Black Dragon Corrupt Water Ability vs Alchemist Bombs?


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I can't find this in the FAQ or anywhere else on the forums, if it's there (and my search-fu is apparently not that strong), pls point me to it and accept my apologies! If not...

So Black Dragons have the following ability:

Corrupt Water (Sp)

Once per day an adult or older black dragon can stagnate 10 cubic feet of still water, making it foul and unable to support water-breathing life. The ability spoils liquids containing water. Liquid-based magic items (such as potions) and items in a creature's possession must succeed on a Will save (DC equal to the dragon’s frightful presence) or become ruined. This ability is the equivalent of a 1st-level spell. Its range is equal to that of the dragon’s frightful presence.

Bold mine of course, and goodbye to the alchemist potions after a failed saving throw, but my question is does this ability affect the Alchemist's Bombs?

Bomb (Su)

In addition to magical extracts, alchemists are adept at swiftly mixing various volatile chemicals and infusing them with their magical reserves to create powerful bombs that they can hurl at their enemies. An alchemist can use a number of bombs each day equal to his class level + his Intelligence modifier. Bombs are unstable, and if not used in the round they are created, they degrade and become inert—their method of creation prevents large volumes of explosive material from being created and stored. In order to create a bomb, the alchemist must use a small vial containing an ounce of liquid catalyst—the alchemist can create this liquid catalyst from small amounts of chemicals from an alchemy lab, and these supplies can be readily refilled in the same manner as a spellcaster’s component pouch. Most alchemists create a number of catalyst vials at the start of the day equal to the total number of bombs they can create in that day—once created, a catalyst vial remains usable by the alchemist for years.

So liquid catalyst is a magical liquid, right? It should be then affected by the Black Dragon's ability?

If that's the case then Black Dragon's are an alchemist's worst nightmare?


Meh it's not a liquid based magic item -- the vial isn't magic without the alchemist -- however items (of the liquid sort as I understand the sentence) are also affected so make a save. Same for any active extract mixes he has ready I would think.

At least it's once a day only.


Yeesh. Yeah, that looks like the formula for one sad alchemist.


Hey thanks that's the call I wanted to make on it, but was worried that I was being too harsh.

Now it's just going to be fun and evil, lol.


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Technically, each of the alchemist's bombs remaining that day would get a separate save. I suggest rolling them behind the screen and letting the alchemist know when they mix & throw whether the thing worked. Of course, they could probably tell by examining the things, but the first time it fails will be evil grin time.


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Sure, by RAW you can absolutely use this sentence to strip your alchemist player of every single class feature that they have.

However -

There is no limit to how much catalyst an alchemist can create or have available, only to how much they can infuse with magic and use in a day. If you don't make your alchemist write down how much catalyst they are preparing and have available, you are very much taking RAW vs. Ability descriptions too far.

It is an unfair GM call to take a normally untracked resource like bomb catalyst and suddenly change it into something that matters in the game. This would be just like suddenly asking your spellcasters if they have bat guano written on their character sheet after years of using the "spell component pouches count as having everything" rule.


Robb Smith wrote:

Sure, by RAW you can absolutely use this sentence to strip your alchemist player of every single class feature that they have.

However -

There is no limit to how much catalyst an alchemist can create or have available, only to how much they can infuse with magic and use in a day. If you don't make your alchemist write down how much catalyst they are preparing and have available, you are very much taking RAW vs. Ability descriptions too far.

It is an unfair GM call to take a normally untracked resource like bomb catalyst and suddenly change it into something that matters in the game. This would be just like suddenly asking your spellcasters if they have bat guano written on their character sheet after years of using the "spell component pouches count as having everything" rule.

If the alchemist's alchemy lab/supplies fails its save, they'd be spoiled too, same as if a caster's spell component pouch caught fire. The catalysts that the alchemist is presumed by the text to have mixed that morning should get their own saves. No biggie, go buy or craft a new lab. Would you say that a wizard's spell component pouch is off-limits when they roll a 1 on their fireball save?

Casters--alchemists included for this purpose--are very powerful. That power comes with some drawbacks. If a wizard travels to the Plane of Fire, he'd best take care to protect his spellbook. And alchemists should stay away from creatures that putrefy liquids in a radius. Oh no, the alchemist *might* have to suffer through a fight without being able to throw dynamite at it! Maybe the party will have to try a different strategy for a change!

