerequisites.
  • Charms with variable costs or durations can only be captured a minimum level.

Procedures usually take as many days as the combined total of the charms minimum ability/attribute and essence ratings to complete, during which time the alchemist must give the process his constant attention, without sleep and usually without stopping to eat. Roughly speaking, procedures typically require one major ingredient for each day. In addition to the cost of the alchemy charm, the entire cost of the charm (including Willpower and health, if any) must be committed for the duration of the procedure.

The charm's minimum essence requirement defines which circle of alchemy is needed to produce it. For example, Essence 2 charms require berith circle. Charms that explicitly emulate one of the five magical materials, such as Scimitar Claw Technique, require a minimum of ambrosia circle alchemy to capture. The alchemist must actually know the charm being captured. In addition, most procedures require the knowledge (though not necessarily the use) of a charm capable of investing your own power into others, such as Power-Awarding Prana (solars), Excellent Implementation of Objectives (sidereal), Crew Sustaining Technique (abyssals), Form-Fixing Method (lunars), Bestow the Saffron Mantle (terrestrials) or Benefaction (spirits).

For each full day of the procedure, in addition to any tests required for staying awake, the alchemist must make an Intelligence + Occult test with a difficulty equal to the minimum essence requirement of the charm being captured. If any of these tests achieve some successes, but fail to beat the difficulty, alchemist knows the result will not work, and can stop the process. He may begin again, but any ingredients used up to that point are ruined. If any of the tests fail, the final product will be useless, but the alchemist is not aware of this. Botched tests result in the same effect as botching a sorcery shaping roll. Alchemy requires a great deal of patience, so even if a given test succeeds, the alchemist must get at least one success on a Temperance roll. If this fails, the outcome of the procedure will be unchanged, but will take an additional day unless the alchemist spends of point of Willpower. If this roll botches, the alchemist has rushed and ruined the result (he will know this immediately). The alchemist may not recover Willpower naturally during the procedure.

Martial Arts charms are more difficult to distill. In addition to other requirements, capturing Martial Arts charms requires that the alchemist be a master of the style (i.e. know all the style's charms). It also takes additional time: one day for terrestrial, two for celestial and three should someone figure out how to distill sidereal martial arts.

Should all the tests above succeed, the result is a single dose of the distilled charm. Alchemists can attempt to make more than one dose at a time, but this requires more ingredients and each additional dose raises the difficulty of the Intelligence + Occult tests by one. The cost of the charm being captured must be committed separately for each dose, though the alchemy charm is paid for only once. As long as the result remains sealed, it will remain ready for use indefinitely, though some procedures may create more delicate potions.

To use a potion of this kind, the user must pay either three motes or 1 willpower as they drink the potion, an act that requires a single dice action. When this action is completed, the imbiber immediately gains the effect of the captured charm for its standard duration, provided he has the necessary ability/attribute minimums. The essence minimum does not apply, allowing these potions to be used by mortals or even, in some cases, animals. The captured charm does not count as charm use for the character's action, nor does it require knowledge of prerequisites, but it behaves like the charm in all other respects, including any restrictions. For example, if someone wearing armor drinks a potion based on Iron Kettle Body, the effect fizzles because that charm is not compatible with armor. If the charm normally allows the caster to reflexively spend essence for some purpose (e.g. Essence Discerning Glance), the drinker may do so if they have an essence pool; however, no such pool is provided by the potion.

These type of potions are considered to have an Artifact rating equal to the charm's minimum essence.

Artifact Alchemy

Magical alchemy is also capable of producing effects that are not based on charms. Such alchemy creates an artifact, its rating dictating what circle of alchemy is needed to produce it. Naturally, a procedure is needed for each type of artifact created. The artifact is usually a potion of some kind, but may be some other form of transitory object.

Effects from this kind of artifact almost always last a scene, though some may have instant effects. Most cost three motes or 1 willpower to activate and a single dice action to drink. All but the most powerful can be used by anyone, including mortals.

Low level artifact potions tend to be simple items (similar to the potions you might find in a video game or a d20 campaign); however, creating such potions often costs more than the result, making them somewhat rare. More advanced potions (such as a "Jeckyll and Hyde" style serum or magical poisons) are rarer still.

