Secrets of Alchemy

Friday, April 20, 2018

Historically, alchemy was a protoscience with diverse traditions seen throughout the world. Its chemical discoveries were often explained and expanded upon using the metaphysical traditions of the practitioner's native culture. These alchemical experiments and observations were later refined by experimentation and rigor to become the modern science of chemistry.

In Pathfinder First Edition, alchemy was the domain of lower-level pseudo-magical treasures, at least until the alchemist made his debut in the Pathfinder RPG Advanced Player's Guide. This class forged the way for creating higher-level alchemical items and effects, though it often leaned on arcane magic to get the job done.

When we tapped the alchemist for inclusion in the Pathfinder Playtest, it gave us the chance to rethink the essentials of alchemy and create a broad tradition that reflected its historical inspiration. For the upcoming version of the game, we've pulled magic and alchemy apart. Alchemy might feature dramatic effects, but these are powered by the reactions of powerful chemicals—and sometimes catalyzed by resonance—creating a type of fantastic mad science. Where magical power comes from the energies of a spellcasting tradition, alchemical power comes from the fusion of latent potential trapped within matter, released as energy through a reaction with a different potent material. Strike a sunrod on a hard surface and its alchemical reagents combine to create light. A creature's internal chemistry interacts with an elixir of life to heal wounds or brace the body against toxins. Bombs let off explosive energy when their flask shatters against a creature, exposing the contents to the air.

While magic involves pulling energy out of thin air by way of spells, rituals, or magically empowered items, basic alchemy is a specialty of the Crafting skill. Any character with the Alchemical Crafting skill feat can create alchemical items as long as they have the proper formula, along with enough time and reagents. Alchemists know (or hazard) shortcuts to the process and can create unstable alchemical items by using an alchemist kit and paying a resonance cost.

So, what kind of items can they make in the Pathfinder Playtest? Alchemical items come in four general categories: here's what you can expect from each.

Bombs

This category will be familiar territory for those of you currently playing Pathfinder. Alchemist's fire, liquid ice, and bottled lightning have been a mainstay for low-level alchemists and other characters over the years. In the Pathfinder Playtest, these items are the baselines for alchemical bombs. While the base bombs deal a relatively low amount of damage, the advanced alchemy class feature allows the alchemist to infuse them with extra power according to the alchemist's level. While these powerful bombs are unstable (losing potency in either 24 hours or after a round, depending on how the alchemist crafted them), during that limited time they can pack a punch. For instance, here's bottled lightning.

Bottled Lightning Item 1

Alchemical, Bomb, Consumable, Electricity
Price 3 gp
Method of Use held, 2 hands; Bulk L

Bottled lightning is packed with reagents that create an electric blast when exposed to air. Bottled lightning deals 1d6 electricity damage and 1 electricity splash damage and causes the target to be flat-footed to all creatures until the start of your next turn.

If an 11th-level alchemist makes one of these bombs using his advanced alchemy, the electricity damage increases to 4d6 damage, though the splash stays at 1 (unless said alchemist takes the Calculated Bomber feat, which would increase that splash damage to his Intelligence modifier). The flat-footed effect also stacks with anything extra the alchemist might add to the bomb from his class feats, making bottled lightning a great choice when going up against bosses or high-AC foes.

Of course, there are some surprises among the alchemical bombs. Thunderstones, which deal greater sonic damage in the hands of a higher-level alchemist, and tanglefoot bags are also on the bomb list.

Elixirs

In Pathfinder First Edition, we have potions, elixir, and extracts, all taking up much of the same mechanical design space. In the playtest, these divisions are less ambiguous. Potions are potent liquids made by way of magical crafting and have magical, often arcane, effects. Elixirs, on the other hand, are alchemical concoctions producing effects that are often very dramatic, but are non-magical. Potions are often quicker to use and usually pack some extra oomph, but elixirs work even in places where magic is dulled or suppressed, and an alchemist can craft them in a hurry. Though both potions and elixirs are used by consuming them, and often require a bit of resonance to kick them into gear, elixirs' spectrum of effects tend to deal with changing the body or state of mind. An example of this second sort of elixir is the liquid courage found in bravo's brew.

