“The great hulk of the scaled beast lay wheezing before me, and I am not ashamed to say that I was frightened: though it was injured, I knew the dragon could easily tear me in twain. The young monk, however, knelt beside the creature’s head, whispering to it in a strange growling tongue. I questioned the woman, but she ignored me completely, engrossed in examining the scaly monster. After much badgering, she said merely, ‘I do not mean to be rude, but you are quite a distraction. Please, leave me to my work.’” -Jeron’s Great Journeys, Book III, Chapter 4
An alchemist enchanted his equipment to produce even more powerful alchemical compounds, potions and the like. Unfortunately, it is not well-known that he had different sets of equipment for different processes: If the wrong set of gear is used, the result will invariably fail to function. It's not a cursed item, just something that's hard to figure out.