Creating artifact elixirs follows the rules in Savant & Sorcerer with the following changes:

  • Two effects modify the Power of artifact potions. Their one-shot nature tends to reduce it significantly, while their ability to be used by mortals increases it. These effects are typically considered to offset each other, allowing the power guidelines to be used without modification.
  • Because of its one-time effect, the Usefulness can never be more than ●●.
  • Potions almost never have Script Immunity greater than ●.
  • The fixed activation cost of potions interacts strangely with the Essence Drawback. Low power potions (Power ● or ●●) are considered inefficient, gaining a point of drawback. Higher power potions, however are beyond efficient and so reduce total drawback by one for each point of Power over two.
  • Potions almost always have a Component Drawback of at least ●●●.
  • Potions made from known procedures use the "design from existing plans" rules, require a lore rating equal only to the artifact being produced. They also, however, must know the corresponding alchemy charm.
  • Making potions is less demanding of equipment than regular artificing and have costs as if they were one "level" lower.
  • Magical alchemy requires only one assistant per artifact dot, at least for creation of the final product. Usually gathering the components requires many more.
  • Rolls to create potions use Intelligence + Occult instead of Craft, though the alchemist must still have Craft skill appropriate to the style (usually Water) and level of the product. Rolls are made each day instead of each season.
  • The alchemist must commit the cost of the correct alchemy charm for the duration.
  • Failure is much more likely to cause explosions than the other results.

Transmutation Alchemy

Some alchemy procedures avoid creating temporary items, instead using a temporary procedure to transmute one permanent material into another permanent material. Even mortal alchemists, for example, can transmute base metals into gold (with the Heavenly Transmutation Processes [play.142]. Higher circles can transmute more exotic materials, up to and including the magical materials. Rumors persist of procedures that can transmute living beings or abstract concepts (such as love).

More impressive are the creation of catalysts, objects that anyone can use to make such transformations. While mortal alchemists understand how to transmute base materials into gold, the creation of the philosopher's stone, an object that can do so at a touch, eludes them. Magical alchemy can do so however, at least for lesser materials.

Most high circle transmutations, while effective and permanent, are extremely expensive. Generally, the value of the materials consumed and the time needed to gather and prepare them vastly outweighs the value of result, so often this type of alchemy is done more for research or training than out of practical need.

Since quintessence and ambrosia [side.26-27] can already be transmuted into other materials, much of the research effort for this type of alchemy is spent examining these materials. Nearly all of the higher level transmutations consume at least some quantity of either or both of them.

Creating New Procedures

Alchemy is, in some ways, easier than creating other magical wonders, largely because it follows known recipes in the form of procedures. It is the creation of new procedures, however, that marks a true alchemist. This requires much research and experimentation, following the rules for "design from first principles" [svnt.30], except that each roll represents a month, not a week. In addition, the process requires the consumption of much raw material, often of very exotic natures, in various trial mixtures. Also, botches during this process tend to be fairly catastrophic, usually causing explosions at the very least.

Controlling True Alchemy

Magical alchemy can be quite unbalancing if dropped casually into a campaign. Storytellers should spend some time thinking about how they wish to control true alchemy before introducing it. These rules offer a number of possibilities for doing so, but most of them are outside the scope of game-mechanics, so require the Storyteller to use them wisely. In no particular order, the following can be used to limit the impact of true alchemy:

  • Esoteric ingredients. The primary mechanism of controlling alchemy is making its procedures require extremely hard to come by, or even abstract, components. Such a restriction is usually enough to prevent vast quantities of potions from being mass produced.
  • Procedures. Access to procedures makes alchemy easier. Storytellers can control both the pace and the content of true alchemy by controlling which procedures are floating around.
  • Charms. Storytellers may wish to require a trainer of some kind to learn one or more of alchemical charms.
  • Circles. As written, these rules essentially cap what is possible with alchemy at Essence 3 effects, making higher circles undiscovered. This cap can be adjusted up or down to suit the campaign.
  • Difficulty & Time. Since the specifics of an alchemical product depend on its procedure, some procedures can require more difficult, tricky or time consuming tests than others.
  • Applicability. The Storyteller may simply veto certain effects from being possible with alchemy.
  • Frequency. The consequences of violating "one magic potion per scene" limit can be made more or less severe.

Sample True Alchemy Procedures

Salt Circle

  • All procedures requiring Alchemy ●-●● [play.138-143, auto.161].
  • All alchemical formulas requiring the Initiate Degree in alchemy [ocdx.130-132].

Aether Circle

  • All procedures requiring Alchemy ●●●-●●●● from the [play.138-143, auto.161].
  • All alchemical formulas requiring the Adept Degree in alchemy [ocdx.130-132].
  • Southern Fire, [salt.126]
  • Synthetic leather of the Mountain Folk [fair.277].
  • The various textiles produced in Autochthonia [auto.181].
  • Photo-Resonant Gel [auto.182].

