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roquepo wrote:
I think you missed that it is a Free Archetype game. They are not losing anything by picking all of this stuff.

They're losing the FA feats that they could be spending on other things (like, say, Medic). The more healing they can pick up from archetypes, the less of it they have to take from their spell slots, which lets them do more debuffing and blasting with same.

I will admit that the Psionicist for amped Guidance is pretty darned solid, though. The only real downside is that those are focus points that you wont' be spending on Lingering Composition, and that can be well worth the trade. The fact that you make the choice to apply after you know that it will matter rather than before is pretty solid.

...though even there it's worth noting that the more people there are in the group who pick MC psionicist for amped guidance, the less it's worth. It's not likely to be an issue with the party as you describe it, but I wouldn't want more than two in a party your size.

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graystone wrote:
He's talking about the Choker-arm mutagen that increases reach, so in theory you don't have to move.

That... still doesn't save you any. It reduces the action overhead cost from keeping up with them, and moving around from ally to ally, but for "drink it yourself" all you need is reach 0.

Pixel Popper wrote:
Sanityfaerie wrote:
... inherently an act of spending your own actions so that they don't have to...
Which is exactly what every flavor of healing another character does.

Not nearly so directly. In many cases (like with Battle Medicine or Heal spells) the resources you're using to heal someoen simply arent' available to them directly. Many heal builds have additional feats that make their versions of those heals more powerful in one way or another thn they would be in the hands of someone else. The thign abotu the chirurgeon is that they make those healign elixirs at the beginning of the day... and then it doesn't matter who uses them. They consume the same resource (the potion) other than actions, and they heal the same amount.

SuperBidi wrote:
Monks. The only class I've seen healing with my Elixirs. All the other ones need their hand to stay free, so the Elixir is in the pocket and stay there. What you need is not just a free hand, it's a free hand that carries an Elixir. If you have to draw it, you won't do it as it means having a single action left to act.

By default, Getting a potion into someone requires two actions. It could be two of theirs. It could be two of yours. If they're simply not willing to spend those two actions on it... well, it speaks to how important having that elixir drunk is to them.

Sanityfaerie wrote:
Valet is only barely an action economy enhancer.
25% less actions to use an Elixir, that's a nice action enhancer. Also, as a Chirurgeon you can start the fight with Elixirs at hand. At least, that's what my Chirurgeon does.

Okay, I had to look back at valet, and I admit, I hadnt' realized that you could just have them fill your hand, rather than it being in support of an immediate action. That does actually make it better, given that you can make use of it to fill both hands even on rounds where you're only using one.

Sanityfaerie wrote:
That's not good strategy. Feeding potions to someone is pretty much inherently an act of spending your own actions so that they don't have to.

Not a good strategy?

The Fighter is in need of healing, do you heal with the Alchemist and attack with the Fighter or heal with the Fighter and attack with the Alchemist?

If the Fighter is specialized in damage and not the Alchemist, then the answer should be obvious. It doesn't mean that the Alchemist actions are worth less than the Fighter's, it's just that the specialized character does what it's good at while the non specialized character supports.

...and now we're back at "the alchemist's actions aren't worth as much"... which is what I'd thought you were arguing with. I mean, if, given a choice, you'd always prefer to spend alchemist actions rather than fighter actions, then that's pretty direct evidence that the alchemist's actions aren't worth as much.

I mean, I don't think you're wrong. I think that the alchemist's actions aren't worth as much. The alchemist gets a bunch of their power budget int he form of infused reagents, most of which they spend in the morning, before actions are even counted. The fighter's power budget is pretty much all expressed through their actions. It's not surprising.

I'm realizing that I didn't actually complete the thought, though. First, you're correct in that it's not entirely accurate (as you say, the valet does save you a bit). More, though, the thing that I was tryign to suggest is that if you're heavily dedicating your actions to potion dispensing - to doing something that literally anyone could do... well, it's like what you were saying about the cleric who does nothing but heal. I feel like if you're not putting in some effort to use a bit more of yourself, then you're not going to be as effective overall as you could be.

One thing that I do notice, though... once you get to the middling-high levels, then with the right feat support you can pull things like using Quick Alchemy to produce a perpetual item bomb (sticky) in one hand and a perpetual item healing elixir (healing bomb) in the other, throw the sticky bomb with full BAB, and throw the healing bomb while still pretty sure that it will land... and you can use quicksilver mutagen (improving your accuracy) rather than choker arm (making it worse).

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keftiu wrote:
That's talking about Impulses though, the big splashy abilities, rather than the base Blast attack. I'm still holding out hope for proper elemental damage on Blasts/Strikes from the jump, but I'm worried that they haven't said anything about it yet.

Okay. Fair. All I can really say on that is that we know that Paizo likes making the fans happy when feasible, we know that the desire for this thing was made pretty clear at the time of the playtest, and that they both have hybrid impulses and a confirmed Elemental Barbarian instinct. That leaves space for a number of pretty straightforward ways to give you this thing without breaking balance, and I expect (based on their past history) that they'll take advantage of that.

Well... I guess I notice one other thing. As of the end of the playtest, they were looking to move away from "it's a weapon" blast/strike and towards "it's an impulse" blast/strike (including having more impulses that don't eat your elemental charge), so it's entirely possible that this is them saying something about it, and they just didn't bother to distinguish.

Still, I'm not claiming that this is anything like a sure thing. I'd personally peg the indicator at "cautiously hopeful".

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As it turns out, we were just talking about this in another thread.

Lead Designer Logan Bonner, from the Wargamer preview for Rage of Elements:

Yeah, there have been some pretty massive changes to it. A lot of detail came in, like expanding the metal and wood elements that weren’t in the playtest, and adding hybrid elements, which would be like, ‘here is a water plus fire impulse that is doing steam-themed stuff’. We’ve got one of those for each element combination now.

So... hopeful? There's at least going to be something in there for you.

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...and I notice that in that same article they mentions that they now have hybrid impulses for every pair of elements (like water+fire gives you steam impulses)... so that's cool. Seems likely what they're doing for all of the would-be lightning/ice/acid kineticists out there.

nephandys wrote:
Elemental Barbs comes from an interview with Paizo posted on a website. Can't remember the name at the moment Wargaming? maybe. That's where the iron druid thing came from too.

Awesome. Thanks!

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SuperBidi wrote:
Sanityfaerie wrote:
For the most part, though, if you're feeding someone an elixir rather than having them use the one at their belt, you're effectively saying that their actions are worth more than yours are.

Among the multiple reasons why this isn't true:

- You have a free hand, something quite rare among martials, who are the one the most in need of healing.

In general, swashbucklers, monks, rogues, some maguses, and a smattering of maneuver builds from other classes will have a free hand, as will anyone bow-primary, and anyone who expects to be using healer's tools. That's rather better than "quite rare". That said, yes. That's why I said "for the most part".

- You have action economy enhancers (like Valet and now this new Mutagen) to alleviate the cost.

Valet is only barely an action economy enhancer. In order to meaningfully make use of it, you need to start your turn immediately adjacent to your target(s) and be willing to spend your turn feeding two potions while doing nothing else. Technically, you can get a free move action via beastmaster as well, though that requires that you have a GM who's willing to have your companion spontaneously just know where you want them to go each round without you telling them.

I am not aware of the mutagen you're referring to here. What mutagen offers improved action efficiency?

- You are quite tough (and now can have a big reach), so even if casters also have free hands they may not want to go to the frontline to heal the martials.

One step back from the front lines, but okay.

Past that, I don't think that anyone was suggesting "have the casters feed your potions to the martials" as a primary strategy.

- The martial drinking the Elixir provokes an AoO, you may be in a position not to.


- Your routine allows you to do so. Casters for example need 2 actions to cast a spell so they can only heal themselves or someone next to them without losing their entire round.

I continue to agree that "have casters feed your potions to martials is not a primary strategy. It's something you want to enable, for the relatively niche situations where it comes up, but it's not primary.


- The Alchemist is the best class at prebuffing, between poison and now the Spiderthingy Collar. So a part of your efficiency doesn't come directly from your actions.

- You have good out of combat utility, and the game being balanced it means you have lower in combat utility.

These are arguments for why it should be okay that the alchemist's actions are worth less than everyone else's. They're not counterarguments to my initial statements.

- It's your role. So if your actions are worth as much as the Fighter's, it's normal for you to be the one providing the healing.

That's not good strategy. Feeding potions to someone is pretty much inherently an act of spending your own actions so that they don't have to. Saying "it's your role" doesn't make it any more or less efficient. That's king of the thing about potions. Outside of Quick Alchemy, once they're brewed, they have the same effects regardless of who's spending that action. The point of "roles" is that by specializing, you can be better at doing Thing X than the rest of your party, and that doesn't really apply here.


- And also: You don't have to heal. If you're in a situation where your actions are worth more than the Fighter's, you can just do what you have to do. It's an option, a strong one, but still an option.

This is true... at which point you are no longer feeding them an elixir, and my earlier statement is inapplicable.

- Martials might not have a free hand
- Technically, you can extract efficiency gains from having a Valet familiar sometimes
- When fighting against AOO-capable enemies, it might be the case that a martial would provoke when drinking, while you could feed them without provoking.
- Your actions are probably worth less than theirs, one-for-one.

That's the reasons I'm seeing to have "feeding people from pre-brewed healing elixirs" be a big part of what you do. You're also well-positioned both for Medic (you'll generally have that free hand anyway) and Blessed One (By default, you're not doing anything else with your focus points)

It's also the case that having a hand free lends itself well to having a bag full of bombs and taking advantage of Quick Bomber, as that's a way to contribute to the battle directly that still lets you keep your hands largely free for all of the various reasons that an alchemist would want that... but we then get down to the question of whether it makes more sense to go primary chirurgeon or primary bomber.

Verzen wrote:
Perpdepog wrote:

I'm mildly concerned that we haven't heard any news of elemental eidolons yet; they seem like something that would have been talked about already. The book is still over half a year out though, so I have hope.

There was a goofy water elemental that my party named Squidicus that I'd love to graduate from recurring joke to full character.

Look what I just found...

Yeah... that's explicitly the marketing department saying that they don't know, and trying to build a bit of hype.

Do we have any confirmation (or even strong implication) on the elemental barbs at all, or is that just a "some people really want it"?

I mean, I admit, I'm one of the people who want it. It's just that I'd largely given up on it, and I wanted to know if there was reason to think that was premature.

Bard is very solid all by itself, and I would suggest that you go with your strengths there, rather than getting into shenanigans... and one for all on a bard is definitely shenanigans.

That's not to say that it won't work... but there are a lot of things that work in this game, and "just play a bard straight" is very much one of them. Finicky builds like MC to psychic or MC to swashbuckler are investing meaningful resources for thin returns. You may technically be able to eke out a bit of extra power here or there, but it's not a huge amount, and it's often fragile - looking better on paper than in reality.

Like the swashbuckler thing - costs you two feats just to get it set up (and more feats to escape so that you can take any *other* MC). Then to use the thign, you need to spend an action, spend a reaction, and make a skill roll, to give them a +1 circumstance on one of their rolls, or more than that if you crit... and the fact that it's a "circumstance" bonus means that it's entirely useless if they already had a circumstance bonus to that thing (unless you crit and also your bonus is higher).

That's a lot of resources to stack up, and a decent number of conditionals. Now, if you have nothing to do with your reaction, and you spend a lot of turns every fight with a third action just sitting there collecting dust, and your ally doesn't really have any other source of circumstance bonuses (like, no one else is trying to aid another) then it can be potentially worthwhile... but if you go up a few more levels and discover that you now have something useful to spend those actions on, and you get access to a reaction that you actually kind of like, and one of your allies finds a way of handing out status bonuses from time to time... then very quickly those two feats you spent on unlocking All For One start looking pretty dead.

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If you're making those elixirs at the beginning of the day, I think it makes all sorts of sense to hand at least a few of them out at the beginning of the day as well, and then keep redistributing as people use them so that everyone always has one.

On the flip side, for your perpetuals and quicks, it's clearly better to feed/bomb (possibly hand out via flying familiar.)

For the most part, though, if you're feeding someone an elixir rather than having them use the one at their belt, you're effectively saying that their actions are worth more than yours are. It's entirely possible that that's true, in which case, well, sure. Still, that is what you're saying... especially if they were running a build that often has a free hand anyway.

Yeah... ideally you'd have someone else in the party (preferably someone who wanted to generally keep a hand free for other reasons) take the Medic archetype, but if no one else is willing to invest in healing in any way, and your party size is 4 or more, then you're going to want to keep your medicine skill current, you're going to want to invest in at least a few medicine skill feats, and you're going to want to at least consider going Medic at some point.

