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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Anguish wrote:


There is nothing atmospherically "fantasy RPG" about the bulk system plus it explicitly tries to help people not bother getting any better at addition.

I'm not sure how ignoring a system because it is boring and tedious (which seems to be an extremely popular option) will make you better at it. But besides that, it is not true that the bulk system does not add anything to the game. It does. It makes a difference between the 10 pounds of your padded armor and the 10 poundq of your pike, because your pike is 10 feet long. Not everything that weights 10 pounds is equally easy to carry.


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
gustavo iglesias wrote:
Anguish wrote:


There is nothing atmospherically "fantasy RPG" about the bulk system plus it explicitly tries to help people not bother getting any better at addition.
I'm not sure how ignoring a system because it is boring and tedious (which seems to be an extremely popular option) will make you better at it. But besides that, it is not true that the bulk system does not add anything to the game. It does. It makes a difference between the 10 pounds of your padded armor and the 10 poundq of your pike, because your pike is 10 feet long. Not everything that weights 10 pounds is equally easy to carry.

What I like is that it's now easier to make a "Packing Rat" feat that make it possible to fit more bulk into bags because you're VERY good to organize that stuff. As it's not exact weight anymore, it feels less wrong.

(Also, it was an headache looking up bags that said "Fit 2cubic feet of stuff" (WHEN they actually listed something about what it could contain), then look at items listing "2lb"... I was always, like... Uh...


So, how 'bout them secrets of alchemy, huh?

*makes desperate bid to keep the thread on-track*

One question I do have that I don't think has been answered: some of the bombs seem to have additional effects - like the bottled lightning making its target flat-footed.

Does that allow a save, or is it an automatic effect if the bomb hits?

Does it apply to anyone hit by the splash damage as well? Honestly, if there's a rogue in the party then I wouldn't even care if the splash damage is only 1 if it makes them flat-footed.


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To keep the thread on track, and talk about secrets of alchemy, it would be nice if there is some nice alchemical oil to reduce bulk :)


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One of my biggest concerns with alchemical items is them being designed around the Alchemist to the point where it's not optimal for anyone but the Alchemist to use them. In P1e that was somewhat the case because Alchemists were introduced later into the game and they had to be able to work around the limitations, but it was also an issue with the Gunslinger, in that firearms were so expensive and had so many overlaying problems that the Gunslinger was explicitly designed to get around, that it wasn't worth it for anyone else to invest into firearm use.

I'm fine with Alchemists being more easily prepared to use alchemical items and take them to higher levels, but I don't want this to be at the cost of only the Alchemist being able to get any meaningful use out of them - they should be a relatively viable option for anyone from levels 1-20, without having to worry about prohibitive costs or them just being so easy to resist/dealing so negligible damage that only the Alchemist can work around those limitations.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Here's something I haven't seen anyone post: Poison being more fully developed in the game will help give Rogues (and maybe even some rangers) something unique that they can do that more martial and magical classes can't do as well.

Yeah, I'm really stoked about this! Especially if the listed save DC is just a baseline and improves for a higher level user, and if we get a LOT of poisons, and if they're relatively affordable.

That last one is key, poisons in particular in PF1 were way overpriced. Someone made a concerning comment earlier that the 5 gp you see above is actually equivalent to 50 gp in PF1. On the one hand, great, I've wanted / houseruled the base monetary unit of the game to be silver for quite a while. On the other hand, don't just keep the ridiculous prices from PF1 and divide them by 10. I want them to really re-examine what stuff is actually worth, so they don't price basic but useful things out of reach.

Wandering Wastrel wrote:


One question I do have that I don't think has been answered: some of the bombs seem to have additional effects - like the bottled lightning making its target flat-footed.

Does that allow a save, or is it an automatic effect if the bomb hits?

Does it apply to anyone hit by the splash damage as well? Honestly, if there's a rogue in the party then I wouldn't even care if the splash damage is only 1 if it makes them flat-footed.