As for normally untracked resources suddenly mattering, well, yeah, that happens. I don't require my players to track how much food or water they carry or consume when in town, leaving that to cost of living, but if they get teleported to a desert or another plane then it sure as salamanders matters then.


blahpers wrote:
If the alchemist's alchemy lab/supplies fails its save, they'd be spoiled too, same as if a caster's spell component pouch caught fire. The catalysts that the alchemist is presumed by the text to have mixed that morning should get their own saves. No biggie, go buy or craft a new lab. Would you say that a wizard's spell component pouch is off-limits when they roll a 1 on their fireball save?

On the first point, I see nothing in the alchemy lab description that makes mention of any liquids or chemicals. The caster's spell component pouch is not off limits, but protected by a nearly impervious shield of "statistical improbability." The wizard first needs to roll a one. The wizard then needs to have only 3 total possessions that fall into the 9 categories of items above "anything else". They then need to randomize between that and every other item they possess on their person. After all of those the attack still needs to deal sufficient damage to bypass object hardness and hit points (at this point it's probably almost a sure thing, but still a possibility it fails). That's quite a far cry from "Make a DC <x> save or you can't use bombs today. Or extracts. Or mutagens. Or poisons. Or anything else you may have crafted. You can probably poke it with a dagger though... well, as long as it's magic I suppose."

Quote:
As for normally untracked resources suddenly mattering, well, yeah, that happens. I don't require my players to track how much food or water they carry or consume when in town, leaving that to cost of living, but if they get teleported to a desert or another plane then it sure as salamanders matters then.

Substantial difference. We are talking about an untracked resource used by a class to fuel a class ability that they can create an undefinied number of, that the very rules themselves "hand waive" within the description. The very rules that define how the ability functions basically say, in more flowery language, "ignore how this actually works."

Your comparison between an "untracked" resource that the players should be cognizent of - their need to eat and drink to live - to a tiny subsection of ability description that describes the valueless, meaningless material component of "liquid catalyst" required to use a class feature, is not a valid counterpoint to me. If your players aren't writing rations on their character sheet, especially player characters who should always be living under the assumption they may get called to action on the drop of a hat, they are willingly (and foolishly) making a decision to not carry around any spare resources that they have a reasonable expectation may come into play in a game. Stripping an alchemist of untracked bomb catalyst when it has never, ever been called into play by the DM, player, or the rules themselves is something that is an unrealistic expectation.

That is why it is an unfair GM call. Bomb catalyst is something that would never be discussed in an actual game in any meaningful capacity. It's something that only gets discussed here, on these forums, as something to turn into a weapon to blindside players who have never been given any reason to think it is something they should have any consideration for whatsoever.


That is absolutely brutal. Poor Alchemist, Will Save or lose access to all of your class features.


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The question is which part of the ability description overrides which.
First it states: "The ability spoils liquids containing water. " then it states that every liquid based item has to save.

I would rule that extracts are affected but bombs are not as bombs have to burn and barring some exceptions water is not very volatile. Thus bombs do not, usually, contain water.


Bomb catalyst makeup is not specified, and you can make some pretty powerful explosives using water as a catalyst without even getting into the fact that this is a fantasy world with substances that don't exist here. It's a reasonable thing for the GM to decide. Besides that, it goes on require a save for any liquid, not just water-based liquids, so there's understandable confusion there, as Umbranus pointed out.

Robb Smith wrote:
On the first point, I see nothing in the alchemy lab description that makes mention of any liquids or chemicals.
Bomb wrote:
In order to create a bomb, the alchemist must use a small vial containing an ounce of liquid catalyst—the alchemist can create this liquid catalyst from small amounts of chemicals from an alchemy lab, and these supplies can be readily refilled in the same manner as a spellcaster’s component pouch.

If any of these chemicals are (possibly water-based) liquids, they would be affected. Similarly, if a wizard is in the area and has liquid-based spell components, I would require the pouch to make a save as well. (I'm not going to roll a save for every untracked drop of blood in the pouch.) The alchemist can gather new ingredients for his supplies given downtime and the most handwavey of opportunities, just as the wizard can somehow gather devil's blood and bat guano whenever possible, but they certainly aren't going to be able to gather such things during combat with a dragon. This hits the alchemist far worse than the wizard, but I assert that this doesn't really matter (see below).

Robb Smith wrote:
The caster's spell component pouch is not off limits, but protected by a nearly impervious shield of "statistical improbability."