Worth noting that you'll be okay as a front-liner - you'll be able to stand there and take a few hits, and it'll be okay - but you're not going to be able to be "a tank". If the majority of the enemy hate is coming through the warpriest, then your party is having problems.

Good reason to invest in Communal Healing, though.

Also, don't stint your Charisma. Charisma skills in general are handy (and intimidate can be downright useful on the front lines, especially with the right skill feats) but mostly it's for the font. If you're the primary/sole healer in the party, then those font slots are going to have real value for you. On the bright side, as a warpriest you're already not particularly interested in hitting the enemy with spells, which means that you can afford to let your wisdom slack a little.

SuperBidi wrote:
But I don't think the difference is that big that you make it look, SanityFaerie. First because level 15 Elixirs of Life heal 8d6+21 (but still the Elixir of Life progression is buggy so there are moments where it's behind anyway).

*goes back to look*

You're totally right. That's my error, and I apologize for it. I think I must have seen that it was jumping once per four levels up to 13, and just assumed that it would continue the pattern.

I don't think it undermines my conclusions entirely, but I won't pretend that it's not a meaningful counterargument.

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Something that's basically never going to have an impact on me personally, but really ought to be in there:
- Spells that are intended for melee use should not provoke opportunity attacks, even if they have somatic components. Among a number of other things, this would mean that the bit where we get a melee option for produce flame would actually *have an effect*.
- Spellstrike with a melee weapon should not provoke opportunity attacks. That's just something that the base class knowledge ought to teach you how to avoid. Have "that Cast a Spell action does not provoke opportunity attacks" be baked into spellstrike and be done with it.

Trying to go to far into weapons as a primary caster is generally a mistake. It can be a decent third action in some cases, but as a Bard you have plenty of third actions already.

Medic is pretty much the classic "I'd like to heal more" archetype, and PF2 is good at delivering on promises like that. If that simply isn't enough, then it might be worth trying to stack Blessed One on top of it, but as a Bard, you already have good places to use your focus points.

I wouldn't worry about armor unless it becomes a problem. With three melee characters, you'll probably be able to stay out of melee yourself for the most part. (If the investigator isn't planning on going melee, they're doing something wrong. A Marshal in a party with a Bard is already a bit weak for the early levels. At that point, they either need to be right up there next to other melee allies or have other ranged martials to buff, and this one certainly won't have the latter.)

For blast, I got nothing for you, past the standard "objectively better Electric Arc is objectively better" suggestion. You'd have to get that from your ancestry one way or the other, though - from any of a number of ancestries if your GM agrees that innate spells get to function off of your spellcasting proficiency of choice (a commonly but not universally held position) or from human for Adapted Cantrip if not. Sorry about that, but in-depth knowledge of spell lists really isn't my strong suit.

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SuperBidi wrote:
If now you speak of being born to serve by nature, unless you speak of a mindless being, I have hard time figuring out what would be the genetic of servitude (and it feels creepy and maybe that's a subject the game should avoid).

If you had a literal servitor race (construct or otherwise), created by some ancient archmage to desire to serve a master, it could easily be the sort of thing that got passed down.

...and it's the entire thing of "that subject is creepy, and we should avoid it" that I (and at least a few others) find twitchy. Like, obviously there are good and (very) bad approaches/takes on various ideas, and we want to avoid the latter. There are individual players who are going to be made uncomfortable by various subjects for various reasons, and we don't want to force things on them that they don't want... but saying that we should just avoid certain subjects altogether?

Sanityfaerie wrote:
What you are describing is a story of cultural evil.

It's really not - because you can retrain yourself out of a culture, and others can reject their culture, and if it's a culture, there are ways to *not* pass it on to your kids. A culture is something that is inside of your and shapes you, but it's not fundamental and inherent. Its more like the Summoner of the person possessed by evil spirits, but those are one-offs.

What I'm describing is someone who is fundamentally evil, but not absolutely so.

I personally feel there's no story you can tell with bioessentialism that you can't tell without it. Bioessentialism basically limits the stories and simplifies them. Instead of finding a justification for an orc to be evil, it is evil by nature. Instead of understanding why dwarves are blunt, they are blunt by nature. And stories of dwarves not being blunt need the intervention of magic or some suspension of disbelief.

I personally feel that you can tell all the stories there ever were about non-bioessentialism just by using humans. Telling those stories is easy. Beyond that, you're making the assertion that there aren't any meaningful bio-driven differences between people who are entirely different species, some of whom lack biology. You're looking at a person who's actually a nature spirit inhabiting a plant, and a person who's actually a direct descendant of the fae, and a person who's a stuffed animal, brought to life by the heartfelt wishes of a child, and you're saying that the only difference in their mentality is in how they were raised.

Well... and Paizo seems to, largely, agree with you, and it's their world. It's not even all that hard to put together some sort of "nature of souls" handwaving that can explain a decent chunk of it, and then ignore the rest. (How do you get the same drive for individual status in a people that weren't evolved with status-dependent competitive mate selection for reproduction? Nevermind. Moving on.) I personally think that something is being lost here, but it's not my call. It is what it is.

If you're really *particularly* keen on this build, then... well, your GM probably wont' let you take Drow Shootist. It does some pretty nice things for the hand crossbow action economy, though.

Alternately, there are some ancestries out there that get unarmed ranged attacks. We dug into them a while back.

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Secret Wizard wrote:

I waited basically the entirety of PF1E to have a historical Kensei-type warrior – unarmored master of katana, because I'm a chanbara film nerd.

The Warrior Poet archetype was perfection.
Sadly it was never allowed for PFS play...

I'd love to see a version for PF2E! Either based off the Swashbuckler or the Monk, at least a version at all...

Huh. Yeah... all you'd really need is some way for a swashbuckler to treat a katana as a finesse weapon, but as it stands....

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CorvusMask wrote:
Isn't that basically slippery slope fallacy argument though?

So... I do think that @Ravingdork is taking this a bit far. We're not seeing massive government oppression or anything like that... and I don't expect that we ever will.

At the same time, we absolutely are seeing people out there saying "Some ideas should not be explored. Some concepts should not be examined. Some questions should not be asked." I assert that it's not unreasonable to look at arguments like that and get twitchy about them. I get twitchy about them sometimes.

...I'm going to try to have this be the last thing I say on the topic for right now. We'll see if I succeed.

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So, I'm going to note that if you've got a chirurgeon with an all-in healing reagent distribution... that's all they've got. In particular, you're not spending any on bombs or combat mutagens, which means that you're not getting any combat effectiveness at all out of your class. By comparison, the cleric is going to have *some* kind of attack cantrip, at bare minimum, and will be situationaly quite powerful against undead foes.

So... keeping it at level 15, since that's the one people are comparing...

- You're throwing around Greater Elixirs of Life (7d6+18 - 42.5). Your perpetual version is Lessers (3d6+6, but the dice are maximized by your Greater field discovery, so 24). That's... pretty much it. There are no feats that make this better. Merciful Elixir exists, but the levels thing makes it feeble enough that it doesnt' actually matter. You can invest in a mount to give you more movement, or a familiar to help you action economy slightly, but in general, those numebrs are goign to define your output.

Your cleric buddy is throwing around level 8 heals with their font. A two-action heal is 8d8+64 (avg 100) to a single target in range 30. A three-action heal is 8d8 (avg 36) to everyone in range 30 (except for undead, who instead take that much damage). Then you've got the feats.

- Healing Hands (lvl 1) takes it up to d10s
- Communal Healing (lvl 2) means that if you take the 2-action version, you get an extra 8 HP for yourself. Improved Communal Healing (level 4) lets you hand that little packet out to anyone within the 30-foot range.
- Fast Channel (lvl 14) lets you fire off the three-action version for two actions.
...and there are a number that are, admittedly, somewhat marginal generally metamagics that take an extra action to make the two-action version better in some way.

So, with just Healing Hands and Communal Healing, the two-action heal is handing your target an average of 108 HP while it hands 8 back to you, while the three-action heal is healing 44 HP to everyone within range... as two actions.

As a heal-focus, they're going to have cha be pretty important to them. They'll have 6 level 8 heals coming out of the font, and another 2 from their spellcasting feature (if they choose to memorize their top two as heals). So... 8 of the things, based on a heavy but not unreasonable investment (and not counting staves/wands/etc). You're comparing this to 6 reagents spent, for a total of 18 elixirs of life. Each two-action heal is worth about 2.5 elixirs. Each 3-action heal (down to two actions) is worth... as many greater elixirs as there are friendly targets within range who need the help. At that point, they're beating you on both action-efficiency and effective battle endurance for heals... before pulling out staves/wands/scrolls, or any spell below their top level.

Now, I'm not saying this to say that the chirurgeon is bad. I think it's still a bit undertuned, but not by all that much, and anyway, that's beside the point. I'm saying that it's really not a dedicated healer. The alchemist is a general support class. It heals, it buffs, it throws bombs (or poisons, or goes beastmode), it pulls answers out of its back pocket whenever you really need someone to pull an answer out of their back pocket. If it tries to go head-to-head against any focused class in their area of specialty, it's not going to look all that good, because it has build budget in all of those places.

Admittedly, the Chirurgeon does now have a pretty strong showing for costless healing per 10 minutes - Heal plus Perpetuals is going to give faster healing over time than heal plus whatever any other class can pull, and often at less hassle. I don't expect that to be that big a deal in practice in most cases, but that doesn't make it not true. If you're somehow spending significant amounts of time between fights but for whtever reason can't stop to heal (perhaps you're pursuing someone? Or fleeing from someone else?) then a chirurgeon with perpetuals is suddenly your very best friend. Again, pretty niche... but still true.

Aside from that, though... it's like I said. They're more of a (high-skill) generalist.

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Squiggit wrote:
Skeletons, Leshies, and Lizardfolk do, though.

Huh. Well, I was incorrect on that sub-point, then. Thank you for the correction. I could have sworn I remembered reading a quote from one of the Paizo people saying that they had specifically avoided int penalties (and a number of other similar things) for... basically those reasons. I suppose it's possible that they were talking specifically about the core rulebook, and I misremembered. Lizardfolk and Leshy were both Character Guide, and Skeleton came out of Book of the Dead.

In any case, as I've said before, I'm not displeased with Paizo overall. I don't like this particular direction-push, for general reasons I've tried to explain/describe, but I'm still happy with the overall results. You're not going to convince me that the overall direction-push isn't there, though. I've seen too many people openly advocating for it pretty much directly. There's a bunch of folks out there who straight-up (and, again, openly) don't want it to be possible to tell certain kinds of stories, and who don't want certain idea-spaces to be explored. I don't agree with them... but they have opinions too, and money that they spend based on them, just like I do. Which side of that particular disagreement Paizo chooses to indulge and how much is Paizo's decision to make, rather than mine.

But, you know, I got kineticist coming. You don't need to worry about me... and the whole ORC thing buys a pretty hefty chunk of credit in my book too.

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SuperBidi wrote:

So, here's my question: What's the actual difference between the fundamental level and the cultural one when you play a character?

What interesting stories you can't tell when you consider that everything is cultural and nothing is fundamental?

The first difference is that we actually know what kind of differences you can see between two people of different cultures. It's pretty much observable fact in humanity. You can conceive of cultures that have never existed, certainly, but you can also extrapolate pretty readily on how far they might go... and there are limits on how far that is. We've got a lot of examples to work from. It all gets scoped pretty tightly... and it also starts getting freighted down pretty heavily with real-world implications. Note how in PF2, literally no one has an int penalty. Suggesting that people might wind up stupider because they come from the stupid people culture is Really Not Okay... which means that we can't actually explore what a stupid people culture would even look like. We can't explore what it would mean to actually be born to serve, or the moral implications (both for themselves and others) of having a group that was born to serve, and could be easily visually identified as such - either the sadly inevitable abuses or the efforts to compensate for and avoid them or the attempts to work out morally acceptable social structures to account for it or any of it.

