Should I be concerned about Bombs?


Advice


Hmmm...I'm looking at the alchemist...we have one in the other party. At 8th level they can take fast bombs letting them do more than 1 bomb/round, and that works with feats.

At 9th level, a bomb does 5d6+Int, so let's say an avearge INT of +5 at that point... 22.5 per bomb. Now with something like Improved two handed fighting, they get 4 attacks/round (cuz you can double fist bombs), so with a +3 Dex bonus, I'm thinking the attack would be +7/+2/+7/+2. Now, that sounds poor, but we're talking bombs which work against touch attack (with partial damage even on a miss). With most things averaging around a 12-13 touch AC. So I'm thinking about 2.5 direct hits/round (with about 10 miss damage average) so we're talking an average ~70 pts of damage. An alchemist can make his level + INT bombs, so about 14 bombs in my example...he'd be able to keep this up for about 3-4 rounds (more with feats). And heaven help someone if this guy gets a couple of buffs on him such as haste.

So, the question is, is this too OP? Granted, it's a burst damage type of thing, but being that it's touch attack, as long as the person is somewhat close (20') it's pretty devistating. As a measuring stick of OP'ness, I ask myself, what if I threw an NPC like this at the players? At ninth level, the avearage PC has about 70-110 HPs. This guys average hit could possibly knock out the average PC in one round.

Comparing this to other classes... the mage can only, usually, do max of d6/level (at least up through mid levels).... all spells tie into this d6 thing. And there are saves, SR and immunities. I've had few full life players die from an enemy mage using evocation. Granted, they can soften up a clumped group, but spells hardly kill in one hit. Even the save and die spells are hard to hit players on.

Rogues/Ninjas, can be great single target damagers. Now, they are tied to d6/2 levels. With the right feats, in the mid levels, they get three or four attacks/round. With flanking (which requires them to be in the mobs face, and flanking, usually), they usually hit twice/round since they're going vs regular AC (And less if the foe is decently armored). In my experience, they come close to about an average of d6 damage/level+10. They tend to do more damage vs. single targets than mages since there's no saving throw or much resistance vs. precisions damage (though there are some). I've had Rogue NPCs really hurt a full life player, but never really kill in one round.

Back to the alchemist. His bombs work off the same idea as the Rogue's precision damage in that it's tied into d6/2 levels. However, it runs off of touch AC rather than normal AC. There are very few monsters/players with decent touch AC. His chances to hit are significantly higher than a rogues (even with flanking bonus) because he doesn't have to worry about all that armor the tank is wearing. His potions go right thorugh it. So, instead of hitting once or twice / round with his 4 attacks (again, assuming the necessary feats like two weapon fighting), he's probably going to hit two-three times/round. And there's a lot less protection against bombs (A few classes have protecting versus precision damage, like Barbarians, but there's no such 'bomb' protection, lol). He just needs to be within 20' to throw. Even if someone is in his face (which would be a concern for a ninja), he can five foot step back, and throw away. (Bombs explode 5', and splash damage is minimal). Anyone who gets in an alchemist fact, and doesn't kill him then and there, is looking at an avg of 70 pts of damage on the alchy's next turn (see my numbers above, using level 9 for the par, here).

In my direct experience, with level 8 characters, monks, rogues, etc, 50 pts in a round is a high number. Average damage for those classes against things with "softer" AC is about 35-40/round...and higher AC is much lower. But I believe an alchy could take down a fully armored tank in 1-2 rounds.

Granted, most alchy's could only keep this up 3 - 5 turns...but I'm not sure that limitation isn't very limiting if they knock out 2-3 Mobs/PCs in those turns without breaking a sweat.

So, to do this, I'm looking at combining Fast Bombs with feats like improved two weapon fighting or rapid shot. Perhaps I'm interpreting the rules wrong...

