Advanced Feats: Secrets of the Alchemist (PFRPG) PDF

3.70/5 (based on 6 ratings)

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The Secrets of the Alchemist gives you insight into the alchemist class and the tools to make an exciting character that is a “blast” to play. Created by Sigfried Trent, this 12-page book includes:

  • A breakdown of the Alchemist class
  • 30 new feats for alchemists, such as Bottoms Up, Fire in the Hole, Primeval Fury, and Sundering Bomb
  • Alchemist character builds: The Carpet Bomber, Mighty Mutant, and Mad Scientist!

When the goblin chief asks you what’s in all those funny bottles hanging from your belt, uncork a laboratory full of whoop-ass on him! Get your copy of Advanced Feats: Secrets of the Alchemist today—and stay tuned in the months to come for the rest of the Advanced Feats series for the other new Pathfinder Roleplaying Game character classes.

Includes a HeroLab data file for all of the alchemist feats!

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3.70/5 (based on 6 ratings)

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Sub-par first part of the series

2/5

This pdf is 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC and 1 page SRD, leaving 9 pages of content.

The book starts with 1+1/2 pages of a short introduction/discussion of the alchemist class.

The main meat of the book are the 30 new feats for the alchemist. They come with the AF's signature commentaries on the feats, which I usually find useful. The feats are:

Accurate Assessment: Learn one statistical value of a foe during combat

Advanced Alchemy: Add Int bonus to alchemical item DC values

Bottoms Up: Drink potions as a move action

Craft Anywhere: Craft 8 hours/day while adventuring

Craftsman: +2 bonus to all craft skill checks

Create Wondrous Creature: Create new life forms

Extra Extract: Prepare an additional extract

Fast Item Creation: Create magic items in half the time

Fire in the Hole: Splash weapons ignore cover

Frugal Crafting: Item creation costs are reduced

Hardy Brawler: Nonlethal DR equal to Con modifier

Improved Sleight of Hand: No penalty to using Sleight of Hand as a move action

Learn Command: Learn commands words when activating magic items blindly

Lighten Weapon: Effort to wield weapon reduced by one category

Lighten Weapon, Improved: Removes the attack penalty for using Lighten Weapon

Mind over Body: Heal more ability damage/day

Minor Damage Reduction: Gain DR 1/&#8722; or increase existing DR by 1

Modify Mutagen: Change the penalty you take from a mutagen

Opportunity Shot: Take attacks of opportunity with ranged weapon

Organized Inventory: Draw non weapon items as a free action

Pack Mule: +4 bonus to Str for purposes of carrying capacity

Practice Makes Perfect: +3 bonus when taking 10 or 20 on a skill check

Primeval Fury: Gain combat prowess for a short time

Reliable Bombs: +2 to DCs of bomb effects and damage

Sidestep Charge: +4 bonus to AC against charge and attack of opportunity if missed

Skirmishing: +2 bonus to AC while moving and making ranged attacks

Suicide Bomber: Set off all your bombs at close range

Sundering Bomb: Use bombs to make sunder attacks

Throw and Charge: Throw a weapon and charge as a full round action

Weapon Juggle: Sheath, pick up, and trade weapons as a free action

I hate Accurate Assessment. I loathe it from the bottom of my heart. A feat that actually brings numerical information into the game and makes a character know a certain stat of an enemy in combat as a standard action is so damn broken in my opinion that I'd NEVER, EVER allow it.

I like how advanced alchemy makes alchemical items more useful at higher levels.

Craft Wondrous Creature: Cool idea that should not have been reduced to one single feat but rather get its own pdf. As it stands, it's too generic for my tastes. Sample alchemical creatures like homunculi would have made this plain awesome and once I have designed some sample critters, I think I'll use it. I want more to expand upon the elegant mechanics.

Frugal Crafting: I don't like this one - it makes crafting cheaper. If there is enough gold, you won't need it. If there is not enough gold, it might imbalance the premise of the campaign.

Learn Command: Learn an item command by activating it with use magic device. Wait, what? No way. This does not conform to my concept of magic item activation being complex and people using the skill wildly trying to guess how to use it by rambling, fiddling, pushing the item etc. It's my personal preference, but I wouldn't allow this feat in my campaign.

Lighten Weapon: After doing the math, I can safely say that this feat is perhaps the first to enable wielding larger weapons without breaking balance. Nice.

