Into the Breach: The Alchemist (PFRPG) PDF

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Into the Breach is a series of crunch-focused books intended to expand the options available to the base classes (the alchemist, cavalier, gunslinger, inquisitor, magus, oracle, summoner, and witch).

For the seventh book in our Into the Breach line we are focusing on the Alchemist. The class that answers the question what if a mad scientist had magic. We've expanded the content in a variety of wonderful ways.

With 9 new archetypes, 2 prestige classes, new discoveries, and (thanks to the botanist) a bunch of new plant companions. Here is a sampling of what you'll find...

New Archetypes:

  • Academician: knowledge is power, in this case that knowledge is literally explosive. Make your bombs into traps and drink potions that grant new insights and discovery.
  • Botanist: and you though Poison Ivy was a druid! Plant companion and home grown thorn bombs along with lots of other plant based goodies (this one alone is worth the price of entry.)
  • Humoralist: brave souls that intentionally alter their body chemistry to create and harness a connection to the elemental planes.
  • Kiln Crafter: you'll never loot at the potter's wheel the same way again! From shattering disposable ceramic blades into a foe to creating a terracotta golem to protect you.
  • Natural Transmuter: The hook for this is crating traps for an enemies spells to alter and use against them.
  • Pyrotechnician: Katy Perry eat your heart out! If you ever wanted to make things go boom in a pretty way this is for you.
  • Supplimentum: alchemy combines with even more alchemy.
  • Venom Bomber: a poison based character for the bold in your face poisoner.
  • Viscous Arcanist: these guys are oozing with coolness, and by that I mean they delivery their formulae via ooze.
New Prestige Classes
  • Banechemist: takes knowing your foe to a new level, marrying ranger elements with alchemy.
  • Exochemist: An alchemist mixed with summoner, 'nuff said.

Plus new discoveries and plant companions!

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An review


The latest installment of the "Into the Breach"-series clocks in at 34 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 29 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This review was moved up my queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreons.

As always, we begin this pdf with an array of archetypes, the first of which would be the Academician. These guys get all Knowledge-skills as class skills and Skill Focus for one of their choice at first level instead of Throw Anything. Instead of making regular bombs, academicians can create explosive traps they can place as standard actions that provokes AoOs - such traps can be triggered either via a timer, proximity or a remote detonation, the former requiring a swift action to be executed while within 10 ft. per class level. If a given trap is not detonated within 10 minutes per class level you have, it harmlessly expires. Perception and Disable Device-checks made to notice/disarm the traps scale at DC 10 + academician class level + Int-modifier. At 1st level, an academician can have one trap placed at a given time, +1 at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter, with no possibility of overlap in placed squares -i.e., there cannot be more than one bomb per square placed, though splash damage can overlap.

Essentially, this takes the immediacy of bombs and replaces it with a potential for more control via planning - including interaction with bomb-related discoveries. Additionally, instead of more mainstream mutagens, the academician receives a kind-of-cheesily named "Insightogen" that can have one of 3 effects: Make a single knowledge skill check at +10 insight bonus that can be made untrained. Gain a discovery for 10 minutes per level for which the academician meets the prerequisites or finally, create an extract, even if he usually does not know it, with the same limited duration. All restrictions of mutagens apply - only one can be active at a given time and the concoction becomes inert if it leaves the alchemist's possession, etc. However, it should be noted, that these do not qualify as mutagens per RAW, meaning that the academician is locked out of a significant array of options as payment for the wildcard-based flexibility. At 14th level, these alchemists can choose two of aforementioned insightogen-benefits at once and as a capstone, a single activation can trigger 5 placed traps, including contingency-style complex triggers, and no, they do not become inert, allowing for deadly mad bomber hideouts... So, what do we have here? A complex archetype that requires a thoroughly complex rewiring of wording that manages to get it right - while I noticed 2 sentences where some slight rewiring would have made things a tad bit more concise, this archetype is interesting - in both instances, it takes the immediacy of the effects and replaces it with a very flexible alternative that pay for this flexibility by requiring planning. Running into a set-up by an academician is nasty, with their wildcard-discoveries and extracts adding a dash of flexibility, but catching them unaware renders them weaker in de facto adventuring - this archetype demanded playtest and it ended up working rather well. Kudos!

The Botanist receives proficiency with thorn bow and bracer and gets +1/2 class level to all Knowledge (nature) and all Profession-checks related to plants, while also gaining +1 to AC and damage versus foes he and his plant companion are flanking or that have been hit by both via ranged attacks. Bombs of botanists are grown from fungi and deal piercing damage instead of fire damage, making them less useful versus supernatural creatures with DR, but at the same time more potent due to no resistance applying. The botanist also receives a so-called Verdant Mutagen, which nets a +2 natural AC-bonus and a slam attack at 1d6 for Medium botanists - I assume, at 1d4 for Small botanists, though that is not explicitly stated. While I get the default assumption for slam attacks, I still would have preferred the book to note that the attack is a primary natural attack. One mental stat incurs a -2 penalty, though it can be freely chosen. Interestingly, this one halves movement rate of the imbibing botanist while in effect; for plant companions, it instead acts as a regular mutagen and yes, it can potentially grant the mindless quality to the plant companion. Speaking of which - beyond the ones introduced in the ARG, this pdf does provide 8 more plant companion options in the appendix.

Among these, the companions do have some balance concerns - phlogiston companions can e.g. at 4th level launch 2d6 fire damage rays every 1d4 rounds, which provides, especially at low levels, an efficient infinite source of fire damage I am not comfortable with, though this does even out at higher levels. Another companion adds 1d6 bleed to all melee attacks, which seems a bit much at 4th level. But back to the basic plant companion-rules - once awakened, the creature receives at least a 5 ft. base speed if it had none and an Intelligence of 1. The effective druid level is equal to the class level, with full stacking of companion-granting abilities. This replaces all the poison-related shenanigans and the 2nd level discovery, which does feel a bit like a slightly too good deal - companions are powerful. Now one issue here would be that RAW, companions require Handle Animal to be taught tricks and the alchemist does not have this skill as a class skill - I assume the intention was for the Profession or Knowledge (nature) skill to take that role, but if so, the pdf lost this component at one point. It should also be noted that botanists can pretty freely and easily change plant companions, adding a level of flexibility to the class feature that further emphasizes the power of this archetype. At 10th level, the enhanced verdant mutagens created can be used to further enhance the plants - and yes, this allows for an extraction of healing balms that can heal 3d8+HD, while only inflicting 1d8+HD damage to the plant, losing its potency once the mutagen ceases to work. Disease/poison curing and better thorns/growing thorns constitute further options available for the companion.

The healing itself is interesting in that it per se provides more powerful healing than you'd expect to see - the lack of a limit means that, by healing the plant, you can, on average, get a significantly increased healing capacity out of it -with some means of fast healing/regeneration, too much. Additionally, it should be noted that the ability fails to specify what type of action the harvesting of fruit or balm constitutes - and whether a plant can be taught to produce the balm itself etc. Finally, the archetype does sport some minor modifications of the spell-list, with some druid-spells added. The botanist is a strong archetype and imho, the plant companions doe require some retooling in the details. Over all, I do like the concepts evoked here, but as written, both the potentially infinite healing factor and the minor balance-concerns of companions among themselves as well as their flexibility makes me believe that the archetype does get a bit of a sweet deal, in spite of the companion's limited movement rate, which was almost always magically enhanced in my games.