Silver Crusade

A bomber alchemist is really dangerous (Fast bombs + Rapid Shot + Haste), but in no way as powerful as any other class focused on ranged combat - especially when I see you comparing them to monks and rogues.
At level 9, 1d8+17 (+2 bow, +4 from dueling gloves and training, +2 from Strength, +1 from Point Blank Shot, +6 from Deadly Aim, +2 from Weapon Specialization), four to five times a round when hasted is what an archer can do all day, so a potential 5d8+95 with crazy-high to-hit and a 19-20x3 weapon.
The alchemist can nova pretty good, spending lots of limited ressources for a powerful effect a limited number of times per day, and the best bomb's feature is their debuffing effects (falling prone, clouds of smoke, entangling (this one is awesome), confused...).

You don't have to worry about it if you avoid the 15-minutes days and fights with only a few, easy-to-hit enemies, and if you apply all rules about ranged combat, like cover, concealment, wind effects, -4 penalty when attacking a creature in melee with another, etc.

The bombs aren't unlimited during the day, you need to be close or expand limited ressources to give them better range, expand ressources to not hurt your allies, to not provoke, etc.

Liberty's Edge

Don't forget that there is a limited number of bombs per day; there's enough that a typical alchemist doesn't really need to worry, as he'll be doing all sorts of other stuff, but a dedicated bomb-thrower will start running out.

Also, bombs have a limited range, and alchemists are squishy.

I don't think it's a problem.


Alchemists have d8 hp. Not that squishy.

ALchemists deal very good damage. They deal this damage with very little (and very easy) optimization. If you have a bunch of min maxes in your group the alchemist will look slightly underpowered. If you have a bunch of "but its roLL playing i don't need to optimize" types the alchemist will literally be blowing them away.

It is very good... for damage. SOD wizards are more of a problem.


It could be an issue if you just have one encounter a day. But even then, not really.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So long as you make sure there are multiple encounters per day, its a non-issue. After the first day the alchemist will be so worried about running out of bombs he wont throw more then 1 or 2 a round.

If however you are a fan of the 1-2 big encounters a day method, then this and other 'nova' classes like the magus will be problematic.

That said, an archer fighter will do more damage from a greater range and hit more often at the same level, so really like others have said, its only scary if your other players dont optimize for damage, and if that is the case its probably a good thing the alchemist can lay it down to even things out in the party.


Here's how I put it -- if you haven't had any problems with sneak attack bombs aren't going to be any worse.


I played an alchemist recently for a campaign and the bombs are pretty good for some circumstances, but have drawbacks. They do great against enemy wizards and ranged enemies. However, the bulk of the enemies you fight will probably be melee to some degree. That isn't a big problem for you, but they will also be up close to the rest of your party. And even with precision bombs, when you miss your attack (as you inevitably will), your DM will cackle maniacally and roll to see where it lands and who gets to eat splash damage.

Unless some of your party have fire resistance, they are not going to be very pleased to be getting hit for an extra 3-10 damage once or twice a round. Sometimes you'll have to do some convincing and negotiating to throw the bombs where you'd like to, which was definitely a lot of fun. But other times you will have to go after subpar targets.

So depending on your DM is and what he decides to throw against your party, he can use his tactics to tone down the bombs threat.

Lantern Lodge

BobChuck wrote:
Also, bombs have a limited range, and alchemists are squishy.

Not if they take 1 level in another class like fighter.

My party's Alchemist wears medium armor, has a shield and has a high dex. Her AC is at 24 for at lv 4.

Her range is a non-issue thank to feats that minimize the penalties she gets when she throw from further then 20 feet. Add her high AC and she can walk right up to a target, throw a bomb in their faces and dare them to hit her.

Scarab Sages

The alchemist bomber will really shine against critters that have DR. Not so much against things that have resistance against fire (or other energy).

Again it is a limited resource, the alchemist can nova doing massive amounts of damage... but that will be it for the day.

Dark Archive

Aclchemists aren't squishy at all. Alchemical extract and extend potion discovery on a 20th level potion of barkskin = +5 AC for 4 hours, and there's no reason they can't take medium armor proficiency and shield proficiency if they really want.

