Alchemist Class Preview

Monday, April 9, 2018

Just read any messageboards or comment threads, and you'll realize this truth about people: some of them love to throw bombs and blow things up. It's a visceral thrill. Lobbing bombs is dramatic and fun, and every so often all of us love to watch something burn. If you enjoy this activity more than most, do we have a class for you!

So far we've previewed the fighter and the rogue. You might have thought we'd showcase one of the original spellcasting classes next, but that involves talking a bit more about spellcasting, so instead, we decided to unleash the secrets of the alchemist in our newest preview of the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook.

In the early days of Pathfinder First Edition, the alchemist saw release in the Pathfinder RPG Advanced Player's Guide. Since then, the alchemist has proven to be very popular. Unsurprisingly, when we surveyed the player base about what classes see the most play, the alchemist rose right to the top (along with the oracle, but more on that in a later preview). That alone would have promoted the class into the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook, but tackling the alchemist early on during the design process was beneficial for another reason: it allowed us to take a hard look at alchemical item design with the alchemist in mind rather than as a later add-on.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Alchemist Features

While anyone trained in Crafting can take the Alchemical Crafter skill feat and craft their own alchemical items, the alchemist is much better at this crafting discipline. At 1st level, he gains Alchemical Crafter and a formula book for free, along with four bonus alchemical item formulas (for a total of eight, including the four from Alchemical Crafter). Each time he levels up, he gains two more formulas. This is on top of ones he either discovers or invents. Not only does he gain more access to alchemical tricks, by way of advanced alchemy and the quick alchemy action, but he can also spend resonance to create alchemical objects on the fly, though such hasty concoctions are potent for only a short period.

Crafting is all well and good, but what about bombing potential? The alchemist's bombs are now the basic alchemical items you are familiar with: things like alchemist fire, thunderstones, acid flasks and so on. He crafts these items and lobs them. At 3rd level, he gains the empower bomb feature, which allows him to multiply the damage of the bombs he creates. This multiplier increases with level until it reaches six times the alchemical bomb's base damage at 19th level.

But that's only the start—at 5th level the alchemist learns the secrets of mutagens, and as he progresses his ability to craft alchemical items on the fly becomes both greater and faster.

Alchemist Feats

Tying these features together is the selection of alchemist class feats. As with other class feats, they allow the alchemist to either focus or diversify his features and talents. In the case of the alchemist, class feats come in a few broad categories. If the alchemist wants to make the most of his crafting, he might choose Efficient Alchemy or Enduring Alchemy at 4th level. The former allows him to craft larger batches of alchemical items during downtime, while the latter extends the amount of time he can use alchemical items that he creates with the Quick Alchemy action. When he reaches 6th level, Powerful Alchemy allows him to increase the DCs of his alchemical effects, while the 18th-level Improbable Elixirs feat enables him to craft elixirs with the effects of magical potions.

Making stuff is great, but destruction is much more fun. Most alchemical bombs are splash weapons, which means that when the alchemist hits an enemy, those nearby take a bit of damage. At 4th level, an alchemist with the Calculated Splash feat can deal splash damage equal to his Intelligence modifier instead of the normal 1 splash damage. At 6th level, the alchemist can take the Precise Bomb feat, allowing him to hit everyone but his allies with the splash damage. Taking both feats increases the hurt he puts on enemies while saving his allies the pain. Of course, there are also plenty of feats that affect the primary target of a bomb. Debilitating Bomb at 6th level and its greater counterparts at 10th and 14th levels allow the alchemist to apply different types of conditions to the primary target of his bombs.

After an alchemist gains the mutagen crafting feature, he can take feats that modify how those powerful elixirs interact with his internal chemistry. For instance, the 8th-level Feral Mutagen feat boosts the alchemist's Intimidate checks and morphs his teeth into frightful jaws and his hands into rending claws. Other such modifications are subtler. The 10th-level Stalker Mutagen feat grants the alchemist Stealth as a signature skill and allows him to move up to his Speed when he sneaks. While all mutagens grant some bonuses and drawbacks, the Perfect Mutagen feat at 18th level allows the alchemist to ignore the drawbacks when under the effect of a mutagen he crafted.

All of this is only a small sample of what the class has to offer. The alchemist is also a master of poisons (which he can craft for free each day just like other alchemical items), has easy access to a number of skills, and can act as the party's trap disabler or healer if necessary. The diversity in the class allows you to pick and choose exactly how you want to manifest your particular brand of alchemical discoveries.

Stephen Radney-MacFarland
Senior Designer

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Elfteiroh wrote:

Ok, I found it, here a recap from ENworld:

ENWorld wrote:


Archetypes in core
  • mindful about classes being rebranded as archetypes. Demoting core classes would upset people, but focused on core game and going back and forth on how to deal with those.
    Archetypes in playtest are a fairly small selection. (Bonner)
  • Not much like Starfinder or 1E. More experimental. (Bonner)
  • Broadly accessible concept archetypes in core rather than class-specific, but can theoretically could have prerequisites such as Wizard-specific. (Bonner)
  • Advanced Player's Guide is when "Pathfinder became Pathfinder" as a ruleset, with introduction of archetypes. But clerics had nothing to swap out and have been denied a fundamental part of the rules for 8 years. (Mona)
Bolded the most relevant one.

Yes, this concerns me. Though with the way the classes are set up it might not be as painful as trying to Archetype in Starfinder (those poor Solarions).