The second difference is that cultures are a lot more malleable and flexible. A person's culture can change. It's not easy, but it's possible to cast aside whatever it was that your parents raised you with and take on a new culture and pretty much make it stick. A classic example here is tendencies towards evil. If your people are generally evil because they are culturally evil, then you can overcome that. You can choose to reject that, and reforge yourself and no longer be that way. You can go back home and possibly reform chunks of the culture you come from so that they are also not evil, if you have enough influence. If you are fundamentally evil to some degree, then you're in a much harder position. You can reject it, and reform yourself, but at some level, there will be some part of you that is continually trying to draw you back, no matter what you do. It will be a constant struggle, and if you somehow do reform some of your people, it will be a constant struggle for them as well. If you have children (if you are capable of having children) then they, too, will be drawn towards evil, no matter how you raise them. If you wish to have children, and want them to not be evil, you will have to give them tools to fight that, and know that you might fail. You might also make compromises with the demon within. Some part of you calls out to be "evil", but what does that mean? You don't want to be evil, but are the evil that your blood calls for and the evil that you personally reject exactly the same? Perhaps instead of fighting a forever war against that part of your nature, you can shape it into a somewhat less objectionable form - one that still might leave you "evil", but that would let you get along with the people you want to get along with, and avoid the aspects you wish to avoid. Those kinds of stories are very different and the results much less sympathetic when the thing that you're fighting against is something like "I just really like hurting people and was raised with strange ideas" rather than "I am literally the spawn of devils".

Then, too, there's the bit where culture is shaped by biology (or by stranger equivalents). If your dwarves have a charisma penalty and a wisdom bonus - if everyone in that group is less persuasive but more insightful - that's going to have a bunch of knock-on effects. Getting away with lying becomes much harder and everyone knows it and eventually you get to the point where almost none of them uses "lie about stuff" as a primary strategy, because in their formative years it simply doesn't work. You get a lot of blunt straightforwardness - far more than you'd have just from a culture that encouraged such... and you'll get that everywhere you go. You can go around the world and find an entirely different group of dwarves that hasn't been in contact for thousands of years, and you'll still find blunt straightforwardness, because it arises naturally from something that's true of them as ta structural level. They may not share a language, or know anything about one another, but neither group is going to be inclined to lie, because it doesn't work. You can see another group of dwarves, and even if you know nothing else about them, you can guess that much, and be highly likely to be correct.

I mean, that's not all of it, to be sure, but is that at least giving some idea of what I'm talking about?

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SuperBidi wrote:
The first link I have (Wiktionary) tells me that bioessentialism is "The philosophy that biology plays a larger role in determining human psychology or development than social, economic, or environmental factors."

Yeah - and that's the thing, isn't it? Like, the whole point of playing fantasy games is to muck around with and tell stories about things that don't exist in the real world. I think there are really interesting stories to tell about pulling together groups of people who really are significantly different at a fundamental level (and not just a cultural one). Those stories... don't really work in the real world. Like, if you're telling that kind of story about a bunch of humans, that makes you both incorrect and deeply racist in your incorrectness. Being able to mess around with those ideas while not saying untrue things about real humans has value, and it saddens me that Paizo is (slowly) stripping that out of their games.

Still, it is what it is. I'm well within Paizo's target demographic, but I'm certainly not dead center, and I accept that. Sometimes that's going to mean they make choices that I'd prefer they hadn't, and I accept that. It's still my current favorite game, and I don't see that changing any time real soon. In other places, and in other ways, they've pandered to my wants plenty. At the same time, the fact that I really like the game overall isn't going to stop me from acknowledging when they do things that I disagree with... and the trend towards forcing ancestries into molds where they have fewer and fewer permissible flaws, while also being more and more samey in the ways that actually matter when the dice hit the table? It's not one of the bits of the game that I like.

...and, I mean, even here... the alchemist changes are nice. The willingness to open up a bit about errata overall is great. The flickmace changes are really very welcome. There's just this one bit that I don't like. You take the bad with the good, you know?

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breithauptclan wrote:
Castilliano wrote:
Given how hard tracking allies & resources can be, I wouldn't say it's the most simple compared to a Bomber who just bombs (however well), especially if requiring a combo to function at range. And IMO no Alchemists are beginner-friendly. All of them require more system mastery than casters, and have baggage from other systems that warp expectations.
Not sure if I am agreeing or disagreeing. But the problem that I have heard of with new players and Bomber Alchemist is that they want to explode all the things - and so take Quick Bomber and throw bombs at high MAP and burn through their daily allotment before the first battle of the day is over.

The fact that you pretty much have to find something non-alchemist to do for combat effectiveness at low levels is part of the problem, but it's not all of the problem. The other side is that a big chunk of the effectiveness budget for the class is tied up in the idea that you're using mutagens, alchemical tools, and things of like nature in a fairly effective way... and to do that, you need to have a fairly deep knowledge of what the various alchemical items are, when and how to use them effectively, which ones are most useful for your party configuration, and so forth. If you don't have that, then there won't necessarily be any specific thing that you look at and think "I'm failing as an alchemist because X", but you'll still be underpowered, because a noticeable chunk of what's supposed to make you awesome just won't be there.

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keftiu wrote:
This thread has talked about inspirations, thematics, and cosmology, but has been a little light on mechanical imaginings, so I want to gently resurrect the discussion: what does an ideal combat turn look like for a Shaman, in your mind? It's easy to imagine the non-combat scenarios, but the round-to-round action is still a little ephemeral.

So... we've heard "full caster, but can cash in spell slots" and that seems like a pretty solid place to start. I'd say... charisma-based spontaneous caster, but really lean into the charisma side of things. Like, one of the things you're cashing in those spell slots for is interesting new ways to use intimidate, bluff, and diplomacy in battle as you frighten/fool/cajole the local spirits. You could even have "which of these three do you specialize in" be the core of your class paths, if you wanted. Then, having spent slots to unlock them, you could spend additional slots to juice them up further

So I'd see the standard combat round (for at least on viable build) be a cantrip followed by a spiritually empowered skill effect, and save the relatively small number of remaining spell slots for desperate and/or unexpected situations.

On the flip side, it seems like they're not really full casters unless you can run one as a playable character without cashing in any spell slots at all. For that... I feel like the Shaman winds up being a bit like the investigator. A lot of how effective an investigator is depends on how generous their GM is in giving them opportunities to pursue leads. I feel like Shamans should be all about the idea of calling up local spirits (who would have all sorts of different attitudes) and convincing them of things (possibly using spell slots as bribes) - effectively using social skills to pass non-social challenges. It might be a bit of a trick to make that fun for the rest of the party, though, and to avoid the "My shaman is a one-trick pony, whose trick works on everything" issue. Also the "You just convinced a door-spirit to unlock itself by bribing it with a spell slot? Isn't hat just Knock with extra steps?" issue. So there are some practical issues to work around, but I feel like the idea itself is cool enough that it would be worth fitting in if we can.

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Investigator and rogue are both pretty heavy on the utility, though Investigator really prefers to be at range. Rogue can go either. Of the two... I think Rogue is probably better for your first character.

Inventor is pretty solid as a strength/int melee. Some bits of it are a bit finicky, though, so you'll want to make sure you have a decent understanding of the class and how it's supposed to work before you try to build your character.

Magus gets some spellcasting, which is always a nice source of utility, and works just fine in melee. They're all about the burst damage.

Depending on *how* slowly you're moving over... well, Rage of the Elements ships in early August, and I'm certain there will be melee-capable kineticist builds. Those wuild qualify pretty solidly too, in their own inimitable fashion.

So, yeah. I'd suggest Rogue, Inventor, Magus, or (if you have long enough) Kineticist. Picking between them?

- Rogue: You pretty much already know what a rogue is. Gets extra skills, and in PF2, skills are actually pretty meaningful, both in an out of combat. You're going to need to find ways to get your sneak attack to trigger, but that's doable. With consistent sneak attacks, you're doing a pretty healthy chunk of damage, but you're still a tch on the fragile side. Can easily switch to range when necessary. I'd suggest either Mastermind (for extra utility/int-focus) or Thief (for extra damage)

- Inventor: A decent melee combatant who supplements the standard "hit them with stuff" with a number of effects that act kind of like magic but aren't. The boosts to utility are pretty much all crafting-related in one way or another.

- Magus: "I want to stab people, and I want to set them on fire, and I don't want to have to choose! I want to stab people and set them on fire at the same time!" There's the core Magus idea right there and it delivers. If you like that idea, it's worth looking into. If you find it kind of meh, it's not. You get a decent melee chassis, a few higher-level spell slots, and some cantrips. You'll want to spend those high-level spell slots on setting people on fire when you stab them, and you'll want at least one damaging cantrip, but you can certainly fit some utility into the rest of your cantrip list. You also get easy access to scrolls, wands, and (quite possibly) staves. I've heard good things about Twisting Tree.

- Kineticist: ehhh... well, you probably want to make the switch before this becomes available If that's not the case, let us know and we'll fill you in on that one.

If you can hone in on which class you'd be more interested in, we can start offering more specific advice on builds. Also/alternately, there are a number of class guides available on this forum, and a handy Guide to the Guides that can make it easier to find them..

Huh. You can actually make non-stance unarmed attacks in any of Wolf, Tiger, Dragon, Stoked Flame, or Reflective Ripple. I'd never realized. You all are right. I was totally wrong. I've learned a thing today. (The rest of the first-level stances lock the user to the stance's built-in unarmed strike)

Meanwhile, Stumbling and Gorilla can both be done in armor

...and Gorilla, Mountain, Stoked Flame, and Dragon have their stance attacks not as finesse. Gorilla allows armor, and mountain offers psuedoarmor, but the others do not.

Of the higher-level stances...
- Peafowl and Shooting Star, and Whirling Blade don't interact with any of this stuff. Vitality-manipulating basically doesn't, other than the fact that it has a ranged unarmed strike built in.
- Cobra has a locked-in finesse strike and permits armor.
- Jellyfish and Tangled Forest have non-locked finesse strikes, and require unarmored
- Ironblood has a non-locked non-finesse strike and requires unarmored
- Clinging Shadows costs a focus point. It has non-locked non-finesse strikes, and does not require armor.
- Wild Winds costs a focus point. It has non-locked ranged strikes, and does not require armor.

I had really not realized before that there was such variance.

SuperBidi wrote:
If you are not already familiar with Citricking's tool, you should really get used to it. The learning curve is not that steep and after that you really model whatever you want with ease. The graphs I made took me ten minutes to do despite the absolute complexity of the attack sequences we are comparing. Doing with a pen and paper would take ages.

Yeah... my problem is that the stuff that comes out of that is *very* white-room. You're literally boiling everything down to a single number. I'm not going to pretend that that's not useful (it is) but it makes it notably harder to consider other aspects (like, say, "how does this compare once you start getting people into the blast radius?") or notice other important implications (like, how much of the damage of a perpetual bomb is in the splash damage, and, by extension, how little it cares about either missing or critting).

Prior to working through the math on it, for example, I'd always thought of the splash damage as this little nice-to-have on top of things that would maybe sort of matter if you were up against a vulnerability you could trigger, but it's actually a pretty hefty chunk of the total overall damage... which means that, if you can get backfire mantles (again, thank you SuperBidi) for everyone, then the splash area expansions you get at 10 and 13 are a really big deal... and adding friendlies to the battlefield who can't get appropriate resistance can reduce your effectiveness significantly. It also makes high-MAP bomb strikes (if you can find ways to throw them) worth more than you might expect, because you can deal out semi-decent damage on anything better than a crit-fail. That's the sort of stuff I wouldn't ever have noticed using Citricking's tool... and finding out stuff like that is a lot of the reason I run these analyses.

Squiggit wrote:
Isn't having an adventure somewhere how you have the tools to have an adventure somewhere?

I honestly don't know. What kid of publish order on matters like this does Paizo usually embrace? Do they often publish standalone adventures in a place prior to covering them via LO books (or the equivalent) or not?

SuperBidi wrote:

Also, the conclusion to your calculation always seems to be "Perpetual deal as much damage as the Trident if". And having enemies in the splash is not highly common (I'm not level 10 with my Alchemist, so I haven't tried large splash areas). And as I said before if you are in a situation where enemies are clumped together then go for your daily bombs, it's your time to shine.

And you calculate damage to multiple enemies as having the same value than single target damage, which is not a good measure of multi target damage. In general, I value it at half the value of single target damage. If you do that, your bombs suddenly lose a lot compared to the trident.

You asserted that a trident strike was simple better than a perpetual bomb strike without additives... so that's the numbers that I ran. It's true that I did count splash damage to secondary targets as equivalent to primary damage, but I also didn't include the splash damage on miss on the one side, or the crit on the other (mostly because it makes the math quite a lot more complicated to run by hand).

