Monstrous Alchemist


Rules Questions


I've been making some opponents for my PCs and some of them involve adding character classes. The most recent one that is coming up involves an Aboleth Alchemist. Weird, but it could be fun. Here's a few questions:

1) is it correct that, when using a mutagen, the +2 natural armor is ignored since it is less than the +11 natural armor of the Aboleth and it's not listed as an enhancement bonus to natural armor?

2) When using feral mutagen, does the Aboleth get the two claws and the bite attack in addition to the four tentacles?

3) When using feral mutagen, would the correct damage values be 2d6 for the claws and 3d6 for the bite (the Aboleth is Huge)? What Reach would these attack have?


1.) Correct.

2.) Yes, feral mutagen grants 2 claws and a bite in addition to any other natural attacks the user has. But my question is, since the aboleth is a fish monster, where does it get the 2 hands?

3.) Correct, and it would have the same reach as the tentacles (15 feet) since it is huge.


Does the base creature need arms (or possibly feet) to use claws? Would a Naga Alchemist be able to use claws attacks while using Feral Mutagen?


HappyDaze wrote:
Does the base creature need arms (or possibly feet) to use claws? Would a Naga Alchemist be able to use claws attacks while using Feral Mutagen?

While I don't believe there is a rule that states you need hands to claw something, but really now, how do you claw something if you don't have arms/hands? I think it's generally assumed that alchemists (and any monster that can claw) have hands. For naga, well they appear to be a snake with the head of a human (or some other race), so again I would say, how?

Of course if this is for a home game you are free to change and do whatever you want, this is just my logic talking which doesn't always have a place in a fantasy game.


Maybe it just sprouts one talon at the end of each tentacle.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Vestigial arm discovery is these monster's friends. Also, the bonus to natural armor is an alchemical bonus, so it is quite stackable.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
Vestigial arm discovery is these monster's friends. Also, the bonus to natural armor is an alchemical bonus, so it is quite stackable.

Vestigial arm does not grant any extra attacks (claws in this case) or actions, but sure you can use them to hold things. And the bonus to natural armor is a natural armor bonus which I don't believe stacks with a creatures natural armor. If the natural armor bonus was an alchemical bonus it would have said so.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

No, having a working arm is not an "extra" for wielding, and it using it to attack is not an "extra" action. The stipulations in the discovery are there to stop already armed creatures from gaining additional attacks. This is different. It is an alchemical bonus to natural armor, and this is important because there are different kinds of bonuses to natural armor, like enhancement.

Scarab Sages

I disagree. If possessing the arm, no matter the combination of class abilities or feats, ends up with you making extra attacks, then you're using it at least in part to gain an extra attack, which is explicitly disallowed.


the mutagen causes the alchemist to grow bulkier and more bestial, granting him a +2 natural armor bonus and a +4 alchemical bonus to the selected ability score for 10 minutes per alchemist level.

RAW it seems it is not alchemical, though granted by an alchemical source. Probably not stackable in PFS (as there are other sources of natural armor).

I don't think RAI says it should stack either.

As for the arms

Spoiler:

Vestigial Arm wrote:
The alchemist gains a new arm (left or right) on his torso. The arm is fully under his control and cannot be concealed except with magic or bulky clothing. The arm does not give the alchemist any extra attacks or actions per round, though the arm can wield a weapon and make attacks as part of the alchemist's attack routine (using two-weapon fighting). The arm can manipulate or hold items as well as the alchemist's original arms (for example, allowing the alchemist to use one hand to wield a weapon, another hand to hold a potion, and the third hand to throw a bomb). The arm has its own “hand” and “ring” magic item slots (though the alchemist can still only wear two rings and two hand magic items at a time). An alchemist may take this discovery up to two times.

The whole thing is a mess and they didn't account for all the possible uses of arms.
If used as intended during development, it's really quite a useless appendage.
If used with a most liberal reading of RAW, it probably can accept the claws and get the attacks, but I'm pretty sure RAI it doesn't work, and would be disallowed in PFS.

