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Introduction / World-Building and Tone

Alchemy's Influence on Technology

Source Guns & Gears pg. 7
Considering that certain technologies have seen more refinement or followed divergent development paths on Golarion in comparison to Earth, the influence of alchemy on Golarion's technology can't be understated. In addition to enabling the creation of elemental weapons, such as alchemist's fire and bottled lightning, alchemical techniques have often been applied to a variety of other fields and industries. Alchemical treatments for armor can create stronger materials; alchemical distillations allow for a variety of different forms and potencies in black powder; alchemy and the people who practice it even influence the most basic of needs, like preserving volatile substances for transport.

Much like firearms, alchemy is something of an everyman's tool, usable by most anyone who can get their hands on its components without requiring the specialized training or unique bloodlines of wizards and sorcerers. A single alchemist who makes their home in a community can quickly improve the quality of life for everyone there, reducing death by disease, improving the community's ability to defend itself from outside threats, and providing other benefits both large and small. While it stands as a distinct science of its own, alchemy inextricably has ties to black powder weapons and other technologies of Golarion, enabling the development of sturdier metals and more volatile explosives to allow creations on a grand scale. For example, while steam technology is extremely new on Golarion, steam engines are much more likely to use alchemically derived heat sources than the coal furnaces used in our world.