Mutagens: A tad weak right now.


Round 3: Alchemist and Inquisitor

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the mutagens ability fell a little short for me. when i first saw it mentioned i physically had to stop myself from skipping ahead to read about it, my mind was racing with what possible "mutations" you would be able to have...

...then i got there, a stat bonus and natural armor.. i guess.

don't get me wrong, is a nice bonus especially if you go the CON route, but to me it's just so bland. i was thinking it would be some kind ability that would allow you to mimic some racial traits or something for s few rounds. i get the concept and what it is, but i think it could have been something more interesting.


After my COTCT game last night, I played around a little bit with the mutagen idea. That got me thinking about the spiritual aspect of real world alchemy.

While Alchemy is considered the root of chemistry, it actually concealed a strong spiritual aspect. Many of the terms that made it in to science were code for spiritual concepts in order to protect the tradition from the Catholic Church. Alchemy draws largely from older hermetic beliefs and practices.

One of the ultimate goals of spiritual alchemy was physical perfection and immortality. This was a transformation from the imperfect and diseased to the perfect and healthy.

To this end, I was thinking that a revised “Mutagen” mechanic might work to mimic spiritual alchemy. Now, I am not saying to do away with the Jekyll and Hyde aspect. After all, people have different views of “perfection.”

I am going to start out by suggesting that mutagen be changed to transcendence (more spiritual and less scientific sounding). It would provide an alchemical bonus and scale as follows:

At 2nd level, +2 alchemy bonus to one physical ability score.
At 8th level, +2 alchemy bonus to two physical ability score.
At 14th level, +2 alchemy bonus to all three physical ability score.

Discoveries can be used to modify the base form. There is no Charisma damage from using transcendence; instead penalties and personality effects are tied to the discoveries. Some examples are:

Feral Transcendence: Gain claw and bite attacks; cannot use any Charisma-, Dexterity-, or Intelligence-based skills (except Acrobatics, Fly, and Intimidate) or any ability that requires patience or concentration

Monstrous Transcendence: Become one size larger; +2 size bonus to Strength; +2 natural armor (requires one other discovery)

Awakened Transcendence: May apply alchemical bonuses to mental stats

Enlightened Transcendence: Immune to the shaken and frightened conditions; may not use Bluff or Intimidate (cannot lie/threaten); +2 bonus to Diplomacy and Sense Motive (requires one other discovery)


I was REALLY looking forward to the mutagens, the whole concept of this meek little character going all Hyde (or Hulk)on the bad guys seemed great.

But this? given that it only affects 1 stat, and nat armor it's kinda sad. I really wanted something that would let the Alchemist go toe to toe with something i.e. replace the Fighter or Barbarian...for a short amount of time only.

and currently it can't, even with bumping all Mutagens. So at level 12 you get a whopping +4 to Nat armor, and +4 to one ability and WEE! you just replaced a barkskin and a bears endurance potion...congrats. Yes it lasts a bit longer....but you still can't go do anything.

Ooo...claws...great....a bite attack...oo spiffy... great roleplaying in my opinion, but um...who are you planning on attacking...kobalds?

Meh.

Sovereign Court

Keep in mind that the various Beast Shape and Elemental Shape spells are on the Alchemist's "spell" list, so I'd imagine an alchemist that valued hulking-out would use those extracts as well...


Twowlves wrote:


Keep in mind that the various Beast Shape and Elemental Shape spells are on the Alchemist's "spell" list, so I'd imagine an alchemist that valued hulking-out would use those extracts as well...

More like using those instead, since they don't stack with the mutagen, and honestly give better bonuses and more options.

Either make mutagens something more interesting, or just remove them entirely, perhaps for some other ability that works with his "spellcasting"

Sovereign Court

The stat bonuses from the Shape spells are size bonuses, so they will stack with the mutagens.

Change the mutagen bonus to an alchemical bonus, flatten them out somewhat so they stack with but do not overwhelm the stat boost items, and throw in some giant/dragon form-like benefits (wings, breath weapon, size change, rock throwing) and it's well on it's way to being workable.

Dark Archive

Ben Adler wrote:


More like using those instead, since they don't stack with the mutagen, and honestly give better bonuses and more options.