The Humoralist is obviously themed around the now-defunct, but rather captivating theme of the humors, with each associated with an elemental place. This allows the humoralist to brew 3+Int-mod infusions per day, granting access to a given cleric domain, while also providing stacking penalties that grow worse, thus rewarding actively an alteration between the different options provided. The spells granted by the temporary domain access are treated as SP, which is pretty nasty, with one use each available and alchemist level being treated as full-blown cleric level. To offset this powerful option, the humoralist does lose mutagens and decreases bomb-damage progression to +1d6 every 4 levels. An issue here would be that I am not sure which attribute governs the DCs of these SPs - I assume the default, but that does render the archetype slightly more MAD than the base alchemist, which would constitute a further balancing factor I'd consider appropriate. Poison resistance is replaces with scaling saves versus damage incurred from a type of elemental damage associated with the current infusion. 3rd level humoralists may also apply the benefits of more than one infusion, with a scaling save. Failure sickens the humoralist for 2d4 rounds - but does he still get the effects from both infusions? Does the current infusion end upon a failed save? I'm not sure and ultimately, in an ability like this, that's not good - in any case, one can get a vast slew of extra spells per day out of this archetype, as SPs to boot. Compared to that, non-magic healing at 6th level is nice, though not particularly impressive. The ability also has a slight wording glitch, though not one that impedes the capacity to understand its intent. All in all, an okay archetype in concept that has serious balance issues in the execution.

The next archetype would be the Kiln Crafter, who can craft fragile items that would usually be made from wood or steel, but which weigh only half as much as their regular counterparts, substituting Craft (Pottery) for the usual associated skills. In the case of weapons, the items do increase their threat range by 1, though - thankfully non-stacking with keen and similar effects. Ceramic armor provides fire resistance 5 against non-magical fire and DR/bludgeoning equal to the armor bonus of the armor. The low cost here can be considered somewhat problematic, especially at low levels when DR still matters more and is considered to be rare. Having run several rare magic campaigns that utilized different variants of the Armor-as-DR-rules, I'm not sold on the math and its impact on low-level gaming in a traditional default setting here, as much as I like it. At mid-levels, the practical effect of DR mellow out, though. Kiln Crafters also receive Disposable Weapon instead of Throw Anything and may further modify the effects of their ceramic weapons and armor via specific glazes that add spikes or remove the fragile quality. Another ability that lets them make weapons that weep acid and crafting terracotta soldiers complement this archetype. I really love the kiln-crafter's imagery and flair, but it does not feel like a regular archetype - instead, it feels like it belongs into a savage, bronze age sword and sorcery environment, a specific campaign setting that adheres to other equipment/magic-availability rules and one that has a different array of rules for non-magical crafting, since the mundane crafting of these items takes *LONG.* This is not bad, nor is it per se broken, but it does look light it instead ought to have had a slightly different rules-cosmos to work in than default Pathfinder's high magic/fantasy.

Natural Transmuters can be summed up as anti-magic counter-specialists: They create extractors that can capture targeted spells aimed at them and release them back upon their foes, with multi-target spells being only negated for the natural transmuter. This replaces extracts and its pretty much very odd and very awesome - characters essentially can not only be the bane to spellcasters, they can, theoretically, store up on them before encounters. This renders them flexible, but also potentially a drain on allied resources when stocking up - still, a very interesting playing experience that actually gets drawing etc. right. Beyond this ability, instead of mutagens, they can create liquids that change elements and yes, even light to darkness, and yes, they may command material to form structures. Now granted, while the ability does define the changing of materials and energies regarding size, the application could have imho been clearer - as written, this ability partially hinges upon you being able to imagine that you can actually pour something into darkness or sonic and change it thus into another material. This may sound odd, but the concept as such is sound and in fact firmly rooted in by now debunked ideas on how the world works, so as far as I'm concerned, I can perfectly imagine this working in game, with an alchemist commanding thunderous sound into a weapon or armor. I really liked this one, as it is a simplified take on the concept of transient forms that was a basic principle of real-world alchemy and inclusion of this tradition may make sense and fit in even otherwise rare magic worlds where casters a nigh-unknown/banned. Due to potency being directly correlated to magic frequency and availability, while still having unique tricks to modify energy and matter, this one actually also works well in such contexts. Yes, I actually tried that out and it works in both high-fantasy and rare-magic contexts, though in different ways -while not perfect, it is this component that renders this archetype a little masterpiece in my book.

The Pyrotician may draw and light fireworks as a standard action, faster even with Quick Draw/Quick Light, getting the rules-interaction right - and yes, allowing potentially for the set-p of multiple fireworks-attacks. Fireworks utilize splash weapon rules, even though they need to be aimed as a standard action (something APART from pulling and lighting them) and on a direct hit, they inflict an addition Int-mod +1d6 damage in addition to their listed price. Fireworks not aimed at a given area that inflict AoE-damage, deal minimum damage and damage-progression mimics that of bombs. Obviously, this replaces bombs and throwing anything. If the above discrepancy between drawing and firing fireworks was no indicator, 2nd level pyroticians indeed do learn to make the fuses of their fireworks longer, with up to a level of delay being possible. Additionally, the pyrotician may tie multiple fireworks together to prep them for simultaneous ignition - up to 1/2 class level ones, to be precise. 6th level allows for the placing of a bundle as a move action and quicker alchemy creation of fireworks is part of the deal. Over all, the pyrotician is an interesting concept that works pretty well - it manages to take a complex array of rules-interactions and make them pretty feasible. At the same time, the damage-escalation of fireworks as opposed to bombs is a bit higher - however, this also is limited, especially at lower levels, by the sheer cost of fireworks - essentially, they are more expensive and thus, a drain on the character's resources. Especially at first level, this means that pyroticians will struggle hard to get their tools with their meager funding, whereas, the more money you give the character, the more oomph he'll have. The latter is a component GMs should certainly be aware of, though - if you do not explicitly take heed regarding the awarding of money, these guys will break your game.

Part II of my review is in the product discussion. See you there!

Let's Try Something Different


Into the Breach: The Alchemist is part of a series of PDF only crunch-focused supplements produced by The Flying Pincushion focusing on the classes from the Advanced Player’s Guide.
The purpose of this review is to inform a interested customer if the product is worth the content.

Firstly, this ~34 page document is almost all crunch. But the things that need it, mainly the new archetypes and prestige classes, contain a sufficient amount of fluff to indicate how they were inspired and what they aim to do. For the rest of the content the author/designers do a nice job developing the flavor within the ability text. For example, the Botanist Archetype’s Plant companion (which replaces all the poison features of the alchemist) is an awesome little druid-like plant buddy that comes along with you and shakes it’s vines or whips its thorns at your foes. And that’s awesome, and they make it sound awesome, right in the description.

Secondly, there are a lot of ‘cool’ features and ideas. Sometimes when you’re looking at new content, you end up just looking for the versatility or raw power of the feature (Looking at you, Daring Champion), but much less often, I’m reading along and find something that just tickles my fancy (like the terrible Card Caster magus thing). This product is full of them, from super-smart alchemists who place bomb-traps and have factotum-like intelligence, to super poisoners who can on-the-fly whip up something to really ruin the baddies day, little spell-carrying oozes for those who want to play with Zerg in Pathfinder, really interesting synthesist type alchemist + (other cool base class here) prestige classes and more!