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Fuzzypaws wrote:
FedoraFerret wrote:
People talking about archetypes changing things should probably keep in mind that in the Core book, at least, archetypes aren't going to be class specific.
Oh heck, I hope you're wrong, because the generic archetypes in Starfinder are fecking awful. I love PF1 style archetypes and that's what I want in PF2, not the trash underpowered generic archetypes of SF. :(
thaX wrote:

I agree with Fuzzypaws here. Archtypes need to be specific to classes, not the Generic level replacement like things that are called Archtypes in the Starfinder book.

Make a PrC, or an Archtype. Combining them into the Archtype named thing in Starfinder was not the way to go. That they only got two of them in the book because of the room needed to explain what each class would have replaced for them should be an indicator on how far that missed the mark.

Elfteiroh wrote:
Ok, I found it, here a recap from ENworld:
ENWorld wrote:
  • Broadly accessible concept archetypes in core rather than class-specific, but can theoretically could have prerequisites such as Wizard-specific. (Bonner)
  • I can understand the desire to offer PF2E Archetypes as an option to all classes, but I really really dislike how they've been implemented so far in Starfinder. I know Paizo wants to call like things by the same name (feats), but can we consider a slight divergence in this case? Keep Archetypes as class non-specific if you wish, but can we have a unified term -- some term like Specializations -- that alter one specific class, similar to the PF1E archetypes did?

    Silver Crusade

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    Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
    Fuzzypaws wrote:
    FedoraFerret wrote:
    People talking about archetypes changing things should probably keep in mind that in the Core book, at least, archetypes aren't going to be class specific.
    Oh heck, I hope you're wrong, because the generic archetypes in Starfinder are fecking awful. I love PF1 style archetypes and that's what I want in PF2, not the trash underpowered generic archetypes of SF. :(
    thaX wrote:

    I agree with Fuzzypaws here. Archtypes need to be specific to classes, not the Generic level replacement like things that are called Archtypes in the Starfinder book.

    Make a PrC, or an Archtype. Combining them into the Archtype named thing in Starfinder was not the way to go. That they only got two of them in the book because of the room needed to explain what each class would have replaced for them should be an indicator on how far that missed the mark.

    Elfteiroh wrote:
    Ok, I found it, here a recap from ENworld:
    ENWorld wrote:
  • Broadly accessible concept archetypes in core rather than class-specific, but can theoretically could have prerequisites such as Wizard-specific. (Bonner)
  • I can understand the desire to offer PF2E Archetypes as an option to all classes, but I really really dislike how they've been implemented so far in Starfinder. I know Paizo wants to call like things by the same name (feats), but can we consider a slight divergence in this case? Keep Archetypes as class non-specific if you wish, but can we have a unified term -- some term like Specializations -- that alter one specific class, similar to the PF1E archetypes did?

    Seconded oh so much.


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    Mark Seifter wrote:
    You also aren't limited to only one existing in any form at any one time, so you can theoretically outfit the whole party with some nice benefits if they're willing to deal with the drawbacks (even if you get to dodge them with Perfect Mutagen!)

    I'm not sold on the concept of the class (and even though I've had the APG since it first came out and have played tons of characters, I never got around to making an alchemist so I've always been ambivalent towards them), but I think there's enough changes here to be wortwhile playtesting and seeing how it works out in play. It will be different. But it could be different good, and not different bad.

    Fuzzypaws wrote:
    Everyone gets downtime every night when they sleep. If the GM is preventing that then everyone is screwed, from the spellcasters that can't refresh spell slots to the warriors who can't recover HP.

    Fighters recover HP by sleeping? When does that happen? Level 1? Also, will spellcasters have to choose between recovering HP or spells? If not, why bother singling out the fighter as being the only one who can't recover HP with downtime?

    MerlinCross wrote:
    *Sigh* here Ben take all my bombs, you built for Dex/Range I'm going to sit in the corner now. Espically if the INT to damage is gone

    You're telling me that bombs are going to be so powerful they do enough DPR to out-DPR not only Fred's dex based archer, but also the amount of damage they'd have done in the alchemist's hands? Sounds like a very peculiar math operating there that could probably be tweaked to not be 1.5 times as effective as a dex based character when wielded (and only when wielded) by said dex based character.

    Also even if they are that powerful, why isn't the alchemist at least using a bow or a sword or something to increase the damage output? Hell, a reach weapon and assisting other PCs would be more effective then sitting down like a lump of coal.


    Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
    I can understand the desire to offer PF2E Archetypes as an option to all classes, but I really really dislike how they've been implemented so far in Starfinder. I know Paizo wants to call like things by the same name (feats), but can we consider a slight divergence in this case? Keep Archetypes as class non-specific if you wish, but can we have a unified term -- some term like Specializations -- that alter one specific class, similar to the PF1E archetypes did?

    I believe PF 2nd edition archetypes are on record as being "significantly different" to Starfinder archetypes*. We don't know any details though.

    *Or maybe I'm getting confused with backgrounds.

    Liberty's Edge

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    John Lynch 106 wrote:
    Fighters recover HP by sleeping? When does that happen? Level 1? Also, will spellcasters have to choose between recovering HP or spells? If not, why bother singling out the fighter as being the only one who can't recover HP with downtime?

    Everyone gets HP when they sleep, and always have in pretty much all editions, and always for free. It's apparently Level x Con Modifier (Con Mod is a minimum of 1 for this purpose) in this edition. Which is a bit more substantial than some previous editions.

    I dunno why he specified Fighters except for the fact that front-liners are most likely to get damaged.


    Deadmanwalking wrote:
    Everyone gets HP when they sleep, and always have in pretty much all editions, and always for free.

