Platinum is a very nice thing to have in Crossfire. It won't get you everything, but it sure helps. You can buy with it anything the stores care to sell, and often what other players do as well. Having platinum also allows you to enhance many other characteristics of your player. It isn't everything, again, but the more the merrier, certainly.
Your first few levels in Crossfire are going to be the kill-loot cycle. You clear a newbie dungeon. Then you make tedious trips hauling whatever you find to the nearest shop. You think: there must be an easier way! There is.
It is a word which inspires fear, for perhaps the Evil Masters shall be summoned once again. For perhaps the powers of magical energy shall once again be unleashed upon the world as chaotic power. Perhaps once again… That is why alchemy is both feared and revered. To those outside its inner circle, it posses a great mystique, one of power, perhaps too much so.
To those inside this inner circle, however, the possibilities are limitless…
True alchemy is not for the faint of heart, but all may reap the benefits of its simpler side.
To begin, I must introduce alchemy. Alchemy was once the simple art of transfiguring base metal into gold, and later, platinum. The early alchemists quickly profited greatly, buying whatever they desired, but that was not enough. The peasants of the realm had only so much, and nothing more. The alchemists wanted more.
Many of the alchemists began to deviate from their peers, using their cauldrons to make many potions. They began to create items of great power. Power, though, came at a price, and what horrors the alchemists had unleashed were never to cease.
(I'm skipping the story, saving it for later, and going on to the actual guide.)
Alchemy is a very easy skill. You only need:
The alchemy skill. This is a very nice skill to have, and well worthwhile for both money-making and making yourself invulnerable when you feel like it. Some players start off knowing it, so to find out if you have it or not type 'skills, and see if alchemy is listed as one of the skills. If you fail to find it you will have to learn if before you can proceed. The skill can be learnt like any other skill, from a skill scroll. A skill scroll can be bought in most alchemy shops, and learnt by applying it but expect to stalk shops for quite a bit.
Now that you have the alchemy skill you can become experienced at it. You may think yourself a superhero, but as far as alchemy is concerned you are a complete novice. Should you attempt to make anything at this point you will most probably fail with the most disturbing effects.
Before you make things you need to become familiar with ingredients. That is done by identifying unidentified items that can be used in alchemy formulae using the alchemy skill. For example if you have an item that you think may be useful type “'use_skill alchemy” and see if it gets identified. If you are lucky you will have learnt your first alchemy experience! However you are still a long way off from making anything useful. It may be a good idea to bind “use_skill alchemy” to a key at this point so you don't have to keep typing it repeatedly.
Carry on identifying items until you reach level 10 in alchemy. It may take a long time, so it may be best to develop alchemy as a secondary skill as you are training one-handed or sorcery. Alternatively ingredients can be bought unidentified in bulk from most alchemy shops. This approach is very expensive, so unless you have good financial backing you are unlikely to get far.
As you identify the ingredients you may want to keep them, as they can come in useful as ingredients later on!
If you are now level 10 in the alchemy skill you can attempt to make some simple things. Before you get too enthusiastic I'll tell you right away that nothing you can make now will be of any use to you in the immediate future (except for maybe money?). To make something you will need to find a recipe. Recipes appear randomly in shops named “recipe:…”, “cookbook:…”, “lab book:…” or something similar. Recipes that appear in books like that are special, but more about that later.
Now that you have a recipe for something you can collect the ingredients. The easy formulae are those that only contain one ingredient. It can most likely be bought in an alchemy shop, so you should not need to venture far. Now you have everything you need to make an item. What you need next is access to a cauldron. If you are an alchemist you will already own one. Otherwise you can use one in a lab. Labs can be found attached to an alchemy shop, or otherwise.
To make an item you should place the cauldron on the ground beneath you, and open it. Then drop the ingredients into the cauldron. Be careful to make sure that the ingredients that have count of more than one stack up together properly. For example stale mineral oil will not stack up with newly bought mineral oil, and so the alchemy will be doomed to failure before you start. Then use the alchemy skill as you are standing above the cauldron. If you have done everything correctly and are lucky you will be left with your alchemy target in the cauldron. If you are left with slag or your ingredients simply disappear either you have done something wrong or you are simply unlucky. The more experienced you are the more likely you are to succeed in alchemy.