Bravo's Brew Item 3

Alchemical, Consumable, Elixir, Mental
Price 7 gp
Method of Use held, 1 hand; Bulk L
Activation Operate Activation

This flask of foaming beer grants courage. For the next hour after drinking this elixir, you gain a +1 item bonus to Will saves, and a +3 item bonus to Will saves against fear.

Some of the most potent elixirs are mutagens. These elixirs transform the mind and the body in dramatic ways, granting sizeable item bonuses to a number of related skill checks and attributes. However, this comes with a drawback: penalties to some other group of relevant skills and attributes. Mutagens also tend to morph the user's physical features in some way. For instance, a lesser bestial mutagen gives you a more savage aspect with greater muscle mass, granting you a +2 item bonus to Athletics checks and unarmed attack rolls and increasing the amount of damage die you roll for such attacks, but this new form is clumsy and lumbering, imparting a -1 penalty to Acrobatics, Stealth, and Thievery checks, as well as to AC and Reflex saves.

Mutagens have some limitations. They must be attuned to a specific creature; this typically involves including some bit of the attuned creature's body (such as hair, nail trimmings, saliva, or the like) as a reagent during the crafting process. Moreover, you can only have one mutagen benefit active at a time, though you can suffer from any number of mutagen drawbacks simultaneously.

What about extracts? Well, in this scheme, they're just not necessary anymore. But, I wouldn't be surprised if we do something else with extracts sometime in the future, reviving that game term to make something particularly dynamic and fun.

Poisons

Alchemists usually deal with elixirs that bolster the body and the mind, but they can also dabble in alchemical poisons that do just the opposite. While there are many poisons in nature, alchemical poisons tend to be more refined versions of those natural poisons, often distilled or concentrated, created for both potency and ease of use.

For example, here's the sleep poison favored by drow.

Sleep Poison Item 2

Alchemical, Consumable, Injury, Poison
Price 5 gp
Method of Use held, 2 hands; Bulk L
Activation 3 Operate Activations, no Resonance Point cost
Saving Throw Fortitude DC 13; Maximum Duration 4 hours; Stage 1 slowed 1 (1 round); Stage 2 asleep with no Perception check to wake up (1 round); Stage 3 asleep with no Perception check to wake up (1d4 hours)

Let's say you found or made a vial of sleep poison. It takes three Operate Activation actions to apply it to a weapon (which must be one that deals either piercing or slashing damage). If the next attack made by the weapon is a hit or critical hit, the target must attempt a save against the poison, gaining the effects of Stage 1 on a failure (or Stage 2 on a critical failure), with later saves determining how the poison either intensifies or is shaken off. Since the maximum duration of the poison is 4 hours, no matter what happens, the poison will be completely gone from the target's system 4 hours later.

Like all alchemical items, an alchemist can create a less stable version of a poison using his advanced alchemy, as long as he possesses the formula for that poison and has the resonance to spare. Here's the bad news. Sleep poison is a closely guarded secret of the drow, so good luck getting the formula.

Tools

The last category of alchemical items is tools. Tools are the items that don't fit in other categories. They typically affect the terrain, vision, or other aspects of the environment, instead of affecting a creature directly. The sunrod is one example of an alchemical tool. The smokestick is another.

Smokestick Item 1

Alchemical, Consumable
Price 2 gp
Method of Use held, 2 hands; Bulk L
Activation Operate Activation, no Resonance Point cost

With a sharp twist of this item, you instantly create a screen of thick, opaque smoke in a 5-foot-radius burst centered on one corner of your space. All creatures within that area are concealed. The smoke lasts for 1 minute or until dispersed by a strong wind.

As you can see alchemy has become a discipline in its own right, with many tools to aid adventurers in general and the alchemist in particular.

Stephen Radney-MacFarland
Senior Designer

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Tags: Pathfinder Playtest
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Rules Artificer wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
1 hand to hold it and one to trigger it. Pulling granade pins with the teeths only happens in films.

What a coincidence, we happen to be playing a fantasy game as well! :D

But seriously, from everything that's been said, these are flasks packed with dangerous reagents, not grenades with fuses to be lit.

As such, I don't see why you can't throw it with one hand.