Gold Circle

  • All procedures requiring Alchemy ●●●●● from the [play.138-143, auto.161].
  • All alchemical formulas requiring the Master Degree in alchemy [ocdx.130-132].
  • Pyromantic gel [fair.276].

Alkahest Circle


Procedure Duration: 3 days
Procedure Commitment: charm cost + 10m (20m total)
Roll: Wits + Occult
Roll Frequency: each day
Roll Difficulty: 4
Prerequisites: Lore 2, Craft (Water) 3
Appearance: Highly reflective silver ink

The defining procedure of the alkahest circle, this ritual produces its namesake. Alkahest is a universal solvent, capable of dissolving any matter into solution, including the five magical materials. As such, it is incredibly difficult to store, transport and handle. This procedure solves this problem by suspending the result within a field of magic, then encasing the field in a glass bottle, such that the field prevents contact between the alkahest and the container. One mote per week must be fed into this field to sustain it.

The small quantity of alkahest produced by this procedure (only about the size of a small pearl) means that the only real practical use for this material is in other alchemical procedures. Nearly all of the higher circle procedures use alkahest in some way, usually for dissolving small quantities of magical material into the mixture. To use alkahest, the material to be dissolved is dropped into the bottle onto the alkahest, which then dissolves an equal volume of the material, forming a solution that can then be poured into another mixture. At this point all of the alkehest has been consumed.

Most often, the solution produced by the process above is added to a diluting agent like water, oil or ink and the resulting mixture used in the production of other alchemical products. Such liquids are referred to with names like "white jade water" or "orichalcum oil". A single unit of alkehest used for this purpose produces five "units" of an oil, 12 units of ink or 25 units of a water. Unless otherwise noted, the exact type of the diluting agent does not matter to a procedure. For example, it doesn't matter if the "moonsilver oil" required by a procedure was produced using olive oil, sunflower oil or peanut oil, unless noted in the procedure.

Making alkahest requires several pints of quicksilver, a single star topaz tooth from each of three different living ash devourers [crea.54], a gallon of nitric acid and half a pint of blood extracted from a living furnace rhino [crea.62] within 72 hours of the start of the ritual.

Assassin Venom

The venom produced by the (Second Edition) automation assassin [wola.100] may be created by this circle of alchemy.

Briardust Transmutation

Procedure Duration: 1 day
Procedure Commitment: charm cost + 15m (25m total)
Roll: Intelligence + Occult
Roll Frequency: Once
Roll Difficulty: 1
Prerequisites: Lore 2, Craft (Fire) 3

This transmutation process converts the elemental aspect of a single charge of firedust into the elemental aspect of wood, producing briardust. Other, similar procedures exist to produce the other four types of alternate element dusts.

This procedure is extremely easy to perform, but requires a great deal of essence to be committed and is extremely tedious. A charge of fire dust is placed into a small glass bulb, along with a small pinch of green jade ground into dust. This bulb's narrow spot is connected to the spout of an empty, identical bulb with a thin tube of green jade, forming an hourglass. Essence is committed to the jade and the sand is run from one bulb into the other. The hourglass is then inverted and run through again. This process is repeated until the dust has gone through the jade tube exactly 125 times.

This is one of the few alchemical processes that can be run unattended. Some alchemists set up racks of these hourglasses, start as many of them as they can afford to commit essence into, then leave the turning of the glasses to either clockwork or assistants. Alchemists with a connection to the element of Wood reduce the commitment cost of the ritual by 5 motes.

Botching the roll for this procedure usually means the jade tube cannot handle that much essence being committed to it and explodes at some point in the ritual, usually igniting the dust.

Cage Sweat

Procedure Duration: 5 days
Procedure Commitment: charm cost + 3m (13m total)
Roll: Intelligence + Occult
Roll Frequency: each day
Roll Difficulty: 1
Prerequisites: Lore 2, Craft (Water) 3, Armored Scouts Invigoration, Power-Awarding Prana (or similar)
Appearance: Similar to salt water
Effect duration: 1 day

This procedure creates a potion that duplicates the effects of Armored Scouts Invigoration [ex2e.205]. This charm has a variable cost and, as mentioned above, potions built on such charms can only be duplicated at a minimum level, meaning that when used, the effect is as if only three motes was spent on the charm. Also, the duration of this charm is indefinite, which would normally mean it is not capturable. This rule is specifically overridden for this charm; however, the duration of the potion effect is only one day.

This potion is mixed in a steel helmet, which must be filled with mortal sweat collected from the padding of actively worn armor.