I'm also hearing that you're heavily focused in on effectiveness prior to (or at least no later than) level 10. For a primary PFS player, that makes a whole lot of sense. Also, I admit that in the level range you care about, my assessment isn't all that much different than your own. Expanded Splash (10), Uncanny Bombs (12), and the bomber Greater Field Discovery (13) are all really important ingredients for the bomber/martial dual class value proposition... as are sticky bombs at 8 and even double Brew at 9. Before that... well, I'd expected it to be worthwhile, and I discovered over the course of this discussion that it was kind of not.

SuperBidi wrote:
Why would you use your daily bombs for special cases? Your daily bombs are for things that generally happens daily. Special cases are either for Quick Alchemy (for the really unexpected) or crafting (for the things that happen every once in a while).


Okay. Fair - and since in general what you're looking for on those is unusual damage types, you could even afford to let them lag by a few levels, so the overall price doesn't need to be particularly high.

An extra feat for not much. I was mostly stating that the drawback of having a bomb at hand was not really that much of a problem as you have the same with your build.

Well, that's certainly true. I mean, the drawback isn't really much regardless. I was just noting that it's *there*.

It's a fair point about the elixir and rage. I'd probably walk around with elixir in hand, and spend the first time with a rage/drink/quick bomb. but that's just my current thoughts.

The numbers are the ones I've given (or, to be hyper accurate, it's 7.5% extra damage between your Perpetual build and the Trident 3 attacks and 9% extra damage between the Trident + Bomber Dual Thrower and the Perpetual build).

That... doesn't tell me what I need to know.

SuperBidi wrote:
Please don't. I don't insult your fellow players, don't insult mine. I've played in a lot of environments (PFS doesn't necessarily mean strangers, it's just that my gaming group prefers PFS). And even with my massive knowledge of the Alchemist, I'll rarely ask a Mutagen if I end up teamed up with an Alchemist, because Mutagens are super niche.

That's entirely fair. I want to be clear, though - that's really notat all how I meant it. I'm actually working through this at least in part in an attempt to understand the alchemist better. By nature, I am one of the people who basically never uses consumables, and would be a lousy teammate for an alchemist. Proper consumable use is a skill that I'm trying to develop, and so I was ready to take you at your word because it made perfect sense that the average player who had not dug into that side of things would not have those skills.

I mean, I've been learning and correcting myself as I go, right? I've admitted that I was wrong when it became clear that I was wrong? I've been pretty open about that, right?

...and I don't think I can agree with you that mutagens are super niche.

- War Blood Mutagen is basically +1 to hit (plus some little niche things) for any melee weapon-using martial who doesn't use concentrate abilities and doesn't weapon swap.
- Quicksilver Mutagen is basically a +1 to hit for every dex-based martial out there, plus some other smaller but still meaningful benefits. The damage isn't entirely fun, but it's manageable, especially if you fight at range.
- Energy Mutagen is a straight-up damage bonus for people with melee weapons, plus some other stuff. The downside is in (smallish) elemental vulnerabilities. If you've got a basic idea of what's coming, that's almost no disadvantage at all.

That's way more than super niche. There's also silvertongue, which only requires that you have an important social encounter and you see it coming. Now, there are also mutagens out there that are pretty niche, but that's not all of them.

You question my numbers and I prove myself. I personally really question your knowledge of the class. What is your experience with an Alchemist (that you played or played with, even if playing one is better than seeing one played)?

Also fair. I haven't got any. I'm literally figuring some of this out as I go along. At the same time, I haven't made any real assertions about the way things are in play experience except to make assertions about different campaign styles calling for different things, and I'm basing that on stuff that I've read from other alchemists here on the boards, who've had very different experiences than you have.

...and I question your numbers because you've made solid assertions, and then I've gone back and checked and done the math where everyone can see it, and the assertions that you've made have been simply incorrect in meaningful ways. I've been ready to be wrong. Whenever I run numbers like that, I'm always ready to discover that I was incorrect in my initial assumptions (and sometimes it happens). It's just that according the analyses I've posted, the assertions of yours that I've been testing have been wrong in some meaningful ways, and you haven't come back to tell me how I got those analyses wrong.

SuperBidi wrote:
Sanityfaerie wrote:
Okay. Let's look at that.

I got this numbers from Citricking's tool. For such complicated attack sequence it makes everything much clearer.

Also, I've used 12 Strength on my Barbarian because I assume you can't have all the stats high. With 16 Strength, Trident becomes more interesting. And I've considered a Returning Rune as first Property Rune.

Barbarian is going to force a +2 str on you whether you like it or not. After that, you've got dex and int as your two top, and con's always handy, but I'm not seeing str lose to either wis or cha, so it's at least going to get one of your four pick-stats, for 14. I'd assumed that you were pulling three stats out of your ancestry, and figured I'd be generous. Still, if you are planning on making trident a meaningful part of your build, I'm not sure why it would be below 14.

Still, it's a good point about returning. Dropping initial strength to 14 and losing one of the d6...

07: 2d8+3 (avg 12)
10: 2d8+1d6+4 (avg 16.5)
12: 3d8+1d6+4 (avg 20)
16: 3d8+2d6+4 (avg 24.5)
19: 4d8+2d6+4 (avg 29)
20: 4d8+2d6+5 (avg 30)

So by those numbers...
- level 7 just needs to splash 1 to match.
- level 10 likewise
- level 12 is starting to pull ahead meaningfully with only one splash
- level 16 needs 2 splashes to make up the distance, but by that point they've been in radius 15 for a while, so that shouldn't be too hard.
- level 17 is back to one splash to match.
- level 20 doesn't actually change enough to matter.

Basically, any time you've got a reasonable number of creatures on the board, the bombs are going to be doing more overall damage per hit than the tridents. They're going to be doing a lot[/o] more overall damage per miss. This isn't "special case". This is "in most cases, one perpetual bomb is going to do more than one trident throw, even if you don't take additives into account." Also, again, range is a thing. If they're standing 50 feet away, and you're level 12 or higher, then the bomb is going to be a [i]lot more effective on average.

So that's a point on which you were incorrect.

Sanityfaerie wrote:
TL:DR - there are absolutely going to be situations where you'd rather throw a perpetual bomb than a trident, especially as you get up in levels.
Yes, but all these situations are fully covered by your daily bombs. So ultimately you'll have hard time finding a situation where Bombs are clearly better than a Trident but where at the same time you don't want to use any of your daily ones despite the situation being ideal for them. That's why I say that calling them niche is an overstatement.

Again I'm going to point out that this depends on how many daily bombs you have, and how niche they are. If you're stacking a bunch of bombs for primary use then yeah, that's true. If your daily bombs are mostly there for things like ghost charges and other special case bombs, or you don't have all that many of them, then you maybe don't want to be spending them every turn of every fight.

SuperBidi wrote:
Sanityfaerie wrote:
In comparison to bought weapons, it has an advantage in saving money
Remember that you have to buy a weapon up to level 8 and then Alchemist's Goggles to keep your bonus at its maximum with Perpetual Bombs. So the money advantage is not that big.

Not true. Quicksilver Elixir is worth daily-crafting anyway (it's +1 to hit above anything else you could use) and it renders the goggles largely irrelevant. If you also have Uncanny Bombs and aren't doign alchemical crafting in downtime, it's entirely irrelevant.

SuperBidi wrote:
Sanityfaerie wrote:
So yeah, it works, in a broad sense. You do need to walk around with your hands full of stuff, though, with a familiar who's holding a bomb at all times... and, again, you need to know which bombs you want to use in which order.

Same with your Perpetual Bomb build. You have to choose your Perpetual Bombs types at level 7 and it sticks during your whole career and if you don't have bombs in both of your hands at round 1 you can't benefit from Dual Weapon Thrower and will start with an off round.

Also, it's a routine in a character with a lot of other options, so it doesn't have to cover anything but raw damage. If you need anything else you'll drop out of your routine to benefit from the best course of action.
And remember that, unlike your Perpetual routine, it's a 2-action routine, something that you fit very easily in a normal fight and that you can adapt depending on the situation.

You have to pick two perpetual bombs types at level 7, and if/when you take Perpetual Breadth, you get to pick two more. Round 1, if you're within 60 of the foe at the start of your turn (not unlikely) and your hands are empty, then you can absolutely have a standard round of alchemy/double slice just like normal. (yes, this is only starting at level 9. That's true.)

As for two-action vs three action? Yes. That's true... and you keep going back to that well. Please be fair about this.

- You say "the only reason to Quick alchemy is the additives. Therefore the additives have to bear the entire weight of the quick alchemy action."
- I say "that's not true. Look how well they perform even without additives. You can get a lot of little benefits from that action."
- You say "well, yeah, but don't forget that it's costing you an extra action to get that performance."

SuperBidi wrote:
We are in a Dual Class context, so 7 class feats (I count 7 of them) to get a lot of value is an acceptable tradeoff. Your Perpetual Bombs feat sequence is also high: 5 feats. So it's actually a difference of 2 feats, with an actual difference in the battlefield that goes way beyond 2 feats in my opinion (becoming a very valid debuffer, having an Animal Companion and gaining 10% damage on your main routine, that's more valuable than 2 feats).

I'm going to reserve judgement on this one for the moment. You keep making assertions about the numbers, and then I go back in and actually run the numbers out where everyone can see them, and it turns out that things aren't nearly as clear-cut as you'd suggested. Anyway, you still haven't addressed the "applying splash damage to your own bird" issue. How do you plan to address that?

SuperBidi wrote:

Don't jump too fast to conclusions. I definitely help my teammates, actually more than Ottdmk according to its reagent allocations (I value poison a lot, it's nearly half of my reagent allocation). In my opinion, you vastly overvalue how many reagents you'll use on your teammates and non-combat encounters. Nearly no one will accept Mutagens. Elixirs of Life are not easy to use, even more if you come up with a build that has nothing to help them (you at least need a Familiar with some grabbing ability to alleviate the cost of drawing them, that's an extra "tax" feat to add to your build). And use of other Elixirs is a rarity, I have crafted a few with my Alchemist that I use when needed (Cat's Eye, Darkvision, Bloodhound Masks, things like that) but it doesn't honestly happen often. As a Chirurgeon, I also maintain everyone under Antidotes and Antiplagues, not incredible but the bonuses are always on. Overall, I don't think you can use much more of them, there are very quick diminishing returns on how many reagents you'd be able to use.

So unless you have chosen a campaign with a lot of combats (and in that case your first 8 levels have been a nightmare) you'll never really feel the Perpetual part of Perpetual Bombs.

How many reagents you use on teammates and non-combat encounters is going to be seriously campaign-dependent. It's going to depend on how many noncombat encounters you're likely to have, how important they are, and how willing your fellow party members are to chug mutagens for the cause. How much they want mutagens is going to depend on their personal preferences, and how well you've sold them on the idea. You can always find more ways to use consumables, especially if you actually know what you're up against, and you have a robust recipe book.

Now if you're going to say that the people you meet in PFS PUGs don't generally understand/trust/want proper alchemical support, then I'm prepared to just take you at your word on that, but that's a far cry from saying "all PF2 games everywhere are like this."

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FormerFiend wrote:
I feel it's a fundamental disagreement that Sanityfaerie & I are going to have on the subject of celedons; in their view, taking away the death of identity on loss of faith gimmick makes them blander, by default. Where as I feel leaving the door open to explore the question of what happens when a being defined by faith loses it to be the more interesting option.

I can sort-of see where you're coming from, except that I feel like... if they can lose faith just as easily as anyone else, then they're kind of not defined by their faith. That whole "defined by their faith" thing just becomes a hand-waved description that doesn't actually have any weight behind it.

Basically, I'm interested in the stories around someone who is defined by their faith, coming from a people who are defined by their faith... and if there's nothing mechanical that ties them to their faith above and beyond what everyone else gets, then that's just really not a thing.

I suppose that "soul death. Game over" is a pretty extreme case. I suppose that it might be reasonable to run it somewhat like the gnomes with bleachlings, though. Like, almost all Celedons who lose their faith will suffer soul death. Those few who don't get frobbed over to a "faithless" heritage, and have to deal with both the fact that they've turned from their god and the fact that they managed to survive the process. That's the sort of thing that could allow both kinds of stories to be told.

For the suicide bomber thing... I could actually see "forswear your god, wink out of existence, and explode, thus snuffing out your own soul entirely" being something that, done in a moment of extreme need, might be a kind of cool moment. At that point... I'd probably make it a PC decision (and/or possibly some sort of saving throw) whether they go straight-up not-coming-back dead or drop unconscious for the next 24 hours and then wake up as one of the Lost.

I'd also make the damage something like 1d4/level with a basic save versus class/spell DC, so that it wasn't so subject to abuse.