But no, as many have said Alchy bombers tend to be underpowered, not over.


Here's how I put it -- if you haven't had any problems with sneak attack bombs aren't going to be any worse.

Its not the same thing. Sneak attacks aren't a constant event. Full round sneak attacks are a once in a blue moon thing. The alchemist can nova pretty hard when they want to, especially with multiple bombs and rapidshot. MOST of an alchemists attacks will hit, even the iteratives. Since they're making touch attacks they mostly need to worry about the -4 to fire into melee, and they're looking at +1 from point blank shot and +1 from the free "throw anything" feat before their dex and decent bab.

Then there's the debuffing. An alchemist can not only do rogue damage, but also knock someone prone, stagger them, and set them on fire, all in the same round.

Its MUCH better than the rogue. Doesn't mean its over powered though.


Bombs aren't a constant effect either -- you're going to run out before I run out of sneak attack. With the APG and UC it's much easier to get sneak attack too.

In addition we have feats and talents that add new abilities when you sneak attack too.

We have:
Befuddling strike, Bleeding attack, distracting attack, offensive defense, positioning attack, slow reactions, crippling strike, dispelling attack, entanglement of blades, and knock-out blow -- and this is before we get into feats... that's only the rogue talents.

Like I said if sneak attacks aren't giving you problems bombs won't either -- not that sneak attack is better only that if you can cope with someone sending out multiple d6's of damage multiple times a round then you can deal with someone else sending out multiple d6's of damage multiple times a round.

The Exchange

BigNorseWolf wrote:

Alchemists have d8 hp. Not that squishy.

ALchemists deal very good damage. They deal this damage with very little (and very easy) optimization. If you have a bunch of min maxes in your group the alchemist will look slightly underpowered. If you have a bunch of "but its roLL playing i don't need to optimize" types the alchemist will literally be blowing them away.

It is very good... for damage. SOD wizards are more of a problem.

also on top of this stuff is sticky bombs, do damage again next round, and force bombs, knock just about anyone over that isn't flying (maybe not with one save but if 3-5 bombs hit....you will fail monster). If an alchemist hits level 12-15 you see an alchemist (twfing)scoring a ton of attacks and getting a series of attacks that altogether add up to 100+ damage(easily) the first round with adjacent creatures getting splashed, another round of damage from stick bombs, and a creature that is most likely prone and will spend a round either attacking from prone or drawing AoOs getting up.

I'd love to see a build for it put up here so I can compare to the player in my game....he has 25ish bombs total I believe at 15th level.


Bombs aren't a constant effect either -- you're going to run out before I run out of sneak attack

Not really. If you consider 4 combats a day at 4 rounds each are you really getting more than the 14 or so sneak attacks a day? that's what an 8th level alchemist gets.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

Bombs aren't a constant effect either -- you're going to run out before I run out of sneak attack

Not really. If you consider 4 combats a day at 4 rounds each are you really getting more than the 14 or so sneak attacks a day? that's what an 8th level alchemist gets.

14 a day with each combat lasting 3~5 rounds with you throwing 4 bombs a round is going to be... not enough, if you are simply relying on bombs and throwing them constantly.

IF you aren't throwing out as many bombs as you can constantly then you are reducing your average damage for longevity which means I'm more likely to get out just as many if not more sneak attacks than you will bombs per combat and probably tie up for the day.


subgenius wrote:

I played an alchemist recently for a campaign and the bombs are pretty good for some circumstances, but have drawbacks. They do great against enemy wizards and ranged enemies. However, the bulk of the enemies you fight will probably be melee to some degree. That isn't a big problem for you, but they will also be up close to the rest of your party. And even with precision bombs, when you miss your attack (as you inevitably will), your DM will cackle maniacally and roll to see where it lands and who gets to eat splash damage.

Unless some of your party have fire resistance, they are not going to be very pleased to be getting hit for an extra 3-10 damage once or twice a round. Sometimes you'll have to do some convincing and negotiating to throw the bombs where you'd like to, which was definitely a lot of fun. But other times you will have to go after subpar targets.