Mine was a joke. Personally i believe that the reason for requiring 2 hand is becouse they are going to "liberalize" a bit the access to armors so they wanted a mechanic to prevent bombing alchemist from using a shield for thematic/balace reasons. Once again, i'm shooting in the dark here.

Scarab Sages

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I'm liking the alchemy-as-separate-from-magic part, but the item descriptions imply a lot of extra rules that I won't be too fond of...

I was also confused about two-handedness and being able to hold two bombs in hand. I suspect that will be made clear in the final rules.

«Operate Activations» is a really, really goofy word. Come on, you can do better. :Þ Could it at least say «Operate Actions», since they are presumably actions?

Liberty's Edge

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Dragon78 wrote:
A bomb that does only 4d6 damage plus 1 splash damage at level 11! That is weak.

Well, it is a level 1 Item (the equivalent of a 1st level spell).

Presumably a level 6 Item (the equivalent of a 6th level spell) will be a bit more impressive in one way or another.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
A bomb that does only 4d6 damage plus 1 splash damage at level 11! That is weak.

That’s base damage. On a critical hit that 4d6 doubles. Additionally if an opponent is vulnerable to an element, that’s even more damage. Since you can prepare bombs before hand you could potentially throw two or three a round.

So now it’s 12d6 damage in a round with a potential for it to be 24d6.

Touch AC is still a thing (from the podcasts), so crit chances are higher for bombs than other weapons. Higher still if you open with bottled lightning to increase the crit chances of subsequent bombs. Higher still if you hand a few high level bombs to the party fighter.


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Magical elixirs, I will miss you:(


is a lot of off wording in the previews so far. I don't think it is terrible, but there is a thread on another forum calling PF2 "common core" edition, comparing it to new math.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I like most of this blog, but how much does L weigh? If it is the same as the Bulk system in Starfinder, the poor alchemist is going to have a hard time. Time to put that floating stat bonus to STR.

Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsbo)

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Mark Seifter wrote:
Ampersandrew wrote:
FedoraFerret wrote:
The "Operate Activation" action is actually making me angry the more I think about it. Is there a reason it's not just called an Item or Use Item action?
It seems really clumsy wording to me as well. Mark says it makes more sense elsewhere in the rules document. I'm having trouble imagining a context where "Operate Activation action" is better than "activation action".
Ah, that's a different question than "Why Operate Activation instead of Operate." There's an even more solid reason for why not just Activation: Not all items back in PF1 were use-activated, and neither are all items here. If you use a command word or activate an item mentally by concentrating, those are different actions.

I am really interested in finding out what aspect of the rules necessitates this level of granular detail.

Is that something you can go into?


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OK I just noticed the Item # at the far right. I'm going to imagine that represents item level, if that is the case, I think I'm seeing a missing opportunity by not pairing Price to Item level, it would be a lot easier to just know that all single use Items level 2 cost 5 GP for example.

Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsbo)

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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
A bomb that does only 4d6 damage plus 1 splash damage at level 11! That is weak.

That’s base damage. On a critical hit that 4d6 doubles. Additionally if an opponent is vulnerable to an element, that’s even more damage. Since you can prepare bombs before hand you could potentially throw two or three a round.

So now it’s 12d6 damage in a round with a potential for it to be 24d6.

Touch AC is still a thing (from the podcasts), so crit chances are higher for bombs than other weapons. Higher still if you open with bottled lightning to increase the crit chances of subsequent bombs. Higher still if you hand a few high level bombs to the party fighter.

I will just note that your bombs seem to have a resonance cost.

So you may only be able to do that two or three times per day total and it will come at the cost of elixir slots.


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Dekalinder wrote:
Mine was a joke. Personally i believe that the reason for requiring 2 hand is becouse they are going to "liberalize" a bit the access to armors so they wanted a mechanic to prevent bombing alchemist from using a shield for thematic/balace reasons. Once again, i'm shooting in the dark here.

My concern is that requiring 2 hands just to throw a bomb, alchemical tool, or apply a poison means that Alchemists (or any character that wants to use alchemical items) cannot do so while holding any weapon that takes up a hand? Nothing except punches, brass knuckles, and other fist weapons? That seems heavily limiting.

Growing extra arms with alchemy becoming a "requirement" just to use these items effectively is not how I'd like to see the game go.