Distilling the Sun

The process by which orichalcum is refined from gold [svnt.39] is a procedure of this circle.

Eight-Scream Devil Powder

The process to make this caustic powder [wola.74] requires Alkahest Circle Alchemy.

Godstrike Oil

Though the recipe is known predominantly to the Mountain Folk, this substance [fair.276] is produced using Alkahest Circle Alchemy.

Jade Whiskey

Procedure Duration: 3 days
Procedure Commitment: charm cost + 2m (12m total)
Roll: Intelligence + Occult
Roll Frequency: each day
Roll Difficulty: 1
Prerequisites: Lore 2, Craft (Water) 3, Minding the Dragon's Eggs, Bestow the Saffron Mantle (or similar)
Appearance: Similar to whiskey, tinted with the color of the elemental aspect of the effect.
Effect duration: 1 day

A favorite of terrestrial alchemists, this procedure produces a potion that allows their minions to detect jade or to detect jade of elemental aspects other than their own. Duplicating the effects of the Minding the Dragon's Eggs charm [ab_a.70-71] when drunk, with the type of jade being detected being the type used in the construction of the potion.

In addition to a pint of whiskey, the primary ingredient in the production of this potion is one unit of jade oil. This procedure may be used with any kind of jade, but only one type may be used at a time. Terrestrials using a type of jade different from their elemental aspect must commit an additional mote of essence. The procedure also requires parts of three different plants common to the region associated with the elemental aspect: one root, one leaf and one stem.

Omen Juice

Procedure Duration: 3 days
Procedure Commitment: charm cost + 6m (16m total)
Roll: Intelligence + Occult
Roll Frequency: each day
Roll Difficulty: 1
Prerequisites: Lore 2, Craft (Water) 3, Prior Warning, Excellent Implementation of Objectives (or similar)
Appearance: Sweet, bright pink liquid
Effect duration: Five hours

In addition to being delicious, this fruity concoction allows the drinker to sense danger, capturing the effects of Prior Warning [side.175, sesc.70].

This potion must be mixed in a cauldron of ice, hand-carved in one piece out of a glacier, and kept just above freezing for the duration of the procedure. It requires two units of starmetal water, the juice of five blood-oranges from five different orchards, an equal amount of cream liqueur made by mortal hands from the fruit of the marula tree (also called the "elephant tree"), three raspberries frozen until crystalline then shattered and ground into a fine dust.

Vim Vitae

The alchemical fuel used to power First Age warbird weapons [wola.41] is a product of this circle.

Berith Circle


Procedure Duration: 1 day
Procedure Commitment: charm cost + 15m (30m total)
Roll: Intelligence + Occult
Roll Frequency: each hour
Roll Difficulty: 3
Prerequisites: Lore 2, Craft (Earth) 3
Appearance: A small lump of dark gold
Artifact: ●●

The fabled "philosopher's stone", berith is indicative of this circle of alchemy. While lesser alchemy can transmute base metals to gold with complex transformation rituals, this procedure creates a stone that can do so in an instant, with just a touch. Though normally cordial and respectful of any alchemist, Wyr'palja's treatment of those obsessed with berith for the purposes of greed was nothing short of vitriolic and she seems to have created this procedure largely out of spite. She was more interested a family of other procedures in this circle, very similar to this one, which create stones that transform base materials into more practical, if mundane, materials, such as diamond or feathersteel.

Anyone can use berith by placing it on a pile of base material, concentrating on what he wants to transform and spending a point of temporary willpower. The berith is consumed, transforming the material into pure gold. A volume of base material roughly equal to what would fit in a large wagon can be transformed by a single stone. The shape and volume of the gold remains that of the original, so some alchemist/artists use berith to produce gold sculpture in forms that would be otherwise impossible to form. Since volume remains the same, the resulting gold is usually much heavier than the original material. Accomplishing this takes energy, which berith tends to suck from the surrounding area. This almost always radically lowers the temperature of the surrounding countryside, sometimes for miles, and has been known to pull stray motes from exalted or, occasionally, snuff out an active nearby charm. Living material is otherwise immune to the effects of berith.

Production of berith is extremely expensive, generally more than value of the gold it can produce. It requires two units of orichalcum oil, one unit of moonsilver water, 50 pounds of marble suitable for manse construction that has been burned to ash (usually with the Ravenous Fire spell) and a pinch of the dust from the remains of a dead abacasteri [crea.52-53]. This procedure is very rapid, but extremely intense. Rumors persist of alchemists that have accidentally turned their own blood into molten gold when making a mistake in this ritual.