So depending on your DM is and what he decides to throw against your party, he can use his tactics to tone down the bombs threat.

I'm going to second this. I went through a phase where I was really into the bomber alchemist, but in practice, I was the cause of way more friendly fire than I felt comfortable with, even with precise bombs + splash weapon mastery. At this point, I think a switch hitting alchemist is the way to go, so that they can capitalize on the situations in which bombs shine without being tied to them. Anyway, it is this situational-ness which keeps bombs from being overpowered, in my opinion/experience. YMMV, of course.

Silver Crusade

Qik wrote:
but in practice, I was the cause of way more friendly fire than I felt comfortable with, even with precise bombs + splash weapon mastery

This little lovely extract helps a bit, especially with the Mindchemist archetype, actually.

Liberty's Edge

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Quote:
Should I be concerned about Bombs?

Are they in your pants?

If so, then yes. Definitely be concerned.
-Kle.

Sczarni

Our playgroup tried an alchemist. After consulting the rules for thrown splash weapons, we discovered that if an alchemist's bomb misses, you roll a d8 to determine a random direction from the target, and the bomb lands one square away in that direction... where it presumably explodes.

The biggest reason to be concerned about bombs is that it's only a matter of time before an alchemist accidentally takes out his melee teammates. In our group, our alchemist was responsible for more PC deaths than the enemies. Were we using the missed splash weapon rules wrong? Have they been changed to accomodate alchemists?

Shadow Lodge

Silent Saturn wrote:

Our playgroup tried an alchemist. After consulting the rules for thrown splash weapons, we discovered that if an alchemist's bomb misses, you roll a d8 to determine a random direction from the target, and the bomb lands one square away in that direction... where it presumably explodes.

The biggest reason to be concerned about bombs is that it's only a matter of time before an alchemist accidentally takes out his melee teammates. In our group, our alchemist was responsible for more PC deaths than the enemies. Were we using the missed splash weapon rules wrong? Have they been changed to accomodate alchemists?

If you miss you only deal splash damage, not direct hit damage... other than that, no.

Shadow Lodge

Maxximilius wrote:
Qik wrote:
but in practice, I was the cause of way more friendly fire than I felt comfortable with, even with precise bombs + splash weapon mastery
This little lovely extract helps a bit, especially with the Mindchemist archetype, actually.

OMG i had missed this one! Thx man. My four arm switch hitter half orc alchemist just have an evilgasm.

Hehehe...life is good.


Merck wrote:
Maxximilius wrote:
Qik wrote:
but in practice, I was the cause of way more friendly fire than I felt comfortable with, even with precise bombs + splash weapon mastery
This little lovely extract helps a bit, especially with the Mindchemist archetype, actually.

OMG i had missed this one! Thx man. My four arm switch hitter half orc alchemist just have an evilgasm.

Hehehe...life is good.

'you won't be switch hitting as well if you use cognatogens since your losing your STR/DEX/CON buffing for mental stats.

unless your brewing both a mutgaen and spare cognatogen for 1000gp.


14 a day with each combat lasting 3~5 rounds with you throwing 4 bombs a round is going to be... not enough, if you are simply relying on bombs and throwing them constantly.

-Just throw them when they matter. Its much easier to gauge than when setting up a sneak attack.

Quote:
IF you aren't throwing out as many bombs as you can constantly then you are reducing your average damage for longevity which means I'm more likely to get out just as many if not more sneak attacks than you will bombs per combat and probably tie up for the day.

No, you won't. 1)Full round sneak attacks simply don't happen 2) Rogues are attacking real ac at 3/4 bab, alchemists are attacking touch ac 3) Sneak attacks simply don't happen that often.


My experience has been that it is rather easy to set up sneak attacks. Your experience has obviously differed from that.

However I've easily been able to set up at least one full round sneak attack each combat (which is 10 sneak attacks in general) and at least one other sneak attack on its own each combat.

