I would like to make an alchemist that is a bit of a mercenary/assassin. I would most likely use the Vivisectionist archetype. He uses his intelligence and knowledge of alchemy and poison to supplement his otherwise mediocre swordsmanship.
I would like to use a weapon in two hands (probably a longsword) in conjunction with Power Attack and the STR mutagen. I also might dip fighter for a level for medium, armor proficiency, or just pay for it as usual.
I have a few questions:
1.) how can I get more than one mutagen use a day? one seems a bit low. Should i just supplement with extracts of Bull's Strength?
2.) What discoveries should I select? (barring extra limb and feral mutagen: Neither if them seem in flavor with this character.)
3.) What feats would be best, besides Power Attack?
You can make an infinite* number of mutagens per day. It's just that you can't have more than one at any given time and they take an hour to re-make.
* - given an infinite length day.
ah yes. My wording was poor. You are quite right. I just always feel quite vulnerable in that hour when i don't have a Mutagen on me.
Is there a way to have more than one? I know there is Infuse Mutagen, but it is quite expensive for what it does.
Tumor Familiar, Sticky Poison, eventually the better mutagens. From there it really depends on what you want your discoveries to do. The Fast Healing ones may be a good investment, and of course Infusion. I'd suggest Kirin Style if it didn't take three+ Swift Actions per combat to do anything. I'd pick up EWP (Falchard), or however you spell it, as I recall that being a sword. Try and get non-hand-based Natural Attacks (Toothy Orc, Beastmorph, etc) and get Multiattack.
Oh, just because you mentioned using intelligence and knowledge of Alchemy / Poisons and may not have considered it: look at the Grenadier Archetype. In particular, look at Alchemical weapon, which lets you apply alchemical items (say, a hybridized Acid / Sonic Jar so you add Int*2 to your damage) to your weapon. This lets you apply your Int mod to damage and rely on alchemy more. You can even buff your ally's weapons if you know a fight is coming. Utilize bombs entirely as a backup ranged option (TWF anyone?) or to lay on a few status effects--like Tanglefoot Bomb. Note that this is theoretically on top of adding poison via Sticky Poison.
I could see going: Whatever, Infusion, EWP: Falchard, Tumor Familiar, Power Attack, Sticky Poison, Improved Familiar, Spontaneous Healing, Multiattack, Healing Touch for the first option.
For the second build I could see going Weapon Finesse*, Infusion, Pirahna Strike, Tumor Familiar, Two-Weapon Fighting, Sticky Poison, Improved Familiar, Fast Bombs, Extra Discovery: Force Bombs, Sticky Bombs. Alternatively swap out Weapon Finesse for TWF and Pirahna Strike for Power Attack and take Tanglefoot Bomb.
I would not go longsword as far as weapons go. If you go with half-orc you can pick up greataxe and falchion proficiency.
Keep in mind that you're losing a lot by going vivisectionist. Bombs are incredibly versatile, and even a melee alchemist can make use of them with Breath Weapon Bomb. It gives you a way of dealing with multiple targets and a secondary ranged role. With Tanglefoot Bomb you can slow down your foe and then close in for the kill.
I would go Beastmorph Alchemist, it complements very well. If not and you *really* are into the poison, then consider Internal Alchemist. Surely being able to fake being dead can be a help to an assassin. And if doing poison, you'll want sticky poison AND poison conversion. "Inhaled Drow Poison"!
Don't pay a feat for medium armor. Armor Expert trait + mithral breastplate = 0 armor check penalty, so you can wear it w/o penalty depsite not being proficient. Half a feat is better than a whole feat.
I currently have a dex-based goblin alchemist with the Roll With It* feat, and he is quite good. I was lucky enough to join at a point just high enough to start with an Agile amult of mighty fists, life probably would've been much harder before then. But he does quite well, and I used traits to pick up acrobatics and stealth as class skills to make him more like a rogue. He's level 7 now, AC with mage armor and mutagen is 29 (I've actually been not keeping it as upgraded as I would normally out of fear of the DM balking at too high an AC...), and while a str-based alchemist would hit harder, he still does a respectable d6 and d4 +9 or so with his bite and claws, plus the sneak attack, plus the huge singular focus on dex and small size means blowing -2 to hit for +4 damage via piranha strike seldom really reduces his hit rate noticeably.
*Surprisngly I don't use it often; my full attack is almost always better than the enemy's, so trading mine for his ends up being a waste. Once I hit level 10 and can use Beastmorph to pounce, I can do the partial charge action to still full attack and the feat gets much better. Even now, being able to use it w/ my wings to propel myself skyward is at least cool.
Is there a way to have more than one? I know there is Infuse Mutagen, but it is quite expensive for what it does.
You can use other alchemist's mutagens.
So come level 7 you could take leadership (if allowed) and if you get one or more alchemists as cohort/follower you can ask them to give you their mutagens.
One level alchemist is enough, so even a level 1 follower can make you one.
Master Chymist at level 8 is the way to go for extracts even if you only take 1 level in it you can mutate twice per day and still have a mutagen as backup.