Clarity Spirit

Procedure Duration: 4 days
Procedure Commitment: charm cost + 3m (18m total)
Roll: Intelligence + Occult
Roll Frequency: each day
Roll Difficulty: 2
Prerequisites: Lore 3, Craft (Water) 3, Spirit-Detecting Glance, Power-Awarding Prana (or similar)
Appearance: A thin, pale turquoise, slightly carbonated liquid.
Effect duration: One scene
Artifact: ●●

This bitter, ephemeral elixir allows an imbiber to see dematerialized spirits, duplicating the effect of Spirit-Detecting Glance. It is made from three bottles of the finest champagne, two units of orichalcum water, one unit of starmetal water and the immaterial eyes of a spirit or elemental slain while dematerialized.

Empty Canvas

Procedure Duration: 3 days
Procedure Commitment: charm cost + 10m (25m total)
Roll: Wits + Occult
Roll Frequency: each day
Roll Difficulty: 4
Prerequisites: Lore 2, Craft (Water) 3
Appearance: A viscous brownish paste
Artifact: ●●

Created by accident during the experiments that eventually uncovered the secret of producing berith, this procedure was little more than a footnote during the First Age, known only to a very few then, and no one at all now. The liquid it produces will, when painted onto a surface, cause any ink, dirt, stain, paint, dye or the like to sublimate from the surface within an hour or so, leaving it cleaned but otherwise unharmed, no matter how fragile it might be. It can, for example, erase all traces of writing from a book, clearing the way for new writing, clear a portrait from a canvas, or eliminate graffiti from a wall. It can even erase inks of the five magical materials.

At the time of its discovery, this was considered merely an expensive parlor trick, as other, much more cheaply produced materials could perform similar tasks, albeit with less efficiency and potentially more harm to the target. Those of the Second Age, however, should they rediscover this formula, may consider the brew more important for a single reason: it can erase lunar tattoos. Granted, simply painting it onto a lunar's skin would not be sufficient; the lunar would need to be subdued or otherwise allow the use of needles to deliver the potion into the ink under the skin, one drop at a time. Still, should the Silver Pact learn of the existence of this formula, they would likely do anything necessary to make sure they held sole possession of its secret.

When used, the thick paste produced by this formula is dissolved into five gallons of the purest water, forming a liquid that looks somewhat like turpentine. When so mixed, its magic lasts only for one day, so it is generally combined just prior to use. Even in this state, the mixture does not damage what it cleans so, for example, whole books can just be tossed into a vat of the stuff and removed completely blank but otherwise undamaged an hour later. The formula calls for a unit of black jade oil, a unit of blue jade oil, a unit of moonsilver ink and a pint of ichor from an Undercoat [crea.21] killed while inhabiting a mortal woman. A ghost willing to enter Lethe [abys.27, exab.16] must inhabit the crucible used to mix the ingredients, a process that begins exactly when the ghost surrenders itself to reincarnation. More is added to the mix over the three days that the ghosts fades, with the ritual ending when it has been fully claimed.

Firedust Catalyst

Procedure Duration: Until 30 successes are achieved
Procedure Commitment: charm cost + 5m (20m total)
Roll: Intelligence + Occult
Roll Frequency: Daily
Roll Difficulty: 4
Prerequisites: Lore 2, Craft (Air) 2, Craft (Fire) 4
Appearance: A two-inch sphere of fragile multicolored glass
Artifact: ●● (Power ●●, Usefulness ●●, Game Impact ●, Script Immunity ●, Drawback ●● (Essence -1, Component 1, Notoriety 2, Maintenance 0))

Terrestrial alchemists in the south do quite well for themselves producing these baubles for sale. Anyone may use them to convert a decent number of firedust charges into another type of elemental dust. To do so, up to 10 charges of firedust are placed into a stone (usually marble) cask. The catalyst is gently placed on top, then a pinch of elemental dust of some kind is sprinkled over the catalyst. The cask is sealed, then shaken vigorously until the catalyst shatters and all the pieces are ground to dust (this usually takes about a minute). The cask is then opened to reveal all of the dust has been converted into whatever type was sprinkled over the catalyst.

