Azoth
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Basic Information

Azoth is an alchemical substance that was the goal of many alchemy attempts (like the philosopher's stone or elixir of life). Its exact nature varies depending on who is writing about it; sometimes it is described as an universal solvent (see alkahest), or Universal Medicine, sometimes as a fundamental substance like Prima Materia or essential the life force that animates all the universe. However, it is also sometimes merely a synonym or esoteric term for mercury.

Aleister Crowley felt there was significance in the name. A/Alpha/Alef is the first letter of the Latin, Greek and Hebrew alphabets. Z is the last letter of Latin, O for Omega is the last letter in Greek, and Th for Tau is the last in Hebrew. Thereby making both the substance and the word very cyclic and magical, featuring the first and the last of the classical languages. Thus it embodies the whole journey, as it contains both what the alchemist starts with, and that on which his labors end. It is the alchemist himself. As Alpha and Omega, it also represents Yahweh or Zeus.

Sources

Game and Story Use

  • Easily the sort of nebulous, double-meaning (at least) terminology that esoteric alchemists, sages, and wizards should be chatting and debating about.
  • If your spiritual or magical mentor sends you on a quest to find the fabled Azoth, be ready for a let down.
    • The treasure is inside yourselves. Aw…
    • Or maybe, the treasure is the journey.
  • If one uses the mercury interpretation, mercury could be an ingredient for various magical items (or necessary component for spells) in a fantasy campaign.
  • In a game with Lovecraftian elements, the players have to wonder if the word Azoth is a reference to relatively simple alchemy, or a shortening of the name of dread Azathoth, the blind idiot god at the center of the universe.
    • It could make a good red herring to keep the players paranoid or get them to turn on magic-wielding allies.
    • Could serve as a way to cast more mundane magic and alchemy in a sinister mythos-tinted light.
      • Chemistry, too, for that matter. Lovecraft's universe was definitely one of cold science and uncaring creators. To find that the alchemy-to-chemistry link means that the advance of science just further imperils our minds and souls seems all too possible in a Cthulhu game.
        • Perhaps there's something "fishy" about the lab-coated bespectacled gentlemen at Azoth Labs…
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