It also compliments a melee build as it is full bab and even has a damage boost built in.
The down side is you'll probably need to talk rather smoothly to convince your dm that your sneak attack should continue as it replaces bombs.
Beast morph does add crazy abilities to a mutagen including at higher levels Flight, Pounce, Trip ect. and stacks well with vivisectionist. Poison is also on the list for level 10 and a quick look through the animal and magical beast poisons makes me think this is possibly the scariest ability on the list.
Inhaled Drow poison? is there a RAW way to deliver an inhaled poison w/o resorting to a trap?
Other than infuse mutagen, the only other thing I've found to increase mutagen duration is to be an orc, drow, or dhampir. They all get the alchemist favored class option of +10 minutes to your mutagen duration, so you at least get double duration out of it.
Alright, so you want a strength using guy who Two-Hands a long sword for the versatility and feral mutagen doesn't fit the image you have.
So dex based and beastmorph are right out.
Feats you'll need: Master Alchemist. It helps out with making poison a *ton*. If your GM allows the Pathfinder Campaign Setting material, there's this prestige class that'll really help you out on your poison goals. Once you hit level 3 in it, you can make 2,400 gp poisons in six minutes. Maybe even 3 minutes. Of course, it means a heavy investment in poisons.
A lot of great advice here already.
I play a Mr. Hyde Alchemist, with Vivisectionist.
The problem with what the OP is migrating towards, is that if you want to trade your bomb abilities for Sneak Attack dice, you have to embrace the suck. With Sneak Attack, you want to roll as many of those additional dice as you possibly can. Hence the use of Feral Mutagen for three primary full-BAB attacks with sneaky-sneak dice. Oh, how I love the clatter of all those D6's...
...but, if you don't want to do that, yeah, don't bother with Vivisectionist. Concentrate on upping the nastiness of your bombs and poisons, then wade in with your STR mutagen, Power Attack and a two-handed sword grip to finish those baddies off.
I honestly prefer Vivisectionist/Internal Alchemist personally, though I will admit that I'm not a huge fan of the Master Chemist prestige class.
In my opinion, the Beastmorph archetype is kinda overrated because the only reason that anyone takes it is because they want pounce. However, keep in mind that getting pounce doesn't really help your action economy if you're spending several rounds 'hulking up' before hand.
What I mean is this: you first need to spend a standard action to drink your mutagen, and then you need to spend another standard to drink any additional extracts. By this point, after spending two rounds to get yourself ready, odds are that your enemy is probably already on top of you.
Whenever I make my Mr. Hyde, I never even CONSIDER giving up Persistent Mutagen. I mean, think of it this way: by level 14, you basically gain your alchemical bonuses, natural AC, and natural attacks for 14 hours! In addition, after you drink your first mutagen, you can always spend another hour to prepare a second one so you can be ready to transform again for another 14 hours (effectively, you stay in your mutagen form forever using this method because creating a new mutagen does not cancel the effects of a mutagen that is currently effecting you).
In addition, Master chemist forces you to give up True Mutagen (which is like...the best friggin mutagen you can get). Again, in my opinion, not worth it.
Internal Alchemist gives you a lot of neat abilities, and combines fairly well with a vivisectionist. Those would be my choices.
I really like internal. Beastmorph is just cooler and better, unfortunately. Would love to have both.
And I agree, Master Chymist is bad, even if you do get SA progression (a reasonable request, IMO). Puts off the very nice higher level discoveries, gives you an annoying berserk button, AND crimps your extract progression! Just stay Alchemist.
I like Persistent Mutagen, but by level 14, it's probably unnecessary. You have it for over 2 hours a pop at that point, having it last long enough to get through encounters and make a new one should seldom be an issue. And I assume once a mutagen is "in" you, you're free to create a new one. Because you no longer actually possess the mutagen to be used, its duration is just still going, and the only rule about ending the mutagen effect early is imbibing a 2nd, not creating a new one while the 1st is still in your system.
meh, I'm just not sold on Beastmorph I guess. Again, the only reason to take it is for pounce, and that's it. With an Internal Alchemist, you actually gain a lot of great benefits with breath mastery right from the get-go.
I mean, the fact that you only need to breath just 'once' or 'twice' a day REALLY comes in handy, in addition to gaining a unique method for 'falling asleep' as well.
I was actually curious to know if breath mastery allows you to 'fall asleep' in total safety. Like, you enter the suspended animation, with the condition set to 'wake up' if something tries to attack you.
Either way, uncanny dodge is useful, and immunity to diseases isn't bad either (although probably won't come up very often).
Beastmorph also gives you flight. The discovery is good (and you should take both), but only for limited durations. The beastmorph lets you fly the whole duration of your mutagen.
Later on, you get to do things like make trip attacks on every natural weapon hit, too.
I admit Beastmorph kinda sucks initially, at level 6 w/ (crappy) flight it gets decent, then at 10 and 14 it really gets awesome. If you're playing low levels only, beastmorph probably isn't worth it.
I really like the breath mastery, uncanny dodge IS super useful, and immunity to diseases means you never have to fear an STD ever again! :)