Producing a firedust catalyst requires a glassblowing kiln that contains five openings, one directly facing each of the elemental poles. The fire in the kiln must be ignited by with a charge of firedust loaded from the opening facing the pole of fire. The alchemist must then make five hollow spheres of colored glass, one for each pole. The color must match the color of the pole and must be created while using the opening facing that pole. Once these spheres cool, a small hole is drilled in each, and a tear shed voluntarily by a spirit aligned with the corresponding element is placed inside. The spheres are then placed into the fire-facing opening, melted down. The molten glass is then dropped into a tub of water just so, forming a sphere. This is then extracted and cooled with blasts of air from a bellows. It is then wrapped in grape leaves and buried in loose earth for at least an hour.

Hound's Tongue

Procedure Duration: 3 days
Procedure Commitment: charm cost + 3m (18m total)
Roll: Intelligence + Occult
Roll Frequency: each day
Roll Difficulty: 2
Prerequisites: Lore 2, Craft (Wood) 1, Craft (Water) 3, Friendship With Animals Approach, Power-Awarding Prana (or similar)
Appearance: Thick purple liquid with swirls of black.
Effect duration: One scene
Artifact: ●●

Hound's Tongue allows a rudimentary communication with animals, duplicating the charm Friendship With Animals Approach [ex2e.209]. Creating it requires several spoonfuls of the ground horn of a forest mimic [crea.34], every drop of blood from an adult ink monkey [crea.41], a pint of tree-singer urine [crea.51], and at least five tongues from single pack of eight-tailed mole hounds [crea.56].

Master's Toast

Procedure Duration: 7 days
Procedure Commitment: charm cost + 5m (18m total), 1 wp
Roll: Intelligence + Occult
Roll Frequency: each day
Roll Difficulty: 2
Prerequisites: Lore 3, Craft (Water) 3, Fivefold Bulwark Stance, Power-Awarding Prana (or similar)
Appearance: A clear liquid, in which dirty clouds dart erratically.
Effect duration: One scene
Artifact: ●●

Master's Toast is a potent alcoholic drink that increases the imbiber's ability to defend himself with melee weapons, duplicating the effects of Fivefold Bulwark Stance (Exalted 2, 194). Producing this potion requires an exceptional sword that has been inhabited by a spirit or ghost with a Melee rating of at least five. This sword must then be used to parry 25 blows from each of the magical materials (five from each color of jade). These blows must be legitimately intent on cutting the wielder, but need not be viscous. The tip of the sword is coated with one unit of orichalcum oil and then dissolved with alkehest, dealing one level of unsoakable aggravated damage to the spirit or ghost inhabiting it. The dissolved tip is then added to a gallon of 200 proof alcohol, into which another unit of orichalcum oil is added. As the procedure progresses, the mix must be stirred continuously with the remainder of the sword, which the spirit or ghost must continue to inhabit. Other ingredients added over the course of the ritual are 625 thorns (from the stems of red roses) completely dissolved in nitric acid, a splinter from a shield used while defending something from a superior force and a unit of gossamer harvested harvested from a dream of a valiant defense of some kind.

Righteous Bloodfire

The venom produced by (Second Edition) orichalcum Black Widow Razors [wola.101] or the (First Edition) orichalcum automaton assassin [salt.119] may be produced by this circle as well. Once created, this venom can only be stored in an orichalcum vessel, loosing its potency after five minutes otherwise. Similar rituals exist to produce the same venoms as similar types of devices made from other magical materials.

Skin-Like-the-Mountain Oil

The process to make this defensive oil [wola.75] requires Berith Circle Alchemy.

Touch of Death

The venom produced by the Minion of Deadly Touch [wola.106] may also be produced by this circle of alchemy.

Quintessence Circle

Alchemy of this circle often requires the use of quintessence or ambrosia [side.26-27, yush.25-27]. These materials dissipate into essence as soon as they enter Creation, so using the raw form of either of them requires the alchemist to work either in Yu-Shan or a spirit's sanctum. Both of these materials can be transformed at will into other forms, however, which do survive in Creation, so often procedures of this circle require materials made in this fashion.

Dragon Walker

Procedure Duration: 7 days
Procedure Commitment: charm cost + 8m (28m total)
Roll: Intelligence + Occult
Roll Frequency: each day
Roll Difficulty: 3
Prerequisites: Lore 4, Craft (Water) 3, Pulse of the Invisible, Form-Fixing Method (or similar)
Appearance: Almost like champagne, with a slight greenish tinge.
Effect duration: One scene
Artifact: ●●●

Those who drink this potion find themselves in tune with essence flows, able to see spirits, geomantic power and spellcraft. It duplicates the effect of Pulse of the Invisible [luna.192]. Producing this potion requires one pint of white wine made from grapes grown in a celestial manse, one unit of each type of jade water made using water created from quintessence and invested with the elemental power corresponding to its jade type using Ritual of Elemental Empowerment, and a memory stolen from a spirit with Theft of Memory and dissolved by alkahest.

