Outsea Delver (Alchemist)


Round 2: Design an archetype

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 aka Flak

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Outsea Delver (Alchemist)
While the River Kingdoms are generally turbulent, stability is a requirement for Outsea's survival, and thus its first priority. Local alchemists looking to the fiefdom see not only the promise of easy work as salination engineers, but also a calm base of operations for their research. The adventure doesn't end in Outsea, though: many alchemists discover an unending trove of specimens and phenomena worth studying deep beneath the waterline. They also find acceptance—in a city with a monstrous majority, the odd alchemical tentacle or tumor is less stigmatic than elsewhere.
Class Skills: An Outsea delver does not gain Sleight of Hand (Dex) or Survival (Wis) as class skills; instead, he gains Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (engineering) (Int), and Swim (Str) as class skills.
Master Swimmer (Ex): Outsea delvers navigate Outsea's waterways just as they do its streets. At 2nd level, an Outsea delver gains a +2 competence bonus on Swim checks. This bonus increases to +4 at 5th level and to +6 at 8th level. At 10th level, the Outsea delver gains a swim speed equal to his base speed (maximum 30 feet), and the accompanying +8 bonus on Swim checks replaces the previously granted competence bonus. This ability replaces poison resistance and poison immunity.
Salt Bombs (Su): At 2nd level, when he creates a bomb, the Outsea delver can choose to leverage alchemical processes similar to those that keep Outsea salinated. Salt bombs deal slashing damage one die step lower than normal. Living creatures that take a direct hit from a salt bomb are sickened for 3 rounds unless they succeed on a Fortitude save against the Outsea delver's bomb DC. Outsea delvers can't apply discoveries to salt bombs. In all other ways, salt bombs function exactly like normal bombs. This ability replaces poison use.
Aboleth Lungs: At 4th level, the Outsea delver adds aboleth's lung (Advanced Race Guide) to his formula book as a 2nd-level extract. This ability replaces swift alchemy.
Aquadynamic Bombs (Ex): By 6th level, the Outsea delver has perfected vial designs that make throwing bombs underwater feasible. He doesn't take the normal -2 penalty on attack rolls for every 5 feet of water through which his bombs pass. Normal range penalties still apply, and fire bombs remain ineffective underwater. This ability replaces swift poisoning.
Deep Sea Delver (Su): At 18th level, the Outsea delver develops a regimen of oils and elixirs that render himself and his gear immune to water pressure damage and hypothermia. This ability replaces instant alchemy.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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Outsea is definitely the weirdest place in the River Kingdoms, and weirdo alchemy suits it.

Salt Bombs: "slashing damage one die step lower than normal" is awkward, but I think I know what you mean.

Aquadynamic Bombs: Smart!

Deep Sea Delver: Appropriate, but it is a sad thing to lose instant alchemy.

Pretty good!

I DO recommend this archetype for advancement.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

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Oh, you crazy alchemists, how I seem to love you! Ok, salt bombs are great and so is the ability to throw bombs under water. This would be a fun archetype to play. Real good RK tie in. Good set of balanced and interesting abilities.

This is an excellent submission.

I DO Recommend this archetype for advancement.

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

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Congrats on hitting the Top 32, Michael, and congrats on creating a thematically-coherent, fun-sounding alchemist! This takes undersea elements and brings them to the surface, and keeps the archetype from being too narrow even if it does focus on the diving and swimming.

Also, your text works in flavor and story elements without seeming heavy-handed, which I very much like to see in an adventure designer. That's quite promising, even, I'd say.

I DO recommend this archetype for advancement.


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I would probably prefer replacing Master Swimmer with discovery or two and tweaked a bit with other abilities but otherwise great job. Marked with plus on my vote list.

Contributor

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This archetype is pretty amazing. Not only did you make a water-based archetype for a class that doesn't already have one (thereby making this into an archetype that easily fits its flavor into any game setting) but you also managed to make an underwater alchemist archetype that doesn't make me feel like I am being penalized for spending over 2/3s of my game on dry land. The things you trade and the things you get make perfect sense and overall this is an archetype that I would play in a heartbeat.