My third point is one that is probably one of the most important but has to go here because it can only follow after you’ve set up the other two. The features in the product are both well written and well designed. See, if I told you, hey there’s this Alchemist archetype that replaces normal bombs with bomb-traps, you might think that sounds immensely complicated to implement, but in this case it’s a mere couple of paragraphs (no longer than the original bomb mechanics) and it sufficiently answers all the major questions you may have about it. And that’s really impressive.

Alright, so what about the detractions?
Basically, like any book of additional content, it boils down to the fact that there’s a possibility that some of the content will be sub-par and never played, some will be more of the same, and some could be especially useful, abusable, useful, what-have-you. This book does not escape that blanket accusation. Things like the poisoner bombs and terra-cotta/pottery based crafter who purposefully makes sub-par weapons and armor and the cute little oozies are too impractical to likely ever see play without shenanigans being applied to make them pigeon-hole broken (Butterfly sting and auto-confirmed crits could be awful). Things like the synthesist summoner/alchemist prestige class are neat in concept and could help you do what you were looking for, but likely only if you were already looking in that direction. And things like the discovery where you can apply two bomb discoveries by using twice as many bombs makes me fear terrifying exploding bombs with extra high DCs coming my way from a fairly vanilla alchemist. But everyone’s individual use will vary and what I find uninspired someone else will see as a god-send for how they want to play the game, and that’s good.

Overall, the product introduces a whole bunch of new content - which made me me go ‘oh, cool,’ multiple times - to one of my favorite classes, and since I’m in the middle of a spree of trying out 3pp content, I’m excited to actually try some of it out. The value of the product is also held in the clear and concise writing that shows an acceptable grasp of system mastery as well as an appreciable knowledge of real-world historical and mythological understanding of other alchemist-like concepts and inspiration. Overall it’s a product that if someone said ‘I kinda want to play an alchemist, but I want to try something different’ I know exactly where I’d point them.

A Review of ... Into the Breach: The Alchemist


Into the Breach: The Alchemist is a source book dedicated to the alchemist. The tome has a plethora of options, archetypes as well as discoveries which brings some new and exciting options to an already awesome base class.

Layout adheres to a really slick and simple two column setup. Font choice as well as formatting is crisp and clean. Illustrations are simple yet appropriate for the overall theme of the book.

The first archetype, the Arcanist, offers us a more academic version for the base alchemist. The changes made to the class allow for an interesting take on a bookish type alchemist with a focus on knowledge related skills and abilities. Specifically the archetype offers insightogen instead of the normal mutagen as well as modifying bombs with the ability to set and remotely detonate traps(bombs). I especially like the insightogen ability as it allows the alchemist to easily fulfill the same role as a wizard or bard when it comes to making knowledge checks.

The Botanist is probably one of my favorites. This archetype replaces the normal bombs with organically grown explosive vegetation. Yeah. You read that right. Explosive fruits.:p The archetype also grants the character an altered mutagen which grants the character plant-like qualities. On a side note the mutagen can also be applied to the character's plant companion which
in turn has additional affects which can be applied to the companion. The archetype also has an expanded formulae list which adds in appropriately themed plant/nature spells.

The Humoralist offers the alchemist the ability to imbalance his own humors. This allows him to associate his being with one of the elements which in turn grants the character access to domain spells(only elemental domains though). This archetype is probably one of my least favorites due to the archetypes ability to imbalance multiple humors at once. This would mean that the character, could potentially gain access to roughly 36 (or more) spell-like abilities. The archetype does incorporate drawbacks in order to offset the gains. However, I would like to know what the playtest results show when/if a player attempts to imbalance multiple humors at the same time.

The Kiln Crafter is a neat little archetype that allows the alchemist to create clay weapons and armor with one caveat; weapons have the fragile property. As the archetype progresses the alchemist can add special glazes to the items he creates. These glazes have a number of special properties such as inflicting additional damage on sunder attempts or adding armor spikes to armor.

The Natural Transmuter allows an alchemist to create bombs, extractors, and transmutagens. Extractors allow the character to capture a spell cast upon them and later use that captured energy to release the spell back onto any appropriate target. I rather like the mechanic and wording on this ability. Pretty straight forward and loads of potential fun! Next we have transmutagens a rather awesome ability indeed as it allows the alchemist to transform a substance into another or turn existing materials into weapons, armor or other items. The ability clear and concise in its execution and makes for a very versatile ability.

The Pyrotician is a perfect addition to any group sporting a bunch of bards and would make Till Lindermann proud! As the name implies this archetype allows the alchemist to use and create pyrotechnical weapons. Only issue I have is that the archetype doesn't grant them the ability to make a certain amount of fireworks per day. This is important as the ability Big Finish allows them to bundle together a number of fireworks (max 10) which they must have already purchased.

Next up is the Supplementum. Think of this archetype as a metamagic or "meta-mixer" master which, instead of boosting and manipulating spells, instead changes/enhances abilities associated with the alchemist class (bombs, potions, poisons etc). Some really great options are offered by this archetype.

The Venom Bomber as you might expect wields poisonous bombs! This archetype is an excellent example of tweaking a base classes mechanics and making something truly unique. Yes at it's core it is similar to the normal alchemist running around tossing out bombs ... but these are poison! Thankfully The Flying Pincushion took the extra time to incorporate alternative ways of allowing their poison bombs to affect normally immune targets. This made me giddy. Although they don't stop there, there are several additional effects that you can apply to your poison bomb. This is accomplished by spending points from your Venom Modification pool. This is a really great mechanic here simple, straightforward and well written. Oh and they can, at 4th lvl, apply their poison bomb to their weapons! So awesome.:)

The final archetype is the Viscous Arcanist, a rather unique alchemist as they rely on oozes and gels in order to deliver their bombs and spell effects. The archetype goes into detail on how the two different methods function as well as basic stat blocks for the animate oozes they can create. An interesting mechanic and excellent wording make for a fun archetype although I wish there was more to it. Possibly an ooze familiar, instead of having to select the discovery, or the ability to animate their own blood as a gel-like construct. Nonetheless, a solid addition to this tome.

Next we have prestige classes. Both are theurge like in that they combine the alchemist with another class. I have never been a big fan of such things as I believe that the end results do not offset what was given up in order to take the prestige class. That's not to say that the prestige classes are not well done. Both offer an interesting option for an alchemist looking to broaden his (or her) repertoire. Of note is the exochymist which combines the alchemist and summoner. I picture this fellow as an excellent Cthulhu-esque BBEG which sought out and delved to deeply into forbidden lore and knowledge.

Last but not least we have a number of different plant companions as well as discoveries. Again, writing is straightforward and well done offering up discoveries that are both fun and useful. One of the best is the Alchemical Revivification. This handy little gem allows you to animate a corpse with your ooze familiar! Awesome. Another excellent option which is present are Contaminants. These allow an alchemist to create offensive extracts which he can also apply to his weapon.


Overall, I like the book. If offers up some really excellent options to an already versatile class. The writing, fluff, as well as mechanics are easy to understand and well written. There could be some potential hiccups if a player decides to abuse the archetype (such as the humorist's attunement ability), thankfully, most of the options have caveats or drawbacks which make abuse unlikely or impossible. I rate this product a solid 3.5, which becomes 4 when rounded up. There are some options that I am not a fan of, however, this does not diminish the fact that the book offers some really excellent ideas as well as character options. It definitely is worth the price of admission.:)


Another Into the Breach, another slew of archetypes. This one covers the alchemist.

