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shroudb wrote:

. Most of the problems of the Alchemist stem from very poor itemization of the alchemical items.

Bonuses that don't stack with your preexisting mandatory equipment (armor)
Poisons that evaporate in thin air without any good reason
Mutagens that have far more severe penalties than bonuses
Universally terrible DCs compared to everyone else on their main stuff.

And yet, you see the changes, and you see that, not only do not they address the core issues that almost everyone has been harping about but:

Poisoners get poison resistance instead of something to help with actual application of poison, which statistically borders on "don't even bother with it" from players all around.

They get DC 14 abilities at level 7,and 3 action activity attack to (less than half the time) add a 1d4 damage.

Support based alchemists get abilities that straight up don't work due to the issues everyone keeps repeating (item bonuses).

This sums up several of the class’ issues. 1.6 provided a lot of great quality of life buffs, but a lot more needs to be done.

My Playtest experiences as both player and GM is that the core problem stems from a lacking Alchemy Item system. They don’t stand up to spells or magic items, despite being both the alchemist’s main class feature and a form of treasure/loot. Why isn’t there a Cold-Iron sheet, or higher level extracts (Cheetah elixir that grants accelerated 25, etc.)?

Feats feel more like necessities to make your items relevant, rather than make them more powerful. Quick Bomber feels worse than Quick Draw, and many bomber alchemists I’ve played and played with choose to kulticlasz for the improved action economy. Many other alchemist feats are also lackluster and feel more like a tax than a boon.

Bombs require too many feats to become a powerful weapon option, and even then they don’t compare to what a weapon or spell can do with similar or even less investment.

Mutagen bonuses compete with item bonuses, when they should compete with spells or have a different bonus type (Conditional or Circumstance). Additionally, scaling drawbacks make getting higher level mutagens feel punishing. Heroism is a straigh bonus, but True QS gives you -50 HP and penalized your Fort save while it’s bonuses compete with your ore-existing items.

Poisons should scale with class DC, and the research study/feats should boost their power in meaningful ways.

The level 17 feature also needs a re-evaluation. Being able to make 3 items with an action, and then only having two actions remaining means one item is wasted unless you take a feat. You shouldn’t need a feat to use a class feature.

I like the improvements I’m seeing, but much more needs to be fixed up.

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I prefer having this as a class feat such as Explosive Missile from PF1, modeled after Channel Smite and other similar 2-action attack feats, instead of as a form of ammunition itself. Reason being that making it ammunition itself leads to the issue of the alchemist having to either multiclass or take a general feat for bows, instead of playing to the alchemist's base proficiencies, and greatly overtuning damage for the class as roughly any attack with this ammunition would deal double the damage of another weapon user (late game of 12d8+splash, without property runes! This should not be a reliable single action attack!).

I suggest the following:

Alchemist Class Feat 4
Name - Explosive Missile
Prerequisites - either Quick Bomber or Quick Alchemy
Action time - 2 Actions
Cost - 1 ammunition, 1 alchemical bomb
Description - You draw and load an alchemical bomb and a piece of ammunition onto a ranged weapon with reload 1 or lower, and fire the weapon. On a success, the attack deals both the regular damage of the weapon in addition to the damage and properties of the bomb. On a failure (but not a critical failure), the target of the attack and creatures within 5 feet of the target are subjected to the bomb's splash damage.

One action to load the bomb and ammo, one to fire, simple. Makes light and hand crossbows that much better for the alchemist, without breaking the system by giving alchemists reliable access to a pseudo-spellstrike ammunition that they can shoot off multiple times a round.

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Alchemic_Genius wrote:
Attached bombs to crossbow bolt/arrows. Gives you a -2 improvised penalty, but now you have a ye olde RPG grenade for an attack that does arrow damage with a little kick

I didn't know you could do this! Do you know where in the Playtest book I can read up on this and how it works? The Explosive Missile discovery from PF1 was a personal favorite of my alchemist, and I'd love to be able to give that to him for the playtest. :)

I liked that they decreased the number of spell slots available to casters per day, and made all their spells scale with their Class DC. I also liked that they removed level-based duration and bonus dice, instead tying the spell's strength to the spell slot used.