They do stack. Spells of the Polymorph school grant a size bonus.


Even with the combo, the Alchemist needs a ton of time to sit back and swill potions for a few rounds to get into combat.

And even then I feel like it takes away from the Jeckle Hyde motiff...I drink my Hyde mutagen...and then....turn into a dragon.

Dark Archive

eljava77 wrote:

Even with the combo, the Alchemist needs a ton of time to sit back and swill potions for a few rounds to get into combat.

And even then I feel like it takes away from the Jeckle Hyde motiff...I drink my Hyde mutagen...and then....turn into a dragon.

More like "I drank my Hyde mutagen, but still sucked, so I turned into a dragon".

Sovereign Court

How about "I drank my Hyde mutagen and turned into a giant"?

Dark Archive

Twowlves wrote:


How about "I drank my Hyde mutagen and turned into a giant"?

Great... But I don't see how the rules support that statement.

Sovereign Court

Currently, they don't. I was suggesting that Form of the Giant I be added to their "spell" list, and that mutagens change to an alchemical bonus. Then you could have an alchemist with a stat-boost belt drink an extract of Form of the Giant I, then a mutagen to get an alchemical bonus, a size bonus and an enhancement bonus and maybe, just maybe DO something in melee.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

Hey there folks,

I am currently mulling over a number of options for this mechanic, which range from dropping the Cha damage, changing it to a temporary penalty, changing the bonus to alchemical, adding a bit of increase to the bonus, and altering the way the discoveries interact...

That said, I am still looking for more playtest data on the topic...

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing


Jason Bulmahn wrote:
That said, I am still looking for more playtest data on the topic...

I think this ability is actually different in that a lack of playtesting kind of proves the point. It's not going to see much playtesting, because there's no point in using it, at all. I've tried to come up with a situation where I would bother with it, and haven't come up with one yet. With two items (one admittedly pricey until upper levels) I can nearly mimic the effects of a fully maxed out mutagen, losing only 3 natural armor in the process (and not suffering Cha damage).

I would like to throw in a vote for keeping the Charisma problem, but making it a temporary penalty (perhaps adding the Wisdom penalty that someone else mentioned, since the penalties would be temporary).

EDIT: Forgetting entire words makes sentences read funny.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Hey there folks,

I am currently mulling over a number of options for this mechanic, which range from dropping the Cha damage, changing it to a temporary penalty, changing the bonus to alchemical, adding a bit of increase to the bonus, and altering the way the discoveries interact...

That said, I am still looking for more playtest data on the topic...

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

i'll be throwing a multiclass gnoll alchemist, a gnoll summoner and a gnoll cavalier into my monsters this weekend.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

MaverickWolf wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
That said, I am still looking for more playtest data on the topic...
I think this ability is actually different in that a lack of playtesting kind of proves the point...

It has been out for a total of 1 day.. I think we can give it a bit more time...

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

Seraphimpunk wrote:
i'll be throwing a multiclass gnoll alchemist, a gnoll summoner and a gnoll cavalier into my monsters this weekend.

I approve... make them pay!

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing


Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Seraphimpunk wrote:
i'll be throwing a multiclass gnoll alchemist, a gnoll summoner and a gnoll cavalier into my monsters this weekend.

I approve... make them pay!

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

I also approve, if for no other reason than gnolls need some love. (Sorry...I think gnolls are cool, but they are horribly underused in most campaigns I've played in.)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
MaverickWolf wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Seraphimpunk wrote:
i'll be throwing a multiclass gnoll alchemist, a gnoll summoner and a gnoll cavalier into my monsters this weekend.

I approve... make them pay!

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

I also approve, if for no other reason than gnolls need some love. (Sorry...I think gnolls are cool, but they are horribly underused in most campaigns I've played in.)

Isn't Gnoll love one of Lamashtu's main tenets?