    It's been so long since I saw anyone above level 1 regenerate HP overnight in a 3.5e game I must have forgotten all about that rule ;)

    Liberty's Edge

    John Lynch 106 wrote:
    Deadmanwalking wrote:
    Everyone gets HP when they sleep, and always have in pretty much all editions, and always for free.
    It's been so long since I saw anyone above level 1 regenerate HP overnight in a 3.5e game I must have forgotten all about that rule ;)

    Fair enough. I haven't seen it come up that often myself. :)


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    I am really confused between the "Alchemist gets Multiplier to his bombs" and "We'll have bombs of higher Levels" interaction. It still fells like either higher Level bombs are sub-par so they don't become overly powerful to be used by alchemists? Or it just means alchemists can make higher Level bombs, but everyone can buy them anyway, so why bother?


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    I also don't like the Starfinder Archetypes (Though I like the game in general).

    I get that they want to avoid repetition but the PF1 class archetypes are so much more flavourful & easy to understand than the generic Starfinder ones. Even not having cool class-specific names takes a lot from them.

    I hope the PF2 ones are significantly different.


    I'm still hoping the starfinder ones coming out this month are going to be a lot better!


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    Starfinder Charter Superscriber
    space master7 wrote:
    I'm still hoping the starfinder ones coming out this month are going to be a lot better!

    Utter derail: Yes, the ones in Pact Worlds are *much* better.


    Jhaeman wrote:
    space master7 wrote:
    I'm still hoping the starfinder ones coming out this month are going to be a lot better!
    Utter derail: Yes, the ones in Pact Worlds are *much* better.

    <3 <3 <3


    Could he have an ability allowing to use alchemical items as splash weapons/bombs even when they are not? As a poison or narcotic bomb?


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    I wonder how crafting alchemical items will be dealt with, monetary speaking. I played a high level alchemist once, who could craft anything she wanted, but I quickly stopped crafting because it was way too costly.


    I wish that mutagens and bombs were options such that archetypes would not even be necessary to opt-out of them.

    Sovereign Court

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    Almarane wrote:
    I wonder how crafting alchemical items will be dealt with, monetary speaking. I played a high level alchemist once, who could craft anything she wanted, but I quickly stopped crafting because it was way too costly.

    There's the daily stuff and on the fly stuff which do not cost money so that's fine. That puts the crafting alchemy items more in comparison with scrolls to some extent.

    While I don't have much details - I was told crafting is getting overhauled some and including a new trade-off system for time/money (so you can spend more time in downtime to get an item at less, or more money to do it faster compared to the base crafting cost).


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    Zi Mishkal wrote:

    So I'm looking at the changes in resonance for alchemists and I'm wondering if this is step one in the long road of power creep. We've been told that the point of resonance is to keep people from stockpiling magic items and spamming them. Now, because resonance is being used to fuel class abilities, what's to prevent an alchemist from grabbing extra magic items and using that instead?

    Or are all traditional "Caster classes" going to get extra resonance? If so, why? Won't that gimp martials, comparatively - people who traditionally need all the magic they can get?

    Genuinely confused about this.

    Alchemist is the item-based class of the new core classes. If you want to spend that on tons of wands and an assortment of magic items, you should be able to do that! You’re probably going to need to select your class feats from a more limited list of things (familiars, mutagens, and other things not related to the basic alchical items). But, until Occultist comes out, Alchemist will probably be the class to use for a magic item expert!


    Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    Chiming in on the archetype discussion: they mentioned archetypes having prerequisites. They’re also more flexible in what they can do.

    My guess is that corruptions and lycanthropy would be special ancestry archetypes. Class archetypes just need to list the class as a prerequisite, and can tinker with empowered bombs and mutagen just fine. General archetypes probably just need certain feats open, like VMC, or have the sorts of requirements that old PrCs had. (After all, we were told that we were getting something that would have been a PrC in PF1.)

    Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

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    The "spreading out" of abilities concerns me, because I don't want PF2e high level play to simply be rebranded low level play from PF1e. One of the major draws of D&D style systems to me is that low level play, mid level play, and high level play are distinct and different both in types of adventures and in the mechanics that characters bring to bear. I'm beginning to get this impression from the previews that the "high level" stuff that PF2e characters get seems to be roughly equal in power to about what level 10-11 PF1e characters get, and that's concerning.

    I am also concerned about hp going up whole damage goes down. PF1e fights already take a long time. High hp with weak damage is a 4e-ism I hope we're not adopting here.

    I've seen a couple comments that while high level bombs might only do 6d6 they will crit more often because they target touch AC - will they? Is touch AC really that much less in PF2e? I don't think we know. We do know that monsters have their own design subsystem now, so it's entirely possible that the foe's touch AC is based on metagaming nonsense like its CR rather than the fact that it's a lumbering beast the size of a house.

    I'm hoping there might be some "higher level" bombs with higher base damage - that would easily solve some of the issues I've brought up. If a 19th level alchemist can brew up an "alchemist's fusion nightmare" bomb that does 5d6 base damage, suddenly that x6 multiplier is looking pretty good. These items could be gated behind higher tiers of Crafting, so other could eventually learn to at least make the base items.

    Something like that would also give high-level martial characters a way to contribute against swarms, which I'm hoping get a revamp anyway.


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    PossibleCabbage wrote:
    Does resonance even apply to alchemical items? I could see it being a *magic* resource not a *science* resource, so the alchemist dodges it entirely (save for the magic items the alchemist wants to use).

    This is a point I've been trying to make for weeks.

    I get how magic item use is being tied to resonance. It's a clever way to replace the book-keeping of tracking charges on wands and the like, and an elegant substitution for the kludgy way magic item slots were handled before.

    But IMHO the resonance mechanic can be a problem concerning some items, like potions. It doesn't seem logical to me at all that a PC could drink a potion, and have zero effect, just because he spent all his resonance on something else (worn items, wand usage or whatever).