Fine, forget fireball. A spell component pouch can be sundered, stolen, or attacked by any spell that affects attended objects. This is a valid tactic for an experienced BBEG (such as an ancient black dragon) who understands how wizards work, and it's a valid tactic for PCs when battling enemy wizards. It's usually suboptimal in the case of combat maneuvers, as it's much simpler to sunder the wizard than it is to sunder his pouch, but it remains an option, a weakness inherent to casters that use material components.

Robb Smith wrote:
That's quite a far cry from "Make a DC <x> save or you can't use bombs today. Or extracts. Or mutagens. Or poisons. Or anything else you may have crafted. You can probably poke it with a dagger though... well, as long as it's magic I suppose."

Hang on, let's address this in context. A GM tosses save-or-lose-class-abilities-permanently effects at parties all the time. A medusa causes a save-or-lose-class-abilities effect repeatedly with her gaze. A character can have all of his class abilities neutralized by being bull rushed off a sufficiently high cliff. And I certainly don't see PCs complaining when they sling a flesh to stone spell, which all but kills a much wider variety of creatures than a single fringe PC class. Getting your fire put out for less than a day is hardly unfair.

Your cries of foul play fall on deaf ears. This is a black dragon, and a prince of its kind. Neutralizing a single member's effectiveness should be the least of the party's concerns. That's an ability they can only use once per day, and they could have spent that action melting the alchemist where he stood.

Quote:
(stuff about untracked resources)

You miss the point. You can neutralize an entire class regardless of whether the resource is tracked, and with far less of a threat than an ancient black dragon. Heck, the fact that the alchemist prepares extracts and catalysts ahead of time is a benefit for the alchemist, as some of them will likely survive the ability.

Face it; you're complaining that a threat is particularly effective against a particular kind of character. I have no further answer for this complaint that wouldn't be misinterpreted as a violation of the Most Important Rule, because such a complaint deserves (at least) some good-natured mockery.

Silver Crusade

Don't forget blood. Or cerebrospinal fluid. Or the vitreous and aqueous fluids of the eyes.

Sometimes it's best not to take magic to its extreme conclusions.


Yeah, the Ancient Black Dragon can just kill almost any living being around it by stagnating them inside out.


@Mikaze/Icyshadow: It does specify still water. I don't think bodily fluids count.

I would have the alchemist roll once for each extract, once for his mutagen, and once for the alchemist's kit.

Though I will say that if you strip the alchemist of all his class features at the beginning of a dragon encounter, that player will not have fun. If you can give the PCs an opportunity for a hint, it might clue the alchemist into purchasing a backup kit and keeping it in his haversack (not a bad idea for wizards with spell component pouches either). At the very least it'll hurt the alchemist's action economy.


Mikaze wrote:

Don't forget blood. Or cerebrospinal fluid. Or the vitreous and aqueous fluids of the eyes.

Sometimes it's best not to take magic to its extreme conclusions.

Fortunately, so long as they're part of a living creature, those aren't items.


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Bolding the relevant portion:

Quote:
Liquid-based magic items (such as potions)

Bombs and Extracts are not magic items. They are components of a Su ability.


Rhatahema wrote:

@Mikaze/Icyshadow: It does specify still water. I don't think bodily fluids count.

I would have the alchemist roll once for each extract, once for his mutagen, and once for the alchemist's kit.

Though I will say that if you strip the alchemist of all his class features at the beginning of a dragon encounter, that player will not have fun. If you can give the PCs an opportunity for a hint, it might clue the alchemist into purchasing a backup kit and keeping it in his haversack (not a bad idea for wizards with spell component pouches either). At the very least it'll hurt the alchemist's action economy.

I recommend treating it with a similar level of discretion as any encounter that might give a party member to have a bad day. What that means is up to the GM and the particular campaign.

For example, in most stories an encounter with a medusa is preceded by more than ample clues to anyone paying attention. You don't just throw one at a 5th-level party with no preparation unless there's a compelling reason unless you like TPKs.

A dragon has plenty of possibilities. If the party was sent to find it in its lair, they probably know of it by reputation. Even if they only know that it's a black dragon, a sufficient Knowledge check should reveal its corruption ability.

Alternately, the party could be in town when the dragon attacks. They get to witness the effects of the dragon's aura firsthand and maybe take a shot or two. They may even experience it if the party is close enough when the dragon does a fly-by. After a couple of rounds, the dragon flies off with a couple of villagers, livestock, or plot MacGuffins. The alchemist is introduced to the effects in a way that annoys or frightens the character but provides mostly harmless flavor that can enrich the encounter and motivate the players.