To me the alchemist should represent Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde. First, I think that it would be a great rp mechanic if the mutagen did something similar to this. When drinking the potion, it would actually shift your alignment to chaotic, you would temp lose int and charisma, but would gain a big bonus to intimidate. I think the alchemist should actually lose the ability to make bombs and extracts while under the effect of the mutagen, showing that he doesn't have the skills to do it anymore. Now with that said, the mutagen would have to be increased in what it does, from a size bonus to perhaps a progression on the discovery table, or perhaps a list of things you can mix and match in the mutagen(think the evolution points from summoner) so that the shape might even change each time. Of course, he would have to coat his armor in some alchemical substance so it adheres to him, or like shapeshift it just gets incorporated into the form. The possible things that might be allowed are wings, tougher body, quicker body, stronger body, a harder body, a body that can breath underwater or have fins, the potential for this is quite good, and since the alchemist is losing his bombs, it balances it out more. After all, you'll probably throw your bombs at long range and then drink the mutagen for going close.


Jadeite wrote:
Ben Adler wrote:


More like using those instead, since they don't stack with the mutagen, and honestly give better bonuses and more options.
They do stack. Spells of the Polymorph school grant a size bonus.

Right, keep forgetting that. Not used to anything other than size altering spells giving size bonuses.


Serisan wrote:
My only question is if you can justify changing over to Alchemical from Enhancement if you go to +8. You could make a pretty mean Alch if you can give yourself a total of +14 to a stat.

Agreed. If the bonus changes type, that makes it more powerful and this should be included in the consideration.


Away from the bonuses, but in line with the terminology, would it be possible to request a more standard nomenclature, along the lines of Lesser/Improved/Greater, rather than the proposed Greater/Grand/Whatever? It is something of a burden having to memorize a different progression of comparative adjectives for each class. This would apply equally to the witch's hexes.

Dark Archive

Stuffy Grammarian wrote:
Away from the bonuses, but in line with the terminology, would it be possible to request a more standard nomenclature, along the lines of Lesser/Improved/Greater, rather than the proposed Greater/Grand/Whatever? It is something of a burden having to memorize a different progression of comparative adjectives for each class. This would apply equally to the witch's hexes.

Greater/Grand/True


My first post, so please don't kill me, people. Yet.

Taken from an analysis that I and some friends did, we come to the following consensus about the Mutagen:

- Change the type of bonus to Alchemy.

- Request a Will save (DC 20, perhaps?) to take any action other than to attack the nearest creature, while under effect. This is in addition to the Charisma damage (who should be in effect only under the Mutagen influence).

- Extend the progression bonus of +2 on Attribute / +1 Natural Armor for every 5 or 6 levels of the Alchemist automatically. Progression could also give a bonus to a secondary attribute equal to half the bonus to the primary attribute.

- The Discovery's should give extra effects to the Mutagen like increasing size, physical characteristics such as claws and wings, extension of effect time and so on. Not just increase the bonus to attributes and Nat Armor.

And sorry for my very bad english.


Draeke Raefel wrote:


Greater/Grand/True
  • Feats use the "standard/improved/greater" terminology;
  • Rage uses the "standard/greater/mighty" terminology;
  • Beast Shape spells use the "I/II/III/IV" terminology;
  • Fortification armor uses the "light/moderate/heavy" terminology;
  • Hexes use a completely different scale that eludes me at present;
  • Mutagens, supposedly, will use the "standard/greater/grand/true" terminology.

    In the interest of sanity, consistency, and clear communication, it seems reasonable that there would be a standardized progression of "normal ... better ... best," rather than a different set of such terms for each individual instance.


  • Aiken Frost wrote:

    - The Discovery's should give extra effects to the Mutagen like increasing size, physical characteristics such as claws and wings, extension of effect time and so on. Not just increase the bonus to attributes and Nat Armor.

    Man Bat


    While I agree the mutagen tends to fall short in the later levels without specialization, it also becomes basically an all day buff once you get it to hour/level. And since you can get rid of the bad effects immediately (let's see, brewed my daily "mr. hyde" potion, now for my daily restoration potion) at little to no cost, i honestly think it's going to be fine as is.

    Especially since at level 20 (which is where one my little niggles with the class comes in), you don't really require any specialization into it to make it good, as true mutagen doesn't seem to require the previous mutagen increasing discoveries selected, and in fact makes them look subpar to pick if you're going to make it to 20.