Primeval Fury: Cool feat, but tying it to e.g. being under the effects of a mutagen would have helped to tie it more to the alchemist. As it stands, I don't like it being so generic.

Suicide Bomber: While a great idea, I don't like the implementation - this feat is a dragon-slayer and in a world where resurrection is only a couple of GPs away, this feat could quickly devolve away from its "Blaze of Glory"-intention to a "Blow yourself up, Alchemist, afterwards we'll resurrect you"-mentality. In a world without resurrection, this would make for a memorable final stand, though.

Weapon juggle: Just a cool idea.

After that, we get three sample alchemist builds, the carpet bomber, the mighty mutant and the mad scientist.

Conclusion:
Editing is top-notch, I didn't notice any typos or glitches. Layout for this first installment of the series, is still in used parchment and not too printer-friendly or aesthetically pleasing. There is, apart fropm the cover no artwork. I already commented on some of the feats I liked and some of them I didn't like, however, my main gripe with this installment is that is does not focus enough on the alchemist for my tastes - while there are necessarily some feats that can be used by more classes than the alchemist, I felt that some of the feats were too generic. Some of the just didn't have the exclusive alchemist vibe and, quite frankly, I consider some of the feats (see above) broken. Thus, combined with the lack of a printer-friendly version and my impression of a lack of class-focus, my final verdict will be 2 stars. If you don't share my problems, add a star.


Well then...

3/5

Simply put, if your DM allows this supplement expect the power level of your game and especially your alchemist to rise dramatically. Not terribly well thought out feats lead to all kinds of rules shenanigans that will lead to some pretty quick endings to fights. If your group or DM is fine with this, I can recommend this whole-heartedly as the feats themselves are at least enthusiastic, and visually appealing. Knock yourself out.


Great Book

5/5

This book opens up options for the Alchemist some really need and expected. And a few that are a very cool, one that lets you craft your very own monsters. Every one else has done a great job reviewing this product so I am not going to. But I will say, if you play an alchemist you pretty much need this book and if you don't it is still kind of useful and at less then $4 why not people


Part Gold and Part Lead

3/5

Please note that a copy of this product was furnished for the purposes of this review.

I was pleased to be asked to review Secrets of the Alchemist, as I am a huge fan of extending player options and customizability. Moreover, I really love the Advanced Players’ Guide for Pathfinder, and I think each of the new classes included in the book are solid gold. After reading the document, putting it aside and reading it again, I decided my review would boil down to two issues: the concept of the simple class expansion, and the specific mechanical information contained within Secrets of the Alchemist.

I think the idea of a simple guide for character builds using the new classes is brilliant. The chance for new feats and other options to choose from while I reconcile my own character concept with the Pathfinder rules is too good to pass up, and the $4 price for the print or .pdf version is completely reasonable. Though I am very picky about the supplements I spend my money on, this is exactly the sort of small purchase that can add hours of fun discussion and character building to a core mechanic. Already, there are two players thinking of playing an alchemist in an upcoming evil game I’ll be involved in. The deeper the support for a brand new character class, the more exciting the prospects for those characters. I fully expect to see a similar treatment from Open Design for other APG classes and maybe even some core classes if they suffer a lack of attention (meaning bards). In this way, brief books like Secrets of the Alchemist are necessary additions to the gaming libraries of both players and game masters.

As for the specific mechanics and other material presented in this first guide, I think of it as part gold and part lead. The feats have a few great choices, among them Fire in the Hole, Hardy Brawler, Organized Inventory, and Practice Makes Perfect. Not only do these feats impact (ha!) the alchemist class, but they are interesting options for other classes also. I think the feats also have some offerings that could have benefited from more playtesting or review. Some (Reliable Bombs, Craftsman) duplicate the effects of already existing feats, while others are poorly balanced by low prerequisites (Minor Damage Reduction, Primeval Fury, Suicide Bomber). The Create Wondrous Creature feat is remarkable in its design: it lets a low-level PC create life forms (instantaneous fireball, or permanent choker or morlock?), it allows a weird change in required caster level at 10th level, and it does not allow an alchemist to create a construct or undead, which makes more sense to me.

