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I honestly have no idea where the hell this belongs.

*hasn't posted outside of the guilds in years*

This isn't proofread or edited or anything. Actually, it's more of a rant than anything I wrote when I was bored
during chemistry. Which is why this is a mess and all over the place.
ENJOY. Not looking for constructive criticism but feel feel to explain how you view alchemy in FMA. Oh, and if you
have ideas of any sections I can add, go for it.
P.S. I'll add more diagrams when I feel like it. And actually go through to edit/check this. Don't feel like it right
now. Feel free to find spelling/grammar mistakes for me. Not gonna write anything beyond Chapter 1, because
then I have to go into details which means going into details of chemistry and making up details of Alchemy and I
dun wanna write that and you don't wanna read that.
God I am such a nerd.

Chapter 1: A basic overview of Alchemy

1.0 Introduction
This textbooks is not meant to be an exhaustive reference for alchemy. Within the alchemical community the
findings of one's research is often kept secret unlike within other sciences, as knowledge of alchemy in the hands of
the public can cause disasters of immense proportions. Therefore, this publicly available book will only cover the
bare minimums for one to understand the basics of alchemy. If you wants to advance in the study of this field, then
you must try to gain an apprenticeship or gain access to alchemic research.
The study of alchemy dates back to ancient times, and was supposedly brought to Amestris by a man from the lost
nation of Xerxes. Since then it has become a major foundation of the power of our nation, most apparent in our
State Alchemist program. Though alchemy has made our nation a dominant military power, its uses are not
restricted to combat and indeed can be used to enhance everyday life.

1.1 Alchemy
Dynamic Chemistry
To begin a study in alchemy and to understand the contents of this book, one must have a solid background in the
field of chemistry. Contrary to what many believe, alchemy is not magic or a miracle; it is a science. In fact, many
take alchemy as an advanced form of chemistry.
The basis of alchemy is the ability to draw energy from seismic activity beneath the crust and use it to power a
rearrangement of matter. This rearrangement is known as

a transmutation.
This energy is tapped by the power of
the circle which represents a flow of energy. Runes are then placed within the circle to direct the energy in order

to break and create bonds in a specific manner. Together the circle and runes is known as a transmutation circle.
(fig 1.1.1) Alchemic arrays are similar to transmutation circles and will be covered in chapter 5.
However, many alchemic reactions go beyond chemical reactions that can be facilitated through traditional means.
By using the transmutation circle one can force matter to create bonds in certain patterns, allowing an alchemist to
transmute matter into a certain desired shape. It can also control what of many possible chemical reactions do
occur, ensuring that undesired reactions do not take place.
There are two main types of alchemic transmutations: chemical transmutations and nuclear transmutations.
(fig 1.1.2)
Chemical transmutations is the most commonly used form of alchemy, and will be one we focus on in this book.
These transmutations break apart the intermolecular and intramolecular forces between atoms and ions, including
covalent bonds, ionic bond, hydrogen bonds, London dispersion forces among others, and then create new bonds
between the particles. This allows for existing elements to be rearranged into different compounds.
Nuclear transmutations do the same, but break down nuclear forces within atoms instead of between particles.
These transmutations are extremely tricky and should not be attempted until one reaches a higher skill level. These
transmutations allows for one element to be converted into another, and indeed, may allow one to directly
manipulate electrons to create a flow of electricity.

1.2 Transmutation Circles

The power of the circle and the concepts of runes
One thing that is hard for many beginners to grasp is the idea of conceptual runes. Many untrained in alchemy
does not understand why two different transmutation circles can create the same reaction or the same
transmutation circle being used to facilitate different transmutations.

This is because while the circle is crucial, alchemic runes

are conceptual rather than literal. Alchemic symbols are created by humans as representations of energy,
elements, and abstract ideas. They vary from culture to culture, and indeed from alchemist to alchemist. There is
no natural absolute rune for any object, and thus when one draws the runes within the circle their meaning is only
important to those who understand it. Also of note is that runes can represent processes as well as physical
substances. (fig 1.2.1)
The importance of this concept is that the transmutation is not dependant on the physical runes themselves but the
alchemist's understanding of them. This allows for flexibility in the function of transmutation circles as key runes
can be left out of the physical representation and supplied by the alchemist's own understanding. The more skilled
an alchemist is, the less detailed and thus more versatile their transmutation circles can be.
Note that while one may create an entirely new set of alchemical runes for themselves, it is not advised. Most
existing alchemical runes have in their roots in historical texts and some are easily recognizable even outside the
alchemical community. Thus is it much easiest to gain the understanding and mental acceptance of existing runes
needed to use them.
There have been reports of skilled alchemists who have the ability to create all the runes needed for a
transmutation mentally. This is to say that these alchemists do not need to draw runes (though the creation of a
circle is still necessary) in order to carry out alchemic reactions.