As I've mentioned before, I want bombs to be actual area weapons, and for splash damage to be half damage and not 1. I think rather than actually being normal thrown weapons like a dart using an attack roll, they should just use Reflex saves, but with a DC based on 10 + your ranged attack bonus.

This way, you can even apply any range penalties that would normally affect a thrown attack at a given distance to the save DC. If throwing would give -2 to the attack roll, that is -2 to the save DC.

I've already seen someone whine that they don't want to hit their allies. Tell that to the blaster wizard and watch them laugh and laugh and laugh... It is a single feat to get rid of that. Seems like a pretty good deal to me, if your party set up is such that you would be throwing into melee a lot. And if your party is mostly ranged, you don't even have to take that feat!


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Friendly Rogue wrote:

One of my biggest concerns with alchemical items is them being designed around the Alchemist to the point where it's not optimal for anyone but the Alchemist to use them. In P1e that was somewhat the case because Alchemists were introduced later into the game and they had to be able to work around the limitations, but it was also an issue with the Gunslinger, in that firearms were so expensive and had so many overlaying problems that the Gunslinger was explicitly designed to get around, that it wasn't worth it for anyone else to invest into firearm use.

I'm fine with Alchemists being more easily prepared to use alchemical items and take them to higher levels, but I don't want this to be at the cost of only the Alchemist is able to get any meaningful use out of them - they should be a relatively viable option for anyone from levels 1-20, without having to worry about prohibitive costs or them just being so easy to resist/dealing so negligible damage that only the Alchemist can work around those limitations.

This is a concern for me too, and I noted it in the main alchemist thread. I want alchemical bombs to be useful to a fighter even at level 15-20. It's really the bombs that this feels like an issue with, since at least everything /else/ seems to scale... At least, I sure hope so!

Rather than this multiplier thing, I would rather there are just /better bombs/. There can be a bomb that is just 15d6 damage. Then the alchemist, instead of getting an outright multiplier, gets bonus dice like PF1 or like a rogue with sneak attack. That way, the alchemist (or any bomb-focused archetype of another class) can be the best at bombs... But they're still good for everyone else!


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I think its possible given what we've seen, that they can balance both "alchemists make the most effective use of alchemical items" and "everyone can use alchemical items". It really will come down to exactly how the daily prep works. If the alchemist can "mass produce" the lower level bombs, at high level, then the bomb multiplier makes them efficient. If the non-alchemists buy more expensive higher level bombs for their rare times they need them it should balance out. (Maybe that's the same thing you're saying.)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Neriathale wrote:
graystone wrote:


Most new players understand basic math and weights they use in real life though.
Except that the Imperial measures system is only officially used in the US. I don't know what percentage of Paizo's customer base is elsewhere, but getting rid of what is for some players a 'fantasy measuring system' might have been part of the logic behind bulk - I recall in another thread one of the translators saying that 5' squares were a problem for them to visualise.

After 40 years of play I am sufficiently adept with it, even if I find unwieldy. If you start speaking of chains, furlong and so on I resort to internet for a reference. A 1.5 m x 1.5 m square isn't difficult to visualize. After a time even a tatami can be digested as a way to measure an area.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Anguish wrote:
LuniasM wrote:
I'm kinda surprised there are people that prefer weight to bulk.

Bulk can be learned, but shouldn't need to be. Okay, so small stuff is negligible unless you have enough of them and then they become a bulk. How is this really better? If you're going to play the encumbrance game, you still need to keep track of how many not-quite-a-bulk items you have, to figure out how many bulks they are in total.

I'm not honestly sure exactly why (I have a theory I'll mention after this sentence is finished), but a bit of A/B testing has shown that people are finding Bulk easier/less burdensome to use and actually using it, whereas they were more likely to gloss over weight. Given that Strength has very little unique to it, anything that strengthens people's likelihood to keep track of one of the things Strength does is a good thing. My theory is that it's because of the magnitude of the numbers. In several situations, people are more easily able to keep track of smaller integers up to a certain point than larger ones (especially single digits and maybe the teens), and they seem less intimidating and more accessible on a subconscious level. So it could be that?