While there are parts I liked and didn’t like about the book, perhaps the most remarkable thing to me is what it’s missing. A treatment of the alchemist class seems like it’d be brimming with a variety of mechanical goodies, like new poisons or a poison feat, one or two alternate class features, one or two mundane mechanical items. Probably I am just looking for a more involved product that deserves several editorial passes and demands more of your money, but I think consumer reaction to this line of books will be one of frustrated or satisfied expectations – when I opened Secrets of the Alchemist, I expected lots of neat choices designing a potential PC or villain. I got a list of feats I am unlikely to use (or ever let any of my PCs use, like Create Wondrous Creature or Suicide Bomber), and that’s almost all. I like the idea of building a few sample characters and explaining their options and archetypes, but I’d like more than I got.

In summary, the potential for an exceptional product is there, but a number of things had me wishing for a more thoughtful design. I note this product is a first offering, and I admit I am not privy to the amount of information about the class Open Design might have had prior to print. This book has things I’d recommend every alchemist player or DM take a look at, but some of the feats may require a little DM polish to maximize the fun and balance they bring to


A very good book for the Alchemist class.

4/5

Secrets of the Alchemist by Open Design

This product is 12 pages long. It starts off with a cover and ToC. (2 pages)

Next it jumps into introduction and examining of the Alchemist class. (2 pages)

After that it gets to 30 new feats for the Alchemist class. Many of them can be used by other classes. The complete list with a few examples of what they do. (4 ½ pages)

Accurate Assessment
Advanced Alchemy
Bottoms Up – drink potion as a move action.
Craft Anywhere
Craftsman
Create Wondrous Creature
Extra Extract – get a extra extract
Fast Item Creation
Fire in the Hole
Frugal Crafting
Hardy Brawler
Improved Sleight of Hand
Learn Command
Lighten Weapon
Lighten Weapon, Improved
Mind over Body
Minor Damage Reduction
Modify Mutagen – change the penalty you take from a mutagen.
Opportunity Shot
Organized Inventory
Pack Mule – allows you to carry more.
Practice Makes Perfect
Primeval Fury
Reliable Bombs
Sidestep Charge
Skirmishing
Suicide Bomber – set off all your bombs at once at close range.
Sundering Bomb
Throw and Charge
Weapon Juggle

The final section is on character builds. They are basically advice on how to make builds that focus on certain area's of the class. (2 ½ pages)
Carpet Bomber - focuses on bombs.
Might Mutagen - focuses on mutagens.
Mad Scientist – support role.

It ends with a OGL. (1 page)

Closing Thoughts. This book really takes a look at the alchemist class, gives advice on builds and how to play it. Then offers a slew of new feats that would help the class do it's roll even better. There is no art in the book other than the cover. Most of the feats are well done and either interesting or useful or typically both. Likely Suicide Bomber is the worst feat and I like it. Your character typically kills themselves using the feat but likely kills everything around them. I don't see many taking the feat but I thought it fit the class well regardless. So whats my rating? Well it depends, for those looking for advice how to play the Alchemist it is a 5 star I say. You get advice and new toys. For those wanting more for their alchemist I give it a 4 star. For those not interested in Alchemist I still say it is a 3 star as many of the feats could be used by other characters. The one big knock on this product is the pages look a bit like parchment. Which will neat looking would be brutal on a printer. I feel they really need to offer a print friendly version of this as well when you buy it.

Trust Me, I'm a Succubus.


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The Exchange Kobold Press

Ah-HA! I knew there was an alchemist's lab around here somewhere!

This is Open Design's first take on character design and expansion for the APG. There's more coming to cover the whole APG, so .... let me know what you think!

Dark Archive

Added to cart, hopefully next week I can pick this up.


When the goblin chief...
Probably going to buy this simply because I like the description that much.

Liberty's Edge

I hope everyone has fun with this one. It was a blast to write and the Alchemist is definitely a fun class to play.

Since it's my first solo project I'm keen to get feedback and to answer questions. If you pick it up, feel free to drop me a line at Sigfried@gmail.com

May all your lead turn into gold,
Sigfried

The Exchange Kobold Press

Hey Goblin Chief, glad you like it! I'm sure the Alchemist made some bombs with you in mind, but if those bombs should fall off his belt before then...


Any chance we could get a preview of one of the feats Sigfried?

Thx
Vol

Liberty's Edge

Volvogg wrote:

Any chance we could get a preview of one of the feats Sigfried?

