Disable Device and the Alchemist


Round 3: Alchemist and Inquisitor

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While my player made her character, we talked about what skills she should take. No one else in the group had disable device as a skill, so she should maybe take ranks in Disable Device. However, it dawned on me that the Alchemist wouldn't be able to Disable magical traps.

Now, at lower levels, this isn't such a big deal. However, once you hit about 6th level or so, you run into nothing but magical traps, because those are the only things that kill and hurt characters at later levels.
Disable Device at higher levels becomes pretty worthless.

I think that you should remove Disable Device, to be perfectly honest. This is a chemist, not a tinkerer. I don't see the reason for giving them this skill.


Goblins Eighty-Five wrote:

While my player made her character, we talked about what skills she should take. No one else in the group had disable device as a skill, so she should maybe take ranks in Disable Device. However, it dawned on me that the Alchemist wouldn't be able to Disable magical traps.

Now, at lower levels, this isn't such a big deal. However, once you hit about 6th level or so, you run into nothing but magical traps, because those are the only things that kill and hurt characters at later levels.
Disable Device at higher levels becomes pretty worthless.

I think that you should remove Disable Device, to be perfectly honest. This is a chemist, not a tinkerer. I don't see the reason for giving them this skill.

yes but picking locks is also included in disable device now ... no relation to finding traps, but there will be situations where kicking the door in is not the best option


Now that begs the question of why would a chemist be any good at picking locks?


sysane wrote:
Now that begs the question of why would a chemist be any good at picking locks?

that is a good point.. maybe the Inquisitor would be better suited for that role... I think even giving them trapfinding would not over power the class

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
sysane wrote:
Now that begs the question of why would a chemist be any good at picking locks?

Skillful use of acid?


LazarX wrote:
sysane wrote:
Now that begs the question of why would a chemist be any good at picking locks?
Skillful use of acid?

Experience working with complicated equipment like alembics, retorts, cucurbits, and bains-maries?


Acid I could see. I think it would be better represented (if not more flavorful) as a special use of Craft(Alchemy). I could even see the use of low impact explosive bombs to blow open locks and doors.


Well I do like the idea that the Alchemist gets Disable Device, it reminds me a little bit of the Ebberon 3.5 Artificer, and I partially think that is the direction they wanted to go with the Alchemist.

It does seem disappointing that the Alchemist does not get trapfinding as a class feature.


It makes more sense for the Artificer or Tinker type classes getting Disable Device more so than the Alchemist. Those classes are more mechanically inclined than the Alchemist.


Well I can see an alchemist looking for chemical based traps and the like, while having an extensive knowledge to search for and disable such mechanisms.

I'd say that the Alchemist is the Pathfinder version of the Artificer for copyright purposes.


The flavor of the Alchemist is actually still magical as opposed to chemistry. I would argue that instead of removing the disable device skill they should gain access to removing magical traps. This would reinforce their arcane melding with science feel and add in a second class that can bypass traps though all levels.


Maybe they should get the magical traps at some point, just not at first? Like 8th or 9th.

Personally, I think there needs to be other viable trap popping class options. They've fixed this a bit (but as mentioned) once magical traps become the norm, level-wise, rogues become the only option. Maybe a tinkerer class that?

After all, clerics are the 'best' healers in the game, but, there are certainly other classes that can play the part of primary healer. Yet, rogues are the only trap-popper after what 6th/7th?

Dark Archive

Piety Godfury wrote:

Maybe they should get the magical traps at some point, just not at first? Like 8th or 9th.

That could be more viable.

My attitude is either:

Remove Disable Device
or
make it useful.


Piety Godfury wrote:

Maybe they should get the magical traps at some point, just not at first? Like 8th or 9th.

Personally, I think there needs to be other viable trap popping class options. They've fixed this a bit (but as mentioned) once magical traps become the norm, level-wise, rogues become the only option. Maybe a tinkerer class that?

After all, clerics are the 'best' healers in the game, but, there are certainly other classes that can play the part of primary healer. Yet, rogues are the only trap-popper after what 6th/7th?

i agree ... 8th or 9th level gaining trapfinding would be good and not break anything


Just out of curiosity what is your reasoning for waiting. Its not as if this is an ability that does anything other than benifit the party. We are not talking about a combat ability nor should we presume to worry about stepping on the Rogue's role as that is exactly the point. To have a trapfinding option other than Rogue or dual class with Rogue in the mix. I see nothing but benifit and absoloutley no unbalancing in terms of class parity.