However, I agree that the spells themselves have been nerfed a bit too much. I've really only looked at the big names so far, but I'm not impressed.

If you don't heighten fireball, it's damage starts to become trivial (especially with more HP going around). However, constantly heightening spells means you'll run out of those slots. This leads to an issue where blast spells only feel impactful when heightened, while lower level slots go unused because 6d6 fire damage at 11th level just isn't cutting it. If you're going to design it so casters have fewer spell slots, they should have options that provide value at every spell level they can cast (more on this below!).

The spell nerf that stands out to me is Dimension Door. It only teleports you 60 feet, and uses 2 actions to do so. An elf wizard can walk that distance with as many actions! And you can't bring anyone with you anymore either. Sad times for a classic favorite.

What I'd like to see is integrating both heightening and actions into many of the spells, similar to what they did for Heal.

For example, with Dimension Door: casting with 1 action teleports you 60 feet; 2 actions increases it to 600 feet and you can bring one ally; 3 actions increases the number of allies you can bring up to your casting modifier. For blast spells like Fireball and Lightning Bolt, make it so adding a casting action leads to an increase in the damage, or some other effect. Using 3 actions to make a 3rd level Fireball deal ~8d6 fire damage or increase its AOE adds value to those lower level spell slots. And this ties into other turn considerations, such as maintaining concentration and moving ("I'd like to add an action to fireball, but I have to GTFO from the Barbarian in my face", or "I'd like to add an action to fireball, but I have to keep my concentration on X spell").

Again, I like the nerf to the number of spell slots and class DC. In theory, it means a caster has to be more careful and intelligent with when and how they use their spells while keeping all their spells relevant. The spell system just needs more heightening and action-adding options baked into each spell.

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Charisma to saving throws and some form of Smite feature is core to just about every and all paladins. Smite doesn't have to be a stat-boost like in PF1, but should be some means of providing the smack-down against the BBEG. The Cleric's smite feat comes to mind...

I don't mind Lay of Hands changing to be an action to use (as opposed to a swift); however, I do think it should be stronger to reflect the action economy cost and limited usage/day that doesn't scale like it does in PF1. Perhaps using d6's to start, and increasing to d8's with a feat.

I really wish to see more feat options for paladins. I personally think that Retributive Strike should be a feat, not a core class feature, as it feels more like something that benefits certain builds and play-styles rather than a character concept (unlike Lay on Hands or Smite).

Regarding the Paladin's Code, I think the code should be dependent based on your Deity. While all paladins in the playtest must be Lawful Good, Paizo has stated that PF2 would allow paladins of multiple alignments. If a player wants to play a paladin of a trickster deity, they should be allowed to be deceitful and lie (with some restrictions to prevent paladins from lying to do purposeful harm to innocence etc.). This idea that all paladins must follow a specific code is an old-fashioned idea that 5e rightfully changed with their Oath Tenants, allowing different paladins to feel distinct from one another.

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I agree with feats and feat chains being what focuses an alchemist as a bomber/poisoner/mutagen specialist/etc., similar to Druids.

Class features should provide the basics of making the alchemist proficient with, and the best at using, alchemy items (DC's, proficiency increases, etc.). Feats and feat chains provide the specialization.

I agree with removing the restrictions on heightening spells for spontaneous casters, allowing them to be more flexible in how they approach spellcasting. They already are restricted by their spells known/spell repertoire, versus the prepared casters who get to pick their spells known for the day which grants them greater versatility.

The suggestion of 5e's design, or designing prepared casters similar to PF1's Archanist, would mean that everyone would be able to spontaneously heighten spells and would not have to prepare spell slots. Spellcasting would be simpler and more flexible overall for everyone, but spontaneous casters would just be worse than the prepared casters. Why play a sorcerer when a wizard can heighten as they do, while also being able to select their spells for the day?