I suppose it's worth bringing up that it's something of a moot argument in the sense of, either way I imagine that it'll be a flavor ribbon rather than an actual mechanic. 1e had a mechanic for what happened when they lost their faith, but no criteria for how that was decided beyond DM discretion.

I don't know if the idea of a race that can just kamikaze the enemy by the player announcing "My character has a crisis of faith and stops believing in their god!" would work, and I certainly don't like the idea of the dm being able to arbitrarily decide they don't like how the player is rping the character being able to say "your celedon has lost faith & they explode" any better.

And I also don't like the idea of putting a set criteria by which we are to determine whether or not a character has faith in a deity. Certainly alignment, edicts & anathemas play into whether or not a divinely empowered spell caster is in line with their patron deity enough to be receiving spells, but celedons don't appear to work that way; it's personal faith, not alignment with the deity's actual beliefs, and people are able to twist, contort, and rationalize a lot of things to maintain personal faith even when acting wildly out of step with it.

I'll admit that the mechanical side of it is potentially problematic. I'd mostly suggest that it should be player choice, make id explicitly possible for them to forswear their faith (and probably die) in order to reduce the likelihood of shenanigans that way, and then make the entire thing rare with the idea that any GM who didn't expect that their player could play such a thing properly could just say "no". Something like that.

Possibly if you forswear or lose faith in the way that knocks you out and changes your heritage, rather than the way that kills you, you don't get the pretty soul explosion effect. Regardless, I think it could be made workable.

Not sure how well that works as a standalone, though. If they haven't given our the materials necessary to run campaigns in Tian Xia, then having a random standalone adventure there before we can reasonably expect to have adventurers there to do the adventuring seems perhaps not ideal.

Also, critically, many of the monk stances (dragon stance included) lock out all unarmed attacks other than the attack that comes with the stance while you are in the stance.

As far as having multiple, though, one of the most straightforward advantages is when you have a high-damage attack that's pretty bare-bones and a lower-damage attack that's agile. You attack with the high damage one first, and then switch to the more agile attacks for your second and third, to keep down the Multiple Attack Penalty effects

Also, if you're one of the rare few that has an unarmed ranged attack, then also having an unarmed melee attack lets you engage both at range and at melee with the same set of handwraps. That's always nice. (Technically you can also shoot point-blank most of the time and it'll work, but unarmed ranged attacks tend to have very small damage dice.)

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SuperBidi wrote:

So, first, your "advantages" of Perpetual Bombs are no advantages, it's the bare minimum you can expect from them to be competitive.

For example, if you compare a basic Trident Dragon Barbarian with Raging Thrower with basic Perpetual Bombs (with all the Bomb feats but no specific feat for Perpetual Bombs): the Trident Barbarian outdamages Perpetual Bombs by 20%. Considering that all the advantages of Perpetual Bombs (Splash, elements) are already covered by your daily Bombs, Perpetual Bombs is not even niche, it's just ink on your character sheet.

Okay. Let's look at that. We'll assume that we're using Quicksilver Elixir so at least we don't have to deal with working *that* into the math. Happily, we can also blithely ignore the various barbarian damage adders, as they're the same on both sides.

- Trident: 1d8 damage, range 20. You don't have access to any feats that extend that range for you, so it's going to stay at 20. Extra damage dice at levels 4, 12, and 19. You can add property runes at 2, 10, and 16, each of which (if taking the simplest default runes) is worth 1d6 damage of various damage types plus various crit effects. In general, the result is expensive but doable if you get it at-level, and entirely manageable if you let it lag by a level or two. The trident also get strmod, which in this case is starting at a 16.

So... leaving aside rage effects and weapon mastery, and not bothering with anything before level 7:

07: 2d8+1d6+4 (avg 16.5)
10: 2d8+2d6+4 (avg 20)
12: 3d8+2d6+4 (avg 24.5)
15: 3d8+2d6+5 (avg 25.5)
16: 3d8+3d6+5 (avg 29)
19: 4d8+3d6+5 (avg 33.5)

Again, all of this is at range 20.

Meanwhile, the progression for perpetual bombs... depends on the bomb, and the bomber feats you've taken. For simplicity's sake, I'll use the feat progression I'd laid out before, and assume that we are not playing a goblin.

Available bombs:
- Acid Flask: xd6 persistent + x splash
- Alchemist's Fire: xd8 + x splash and x persistent
- Bottled Lightning: xd6 + x splash and flat-footed until start of your next turn
- Frost Vial: xd6 damage + x splash and a -5/-10/-10/-15 move penalty
- Tanglefoot Bag: non-damaging. We'll just ignore this one for now.
- Thunderstone: xd4 damage + x splash (sonic) and a chance to deafen. I'm not sure why you'd pick this one. It seems niche at best, and that's really *not* what you want with your perpetual bombs.

I'll note here that the comparison of acid flask versus alchemist's fire indicates that Paizo's numbers count a point of persistent damage as worth more than a point of standard - actually almost twice as much (though that's potentially confounded by he fact that they might be valuing the damage types differently and/or allowing for some flex). Even so, I'm willing to go with your (rather conservative) estimate of it being worth one-to-one for the sake of argument.

So, just going for raw damage, we'll compare to the Alchemist's fire, as it is both the simplest comparison, and not blatantly wrong. It is worth noting, though, that you get a bit more in-the-moment flexibility with your perpetual bombs than you do with your trident.

Again, the feat set is...
1: Quick Bomber, Far Lobber (Ambition)
2: Revivifying Mutagen
4: Calculated Splash
6: Debilitating Bomb
8: Sticky Bomb
10: Expanded Splash
12: Uncanny Bombs
14: Perpetual Breadth

...and, for the purposes of this argument, we're leaving out the effects of Debilitating Bomb and Sticky Bomb. So... the rack up of effects pertinent to perpetual bombs, from feats and alchemist levels:

level 7: x=1, range is 20, splash damage is actually int modifier (+4)
level 9: double brew (not that it matters for this analysis)
level 10: intmod becomes 5. Splash damage becomes base splash +intmod. Splash radius becomes 10.
level 11: x=2
level 12: range becomes 60, autosucceed on flat check vs concealment, target AC bonus from cover reduced by 1
level 13: splash radius becomes 15
level 14: get two more bomb options.
level 15: triple brew (not that it matters for this analysis)
level 17: x = 3

...and the resulting numbers for Alchemist's Fire:

level 7: 1d6 damage +4 splash (rad 5) +1 persistent (avg damage 8.5)
level 10: 1d6 damage +6 splash (rad 10) +1 persistent (avg damage 10.5)
level 11: 2d6 damage +7 splash (rad 10) +2 persistent (avg damage 16)
level 12: range 60, boosts vs cover and concealment
level 13: splash radius 15
level 17: 3d6 damage +8 splash (rad 15) +3 persistent (avg damage 21.5)

So, if we're going with white-room assumptions about no vulnerabilities or resistances, then...

- at level 7, the perpetual bomb has to hit two additional enemies with the splash in order to break even with the trident. At radius 5, that's not going to be particularly common.
- At level 10, hitting two extra enemies with the splash actually pulls you ahead, and you have 10 feet of radius to do it in - significantly more plausible.
- Level 11 is a bit of a hiccup in favor of the alchemist. At this point they only have to catch one enemy in the splash radius in order to get ahead.
- at level 12, it's back to needing to hit 2 to get better than the trident, but just getting one is at least close.
- at level 13, the alchemist with the perpetual bombs gets 15 foot radius to play with to pick up their extras.
- at level 15 the trident gets another damage bump (from strength) but it's small enough that it doesn't do much.
- At level 16 there's a somewhat more significant trident damage bump... but it's still the case that the bomb deals more overall damage if it catches two extra foes, and less if it catches one or none.
- At level 17, the perpetual bomb gets a damage bump good enough that it's pretty much neck and neck with just one extra target.
- At level 19 it's back to "loses at one, wins at two"

Then, too, there's the fact that bombs deal a decent chunk of damage even if they miss. On the flip side, the trident (for various reasons) is doing a lot better on crits. Even so, in your average fight, you're much more likely to miss than to hit with a crit... and, again, that's all prior to sticky/debilitating... and after level 12, the bombs have a lot more range.

TL:DR - there are absolutely going to be situations where you'd rather throw a perpetual bomb than a trident, especially as you get up in levels.

As for daily prepped bombs... well, yes. Daily prepped bombs *do* generally have advantages over the free ones you get with perpetual. That's true. They also cost infused reagents. We've already talked about how a party can have an almost limitless thirst for alchemical supplies that are not bombs, if you put a bit of thought into it. The fewer standard bombs you make, the more of everything else you can afford to make... and perpetual bombs are the key to beign effective as a bomber while not sinking all that many of your regents into making daily bombs, so that you can have the healing potions and also the combat mutagens and also the noncombat mutagens and also the alchemical tools. Now, if you don't want to play that way (and it seems that you do not) then that's fine. You can indeed make enough daily bombs that a reasonable adventuring day will not expend them all, with a few reagents left over for other things, you can skip out on additives entirely (and thus save those feats) and for you, perpetual bombs really will just be ink on your character sheet. There are other playstyles, though, where they'd rather spend as few reagents on bombs as they reasonably can, where perpetual alchemy is a vital and necessary part of the build. Those playstyles are not wrong.

SuperBidi wrote:
That's why I criticize Perpetual Bombs. Before even speaking of advantages, try to make them worth it. Then you'll realize that the only thing left is Additives.

Okay. Did that. I did not come to the same conclusion. I'd miss additives if they were gone, certainly, but I don't agree that they're the only reason. "Does not consume reagents" is enough of an advantage (for some playstyles) that the comparison to daily bombs is not compelling. In comparison to bought weapons, it has an advantage in saving money, in attacks where crits are unlikely and misses are common, and when you can catch a meaningful number of enemies in the splash (especially if you happen to have enemies that are weak to one of your damage types)


Now, speaking about optimized sequences, if you take Dual Weapon Thrower and an Independent/Dexterous Familiar and choose to go for Double Slice (Bomb + Trident) + Trident attack, you outdamage the Perpetual Bomb build by 10%. It costs one daily Bomb every time you use the combo, but Perpetual Bombs force you to use daily Bombs on your first round anyway. Also, you can maintain it during 3 rounds before needing a round off every 2 rounds.

Let's go for a bit more optimization: Bird Animal Companion Support Ability + Double Slice (Bomb + Trident). Now, it starts to get costly in terms of feat, but at least you get what you expect: 10% extra damage over Perpetual Bombs + the enemy is Dazzled for at least one round 95% of the time. It's more expensive than the Perpetual Bombs one in terms of feats but superior in damage, vastly superior in debuff and way more versatile (as the Perpetual Bomb one asks for 3 actions or crumbles when this combo can be modified as needed).

Okay. Let's talk about this. Suppose that you're dedicated to the bomb+trident+trident attack cycle, and you prep accordingly, with the familiar technique, including training your familiar accordingly.

- battle is joined. You're holding a bomb. Your familiar is holding a bomb. You must know before you kick down the door what both your first and second bombs are going to be.
- Round 1: you throw, and the familiar hands you a bomb.
- Round 2: you throw, and your familiar grabs a bomb. Your familiar is going to have to guess which bomb you'll want for round 3 at this point.
- Round 3: your familiar hands you a bomb, you throw a bomb.
So yeah, it works, in a broad sense. You do need to walk around with your hands full of stuff, though, with a familiar who's holding a bomb at all times... and, again, you need to know which bombs you want to use in which order.

For bird companion... well, yes. The bird *is* a bit pricey in terms of feats. In particular, you can't just come with the young bird - you have to keep it updated, or it'll die entirely too easy. That said, animal companions are an eminently reasonable place to spend feats if you're willing to burn through enough feats to keep the beasts current, and bird is pretty nice as animal companions go... but between the feat for the familiar and the four for the animal companion, you're ponying up five class feats over the course of your career (one of which can be an ancestry feat for some ancestries). Also, critically, your animal companion cannot wear a backfire mantle, meaning that you're suddenly adding a target to the field that you don't want to splash on. A plan that centers around having them flying right next to targets that you're throwing bombs at is not going to go well for them unless you're constraining your splash damage. I can at least see the argument that damage dealt to the bird is damage not dealt to the rest of the party (though that's a lot of feats to lose access to if it drops) but when you're the one dealing that damage....

Beyond that, I haven't run the numbers on this particular setup... and it's going to be a bit before I'm ready to, if that's important to you. I also don't know a lot about animal companions in general. I just know that I occasionally see people complaining that they die too easily, especially at higher levels, and that's before you're doing things like bombing them out of the sky yourself.