    Off hand, the alchemical bonus sounds ok, until we, once again, get into increasing the mutagen's power. With true mutagen, you're getting a +8 (true gives 8, right? i cant remember, but i think it is) to all physical stats that's basically going to stack with ANYTHING, and last you all day with no (well, at this point very minimal) draw back.

    A flat progression sounds good, as long as we don't change the bonus type, and remove the improvement through discoveries, and replace with additions to the bonuses (NA attacks, size, etc.)

    All in all, though, i'm hesitant to weigh on and change things until i get some actual playtesting going. We're actually making characters this saturday, and one of our group plans on being an alchemist (we're actually gonna have an alchemist, inquisitor, summoner, and oracle, and potentially a witch all in the same game)

    Sovereign Court

    eerongal wrote:

    While I agree the mutagen tends to fall short in the later levels without specialization, it also becomes basically an all day buff once you get it to hour/level. And since you can get rid of the bad effects immediately (let's see, brewed my daily "mr. hyde" potion, now for my daily restoration potion) at little to no cost, i honestly think it's going to be fine as is.

    Especially since at level 20 (which is where one my little niggles with the class comes in), you don't really require any specialization into it to make it good, as true mutagen doesn't seem to require the previous mutagen increasing discoveries selected, and in fact makes them look subpar to pick if you're going to make it to 20.

    Off hand, the alchemical bonus sounds ok, until we, once again, get into increasing the mutagen's power. With true mutagen, you're getting a +8 (true gives 8, right? i cant remember, but i think it is) to all physical stats that's basically going to stack with ANYTHING, and last you all day with no (well, at this point very minimal) draw back.

    A flat progression sounds good, as long as we don't change the bonus type, and remove the improvement through discoveries, and replace with additions to the bonuses (NA attacks, size, etc.)

    All in all, though, i'm hesitant to weigh on and change things until i get some actual playtesting going. We're actually making characters this saturday, and one of our group plans on being an alchemist (we're actually gonna have an alchemist, inquisitor, summoner, and oracle, and potentially a witch all in the same game)

    Actually a couple of points,

    it's a +6 for grand mutagen which requires three previous discoveries (meaning level 16 before you get it) one of which has to be grand mutagen, so no you can't just take the highest level one you have to use 2 of your 5 discoveries to get a decent mutagen. It provides an enhancement bonus (which means it stacks with very little) So while you are right it's a decent all day buff, it isn't as good as you make it out to be.


    i'm talking about true mutagen, the grand discovery (level 20), which as far as i can tell has no pre reqs to select.

    Edit: also, the alchemist gets 6 discoveries, not 5. 1 at 4th, 1 at 8th, 1 at 12th, 1 at 16th, and 2 at 20th plus a grand discovery. unless, of course, something has changed since the PDF came out that i dont know of.

    I also checked while i was at it, true mutagen is +6 to all stats and +8 to NA, and I doubled checked and still see no pre-reqs

    Dark Archive

    eerongal wrote:

    i'm talking about true mutagen, the grand discovery (level 20), which as far as i can tell has no pre reqs to select.

    Edit: also, the alchemist gets 6 discoveries, not 5. 1 at 4th, 1 at 8th, 1 at 12th, 1 at 16th, and 2 at 20th plus a grand discovery. unless, of course, something has changed since the PDF came out that i dont know of.

    I also checked while i was at it, true mutagen is +6 to all stats and +8 to NA, and I doubled checked and still see no pre-reqs

    Yup, if you are going to be taking True Mutagen, Grand and Greater are useless.

    Sovereign Court

    eerongal wrote:

    i'm talking about true mutagen, the grand discovery (level 20), which as far as i can tell has no pre reqs to select.

    Edit: also, the alchemist gets 6 discoveries, not 5. 1 at 4th, 1 at 8th, 1 at 12th, 1 at 16th, and 2 at 20th plus a grand discovery. unless, of course, something has changed since the PDF came out that i dont know of.