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This is not a question to the community, but rather a question for Paizo: can you clarify if splash damage applies to a target directly hit by a spell or bomb?

On page 359, and the Appendix on page 419, the book states: "When you use a thrown weapon with the splash trait, you don't add your Strength modifier to the damage roll. If an attack with a splash weapon fails, succeeds, or critically succeeds, all creatures within 5 feet of the target take the listed amount of splash damage." Does this also include the target creature? Or is the target creature only subjected to the splash damage on a failure (but not a critical failure)?

For example, would an orc hit with an Alchemist's Fire take both the 1d8 fire damage as well as the 1 point of fire damage from the splash?

Previous threads have debated this and believe that RAI, the target creature does takes the splash damage on a success and critical success. I'd like to ask Paizo for an official clarification on this, and a possible errata, to make the wording and intended effects of the splash trait clearer going forward.

Thank you!

Deadly adds an additional dice to the damage of a critical hit, as shown with the weapon (I think all Deadly weapons use a d10).

Fatal changes the weapon damage dice the weapon uses on a critical hit. For example, a 1d6 weapon with the Fatal (d8) trait would deal 2d8 damage instead of 2d6. This increases with magical weapons, so a +3 weapon (3d6) with the Fatal (d8) trait would deal 6d8 damage.

I kinda agree that it is a bit confusing, though I think part of that has to do with how similar the words Deadly and Fatal are. The fact that both do roughly the same thing (increase how much damage you do on a critical hit) doesn't help.

Hope this helps!

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An alchemist can boost their item bonus to-hit with mutagens, but doing so would override (not stack) the to hit bonus from Empowered Alchemy, as they are both item bonuses. And that's not considering the drawbacks, which can be pretty rough. I've already brought up my desire for increased proficiency for the alchemist in previous posts (at least to Master in the late game), but I feel it bears repeating.

Bombs doing relevant damage to a cantrip is also very unappealing to play. Late-game alchemist bombs should be a terrifying prospect! After the initial blog post in April, I was expecting there to be a d10 bomb damage option(scaling to 6d10, or 33 average damage before other bonuses/feats/etc.), but the best option is either d8 with Alchemist Fire or the persistent burn from Acid Flasks.

If I'm spending resources to create my single use thrown weapon, I expect it to do at least as much damage as what a fighter can put out. If an alchemist's bombs are competing with cantrips, something is wrong.

I'd also like to see more bomb and general formula options. Bombs with no splash damage but stronger target damage (~d10), bombs with different utility effects on a successful hit, etc. More Elixirs to allow the alchemist to create more buffs for their allies.

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Hey All! Wanted to say thank you to everyone who comments on these threads for their feedback and ideas. The more we discuss, the more we can help Paizo. Keep up the great work :)

A problem I notice is that the alchemist is build as a generalist class, and as such are a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none. As a result, buffing part of the alchemist could lead to unintended side effects.

I think a few general changes, as well as providing 4 branches of Alchemy [which I'm going to term Alchemy Fields] that provide a focusing tool for the class similar to the Druid/Wizard/Barbarian/etc, will help the alchemist. An alchemist who starts with an Alchemy Field could then feat to improve their versatility with another alchemy discipline (again similar to other classes like the Druid). I'm interested in what you think!

General Changes
- Class DC scales with the class, and applies to all items made by the alchemist. At 13th and 17th level, the alchemist's proficiency increases to Expert and Master.
- Advanced Alchemy runs off it's own resource pool equal to the Alchemist's level + Intelligence modifier.
- Quick Alchemy runs off a Alchemy Point pool, equal to the alchemist's Intelligence modifier. Feats that apply to Quick Alchemy increase this pool by 2.