SuperBidi wrote:
Also, in a Dual Class perspective, "being an Alchemist" is not at all an asset. If all you manage to get with Dual Class is to "be an Alchemist" when you are sick of being a "basic martial with no class feature" you should stop calling that a "good Dual Class combo".

I'll admit that the synergy gains here are a lot thinner than I'd expected them to be when I started working through this process. I do still think that they are real - I think that a well-built martial/alchemist dual is going to be generally more effective than a well-built martial/caster - but I'd expected more than I got. Also, as we've noted, it's thinner still right at the beginning. If I were told to play a dual-class character for a campaign running from 1-10, this is not the dual-class character I would pick.

keftiu wrote:
Golarion Drow aren't really all that spider-y, are they?

Ah. Fair... and given that they're actively tryign to differentiate their drow, they probably wouldn't have a spider/drwo themed adventure. So... no clue on that one, really.

For grins and giggles I decided to take a look at what the fighter/alchemist dual class might look like, and yeah... Rebounding Toss is simply too good to be true... especially for something that you can pick up via two feats off an archetype.

Meanwhile, Ricochet Stance with a piercing and/or bludgeoning bomb is simply absurd on the face of it.

Once you've gotten past that, there's not all that much left.

- Point-Blank Shot (1) is handy early on. No scaling at all, though, which isn't great.

- Assisting Shot (2) is potentially useful, but I find it difficult to imagine situations where I would use it preferentially. Maybe when producing a bomb through quick alchemy prior to level 9? I mean, the use case is pretty thin, here.

- Incredible Aim (8) is potentially worthwhile, but suffers from the tendency of bombs to get more out of misses and less out of crits than most attacks. It also effectively goes from a two-action attack to a three-action attack, while only using up one MAP which doesn't help it any.

- Debilitating Shot(10) is actually decent against sufficiently scary boss monsters. How valuable it is is going to depend on how often you go up against boss monsters of that variety

- Two-Weapon Flurry (14) is potentially helpful. Between that, quick bomb, and perpetual bombs, you can fire off three bombs in a turn at the cost of one bomb from the sack. I can think of situations where that might be useful, especially if you're dealing with something that has a nice, hefty vulnerability to a damage type that you have a perpetual bomb that splashes. Still more niche than the intended use, though.

- If you go Dual Weapon Warrior, then Graceful Poise (16) sort of applies, but it's real hard to make it actually useful. Sadly, you can't even get value out of taking Double Slice as a fighter, since that's the thing that comes free with the Dual-Weapon Warrior archetype, and double slice is useless to you without it.

- Even Weapon Supremacy (20), while useful, isn't as useful as you might like. I suppose it lets you turn your Quick Bomb into a Quick Alchemy followed by a hasted strike, so it's not nothing, but it's not as much as other folks tend to get.

So... basically the fighter feats it's a combination of "too good to be true" on the one side and "less useful than they feel like they should be" on the other, with a bunch of empty space in between... on a class that gets more class feats than normal. There's a few options in teh mix that are close enough to decent that you might want to take them, but you're definitely going to be digging for archetypes. On the flip side, just the chassis gets you between +2 and +5 to hit, plus better damage bumps from weapon specialization, and notably improved defenses, so....

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At a thought... we have a Lost Omens book and an AP that are All About Dwarves. I'm thinking... extra heritages and/or ancestry feats? Paizo has been going with the "marble it in" theory on a lot of this stuff, so...

I notice that we're continuing to get little peeks into the darklands. This time, it's two settlements as part of the dwarf AP. What's it going to be next time? It neatly sidesteps the "there's too much here to do it comprehensively" issue, which is nice.

So... we have Worms as the dwarf AP (a 1-10). We've got Rust and Spider left. We have one standalone adventure and one AP remaining. Based on some of the other stuff I've read here, I really *don't* expect the second AP to be an 11-20. There was a comment by James Jacobs that would have mentioned it otherwise. At the same time... in a different post he commented that they'd been discussing alternate length for APs for years, and were "VERY CLOSE" to being able to talk to folks about them in public, which suggests reasonably storngly that our mystery AP might be one of those - possibly a two-book or a four-book or something.

Given those, Rust seems like a pretty easy link to an AP (of whatever length, probably starting at level 1 for the kineticists) that would tie in with Rage of Elements. (I find some of @willfromamerica's arguments compelling.) I can see how it might be a bit of a stretch to imagine a truly planar adventure for lower levels, but there are plenty of ways to put together an AP that would be heavy on the elements and the elementals and the powers thereof and the kineticists without taking it that far - where any planar travel is limited in scope and relatively brief, if it even occurs at all.

...and that leaves Spider as a standalone adventure that could be almost anything, but kind of defaults to having a drow tie-in.

SuperBidi wrote:
Sanityfaerie wrote:
but there are a number of things that come with the Quick Alchemy action.

Additives, and that's all. Without Additives, you'd never use Quick Alchemy for Bombs.

So Debilitating Bomb costs half an action (at level 9+), has 4 times less chances to work than the Bird Support Ability and lasts 3 times less on average, so it's 6 times less action efficient.

The comparison is quite clear, Debilitating Bomb:
- Comes online at level 9 instead of level 2.
- Is 6 times less action efficient.
- Doesn't come with an Animal Companion.
- Costs one feat instead of 4.

Man, your argument is so twisty I can barely make sense of it. Let me see if I can parse it out.

- Bald assertion, without adequate support: without additives, you'd never use Quick Alchemy (on bombs)
- Implied derived assertion, unstated: and therefore there are no other advantages worth mentioning, and we can and should ignore all other reasons there might be for doing this.
- Implied derived assertion, stated but glossed over: and therefore Debilitating Bomb is worth half of the additive budget, and therefore has to pay for half an action by itself.
- Implied bald assertion, without adequate support: having a young bird companion out there being the source of your debuffs is pure advantage. Surely the Gm would never have anyone attack the adorable little bird that was clawing out their eyes
- Downright bizarre assertion: the bird's save-ends ability can be assumed to last, on average, three times as long as that of debilitating bombs (after you yourself asserted that ongoing damage in general should be assumed to be worth one tick of damage, total - maybe less).
- Result of what I must assume is somehow bad math: debilitating bomb is six times less action efficient than the bird
- Conclusion: Bird Animal Companion wins hands down.
- Attempt to undermine opponent credibility: Broad implication that the only reason why I'd be opposed to the obviously superior bird would be that it is not compatible with quick alchemy, which I cling to for what must surely be illogical reasons.

I mean, you're twisting yourself in knots here. Are you doing this deliberately?

For me, I said that there were multiple reasons for using quick alchemy bombs, and I'm going to back that up.

First, I want to make clear that I do not believe that it is particularly worthwhile, overall, prior to level 9. Prior to the point where you can quick alchemy two bombs in one action, I don't believe that it *is* worthwhile. You're better off with a sack of bombs you made at the beginning of the day. I suppose it might be worth doing quick alchemy if you just straight-up ran out of those, or if you desperately needed a bomb type that you hadn't prepped or didn't have any more of, or maybe if you literally didn't have anything to do with your third action and you didn't want to waste a bomb on MAP -10, but these are all largely edge cases. Level 9 is the point where it actually starts being a reasonable go-to strategy.

So... given that, the advantages are as follows:
- Enables use of Dual-Weapon Warrior abilities fairly efficiently by allowing you to fill both hands with bombs in a single action. By contrast, when using the bag of daily prepped bombs, you basically don't have any viable action options other than quick bomber/quickdraw.
- Additives - primarily Sticky Bombs, with Debilitating as a second option, which you mostly buy because you have two bombs coming, and might well want additives on both. Hey - flat-footed isn't terrible.
- Allows for use of perpetual bombs. Perpetual bombs mean that you can do this at-will, without expending daily resources. That allows you to continue being a full-time bomber while dedicating a larger fraction of your available reagents to mutagens, elixirs, and alchemical tools, and for gifts to the rest of the party. Also just generally handy to have as an option if it looks like your adventuring day is going to go longer than you'd planned for in the morning.
- When not using perpetual bombs, allows you to pick any bomb from the recipe book, rather than just aby bomb that you'd thought to prepare at the beginning of the day.

Now, you could point to any one of those and say "that's not worth the action cost". You'd even be right. No single one of them *is* worth the action cost. Taken together, though, it starts being pretty viable.

SuperBidi wrote:
Sanityfaerie wrote:
As far as "ability to last" goes... depends.

Not really. If at level 9+ you still need Reagents to the point of sinking 5 feats into Perpetual Bombs, then your very first levels were pure torture (and I'm not masochistic enough to go through that). If your very first levels were at least ok then by the time you are level 9 you have far enough reagents to do whatever you want with them and won't sink 5 feats to gain more. Especially considering that you will gain more without doing anything but levelling.

And to finish bashing Perpetual Bombs: Paying 5 feats to create a strong routine around Perpetual Bombs is going against the design philosophy of the class. The Alchemist is strong because of its versatility, it's an opportunist. You are supposed to compensate your overall weakness by your ability to seize opportunities. But by paying 5 feats to do one specific routine you don't take feats to seize more opportunities and on top of it breaking your routine may be hard because your whole build revolves around that. Normal Alchemists don't have such issues and will jump on every opportunity and end up being both more efficient and more fun to play (at least for me, but if you like routine play I strongly discourage you to play an Alchemist anyway).

It's... not the only thing this alchemist does, though? Let's look at the options.

- Can quick bomb one of the daily-prep bombs from the sack. Should have at least a decent number of options there, especially early on before the stash gets depleted. Then has two actions for whatever.
- Can pull out and use whatever elixirs/tools/whatever he prepped at the beginning of the day.
- If he desperately needs a specific tool Right Now, he can craft it with Quick Alchemy and then use it - and at level 9, brew whatever it is that he wants for his other hand and possibly use that too. He'll be keeping back a small pile of infused reagents for flexibility just like any other alchemist.
- At level 6, he has dragon breath. At level 12, he gets flight.
- He can quick brew up a pair of bombs and then Double Slice, giving his second bomb improved accuracy. Once he gets to 10, he also has the option to do this and move, with dumping off the bombs at any point along the move, as long as he's willing to give up said accuracy. At level 14, the accuracy stuff becomes significantly stronger. It becomes almost vanishingly unlikely that he'll miss on both. When he does this, he's got a bit of flexibility on which bombs he's making, and a tiny bit more on which debilitation he picks for the debilitating additive.

That's... not looking *to me* like it's locked into a routine. Sure, it is the cast that "brew perpetual, launch both with an attack out of Dual Weapon Warrior" is the default turn for when you want to contribute meaningfully but don't want to burn resources, but the point of that is to have ore to spend elsewhere, not to just do that all fight every fight... and even with that most baseline default turn, there's still options.

On the matter of running out of reagents... it matters what you're doing with them.

Let's say you have 15 reagents - level 10 with a 20 int. You set aside 4 of them for quick alchemy because you never know what might happen, and you want options when it does. You spend 2 on getting 4 quicksilver elixirs for yourself because you're going to guess you won't need more than that (and if you do, you can use quick alchemy). You have three fellow party members - two martial/martials and an Oracle/Bard caster/caster. The two martials also have a favorite mutagen that they'd really like four of each, so that's four more reagents spent. You spend two more on healing potions, because having everyone have a healing potion on hand just seems like a really good idea. Now you have three left to spend on bombs, for a total of nine bombs in three sets of three. That's... not a huge number... and I guarantee that the party could keep coming up with handy things to spend them on if you had more to spend. Its not that you don't have enough reagents for bombs. It's that there's so many more things that you could be spending them on that aren't bombs. And yeah, if all of your fights for the day are gong to take place during a single hour, then you can save a few... but there are campaigns that aren't like that.

SuperBidi wrote:
Your rage compensates your lack of strength so before level 7 you play the equivalent of a martial with no offensive ability. That's quite terrible, actually.

Again, though, that's not true. You play the equivalent of an alchemist, except that your backup non-bomb attack is notably more effective than the crossbow, and your bomb attack is *also* more effective, with both a +2 to hit and a barbarian feature bonus to damage over and above what normal alchemists have to deal with at that level. Oh, and you're also way tankier. the fact that you're fairly good at throwing a trident doesn't remove your alchemist class features.

SuperBidi wrote:
Sanityfaerie wrote:
Bird companion has... a few issues that you're not takign into account.
But 4 times the success rate of Debilitating Bomb. And Debilitating Bomb also costs an action. So before level 20 and Perfect Debilitation, the Bird Animal Companion is better hands down.

