Magnum Opus: Volume 8, Chapter 1

Welcome Student to the next installment of your learning.  Having demonstrated adequate proficiency with our past lessons, we shall first speak to a matter of utmost importance – resource management!

Do not roll your eyes at my text! This is a very important part of every experiment.  Assuming you have all your limbs and faculties still intact and you are reading this means you have survived the tests I have hidden in these texts so far and could distinguish poison from extract and not set yourself on fire.  It is time for you to use your time to advance your magical research and delegate the more mundane tasks to others, namely, assistants!

Assistants can come from a variety of sources both magical and mundane.  They will provide support before, during, and after you spend countless hours seeking to achieve the same level of mastery of this material as I.

The age of such assistants can be of critical import. Finding one young enough to recognize their place is important. Caution however must be applied as youth may subject you to degrees of impetuousness. There is a trade off to be considered as such chaos may disrupt your efforts or may springboard them to heights you did not consider.  Tread with caution but do not dismiss those who may seem too young for their wisdom may exceed their years.  Within them may lie great potential if they survive puberty and do not impulsively burn the valuable rewards of your efforts beyond recognition.

While I deliver this recitation on the the appropriate qualities of those who will serve you, a past event reminds me it is necessary to caution you about the proximity of madness to genius. Be wary of those with too much creativity or diversity in speech or mannerism as it may be madness in disguise.  While history has shown some of the greatest Alchemists were eventually afflicted with a deficiency of the mind, having such in support of your efforts will require you to monitor their behavior. If you are forced to work with such, it is important to quickly identify their calming triggers and keep them ready at a moment’s notice. This can often be achieved through senseless praise or if you simply feign agreement with their menial goals or acquiesce to their assumed importance in your work. Keep in mind when the research is complete, you can simply write them out of the written record of your accomplishments. 

Sometimes you will seek out assistants through traditional means and channels. I counsel you to not overlook those who may come from unconventional means. Only recently I discovered one such student when I came upon them harvesting essential materials from a fallen magical beast. They thought they were collecting such for their use before recognizing my alchemical acumen as superior to theirs, and thus immediately deferred to my control of the operations. Praise their initiative and recognize the value such an asset aligned in interest can serve in your efforts.

Others may simply come to due your bidding through the allocation of a simple bauble or two. This is where your prior instruction in the fabrication of basic alchemical potions and compounds will prove useful. A simple bagful of alchemical fire, for example, can delight the simple-minded and result in their application of such in accordance with your objectives. Anytime you can convince them to exert themselves for such simple things, you have made significant progress without expending great resources. 

It is equally important to recognize the value of those who can support your endeavors. If you are moved by such things as the performing arts, finding one who is skilled in the bardic arts to perform can be inspiring and help in moments where your skills may be challenged by the task before them.  The right application of music has been shown to hone focus when it is critical and can make the difference between success and having to find someone to regenerate a limb.

As one considers the tasks essential to the success of your research, you will eventually come to realize there are some very simple tasks requiring nothing more than strength. If an Ox could fit in your lab and had thumbs, it would suffice for most of these tasks; instead one must rely on the 2 legged version. This student, is a challenging task for one with limited abilities as you most likely have at this time; nevertheless you must continue to rely on such brutes to perform such tasks with as little interaction as possible least you find yourself spending too much time at their level of intellect.

Despair not student because as you are reading this tome, know that such engagements are coming to an end. There lies within your grasp the power to construct automatons to perform such tasks.  Through the right application of the formulas I am about to share with you, you can render such brutes obsolete…

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