These rules do not exist in a vacuum, folks. Give the GM a little credit. There are plenty of ways GMs can kill you, and they can and should present unique challenges, but it's their job to facilitate a story. It's the heroes' job to truly write it, and they can't do that if there's no chance of survival. (Offer not valid in Ravenloft. Or Innsmouth.)


Rynjin wrote:

Bolding the relevant portion:

Quote:
Liquid-based magic items (such as potions)

Bombs and Extracts are not magic items. They are components of a Su ability.

Keep reading the rest of the sentence you partially quoted.


Another question is: Can the dragon choose which water to stagnate if there is more than its maximum of 10 cubic feet around?

If I didn't do the math wrong in my head 10 cubic feet should be about 300 litres. That's a lot. But most black dragons live in swamps, so there should be water around.

And how is the ability targeted? Does it target 10 cubic feet and corrupt all the water within this target area? Or does it target any water source within its range? Then it would only spoil one potion. Or can the dragon target all the water in range as long as it doesn't exceed the limit?


blahpers wrote:
Rynjin wrote:

Bolding the relevant portion:

Quote:
Liquid-based magic items (such as potions)

Bombs and Extracts are not magic items. They are components of a Su ability.

Keep reading the rest of the sentence you partially quoted.

This is what I get for trying to do rules stuff early in the morning.


Umbranus wrote:

Another question is: Can the dragon choose which water to stagnate if there is more than its maximum of 10 cubic feet around?

If I didn't do the math wrong in my head 10 cubic feet should be about 300 litres. That's a lot. But most black dragons live in swamps, so there should be water around.

And how is the ability targeted? Does it target 10 cubic feet and corrupt all the water within this target area? Or does it target any water source within its range? Then it would only spoil one potion. Or can the dragon target all the water in range as long as it doesn't exceed the limit?

Since it's unspecified, and it's a monster ability, that's up to the GM's interpretation (remember, monsters cheat!).


The bombs aren't made until the alchemist is about to throw them, at which point he infuses them with his own life energy. Thats what limits an alchemist to the number of bombs he can make, not how many vials he can fill with chemicals (that probably don't contain much water anyway)

I think there's a case for extracts, but bombs are a definite no.


Even before he mixes/empowers/infuses the bomb with energy, it is still a liquid in his possession.


Comparisons against a caster's spell component pouch are not completely valid here.

If you sunder a caster's spell component pouch, they lose out on a single class ability - casting spells. However, all of those caster classes have additional class features that don't rely on the spell component pouch, on which they can still fall back.

This potentially ruins the Alchemist as a whole, not just one of his several offensive class features. His bombs use liquid catalysts; his spells are all liquid-based; his mutagens are referred to as 'brewed' which indicates that they are liquids.

It renders all of his offensive class features inert.

This isn't comparable to sundering a spell component pouch or having it catch fire on a failed save; it's comparable to cutting off an (unlucky, save-failing) Wizard, Sorcerer, et. al. from every single one of their offensive class features. All of 'em.

It's equivalent to stripping a Fighter of his armor, all of his weapons, and access to all of his bonus feats.

I only mention that for GMs to keep in mind, because if you're comparing it to just cutting off a Wizard from his spells, then your comparison isn't valid, and isn't nearly punitive enough.

With that all said, by RAW it appears to work on extracts, infusions, bombs, and mutagens. And if I'm ever playing an Alchemist and come across a black dragon (and make the knowledge check), I'll be headed that-a-way, as fast as my potion-brewing legs can carry me. :P


Xaratherus wrote:

Comparisons against a caster's spell component pouch are not completely valid here.

If you sunder a caster's spell component pouch, they lose out on a single class ability - casting spells. However, all of those caster classes have additional class features that don't rely on the spell component pouch, on which they can still fall back...

The caster doesn't even lose out on his spell casting ability. Lots of spells don't have an M component.


An Alchemist no more has vials of liquid catalyst in his possession than a Wizard has bat guano and sulpher. A Wizard has a component pouch full of untracked "stuff;" an alchemist has a similar class kit.
Unless you're using houserules requiring Wizards and Alchemists to individually track each component of their class kit, bombs are off limits.


bbangerter wrote:
Xaratherus wrote:

Comparisons against a caster's spell component pouch are not completely valid here.