Starting off is The Academian. It gets set trap bombs instead of thrown bombs and also a different kind of mutagen that grants a massive skill bonus, a spontaneous discovery and a spontaneous extract. The last one feels like I’d need to see it played out to a huge extent before I can determine if that’s too good. There aren’t that many magic bullet effects like the wizard’s spell list and it’s beyond useless in combat but some combinations with later level extracts may get wacky.

Then there’s the botanist which gets a new kind of damage for it’s bombs, some plant related bonuses including one against AC against plants, a plant mutagen and plant companion. The companion is the biggest draw getting a lot of spontaneous tricks with the new plant mutagen. The alchemist gets some new spells for his extract list. I’m sorely disappointed that this archetype didn’t go into full-on Swamp Thing mode but I think the ‘subject’ alchemist is valid.

There’s the Humorist that can cast elemental domain spells by drinking a new kind of drink based on the four humors that gives you a specific nerf. Doing the math this looks scary particularly since you can maintain six or more of these things at a time.. It does basically give you a bunch of free spells per mutagen. They’re elemental spells so not worth that much but at 20th level you can easily turn this into 46 extra spells throughout the day maybe more. You can’t really nova them because it severely nerfs you but still I’m not 100% on trusting an optimizer on this.

The Kiln Crafter can make cheap fragile weapons and armor with better crit ranges and DR. These can be modified with different glazes and additives and later make it seep acid. Eventually they can make terra cotta constructs. I’m not a fan of the primary ability being more capable crafting than having actual abilities but your mileage may vary on that one.

The Natural Transmuter makes Extractors and Transmutagens. What are those things? Extractors are spell vacuums that hold an arcane spell that targets them specifically. They can then throw the spells around after that. There’s no difference between extract slots used for this ability so my reaction is mixed. Its an ability I see a lot in third party products and while it’s a flavorful effect I’ve never found it to be useful. Luckily I think the language implies that you can still make extracts so its not going to be dead weight when you’re in a situation where there is no one casting arcane spells at you. Transmutagens suffer from the condition “I don’t know what’s going on”. You make Transmutagen much like Mutagen but you pour it, I guess, on things to turn them into armor, weapons or a structure. You can do this to creatures but they get a will save to negate. Same goes for attended materials. (..ok…) There’s a chart determining what you can turn into what else. This chart includes “substances” like Cold, Fire, Electricity, Sonic, Light, and Darkness, all of which I have a hard time imagining being turned into other things being non-things. For example; You can turn Electricity into Sonic. What as a standard action? How does that work? can I turn power lines into music? How much “Sonic” do I need to make armor? What do I do with the Sonic?

The Pyrotician makes Fireworks instead of bombs. I’m not exactly sure what the difference is other than Bombs being a splash weapon. What they do in terms of damage is noted but not much else about how they work, like how long before they go off when you light them. I presume that they go off on impact. But only that but it talks about listed ranges, so are we using the fireworks from Ultimate Equipment?

The Supplementum enhances alchemical items that already exist and class features. It is less problematic although for what it does the enhancement thing being a ‘maintain one at a time’ feels kind of limiting.

The Venom Bomber is probably the all star of the book. It builds complex poisons that are modified much like eidolon evolutions. It has very few glitches (although I don’t know what poison damage is. This isn’t 5th edition.)

The Viscous Arcanist’s theme can be replicated with discoveries all while being less confusing. But the ooze spell deliveries is a nice touch and its a functioning archetype so it works out okay.

The prestige classes fall into Alchemist/Ranger with emphasis on Favored enemy, and a Summoner/Alchemist which feels like it has less of a point.

The discoveries inside are numerous and some are genius and flavorful while some are problematic and terrible and the rest are kind of everywhere in between. You have some hardcore gems in there and some definite turds.

There is a nice list of Plant companions that will probably prove useful for more than the verdant alchemist.

As a whole I really wanted to like this one. Witch, Cavalier and Gunslinger all felt like they were going in the right direction for this series, particularly Gunslinger and it’s higher concepts without functionality problems, but this one seems like half of it doesn’t really work. It also seems incredibly obvious that a good chunk of the book relies heavily on replacing Bombs, or Mutagen with something with similar language despite differing value of effects. That one isn’t an actual complaint but it felt very cookie cutter in design. There’s quite a few gold nuggets to mine but I can’t say that with certainty that I’ll use any of this simply because I like to be able to hand a player option-based supplement to my players and they can build something that functions without hassle or house rules to fix it or having to worry about dubious balance issues. I’m riding on two stars for this one.

Alchemical goodness everywhere!


I remember the playtest version of the alchemist. Like with all of the Advanced Player’s Guide’s classes, at first I thought it was Paizo’s falling into the class bloat train, but oh boy wasn’t I pleasantly wrong? The alchemist in particular looked really nice, and is one of my favorite PFRPG classes. There have been many options for this class in particular, so I will try to compare with existing resources when possible. Please note that this is NOT A PLAYTEST REVIEW. However, I have played RPGs for 2 decades and I have a good gut sense for broken things.

I received a free copy of this PDF for reviewing. This takes me to the days before PDFs, when you could skim books at hobby stores to see if you wanted to buy it or not. So after this review, apart from the score, I will mention if I would buy this PDF or not. The asking price is pretty standard, 6 bucks for 34 pages, with 5 of those being cover, intro, table of contents, license etc., which leaves us with 29 pages of crunch. The book’s design looks good, and even though it has a few pictures, most of them are just decorative and don’t really wow me; but this is a crunch book, not a bestiary or an art book.

We start with 9 archetypes, the first one being the Academician. These knowledge experts add all knowledge skills to their class list and even gain Skill Focus in one of them. Instead of bombs they get access to traps, which they can place as a standard action and are difficult to detect. These are not the same as a ranger’s, since basically they are bombs in mine form. Apart from the detonation mechanic (which gives the target/s a Ref ST) traps are treated as bombs in all other ways, even bomb-modifying discoveries. Apart from this, the academician gains a variant mutagen, the insightogen, which improves the academician part giving bonus to Kn. checks and even temporary instant access to discoveries and extracts. The traps themselves give a wholly different and tactical playstyle to the alchemist; however, the Academician part feels a bit off with the traps, and two different archetypes could have been made with these two abilities. There is an alchemical trapper archetype for kobolds that has a similar ability, but the academician’s traps are much more detailed.

The second archetype would be the Botanist. It gains some extra weapon proficiencies and a bonus to some skills, plus a small AC and Dmg bonus against opponents attacked by the alchemist and its plant companion in exchange for Brew Potion. They also gain Organic Bombs that deal piercing damage instead of fire. These don’t specify if they count as magic against Damage Reduction since bombs are treated as thrown weapons, but I would say they do. They also receive a modified Verdant Mutagen that works a bit different but more importantly can also be imbibed by the plant companion. The Botanist also gains a plant companion from a small list of dangerous plant, and they also gain intelligence of 1 and a snail’s speed if they didn’t have either. The companion advances, and stacks with, as an animal companion, and replaces most poison related abilities plus a discovery. To round up the archetype, a botanist adds quite a few druid spells as extracts, although some lack the flavor of extracts since they are a bit “external”. There are many “woody” alchemist archetypes out there, with the half-elf Bramble Brewer having a similar ability to the Verdant Mutagen, and then there is the Herbalist from Paizo Fans United which is very different in flavor. The plant companion alone gives this archetype a very different approach to most other alchemist archetypes.