I think it's exactly that!


Partial re-post and expansion
I fully expect there to be higher level versions of the basic alchemy bombs. In fact, for Alchemy nuts like myself there is one in PF1E.
On pg 26 of the Alchemy Manual players companion is an item called Artokus's Fire, It does 2d6 fire with1d6 splash.
Alchemist fire 20 gp 1d6 +1 splash
Artokus's fire 100 gp 2d6 +1d6 splash

Based on the price difference I would expect a 2E version to be a level 3 or even 4 Item. Thereby costing more resonance to craft for "free" at the beginning of the day

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?
(clarification from the devs if possible on this please)

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 However I've been in water balloon fights where the person hit by the water(bomb)balloon ended up less wet than the person next to them sooo it's plausible if OP.

Another Item I'd like to see make the transition to 2E is Soul Stimulant,(UE 101) 300 gp and negates one negative level for 12 hours. Multiple doses do not stack.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Wandering Wastrel wrote:


More seriously, I like what I'm reading here (although I'd agree with those suggesting that splash damage needs a re-think; 1 point is just giving the GM extra paperwork). Alchemy now seems to be its own system from the get-go, rather than a bolted on add-on/subset of arcane magic. Looks like it will actually work in areas of anti-magic, which opens up some really interesting possibilities.

I think that the 1 point splash damage is there to say that splash weapons are area weapons without the need to give them a large amount of damage. And it useful to kill out those pesky individuals that get exactly staggered or have 1 hit point left. Or as an excuse to say that the downed enemy restarted dying after being hit by splash damage after you stabilized him for interrogation after the end of the battle.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
HWalsh wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Anguish wrote:
LuniasM wrote:
I'm kinda surprised there are people that prefer weight to bulk.

Bulk can be learned, but shouldn't need to be. Okay, so small stuff is negligible unless you have enough of them and then they become a bulk. How is this really better? If you're going to play the encumbrance game, you still need to keep track of how many not-quite-a-bulk items you have, to figure out how many bulks they are in total.

I'm not honestly sure exactly why (I have a theory I'll mention after this sentence is finished), but a bit of A/B testing has shown that people are finding Bulk easier/less burdensome to use and actually using it, whereas they were more likely to gloss over weight. Given that Strength has very little unique to it, anything that strengthens people's likelihood to keep track of one of the things Strength does is a good thing. My theory is that it's because of the magnitude of the numbers. In several situations, people are more easily able to keep track of smaller integers up to a certain point than larger ones (especially single digits and maybe the teens), and they seem less intimidating and more accessible on a subconscious level. So it could be that?

Mark - If you realize that Strength is weaker than the other ability scores then instead of spending resources on bulk...

Why not just make Strength better?

Strength is not weaker, simply it has noting unique. And why it has nothing unique? Because that reflect the simple fact that we use it every day in real life. You can cite something special and unusual that people do with strength beside weight lifting?

Who impress you more in a film, the guy that is faster in the draw during a shootout or the guy that do two floors with 2 large bags of plaster on the shoulder while chatting?
But what of the two abilities is more useful in RL?

Weak is very different from not having something unique.


gustavo iglesias wrote:
To keep the thread on track, and talk about secrets of alchemy, it would be nice if there is some nice alchemical oil to reduce bulk :)

How would that work? Possibly shrink said items down to a smaller size catagory to reduce it? Or maybe make them float?

No no, that sounds too much like magic, no no, we need to make Alchemists non magic based.


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MerlinCross wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
To keep the thread on track, and talk about secrets of alchemy, it would be nice if there is some nice alchemical oil to reduce bulk :)

How would that work? Possibly shrink said items down to a smaller size catagory to reduce it? Or maybe make them float?