The First Gate

Procedure Duration: Until 60 successes are achieved
Procedure Commitment: charm cost + 15m (35m total), 2 wp
Roll: Intelligence + Occult
Roll Frequency: Daily
Roll Difficulty: 5
Prerequisites: Lore 5, Craft (Wood) 2, Craft (Water) 4
Appearance: A glowing white liquid
Artifact: ●●● (Power ●●●, Usefulness ●, Game Impact ●●●●, Script Immunity ●●, Drawback ●●● (Essence -2, Component 4, Notoriety 1, Maintenance 0))

A story from the Primordial War that few know involves a circle mate of Wyr'palja whose soul was corrupted by Primordial. As his corruption became evident, most in heaven, including the Unconquered Sun, wanted him destroyed, but his circle mates came up with a plan involving three "gates" that would be used to filter the corruption out of him. This potion was the first of these gates. Unless it is voluntarily consumed by a celestial exalt who knows exactly what it will do, this potion has no effect. Otherwise, the potion causes the exalted soul shard to leave the drinker's body. Unless great care is taken, this will kill the body within seconds and the soul will seek out a new, worthy body to inhabit. In the sole instance when this potion was used, the shard was somehow prevented from escaping while the other two gates cleansed the shard and coerced it back into the body before he died.

In modern times, though a few spirits remember the event even fewer know of the potion itself, no one remembers how the potion was made. With the appearance of Infernal and Abyssal exalted, however, a few have become interested in this legend, thinking that it may offer a way to restore these tainted solar shards back to their original glory.

The key ingredient to this procedure is a blue flower called cunaria that grows only very rarely in Yu-Shan. The petals of the flower must be flattened between two panes of adamant and exposed for a full day to the light of an iconic anima of the celestial type to which the soul will be restored. Once so dried, the petals are crushed with a hearthstone of the same celestial type. An arrangement of lenses and prisms is set up to focus on the hearthstone. When another iconic anima is activated, its light is concentrated by the lenses onto the hearthstone, which shatters and forms a circulating ring of swirling energy floating between the lenses. The crushed cunaria is added into this swirling energy, very slowly, along with three uints of oil made from the material associated with the celestial type. Towards the end of the ritual, a talon volunteered by a celestial lion [game.33, yush.129] is dissolved with alkahest and added to the mix. At the end of the ritual, a marble basin is placed beneath the energy crucible and a pail of pure water is upended above. The energy is instantly cooled by the water as it falls, collecting in the basin below as a glowing white liquid. Before it fully cools, this liquid must be stored in a flask made from quintessence, where it must remain until it is used, or it evaporates.

Ice Marrow

It is possible that abyssal alchemists have figured out how to produce this blue poison [exab.216] through purely alchemcial means.

King For a Day

Procedure Duration: 7 days
Procedure Commitment: charm cost + 3m (23m total)
Roll: Intelligence + Occult
Roll Frequency: each day
Roll Difficulty: 3
Prerequisites: Lore 4, Craft (Water) 3, Authority Radiating Stance, Power-Awarding Prana (or similar)
Appearance: A royal purple syrup.
Effect duration: One scene
Artifact: ●●●

Anyone consuming this potion can instantly get people to follow his orders, as it duplicates the effects of Authority Radiating Stance [ex2e.204]. The potion is made with the stomachs of five queen bees fed with honey made from quintessence, one unit of orichalcum oil, and the lamentations of a mob cut down because they failed to organize.

Malfean Laquer

Though no one has actually done so, producing a dose of this poison [tdea.148] would be within the capabilities of this circle of alchemy.

Mimic Skin

Producing this product of ancient dragon king alchemy [ruin.83] requires Quintessence Circle Alchemy.

Orison Coagulation

Procedure Duration: 10 days
Procedure Commitment: charm cost + 30m (50m total)
Roll: Intelligence + Occult
Roll Frequency: Daily
Roll Difficulty: 5
Prerequisites: Lore 5, Craft (Fire) 3

Though this procedure is prohibited in Yu-Shan (severity 2), it is estimated that from one to five percent of the population is using it at any given time. It is a long ritual that transforms a volume of quintessence into about 25-50% more ambrosia than could be gained through trading that same quintessence. Generally used by residents of heaven with Salary ●●● or lower, this procedure requires so much quintessence that their salary effectively drops a dot while the procedure is underway. Once it is complete, however, their original Salary is not only restored to normal, for the next month it also increases by one dot. Richer spirits can use this procedure as well, but rarely find it worth the risk or bother.