Bombs / [Grenadier Alchemy Field]
- Grenadier's add their proficiency bonus to their bomb attack rolls. That would be trained to start (as it is currently), Expert at 13th, and Master at 17th. Touch AC is not very different from standard AC in PF2, and the Grenadier should be better at hitting with bombs than other alchemists.
- Grenadier's can create 3 bombs in a batch with Advanced Alchemy, instead of 2. Bombs are a Grenadier's bread-and-butter, and for their focus on bombs they can create additional bombs with their daily preparations. Simple Weapons are an alchemist's fall-back/at-will "cantrip" feature, they aren't as good but then again they aren't supposed to be.
- Grenadier's gain the Empowered Bomb class feature (as it is currently); additionally, starting at 1st level, Grenadier's add their Intelligence to the damage they deal to the target of a direct hit with a bomb.
- Access to the Quick Draw Feat without needing to multiclass, possibly having Quick Bomber as a prerequisite.
- More bomb options/later bomb options would be a nice.
- Clarification on "Burn It" ancestry feat. As it stands, the wording is vague and can be interpreted to provide an unintended massive damage boost. It feels weird for an ancestry feat to provide so much value to a single class, such that it feels mandatory to spec into.
- Clarification on Splash damage on whether or not it applies to the target of a bomb on a direct hit. This has been debated on the boards, and I think that the wording could be cleaned up.

Mutagen / [Mutation Specialist Alchemy Field]
- Mutation Specialists add their proficiency bonus to the item bonuses of the mutagens they create with Advanced Alchemy and Quick Alchemy. That would be trained to start (as it is currently), Expert at 13th, and Master at 17th. Many of the mutagen's bonuses later compete with item bonuses from magic items; this change would allow a Mutagen Specialist's mutagens to stand apart from other items and maintain relevance when +5 items are available.
- Mutagen Specialists gain the ability to create mutagens starting at 1st level, and can select one Minor Mutagen formula to add to their formula book even if they do not meet the level prerequisite. They can select additional mutagen formulas at 5th level.
- The mutagens created by a Mutagen Specialist using Advanced Alchemy and Quick Alchemy do not have an onset time.
- All mutagens should have the same onset time, and last 10 minutes, to keep it simple and clean. Again, Mutagen Specialists waive this onset time as above.
- Reassess the drawbacks of some mutagens.

Elixirs / [Apothecary Alchemy Field]
- An Apothecary's elixirs made with Advanced Alchemy and Quick Alchemy do not require Resonance Points to use, allowing them to function as Support for their allies. Elixirs do not scale as well as potions and spells do (9th level Heal does 17d8+Mod, while True Elixir heals for 10d6), and these elixirs still cost the Apothecary's resource pool to create.
- More mid-later level elixir items. Things like an Improved Cheetah or Improved Mistform, etc.

Poisons / [Poisoner Alchemy Field]
- The change to Class DC applying to alchemy items would be a sizeable boon.
- Poisoners, starting at first level, can apply a prepared poison to a weapon or piece of ammunition as an action.

From there, adjust and add feats as needed to support a variety of playstyles. For example, taking the feat to reduce mutagen onset time for non-mutation specialists, and a feat to provide a form of Empowered Bombs for non-grenadiers.

Lastly, regarding persistent damage: Persistent damage is pretty strong atm, and I wouldn't be surprised for it to be nerfed or changed. As such, tying the alchemist's bombing abilities to persistent damage puts the class at the mercy of said system. The alchemist should be able to function with or without persistent damage to lean on.

I'm interested in what you all think! If you have ideas of your own, share! The more we talk about the alchemist class, the better it will turn out for the final product.

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I agree with OP.

Would love to make a Grenadier Alchemist and have an edge with bombs and weaponry over an apothecary or mutation expert.

The 1st-level "archetype" options help make a focused character in the early levels, which can then be focused further or diversified through feats. It feels like you have better and more meaningful choices, and a greater variety in builds, with that approach (a pure Animal Companion Ranger vs. a Ranger that started with an Animal Companion and then diversified both feel distinct from one another even though they started the same).