No no, that sounds too much like magic, no no, we need to make Alchemists non magic based.

Alternatively, it could just increase your effective strength score for the purposes of determining your maximum bulk load.

Finally, a practical excuse to having bodybuilders oiling their bodies up beyond pure aesthetics


Diego Rossi wrote:
Wandering Wastrel wrote:


More seriously, I like what I'm reading here (although I'd agree with those suggesting that splash damage needs a re-think; 1 point is just giving the GM extra paperwork). Alchemy now seems to be its own system from the get-go, rather than a bolted on add-on/subset of arcane magic. Looks like it will actually work in areas of anti-magic, which opens up some really interesting possibilities.
I think that the 1 point splash damage is there to say that splash weapons are area weapons without the need to give them a large amount of damage. And it useful to kill out those pesky individuals that get exactly staggered or have 1 hit point left. Or as an excuse to say that the downed enemy restarted dying after being hit by splash damage after you stabilized him for interrogation after the end of the battle.

It may also be handy for getting multiple creatures with the effects of one Bottled Lightning, for example, spreading the flat-footed love...


Elfteiroh wrote:
What I like is that it's now easier to make a "Packing Rat" feat that make it possible to fit more bulk into bags because you're VERY good to organize that stuff.

There is already a trait that does that in pathfinder NOW. Efficient Packer.

Also, there is a thread for talk of Bulk. Please go there everyone to comment on it there.


Rules Artificer wrote:
Chaotic_Blues wrote:
Interesting, but the class is too high tech for most of the games I run. Maybe if(or when) I start a Razor Coast/Freeport/Skull and Shackles game.
No apothecaries in your setting? No head henchmen of the poisoner's guild? No snake-oil salesmen trying to con townsfolk with elixirs of dubious effectiveness?

I'm referring to the class not individuals with the Alchemy skill. Only the first two of your examples would require the Alchemy skill, and the first is debatable. Snake-oil salesmen are con artists with a very high bluff skill.


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Friendly Rogue wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
To keep the thread on track, and talk about secrets of alchemy, it would be nice if there is some nice alchemical oil to reduce bulk :)

How would that work? Possibly shrink said items down to a smaller size catagory to reduce it? Or maybe make them float?

No no, that sounds too much like magic, no no, we need to make Alchemists non magic based.

Alternatively, it could just increase your effective strength score for the purposes of determining your maximum bulk load.

Finally, a practical excuse to having bodybuilders oiling their bodies up beyond pure aesthetics

Carrying Capacity up in a bottle! Who would have thought of that! Why this could change the way we do shipping and carrying treasure out of dungeons. This could change a lot and is just what.., wait there's a second tag under the first. Lemme just peel this back and...

"Potion of Ant Haul"

Dropping the gag(Hope you don't take offense, thought of the skit at work), I'll be rather cross or just disappointed if the Elixirs are just P1 Potions rebranded. Really doesn't change us from being Gatorade Wizards.

Really to me, they would go down the Extract/Formula line and grab anything that relates to Alchemy, Potions, Poisons, Bombs, Mutagen and Extracts. With that small core, dump in some Concoctions, and throw in some oils and make some new Elixirs for what they want(Example; I doubt the healing Elixirs are just cute light wounds. Or rather I'd hate for them to just do that. Boom, there's your Elixir list, and trimmed as needed.

We really need to see the full Alchemical lists though. And Crafting rules.


MerlinCross wrote:

Example; I doubt the healing Elixirs are just cute light wounds. Or rather I'd hate for them to just do that. Boom, there's your Elixir list, and trimmed as needed.

We really need to see the full Alchemical lists though. And Crafting rules.

I somewhat expect elixers work a little more like medicine in the real world, so the "cure light wounds" equifilant in elixr would likely be granting healing x for y amount of turns...

Maybe trading in direct/grand "arcane" results for longer durations and more potency over time?