No. It doesn't cost an action. The additive itself is a free action. It comes with the quick alchemy action... but there are a number of things that come with the Quick Alchemy action. As an action by itself, it's obviously not worth it. As a rider on an action that has other benefits as well, it's a lot more worthwhile.

SuperBidi wrote:
Sanityfaerie wrote:
I think I demonstrated adequately in my last post that they do a reasonable level of damage
Perpetual Bombs are not working during 40% of your career (I could even say 70% as I don't think many players play regularly above level 15). They are really bad out of the gate, and it's only through an important use of feats that you can get them to competitive levels around level 11 (but never better than normal bombs). And their only use is to gain Reagents, which is nice but Reagents are a low level issue. At level 10+, Alchemists have the ability to last. So, yeah, they are bad and I never consider using them. I hardly see how they can be salvaged.

Prior to level 11, your perpetual bombs are T1, and your standard bombs are T2. At level 11, your perpetual bombs go up to T2 at exactly the same time as your standard bombs go up to T3. You're losing a single tier regardless... just as you do again when both of them rank up at 17.

The things that drag them up are the additives. Now, if you have the infused reagents to burn, and you're sitting a couple of levels above the bare minimum for your bomb tier, you can do the same thing just fine spending a reagent per bomb with standard quick alchemy... but then the cost is "one action, and one reagent per bomb" rather than "one action".

As far as "ability to last" goes... depends. Depends on how many elixirs you want to hand out to your friends, and how many you want to drink yourself, and how many fights you're going to get in, and how much time each of them is going to take. If your GM hands you one fight a day of no more than four rounds then yeah. You're golden regardless. That's not all games, though. Other than that, blowing two reagents a round is going to burn through your stockpile pretty darned quick.

And yeah, its' true that you don't get them to start with, but we're discussing how useful they are when you have them. I've already acknowledged how slow they come online.

SuperBidi wrote:

About your Barbarian build:

Before level 12, you only have a range of 30 feet, compared to the Ranger 40 to 80ft (before or after Far Shot). So you'll need to move more, and you'll need to Rage (always at round 1) when the Ranger may start with a Prey (highly uncommon but at least it happens). Having to Hunt Prey is a drawback, but the Barbarian will also use a lot of actions. The Barbarian has an edge, still.
Before level 9, your Barbarian struggles with its at-will options. Before level 3 you can't even get a Returning Rune so you'll be ridiculously weak. Even once you get a Returning Rune, your efficiency will be really subpar. That's a lot of levels. The Ranger starts with a bow and is a full grown Precision Ranger out of the gate.
So the Ranger is better before level 10 and the Barbarian after. For me it's a wash, both builds are just not focusing on the same level brackets.

Before level 3, you're not ridiculously weak. You're just a melee barbarian with an alchemist chaser.

Before level 9, you're using a returning throwing weapon as your at-will option. It's not amazing, but it's not terrible.

That said, I'm willing to acknowledge and agree with the before/after level 10 assertion, in at least a rough sense (if you're talking about dual class on both sides). It's not what I'd expected to be the case initially, but it does appear to be true. I was honestly surprised at how long some of the barbarian's stuff took to come online.

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...or for an evil thaumaturge, a bunch of different tokens charges with the essence and influence of various demon lords and archdevils. Whatever it is, you can bet money that there's some demon lord or archdevil out there who hates it, feeds on it, or both.

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So, looking at my build from above...

- Level 1, you're generally goign to be running around with a finesse weapon, doing standard barbarian things in melee. Your bombs are going to be something that you use when the situation calls for them (you need a ranged option, you have a bomb that hits the enemy's weakness, or you want to rake advantage of the splash damage). You probably want to spend at least half of your (relatively few) reagents on things that are not bombs. Easy access to Juggernaut mutagens in particular can help out quite a lot while you're in rusty dagger shank town mode.

- Level 2: Very similar to level 1, except now you can metabolize them your mutagens for the heals after the enemy has chewed through their temp HP. It might be worth trying to juggle in an offhand weapon to take advantage of double slice, but it's possible that this is more trouble than it's worth.

The next few levels get kind of awkward, mostly because you're investing feats into being ready to be really good at bombing, but you don't have enough infused reagents to be able to bomb full-time. It's still functional - at worst you're a barbarian who's also an item dispenser, plus a decent ranged option - but you're lagging behind. You'll want to invest in a standard returning throwing weapon that is *not* a bomb, and switch over to using quicksilver, with bomb throwing still being a sometimes food, and somewhat limited use of double slice. The awkward phase doesn't really end until level 9, with double brew. At that point, you can have your default three-action rotation be to perpetual brew two bombs (one sticky, the other debilitating) and throw them both with double slice, or (at level 10) move and throw them both with Double Blitz. On turns where that's not preferred, you can use quick lobber to just dump a daily bomb for one action, but by that point you'll have enough bombs that it shouldn't be a problem to keep that going all day. "one bomb per round, some rounds" is rather more workable than "one or more bombs per round, every round".

As dual-classers go, then, he's closer to a martial/caster mix than martial/martial for the first half of his career. Not really what I'd been expecting. After that, I think he shapes up quite nicely.

it seems almost bizarre to suggest monk as the default tank rather than champion. The champ is going to do the job a lot better with out-of-the-box obvious default choices.

SuperBidi wrote:
Sanityfaerie wrote:
Let me first dismiss a feeling: I have the impression I'm annoying you. If it's the case we can just call it a day and stop there.

Nah. I wouldn't put nearly this level of effort and attention into something if the only thing I was getting out of it was annoyance.

...but I do appreciate you reaching out to check. You're doing okay on your side?

So... the build that I was actually describing for from the beginning:

Human Dragon Barbarian/Bomber Alchemist dual class.

Alchemist feats: (and a tip of the hat to @ottdmk)
1: Quick Bomber, Far Lobber (Ambition)
2: Revivifying Mutagen
4: Calculated Splash
6: Debilitating Bomb
8: Sticky Bomb
10: Expanded Splash
12: Uncanny Bombs
14: Perpetual Breadth

Barbarian Feats:
1: Raging Thrower
2: Dual-Weapon Warrior Dedication
4: Dual Thrower
6: Dragon's Rage Breath
8: Renewed Vigor
10: Dual-Weapon Blitz
12: Dragon's Rage Wings
14: Dual Onslaught

...and here's where you get a bunch of the reasons why barbarian and perpetual bombs and a dedicated bomber (rather than a bomb-and-bow build) just work together. Bombs have relatively few attack abilities that actually work with them. Dual-weapon warrior actually offers a couple of good ones, but they require that you have a bomb in each hand to use them... which is something that takes two actions if you're pulling them out of your bag, but only one action with quick alchemy. So at level 14 (which, admittedly, takes a while to get to) you're spending three actions for the full cycle, sure, but what you get out of it is an attack at full, an attack at -2, and then if both of them miss you get to pick on that hits anyway... and the base range of 60 makes three-action attack cycles the sort of thing that can happen sometimes. Alternately, Dual-Weapon Blitz means that if what you wanted to do was move and make two attacks, then your quick brew action is free. In the meantime, you don't need to spend actions on hunting, because you're not a ranger... and if you hit twice (as you'll be attempting to do with some regularity) you get full damage on both.

Then there's the sidebar stuff. Quicksilver mutagen means that instead of being half a point down (from dex), you're half a point up (because the mutagen tracks on +1 above standard gear) and you can use Revivifying mutagen to have it heal its own damage when you're done with it. You're not spending money on goggles or weapons or extra bombs... or consumables of any variety, really... and, just like all good alchemists everywhere, you can also save your teammates a fair amount of money on their consumables. You can afford to spend your entire cash inflow on gear upgrades (without having to pay anything for weapons) and plot coupons... and money does matter, in the quantities we're talking about here.

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SuperBidi wrote:
Sanityfaerie wrote:
"at-will" is very much not a term I'd ever apply to a daily resource.
I haven't found a better term. But I'll replace it with anything you suggest.

The standard term is "daily". It's a resource that refreshes every day. It's a daily resource.

As I've said, this build is archetype feat hungry. I would hesitate to play it without FA. And considering how FA is common, I prefer to compare FA to Dual Class as you should have easy time finding a game allowing it.

What I posted was intended to be for FA. Specifically, it was the FA side of the tree - not addressing what you did with your class feats at all. Similarly, I didn't bother to discuss the other side fo the dual class for the dual class option.


With FA, the build would be:

1: Hunted Shot
2: Alchemist archetype, Animal Companion (or Quick Draw retrained to Animal Companion at level 4)
4: Far Shot, Quick Bomber (slightly worse than Quick Draw but consumes a mandatory Archetype feat)
6: Expert Alchemy, Mature Animal Companion
8: Demolitionist Archetype, Calculated Splash
10: Specialized Animal Companion
12: Expanded Splash, Master Alchemy

This build is closer to your Dual Class build. There's still a 2 level delay because most feats are available 2 levels later, but that's not overwhelmingly annoying.

...and here you have replicated that FA-side feats list pretty much exactly... except that you're spending feats from your base class in a few places to accelerate things. It doesn't actually matter all that much, though - I wasn't particularly bakign in teh effects fo perpetual bombs on my build, and Master alchemy doesn't really do a whole lot for you at that level on yours. The level 12 comparison looks very similar to the level 14.

SuperBidi wrote:
<stuff about WBL and backfire mantles>

Good to know. I'd say that the mantles are probably more valuable to the full-class alchemist side than the archetype, though, given how they crank the value of that extra 5 foot radius.

I'd say something about backfire mantles and PFS, but PFS has that level soft-cap, so....

SuperBidi wrote:
<stuff about bird companion>

Bird companion has... a few issues that you're not takign into account.

- You have to keep the thing current. That costs feats (which you were, admittedly, paying).
- The bird support action isn't nearly as user-firendly as you make it out to be. In particular, the animal companion autoaction for Ranger is "Stride toward or Strike your prey". That means that if you want it to provide its support effect in a given round, your'e going to have to spend one of your own actions that round commanding it... and by the rules of support actions, it won't be makign any attacks with the second action either. Debilitating Bomb takes no additional actions, past that necessary to brew the stuff yourself.
- Your bird can be attacked and killed. It's actually relatively fragile... and once it goes down for good, it's going to take you a week of downtime to get it back.
- Debilitating (especially after you get a few feats in) has a variety of effects that you can add on. Bird only has the one option. It's a pretty solid option, but there's no flexibility.
So... I'd say *not* strictly better. Of course, I wasn't using debilitating as my primary example anyway.

SuperBidi wrote:

Sanityfaerie wrote:
- gets 2-per on quick alchemy and perpetual alchemy

Not really a thing. Maybe my main gripe to your theorycrafting: Using Double Brew asks for a lot of conditions:

- Level 9
- 3-action sequence (so no need to move, Hunt Prey or whatever)
On the other hand, having a bow helps you a lot during all the rounds where you have a limited number of actions. With one action, Hunted Shot is vastly better than using Bombs. Even with 2 actions, you can choose to use a Bomb and then Hunted Shot for nice results (the Bow is free, unlike your Bombs). Also, for long ranged combat, the bow is definitely a better idea.
So there's an actual advantage of having a bow at hand that you need to leverage against your perpetual Bombs. Hint: Perpetual Bombs will end up bad, they always do. As your build has access to more Bombs (by being a full Alchemist) and always at level Bombs (without having to pay for them) just forget about Perpetual Bombs.

You keep asserting strongly that perpetual bombs are useless and should be ignored. Well, I'm getting there. I think I demonstrated adequately in my last post that they do a reasonable level of damage, at least, and I'll be looking to address the action sequence soon. As far as requiring three actions? well, yes. Largely that's true - and when you have a round where you only want to spend one action on attacks, then instead of doing anything with a longbow, you pull out one of the many, many bombs that you crafted with infused reagents that morning, and you throw it with quick bomber. If you're dual-classing it, the longbow is really unnecessary.

Past that, you seem to be arguing from the POV of "well, of course you're a ranger", which is something I've been largely disputing from the beginning... and we're now running into some of the reasons why. I'll pull it together more coherently in a bit.

I do note, for the record, that you're sitting there saying "perpetual bombs are useless" and the guy who's actually *playing* an alchemist is talking about how perpetual bombs are great. So that's a thing.

SuperBidi wrote:
Sanityfaerie wrote:
Like, that's a *lot* of feats to spend, and a not trivial amount of money, to get to the point where you can sometimes be worth using instead of a bow... and that's before any of the bow feats are really taken into account.

Welcome to PF2. This build is on par with a bow Ranger, and that's the good thing about PF2.