Worse still is the fact that bombs aren't getting free draws in 2nd edition; it takes 1 action to draw a bomb and 1 action to throw it. With an Alchemist class feat, you can draw 2 bombs with 1 action instead. Which doesn't even get to how you can draw 2 bombs and then throw each one with your remaining 2 actions if throwing a bomb requires 2 hands.

Spending all my time as a more-annoying switch-hitter having to constantly shuffle around my weapon, bombs, and alchemical items does not sound like a fun way to play an Alchemist.


eddv wrote:

I will just note that your bombs seem to have a resonance cost.

So you may only be able to do that two or three times per day total and it will come at the cost of elixir slots.

From what we know from the 2nd Edition podcasts, alchemical items that Alchemists make themselves for free each day do not cost the Alchemist resonance.

If the Alchemist hands these off to allies, they require resonance to use.

Similarly, if the Alchemist chooses to craft additional items, whether through normal crafting or their Swift Alchemy class feature, these items do cost resonance.


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eddv wrote:


I will just note that your bombs seem to have a resonance cost.

So you may only be able to do that two or three times per day total and it will come at the cost of elixir slots.

My understanding is that bombs made with Quick Alchemy mechanics cost Resonance, but in downtime you could make a few bags full of proper bombs in preparation for the next dungeon.

Sovereign Court

Rules Artificer wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
1 hand to hold it and one to trigger it. Pulling granade pins with the teeths only happens in films.

What a coincidence, we happen to be playing a fantasy game as well! :D

But seriously, from everything that's been said, these are flasks packed with dangerous reagents, not grenades with fuses to be lit.

As such, I don't see why you can't throw it with one hand.

Go throw a baseball. Even still you hold it in one hand, direct it with one hand. You don't stand straight and statuesque and throw it. It uses the whole of your body to get a good throw. Even if not being 'held' in both hands for the period of the throw your other hand is... lets call it occupied.

Dragon78 wrote:
A bomb that does only 4d6 damage plus 1 splash damage at level 11! That is weak.

Yes, super weak... for one out of your 3 actions that round. Longsword... 1d8. Bomb 4d6. Yep. Weak.

Now even with a +2 sword (assuming it scales like we think they do, and I'm not convinced that's the case). They've said they can't wait for someone to pick up their first +2 item. We know a +1 adds a dice but I'm not sure that's what a +2 does. But assuming it works like we think it does, it's still 3d8 longsword meets 4d6 bomb. Still the same number of actions.


Brew Bird wrote:
Trimalchio wrote:
Also not fan of the bulk system, would prefer weight.
I'd be alright if they at least included weight for fluff, and let carrying capacity be determined by bulk.

Why not have both?

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

What about acid as an alchemical option? Its absence seems a bit conspicuous.


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I don't mean to be mean, but there's a good chance that my home table will probably just ignore Methods of Use a lot of the time. As long as it's explainable.
A string wrapped around a smokestick's cap can provide a sharp twist when someone trips on the rest of the line, and a thrown sunrod will hit hard surfaces just fine so long as you can aim at one. Flasks shatter when they shatter, and they don't care how many hands got them where they are, or if they were propped on top of a door above a stone floor as it opened. I think that we'll be cool with it so long as it makes a bit of sense.

Which brings up the next few bright ideas. Sundering and damage to stowed objects. If an alchemist can't attune to a bag of holding, are they going to explode the moment they get into combat? Will it be glorious?

Liberty's Edge

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Kvantum wrote:
What about acid as an alchemical option? Its absence seems a bit conspicuous.

Nah, it's been mentioned before. Just got left out incidentally this time.


I only have to say is Meh and tht is on all things for the alchemist


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Kiln Norn wrote:
Rules Artificer wrote:

What a coincidence, we happen to be playing a fantasy game as well! :D

But seriously, from everything that's been said, these are flasks packed with dangerous reagents, not grenades with fuses to be lit.

As such, I don't see why you can't throw it with one hand.

Go throw a baseball. Even still you hold it in one hand, direct it with one hand. You don't stand straight and statuesque and throw it. It uses the whole of your body to get a good throw. Even if not being 'held' in both hands for the period of the throw your other hand is... lets call it occupied.