With just an average of 1 full round sneak attack and 1 regular sneak attack I'm getting 15 sneak attacks in a combat day.

Which is of course 1 more than 14. I can even do the same amount if I only get standard action sneak attacks in on 3 rounds for each combat. The scout archetype for example makes that easily possible.

However I guess if you and your party can't get it together enough to get sneak attacks then it could be an issue.

Throwing them when they matter is good advice... but then how is that any different than the wizard? At that point you aren't putting out full rounds worth of bomb damage time after time -- which is what the OP was worried about. In fact you still aren't doing that even if you pick and chose when to bomb. At best you're a lack luster fireball spammer -- you just happen to be little better than a wizard when it comes to SR and reliability.

Which is to say you are a lot like the rogue with sneak attack -- AKA a situational effect that doesn't happen regularly. Sometimes you'll go all nova sure -- but then again sometimes the rogue will too.

Will it always happen? No. But again as I said IF you can cope with the rogue doing it, you'll be able to cope with the alchemist doing it.

They are both:
1. Situational.
2. Limited in effect.
3. Unlikely to happen continuously.


We recently had a high level game (ended at 18ish) and the PC alchemist and the villain Alchemists were terrifyingly overpowered, two weapon fighting, fast bombs, haste, rapid shot, stiky bombs, and force bombs made for a huge nova that flat out killed 1/2 the party in the first 2 rounds of combat, expending only 1 rounds worth of bombs. This class is stupidly overpowered with bombs at higher levels.


So! What about the vivisectionist beast alchemist with lunge and enlarge person v the rouge

-More attacks
-More damaging attacks (due to sky high strength)
-Potential reach of 15 feet!
-More full round attacks
-Which means more full round sneak attacks IF the rest of your party helps you out by providing flanking for you while you reach out and smack people
-Note that the skills an alchemist can take can pretty much replace the rogue skills
-And, on top of all of that, you ALSO can buff the rest of your party with extracts

Drawbacks:
-Obviously you are limited in how often you can do this. At level 10, as a Master Chymist, that is 3 times a day for 100 minutes each. Enough? Maybe. Although I suppose if the whole party is willing to wait 1 hour for you to brew a new mutagen, it can be more.

Better than the bomb throwing alchemist? Certainly much more bad ass.


Should you be concerned about bombs?

No, you should be mindful of them.

In some scenarios the bomber should shine (enemies in big groups or destructible environments) and in others possibly be a hindrance (enemies spread out and with cover or destructible environments).

Just some food for thought.


Thank you for all your feedback, I'm reading it all.

Well, we played another session. It was funny as anything else. The first bomb he threw totally missed, doing splash damage to his friends.

Next turn, the alchemist rolled a 1...and confirmed the miss. (We use the critical miss deck). The Card says he hit himself with his own weapon and must roll to confirm a critical hit. He went down...and hurt friends with splash damage on the way.

Cleric got him back up. Now he's prone on the ground. He throws another bomb, provoking an AoO from the bad guy who since moved next to him. Bad guy hits, knocking him out.

In all honesty, he did more damage to the group than the bad guys.

He told me that next level (2nd) he's get the discovery to let him select out his friends from splash damage to prevent that problem from happening again. He wasn't too happy when I showed him that the discovery doesn't work on misses. Poor guy!

So, I'm beginning to think that the alchemist is a high risk/reward deal. We'll see. It's easy enough for aparty to protect themselves from most of his booboos with some fire resistance.

On a related note, regarding rogues (that I see above as a comparison). I do have a player in another group who does them all the time. With just a few feats, such as gang up, two weapon fighting and the such, he pretty much gets multiple sneak damages each round on light-medium armored mobs he fights. I've had him do 60 pts dmg in a single round at level 8.


That does sound like some bad luck on his part. Hilariously so! Reminds me of a module I ran where the PCs had to save villagers from a tentacled horror. The PCs ended up killing more villagers accidentally than the horror did!

