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".
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.
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.
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.
In order to meaningfully make use of it, you need to start your turn immediately adjacent to your target
That's the whole point of the discussion: With the Choker-Arm Mutagen, you should be able to stay in a central position and have all the party in your reach.
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.
But once out of combat, the Fighter becomes the support and the Alchemist the one acting. It doesn't mean that the Fighter actions are not worth as much as the Alchemist actions, just that it's now the time for the Alchemist to be the one acting.
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.
I don't say you're totally wrong. Just that there are many factors and not just action efficiency.
I can understand that reasoning. But, I find it overly simplistic and/or short sighted. Damage rarely happens in the amounts that the heal spell heals. Therefore, a majority of the time, there is over healing (debatably a wasted spell) or you wait for more damage (which runs the risk of a character going unconscious).
The whole self-fulfilling prophecy of the Cleric:- The Cleric uses low level spells (or Spirit Link) to heal someone who will not go down outside some extremely lucky streak.
- Because of that it doesn't contribute meaningfully to the fight. As the party is 3 instead of 4 the fight becomes really tough (from Moderate to Severe or from Severe to Extreme). Very quickly damage starts to add up.
- The Cleric can now say that the healing it did at the beginning of the fight was super important considering how the fight was hard. He now looks like a hero despite being the one dragging the party down.