If we're going that route, then I guess Two-Weapon Fighting doesn't work. Every weapon requires 2 hands to use. And you lose your shield bonus if you attack with a weapon in your other hand. Etc, etc.

Point being, unless Paizo is once again using familiar rules text for a completely different purpose than in 1E (like Power Attack), then 2 hands to use means 2 hands full. Not that it requires you to put your back into it.


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I feel the 2 hands entry for bombs might mean they work on a similar principle to RL chem lights. They need to be manipulated in the round they're used to render them "active". And without practice, activating a RL chem light one handed takes twice as long as using two hands due to awkward angles reducing your leverage. Using a feat (representing learning to manipulate an item so you can activate it one handed) to enable you to throw two in a round makes sense.

As for needing 2 hands to poison a weapon, I'm assuming they mean you need to hold the weapon in one hand while using the other to apply the poison. So only one weapon readied at the time and the only shield you can have on is a buckler (or maybe a light shield).

I'm extrapolating what seems to be (to me) the reasoning behind the Feats/rules presented not any "hard" references.


Souls At War wrote:
Brew Bird wrote:
Trimalchio wrote:
Also not fan of the bulk system, would prefer weight.
I'd be alright if they at least included weight for fluff, and let carrying capacity be determined by bulk.
Why not have both?

Because Paizo remains shackled by word count restrictions, as they are a publishing company that makes money through printed material.

Even when this means they tend to post "the other half of the rules text" on their FAQ forums page.


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I wonder why items have "Level" like spells now... Hope it's not like Starfinder and more about determining craft DC or something.


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I'm less than impressed.

First off I really hope we can get a comprehensive blog on Resonance soon. I'd like to know what it is (and I really hope the end result is far from what we've been presented with so far, I'm spectacularily un-keen on magic items and potions being robbed of their own magic so you can power it yourself).

I want the opportunity for a solid discussion and exploration of the subject, based on more than basic rules explanations.

Secondly, I don't understand how elixirs are nonmagical (as in not even supernatural) if they create real, kinda supernatural effects... and still require Resonance to oomph them up with magic... The mad science angle doesn't really mesh well with the more traditional fantasy elements. At least not when played the way that breaking the laws of nature is not supernatural at all. I like more low-key magic-like effects which are not quite codified as such but are definatively more than just extraordinary (like the Shadowdancer's abilities, which are quite clearly supernatural but aren't really classified as magic, at least not what is commonly referred to as magic). I hope this is mostly just interpretation though. Or at least better explained when in not-blog format.

Also, Item bonus? please no. Let bonuses come from actual effects and not just the source of an effect. If you want the beer of courage effect to stack with morale bonuses so badly, make a new drunk bonus instead of a generic game term like item.

It's cool that more room is created in the system for alchemy as a more strongly separated discipline from spellcasting. But I'm gonna lose immersion quickly if the world portrayed suddenly goes with one reality-breaking concept being mundane and another being supernatural, based on arbitrary differentiation.

Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsbo)

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Rules Artificer wrote:
eddv wrote:

I will just note that your bombs seem to have a resonance cost.

So you may only be able to do that two or three times per day total and it will come at the cost of elixir slots.

From what we know from the 2nd Edition podcasts, alchemical items that Alchemists make themselves for free each day do not cost the Alchemist resonance.

If the Alchemist hands these off to allies, they require resonance to use.

Similarly, if the Alchemist chooses to craft additional items, whether through normal crafting or their Swift Alchemy class feature, these items do cost resonance.

I was getting the impression from this that the alchemist doing its magic to make it a 4d6 changed that from the way this was written, but perhaps I am wrong.


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ChibiNyan wrote:
I wonder why items have "Level" like spells now... Hope it's not like Starfinder and more about determining craft DC or something.

I'm guessing that's the level of the formula used to make it


eddv wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Ampersandrew wrote:
FedoraFerret wrote:
The "Operate Activation" action is actually making me angry the more I think about it. Is there a reason it's not just called an Item or Use Item action?
It seems really clumsy wording to me as well. Mark says it makes more sense elsewhere in the rules document. I'm having trouble imagining a context where "Operate Activation action" is better than "activation action".
Ah, that's a different question than "Why Operate Activation instead of Operate." There's an even more solid reason for why not just Activation: Not all items back in PF1 were use-activated, and neither are all items here. If you use a command word or activate an item mentally by concentrating, those are different actions.