    So I've been arguing that alchemical items, including alchemical healing, could easily be considered as non-magical in nature, and thus not subject to resonance expenditure. This would be an elegant and logical consequence of their chemical rather than magical origin. It would also be at least a partial solution to the CLW wand conundrum.

    I still haven't seen any official reaction to my frequent and repeated arguments on this topic. Time will tell whether any of these suggestions get taken into account.


    RumpinRufus wrote:
    I'm interested to see some of the high-level alchemical items! It would be cool if they were priced so that lots of characters might actually buy consumables - and one advantage of the alchemist being that he gets them for free. It would be nice if they just worked a la carte for a rogue (or whatever other class wanted to use them,) without requiring alchemist class features to actually use effectively. It would be a shame if Paizo spent all this effort developing an elegant alchemy system, and then made alchemical items a trap option for everyone but the alchemist.

    While I feel the term trap has been overused to the point of being almost meaningless, I struggle to understand how, on any level, a Class whose entire concept is based on excelling with alchemical items being better with those items in any way detracts from the usefulness of said items to other classes.


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    Crayon wrote:
    RumpinRufus wrote:
    I'm interested to see some of the high-level alchemical items! It would be cool if they were priced so that lots of characters might actually buy consumables - and one advantage of the alchemist being that he gets them for free. It would be nice if they just worked a la carte for a rogue (or whatever other class wanted to use them,) without requiring alchemist class features to actually use effectively. It would be a shame if Paizo spent all this effort developing an elegant alchemy system, and then made alchemical items a trap option for everyone but the alchemist.
    While I feel the term trap has been overused to the point of being almost meaningless, I struggle to understand how, on any level, a Class whose entire concept is based on excelling with alchemical items being better with those items in any way detracts from the usefulness of said items to other classes.

    My concern, notably, with the bombs is that I and presumably others would like alchemical weapons and the like to be USEFUL at levels above 1-3. The problem with that is, as is, giving alchemist a X6 multiplier means it's all but impossible to balance alchemy with an alchemist vs without an alchemist. Without an alchemist the best you get is one damage, maybe 2d6? And then the alchemist has 6d6 or 12d6 (if you give a single alchemical item more than 1dx), the level of variance makes alchemist stand out, but it means that you can't use alchemist fire or any other alchemical items a character might want to buy at a useful level of effectiveness.

    This is of course just conjecture without knowing this factor: can you buy the elixirs of a higher level alchemist? That might not solve the problem, as it means that other characters can use bombs just as effectively as the alchemist, though at a higher price.

    I'm honestly surprised that they didn't go with something involving the quality system they're using for weapons/tools. Higher quality items are stronger/have a higher default DC, the alchemist has class features that enhance it further, ie "legendary" quality alchemist fire deals 4d6, but the alchemist increases damage dice by 50-100% and increases DC


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    Ambrosia Slaad wrote:

    ....

    I also agree that core alchemists should get to specialize very early on, like 1st or 2nd level, in a chosen field of expertise: mutagens, bombs, poison, etc. Let them focus and build on that field of study -- their major -- and then pick up minor curricula later. Let bomb chuckers or poisoners or mutaters/mutagenic form-ers or golems/homunculi masters (if that's possible) excel in their chosen specialty; don't force them into a role the character and player doesn't like or doesn't use, and don't force them to be generalists.

    See, this is what is distressing me every now and again. I could moan about how Mutagen comes online at 5th level, instead of first, or the seeming strangeness of splash damage being 1 to those splashed apart from the target, but those could be peculiarities of the system, and levelling, and damage and common crits and other factors we have no handle on yet.

    But how anybody at Paizo thought it would be a good idea to:
    A): Make all base Alchemists have, firstly no mutagen at first level; and then, not allow them a great opportunity to not have it at all and then
    B): Definitely give it to them, but at 5th level

    blows my designer and public relations mind. In this very thread we have those clamouring for no mutagen, AND those clamouring for mutagen/true physical martial at 1st level AND folks who never really got the Bombs-AND-Mutagen pop-culture/all-your-cakes-are-belong-to-my-eat-it who can see the sense in making specialisations/options to give people the choice.

    Either give both to people at 1st level, or give them a choice, at 1st level. I severely dislike waiting for my character to "come online". I don't mind "getting new toys as I level", but waiting levels to be what I will be to truly be the me I already was is demoralising. And deciding that yes you will get it, but later is no answer. Either is "experimental archetypes" that might be "broadly applicable" won't solve specialisation.

    Will wait to see the play test, but if the case is as has been presented in the blogpost, I'm not a fan.

    Silver Crusade

    MusicAddict wrote:
    I'm honestly surprised that they didn't go with something involving the quality system they're using for weapons/tools. Higher quality items are stronger/have a higher default DC, the alchemist has class features that enhance it further, ie "legendary" quality alchemist fire deals 4d6, but the alchemist increases damage dice by 50-100% and increases DC

    I'm sure that the quality system will feature in some way. They've talked about it applying to crafting weapons and this blog puts alchemy under the craft skill. So I would expect the same general framework to apply, especially since that kind of standardization seems to be a big design concern. But without knowing more about alchemy itself? We'll just have to wait


    ryric wrote:


    I am also concerned about hp going up whole damage goes down. PF1e fights already take a long time. High hp with weak damage is a 4e-ism I hope we're not adopting here.

    I think this will be offset by more criticals doing double damage, and +1 (or more) weapons doing extra damage dice. At the moment, I'm expecting to see a +2 (expertly crafted?) weapon doing 3 dice of damage (and either 4 or 6 dice on a critical, depending on the stacking rule).

    The extra HP at 1st level makes death by critical hit less likely, whilst not being much of an increase by, say, level 10.