    I also checked while i was at it, true mutagen is +6 to all stats and +8 to NA, and I doubled checked and still see no pre-reqs

    EDIT: Oh your talking about the capstone, yeah I don't really care about that, you shouldn't have to take pre-reqs for a capstone ability and it only affects one level of play. So True mutagen doesn't bother me and is actually super suck as a capstone if you've taken the previous discoveries, ooh I got to 20th level and I got a +2 bonus to natural armor and a +4 to one stat and a +2 to another. That's actually a pretty lame capstone in those circumstances. I think true mutagen is specifically for those who didn't build their mutagen with discoveries.


    lastknightleft wrote:
    eerongal wrote:

    i'm talking about true mutagen, the grand discovery (level 20), which as far as i can tell has no pre reqs to select.

    Edit: also, the alchemist gets 6 discoveries, not 5. 1 at 4th, 1 at 8th, 1 at 12th, 1 at 16th, and 2 at 20th plus a grand discovery. unless, of course, something has changed since the PDF came out that i dont know of.

    I also checked while i was at it, true mutagen is +6 to all stats and +8 to NA, and I doubled checked and still see no pre-reqs

    EDIT: Oh your talking about the capstone, yeah I don't really care about that, you shouldn't have to take pre-reqs for a capstone ability and it only affects one level of play. So True mutagen doesn't bother me and is actually super suck as a capstone if you've taken the previous discoveries, ooh I got to 20th level and I got a +2 bonus to natural armor and a +4 to one stat and a +2 to another. That's actually a pretty lame capstone in those circumstances. I think true mutagen is specifically for those who didn't build their mutagen with discoveries.

    Well, I agree that the capstones shouldn't have pre-reqs, but my problem with it was the fact that all the mutagen increasing discoveries are made null with the capstone. So someone who focuses on mutagens and picks this gets gypped, where as someone who doesn't focus on mutagens gets more than the previous person, basically for free.

    Honestly, the only capstones i really care about are fast healing, awakened intellect, and true mutagen. The others are handy, but I don't see them as useful as those three.

    I just think that the capstone shouldnt outshine the specialization it goes for like it does, or it should work with someone who is specialized and make theirs better. (for example, something like "if you have greater and grand mutagen, also gain X")

    Silver Crusade

    I have been using 2 simple changes that make Mutagens more powerful but does not change much. First change the type to a mutant bonus not enhancement. It make it more comparable to Rage.

    Second Made Mutant types. Using and Modifying some sifter stuff.
    Feats:
    Lessor animal Form
    Pre: Mutagen
    1d6 bite or 2 1d4 claws
    one ability from BS 1

    Animal Mutation
    pre: most have LAF
    1d8 Bite or 2 1d6 claws
    2 ability from BS 2

    Elemental Mutation
    Pre: LAF
    Air
    Air Mastery: -1 to attack
    Most have dex as primary ability
    whirlwind: DC=10+int+1/2 class level

    Brute Mutation
    Pre:class level 8
    Dex must be Tri
    2 Slam Attacks 1d6
    +2 Str Size mod
    -2 Dex Size mod
    Large size
    Reach 5

    Improved natural attack
    Improve Damage buy one size Increments .


    Aiken Frost wrote:

    My first post, so please don't kill me, people. Yet.

    Taken from an analysis that I and some friends did, we come to the following consensus about the Mutagen:

    - Change the type of bonus to Alchemy.

    - Request a Will save (DC 20, perhaps?) to take any action other than to attack the nearest creature, while under effect. This is in addition to the Charisma damage (who should be in effect only under the Mutagen influence).

    - Extend the progression bonus of +2 on Attribute / +1 Natural Armor for every 5 or 6 levels of the Alchemist automatically. Progression could also give a bonus to a secondary attribute equal to half the bonus to the primary attribute.

    - The Discovery's should give extra effects to the Mutagen like increasing size, physical characteristics such as claws and wings, extension of effect time and so on. Not just increase the bonus to attributes and Nat Armor.

    And sorry for my very bad english.

    This is right in line with a Jekyll and Hyde kind of feel that I wish alchemist had.

    In simplest of terms, the Mutagen ability could work just like the Summoners Eidolon ability with Evolution Points and everything. Alternatively the Mutagen power could work just like rage, that way they couldn't craft bombs or chug potions (form is unstable and chugging a potion would end the form prematurely, , , for example).

    This is a highly flavorful class that fills a steampunk niche that Pathfinder needs.

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