I am really interested in finding out what aspect of the rules necessitates this level of granular detail.

Is that something you can go into?

Mark's comment implies that there are at least 3 ways to activate a magical or alchemical item:

Operate Activation, manipulating the item physically in some way (lighting a fuse, twisting open a smokestick, or smearing poison on a weapon, to use examples from the blog)
Command Word Activation, speaking a command word to activate an item (like a necklace of fireballs, I would assume)
Mental Activation, focusing and pointing (like a wand, perhaps?)

I'd guess that these actions interact differently with Attacks of Opportunity and other reactions. I can't see how else it would make a difference with how you use an item.

I do agree that "Operate Activation" doesn't make sense without the explanations and generally sounds clunky.


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NorthernDruid wrote:
I'm gonna lose immersion quickly if the world portrayed suddenly goes with one reality-breaking concept being mundane and another being supernatural, based on arbitrary differentiation.

But that's literally how it works, and how it's always worked. Pathfinder is a magical setting, and even "mundane" effects can do things that would be impossible in the real world.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
graystone wrote:
LuniasM wrote:
I'm kinda surprised there are people that prefer weight to bulk. I've never enjoyed weight as a subsystem in Pathfinder - it's clunky and a huge time-waster to have to reference over and over again. Bulk simplifies the wide range of weights to a small range of numbers (typically Light to 2 Bulk for most items) and is far simpler to reference and keep track of.

I've never had an issue adding numbers together to get an easily identifiable result: add weights together to get a final weight in actual term I use every day. Bulk... It groups together items in a vague range that then converts to ANOTHER vague range... How is that easier? I can show a new player pounds and they know what that is... 1 Bulk? Light bulk? What?

I don't dislike it on realism grounds, but that it's not making my job easier but harder. I don't get what benefit there is to reinventing the wheel. Or in your words, "clunky and a huge time-waster". :P

It’s easier because you don’t have to remember the weight of all he different items. 10 light bulk equals 1 bulk. Seems pretty simple. I personally hate having to add all of my items up. Especially when you get into odd weights of coins and all. It is a simplified system. Is it more realistic? No but it’s quicker to figure out encumberance. I hate adding up all the weights and then The Who carrying capacity is ridiculous. I hate having to look at a chart to see what I can carry. The bulk system for calculating encumberance is simple and no need for a chars detailing ecery possible outcome. I love the bulk system.


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Alchemy = Non-magical conflicts with Resonance usage. Alchemy as unique branch of magic fits better IMHO.
Maybe that means susceptible to some anti-magic effects (like AMF) but not others (wild magic fields?)
Trying to make it 100% not-magic just doesn't feel right IMHO. At least separate out types of Alchemy
which are completely non-magical and those which are partially magical, like Arcane/Divine have V/S/M.
Or have the Alchemist-class upgraded functionality be magic, while base item is non-magical for example.

Activation: "Operate Activation" action = Yuck. Close, but no cigar. This can be improved.
Single word name please. "Catalyze" seems at least closer to general direction this needs.
In context of Mark's response positing this as one sub-set of different types of item activation,
I don't see necessity of including "Activation" in each sub-example, it seems perfectly normal
to even present these as a related group, yet not repeat the term "Activate" in each and every action,
people can understand that the general category of "Activation" has various specific implementations.

I feel like "3 Operate Activation actions" wording is strange, not feeling like cohesive single action.
This gets to the distinction of action-as-game unit vs regular English action,
Perhaps "action" should not be game UNIT, as that leads to craziness like "3-action Acrobatics action".
I searched "Unit of Action" and learned that is acting theory term, sometimes called "beats" or "slices".
That is different scope than RPG actions (regular English usage), but those seem viable terms to consider.
A distinct unit term allows "action" to be used naturally re: cohesive single actions irregardless # of units.
"Action" currently is very specific game term, yet will constantly be adjacent to natural English meaning.
That is just recipe for confusion and awkwardness.