1.2 Forced Equilibria

Alchemical Equations
A major concept in the study of chemistry is the idea of dynamic equilibrium. Chemical reactions never happen
fully in one direction or the other, but instead stay at a certain point of equilibrium between reactants and products
depending on external factors such as heat and other substances which form branching equilibria with the
chemicals involved. Please note that the use of catalysts do not push equilibria in one direction or another; it
simply increases the rate at which an equilibrium is reached.
In chemical transmutations, the easiest alchemical reaction one can do is simply shifting a common chemical
equilibrium. By channelling energy with the circle, one can provide or remove the energy required to favour the
equilibrium in one direction or another. Ultimately all chemical transmutations are manipulating chemical equilibria,
but because of the direct control over forces between particles, alchemy is able to create a chemical change
between stable substances that normally would not react.
One important use of alchemy is the creation of pure substances, allowing the refinement of desired elements
much more effectively than traditional chemistry, such us when extracting profitable substances from mined ore.
Because of the properties of dynamic equilibria, chemical purification processes always have a limit as to how
successful extraction methods are, though many chemical extraction processes are efficient enough that the
product is essentially pure. Transmutations however, given a skilled enough alchemist, can force a chemical
equilibrium fully in one direction and give the products the stability in order to maintain its state.

In chemical transmutations the products should be constructed in a stable form, or a reverse shift is highly
possible. Depending on the products, the reverse shift may not take the same path as the transmutations and may
lead to dangerous results.

1.3 "Equivalent Exchange"

Law of Conservation of Mass and the Law of Natural providence
Often known as the most basic and absolute law in Alchemy by the public, "Equivalent Exchange" states that in
order to gain something, something of equal value must be given. This idea can be compared to situations in
mundane life, such as trading currency to gain items or objects of a certain worth. This idea of "give and gain" is
the easiest way to understand the principles of Alchemy for those who do not study this science.
However, this explanation is misleading and "Equivalent Exchange" is more of a concept to help introduce the public
to the workings of Alchemy. In its very wording, the idea is entirely wrong. In an Alchemic reaction nothing is
"given" and nothing is "gained", which seems to imply that in Alchemic reactions the mass of the reactants is
destroyed while the mass of the products is created. All forms of alchemy simply rearrange existing mass.
Equivalent Exchange is usually broken down into two concepts: The Law of Conservation of Mass, and the Law
of Natural Providence.
The Law of Natural Providence as it was originally described does not hold true anymore in modern alchemy. In
classical alchemy is was believed that a substance with certain physical properties can only be transmuted into a
substance with similar physical properties. For example it was believed that common metals could be transmuted
into gold but it would not possible to transmute them into water. While this law is usually upheld in day-to-day
alchemy, the sheer nature of alchemical change means that matter can be manipulated into different chemicals,
with different chemical properties, and thus with different physical properties. For example, water, a liquid at room
temperature, can be decomposed into hydrogen and oxygen, gases which have very different physical properties.
The Law of Conservation of Mass applies in alchemy as it does in chemistry, being that matter can neither be
created or destroyed. An alchemist can only work with the matter that he has, and if one kilogram of reactants is
used than the resultant mass of the products would also equal one kilogram.
Another important law to keep in mind is The First Law of Thermodynamics, more commonly known as the Law
of Conservation of Energy, which states that in an isolated system energy can neither be created or destroyed, but
it can be converted between different forms. This law is actually equivalent to the Law of Conservation of mass, as
mass is simply one form of energy, as demonstrated by the expression E=mc2. However, a method to convert
matter to energy and vice versa has not been found.
These laws are absolute and bind all alchemical processes. Failure to abide these laws and attempts to break them
results in what is know as rebound.