Fuzzypaws wrote:
Chaotic_Blues wrote:
Interesting, but the class is too high tech for most of the games I run. Maybe if(or when) I start a Razor Coast/Freeport/Skull and Shackles game.
I mean, you are aware that black powder and greek (alchemist's) fire were invented thousands of years ago, right? That people have been distilling plant essences into poisons and drugs for thousands of years? Roman concrete was essentially an alchemical creation and vastly superior to modern concrete until only recently. Alchemists doing chemical research was happening in the European middle ages, while the Arabs were highly advanced in medicine around the same time.

Yes I am aware of those facts, and in large I am referring to the class as presented. Not the uses of the Alchemy skill (note that distilling plats into poisons and drugs is the act of an herbalist, not an alchemist.

However, the practice of alchemy was historically very expensive. With the exception of the wealthy, the majority of alchemists during those times relied heavily on sponsorship.

Quote:
Hell, Heron of Alexandria invented the freaking steam engine somewhere around 20 AD. People just didn't realize the potential as an industrial tool / labor saving device, because they had cheap abundant slave labor, so it was used for "tricks" until it was forgotten for almost 2000 years.

Not alchemy either.


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I'd rather bombs default to AoE damage as core schtick, balanced by action economy not treating them like 'just weapons'.
Follow an action economy like casting spells (2-3 actions) and accomplish what people expect of them: solid AoE damage.
Without going 2WF flurry crazy. Because that's not what is normally expected when "I can throw a powerful bomb" is mentioned.

As far as 'rapid fire grenade' schtick goes, recognize the anachronistic urge for what it is,
and make that a provenance of repeating alchemical launcher (~crossbow) as analog of automatic grenade launcher.
(fans of that overtly state their model fis sci-fi/videogame trope, it isn't derived from "So Golarion is like this, so obviously..."*)
These can be specific type of mini-bomb, with damage scaled to match the action economy of repeating launcher (i.e. just another ranged attack).
They still count as bombs, so can share some other upgrade feats, but have distinct damage track to maintain balance.
They can still even be thrown by hand (in case your launcher is sundered etc) but are designed to use launcher.

* Personally, I think Paizo should be more careful in bringing in early modern tropes to game. I mean, doesn't that crowd out design space for future "Early Modern Finder" set between Pathfinder and Starfinder? Or pull the rug from underneath the narrative conceit of APs like Reign of Winter which travel to early modern Earth (which is meant to be shocking contrast to pseudo-medieval adventurers)? Okay, alchemy and explosives did exist in real medieval Earth, they aren't PER SE genre breaking... But aping modern/Sci-Fi tropes strains credulity for how that matches medieval+magic+alchemy setting. Why go there? But what do I know...

EDIT: "rapid fire" (weapon model) / "deliberate" (spell model) aside, I think Alchemical Bombs need to re-prioritize AoE. Instead of AoE being left with only 1/INTmod damage, it is point target that should only have 1/INTmod damage increase vs AoE. If people want point target damage via exploding things, that is the niche for Guns. Leave the people's AoE bombs in peace!


Runehacking wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:

Example; I doubt the healing Elixirs are just cute light wounds. Or rather I'd hate for them to just do that. Boom, there's your Elixir list, and trimmed as needed.

We really need to see the full Alchemical lists though. And Crafting rules.

I somewhat expect elixers work a little more like medicine in the real world, so the "cure light wounds" equifilant in elixr would likely be granting healing x for y amount of turns...

Maybe trading in direct/grand "arcane" results for longer durations and more potency over time?

I might take that depending on how the numbers are balanced. However we'd also have to keep in mind that we can just scale up the spell if we need to in the new magic system.

Really the only thing I see going for Elixirs is maybe what we use extracts and potions for now, covering areas the actual spell casters might not be able to do.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

So... I vaguely remember seeing something in another thread about "Ability Modifier", as it appears in abilities (such as the heal spell), actually equalling "actual ability modifier + level". Does anyone else know about this, or did I just imagine it?