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    I'm sorta wondering about the "Alchemical Crafter" skill feat. Would this be any useful for non-Alchemists? It doesn't seem like non-Alchemists gets to improve the damage or DCs of their alchemy like Alchemists do, so it feels that the skill feat will become less and less useful for non-Alchemists as levels go up.

    Sovereign Court

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    Why is mutagen/cognitogen the only buff people care about? Sounds like other elixirs cando the job until that becomes available.


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    ryric wrote:
    The "spreading out" of abilities concerns me, because I don't want PF2e high level play to simply be rebranded low level play from PF1e.

    From what we've heard Mythic is getting built into core to a degree (not in the way of ridiculous numbers, but more in the way of the spectacular abilities your character had) for high level. So I wouldn't worry at this point about high level being low level rebranded.

    Worst case low level could be getting stretched out across low to mid level and mythic is getting stretched out across mid to high level.

    In all honesty it's likely to be a different system. Without seeing it in play I don't really think we can judge how it's going to end up.

    OCEANSHIELDWOLPF 2.0 wrote:

    But how anybody at Paizo thought it would be a good idea to:

    A): Make all base Alchemists have, firstly no mutagen at first level; and then, not allow them a great opportunity to not have it at all and then
    B): Definitely give it to them, but at 5th level

    blows my designer and public relations mind.

    We saw Mark's response which was "mathematically speaking Alchemist's don't need the mutagen at level 1 to keep up with the paladin and fighter" which is a bit concerning. It's the same sort of argument I saw with the kineticist which was "it mathematically works out". These things might be true on a mathematical scale. But from an in game perspective that means very little. Kineticist's abilities and "magic that isn't magic and is at will" doesn't jive with how the other classes define their interactions with the world. Similarly an alchemist might not need his mutagen for mathematical reasons until level 5, but if I'm playing a mutagen alchemist it's because I want to play Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde. I don't want to have to be stuck with "Dr. Jekyll from levels 1 to 4 and then finally get Mr Hyde at level 5." From a character creation standpoint (as opposed to a numbers, numbers, numbers approach) it's unsatisfying. And I'm concerned we're going to keep seeing a focus of "the numbers work out better this way" instead of a "this is what is being modelled by the rules within the in game universe" approach.

    I'll reserve judgement and I will provide feedback on it from a conceptual standpoint. But I keep seeing a "math first, story second" approach which is having a significant effect on the game (e.g. no more BAB or skill points, instead +level bonus to literally everything because the math works out better that way).


    KingOfAnything wrote:
    Why is mutagen/cognitogen the only buff people care about? Sounds like other elixirs cando the job until that becomes available.

    They mostly only care about those because PF2 is assuredly doomed without a bunch of dips for their fighters.

    That said, hearing about the various sample elixers (+speed, long jump, and gaseous form) really makes it sound like the extract system basically just got rebranded and repackaged as semi-generic alch items which...I guess okay in the versatility sense but also goes back to the general 'whelming feelings I get from these class previews of too many repackages to get me excited.


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    Mark Seifter wrote:
    Dragonborn3 wrote:
    Mark Seifter wrote:
    Another fun thing we can now do but couldn't before that I really want to try out is to hand those juiced up debuff bombs (including flat-footed, naturally) to the rogue while I go into melee with a Strength build and beat things down.
    And how is a strength build without mutagen, if you don't mind my asking? Are there class features that support it, even a little bit?
    In PF1, a 1st level alchemist without anything else is 2 accuracy behind the Weapon Focus fighter, 3 behind the raging barbarian or ranger attacking a favored enemy (4 with WF), or up to 6 (7 with WF, but more reasonably a point or two less) behind a smiting paladin with improbably good Str and Cha, and it just gets bigger of a spread by level 5 (lose another 1 from BAB, fighter weapon training, ranger FE increase, etc). You're just not behind like that, and so in the build I want to try, I grab a bunch of cool melee abilities and shake things up. Honestly, I might not even need a Bestial mutagen for it even when I gain access because my Strength and other bonuses should be in great shape. I might want to try a Juggernaut mutagen instead, or even go for Bullheaded to protect my Will.

    This makes sense of why stat boosting mutagens at lvl 1 or 2 would be too much.

    I would still love to have a “mutagen track” option at early levels, for flavor reasons, even if it only provided minor benefits at low levels. For example, a lvl 1 mutagen option that just provided some natural attacks that scale with level. Or a mutagen that provided some minor utility abilities that scale with level (starting with something innocuous like, say, low light vision, or a bonus to intimidate checks, or the like).


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    KingOfAnything wrote:
    Why is mutagen/cognitogen the only buff people care about? Sounds like other elixirs cando the job until that becomes available.

    It's A E S T H E T I C

    But yeah, basing your character on a single concoction that changes and improves as you do is a stylistic choice that is a very different beast than just drinking some standardized elixirs of whatever until you get it after four level ups of being the guy that didn't have that cool specific thing.

    It really changes the kind of fluff you can stuff your crispy crunchy baked shell with, you know? There are even a few crazy people that don't like chocolate, can you believe that?

    In conclusion, I prefer whipped vanilla custard.


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    Crayon wrote:
    RumpinRufus wrote:
    I'm interested to see some of the high-level alchemical items! It would be cool if they were priced so that lots of characters might actually buy consumables - and one advantage of the alchemist being that he gets them for free. It would be nice if they just worked a la carte for a rogue (or whatever other class wanted to use them,) without requiring alchemist class features to actually use effectively. It would be a shame if Paizo spent all this effort developing an elegant alchemy system, and then made alchemical items a trap option for everyone but the alchemist.
    While I feel the term trap has been overused to the point of being almost meaningless, I struggle to understand how, on any level, a Class whose entire concept is based on excelling with alchemical items being better with those items in any way detracts from the usefulness of said items to other classes.