I would honestly be surprised if you do not make Top 16.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Locke1520

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This is a solid archetype but it doesn't wow me. While I like Outsea and I feel this fits neatly into that setting...there's something exciting here I'm missing and I'm sure it's more me than your design.

That said this shows nerve in designing in such a gonzo sort of setting space and you do it well. Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the concept this is on my short list because of execution.

Congratulations and good luck with the archetype round.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Champion Voter Season 6, Champion Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Champion Voter Season 9

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I didn't really understand the inclusion of Knowledge (dungeoneering), but the rest of the archetype works. I liked the idea of aquadynamic bombs, but you could have started the ability weaker and then worked up to lacking of thrown penalty. 6th level seems kind of late to add it.

Top contender in my book.


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Knowledge (dungeoneering) includes aberration lore, which I think, was the primary reason why it was added.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8

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As someone who's never looked twice at the River Kingdoms entry in The Inner Sea World Guide, this archetype catches my eye and makes me want to read up on Outsea. That alone I think shows great promise as I've seen many players who, though unfamiliar with Golarion, will find their interest in the setting piqued when confronted with such engaging archetypes as the Chelish Diva or prestige classes like the Harrower.

The formatting looks very nice as well and I'm a sucker for good presentation.

Sovereign Court Star Voter Season 6

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Great balance and thematic suits River Kingdoms (Outsea especially well). This would also work fantastically in something like the Skull & Shackles AP as well, so shows great expandability on the archetype.

Good luck Michael

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

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I will give general impressions, but with 3 areas of particular focus that suit my personal interests. Archetype and feat names: do they show flare? How closely tied to the River Kingdom is the archetype? And last but certainly not least, do I want to play this archetype?

Archetype and feat names: Primarily descriptive, though I do like Aquadynamic Bombs anyway.

River Kingdom tie: Strong. Abilities grow out of a unique place. The same abilities could easily have not done so, but you tied them in with flavor to make them seem natural. Well done.

Desire to play: Above average. Yeah, in its native setting I'd enjoy playing this. Some RP potential built in as well. I do think in a traditional campaign it would be less fun, but the idea is to tie it to the RK, and that's what you've done.

Scarab Sages Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7

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I am really happy to see that I need to chose and re-chose this year to bring my list of 'ooohhh - looking good' entries down to those eight I can actually vote for, so I want to say: thanks to all competitors for providing a good chunk of fun looking archetypes.

Since I am a bit short on time this month, I will only comment on the Items I voted for.

Great job on complementing theme with abilities and background. This archetypes makes for a pretty unique character that stays useful even if not within the confinement of Outsea.

I think instant alchemy is a steep price to pay for deep sea delver, but that doesn't take away from this fuun, creative entry.

Good luck with the rest of the contest.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8 aka nate lange

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i think this is a well written archetype that uses the template without errors, and that has a strong RK connection.

i feel like master swimmer has an odd design- granting you a competence bonus that you lose once you pick up a racial bonus instead. also, i'm not sure the 18th level ability is worth it. overall, though, this seems like an interesting and well balanced archetype.

Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 9

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I love, love this archetype. Maybe it's because I'm playing an underwater adventure right now, maybe it just feels well balanced (though losing both swift and instant alchemy is sad), but I like the flavor, I like the salt bombs, I like the evolution up to gaining swim speed replacing poison resistance too - that's really clever.

Best of luck in this and future rounds!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka theheadkase

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I just changed one of my votes to this one, that's how much I love your execution and nerve and pretty much everything.

Yes, there are some slight issues mentioned above, but this is a prime example of how to swing wild and hit a homerun.