Elixir: Merging it with extracts is good, I would use adjective "Mutagenic" (Elixirs) to describe general (sub-)class,
which reinforces that it is sub-type of Elixir, not some wholly distinct class of alchemy as P1E presents.
"Bestial Mutagen Elixir" etc is fine when referring to single specific examples, though.

Instead of 11th Alchemist Bomb doing just 4d6, but being like normal weapon that uses Strike action,
I'd VAAAASTLY prefer the bombs to be individually alot more impressive, yet not conducive to LOTS-OF-ATTACKS
which treating them as thrown weapon does. I just don't see the value, neither for Alchemists, nor for
regular people using un-upgraded Alchemists Fires etc. These are AoEs, why the need for several per turn?
I just don't see the basis for the conceit - Bombs are now co-equal applications of Alchemy like Extracts,
why not use Alchemist actions like "Operate Activation" (yuck! "Catalyze" just sounds way better, seriously)


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Micheal Smith wrote:
It’s easier because you don’t have to remember the weight of all he different items. 10 light bulk equals 1 bulk. Seems pretty simple.

FYI, there is no fundamental difference here. Bulk is just a different UNIT. Base 10 unit break-down is just metric (and 3.x/P1E already used .1 lb units). All they've done is increased unit size/ reduced granularity. There is no "systemic" difference, because imagining actual weight correlation (which most of world really could not do with Imperial pound units anyways) is not actually critical to system in either approach.


ChibiNyan wrote:
I wonder why items have "Level" like spells now... Hope it's not like Starfinder and more about determining craft DC or something.

We knew that Alchemists could make a set number of temporary items for free every day.

We knew that alchemical items scaled up much higher than PF1's "useful until about third level".

Since price was how items were restricted to high levels, the only way to reconcile these two things was either have formulae be of a certain level, or give Alchemist a scaling gold limit per item.

Since this is something that's necessary for Alchemists to work, that means it doesn't really suggest Starfinder-esque items much more than what we already knew about Alchemist did.


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1 splash damage is kind of crap at level 1. At level 11, it's a joke.

Dark Archive

The failure options of the poison suck. It is really not worth using. Hoping that someone roles a 3 or less on a save is really a s!!@ty option and the slow 1 (1 round) does not really help when you have to take actions to place the posion, it is like "I am going to lose an action [or more] to make you lose an action."

Also the elixir being a +1 to will is some what stupid and makes it very conditional if you have to spend resonance on it. Just imagine if the elixir is +1 fort well why would I use it even if I know the person I am fighting is useing the sleep poison. I will save 3/20 rolls or more if I am proficient in fortitude.


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Kiln Norn wrote:
Rules Artificer wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
1 hand to hold it and one to trigger it. Pulling granade pins with the teeths only happens in films.

What a coincidence, we happen to be playing a fantasy game as well! :D

But seriously, from everything that's been said, these are flasks packed with dangerous reagents, not grenades with fuses to be lit.

As such, I don't see why you can't throw it with one hand.

Go throw a baseball. Even still you hold it in one hand, direct it with one hand. You don't stand straight and statuesque and throw it. It uses the whole of your body to get a good throw. Even if not being 'held' in both hands for the period of the throw your other hand is... lets call it occupied.

You mean the hand which has a baseball glove on it?

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I'm glad that high splash damage is not the default. That was the most annoying thing to deal with in low level parties and just made Precise Bombs into a tax.


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Two-handed bombs is not set in stone! (per the Twitch stream, just now)


Makeitstop wrote:
1 splash damage is kind of crap at level 1. At level 11, it's a joke.

Well there is Class Feats to upgrade this. Imagine if Alchemist simply didn't bake in any special Bomb feature beyond what normal people can do with Alchemist's Fire etc, since not all Alchemists even want to do anything with Bombs. Basically Paizo is baking in SOME increase, but if you want to get serious about bombs, you need to take Bomb Feats. Personally, I am fine with removing any baked in Bomb functionality at all, but right now they are splitting the difference. If you want to judge the class as a "Bomber" you need to consider it with the Bomb feats. IMHO fully excising the baked in Bomb functionality (besides free crafting option) is way to go, if you want a mixed Bomb/Elixer/Tinker Alchemist you take a mix of Class Feats... Baked in 'medium bomb scaling' just restricts design flexibility.

