My Thoughts and Suggestions for the Alchemist


Round 3: Alchemist and Inquisitor


I like the Alchemist, but the class definitely needs some beefing up. Right now it is really weak compared to other classes, especially spellcasters.

Bombs: These should be at-will. There's no limit to how many times a day a Rogue can Sneak Attack, there should be no limit to how many times an Alchemist can use his primary attack. It's really no more powerful than the Warlock class. In fact, due to its very short range, splash attack which indiscriminately hits allies who are in melee with the target, etc, it's actually much weaker. A special ability that allows them to exclude a target from the splash damage of their bombs would also be nice. Giving them the equivalent of the Far Shot feat with thier bombs would also help alot.

Extracts: I have a number of issues with the way extracts work. First, you should absolutely not need a discovery to share these with others. No other "spellcaster" in the game is completely unable to cast his spells on other people! Even if they had the ability to do so, they still have a number of huge disadvantages compared even with the Bard. Since they can only make spells in extract form, you have to hand them to the target and the target must then spend another action drinking it to gain any benefit. This makes "casting" them on others during combat a major chore. Really, the only way to effectively share them would be to create and pass them out beforehand. Also, you can't ever have a multi-target effect with these. I'm fine with these drawbacks, but really, the inability to even pass them out to others without spending a discovery (of which you get so, so few) just kills the class.

Extracts and Oils: I strongly recommend that alchemists be able to make extracts that are oils, not just potions. This would expand their spell list to include things like Magic Item and Make Whole. Adding some of the transmuting effects like Transmute Mud to Rock to their "spell" list would likewise make them more fun and versatile. Their "spell" list right now is way too small, a fraction of the size of Bards'. Alchemists in legends were certainly involved in experimenting with objects, compounds and transmutations, not just potions people drink.

Cantrip Extracts: I think they should have the ability to use at-will cantrips like every other caster. These don't even need to be extracts, per se, they could be simple rotes that the alchemist learned that form the basis of their enchantments and imbuing techniques. Spells like resistance, detect magic, light, mending, and so forth would go a long way to making the class more fun.

Mutagens: This is probably the weirdest feature of the class. I think it would be best to just make these buff "spells" that are on the Alchemist's Extract Formulae list. The Charisma damage for drinking them is rubbish. There's no good reason for that drawback. Clerics, Wizards, etc don't suffer any negative effects for casting buffs on themselves (or others), why should alchemists?

Poisons: I think poisons should be part of the alchemist class, but the way they work now, it just doesn't feel quite right. Their poison use features encourage them to play more like assassins. I think they should get the ability to make poisons in bomb form, as long as the poison doesn't use the ingestion vector.

Discoveries: The Alchemsist just doesn't get enough of these. I strongly recommend giving them one discovery for every 2 levels. Even then, they'll never be able to compete with the versatility and firepower of a wizard, but at least they won't be so extremely limited in their options.

Alchemical Items: They should be able to use their own save DC calculation when using things like tanglefoot bags, so that these items retain some use at higher levels for them.

Magical Items: I really would like the Alchemist to be able to treat their class levels as caster levels for the purpose of item creation feats. Brew Potion, in particular, is something they should get for free! Likewise, I think they should be able to spend extract daily uses to recharge staffs. You could also give them the option to use the Use Magic Device skill to substitute for spells they don't have on their list. I realize they're alchemsist not enchanters, but they should at least be as capable in that regard as spellcasters are, IMHO. When it comes to Brewing Potions, they should be unrivaled. I'd suggest allowing them to make potions of any level, not just 3rd level and less.

Grand Lodge

I have to agree with you on every point.

Take out the spell list all together in my opinion. Make it a Research Book (similar in nature to a Wizard's Book), and they can create any formula from the Book.

Why are they using personal magic to power these potions and bombs? Alchemistry was essentially chemistry used to create "amazing" effects. Today's chemist would shame a 16th century alchemist. Why not just make the effects fueled by alchemistry rather than magic?

I'm still looking for the niche this class fills?

Is it a magic-based Rogue? If so it fails in that niche badly. Is it just a bomb-throwing fool? Anyone can do that with Alchemist Fire. What does the Alchemist do that no one else can?


I agree with a lot of your points, but not all.

"I strongly recommend that alchemists be able to make extracts that are oils, not just potions. This would expand their spell list to include things like Magic Item and Make Whole. Adding some of the transmuting effects like Transmute Mud to Rock to their "spell" list would likewise make them more fun and versatile. Their "spell" list right now is way too small, a fraction of the size of Bards'. Alchemists in legends were certainly involved in experimenting with objects, compounds and transmutations, not just potions people drink."

I couldn't have said it better myself. That's exactly what I want the Alchemist to be able to do. Indeed some of the effects shouldn't even have to be used up close. A Grease extract should be able to be thrown like a bomb can.

"Extracts: I have a number of issues with the way extracts work. First, you should absolutely not need a discovery to share these with others. No other "spellcaster" in the game is completely unable to cast his spells on other people! Even if they had the ability to do so, they still have a number of huge disadvantages compared even with the Bard. Since they can only make spells in extract form, you have to hand them to the target and the target must then spend another action drinking it to gain any benefit. This makes "casting" them on others during combat a major chore. Really, the only way to effectively share them would be to create and pass them out beforehand. Also, you can't ever have a multi-target effect with these. I'm fine with these drawbacks, but really, the inability to even pass them out to others without spending a discovery (of which you get so, so few) just kills the class."

Actually the Warlock can't use most of his abilities on other characters, but that's not important.
And I think the that the alchemist being able to hand out his "spells" on before hand to be a huge help. Your spells can still save their lives when you're on a different plane of existence!
I agree that you shouldn't have to spend a discovery on infusion though. As I said in a different thread; the party will hate you if you don't have it!

"Bombs: These should be at-will. There's no limit to how many times a day a Rogue can Sneak Attack, there should be no limit to how many times an Alchemist can use his primary attack. It's really no more powerful than the Warlock class. In fact, due to its very short range, splash attack which indiscriminately hits allies who are in melee with the target, etc, it's actually much weaker. A special ability that allows them to exclude a target from the splash damage of their bombs would also be nice. Giving them the equivalent of the Far Shot feat with thier bombs would also help alot."

I don't mind having a limit on bombs per day. I am already outblasting the wizard at low levels and I can get access to incendiary cloud way before he can. When paizo decides that the Alchemist gets more discoveries and fixes his attack rate he won't have any problems making his bombs last.

"Magical Items: I really would like the Alchemist to be able to treat their class levels as caster levels for the purpose of item creation feats. Brew Potion, in particular, is something they should get for free! Likewise, I think they should be able to spend extract daily uses to recharge staffs. You could also give them the option to use the Use Magic Device skill to substitute for spells they don't have on their list. I realize they're alchemsist not enchanters, but they should at least be as capable in that regard as spellcasters are, IMHO. When it comes to Brewing Potions, they should be unrivaled. I'd suggest allowing them to make potions of any level, not just 3rd level and less.
"

The brew potion feat I agree with, not anything else. I wouldn't want the Alchemist to turn into an artificer clone.

Cheers!

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