If I'm not misremembering and that's true, that should make the alchemist's Super Splash feat a bit more vigorous (as a 10th-level alchemist with 20 Int would deal 15 splash damage, which sounds pretty good).


Kalindlara wrote:

So... I vaguely remember seeing something in another thread about "Ability Modifier", as it appears in abilities (such as the heal spell), actually equalling "actual ability modifier + level". Does anyone else know about this, or did I just imagine it?

If I'm not misremembering and that's true, that should make the alchemist's Super Splash feat a bit more vigorous (as a 10th-level alchemist with 20 Int would deal 15 splash damage, which sounds pretty good).

The spells refer to "Spellcasting Modifier". That's what some people have said might be Level+Ability Modifier instead of just Ability Modifier, although there's conflicting reports as to whether or not this is correct.

The Alchemist Feat Calculated Splash specifically calls out that the splash damage equals the Alchemist's Intelligence Modifier, which is different.

Now, obviously, this might change, but as it is, with the information from the Blogs, I doubt Alchemists get to add Level to their splash damage.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

That makes sense, yeah. ^_^


I would be interested in hearing what Mark has to say about why the default splash damage on Bottled Lightning is so low, and whether that is a feature for AOE attacks in PF2E, as right now - and compared to PF1E - it looks somewhat odd.


Does Splash Damage get multiplied by that alchemist ability that multiplies bomb damage? If so, if I'm adding my IntMod do I multiply that too?


I think too much splash damage in every alchemical flask make them either non usable, or ask for a tax feat akin to precise bombs.

I would rather have a difference between the ordinary flask, like alchemical fire, and a proper bomb, leaving AOE for the last one. An alchemical fire flask is just a molotov cocktail, and 5 feet x 5 feet is already a decent area for those. Same goes with, say, a flask with acid.

Also, lightning is traditionally more accurate than fire in the game (lightning bolt VS fireball, blue dragon AOE VS red dragon AOE...). Bottled lightning will probably be the most accurate flask too


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gustavo iglesias wrote:

I think too much splash damage in every alchemical flask make them either non usable, or ask for a tax feat akin to precise bombs.

I would rather have a difference between the ordinary flask, like alchemical fire, and a proper bomb, leaving AOE for the last one. An alchemical fire flask is just a molotov cocktail, and 5 feet x 5 feet is already a decent area for those. Same goes with, say, a flask with acid.

Also, lightning is traditionally more accurate than fire in the game (lightning bolt VS fireball, blue dragon AOE VS red dragon AOE...). Bottled lightning will probably be the most accurate flask too

Yeah I don't see them doing that. It'd be annoying to keep track of another number that's tacked onto attacks and how do you begin to balence?


Wonder if Pathfinder 2nd Edition Alchemists will get anything equivalent to the Breath Weapon Bomb Discovery? (For more splash damage at short range.)


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Elixir ideas: Elixir of recovery. If you drink this elixir before 8 hours of sleep, you wake up the next day with all HP healed.

Elixir of cat eye. You gain superior dark vision for 8 hours but are dazzled in bright light.

Elixir of toxicity. You better resist poisons and unarmed or natural attacks against you poison the attacker, but all healing effects roll minimum healing against you.

Elixir of fight. For 8 hours your arms turn into wings and give you a flight speed, but they cannot be used to hold objects.


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Interesting stuff!! I'm liking the focus on making the class unique. I also continue to appreciate the way various possibilities are opening up.


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"I'm not honestly sure exactly why (I have a theory I'll mention after this sentence is finished), but a bit of A/B testing has shown that people are finding Bulk easier/less burdensome to use and actually using it, whereas they were more likely to gloss over weight. Given that Strength has very little unique to it, anything that strengthens people's likelihood to keep track of one of the things Strength does is a good thing. My theory is that it's because of the magnitude of the numbers. In several situations, people are more easily able to keep track of smaller integers up to a certain point than larger ones (especially single digits and maybe the teens), and they seem less intimidating and more accessible on a subconscious level. So it could be that?"