If you sunder a caster's spell component pouch, they lose out on a single class ability - casting spells. However, all of those caster classes have additional class features that don't rely on the spell component pouch, on which they can still fall back...

The caster doesn't even lose out on his spell casting ability. Lots of spells don't have an M component.

Good point. So a Wizard or Sorcerer loses out on some of his spells, but still retains others - and he still has his school abilities\arcana\etc. to fall back on.

The Alchemist? *Price is Right loser sound*


Whats your RAW basis for saying that a bomb is mostly water?


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Whats your RAW basis for saying that a bomb is mostly water?

The ability doesn't say "mostly water". It says "liquid-based" and "containing water". That technically means that if the catalyst is even 1% water, it's affected. And the catalyst is described explicitly as "liquid", so it's most definitely affected.


Xaratherus wrote:

Comparisons against a caster's spell component pouch are not completely valid here.

If you sunder a caster's spell component pouch, they lose out on a single class ability - casting spells. However, all of those caster classes have additional class features that don't rely on the spell component pouch, on which they can still fall back.

This potentially ruins the Alchemist as a whole, not just one of his several offensive class features. His bombs use liquid catalysts; his spells are all liquid-based; his mutagens are referred to as 'brewed' which indicates that they are liquids.

It renders all of his offensive class features inert.

This isn't comparable to sundering a spell component pouch or having it catch fire on a failed save; it's comparable to cutting off an (unlucky, save-failing) Wizard, Sorcerer, et. al. from every single one of their offensive class features. All of 'em.

It's equivalent to stripping a Fighter of his armor, all of his weapons, and access to all of his bonus feats.

I only mention that for GMs to keep in mind, because if you're comparing it to just cutting off a Wizard from his spells, then your comparison isn't valid, and isn't nearly punitive enough.

With that all said, by RAW it appears to work on extracts, infusions, bombs, and mutagens. And if I'm ever playing an Alchemist and come across a black dragon (and make the knowledge check), I'll be headed that-a-way, as fast as my potion-brewing legs can carry me. :P

Personally, I would not consider extracts "items" as far as this ability is concerned because the lack a fundamental property that all other items in the game posses,i.e. they cannot be set down or otherwise leave the alchemists possession without ceasing to be extracts. I would consider them liquid-based class abilities.

Infusions are a different matter, and I would have to consider them differently


Corrupt Water (Sp) Once per day an adult or older black dragon can stagnate 10 cubic feet of still water, making it foul and unable to support water-breathing life. The ability spoils liquids containing water. Liquid-based magic items (such as potions) and items in a creature's possession must succeed on a Will save (DC equal to the dragon's frightful presence) or become ruined. This ability is the equivalent of a 1st-level spell. Its range is equal to that of the dragon's frightful presence.

It says water in one sentence (which the bomb isn't)

And liquid-based magic items in another (which the bomb isn't)


@BigNorseWolf:

What it actually says is "Liquid-based magic items (such as potions) and items in the creature's position..."

Which translates to "Liquid-based magic items...and [liquid-based] items..." That's the (only logical) purpose of repeating the phrase "...and items..." again (or at least the only purpose of which I can think): To indicate that it affects to non-magical liquid-based items in the creature's possession as well.

So it would affect the wine in your wine skin and the flask of oil in your bandolier, your healing potions, the water in your canteen, your bombs, the vial of angel's tears you keep around for luck...


If you're going to translate it like that why not translate corrupt water to actually corrupt WATER, with the assumption that most liquid based magic items use water?


Re-reading the ability, it would appear that it only affects water and liquids containing water. There are special rules for certain items that get saves (Magic items get saves, attended items also get saves) but it has no special ability to affect such items that do not contain water.

Of course, most items do not specifically say whether or not they contain water so it's entirely GM fiat anyway.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
If you're going to translate it like that why not translate corrupt water to actually corrupt WATER, with the assumption that most liquid based magic items use water?

Because not all liquids contain water, yet it says that it affects liquids?

Personally I think it's a pretty badly written ability. At my table I wouldn't allow it to affect bombs or extracts anyway. But I'm talking about RAW, not table rules.

Is there an alternate interpretation that makes sense when you look at the repetition of "...and items..."? Sincerely asking, because I don't see one.


Xaratherus wrote:
Is there an alternate interpretation that makes sense when you look at the repetition of "...and items..."? Sincerely asking, because I don't see one.