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I agree that the infused trait should remove the resonance cost. It's already been paid.

In regards to other resonance point concerns: I would agree that the alchemist feels constrained by the system, not enabled by it. I wouldn't be surprised if most alchemists only spend 1 RP per day to invest in their armor and put the rest into their advanced alchemy. There are a lot of fun and empowering magic items that unfortunately have to compete with the alchemist's base abilities. Something has to give.

In regards to Quick Alchemy, I'm not seeing a great reason to use it:
- It's less RP efficient than Advanced Alchemy (which again is a major concern considering how important magic items are), and requires an action in-combat to use. A prepared alchemist gets more bang for their buck.
- Only certain class feats require Quick Alchemy, and those feats require feat investments to become worthwhile and are only usable 1/round. Debilitating Bombs is particularly lackluster, as the initial offerings are weak compared to what other classes are capable of at that level. If a feat requires the alchemist to use Quick Alchemy, the power of the feat should be significant considering it costs (1) a feat, (2) a RP, and (3) an action to create the item. The payoff should be much larger than "Fortitude save or be hampered 5 until the start of my next turn". Dazzled is better, but the other 3 debuffs can be applied by base bombs and two of said bombs do not even require a saving throw. Greater Debilitation offers better options, but are only "-1" debuffs which again feels lackluster at 10th level when compared to 3rd/4th/5th level spells.

I agree with this!

If anyone at Paizo has an opinion on this suggestion, please let us know. I'm sure everyone who frequents these Alchemist-Threads would be happy to provide feedback and ideas :)

I can get behind this.

I noticed that too. I hope that's a mistake.

Was also hoping for more changes. Alchemists aren't in a great spot currently, and it would be nice to see more changes coming for them. Hopefully with more forum posts about the issues we encounter and playtesting of later level modules, Paizo can help get the class to a better spot before release.

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Spontaneous Heightening should apply to all the Sorcerer's spells, and be their stick. Sorcerer's should be ably to heighten any spell they know when they want to, when they want to, so long as they have the spell slots to do it. No fiddling with what level you know a spell or selecting two special spells for the day, you simply need to know the spell. It can cost Spell Points if its felt it would be too powerful, but the ability to spontaneously heighten should be a major draw of the class.

You know fireball and want to cast it at 6th level. Done.

Prepared Casters have various advantages from flexibility, more spells to choose from at the start of the day to customize what they need, and dditional spell slots or slotless casting (Cleric's can can Heal with spell points, etc.). They can prepare for any situation if they have a bit of time and know how.

As a spontaneous caster, you don't have those benefits or luxuries. You're stuck with what you know. However, the compromise should be that you can use what you know in ways other classes simply cant.

Prepared should be flexible preparations. Spontaneous should be flexible casting. Why pick the Spell-Jock? Because they are a true prodigy, and posses a connection to magic that no amount of learning or dedication can emulate.

As a sorcerer I played in 5e said to taunt a warlock he defeated - "Lesser beings like you make pacts with great being like me."

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A lot of martial classes would like some of the feats Fighters have access to. At the same time, access to those feats is what makes the Fighters feel unique. It's a catch 22. I think I have a suggested solution.

For Martial Classes: Make feats like Power Attack, Double Slice, Sudden Charge, Point-Blank Shot, and Shield Paragon also General Feats. They can still be Fighter Class Feats, but by making them also available as General Feats helps with the feat woes that many classes have. Multiclassing is a nice option but doing so for 1 feat feels lackluster, and feats like Shield Paragon can't be gained through multiclassing (it'd be nice for a sword-and-board paladin to have this feat before level 20, for example).

For Fighters: Give them a class feature at 5th, 7th, or 9th level that allows them to leverage some of their feats in a way no other martial class can:

"Once per turn, you can reduce the action cost of a fighter class feat you know by one action, to a minimum of one action. You cannot use this class feat again until your next turn."