    Alchemists should be better at alchemical items, for sure. I just don't want them to be useless for non-alchemists.

    In PF1, almost no one ever really bought consumables (besides for healing.) Consumables were generally something you found in loot, stuffed in a sack, and then promptly forgot about. It would be nice to see in PF2 that spending your money on consumables is actually a viable option.

    I think they've opened up some design space for this - now that you don't need to spend all your money to fill every possible item slot, and magic items cost resonance, that opens up a nice niche for alchemical items as consumable power enhancers that don't cost resonance.

    It'll just be a shame if we see that they've created a beautiful alchemical item system with 100 different cool alchemical items, but for one reason or another they're all useless or overpriced for non-alchemists.


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    OCEANSHIELDWOLPF 2.0 wrote:
    Ambrosia Slaad wrote:

    ....

    I also agree that core alchemists should get to specialize very early on, like 1st or 2nd level, in a chosen field of expertise: mutagens, bombs, poison, etc. Let them focus and build on that field of study -- their major -- and then pick up minor curricula later. Let bomb chuckers or poisoners or mutaters/mutagenic form-ers or golems/homunculi masters (if that's possible) excel in their chosen specialty; don't force them into a role the character and player doesn't like or doesn't use, and don't force them to be generalists.

    See, this is what is distressing me every now and again. I could moan about how Mutagen comes online at 5th level, instead of first, or the seeming strangeness of splash damage being 1 to those splashed apart from the target, but those could be peculiarities of the system, and levelling, and damage and common crits and other factors we have no handle on yet.

    But how anybody at Paizo thought it would be a good idea to:
    A): Make all base Alchemists have, firstly no mutagen at first level; and then, not allow them a great opportunity to not have it at all and then
    B): Definitely give it to them, but at 5th level

    blows my designer and public relations mind. In this very thread we have those clamouring for no mutagen, AND those clamouring for mutagen/true physical martial at 1st level AND folks who never really got the Bombs-AND-Mutagen pop-culture/all-your-cakes-are-belong-to-my-eat-it who can see the sense in making specialisations/options to give people the choice.

    Either give both to people at 1st level, or give them a choice, at 1st level. I severely dislike waiting for my character to "come online". I don't mind "getting new toys as I level", but waiting levels to be what I will be to truly be the me I already was is demoralising. And deciding that yes you will get it, but later is no answer. Either is "experimental...

    Indeed. Don't be afraid to make classes get everything they need in the first 3 levels. I know people are afraid of dipping, but the way it was handled in PF1 was a good idea (promote sticking to same class for scaling) compared to just not having the cool abilities early.

    Classes AND Ancestries need to be frontloaded to a certain extent so that you actually feel like you are a member of it all the way from LEVEL 1, this includes being able to fight decently (Looking at you, investigator getting carried til level 4!)


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    Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    Hmm. First level class feat for a weak “prototype mutagen” would probably help folks flavor-wise without messing with balance now that Alchemist is comparable in melee. Then, when you hit fifth, it gives you some benefit to regular mutagens, like being able to prepare either starting type or something.


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    So if the archetypes are not class specific - does that give us more insight into the class/archetype system?

    Instead of 'sneak attack' you get 'class feature #3' that happens at 1st and every odd level after. Archetype modifies Class Feature #3 (regardless of what it is - depending on the class) and so is 'compatible' with any class.

    This of course would indicate that the number of class features/feats are the same for every class - and that they are all gained at the same rate/level which would pretty much be required in order to implement this kind of system.

    From a 'effort to design' point of view - it makes sense. From a 'fun' point of view - I am very nervous - I've found in most cases the desire to 'standardize' a system results in many options and or choices that are bland or boring - just to 'fill the void' and 'meet the quota' - obviously I can't see how it all ends up - but this idea that makes all the classes 'same' really scares the jeebers out of me.


    RumpinRufus wrote:
    Crayon wrote:
    RumpinRufus wrote:
    I'm interested to see some of the high-level alchemical items! It would be cool if they were priced so that lots of characters might actually buy consumables - and one advantage of the alchemist being that he gets them for free. It would be nice if they just worked a la carte for a rogue (or whatever other class wanted to use them,) without requiring alchemist class features to actually use effectively. It would be a shame if Paizo spent all this effort developing an elegant alchemy system, and then made alchemical items a trap option for everyone but the alchemist.
    While I feel the term trap has been overused to the point of being almost meaningless, I struggle to understand how, on any level, a Class whose entire concept is based on excelling with alchemical items being better with those items in any way detracts from the usefulness of said items to other classes.

    Alchemists should be better at alchemical items, for sure. I just don't want them to be useless for non-alchemists.

    In PF1, almost no one ever really bought consumables (besides for healing.) Consumables were generally something you found in loot, stuffed in a sack, and then promptly forgot about. It would be nice to see in PF2 that spending your money on consumables is actually a viable option.

    I think they've opened up some design space for this - now that you don't need to spend all your money to fill every possible item slot, and magic items cost resonance, that opens up a nice niche for alchemical items as consumable power enhancers that don't cost resonance.

    It'll just be a shame if we see that they've created a beautiful alchemical item system with 100 different cool alchemical items, but for one reason or another they're all useless or overpriced for non-alchemists.

    Archetypes, that's how. It's one of the upsides of class agnostic archetypes. Make one that swaps out, lets say, your 4th, 8th and 10th class abilities, and for that you get the free items at the start of a day, a scaling damage boost that tops out at x4 rather than the alchemists x6, and something else alchemic-y. You're still not as good or flexible as the alchemist, but they still do appreciable damage, and you get all your class abilities that you've not swapped out.