Next in line would be the Humoralist, which has one of the best concepts for an alchemist archetype. It’s so obvious it isn’t even funny and I have no idea why this hasn’t been done before. The Humoralist gains access to elemental domain spells as spell-like abilities by imbibing a variant mutagen, called Elemental Temperament, that alters the balance of humors, but this imbalance has a cost depending on the element, and this cost gets stepper with every drink. Note that this archetype doesn’t mention duration, so I have no idea when it is safe to imbibe a new Elemental Temperament. This ability replaces mutagen and lowers bomb damage increases to half. Later the Humoralist gains bonus to saves against elemental damage instead of poison; they DON’T get resistance and then they later get immunity to elemental damage. I would have added resistance instead of bonus to saves, it’s way better specially against attack that offer no save. They can imbibe different, but not opposed, Elemental Temperaments, even though in the original ability there is no mention about NOT being able to do so in the first place. Finally they get a healing ability though sadly it only cures HP. A very high concept archetype that needs a bit of cleaning regarding the wording of its main ability.

The Kiln Crafter is the next archetype. It exchanges the brew potion feat for being very good potters (not Harry), including the ability to make ceramic weapons and armor that are lighter, brittle but a bit stronger, and while they can’t make bows or crossbows there is no mention of ammunition, which would be too strong because of the increased power of ceramic weaponry. Instead of Throw Anything they get Disposable Weapon. Kiln Crafters don’t get mutagens, but instead they get another way of making ceramic weaponry even stronger. Later they get an ability to add acid damage to their ceramic weapons by funneling acid into a special cavity; this is a missed opportunity, since albeit obvious there is no mention of OTHER liquids, in particular I would have added Holy Water to the options. Finally they can make Terra-Cotta Guardians at the cost of a discovery and the +6 resistance to poison. Note that they still become immune to poison later, which in my opinion makes the cost of the bonus to poisons negligible. This archetype is a tad strong for my tastes, since being able to arm a whole army with ceramic weapons and armor is overkill.

The Natural Transmuter is an alchemist that again borrows from history for its flavor, in this case able to transmute one material into another. While the concept sounds really good, some of the abilities have weird wording that may be gotten wrong by players, so be careful when reading this archetype. Instead of extracts, they prepare extractors which under the Alchemy ability sound like they completely replace extracts, which you don’t learn they don’t until later. Basically, extractors are extracts but you can leave some open to counterspell and then redirect single-target arcane spells after successfully identifying them with Spellcraft. Instead of mutagens, Natural Transmuters get access to Transmutagen, which can be used to transmute specific elements into their opposites. Overall a nice weird archetype.

Next we have the Pyrotician (or Pyrotechnician according to the product description), who instead of bombs can enhance fireworks with extra properties. This can be too strong or too weak depending on how you spend money, since as it stands, you DON’T get free fireworks per day; instead you must buy them or make them yourself but you don’t get a daily limit and you ADD the bomb damage to the firework’s. Firework Mastery replaces both Poison Use and Resistance, and gives you more options when using fireworks. Instead of Swift Poisoning they get Big Finish, which reads as VERY powerful. According to Fireworks Mastery, Pyroticians can tie a number of fireworks equal to half their level, and with Big Finish they can aim all of them as a move action. The ability doesn’t forbid the aiming of all the bundled fireworks to a single target, so at high levels you could nova like nobody else. At 6th level when this ability comes on line, we are talking about a potential of 15d6+ 3 times Int bonus! The most powerful firework does 2d6, add the extra 3d6 from the Firework Display ability and then the Int bonus, getting more insane with every level increase. Sure it will cost you a lot of money but well.

The Supplementum may have a weird name, but they are the meta-alchemists. At the cost of the mutagen ability, they can create additives called Enhancers that can improve Alchemical Items, Bombs, Extracts and both Potions and Oils. They can also use two poisons at the same time in exchange of the poison resistance ability. Unlike other archetypes that give up this ability, you still get poison immunity, so the cost is negligible at high levels.

The penultimate archetype is the Venom Bomber which takes up two and a half pages! They get a Venom Bomb that deals POISON damage instead of the normal bomb’s fire damage. This type of damage doesn’t exist in PFRPG AFAIK, I think I saw it in 4ed D&D but that is another game. Since these bombs work like poison, they sicken their target and continue to deal damage for a number of rounds equal to Int modifier. Instead of the normal extra damage bombs get (and the mutagen ability), the Venom Bomber gets a modification point to, well, modify their bombs. These can be used to increase damage or duration, ignoring specific monster type’s immunity to poison, changing the sickened condition for others, deal ability damage and other nice (for you, not your targets) effects. They can also convert their venom bombs into a more standard poison that can even be used by others, but the dose becomes inert after 24 hours, preventing the Venom Bomber to get amazingly rich by selling crazy good poisons. They COULD be sold as temporary poisons, though. A very thematic if powerful take on the poisoner.

The final archetype would be the Viscuous Arcanist, who can create programmed ooze-like gels that carry the effects of their extracts, which are drawn from the alchemist list as normal but also from 2 schools of wizardly magic. The Viscuous Arcanist can either drink or DIRECT the gels! The tiny ooze gets its own stat-block. Their bombs are also Volatile Oozes. They also get resistance to acid instead of poison (up to 20). This is one of the strongest archetypes, not because of the oozes, but because of the expanded formula list. I think they get too much for too little.
After the archetypes we get two “theurge” classes that combine the alchemist with the ranger and the summoner. Both prestige classes look good if a bit bland in concept. I really dislike “theurge” classes, but at least these two combine different class features and stay away from ye olde “+1casterlevel/+1caster level”. Good for very specific concept but not characters I would play.

After the prestige classes we have a veritable selection of new Discoveries. Some of this are specially made for the new archetypes (specially the Viscuous Arcanist). Among them we have some that improve the alchemist’s mastery of alchemical items and potions or let him become a better healer or poisoner. Of note is the Contaminant line of discoveries, which add specific, offensive spells to the formula available to the alchemist. They have very concise rules regarding their use: they can be imbibed by victims or applied to weapons as poisons. If a weapon leaves the alchemist possession, the contaminant becomes inert, so forget adding one to your Barbie companion’s axe. The Contaminant list includes some enchantment, necromancy and transmutation effects, but all of them are in line with what someone would expect and alchemist to perform. I liked these so much that I would have loved a Contaminator archetype who got access to ALL of the contaminants in exchange for mutagens and/or bombs.

To round up the PDF we get two pages and a half of plant companions, designed specifically for the Botanist but available to others who get a similar ability, at the GMs discretion.

Reviewing this PDF took me the whole afternoon, and I wrote a way more thorough review than I normally do, since I felt compelled by the fact that I received this for free for reviewing purposes. Despite some of the archetypes being very powerful, I really would recommend this book for anyone that enjoys the alchemist class or the concept itself. I would BUY it myself to make npc’s, since I rarely have the chance to sit on the other side of the GM screen. For a score, I would give this PDF a 4.5 (rounded down sadly), since the balance of some of the archetypes is a bit off and the prestige classes don’t do anything for me, but the Venom Bomber and the Viscuous Arcanist, plus the Contaminant discoveries are honestly very cool to give this PDF a lower score. A very special thanks to The Flying Pincushion Games for giving me the opportunity to review this book for you, I hope I didn’t disappoint.

