The first part of alchemy is harvesting the ingredients / reagents. There are different levels to harvesting these ingredients. Some reagents need higher levels of the Alchemy skill for you to be able to successfully harvest them and it also depends slightly on chance.
It would be best if you do not go around trying to harvest plants which you cannot the first time itself or you will be losing precious natural resources. I will list the various ingredients and the level of alchemy required for you to be able to successfully harvest them.
You need to experiment with various reagents at an Alchemy Bench to gain knowledge about a mixture. I have listed some mixtures below and the recipes for them. If you want to brew the advanced versions of the potions then you have to upgrade the Alchemy skill.
(only need to experiment with one of each to discover potion)
For The greater potions, you have to mix one extra type of reagent to the preexisting mixture, Below, I will mention that extra reagent you need to make the recipes into greater potions, you need to experiment with each one of the already existing mixtures along with the extra one and the formula will be automatically added.
Frostbite - whiteflake, scarwood, Bloodroot
Current Stopper - Eel Petal, Ysa's Breath, Seaflax
Minor Phase Walk - Star Thistle, Sky Blossom, Cripplespore Caps
Minor Damage Deflection - Star Thistle, Sativa Fibers, Ysa's Breath
For all master potions, we need to add one extra ingredient to the already existing mixtures. That single ingredient for all the mixtures is "Essence of Fate" and this is extremely rare in its plant form, but you can get this ingredient from dead enemies also rarely. Here's the pic of the plant form -
Just keep adding essence of fate to the Journeyman(greater) list of potions to get the Master Potion version of them.
Sagecrafting allows us to use various gems and place them in weapons and armor in the appropriate solts. You can acuire shards which are use to craft the gems by purchasing them from merchants or obtaining them thru your explorations. There are three kinds of shards depending on their quality - clouded, lambent, pristine. Pristine shards offer the best bonuses when used. We can also, improve shards from clouded to lambent to pristine if we have upgraded the sagecrafting skill. You need two of a low quality shard to convert them into a higher quality shard.
Sagecrafting is all about combining various shard to make a gem which we can place in our equipment for bonuses. Experiment will all kinds of shards and also try all different combinations to get your desired bonus. We can make various types of gems like weapon gems or utility gems or armor gems to make them fit in the respective slot in a weapon we already have. At higher levels of sagecrafting, we can make epic gems that can go into any slot the weapon has as opposed to the specific type of gem needed based on the name of the slot (ex: a weapon slot and take only a weapon gem but not utility or armor gem but an epic gem can go anywhere).
You can also remove gems you already placed by visiting the sagecrafting experts around the land or if your skill is fully maxxed, even you can remove gems from their slots.
To place a gem into a weapon you already own just go to the "Socket Gem" option at a sagecrafting altar and choose the weapon and the gem which you want. You can also directly place gems which crafting your own weapons or armor at the blacksmithing forge.
If you want to make your own armor or weapons then this is the way to go. If you go to a Blacksmith's Forge then you can start making your own equipment, ofcourse you need to have the components required to make an item first. As you upgrade your skill, you can make better objects and also break objects which you already have to salvage components from them and add them into your own creation.
If you cannot make a certain item then click on it to know waht components you are missing. When you click on an otem that can be made, a new screen comes where you can choose each piece of the equipment to add. As you choose a piece of equiplment, the next piece to be chosen shows up and you can choose whatever you want from there and so on till you make a choice for all the pieces of your equipment.
If you do not have the component you want or want a better component then you should salvage components from another weapon or armor that you have, but remember that if you salvage an already existing weapon or armor, you will destroy it in the process. You can also buy equipment from different merchants throughout the land or buy weapons or armor and then salvage them, but this is a costly choice. You'll be able to make masteful equipment after you fully upgrade your skill and you should avoid making items till you fully upgrade the skill since you can just pick up better stuff from the world than what you can make. So, just keep salvaging as many parts as you can till you are a master smith.