Sure thing Vol :)

I posted a sneak peek of Sundering Bomb on Kobold Quarterly based on your request. :)

Secrets of the Alchemist: Feat Peek


I don't suppose there is a feat that grants a level bonus when choosing mutagens ?

Sorry....I'm suffering from Master Chymist frustration.....


There's a feat in this product that grants a +4 bonus to Strength for the purpose of carrying capacity only. That may not seem like it's very useful, but it's very much so if your alchemist has a Strength of 8. With this feat, a masterwork backpack, and ant haul from the Advanced Player's Guide, a Str 8 alchemist can carry up to 150 pounds as a light load!

The Exchange Kobold Press

Yep, it's similar to the mule bands item from APG, which also affects only carrying capacity.

It makes a nice picture, the alchemist who can carry his whole lab in a gigantic pack, but who still can't throw a punch or clobber a foe with a melee weapon.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Cool, I have a player who may like this.

The Exchange Kobold Press

A thoughtful review from a fan of feats and advanced classes at Ten Letter.

The Exchange Kobold Press

And one more review: Stargazer's World

Dark Archive

I will try and review this, this weekend.


Dark_Mistress wrote:
I will try and review this, this weekend.

Having read many of your reviews I'd be happy to provide you with a review copy of Witch's Brew (which we just released today).

If you can send me a contact email at Sigfried@gmail.com I can make the arrangements.

Good gaming,
Sig

Dark Archive

DOH! I forgot about this one.... *mutters*

Sig sure I never turn down free stuff. :)

Dark Archive

reviewed here and at ENworld. I actually had the review done all but my editing and spelling check. I just forgot to post it.


I love this book, alchemist are fun to play already, this just makes them better. I have one question, Advanced Alchemy dose it apply to poison as well?

also I pretty much love Create Wondrous Creature, I can't wait to have to a creature one of my players made and let lose on the world, I plan to have a new creature added to the world for future campaigns,

The Exchange Kobold Press

Thanks, I think Sigfried may have an answer for you soon.

In the meantime, let me just say a quick thank-you to everywho who has made this this #2 best-seller on Paizo this week! We're working on the next one....


The smitter wrote:

I have one question, Advanced Alchemy dose it apply to poison as well?

I pretty much love Create Wondrous Creature...

Thanks for the kind words :)

I don't think Advanced Alchemy should apply to poisons. Although many of the alchemist powers have an effect on alchemical items and poisons, as does the Master Alchemist feat, their are each mentioned separately in all cases because poisons are not alchemical items by definition.

As to why I didn't choose to have Advanced Alchemy follow the pattern: My reason was the Concentrate Poison Discovery which allows you to combine poisons to get a +2 DC. You have to be careful about stacking and +4 on poisons could be just too much without some kind of level restrictions. Poisons are tricky since they are money limited rather than level limited so you have to be extra careful balancing them.

I actually had a feat in consideration for the Secrets of the Alchemist called Intensify Poison but when I got the final copy of APG I discovered I'd been scooped by the discovery! For every feat in one of the Advanced Feats PDFs there were a bunch more that didn't make the cut for one reason or another.

Create Wondrous Creature is one of my favorites. It's also one of the feats that some readers like least in the book, seeing it as potentially abusable. I like have the Advanced Feats books have a mix of some safe feats and a few daring feats that push the boundaries a bit. I'm glad its some peoples favorite and is the most often mentioned in reviews.


Thanks for answering, and you are right having it on Poisons would be unbalancing, and as I said before this is a great product and I can't wait to see what else you got.


Sigfried Trent wrote:
The smitter wrote:
I pretty much love Create Wondrous Creature...
Create Wondrous Creature is one of my favorites. It's also one of the feats that some readers like least in the book, seeing it as potentially abusable. I like have the Advanced Feats books have a mix of some safe feats and a few daring feats that push the boundaries a bit. I'm glad its some peoples favorite and is the most often mentioned in reviews.

I like it myself, even though it's better used by NPCs. I once tried to figure out hot to use it to make a Lupin, and even something that simple would take a lot of magic and effort. Very useful for DMs but it'd be a bit of a bear for players.

Though it does give a good reason for why those new creatures that nobody's ever seen in the campaign before popped up.

Contributor

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Now with a HeroLab file with all of the feats!

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