WarmasterSpike wrote:

Just out of curiosity what is your reasoning for waiting. Its not as if this is an ability that does anything other than benifit the party. We are not talking about a combat ability nor should we presume to worry about stepping on the Rogue's role as that is exactly the point. To have a trapfinding option other than Rogue or dual class with Rogue in the mix. I see nothing but benifit and absoloutley no unbalancing in terms of class parity.

actually that is a good point... I am not sure ... if you don't want to give it at first ... the clas already gets a lot at first, then maybe second... waiting till 8th actually really is asking the dm to throw in a magical trap to mess with the party


Wait Wait!

You're saying that DM's are Benevolent Beings for actually making a world revolve around 4 - 6 people and incapable of messing with the party?


Skizzy wrote:

Wait Wait!

You're saying that DM's are Benevolent Beings for actually making a world revolve around 4 - 6 people and incapable of messing with the party?

oh no... not what I am saying at all ... wait that is sarcasm isn't it?


I have no problem visualizing the alchemist disabling traps and disarming locks, I can even see him removing magical traps. It is just the way he does it with bombs and acid instead of lockpicks and wrenches. For removing magical traps I can see the alchemist constructing some sort of bomb that distorts magical energies (similar to how an EMP bomb disturbs electrical signals).

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Mortagon wrote:
I have no problem visualizing the alchemist disabling traps and disarming locks, I can even see him removing magical traps. It is just the way he does it with bombs and acid instead of lockpicks and wrenches. For removing magical traps I can see the alchemist constructing some sort of bomb that distorts magical energies (similar to how an EMP bomb disturbs electrical signals).

Well, based on that description, I'd say the alchemist shouldn't have Disable Device or trapfinding at all. Neither of those abilities is required to destroy locks and traps using acid and explosions. All you need for that is some idea of the trap's location, plus enough acid and explosions to destroy everything at that location.


Epic Meepo wrote:
Well, based on that description, I'd say the alchemist shouldn't have Disable Device or trapfinding at all. Neither of those abilities is required to destroy locks and traps using acid and explosions. All you need for that is some idea of the trap's location, plus enough acid and explosions to destroy everything at that location.

It's called a directed blast, although he could simply try to blast the device to pieces using his bomb ability, sometimes a more subtle approach is needed. I also think it is nice to have another class filling that niche in the game besides the rogue.

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Mortagon wrote:
It's called a directed blast, although he could simply try to blast the device to pieces using his bomb ability, sometimes a more subtle approach is needed.

A directed blast that can unlock a lock without damaging it? Or unstring a tripwire so it can be put back in place later? That doesn't even remotely make sense. A directed blast is just an explosion that destroys one specific thing, not a magical wave of energy that allows you to bypass locks and traps without ruining them completely.


Epic Meepo wrote:
A directed blast that can unlock a lock without damaging it? Or unstring a tripwire so it can be put back in place later? That doesn't even remotely make sense. A directed blast is just an explosion that destroys one specific thing, not a magical wave of energy that allows you to bypass locks and traps without ruining them completely.

Agreed. As I stated earlier in the thread, Disable Device just doesn't fit flavor wise. I understand the whole "demolitions" aspect that people are pointing out, but I don't see how the disposal of explosives equates to opening locks and the disarming of non-chemical traps.


I think Disable device is a good way to broaden the class' role in a party. I often describe my rogues using acid when opening locks not just picking them. To me it doesn't matter if the mechanism is damaged or not as long as it gets the job done. IMO disable device is an experts way of disabling a mechanical (or magical) device without the necessity of using brute force, wether the device is usable thereafter or not is besides the point. I usually allow my player to describe just what methods they use when disarming traps and locks and I can't see anything in the skill description that would disallow the use of chemicals or explosives.


You can justify any class having access to disable devise if spun the right way.

Monk: Uses his mastery of self to harness the vibrations of his unarmed strikes to open chests and doors without damaging them(Can't help but think of the Fonz here).

Bard: Uses the harmonics of his instruments to render traps inert.

Ranger: Uses his hunting skills of setting snares and pit falls to disable traps.

You get my point. Just because there can be reasonable explanation for it does mean that its good cause to give a class access to a certain skill. I'm not saying that no other class should be able to disable traps or open locks, but I don't believe the Alchemist is best class to give it to.


sysane wrote:

You can justify any class having access to disable devise if spun the right way.

Monk: Uses his mastery of self to harness the vibrations of his unarmed strikes to open chests and doors without damaging them(Can't help but think of the Fonz here).

Bard: Uses the harmonics of his instruments to render traps inert.