More broadly, this does get to what we want out of bombs. Seems to me their basic trope is as AoE, if you want to hit a single target with fire damage, you can use Flame Blade or a single Scorching Ray. Yet Bomb AoE is the aspect most marginalized, while enabling relatively large single target damage, repeatable rapid-fire style. Yet if AoE was prioritized, perhaps it could be larger, toning down single target damage and perhaps the rapid-fire capability as well, keeping the ability within same over-all balance. It feels like a certain mechanical focus has become justification in and of itself, ignoring what people would want or imagine from bombs in the first place. Ranged single target with very minor AoE side effect doesn't match what I imagine for bombs. I'd rather see AoE damage be the core, and (for example) optional Feats apply INT bonus to point target, but we have the reverse. Baffling to me.


I don't generally baseball pitch bottles of boom when I'm only trying to get them to break on a stump or burned out car thirty feet away, I just kind of toss it. That said, the game's never really aimed for perfect simulation. I've seen bottles just kind of bounce off of people's skulls, but the game has alchemist's fire go off every time they strike someone.
"The vial shatters against the soft, pliable body of the ooze."
I won't pretend that my bias on realism doesn't change when it works in my favor. I just try to ask myself if it's fun, and if the rest of the table enjoys it too.


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Now I'm wondering how much bulk a Handy Haversack will hold...

Paizo Employee Designer

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worldhopper wrote:
Two-handed bombs is not set in stone! (per the Twitch stream, just now)

Yup, per your feedback (and honestly since some of us thought they were 1-handed all along), we're making them 1-handed. Thanks everyone! As always, we're looking to incorporate your feedback as we can.


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KingOfAnything wrote:
I'm glad that high splash damage is not the default. That was the most annoying thing to deal with in low level parties and just made Precise Bombs into a tax.

Meanwhile, Fireball Wizards are routinely panned as weakest caster approach. Higher AoE damage is not problem per se, although simply taking existing mechanics and upgrading AoE damage may be problematic. But those existing mechanics need not be a given, if AoE damage is priority the other mechanics can be fit for purpose. Bombs doing AoE damage seems pretty much their raison d'etre but existing mechanics seem to require marginalizing that aspect. Pretty much backwards thinking by my book, but YMMV. IMHO, single target damage should be specific thing for alchemists, via Shaped Charge Feats, Guns, whatever. Basic bombs are AoE, don't evade that just to justify single target damage. Doing alot of AoE damage inherentl hits multiple targets, you don't need multiple attacks/round with that. So don't. And just let core concept of Bombs do it's thing.


yeah 4d6 + 1 splash at lvl 11 is sad, even if you take the feat and max your Int, without a boost of some sort the best you can have at lvl 11 is +5.

BUT that is a level one bomb (we'll use Alchemist fire)
On pg 26 of the Alchemy Manual players companion is an item called Artokus's Fire, I don't know if it would be considered a 2nd or 3rd lvl item but it functions as alchemists fire but does 2d6 +1d6 splash. I'm not sure how the new rules would interact with it but since the alchemist applies a MULTIPLIER at lvl 11 it should at least be 8d6 +1d6 splash possibly 8d6 +4d6 splash with the empower bomb feature.

Speaking of which does the empower bomb feature only multiply the main damage or does it affect splash as well? (level 11 4d6 +4 splash) What about if you add calculated splash(INT 20)? Does the x4 multiplier at lvl 11 take the 1d6+5 an make it 4d6 +5 or 4d6+20?
Not likely I know, you'd consistently do more damage to splash targets than the main one, except that's what happens even with 1d6+5 (or even +4) :O

EDIT: After thinking about it, how many times during a water balloon fight does someone NEXT to the person struck by the balloon get more water on them because of the way the balloon (water bomb) breaks. maybe not so far fetched after all.


Mark Seifter wrote:
worldhopper wrote:
Two-handed bombs is not set in stone! (per the Twitch stream, just now)
Yup, per your feedback (and honestly since some of us thought they were 1-handed all along), we're making them 1-handed. Thanks everyone! As always, we're looking to incorporate your feedback as we can.

Hurray! Shield wielders everywhere, rejoice!

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