The complex stone and crystal apparatus used for this procedure must have been made from ambrosia, but the quintessence used must be handled in its raw state. The entire process must be ignited with a small vessel of pyre flame [abys.256]. On each day of the ritual, in addition to quintessence, the apparatus must be fed one unit of starmetal water, the smoke from a burning animal sacrificed to the gods and the ash of a burned stick of incense formed from the virtues of four different people working in the name of the gods.

Vivid Dragon Amalgamation

Procedure Duration: 3 days
Procedure Commitment: charm cost + 10m (30m total)
Roll: Intelligence + Occult
Roll Frequency: Every 8 hours
Roll Difficulty: 4
Prerequisites: Lore 4, Craft (Fire) 5

For the few who know this transformation ritual, the jury is still out on if it has any practical value or only creates a good looking novelty. Using this process, jade of different colors can be alloyed together to form jade of any color at all. Unexpectedly, even though the color of jade comes from the light it reflects rather than emits, when jade is mixed together, its colors mix like the colors of light do, rather than the way paint mixes together as one might expect. As a result, mixing together, say, red, green and blue jade produces white jade, causing much confusion among artists. Similarly, red and green mix into yellow, red and blue produce magenta and so on. More bizarrely, adding black jade does darken the mix and white lightens it, as if they were paint. By mixing jade in the correct ratio, any color can be produced.

The most study on this kind of jade in modern times occurs at the Heptagram, where alchemists attempt to discover how well such jade combines the properties of its components.

A single transformation of this kind can combine about as much jade as would be needed to fashion a suit of articulated plate, which must be melted in a prismatic crystal forge made from quintessence. In addition to the jade used, this ritual consumes three units of moonsilver oil, a pound of snake scales that exactly match the colors of jade being mixed (and in the same ratio), and an ounce of liquid sunlight.

Ambrosia Circle

No procedures of this circle are known. In heaven, ambrosia can be turned into almost anything including jade, but only that formed from prayers to the celestial incarna can be made into the more noble magical materials. It is thought that Wyr'palja was working on a way to convert "run of the mill" ambrosia to into these elements using this circle of alchemy. With all her research lost, however, modern research into this circle is rare. What does exist will, more often than not, fixate around Sun's Peak [sesc.128], a liquid formed in the First Age, beleived by most alchemists to be a product of this circle.

Eterna Circle

Much as the philosopher's stone consumes the thoughts of mortal alchemists, the ability to create catalysts that can transmute mundane material into the five magical materials consumes most of the theorizing about this circle.


I like this, this is such an interesting version of magical alchemy. I note that you could create alchemy up to Essence 5 but what about Essence 6-10 which the more powerful Exalted are capable of achieving. Beyond that simple thing I really think that this is cool - both in a fluff and in a rule-based way. Glad that you posted it. -Heru

Thanks. Since alchemy, as presented here anyway, can be used by mortals, Essence 6-10 effects seem a bit much. I also am of the opinion that a lowly potion couldn't hold that kind of power. - Wordman

Oh, come now. No "Elixir", that refills someone's Essence Pool? No small, ball-like things that, when put down the mouth of someone not quite dead yet, revitalizes them over the course of the next few hours? There's a ton of high powered potion-type things in myth and movie. To me, the bigger reason not to write them is to not restrict things. By the time you're above Essence 5, everything really should be custom anyway. -- GreenLantern

True, but neither of the effects you mention are Essence 5 effects. A "mana potion" would work much like a one-shot Essence Containing Gem and, for most people, the rating 3 or 4 version is sufficient. Similarly, existing artifacts that restore some health instantly are in the rating 2 or 3 range. An Essence 5 effect, at least by these rules, is more like a potion that grants Four Magical Materials Form, Perfection of Earth Body or Perfected Scales of the Dragon. Even most of the pinnacle celestial martial arts charms are only Essence 4. - Wordman

What role could the Wyld play in this alchemy? Wyld-shaping technique or not. - IanPrice

What springs immediately to mind is a source of really funky ingredients. Even abstract ingredients like "a broken heart" or "the lamentations of their women". Perhaps such ingredients could only be physically mixed in the Wyld. Oaths, for example, are intangible in Creation but sometimes take on physical form in the Wyld. I could also see the Wyld as being necessary to maintain certain mixing environments, as with the right magic you can make the environment do what you want in a (paradoxically) controlled way. More thought (and perusal of the Wyld book) may provide more ideas. -Wordman