Ranger: Uses his hunting skills of setting snares and pit falls to disable traps.

You get my point. Just because there can be reasonable explanation for it does mean that its good cause to give a class access to a certain skill. I'm not saying that no other class should be able to disable traps or open locks, but I don't believe the Alchemist is best class to give it to.

I like all of the examples you give above, and I would allow all these uses for these classes if they have put ranks into disable device. The question of wether it should be a class skill or not is quite minor considering the only difference between cross class and class skills is a +3 bonus. However I think giving disable device to the alchemist would broaden his party role. I also think he should get trapfinding. I agree that the "tinkerer" aspect might not be a perfect fit for an alchemist and more suited for an artificer class, but in Pathfinder alchemist is probably the closest thing we'll get to such a concept.

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Mortagon wrote:
I can't see anything in the skill description that would disallow the use of chemicals or explosives.

The skill description gives a DC for resetting a trap, which makes resetting a trap a function of Disable Device. How do you reset a trap using acid and explosives?


I'd see that as more of a reason to keep disable device as a class skill, and give him trapfinding as a class ability.

To snip a quote from the Alchemist's intro text:

Role: The alchemist’s reputation is not softened by his
exuberance (some would say dangerous recklessness) in
perfecting his magical extracts and potion-like creations,
infusing these substances with magic siphoned from his
aura and using his own body as experimental stock. Nor
is it mollified by the alchemist’s almost gleeful passion
for building explosive bombs and discovering strange
new poisons and methods for their use. These traits,
while making him a liability and risk for most civilized
organizations and institutions of higher learning, seem
to fit quite well with most adventuring groups.

Now that gives the gist of an Alchemist, but it does leave it open enough for one so inclined to make explosive traps, transformative traps, and poison traps.

Then with that knowledge would it not make sense that the Alchemist is capable of disabling said traps?


Skizzy wrote:
Then with that knowledge would it not make sense that the Alchemist is capable of disabling said traps?

Maybe traps that use poison or explode but things like pit traps, or a whirling floor scythe, no.

I could see the disabling of poison/explosive traps as a special use of the craft(alchemy) skill that the Alchemist is only able to preform, but to have it extend to non-alchemical trap types doesn't fit IMO.

If the Alchemist wants to be able to find traps take a level dip into rogue to represent trap focused pursuits. I could even see it as an alternate ability for the Alchemist but not something that all Alchemist should be able to do.


Then how about Trapfinding becomes a Discovery.

For anyone who wants to play a trapfinding Alchemist they have to use a discovery to show their advanced research in the area for all traps and not just chemical based.

Like having to take Traps 101 before you get to choose the cool ones like Magic Traps 207. :B


sysane wrote:
Skizzy wrote:
Then with that knowledge would it not make sense that the Alchemist is capable of disabling said traps?

Maybe traps that use poison or explode but things like pit traps, or a whirling floor scythe, no.

I could see the disabling of poison/explosive traps as a special use of the craft(alchemy) skill that the Alchemist is only able to preform, but to have it extend to non-alchemical trap types doesn't fit IMO.

If the Alchemist wants to be able to find traps take a level dip into rogue to represent trap focused pursuits. I could even see it as an alternate ability for the Alchemist but not something that all Alchemist should be able to do.

Here's the thing -- How do rogues with no magical training find and disarm magical traps when they've never even seen one before in their life?

Cause it's part of their class ability.

Similiarly with the skill. If you have specifically trained in disabling devices you've learned to do it to all devices.

If you only took ranks in Craft(alchemy) you might realize parts of the trap for being this acid or that poison, but with ranks in Disable Device you've started doing the Leonardo D'vince sort of stuff too, hence why you can disable them.

Let's not make the mistake of saying a character can't have the background to take a skill simply because it doesn't fit a notion of how his class works... many characters do not fit the "traditional" mold for their classes.


Skizzy wrote:

Then how about Trapfinding becomes a Discovery.

For anyone who wants to play a trapfinding Alchemist they have to use a discovery to show their advanced research in the area for all traps and not just chemical based.

Like having to take Traps 101 before you get to choose the cool ones like Magic Traps 207. :B

I could live with that. Makes it more of a focused pursuit rather than it being something that all Alchemist are assumed to be able to do.

Prior to this class, when I thought "Alchemist" trapfinding and the dismantling of traps were the furthest thing on my mind as to abilities they would posses

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Skizzy wrote:
Then how about Trapfinding becomes a Discovery.