I DO recommend.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka GM_Solspiral

Good: Balanced mechanics, great tie in to RLs and theme is done well.
Bad: I've had maybe 2-3 campaigns that did the underwater thing, this is niche the action generally is on land.
Ugly: No power wows me.
Overall: I could see voting for this, but not when I have 8 votes, definitely if I had 16. Neither an endorsement or detraction from me

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka JoelF847

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Great job - this is probably the strongest I've read so far. Greak RK tie in with the specific nation, and your archetype theme fits is perfectly, both as alchemists finding acceptance there, and the acquatic ties. As I was reading, I was thinking - how's an underwater alchemist work, since they can't throw bombs, and you delivered on that, even if it takes until 6th level, but it's appropriate. It's also pretty useful outside of water, and isn't tied to it, with slashing salt bombs (who cares about energy resistance now?)


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Usually the position of judging a friend against strangers is awkward, full of worry about whether you're unreasonably biased.

I have no such reservation in this case. Your archetype is a remarkable achievement in marrying balance, mechanics, and flavor, and I wholeheartedly give you one of my 6 votes.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka Standback

Prizrak: You've got 8 votes. :)


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I know, but nothing stood out enough for my 7th and 8th. Or maybe I'm just indecisive. :)

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 aka Flak

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Now that voting's closed, I can say a huge THANK YOU to everyone for the kind words! Having observed RPG Superstar in the past, I was bracing myself for a deluge of criticism, but it basically boiled down to two things: first, that master swimmer is 'odd design', and second, that deep sea delver is weaker than instant alchemy. Having never played to 18th level with an alchemist, I don't have the knowledge to agree or disagree with this second point, but 18th level seemed the place to put deep sea delver. Maybe in a revision I could have it replace persistent mutagen? Persistent mutagen seems better than instant alchemy to me, though...

Anyway, I'll respond to a few other points here.

Sean K. Reynolds wrote:
Salt Bombs: "slashing damage one die step lower than normal" is awkward, but I think I know what you mean.

I think you do too ;)

If I'd had more words to work with, I would have expounded on this, following the format used for bomb discoveries in the Advanced Player's Guide. Instead, I found myself constrained, and tried to use wording similar to that in Ultimate Magic's alchemist archetypes (e.g. the reanimator).

Thomas LeBlanc wrote:
I didn't really understand the inclusion of Knowledge (dungeoneering)
Drejk wrote:
Knowledge (dungeoneering) includes aberration lore, which I think, was the primary reason why it was added.

This is precisely why it was included. I feel like there's a connection through Outsea to the ancient aberrations of the deep, and thusly that the Outsea delver should be predisposed to studying them.

Drejk wrote:
I would probably prefer replacing Master Swimmer with discovery or two and tweaked a bit with other abilities
nate lange wrote:
i feel like master swimmer has an odd design- granting you a competence bonus that you lose once you pick up a racial bonus instead.

Fair points. I'd considered tying swim speed into the mutagen, like the grippli racial archetype does, but decided against that (in part because my round 1 submission was grippli-themed and I didn't want to seem conspicuously grippli-oriented, and in part because that ability change seems a bit frontloaded to me). Ultimately I chose to implement it the way I did because the bonuses, and eventual swim speed, kind of mirrored the progression of the ability it replaces, and that pleased me aesthetically. As for the two different kinds of bonuses—competence vs. racial—I see the weirdness, but would it not be equally weird to grant a racial bonus prior to granting the swim speed? My personal design jury is out on this one. I'm interested to hear what you guys think.

To GM_Solspiral and Andrew Marlowe, who thought this was well put-together but not wowing, I am very appreciative of you coming in here and basically complimenting me despite not liking my archetype that much. It's very nice to know that even those who didn't love this archetype saw its good points. And honestly, I kind of agree with you ... I'm not waiting to throw salt bombs with bated breath. A few of the other alchemist archetypes really shook things up and introduced new abilities, and I voted for them before myself. ;)

And to everyone else—thanks thanks thanks!
In Round 1 you told me to focus on tight design, as that seemed a strength of mine, so that's what I aimed for, foregoing particularly innovative mechanics. I'm glad to see it payed off, at least with the vocal minority that has posted in this thread. Whether the votes end up in alignment with your comments, I feel like I have succeeded.

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