Now, Summoner Aspect(Limbs(Arms)) WOULD definitely work to get you limbs to place claws on. (Aspect is level 10)

In terms of the Aboleth, I'd probably allow it to gain the claws on the tentacles. (this would mean 1 bite/2 claw/2 tentacle OR 1 bite/4 tentacle)
However, you run into an issue with the tentacle attacks no matter how to adjudicate Feral Mutagen because the tentacle become secondary as soon as they are not the ONLY natural weapon type possessed by the creature.

Natural Attacks

Quote:
If a creature has only one type of attack, but has multiple attacks per round, that attack is treated as a primary attack, regardless of its type.

The table then lists tentacles as secondary when paired with other weapon types.


Quote:
I disagree. If possessing the arm, no matter the combination of class abilities or feats, ends up with you making extra attacks, then you're using it at least in part to gain an extra attack, which is explicitly disallowed.

The mere existence of the arm doesn't give you extra, but it is not restricted from taking attacks that you have.

If you were to gain claws from Aspect of the Beast, I would fully expect those claws to function as well as those from Feral Mutagen.


The last two posts were especialy helpful. Thank you.

Scarab Sages

Without those arms you wouldn't get any claw attacks from feral mutagen. With those arms, since they don't give you any extra attacks, you still wouldn't get to use them to make claw attacks from feral mutagen.

Otherwise, you're getting extra attacks that the character would be unable to make without the extra arms.

Put simply, total your attacks without the vestigial arms. That's how many attacks you get, with or without the arms.


Quote:
Put simply, total your attacks without the vestigial arms. That's how many attacks you get, with or without the arms.

So what you're saying is that they only work with manufactured weapons(iteratives), such that you can still mix natural attacks that you explicitly GAIN. (mixing types not being restricted)

I find that a bit pedantic, but fine.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The arm is still fully functional, and you must remember that the class was designed with armed pcs in mind. If an armless human gains the discovery, he can use it as any old arm. The mutagen gives alchemical bonuses to stats and natural armor, which is good because it stacks with enhancement bonuses like an amulet of natural armor or bull's strength.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
The mutagen gives alchemical bonuses to stats and natural armor, which is good because it stacks with enhancement bonuses like an amulet of natural armor or bull's strength.

Note that the natural armor bonus is not alchemical. It is a plain +2 bonus to natural armor. You could enhance it with an enhancement bonus to natural armor, such as from Barkskin, but it does not stack with other natural armor bonuses.

Scarab Sages

If an armless pc gains the discovery, he can use it as any old arm. Except that it still cannot grant extra attacks.

Really, houserule it however you want, but the ability is very clear about its limitations.

An argument about whether it was designed with this race or that race in mind isn't a very good one, in my opinion. Perhaps, since the alchemist wasn't designed with armless pc's in mind, they shouldn't be able to use feral mutagen at all. Or bombs. Or extracts. Why? No particularly good reason. Just like there's no particularly good reason to change how class abilities, feats, rogue talents, alchemist discoveries, or attack bonuses work just because they are less beneficial in one build than another.

If an armless human got the discovery, he still wouldn't be able to make attacks with it. Why? Because it's a restriction built into the ability itself. The armless human should look into ways to restore his natural limbs, because the alchemist discovery isn't going to do him much good when it comes down to fighting.


No, the arms aren't restricted in making attacks.
They simply don't provide any extra.

In the case of natural weapons, esp Feral Mutagen, it GIVES you more attacks, those arms can be used to take them.

In terms of RAI, this isn't what they wanted, but that's what RAW supplies.
Reasonable people will play nice together, but that doesn't change what's written.

Scarab Sages

Well, that's not raw Archaeik.