This would give the fighter the ability to take actions like Power Attack, Swipe, Sudden Charge, Double Shot, and Double Strike one per turn for only 1 action; however, they would not be able to use that same feat until next turn (no double-double slices or double-power attacks!). This would be a Figther-unique class feature, giving them an edge over other classes other than just feat selection. Even if another class can gain double strike and similar feats, no one can use those feats like a true fighter!

I imagine some wording would need to be adjusted, but what do you fine people think? Are there any other combat-styled feats that should be available as general feats?

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So paladin's "Holy Smite" is persistent damage on their retributive strikes that comes online at 9th level.

Meanwhile, the cleric has a 4th Level Feat called Channel Smite that allows them to deal Positive Energy damage on top of a weapon attack, and that damage scales up quite well.

I think this Feat should be adapted and given to the paladin class, as a 1st or 2nd level class feature. If needed, make Retributive Strike a Feat that a defender paladin can opt-into.

Make Paladins Smite Again!

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1. I don't mind resonance in theory, but not every magic item should use it. There should be items that don't use resonance (consumables), those that have to be invested (magic armor), and those that require constant use (wands). I'd also like for it to be in the item's description if RP is spent on Activation or not, that way a new player isn't as confused or the game has to be stopped for the DM to go flipping through the book. An yes, something needs to be done for the Alchemist because they run themselves thin really easily from what I've seen and read.

2. I'm open to this. I'd recommend 5 slots for 1-3, 4 slots for 4-6, and 3 slots for 7-9, just because the numbers work out a bit better (one less spell slot for every three spell levels).

3. I wouldn't mind this, or at the very least a Variant Rule for those who want that feeling of power to be tied to their character rather than their gear.

4. I would much rather make the Raise Shield action last until you put it down (a free action), but you become hampered 10. That way a shield-user can get 3 actions for attacks and the like on their next turn and subsequent turns, but are slower due to being in a defensive stance.

I'm not sure about boosting cantrip damage too much. They are at-will elemental damage with rider effects. They aren't meant do to incredible amounts of damage. Perhaps a Feat option for all spellcasters that lets them add an additional damage die to their cantrips? I'm also nervous that increased cantrip damage would render an Alchemist's bombs pointless... though that might be more of an issue with the Alchemist.

I think RAI, it shouldn't. Based on the wording of the Feat and on Splash damage, there is nothing that says it wouldn't apply, though that seems more like an "Air Bud" situation rather than an intended interaction.

For 19th level Alchemist throwing an infused Alchemist's Fire with an Intelligence of +5 and both Calculated and Expanded Splash Feats is already doing 6d8 fire damage, 6 persistent damage, and 7 splash damage. With the Burn It feat, the damage increases to 6d8+9 fire damage and 7 persistent damage which is a nice damage increase. If the feat were to interact with splash as well though, the splash would increase to 16 splash damage! If you multiclass Rogue for Quick Draw, you can deal up to 48 splash damage in a single round!

I'm thinking Burn It either has a typo, or Paizo didn't realize the effect this could have for splash weapons. Regardless, I agree it should be clarified.

Well, the Class DC wouldn't help much currently because Alchemists do not increase their proficiency bonuses either. Poisons are the most obvious because they greatly suffer from this.

Bombs only get a +2 item bonus to hit, but no proficiency bonuses. Meanwhile martial (for AC) and caster classes (for TAC and Saves) naturally scale up.

Mutagen bonuses are also item bonuses, meaning that a number of their boosts are made irrelevant by level-appropriate gear with item bonuses (item bonuses don't stack with other item bonuses). Meanwhile the drawbacks weigh you down since those are item penalties.

The issue is bigger than just giving them class DC to alchemy stuff to start. They should increase their proficiency for Class DC, bomb attack rolls, and mutagen item bonuses to Expert (12th), Master (16th), and Legendary (19th) just like spellcasters. At the very least they should gain Master proficiency to their alchemy by the end game.