60 damage at level 8 isn't too much :)

Do remember that if he is throwing a bomb at an enemy in melee combat, it's -4 to hit unless he has Precise Shot.

And if he's throwing it through another creature, that's another -4.

So, X is the alchemist, '.' is open space, 'E' is the enemy, and 'A' is an ally...

X....EA would have a -4 to hit.

X....AE would have a -8 to hit!

Sczarni

I suggest reminding your Alchemist friend that he's also proficient in the crafting and application of poisons. The right mutagen and a poisoned weapon means he could switch hit if necessary, or simply draw a poisoned blowgun if he doesn't want to risk a bomb.

Bombs are (pun intended) the flashiest of the alchemist's abilities, but they're not an alchemist's only source of damage. Since this guy has already had a taste of how wrong bomb-throwing can go, the whole table will probably have a better time if he uses them a bit more tactically and exercises his other options.


Something to remember!

Only the first dice of bomb damage is increased on a critical hit or with vital strike (or whatever else you have of similar ability).


Don't quote me on this, but somewhere I remember reading that haste didn't stack with fast bombs. Now, that could just be old age on my part...


I'm just going to throw this out there, as its something I noticed helping one of my players prep for an upcoming game.

Alchemical crossbow bolts + focused shot. Now as written that particular ammunition is unreasonably expensive (twice the price of an alchemist's fire for an extra 1d4 damage?) so I'm ruling that the 40/50gp cost is for ten bolts rather than just one. That cuts it down to 5gp per bolt for the fire one, which I think isn't unreasonable. But coupling this ammunition with focused shot lets an alchemist do crossbow damage + Intelligence bonus + 1d4 energy + Intelligence bonus. In her case Its 1d8+5+1d4+5. I stacks fine as far as I can tell, because focused shot adds damage to the crossbow shot itself, while the alchemist gets INT bonus to the energy damage on top of it. She can only do that once a round, and its not a touch attack, but with precise shot its not an unreasonable combo.


JCServant wrote:

Thank you for all your feedback, I'm reading it all.

Well, we played another session. It was funny as anything else. The first bomb he threw totally missed, doing splash damage to his friends.

Next turn, the alchemist rolled a 1...and confirmed the miss. (We use the critical miss deck). The Card says he hit himself with his own weapon and must roll to confirm a critical hit. He went down...and hurt friends with splash damage on the way.

Cleric got him back up. Now he's prone on the ground. He throws another bomb, provoking an AoO from the bad guy who since moved next to him. Bad guy hits, knocking him out.

In all honesty, he did more damage to the group than the bad guys.

He told me that next level (2nd) he's get the discovery to let him select out his friends from splash damage to prevent that problem from happening again. He wasn't too happy when I showed him that the discovery doesn't work on misses. Poor guy!

So, I'm beginning to think that the alchemist is a high risk/reward deal. We'll see. It's easy enough for aparty to protect themselves from most of his booboos with some fire resistance.

I played an alchemist up to 7th level this spring. He had an 18 Intelligence and I am that smart myself, so I could devise tactics for him that avoided bomb damage to the party.

1) Early in combat against a mob of enemies, some foes will be nowhere near a party member. Target them first. It helped me that one of the party members was a cavalier with a ride-by attack, so he and my alchemist could work together on an isolated enemy.
2) He took Precise Shot as a feat and Precise Bombs as his second discovery. When the party members surround a powerful foe, bomb that foe and exclude the party members from the splash. A miss will be out of splash range of the party members.
3) If (1) and (2) don't apply, try targeting a grid intersection next to two enemies. The damage is minimal, but it is effectively doubled because it hits two.
4) When all else failed, he had a crossbow as a backup weapon. Sometimes it was better to save the bombs for later.

When our party encountered bands of bandits, the optimized summoner and his eidolon would take out half the bandits, the alchemist would take out a quarter of them, and the other four party members would take out the last quarter. For better balance later, my alchemist started handing buff infusions to the fighter and cavalier before combat.

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