Arms can't be used to make extra attacks. Feral mutagen gives you extra attacks. Arms still can't be used to make extra attacks. Note that the discovery doesn't say anything about the source of the extra attacks. It's a blanket effect.


It is RAW, it says the discovery doesn't give you extra, NOT that it doesn't allow extra.

It is as functional as your other arms.

The issue you're running into is that 2 armed races can't typically gain a 2nd or 3rd offhand attack.
Natural weapons don't fall under this category.

Scarab Sages

You're right, the arm doesn't give you any extra attacks. So, again, add up your attacks without the arm. It's going to be the same total with the arm.

Two armed, or no armed, doesn't really matter for the discussion. The vestigial arm ability doesn't even mention two arms or no arms. That's something completely unrelated that you're trying to use as a standing point for your argument. Alas, it's completely irrelevant to the ability.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Armless, you could attack with armor spikes, or two-weapon fight with blade boots. If you attack with one weapon held in the discovery gained arm, it is not an extra attack, it's just an attack. The restriction is letting you know that you cannot multiweapon fight, and thus gaining an extra attack that would not be available to a normal pc. That's the extra attack they are talking about.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

blackbloodtroll wrote:
Vestigial arm discovery is these monster's friends. Also, the bonus to natural armor is an alchemical bonus, so it is quite stackable.

Actually you're wrong on this one, here's the text:

"Upon being imbibed, the mutagen causes the alchemist to grow bulkier and more bestial, granting him a +2 natural armor bonus and a +4 alchemical bonus to the selected ability score for 10 minutes per alchemist level. "

As you can see, the natural armor bonus is not included in the list of alchemical bonuses, so it would not stack with the Aboleth's natural armor bonus.


Fine, let's go over it again.

Quote:
The alchemist gains a new arm (left or right) on his torso. The arm is fully under his control and cannot be concealed except with magic or bulky clothing. The arm does not give the alchemist any extra attacks or actions per round, though the arm can wield a weapon and make attacks as part of the alchemist's attack routine (using two-weapon fighting). The arm can manipulate or hold items as well as the alchemist's original arms (for example, allowing the alchemist to use one hand to wield a weapon, another hand to hold a potion, and the third hand to throw a bomb). The arm has its own “hand” and “ring” magic item slots (though the alchemist can still only wear two rings and two hand magic items at a time). An alchemist may take this discovery up to two times.

It says DOES NOT, you are reading it as CAN NOT.

It also says GIVE, you are reading that as PERMIT.

If you want to take the whole sentence, it is ambiguous.

"The arm does not give the alchemist any extra attacks or actions per round"

This can be read any number of ways.

"The arm does not give the alchemist any extra attacks or actions per round ever"

"The arm itself does not give the alchemist any extra attacks or actions per round"

I'm sure there's more I'm missing.

The other issue is the innate placement of claws from abilities.
They do not specify that they don't grow where they are most advantageous.

If you want these issues clarified, I suggest you start a FAQ thread.

I also maintain that as soon as you GAIN "claw attacks", they are no longer "extra" anyway.

Feral mutagen: wrote:
Whenever the alchemist imbibes a mutagen, he gains two claw attacks and a bite attack. These are primary attacks and are made using the alchemist's full base attack bonus. The claw attacks deal 1d6 points of damage (1d4 if the alchemist is Small) and the bite attack deals 1d8 points of damage (1d6 if the alchemist is Small). While the mutagen is in effect, the alchemist gains a +2 competence bonus on Intimidate skill checks.
Beast Totem, Lesser (Su): wrote:
While raging, the barbarian gains two claw attacks. These attacks are considered primary attacks and are made at the barbarian's full base attack bonus. The claws deal 1d6 points of slashing damage (1d4 if Small) plus the barbarian's Strength modifier.

VS

Aspect of the Beast wrote:
Claws of the Beast (Ex): You grow a pair of claws. These claws are primary attacks that deal 1d4 points of damage (1d3 if you are Small).