I have checked the math in Starfinder on Bulk. 1 bulk is equal to 5lb to 10lb So a light load for Str 18 is 9 bulk or 45lb to 90lb. In PF1 a light load for Str 18 is 100lb. Bulk is an about system. It gets the job done and cuts back on non-whole number math. You also do not need a chart to translate Str to how much can I carry.

I use spread sheets to do my inventory and have since I started playing pen and paper RPGs back at the start of 3.5 D&D. I am very good at math and like tracking and making use of my well tracked inventory. I will not have a problem learning the bulk system, it just will be cutting back on the amount of non-magical gear I will be able to have on my character. I can see how the change will help those who math is not a fun part of the game.

I would like to state that I liked the PF1 method more.

Dark Archive

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Anguish wrote:
LuniasM wrote:
I'm kinda surprised there are people that prefer weight to bulk.

Grade school was well over three decades ago for me and yet... I still know how to add. If I'm required to use weight, it's literally the simplest mathematical operation.

Bulk can be learned, but shouldn't need to be. Okay, so small stuff is negligible unless you have enough of them and then they become a bulk. How is this really better? If you're going to play the encumbrance game, you still need to keep track of how many not-quite-a-bulk items you have, to figure out how many bulks they are in total.

Or did I slip into a coma when I got to that section of Starfinder and it's somehow more felegant than it seemed?

Believe it or not, most people know how to add. It's not that addition is hard, it's that adding a few single-digit numbers (typically weighing between 1-3 bulk) and adding 1/10 the number of Light items to that is a lot easier than adding the weight of your 30-pound armor, 1-pound dagger, 4-pound longsword, 3-pound composite longbow, 6 pounds of arrows (3 per 20 arrows), 5-pound traveler's outfit, 3-pound rations (1 pound per ration), 2-pound acid (1 per flask), 5-pound bedroll, 5-pound crowbar, 0.5-pound hip flask, etc. You get the picture. Sure, give me some paper and a pencil and I'll tally that up and write down the number on the sheet, but how much can I carry with 17 Strength? Better look up the table, because it doesn't scale linearly - 86 pounds. Now double-check my equipment's total weight, and I know I'm good. Then we get into a session and I get hit by a Strength poison. What's my new capacity? Check the table again.

Comparably, in Starinder I may add my 3-bulk Lashunta Ringwear 1 armor, 1-bulk Hunting Rifle, 1-bulk Mass-produced Tent, and 16 Light items (backup weapon, rations, gear, etc) that all weigh exactly the same (0.1 Bulk). Anyone can look at a list like that and tell you in 5 seconds that the character has 6.6 Bulk in carried equipment, and I know at a glance the character needs at least 14 Strength to carry that without being encumbered (unencumbered = 1/2 STR or less). The math for item weights is far easier, the weights of items are consolidated into a small range of easily-remembered numbers, light stuff all weighs the same amount, and I know at a glance how much bulk I'm carrying and what my capacity is. If my Strength score changes, I know at a glance how that affects my carrying capacity.

It's just easier. It's easier to add and subtract and therefore easier to track. It's possible to know how much you can carry based on your strength score without a table. There's no special materials or size multipliers to remember. Sure, it might not be as realistic, but it makes the game run more smoothly.


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LuniasM wrote:
It's just easier.

I'll take your word that it's easier for you. Can you take my word that it isn't easier for me?

Liberty's Edge

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graystone wrote:
LuniasM wrote:
It's just easier.
I'll take your work that it's easier for you. Can you take my word that it isn't easier for me?

Sure. Evidence does, however, suggest that Bulk is easier for most people. And, in a game designed for a wide appeal, it being easier for most people is what's important (in terms of ease of use).