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RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Huzzah! This one was a beast. Thank You Liz.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Totally fun to work on this one.

Added to my wishlist. Will get to it eventually, the Into the Breach series has gone pretty far in quality since it's inception.

THX Liz :), also thanks for the kind words Malwing.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

First 3 to respond to this can have a free copy if they agree to review

GM_Solspiral wrote:
First 3 to respond to this can have a free copy if they agree to review

What would be involved in such a review? I have no formal experience with it but consider myself a half-way decent writer.

I'm always interested in free product though~

GM_Solspiral wrote:
First 3 to respond to this can have a free copy if they agree to review

Okay. I'm pretty good for it.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Elfabet wrote:

What would be involved in such a review? I have no formal experience with it but consider myself a half-way decent writer.
I'm always interested in free product though~

Honest appraisal, if a friend wanted to drop $6 on this would you tell them not to bother or would you recommend it as being worth the money. Elaborate on this for 1-3 paragraphs... (not everything needs to be a book report style.)

If you're willing to do that PM me your email address and I'll get you a coupon link from Drive Thru RPG.

@Malwing I'm not counting you, and I already sent you a copy...

2 spots open.

GM_Solspiral wrote:
Elfabet wrote:

What would be involved in such a review? I have no formal experience with it but consider myself a half-way decent writer.
I'm always interested in free product though~

Honest appraisal, if a friend wanted to drop $6 on this would you tell them not to bother or would you recommend it as being worth the money. Elaborate on this for 1-3 paragraphs... (not everything needs to be a book report style.)

If you're willing to do that PM me your email address and I'll get you a coupon link from Drive Thru RPG.

@Malwing I'm not counting you, and I already sent you a copy...

2 spots open.

Hey I have reviewed you all before and I'm certainly up to the challenge of doing it again for you.

Hey, I like reviewing, can I?

I would be willing to write up a review. :)

I think I'm beyond the # limit, but I'd be happy to write a review.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

xiao, SACplaying, Volvogg send me your email addresses via PM

SAC I have yours somewhere but send it again as I'm not sure who goes to what.

That's a total of 5 plus likely Endz I'm good there.

Plus definitely me. ^^ While I'm currently fighting a monster of a book, I'm positive I'll have ItB: Alchemist done faster than Cavalier.

GM_Solspiral wrote:
Elfabet wrote:

What would be involved in such a review? I have no formal experience with it but consider myself a half-way decent writer.
I'm always interested in free product though~

Honest appraisal, if a friend wanted to drop $6 on this would you tell them not to bother or would you recommend it as being worth the money. Elaborate on this for 1-3 paragraphs... (not everything needs to be a book report style.)

If you're willing to do that PM me your email address and I'll get you a coupon link from Drive Thru RPG.

@Malwing I'm not counting you, and I already sent you a copy...

2 spots open.

Sure it was me? I have no email about it. Got one now.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Endzeitgeist wrote:
Plus definitely me. ^^ While I'm currently fighting a monster of a book, I'm positive I'll have ItB: Alchemist done faster than Cavalier.

I know it was my fault for the Briar Knight.

When you get this, you will either smile or maybe want to throw things at me.

We've considered making a pixie bad guy using the Botanist archetype for the archer bush plant companion, with a Birdhouse to use as "home" for levels in Balliwick Hermit from our Witch book. Ultimate monster with a mobile home.

Maybe max ranks in Profession beekeeper as a gift with purchase.

In my opinion PCs aren't terrified of enough plants yet.

Email sent.:)


RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Ok complimentary copies have been sent. Looking forward to the reviews.

Review done and newfound respect for Endzeitgeist, writing these beasts surely is no walk in the park. Hope it isn't too long (3 pages and a half in Word), and maybe that's why Endzeitgeist sometimes chops his reviews and includes one part in the reviews and another in the product discussion.

Anyway I had a (bomb) blast reviewing this, and if I start my NPC blog I will surely add some from this product. Kudos Flying Pincushion Games, you have a winner here!

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Always been a fan of alchemists, so I'll have to grab this. Shame I missed out on a review copy, but that's what payday is for...

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

the xiao wrote:

Review done and newfound respect for Endzeitgeist, writing these beasts surely is no walk in the park. Hope it isn't too long (3 pages and a half in Word), and maybe that's why Endzeitgeist sometimes chops his reviews and includes one part in the reviews and another in the product discussion.

Anyway I had a (bomb) blast reviewing this, and if I start my NPC blog I will surely add some from this product. Kudos Flying Pincushion Games, you have a winner here!

Glad you enjoyed. FYI if you use humoralist there is indeed a time limit because it's treated as a mutagen except number of usages.

GM_Solspiral wrote:

Glad you enjoyed. FYI if you use humoralist there is indeed a time limit because it's treated as a mutagen except number of usages.

Thought so, but in the description of the ability it mentions it follows the rules of BREWING a mutagen, not of using one. I know that word count is a thing, but you could specify a bit more I think.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

the xiao wrote:
Thought so, but in the description of the ability it mentions it follows the rules of BREWING a mutagen, not of using one. I know that word count is a thing, but you could specify a bit more I think.

Ah, good catch we'll have to fix that eventually.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

@Malwing- Ouch but some of these are fairly easy to answer:

spoilered for length- behind this door is a lot of minutia:
Re: Academian- it can't be that broken since several classes deal rather nicely with traps... if that impacted the score it seems fairly silly.

Re: Botonist- We already "covered" swamp thing mode to an extent with Briar Knight.

Re: Humoralist- Optimizers won't take this I suspect, you'd ahve to eat ability damage which is against the optimizer's code.

Re: Kiln crafter- Complaint seems solely on taste.

Re: Natural Transmuter- Admittedly this isn't ideal if no one is tossing around spells but it has a similar concept to the spell thief and that was a much beloved concept.

Re: Pyrotician- Ok this on I sort of need to wiffleball bat you on as the rules on fireworks aren't included because they don't need to be check SRD the rules for fireworks are right there and we assume the reader can look them up if they need to.

re: Supplementum- yep archetypes can be limited and niche at times...

re: Venom Bomber- yeah the poison damage bit was a miss. Errata time- Poison damage is damage dealt by poisons sorry for any confusion.

re: Viscous Arcanist- but we didn't want to make it a bunch of discoveries we wanted to tie it together as an archetype and have the little ooze delivery system. That's a style choice, you could make the same argument about literally every single rogue archetype and rogue talents and most sorc archetypes.

re: the prestige classes- both have a point for people who like multiclassing.

re: "It also seems incredibly obvious that a good chunk of the book relies heavily on replacing Bombs, or Mutagen with something with similar language despite differing value of effects. That one isn’t an actual complaint but it felt very cookie cutter in design."
-There's only so many things you can replace in an archetype. Again you can make the same complaint about quite a few Paizo archetype in literally every book of archetypes. Man every fighter archetype seems to replace weapon or armor training or a feat...

"having to worry about dubious balance issues"
-That opinion is being backed up, dubiously.

"I’m riding on two stars for this one."
-You are of course entitled to your opinion Malwing but I'm going to be blunt in saying that a lot of your feedback is not specific enough to do much with. I'm reading a lot of "this seems complicated and not immediately easy to process so I'm going to err on the side of caution and rate it poor." The alchemist is inherently a complicated one.