Warning: If you choose to use your own cauldron note that it may not last long, as alchemy failures happen to most starting alchemists, and some of them happen to be very destructive. You are also well advised to not attempt alchemy at home. It may seem like a good idea initially, as it is somewhere away from prying eyes and outside interference. Alchemy failures at home can potentially render your home unusable. You can consider yourself to have gotten away lightly if you do alchemy at home and all your belongings get burnt up, as if you are unfortunate enough to summon some monsters that are far more powerful than you, you will have a hard time exorcising them.
It is best to practice alchemy in a specially designated lab, be it in a guild, a shop, or another place where you can take precautions.
To increase the likely hood of a recipe not failing you should try to increase your luck, and alchemy level, and decrease the difficulty level of the recipe you are attempting. If the spell has failed you will experience failures of varying degrees, that depend on your Int, number of ingredients in the cauldron, length of ingredients in the cauldron, and enchantment on the cauldron. Quoting from the source code, “Using a bad device is *majorly* stupid”. Therefore you are encouraged to find items that give luck bonus, become attuned to alchemy, and find yourself a Cauldron +5.
As you carry on making simple alchemy stuff you will level up in the skill a few times. By the time you reach level 30-50 you can try some of the medium level formulae. You will know them when you see them, as they are rare to find, and generally require an item or two that are hard to find. Most alchemists never progress beyond this stage, as it is hard and takes a long time. However, if you push on you will be rewarded. I'll give you a hint: a level 100 alchemist is able to produce potions that are rare and powerful. The recipes cannot be bought, but the books that contain them have to be found.
Alchemy can make you rich, alchemy can give you powerful items, and most importantly alchemy is fun! As I said earlier the recipes found in the books are special. Let me elaborate. There is a very large number of recipes that can produce items. The items that can be produced with alchemy have to be alchemy targets for some special formula. However, items used as ingredients can be anything you can lift and fit into a cauldron. Therefore you are welcome to experiment and find your own formulae. Before you busy yourself experimenting let me tell you that it can be dangerous, and you can never make money-using non-special formulae, as the universe would get out of balance and destroy your soul… A cauldron. Get spares. You WILL set a few on fire and such. Some are enchanted, and work better. A +1 cauldron is nice. I've seen up to a +3, though I suspect the code allows +5. Remember, these +es are rare. A +1 cauldron is rarer than any +4 standard weapon, and most artifacts. A +2 is something you can show off. A +3 is a sign of power. A +4 will almost get you a ring of Ruling. A +5? Well, then I begin to become suspicious.
Ingredients. Go figure. The alchemy skill requires things to be put into cauldrons. There are the standard reagents and monster parts. You'll only work with a few early on.
You need a bit of level in alchemy first. Level 1 tends not to be safe near a cauldron. Take advantage of alchemy's other use, identification. Bind a key to drop platinum on the alchemy sale table for one ingredient, use_skill alchemy. Do this over the mineral oil table. Plan to spend a few thousand platinum. Eventually, you will get to level 5 alchemy.
You are now cauldron capable, but just barely.
At this time, I would like to note that in alchemy, the numbers 7, and to a lesser degree 3 and 5, are very useful.
Back to the matter of making money and getting experience. Remember your mineral oil? Remember your magic numbers?
“but why did elementals come out the cauldron when I put the wrong ingredient?”, asked the boy
“you disturbed the balance of the Food Astral Plane by combining those ingredients, obviously, replied the cook, smiling at the boy and totally undisturbed by the fight that just happened. And this unbalance drove some monsters to come here - it's all action/reaction, see?”
the boy didn't really understand, but decided he had enough cooking for today - the elementals weren't too hard to dispose of, but still, he didn't want to risk having some later on