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Sigh... Just noticed we're in the alchemy blog again... please post bulk comments over there.

Dark Archive

graystone wrote:
LuniasM wrote:
It's just easier.
I'll take your word that it's easier for you. Can you take my word that it isn't easier for me?

Yeah, sure, my opinion isn't universal. I'm sure there's plenty of people who enjoy the current weight rules. I suspect that it's the people who didn't use them in PF1e who are gonna enjoy bulk more.

Anyway, I've derailed enough times. Posted my response before I saw the new thread. Gonna post more about alchemy next!


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Is there going to be support for using multiple items at the same time. Example: I have 5 flask of acid that do only 1d6 damage each. By level 6 that is not much damage per an action. Take some string and tie them to gather, and throw them as one item. Or I could take these 8 one pint flask pour them into this one gallon clay jug that only cost one copper and will break when thrown. My strong fighter can throw this jug with no problem, but does this jug do 8d6 damage, or do damage over a larger area?

Doing the above is not a problem for the most part in a home game, but in PFS play it can be. It would be nice if there were some guide lines on how to handle things like this, if alchemy is going to be a big part of the game. Saying you cannot do that, when I know I could in real life is not much fun.

Dark Archive

I kinda wish there were more examples of stronger alchemical items, but I also suspect that may be part of what they're working on right now. And hey, as long as I can pull a grenadier-style alchemical weapon stunts via an archetype or a base class feat then I'll be one happy camper!


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It would be nice to see examples of mid to high level alchemical items.

I really hope that standard equipment, alchemical items, and magical items are not level dependent.


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Dragon78 wrote:

It would be nice to see examples of mid to high level alchemical items.

I really hope that standard equipment, alchemical items, and magical items are not level dependent.

I dunno, the whole "Master-Legendary" thing they talked about in what the Fighter Blog i think doesn't make me hold out hope that things aren't level/grade dependent.


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Quote:
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.

I would discourage Paizo developers from adding any abilities as modifier-complex as the above. (+2 to Athletics, +2 to unarmed attacks, +1 die size for unarmed attacks, -1 to Acrobatics, -1 to Stealth, -1 to Thievery, -1 to Armor Class, -1 to Reflex Saves)

Even in the age of digital pads and auto-calculating character sheets, keeping track of the modifiers from a couple of such spells/effects takes away from the game. Players get busy with math instead of being in the moment, and combat pauses while everyone makes sure they get it all sorted correctly. No thanks, keep it simple(r) please.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

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Fuzzypaws wrote:


I want alchemical bombs to be useful to a fighter even at level 15-20.

But why?

If the (one of) the roles that the Alchemist is supposed fill is "be good with alchemical stuff at all levels", why does a Fighter need to be as well?

Ideally the Fighter is good at 'other stuff' (tm) that the Alchemist isn't good at.

If a player wants to be really good with bombs all the time they should play an alchemist, not a fighter.

(clearly archtypes can change all this)


Seems like the reason a fighter or rogue would want to learn alchemy (via the alchemical crafter feat) is more about elixirs and poisons than bombs.

A non-alchemist is just never going to be a competitive bomber because alchemists have that "multiply bomb damage" ability that's going to make it hard to print fighter relevant bomb damage at all levels without making the alchemist absurd.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

That flat-footed condition is valuable for a crit-fishing deadly-weapon wielder. Probably worth more than a third attack.


So... where's that next blog?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Here.


Will Alchemy be easily stripped out and ignored for those of us who don't like it in our FRPGs? Or is it so integrated to the game that you're missing too much/balance if you drop it? (Really: Alchemy and Goblins should be in splatbooks, not the core book. They are a niche conceit, and not core "fantasy tends to have this!" material.) I'm going to feel doubly bad that so much of the core rulebook with PF2 will be content that I won't be using AND that the game's likely to be worse-balanced for doing so.

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