1.4 Rebound
Breaking the Law of Equivalent Exchange
When an alchemist attempts a transmutation that is not within the bounds of Equivalent exchange, a rebound
occurs. Rebounds may occur if one is attempting to create an object of a certain mass from materials with less
mass. Be warned that even if one has enough mass in front of them, an inexperienced alchemist may only be able
to manipulate a portion of the matter, resulting in a rebound.
Others ways for a rebound to occur is if not enough energy is provide for an equilibrium to reach its threshold.
Rebounds caused by this is rare, because usually the reaction simply does not occur but at times it destabilizes the
matter too much. This form of rebound is much more common with nuclear transmutations, and can result not only
in a rebound effect within the alchemist but also potentially releases harmful radiation.
When a rebound occurs, the equilibrium begins to shift violently from one end to another, taking up and releasing
energy at a rapid pace. Because the alchemist creates a flow of energy to the reaction through himself or herself,
this release of energy is often channelled through the alchemist. Alchemical reactions may then occur within the

alchemist's body, often leading to disfigurement or death.

Another form of rebound occurs when alchemists attempt transmutations involving living things, which will be
discussed in section 1.7

1.5 The Philosopher's Stone

Alchemic amplifiers
The Philosopher's stone is an object that has been the pinnacle of alchemic lore for as long as we can trace back in
history. It goes by many names, but is often said to be an object that amplifies the power and scale of
transmutations at no cost, violating the Law of Equivalent Exchange without incurring a Rebound.
A leading hypothesis on the Philosopher's Stone is that it is an object holding an immense amount of energy that
can be tapped with a Transmutation Circle. This keeps the law of Equivalent Exchange valid, while giving an
explanation for its rumoured ability to seemingly create matter out of nothing. If energy is mass then this is
possible, although it is a mystery how such a conversion can be made.
There have been numerous attempts by alchemists to find or create a philosopher's stone, to no results.
There is no evidence of the actual existence of the Philosopher's stone however, so any information should be
treated carefully and with scepticism, especially as this is an object shrouded in so much myth and legend.

1.6 Alkahestry
Eastern Alchemy
In the country to the east known as Xing, a different form of alchemy seems to be practised, called alkahestry. Not
much is known about this exotic form of alchemy but it can be assumed that much of the basics is the same. Some
alchemists have travelled to Xing in an attempt to learn alkahestryto unknown degrees of success- all has kept
their findings secret.

1.7 Laws and Ethics

Limits on the practise of alchemy
Because of the potential for alchemy to create injury, destruction, and disasters on a massive scale, many limits
are put onto the study of alchemy to prevent its misuse. The government has passed many laws limiting the use of
alchemy. While anyone is allowed to perform very simple transmutations, anything above a certain skill level can
only be performed by those who have official licenses as private or state alchemists.
Other transmutations is banned outright for its potential for harm. One example would be the ban on creating gold,
in order to create economic stability. However, probably the most notorious illegal alchemical attempt would
be human transmutation. This is an umbrella term to generally mean the creation of humans. While the
composition of the human body is known, there has never been a report of a successful attempt at creating a living
human body using its base ingredients. Usually what is created is a mass of organs generally capable of sustaining
life for a few seconds before quickly undergoing alchemic decomposition. In addition, a rebound always occurs,
generally in the form of mass being taken from the alchemist's body. Cases of attempted human transmutation is
so rare that the alchemic community has not had a chance to study where the missing mass goes, but is a subject
of debate as this seems to violate the Law of Conservation of Mass.
Alchemists have had no more luck with animal transmutations.
One needs to note that while the act of human transmutation usually refers to the attempt to create a living human
body (and likewise with animals) and never works, transmutations involving living organisms can work, like in the
case of chimeras. Such transmutations and research on such topics is usually banned in the alchemic community
because of the moral issues raised with such use of alchemy.
There are exceptions to this, of course. Organic transmutation is researched in the military and amongst medical

alchemists. Most alchemists treat this topic warily, because beyond the ethical reasons organic alchemy has a much
higher rate of rebounds than inorganic alchemy.

1.8 Conclusion
Alchemy is an extremely useful tool in our lives, helping our society advance in technology that would enhance our
quality of life. It is a science and must be treated as one, advancing forward in its study using qualitative and
quantitative data. Alongside alchemy, chemistry is evolving two, the two disciplines leading to ever greater
achievements in the other.
However, alchemy must be treated with caution for its ability to cause destruction. Research is kept secret within
the alchemic community and is strictly monitored by the government, and moral boundaries must always be
Some alchemists make the mistake of translating the laws of alchemy into every day life and suffer the
consequences for it. One must remember that alchemy is not an all powerful, all emcompassing art, but simple a
tool like any other science.