    Starfinder has started to go this way with the Pact Worlds ones, which is good, because I will agree with others, the 2 in the base book were just dire.

    The other option is a feat chain, like the amateur investigator chain that exists in PF1. We already know there's a feat that anyone can take to get some formulae, so maybe a follow on gives a damage boost, and the third gives you some free stuff at the start of the day.

    Either way, I hope they do one of them, as I really like they've made non-magic a viable think unlike PF1 (me and a friend have both been hacking away at how to do a non-magical healer in PF1, here it is a supported thing, yay!) and I really want to be able to have fighters or rogues do it as a decent sideline rather than being tied to one class.


    Rysky wrote:
    With the option to hand bombs off I’m curious how easy it will be to set them up in spots as traps and the like.

    That was something I was considering as well. The alchemist being able to hand off bombs and elixirs without needing feat taxes like PF1 means you can also logically use bombs in a trap, put them in a catapult, and other fun shenanigans. :)

    - - - - - -

    I agree with a concerning point I've seen raised that if the higher level alchemist needs a damage multiplier to make bombs good, then bomb type alchemy items will quickly become useless for everyone who isn't an alchemist. My preferred route would be to just make considerably better higher level bomb items, then give the alchemist an additive bonus instead of a multiplicative one to represent the benefits of specialization.

    So say, instead of a 4d6 bomb multiplied by 6 in the hands of a 20th level alchemist, you have a 15d6 bomb. But the alchemist gets +1d6 to damage at 3rd level and every 2 levels thereafter, so the 20th level alchemist still does 24d6 damage.

    This lets low level bombs still be useful to a high level alchemist in the same way a basic arrow is still useful to a high level archer. It lets high level bombs be useful to everyone, and gives my rogue or fighter a reason to buy them. And importantly, it helps insulate the game from being broken by a new bomb type in a later splatbook that is just better than the CRB bombs and "goes wild" with multiplication.


    KingOfAnything wrote:
    Why is mutagen/cognitogen the only buff people care about? Sounds like other elixirs cando the job until that becomes available.

    Because at the end of the game cycle mutagens were probably the most varied and interesting way to vary how a class operated outside of maybe mysteries which has nothing to do with melee combat.


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    Just caught up with posts on the thread. I'm saddened to hear that archetypes are rumoured to be generic rather than class specific. Archetypes are incredibly popular at our table as a way to further refine character class to fit player concept. Disappointing.

    Sovereign Court

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    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
    John Lynch 106 wrote:
    Similarly an alchemist might not need his mutagen for mathematical reasons until level 5, but if I'm playing a mutagen alchemist it's because I want to play Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde. I don't want to have to be stuck with "Dr. Jekyll from levels 1 to 4 and then finally get Mr Hyde at level 5." From a character creation standpoint (as opposed to a numbers, numbers, numbers approach) it's unsatisfying.

    On one level, I get this desire. But at the same time, I never felt that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was a satisfying character concept at level 1 for a PF1 alchemist. Low-level mutagen felt very limiting, and at the same time I didn't feel like the character had much room to grow into.

    I actually like that the low-level alchemist is Dr. Jekyll experimenting with various concoctions until they discover the mutagen/cognatogen. I do hope that there is at least one elixir that acts like a minor mutagen, though.


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    Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Pappy wrote:
    Just caught up with posts on the thread. I'm saddened to hear that archetypes are rumoured to be generic rather than class specific. Archetypes are incredibly popular at our table as a way to further refine character class to fit player concept. Disappointing.

    Don’t worry! The archetype system still supports single-class archetypes. They’ve clarified that.


    QuidEst wrote:
    Pappy wrote:
    Just caught up with posts on the thread. I'm saddened to hear that archetypes are rumoured to be generic rather than class specific. Archetypes are incredibly popular at our table as a way to further refine character class to fit player concept. Disappointing.
    Don’t worry! The archetype system still supports single-class archetypes. They’ve clarified that.

    I'm very relieved to hear that! Thank you for the quick clarification.


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    KingOfAnything wrote:
    Why is mutagen/cognitogen the only buff people care about? Sounds like other elixirs cando the job until that becomes available.

    For me it's more "I'm interested in alchemist for the messing with biology flavour, not the bomb flavour", so mutagen is a pretty key class feature while Bombs is something I always try to remove from my alchemists.

    Sovereign Court

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
    Milo v3 wrote:
    KingOfAnything wrote:
    Why is mutagen/cognitogen the only buff people care about? Sounds like other elixirs cando the job until that becomes available.
    For me it's more "I'm interested in alchemist for the messing with biology flavour, not the bomb flavour", so mutagen is a pretty key class feature while Bombs is something I always try to remove from my alchemists.

    I've never been a big fan of tossing bombs, either. I like that alchemists use basic alchemical items instead. I'm much more likely to keep an acid flask or liquid ice around now. I also like the idea of using a tanglefoot bag to entangle enemies and make the whole party happier.


    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    DerNils wrote:
    I am really confused between the "Alchemist gets Multiplier to his bombs" and "We'll have bombs of higher Levels" interaction. It still fells like either higher Level bombs are sub-par so they don't become overly powerful to be used by alchemists? Or it just means alchemists can make higher Level bombs, but everyone can buy them anyway, so why bother?

    Or they do similar damage but have different effects, alchemist fire makes enemies take fire damage next turn (probably on a crit the way the game is shaping up), while lets say hypothetical lvl 5 Void Bomb knocks them prone.