I'm sure there's some issues, we spent too much time on it for there not to be (I'm learning that the more you work it over the less material works.) But this review leans a lot on personal taste then specific examples. That's fine and I'm sorry that this didn't meet your expectations, but I do take issue with the "dubious balance issues" comment without any sort of play testing which you have not had time to do with a review turn around this fast.

The Academian didn't really impact the score. I mention it as a case of "This can does spontaneous extracts/discoveries at the rate of mutagen production. Looking at the extract list this isn't too bad but I may have missed something." It may be to make up for the decreased value of set traps vs immediate bombs and the Wizard does something similar although much weaker so I'm waffling on it's actual power level until I see it in action a lot.

Botanist I don't have a real problem with.

Humoralist is unclear as to whether or not the ability damage lasts as long as the mutagen-ish so for me it looks like too many spells for the cost if they are not permanent or too risky to contemplate so I went on the side of not liking it.

Kiln Crafter is a difference of design philosophy. I feel like the Alchemist's design is based on not wanting to make a 'crafter class'. This is probably more for the sake of PFS but I tend to lowly rate things where you're locked into making craft rolls. I almost jumped on LRGG's Runesmith for that and it definitely contributed to one less star when evaluating it as a whole since the class revolved around it. I wouldn't take it personally or change it because I know others don't have this problem.

The Natural Transmuter got bogged for me for the transmuting. I've seen the spell-catching before and it works as well as it can but that didn't make me dislike the archetype. The transmuting wasn't detailed enough for me to know how it actually functioned and the chart didn't help in that matter with some of the non-materials transmuting doesn't work unless you're turning spell damage into other spell damage and I didn't even know what kind of action it took to transmute in the first place. It also suffers from comparison to other transmuting effects I've seen that were more concise, particularly the Alchemist book from Rogue Genius Games.

Pyrotician made me look them up in Ultimate Equipment. Would be nice to get a reference for where to look them up but other than that my problems were that the fireworks work different damage wise by scaling like bombs so it made me wonder how else they're different and since I was making them with a class feature which one would I make and if I bypass all the costs. Eventually I tried to write up a 3rd level Pyrotician and attack something and was completely unsure as to what was supposed to happen aside from actually using it. In the end I had to make assumptions which I typically don't like doing with player oriented products.

The Supplementum was disliked by taste. It doesn't affect the final score.

Venom Bomber is probably the best archetype, barring the Poison Damage reference, from a design point of view.

Viscous Arcanist is probably my second favorite as it's not my first rodeo with the Ooze theme. Late game the party encountered a Gargantuan Ooze and then leveled so I started taking discoveries based on the idea that I picked up a bit of the ooze and started experimenting. Later I tried a similar thing but there aren't many ooze options. I liked the ooze spell delivery and the ooze discoveries.

The Summoner/Alchemist prestige class is a matter of taste but I felt it was way weaker concept than the other prestige class in terms of execution. It wasn't bad but not appealing to me either.

I'm going to go ahead and complain about Fighter archetypes, or at least a lot of the ones from Paizo. I find it cookie cutter design to just replace Weapon Training 1 and Bravery with 'Weapon Training and Bravery only with the numbers attached to a different weapon/save' so this isn't really an isolated pet peeve. Although it didn't effect my final score I felt it important to note because it upsets me when other classes do it so I find it an important factor when deciding to buy something.

I was waffling between three and two stars with the final score based on how much I expect to use it and how comfortable I was with handing it to players and not having to re-clarify things or make house rules. Dubious Balance issues is directed at only a few archetypes and discoveries so that's a fair complaint, but I would have written the review quicker if not for trying to build whatever I didn't find immediately clear (I just got out of the print shop to make 80 copies of mini character sheets specifically for review purposes.) I try my best to work out complicated class or rules to make my judgements and even though I don't run full playtests I do more than just read it out when something seems weirdly balanced to me. Although full-disclosure; Emerald Spire is always my testing grounds and I don't get past lvl 12, and the team mates are always NPC Codex Iconics so whatever does not do well (or does too well) in that situation I have to speculate.

[edit] I forgot to add; I did find a number of typos and specific wording problems. If you want I can chronicle each one but it's going to take a while. I'm reviewing my first adventure so I'm building a party based on third party product's I'm reviewing for me to GM it so I'm a bit choked on material.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Thank you for the review Malwing. It is unfortunate that you found it only worth two stars, but hopefully future products will be much better as we learn from the reviews we are given.

CalebTGordan wrote:
Thank you for the review Malwing. It is unfortunate that you found it only worth two stars, but hopefully future products will be much better as we learn from the reviews we are given.

These things happen. Obviously someone else liked it better than I did so its entirely possible that I'm jaded about alchemist options an this product can still provide fun to others. I'll let you know if these options get picked by someone and mention how it went.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Thanks for the reviews so far Malwing and the xiao! I'm responsible for the Natural Transmuter, Supplementum and some of the discoveries. While I'm of course sad that those two weren't received as well as hoped, I kind of knew going into release that they'd be love it or leave it concepts. I can see the points you raise and I wrestled a long time with wording (especially the Natural Transmuter). I think this time I erred to much on leaving it up to the reader as opposed to spelling it out.

Anyways, thanks again! Reviews both good and bad are welcome so we can improve our craft!

Of note - there is actually a core poison that does hit point damage, but it's untyped. I was aware that poison wasn't a damage type in PF. We talked about putting in a sidebar about it, that will probably be in an updated version of the book.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Thank you for the review Volvogg glad you liked it.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Thanks for the review Elfabit and kudos for being detailed without sticking to the "book report" style that most others take. It made for a different read and had some good insights so thanks.

Part II of my review:

The next one would be the Supplementum. Instead of mutagens, these alchemists learn to create enhancers. These can be mixed with alchemical items, extracts, bombs, etc. and only one can be in effect at a given time. The effects of an enhancer last 10 minutes per class level. Alas, the respective entries for the enhancer's application are not always clear: When applied to alchemical items, for example, one of the applications can "increase a bonus from an alchemical item by 1/2" - while I *know* what's meant here, I do think this could have been phrased better. While I'm engaging in pedantry, doubling listed durations of items should have a non-instantaneous caveat. The bomb enhancements are broken: Considering all splashed targets direct hits? OUCH. I'd be extremely cautious when allowing these... Methods of application for potions and oils and metamagic added to extracts can be found, though we do not get the information whether the supplementum needs to know the metamagic feats in question. Using enhancers to double one bomb, extract etc. can also be accomplished and while the respective wording remains pretty concise, I could pick apart each component, though in all cases, they can be fixed by a capable GM. The supplementum also allows for poison-combination, but fails to specify which save or if both apply upon being subjected to the combined poison.

Speaking of poisons - next up would be the Venom Bomber - these guys deal 1d6 +Int mod "poison damage" - not a big fan of that term here, but at the same time, the mechanics for frequency etc. of the poison works pretty well. Now you may be aware that a lot of creatures are immune to poisons -well, here the point-based modification of the archetype comes into play - whether oozes or plants and yes, even undead and golems - the right tool's here and even nonlethal damage, delayed onsets and more consecutive saves required to end it can be found here. Converting venom bomb poison into regular poison can also be achieved (thankfully with a caveat that prevents infinite money from selling poisons) - a well-crafted, cool archetype. Like it!

