The Collegia of Primacy decided that only nobility should be allowed to practice magic. As a result, the number of magical practitioners dwindled. The Ill’Dumaer University of Sorcery saw this as a threat to their existence and began teaching a near magical art: alchemy. Alchemy was not considered to be magic, per se, and so anyone was allowed to study it. The rise of alchemy gave rise to a new profession: the alchemist.
Alchemists soon formed a new middle class in society. They were not tied to land and were able to freely sell their goods, as they were largely unregulated by the Collegia. Their products were considered superior to sorcery as once manufactured, they could be used by anyone. Considered ‘New Money’ by the nobility, they were largely left to their own devices as the nobility considered them to be part of a lesser more fickle science. Alchemists began to diversify.
Those who specialized in medicines and potions for the body were called Apothecaries. Apothecaries were soon found on many street corners and form the bulk of the non-clergy medical profession in the Dragon Isles.
Steelsmiths were alchemists who used their knowledge towards the application of finished goods. This movement was largely led by urban-dwelling dwarves. They would use their chemicals to treat metals making them harder, lighter, et cetera. They also were the first to take gunleaf and turn it into a weapon.
Gearmongers were alchemists who studied the precise interactions of different chemicals. In their experiments they found it necessary to create large apparatii that could measure and contain an alchemical reaction. The Gearmongers realized the large scale possibilities of having controlled non-magical effects and built factories powered by alchemical reactions. These factories soon became centers of wealth. In order to hold on to more of their wealth, factories were always owned by dragonborn as they could avoid having to sell the factory to pay the mortal tax