Alchemy, Philosophy and the Sciences
The mortal world is built on a foundation of elemental power and bathed in the radiations of the astral. The Overworld lies on the other side of the mirror, and the Underworld on the far side of the grave. While much of the material world is perfectly mundane, no proper science could neglect the power it can often derive from the supernature that surrounds it.
Thus, the mundane sciences are not entirely mundane. In Rasenna, philosophy, alchemy, astronomy and other such fields of study are ways in which ordinary mortals may understand and even manipulate nature and supernature alike, even if they don’t possess any innate gift for arcana. Alchemists strive for an understanding of chemistry and metallurgy that includes unusual substances such as the blood and bones of magical beasts, pure elemental motes or mystical metals such as adamantine.
Of course, study alone does not grant the power to channel magic. Most alchemists and philosophers are not adepts — wielders of actual magical power — but scholars that can sometimes achieve notable supernatural effects, even if they’re not as easily won. While true adepts are generally rare, most cities have a small population of alchemists, stargazers and the like, some of whom possess remarkable insights. The Sorcerous Houses in particular have many in their ranks. Independent sages frequently attempt to draw the attention of a Sorcerous House in order to be adopted into their ranks, or at least to gain some minor patronage. One can practice the sciences and still make something of oneself independent of a Great House, of course. But the enhanced prestige, wealth of contacts and opportunity for enrichment that come with House membership is very attractive to all but the most ascetic of scholars.
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