Wow, that isn't such a bad idea, if only discoveries were more available; as it stands, I can't imagine a player blowing their discovery on trapfinding, and it would come 3 levels too late. Maybe Paizo should take note of your idea and maybe make discoveries more often...


Goblins Eighty-Five wrote:
Skizzy wrote:
Then how about Trapfinding becomes a Discovery.
Wow, that isn't such a bad idea, if only discoveries were more available; as it stands, I can't imagine a player blowing their discovery on trapfinding, and it would come 3 levels too late. Maybe Paizo should take note of your idea and maybe make discoveries more often...

+1

At the rate you gain discoveries currently it would be too valuable of a class feature and just add one more thing that feels "must have"

(even if it really isn't it feels that way)


Abraham spalding wrote:
Goblins Eighty-Five wrote:
Skizzy wrote:
Then how about Trapfinding becomes a Discovery.
Wow, that isn't such a bad idea, if only discoveries were more available; as it stands, I can't imagine a player blowing their discovery on trapfinding, and it would come 3 levels too late. Maybe Paizo should take note of your idea and maybe make discoveries more often...

+1

At the rate you gain discoveries currently it would be too valuable of a class feature and just add one more thing that feels "must have"

(even if it really isn't it feels that way)

+1

I really like this. Of course discoveries should come more often as well, every two levels or so I think would be nice (maybe to good though?).


I think every 2 would be right. Just enough to be fair at most what the alchy does and specialize in one aspect to be great at it.

The Exchange

I don't see anything wrong with giving an Alchemist Trapfinding. He wouldn't step on the rogue's toes because, after all, one of the rogue talents allows a rogue an immediate perception check to notice a trap within 10 feet, whereas an Alchemist would have to be actively looking for one. The rogue will still be the king of trapfinding as long as he is the only one that gets this ability, so I don't see a problem (mechanically) with other classes getting trapfinding as well. Flavor wise, I don't see the alchemist getting trapfinding, really (to discredit my first sentence). Maybe the Inquisitor, because of his rogue-like feel, but not the alchemist unless they do a really good job of justifying it.


The Inquisitor gets Track like the ranger does, so trapfinding is lost on me for that.

Since what I see as an Inquisitor is a holy warrior meant to banish evil across the land.

Liberty's Edge

sysane wrote:
Now that begs the question of why would a chemist be any good at picking locks?

You obviously have never worked with fine chemistry tools before. A lot of that stuff takes a descent amount of manual dexterity.

Picking a lock is definitely easier than working with pipettes...

Manual dexterity and intelligence are all you need to pick a lock... yes you can do it faster with training and practice... but that's what RANKS in it are for... who says our friendly alchemist is a shutin that has never had to raid a wine cellar for "Materials" ^_^


Giving them trapfinding would not be too much of a problem - Rogues also get a massive bonus to search/disable device where traps are concerned (+1/2 levels). If you do not give the Alchemist this bonus, then you make trapfinding useful to the alchemist without stepping on the rogues toes.

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Mnemaxa wrote:
Rogues also get a massive bonus to search/disable device where traps are concerned (+1/2 levels). If you do not give the Alchemist this bonus...

Um, if you don't give the alchemist that bonus, you aren't giving them trapfinding. That bonus is the first listed benefit of the trapfinding ability.


Abraham spalding wrote:
I think every 2 would be right. Just enough to be fair at most what the alchy does and specialize in one aspect to be great at it.

Every two levels seems a tad much to me. I'd be okay if they moved it to 1st, 3rd, then every three after that. 6th, 9th, 12th, etc.


What if Alchemists get the ability to disarm traps and open locks, even magical ones, by using the Alchemy skill instead of Disable Device, just as Bards can substitute Perform for other skills? This would make alot more sense to me, as it would represent disabling traps via explosives, acids, and other compounds instead of with convetional tools. And since alchemists can create magical compounds, it makes sense to me that they could disable magical traps as well.

Grand Lodge

FallingIcicle wrote:
What if Alchemists get the ability to disarm traps and open locks, even magical ones, by using the Alchemy skill instead of Disable Device, just as Bards can substitute Perform for other skills? This would make alot more sense to me, as it would represent disabling traps via explosives, acids, and other compounds instead of with convetional tools. And since alchemists can create magical compounds, it makes sense to me that they could disable magical traps as well.

This sounds pretty good to me. It gives the Alchemist an actual niche or role to fit into. Rogue-ish magical dude that can do extra damage, open locks and disable traps. There isn't another class that can seriously compete with the Rogue for Disabling Traps, and the Alchemist seriously needs a niche to fit in.


Seriously Dude. :D

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