Nice catch, I hadn't notices the bulk issue. Would make a Bag of Holding mandatory... and that uses RP as well >.>

Does a spellbook also weight 1 Bulk? Or is this book-weight strictly an alchemist issue?

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There isn't much magic item support for alchemists. The only item I noticed that really helped them much, not counting the more standard gear, were the Greater Alchemist Goggles for a +2 item bonus to hit and ignore screening.

Bomb-focused alchemists don't have many ways to boost their to-hit in the late game. Empowered Bombs gives them up to a +2 item bonus, after that its just their Dexterity. The only way to improve this are mutagens, but then you have to accept their drawbacks or invest more feats. Alchemists who use unarmed strikes and weapons fare a bit better, though the alchemist's proficiency in armor and weapons doesn't progress past trained (neither does their Class DC for that matter). This might lead to more scaling issues, but would have to see how this all works in-game at later levels.

I do wish alchemists had more "fun" feats and magic items. Explosive Missile was one of my favorite PF1 discoveries, and the Sipping Jacket would be an awesome armor trinket (store an infused elixir or mutagen for up to 24 hours, can drink it as an action without the manipulate trait). A personal favorite item though was a pair of Gauntlets that extended my alchemist's thrown weapon range, which could be ported over into PF2 and allow for Rune enchantments to hit and the like.

I agree that every item made by the alchemist should be considered infused, and that an infused item shouldn't cost the user RP. The fighter doesn't have to pay for the Wizard's or Cleric's buffs.

The spells of a Wizard and Cleric are far more powerful than what the alchemist can create as the game goes on, so making the alchemists the generalist who can make A TON of stuff at a lower power scaling gives them a unique niche: The Wizard has only so many immense blast spells and the Cleric has only so many heal spells, but the Alchemists brings consistency and generous portions of sweet-sciency goodness even if each individual items doesn't pack the same punch.

Bombs should have intelligence to damage at level 1 or some other means of increasing their early game power. There is no difference in an alchemist's bomb versus what any other class might stumble upon or buy in the early levels. Maybe let them focus the bombs they make, letting the alchemist choose to forgo splash damage to increase the bomb's base damage die by a stage?

Why are the prepared batch sizes of Advanced Alchemy fixed? Bombs are far more disposable and function more as ammunition since they are lost after use, meanwhile the effects of a mutagen can linger for several rounds if not hours. Advanced Alchemy should allow you to prepare batch sizes of 3-4 Bombs, and 2 of every other alchemical item. An alchemist walking around with +10 bombs in the early levels is more akin to an archer with +10 arrows than anything else, and the alchemist still has to use an action to draw his bombs.

Better onset times for Mutagens would be great. It stinks having to spend a feat just to make a major class feature and item worthwhile in the midst of a tense encounter. I also agree that the alchemist's items should use their Class DC, and have their class DC increase to expert/master/legendary at the same levels as other classes.

Also, let alchemists get Quick Draw as a level 2 Feat instead of having to multiclass Rogue to play a bomb-focused alchemist.

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After theory-crafting and playtesting a bomb-focused Alchemist, I have a few thoughts.

First, being forced to deal splash damage can be problematic. Tactically, it can be a powerful situational tool, but currently it feels like Precise Bombs is a necessity (even if you don’t want to invest in splash damage) to not hurt your allies and you have to wait until 6th level to take it. Instead, I suggest that the alchemist gains the Empowered Bomb at 1st level, with the following feature (or alternatively have this as a feat option at 1st level):
“When an alchemist creates a bomb, they can choose to create it with the focused trait. This trait replaces the bomb’s splash trait, and instead causes the bomb’s base damage dice to increase by one step (1d6 -> 1d8, 1d8 -> 1d10, etc.).”
This would allow the alchemist to choose between splash damaging opponents, or focusing damage on a singular threat while not hurting his allies. This would also help the alchemist’s damage concerns, allowing Acid Flasks to scale up to 6d6 persistent acid damage and Alchemist’s Fire to scale up to 6d10 fire damage and 6 persistent. Splash would still be strong, especially with the feat selection available, but would allow the alchemist to play around their bombs and splash damage in another way unique to the class.

