When their numbers began to grow, a group of alchemists cooperated to found a powerful guild that acted as a central point of organization. In those early days, all alchemists belonged to the guild. In return for a yearly fee, the guild provided certain privileges and protections from many of the nations of Morden. The guild had many traditions, including a stubborn insistence on sharing the secrets of alchemy only with one another and select students—never to an outsider. The guild sanctioned masters to take on worthy apprentices, and many alchemist shops displayed the guild sigil as a matter of professional pride.
However, the guild survived only slightly more than a century due to an unfortunate political choice. During the War of Ash, the alchemist’s guild sided with the Romani against the conquering armies of Steppengrad. In the ensuing conflict, both the Romani and the guild were shattered beyond repair. One mixed blessing to emerge from that event was that alchemy's battlefield effectiveness was proven beyond any doubt.
Most larger towns and cities in Morden now possess at least one practicing alchemist, although the total number of alchemists has grown slowly since the guild's dissolution. The uses of alchemy apply very widely; some are most useful in the field of medicine, though others are present in many different fields of expertise. It is common for an alchemist to be able to provide tinctures against poisons or disease, glues, solvents, stinkpots and even the famous Hakim’s portable feast. Alchemists that have access to exotic materials can produce even more remarkable effects, such as preserving the bodies of the dead, healing grievous wounds, and even transmute small quantities of base metals. Although most known alchemy takes the form of potions and elixirs, it is also useful in the construction, shaping, and decoration of other materials including blackbriar wood and the rare moonsilver metal.
Alchemists generally preserve their knowledge as complex formulae, recorded upon scrolls or thick tomes. Some alchemists claim that the formulae is the truest expression of alchemy’s power, and that some have truly astonishing abilities. There are legends of alchemical formulae that contain the secrets of eternal youth, restoring life to the dead, and creating steel of unbreakable strength. If any such formulae exist, however, they are either lost with the ancient guildmasters or have been kept hidden for over three centuries. Anyone who rediscovered such potent formulae, could quickly become one of the world's preeminent master alchemists.