What stops an alchemist 2 barbarian 2 with feral mutagen and beast totem lesser from getting 4 claw attacks and 1 bite attack? Are they all considered primary attacks?


Quote:
What stops an alchemist 2 barbarian 2 with feral mutagen and beast totem lesser from getting 4 claw attacks and 1 bite attack? Are they all considered primary attacks?

A) a level 4 character doesn't have enough feats to pull this off. (just pointing that out)

B) Claw (and bite) attacks are primary unless stated otherwise (neither power changes this)

As written I don't think there's anything stopping this. (other than common sense)

Scarab Sages

Eh, you're right. I read it as "The arm does not give the alchemist any extra attacks or actions per round ever", but I can see how you could read it the other way. Even though I don't think that's how it's meant to be read, I can see how it could go either way.

I will, however, adventure down the lane of cheese with your reading of it though to show how I think it's unbalanced.

Human alchemist2 barbarian2 ninja 2.

The alchemist is a vivisectionist with feral mutagen. The barbarian has the lesser beast totem. the ninja has the improved unarmed strike talent.

This is a sixth level character with a total of four feats.

Human: Extra Rage
1:Two weapon fighting
3:Extra Discovery (Vestigial arm)
5:Extra Discovery (Tentacle)

At this point, our friend here has a total of four arms, one tentacle, and improved unarmed strike.

So he attacks with TWF using his knees, pops feral mutagen for two claws and a bite, and drops lesser beast totem for another two claw attacks. Does his tentacle get to make a tentacle attack?

So that's knee/knee/claw/claw/claw/claw/bite/*?tentacle?*

At least it's seven attacks at level six. Possibly eight, depending on how your interpretation works on the tentacle.

His bab is +4, he's got a mutagen for +4 to his strength, and rage for another +4. And let's assume that he started off with an 18 (+2 racial) for 20. Now, at level six he should have 16000g, so let's toss in a +2 belt.

He's sporting a 30 strength. His base to hit is +14.
Knee +12 1d3+10/ Knee +12 1d3+10/ Claw +9 1d6+5/ Claw +9 1d6+5/ Claw +9 1d6+5/Claw +9 1d6+5/Bite +9 1d8+5

If he's flanking, they all add 1d6 sneak attack damage. He can enlarge himself too.

The 4th level human from the suggestion above gets three feats.
Human
1
3

If he goes
1 Barbarian (Power Attack) (Extra Rage)
2 Alchemist
3 Alchemist (Feat extra discovery vestigial arm)(Discovery Vestigial arm)
4 Barbarian (Rage Power Lesser Beast Totem)

Then he can have four arms, a head, and four primary claw attacks and a primary bite attack.
Bab is +3

28 Strength, or +9 damage.
His attack routine is:
+12 Claw(1d6+9)/ +12 Claw(1d6+9)/ +12 Claw(1d6+9)/ +12 Claw(1d6+9)/ +12 Bite (1d8+9)

That's a total of 1d8+4d6+45, or an average of 63.5 damage if they all hit. He hits on a 5 or higher. I don't know whether power attack would help or hurt, but I figured a barbarian should have it.

Of course, this is the barbarian utilizing all his goodies all at once. Oh yeah, he can still enlarge himself. Oh, he could go vivisectionist here too for another 1d6 per attack.


Feral Mutagen is a discovery, you can only manage 3 claws and 1 bite by level 4.

...and the tentacle text is... interesting... it looks like you have to use a standard action to make an attack with it (although I don't think that's fully the intent)
(it looks like it was written under the assumption that natural attacks can be substituted for iteratives... which actually sheds a bit of light on the wording issues with the arms)

I'm well aware of the abusive power level this entails.
However, this build has mutagen last 20min (per brew, cost 1hr), and 12+CON rounds of rage (maybe a minute and a half?)

Sure, things won't last if they get close, but are you having only 1 encounter per day?

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