Still, saying that it doesn't have assets against a Bow ranger is wrong. The main drawback of bows are resistances. A simple resistance to Piercing (a common one on top of it) really hampers archers. Also, you can abuse weaknesses with Bombs. And you can even choose to debuff. So it's a different build than a Bow Ranger, but not a worse one.

My point is that is is a bow ranger... and then on top of that it blows effectively all of the resources you get with FA to get... not much. I suppose that being able to fiddle with damage types is useful. It just seems like if you're going to sink that many resources, you should be trying to get more.

SuperBidi wrote:
Sanityfaerie wrote:
My personal Conclusions:

Mine: Obviously, you'll get a better build with Dual Class than with FA. But the difference in power is not really significant (compared to other cheated Dual Class builds like Fighter/Barbarian). It's not really a build that shines with Dual Class, it's a build that shines with FA.

Also, I think you'll have easier time finding an FA game than a Dual Class one. So it's really a build one can play, not a theoretical build that asks for the most liberal optional rule in the game.

...but talking about Dual Class is kind of the point, here. That's literally what this thread is for. The challenge of "I can do almost as good as you're doing with just FA" is pertinent, because a martial/martial Dual Class should be doing significantly better than a FA build, but an argument of the type "why would you bother playing Dual Class" is missing the point of the discussion entirely.

...and I'm very not convinced that it "shines" with FA. Where is this shining of which you speak?

Also, don't judge the Dual Class build until you've seen the entire dual class build, eh?

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I actually stumbled into a nifty idea in this thread, that I now want to share back.

Like many of you, I'm into crunch. I have crunch that I think is cool. For one moderately silly example, "I want to play a goblin who is awesome because he is almost constantly on fire."

Well... that one's going to take some building towards, for a few different reasons. That's just how it is. At the same time... that doesn't have to mean that you're not cool while you're doing that building. Even at level 1, you're a little goblin with aspirations of flammability, and that can be cool too. you can have him work up to it. Sure, from a crunch perspective, the cool numbers thing that you want to have happen only happens after you've gained a few levels, but from a flavor perspective, the journey to get there - the path along which your little autopyromaniac earned his awesome little combo - can still be very cool.

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SuperBidi wrote:
Sanityfaerie wrote:
Lag behind? If you don't have alchemist base class, there's no such thing as at-will bombs.
By at-will bombs, I mean the ones you produce with Advanced Alchemy, in opposition to the ones you buy/craft. Perpetual Bombs are not part of any optimized build to me.

"at-will" is very much not a term I'd ever apply to a daily resource.

...and part of the point that I'm making is that I think you're wrong on that.


Also, you take far too many feats to make bombs viable. You just need Quick Bomber, Calculated and Expanded Splash and you're a Bomber. But you also need the Dedication and Expert/Master Alchemy for a total of 6 feats. Add in Far Shot for the range doubling and you have a properly built character.

The rest of the feats you speak about are at best situational.

So your at-will bombs (as in the ones you get every day for free) will lag behind but you can compensate with a few bought/crafted ones for the tough fights. As such, during tough fights, you have nearly the dual class efficiency when it comes to bombs.

Sanityfaerie wrote:
and you only ever create one thing per reagent instead of the 2

Unless I have missed something, you create 2 items per batches. So you only lose your Intelligence modifier in Reagents, which is annoying at low level but quickly becomes inconsequential.

Overall, compared to the Dual Class version, you get a few feats later and you lose on the level of Advanced Alchemy, which forces you to invest on extra bombs for tough fights (which is fine for a build who doesn't need a weapon per se). You also lose the extra splash at level 13.
If you play with Free Archetype (because it's quite a costly build in terms of feats) you should have roughly the Dual Class efficiency once you're out of the very first levels.

You're correct that the archetype can make two per batch. That was my error. So... let's talk about "out of the very first levels", then.

like, you say you just need Quick Bomber, Calculated, and Expanded Splash. So that's...

2: Alchemist archetype
4: Quick Bomber
6: Expert Alchemy
8: Demolitionist Archetype
10: Calculated Splash
12: Expanded Splash
14: Master Alchemy

so you have everything in place by level 14. Let's talk level 14, then.

Actually, first we should talk bomb levels. the bomb level breakpoints are 1, 3, 11, and 17. That's when the alchemist gets upgrades with infused reagents, and when you get upgrades by spending money.

lvl 1: alchemist gets level 1 bombs here. You can pay for them.
lvl 2: alchemist dedication. You get level 1 infused bombs here.
lvl 3: alchemist gets level 3 bombs here. You can pay for them.
lvl 6: expert alchemy feat. You get level 3 infused bombs here.
lvl 7: alchemist gets level 1 perpetual bombs here.
lvl 11: alchemist gets level 11 bombs here. You can pay for them. alchemist gets level 3 perpetual bombs.
lvl 16: you get level 11 infused bombs here.
lvl 17: alchemist gets level 17 bombs. You can craft them. Alchemist gets level 11 perpetual bombs.

So... the thing that I notice here is that starting at level 11, what the alchemist gets for perpetual bombs and what the archetype gets for infused bombs are... very similar. Now, quick bomber says that if you're only launching one, then the pre-made bombs are at least more action efficient. If you want to reach into Dual Weapon Warrior skills, though, then you pretty much have to start with both hands full fo bombs, which makes that whole thing much less one-sided.

Now. Let's talk level 14.

- your WBL is 9,300 lump sum. Generally it's messier than that, but if we're talking tofu numbers, it's at least a vague approximation of what resources you can throw around.
Alchemist goggles: 1,400 gp. +2 item bonus to attack rolls and alchemical crafting. Ignore lesser cover when making strikes with alchemical bombs. 7,900 remaining.

You're throwing around level 3 infused bombs, and level 11 crafted/bought bombs. Those crafted/bought bombs are 250 gp each, which means that if you get into a big important fight and threw four of them, you've just burned a bit over 10% of your WBL. That's a not entirely trivial cost. You have 28 of the level 3 bombs to throw around. Admittedly, if bombs are the only thing you're making (or almost the only thing), then you're not going to run out unless it's a marathon day.

You've had two ability boosts, so your int is 18.

We'll use alchemist's fire as a benchmark.
Your range is 40 (with a bit of help from Ranger, and your splash radius is 10. You have +2 to hit.
- infused: 2d8 fire, 2 persistent, +6 splash
- bought: 3d8 fire, 3 persistent, +7 splash

Your Bow and Arrow (+2 greater striking, 2000gp) plus, say, flaming and frost (another 1000gp) (4900 remaining) has a profile of
- +2 to hit, range 200 (again, you took a Ranger feat)
- damage: 3d8+2d6(1d6 fire, 1d6 ice) plus various things on a crit

The bow is very comparable to your bought bombs against a single targets (much longer range, no persistent damage, no damage on miss, better effects on crit) but starts to lose out once the splash damage comes into play... as long as you can keep that splash damage party-friendly. Your infused bombs need to catch at least one other foe in the splash or leverage vulnerabilities just to get back up to par. I suppose it might also be worthwhile if the foe was behind lesser cover.

Now let's talk what you get at 14 as a dual-class alchemist.

- gets 3-per rather than 2-per on daily prep infusions.
- gets 2-per on quick alchemy and perpetual alchemy
- can limit splash damage to only primary target
- another 5 feet of splash radius

1: Quick Bomber
2: Far Lobber
4: Calculated Splash
6: Directional Bombs
8: Sticky Bomb
10: Expanded Splash
12: Uncanny Bombs
14: Perpetual Breadth

Alternate feats:
1: Quick Bomber
2: Far Lobber
4: Calculated Splash
6: Debilitating Bomb
8: Sticky Bomb
10: Expanded Splash
12: Greater Debilitating Bomb
14: True Debilitating Bomb

In the first case, we get more control of bomb splash, we get a significant boost to range plus some assistance against cover/concealment, and we get a third perpetual damage type. In the second case, we get access to True Debilitating Bomb. We get the same range boost as Far Shot in-house regardless. We get sticky bombs regardless.

It might also make sense in the second case to dump sticky in favor of either perpetual breadth or directional bombs, depending. still, for the moment we're going to talk about that first option.

- We'll assume we have the goggles, because duh. (7,900 remaining)
- (Note: if you're willing to take the pain, you can brew quicksilver elixir instead of the goggles, and at one hour per you can easily brew enough to get through the day. That'll give you an extra +1 to hit, but leave you a lot less healthy.)
+2 to hit (or +3 with quicksilver), range 60, ignore light cover, +1 to hit vs heavy cover, ignore flat check vs concealment, splash damage is radius 15 or blast 15 or only primary target.
- perpetual alchemy #1: 2d8 fire, 8 persistent, +6 splash (sticky)
- perpetual alchemy #2: 2d8 fire, 2 persistent, +6 splash
- daily prep: 3d8 fire, 3 persistent, +7 splash

So... assuming no vulnerabilities or resistances, and assuming only one round of persistent damage, the first perpetual bomb here is only *slightly* worse than the daily prep bomb. (avg .5 less damage on hit, 1 less damage on miss.) The daily prep bomb here is roughly equivalent to the paid-for bomb up above, except that it has better range and much more control over its splash area (larger or blast or single-target). If the persistent damage lingers longer than a single round, the sticky bomb could be doing a fair bit more... and with three different damage types, you can easily enough rotate to keep the persistent damage from overwriting.

Also, as normal, the alchemist dual-class can hand out mutagens and elixirs to all their friends, have some healing elixirs on the side, and so forth - generally a tier higher than what the archetype alchemist has on offer.


My personal Conclusions:
- I don't think that the archetype alchemist bomber is actually worth it. Like, that's a *lot* of feats to spend, and a not trivial amount of money, to get to the point where you can sometimes be worth using instead of a bow... and that's before any of the bow feats are really taken into account. In general, I would not suggest trying to play a bomber by archetyping in.
- The combat advantages of Alchemist/Ranger bomber over standard Ranger-with-a-bow are not huge, but they're there. In some cases (you're up against a whole bunch of dinks, or something that has specific resistances/vulnerabilities that you can target/avoid, or maybe you're just missing a lot), they can be pretty significant.

I'll get into dual weapon warrior and how it fits in later.

Lag behind? If you don't have alchemist base class, there's no such thing as at-will bombs. I mean, I'd love to be wrong on this, but as far as I'm aware, perpetual infusions hard-requires the alchemist base class.

As far as important feats...

- Quick Bomber (1) -> Alchemist Archetype (4)
- Far Lobber (1) -> Alchemist Archetype (4)
- Calculated splash (4) -> Demolitionist (6)
- Directional Bombs (6) -> Demolitionist (8)
- Debilitating Bomb (6) -> Alchemist Archetype (12)
- Perpetual Breadth (8) -> N/A
- Sticky Bomb (8) -> Alchemist Archetype (16)
- Expanded Splash (10) -> Demolitionist (12)
- Greater Debilitating Bomb (10) -> Alchemist Archetype (20)
- Uncanny Bombs (12) -> N/A
- True Debilitating Bomb (14) -> N/A

...and I'll leave out the 16-20 stuff, because I've yet to actually be in a campaign of *anything* that managed to keep going that high. I recognize that others have, but... let's say it's not a thing I focus on.

Then there's the fact that advanced alchemy from the alchemist dedication is both short on infusions and lagging behind a fair bit on levels... and you only ever create one thing per reagent instead of the 2 or 3 that the alchemist eventually gets, and you lose out on the 5 feet of extra splash radius at level 13, and the bomb DC doesn't track with your class DC, for those bombs that have saves. You lose a *lot* by trying to make do on archetypes, even with FA.

You're correct that standard Debilitating Bomb is pretty weak. True Debilitating Bomb, though, is fairly respectable, especially if you're tossing multiple bombs a round.

Basically, the bomber alchemist is at base terrible combat class that claws its way back to shining mediocrity by inches. If you're thinking that a single-class non-alchemist can largely match an alchemist dual-class as a bomber, then you're ignoring a bunch of those inches... and if your context for "dual class bomber" is "start with a bomb-using fighter/ranger, then juice it up a bit by making the alchemist side a full class" then yeah, it's not going to look like it brings as much to the table.

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What construct isn't? Celedons. They're crafted directly by the gods. That's their whole point. The whole tie-in with divinity is their entire reason to exist as an ancestry in the first place. If you're going to throw that out, there's no reason to have them at all.

Like... what's the point of adding them, but then making them blander? You're taking an ancestry that could have fundamental differences with some real, compelling kick behind them and just turning it into yet another "human in funny pants and hat" ancestry. It's not like we're short on those as it is.

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