    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Wheldrake wrote:
    PossibleCabbage wrote:
    Does resonance even apply to alchemical items? I could see it being a *magic* resource not a *science* resource, so the alchemist dodges it entirely (save for the magic items the alchemist wants to use).

    This is a point I've been trying to make for weeks.

    I get how magic item use is being tied to resonance. It's a clever way to replace the book-keeping of tracking charges on wands and the like, and an elegant substitution for the kludgy way magic item slots were handled before.

    But IMHO the resonance mechanic can be a problem concerning some items, like potions. It doesn't seem logical to me at all that a PC could drink a potion, and have zero effect, just because he spent all his resonance on something else (worn items, wand usage or whatever).

    So I've been arguing that alchemical items, including alchemical healing, could easily be considered as non-magical in nature, and thus not subject to resonance expenditure. This would be an elegant and logical consequence of their chemical rather than magical origin. It would also be at least a partial solution to the CLW wand conundrum.

    I still haven't seen any official reaction to my frequent and repeated arguments on this topic. Time will tell whether any of these suggestions get taken into account.

    Potions are Magical (and will likely use resonance), Elixirs (what alchemist craft) are non magical.


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    Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    In the playtest, elixirs still used resonance when the Alchemist wasn’t the one drinking them.


    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Porridge wrote:
    Mark Seifter wrote:
    Dragonborn3 wrote:
    Mark Seifter wrote:
    Another fun thing we can now do but couldn't before that I really want to try out is to hand those juiced up debuff bombs (including flat-footed, naturally) to the rogue while I go into melee with a Strength build and beat things down.
    And how is a strength build without mutagen, if you don't mind my asking? Are there class features that support it, even a little bit?
    In PF1, a 1st level alchemist without anything else is 2 accuracy behind the Weapon Focus fighter, 3 behind the raging barbarian or ranger attacking a favored enemy (4 with WF), or up to 6 (7 with WF, but more reasonably a point or two less) behind a smiting paladin with improbably good Str and Cha, and it just gets bigger of a spread by level 5 (lose another 1 from BAB, fighter weapon training, ranger FE increase, etc). You're just not behind like that, and so in the build I want to try, I grab a bunch of cool melee abilities and shake things up. Honestly, I might not even need a Bestial mutagen for it even when I gain access because my Strength and other bonuses should be in great shape. I might want to try a Juggernaut mutagen instead, or even go for Bullheaded to protect my Will.

    This makes sense of why stat boosting mutagens at lvl 1 or 2 would be too much.

    I would still love to have a “mutagen track” option at early levels, for flavor reasons, even if it only provided minor benefits at low levels. For example, a lvl 1 mutagen option that just provided some natural attacks that scale with level. Or a mutagen that provided some minor utility abilities that scale with level (starting with something innocuous like, say, low light vision, or a bonus to intimidate checks, or the like).

    Elixirs might do that already


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    MerlinCross wrote:
    Elfteiroh wrote:
    I would say that you don't necessarily needs to make potions, and now others can use your alchemical items (bombs and elixirs)... Potions might just be more boosted ones.

    I have a couple problems with this.

    1) Resources. I'm still confused as to just who pays out the Resonace tax when using/making them. Or even the gold cost. If bombs do take cash then I'm dropping the class like a hot potato. And this is back to the the problem I had with Rssonance. 1 pool, spread over multiple options.

    Bombs will likely only use resonance when making them with no gold expenditure.

    For the rest, the best guess from what we know would be 3 answers:
    Using Gold: Permanent Craft. You can sell them. If these are elixirs or mutagens, resonance must be paid (only if used by someone else? depend on the exact wording).
    Using Resonance during morning/downtime: Permanent? Couple days? Crafter use resonance at a discount (maybe 1 resonance for 3 items?), use it for free, other users have to pay resonance too (unless for bombs/bags).
    Using Resonance with Quick Alchemy: Temporary (one hour? couple of rounds?), 1 resonance for 1 item, can be used by others, need to use resonance too?

    Also, Alchemists will be one of the race classes that get bonus resonance, AND it's keyed to their main stat. (They confirmed Resonance will always just be used in relation with items)

    MerlinCross wrote:


    2) Effect. So bombs are going to work for everyone else the same as the Alchemist. *Sigh* here Ben take all my bombs, you built for Dex/Range I'm going to sit in the corner now. Espically if the INT to damage is gone(haven't seen it confirmed but jumping between two blogs on mobile is a pain). And again unsure just who is spending the Resoance. Or we can just cut the confusion and use our personal magic item to do X and use our built in heal for Hp. Really why'd we bring an Alchemist? Trap? Rogue would be less annoying and confusing.

    The alchemist will still get some special feats that give him advantages that won't be imbued into the items, like ignoring allies for the splash, and some other ones that goes with HOW you throw/use them.

    MerlinCross wrote:


    3) Time. How long does the Alchemist stuff last? A day? Couple hours? Do we fix them in advance or use them as we need them? How long does it take to make any of these? Better question how many can we make in one batch? Magic items are limited to 1 a day though I've seen DMs wave it for Potions; is there a daily limit to Greater/better Alchemy?

    From the playtest, the gob alchemist could make 6 bombs per day. It was lvl 1. There seems to be a feat later one that boost how many you can make per day. I would guess the "per day" will be the standard 1 hour to prepare after a rest. For the others (using cash), that is left to be seen.

    MerlinCross wrote:


    See the advantage of Potions was "Store for later". And now we lose that option.

    Not enough info. More questions and concerns rise up. I know some people disliked it but I liked my potion guzzling Alchemists.

    I'm pretty sure all the items the alchemist can make will be ok to store for later, as now they'll be the "same" as the ones you can buy (unless they were made using Quick Alchemy, those will be unstable and get inert quickly).

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