The Viscous Arcanist is interesting - they create tiny oozes that move and follow a specific programming - allowing for a kind of oozy mine-field of strange creatures that can trigger effects - granted, the arcanist, with a slightly expanded spell-list, can also consume the gels, but seriously, oozes are so much cuter! And yes, they have limited lifespans and the same goes for the explosive oozes the viscous arcanist can generate. While here and there, I could nitpick about a minor component of wording not being perfect, the overall concept and execution are pretty awesome - love it!

Banechemists would be the first PrC -at 3/4 BAB-progression, 1/2 Fort and Ref-saves, d8, 7(/10th extract-progression and 4+Int skills per level and 1/2 bomb-progression, this one is a combo-PrC for alchemists and rangers, including hunter's bond and 2 favored enemies. Favored enemy-bonuses are also applied to bomb damage and at every 2v2n level, the PrC receives an adaption that helps synergy between ranger and alchemist components. Partially ignoring resistances, sharing mutagens with companions, increased damage output versus the specific creatures all are nice and the exceedingly powerful capstones are nasty - what about ignoring all resistances and immunities of favored enemies with your bombs, for example? Why plural? Because you can choose which to take.

The Exochymist PrC gets 4+Int skills per level, 1/2 BAB-progression, 1/2 Fort and Will-progression, 9 levels of extract-progression, 3 levels of bomb-damage progression and lacks information on which HD it's supposed to use - a glaring glitch. This one can be considered a theurge between summoner and alchemist, stacking PrC levels for purposes of discovery requirements, bomb uses per day, DC and mutagen-duration as well as for eidolon evolutions. Additionally, eidolons may use mutagens and extracts. The added extracts also mirror this theme, though, like the table, it does show a typo. Eidolons consuming a mutagen can get more evolution points, which can become pretty nasty. The linking and hit point exchange between eidolon and exochymist is also strengthened by the PrC. Per se solid, though the glitches render it more opaque than it should be.

The pdf also provides new discoveries and are interesting - using e.g. alchemical ooze companions (yup, also found herein - and the ooze can be swallowed by the alchemist, granting immunity to poisons while it's in there...) to reanimate corpses is rather...gross, but also awesome. Making some offensive contaminants selected from limited lists and combining bomb-modifying discoveries make for unique tricks, though the latter needs to be handled carefully. Thankfully, it does specify e.g. the effects of multiple damage-type modifications and the like. Curing conditions and granting temporary immunity to them also falls into this range - since some abilities use them as a downside, this could potentially cause a bit of havoc. What about making tiny wasps to deliver poisons instead of making bombs? The latter is awesome, though it ought to specify the wasp's stats if it's supposed to be a creature and whether it requires a means to reach the target/whether it requires line of sight/effect -as written, it is implied the wasp executes a melee attack, which obviously means that one could ready a means of shooting it down. Making potions of higher level spells and adding flexibility to poison bombs (not to be confused with venom bombs!) can be found herein -and yes, there are plenty of new tricks here, including ones for the new archetypes. It should be noted that with some of the tricks herein, viscous arcanists may become a bit strong for my tastes.


Editing and formatting are good on a formal level. On a rules-level, there are some instances where the wording would have needed a tighter frame. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard with solid, thematically-fitting stock-art. The pdf comes bookmarked for your convenience, though not with nested bookmarks.

Frank Gori, Jeff Harris, Taylor Hubbler, Jacob Michaels, Dylan Brooks, Kiel Howell, Richard Litzkow, Mikko Kallio, Mark Nordheim - dear authors, you have probably created the most ambitious Into the Breach-book so far. This one is much, much more complex than the others I've read so far - there imho is no cookie-cutter design within these pages and even simple modifications end up being significantly more complex in their interactions than one would assume at first glance.

Now this installment is bound to be more divisive than most reviews for the series I've written. The positive first: The rules-language herein is pretty precise when tackling even the rather complex concepts that the respective pieces of crunch touch upon. Going literally where no book has gone before, I consider this one of the most interesting archetype-collections I've read in a while, with not one archetype falling to the cardinal sin of design - being boring. Instead, just about all options herein are definitely on the high concept side of things both in theme and execution and I love that. At the same time, there are quite a few balance-screws that need a bit of adjustment, quite a few options that can turn out to be problematic.

At the same time, though, often exactly said options can end up being utterly evocative, perfect fits for certain groups. I do consider some of the options and combinations thereof problematic and in need of fixing, yes; but at the same time, I found myself really enjoying a lot of the options herein for their respective niches and concepts. In fact, surprisingly, there are concepts herein that go beyond what anything has done before - the natural transmuter, with the odd non-definition of transmutations that is supplemented by just about the right level of details and definition to avoid abuse, can probably be considered to be one of the most interesting archetypes I've seen in quite a while. The modular poison-crafting of the venom bomber also should indeed be pointed out as positive and while I will slightly nerf the viscous arcanist, I damn sure will use it in my games.

This installment of "Into the Breach" is not the most precise one in the series regarding mechanics. But it *is* the one that inspired me the most. With a plethora of options I will use in certain campaigns, this book has been fun to read. Would I allow it flat-out? No. The Kiln-Crafter imho requires a situative context to work properly; the humoralist is pretty broken and the botanist can use a nerfing; but the frames are solid. You can tinker with these and the results will be awesome and have the potential to be defining components for characters and even potentially the mechanics on how a world works. This pdf may not be perfect, but it does qualify as being inspired, as being innovative. And honestly, I'd rather take that over something perfect, but bland or boring. While ultimately, I *should* rate this down to 3 stars due to its glitches, partially massive balance-concerns etc., I can't bring myself to doing so, since the devil here, unanimously, is in the details and there alone...and in most cases, you can modify the pieces and turn those nerfing screws yourself.

You should consider it a testament to how much I like several of the options herein that I instead will settle on a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4. If you like high-concepts and are willing to tinker with them, go for it. If you want a fire-and-forget "I allow everything herein"-experience, though, I'd advise you to steer clear - the concepts herein require a case-by-case examination for a given group and its conventions, campaign settings and assumptions.

Reviewed first on, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS and's shop.

Endzeitgeist out.

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Thanks for the review EndZ.

Full disclosure: I knew I was going to take a little bit of a pummeling on Humoralist. I always swing for the fences which means sometimes I'm gonna strike out. Likely a redesign on that one would replace the Domains with Kineticist powers. They did not yett exist when I was writing them and my first thought on reading that class is how much more I could have done with the "Humors" concept had that been out.

I disagree on Botonaist but then again I also disagree that archetypes are about being perfectly balanced. I think some of the worst design mistakes are made by this effort to make everything perfectly align so that no one is the "Star" at the table. A sorcerer with the Sylvan Domain and a Cat companion or a Druid (no really any Druid that knows how to play) can eat the Botonist for lunch. Such is the nature of the top tier spell casting classes.

Venom Bomber did come out very sweet and that particular author (Dylan Brooks) knocked my socks off when we went at Magus again.

Next up is Inquisitor and after that we go Magus, then NPC classes (all in one book trust us), then Wizard and the rest of Core classes. I'll be introducing new authors the whole way and some of our most spectacular stuff is on the horizon.

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Thanks Thilo! I was responsible for the natural transmuter and the supplementalist. I'm tickled by your praise for the transmuter. I spent a lot of time on that one and it was a goal of mine to introduce Full Metal Alchemist into PF. The supplementalist I can completely see some of the points you make and if/when we revise I will definitely revisit it.

Just wait till the inquisitor book...that one will have some very divisive options as well!

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