|The Gleeful Grognard|
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Alchemists tend to be quite flexible as long as they have various alchemical items available to them. Start allowing them stuff from adventure paths (uncommon recipes) and they start being able to provide all sorts of benefits and can actually prebuff.
Bombers are a funny one, they aren't ever going to be damage kings but they can do fun things as they go up in the level.
IMO alchemists mainly suffer because of the low levels of 1-3, but even then they aren't THAT weak. Grabbing a cantrip can be worth it as a backup depending on your stat lineup imo.
At my table the alchemist has saved the day in ways a wizard would have to have sacrificed more to have done. But that is always the case when comparing theory to table and a good GM will try and look the the advantages of classes and give people scenarios for them to shine.
The good old ranger tracking and favoured terrain issue, if a GM handwaves travel and tracking mechanics, then those chosen abilities or granted abilities become pointless.