Second, Quick Bomber is unnecessary with Rogue Multiclassing. At 2nd level, an alchemist can gain the Rogue Dedication Feat in place of their usual class feat. Then at 4th level, an alchemist can take Basic Trickery to gain the Quick Draw Feat. On page 359: “Bombs are martial thrown weapons with a range of 20 feet.” With the Quick Draw Feat at 4th level, an alchemist can draw and throw their prepared bombs in a single action, making it far more effective than Quick Bomber. When I playtested this build, it helped my alchemist feel much better with the action economy system (no burned actions with prepared bombs!). Unfortunately, I still ran out of bombs and had to fall back on my hand crossbow, but while I had bombs I felt like I was making meaningful damage contributions to combat… though the Barbarian was still doing more damage, as well as the Sorcerer when he was casting spells. Quick Draw should be a feat available to the alchemist class without needing to multiclass. A bomb-focused alchemist shouldn’t have to multiclass just so they can do what they want to do.

Third, the Free Action/“Once per Turn”/Quick Alchemy feats seem poor as the game goes on. Up until 13th level the “once per turn” doesn’t matter since you can only make one item with the feature, and after that it feels restraining for the cost. They shouldn’t be “once per turn”. Sticky Bomb is already kept in check by the persistent damage rule that damage of the same type doesn’t stack, and Exploitative Bomb should be powerful considering you’re spending an action and resources to create and throw more powerful bombs. Make it so that they can only apply the effects of one Free Action/Quick Alchemy feat to a bomb to prevent effect/feat stacking on a single bomb.

This brings me to Debilitating Bombs, which I love conceptually. The initial Debilitating Bombs gained at 6th level is weak, as three of the desired effects are already achievable with level 1 bombs, and two don’t require a saving throw. Greater Debilitating Bombs gained at 10th level provides some nice debuff options, but the actual debuffs (outside of Stupefied) are only a -1, which seems underwhelming for the cost at this level. True Debilitating Bombs gained at 14th level is great!... but by that point the alchemist has already had to invest 3 feats. Perfect Debilitating Bombs gained at 18th level is a good capstone for the feat chain, but again the alchemist has had to spend a total of 4 feats to get to this point. What I’d suggest is including the sluggish 1, enfeebled 1, and stupefied 1 alongside the dazzled condition into Debilitating Bombs (6th level), having Greater Debilitating Bombs (10th) increase the power of the conditions, and True Debilitating Bombs (14th) applying the status 1 effect even on a success but not a critical success. Alongside this, these debilitations should function like the rogues’ debilitations by making it so a target can only be affected by one debilitation effect at a time. I’d be cool to make two Greater Debilitating Bombs at 13th level and use them to debuff two opponents for my party.

I also want to bring up the Goblin Ancestry Feat: Burn It. The writing is a bit unclear, but I’m going to assume it allows you to add ½ the item’s level as conditional damage to fire items such as alchemist’s fire. This one ancestry feat allows an alchemist to add up to +9 damage to their 6d8 alchemist’s fires at 19th level, +1 conditional persistent fire damage. Theoretically, the +9 damage might also apply to the splash of the bomb, which would be ridiculous! Overall this trait seems like a bit much, and it feels like a requirement for any bomb-focused alchemist to take for the later levels… and much like the Rogue Dedication to gain Quick Draw, it feels strange having to invest in outside feats to make the alchemist’s bombs feel more powerful. I’d suggest either toning down (and clarifying) the feat, or making something like this available to the alchemist as a class feat. Goblins are great, Goblin alchemists are better, but when every alchemist is either a Goblin or has ancestral ties to Goblins something is up.

As a side note, I’m unsure of the damage dice for Liquid Ice. The item entry lists 1d4; however, the Ranger Blog and the Hunter’s Snares imply it should be 1d8.