If you consider the first two sentences crunch rather than fluff, and the third sentence as defining which items get saves then the ability only affects water.

If you consider the first two sentences as fluff, and only the third sentence as crunch, then you get an ability that only affects items, and not, say, a lake.

There's multiple ways to interpret most things.


Maybe some alchemist material are made from powders (Blackpowder, Coke, Fairie Dust, Suggar) and that not weak against such attack. I guess that i would make an alchemist have 50% fail in his class abilities until he could access fresh water and rejuvenate his stocks.


More specifically, what I'm trying to comprehend is why it makes sense for it to say "Liquid-based magic items...and items..." The repetition of "items" there has to be taken into account with any interpretation, unless we assume it's just a typo.

I actually don't think there's any fluff in this particular ability. The closest thing to fluff would be the "The ability spoils liquids containing water," but I see that less as fluff and more as a summary of the following effect.


As was stated initially, it works fine RAW. My contention is that it is unnecessarily punitive to interpret it in this manner.

Look. One of the most important abilities of a GM is to be able to take and separate the "flavor" from the "actual crunch". What we have is a contention between an ambiguous rule and an non-relevant class ability flavor description. Failing to take this simple limitation of all human language into account would lead to the Core Rulebook being a mathematical textbook of several hundred thousand pages, attempting to describe and codify all the properties of the known universe. Then, you would add probably another several hundreds of thousands of pages describing how imaginary things modify those properties. It would require doctorate degrees in all the natural science disiplines to understand and use.

Instead, we get something practical. Something that occasionally has vagueries, inconsistencies, and odd interactions. The GM's job is to learn to interpret these in a fair way to the players.

So yes, by RAW Corrupt Water can absolutely ruin an alchemist's bombs. And every single Fireball that is cast reduces the planet to a charred, lifeless husk floating in space, because it ignites all combustible objects in the area and you can make the argument that the atmosphere is combustible when exposed to enough heat.


If we go by RAW, yes, it destroys a vial if it fails the save.

However, if we go by RAW the vials weigh nothing and take basically no effort to craft and each vial gets their own save - so if we apply the RAW, all alchemists will simply carry around a thousand catalysts per day in case they break (for ANY reason).

So, we can go by RAW and encourage alchemists to abuse the lack of weight statement, or we can be nice to each other and say that it only affects liquids based on water (as that's heavily implied) and that the alchemist is free to have her catalyst be non-water based.

If we want to limit alchemists' carrying of vials, or apply a single save to all of the vials at the same time, we have left the RAW behind and can't really use it to argue that the ability should work either (though of course other arguments, like it being a reasonable ability, could still be made).


"The ability spoils liquids containing water." Meaning no save.
If people can agree on that aspect w/o being told there is no save then why is it so hard to think that "Liquid-based magic items (such as potions) and items in a creature's possession must succeed on a Will save (DC equal to the dragon's frightful presence) or become ruined." must contain water?

Also I wouldn't even go with the assumption that alchemist's bomb contains water.
If so the then you are opening a new can of worms with the explosive bombs discovery. Douse with 2 gallons of water to extinguish becomes problematic when told "You ruled my bombs contain water, then they should be MORE reactive to water...".
You can't have it both ways.


Xaratherus wrote:

More specifically, what I'm trying to comprehend is why it makes sense for it to say "Liquid-based magic items...and items..." The repetition of "items" there has to be taken into account with any interpretation, unless we assume it's just a typo.

All liquid-based magic items get saves regardless if they're attended non-magic items only get saves if they're attended. That's why there needs to be separate references for magic items and attended items.

Liberty's Edge

However this works out, a key idea in modern RPGs is to avoid "gotcha" moments. Such moments reinforce a GM-as-adversary relationship and undermine player trust.

Foreshadowing prior to an encounter with a black dragon (a found body with destroyed/ruined alchemical equipment), foreshadowing whatever crunch is being introduced regarding catalyst quantities and/or storage, advance knowledge (whether via training, knowledge skills, reference materials found in game, etc.) all have the effect of engaging the Alchemist in the challenge, allowing preparation of alternate tactics and possible preventative measures (extradimensional storagage of materials?). It allows the party to decide whether the encounter is worth the risk and/or additional challenge.

Whether devaluing class abilities, whether this situation, spellbook destruction, weird magic zones, etc. is a problem to a given playing group is a matter of play style. I personally have no problem with it, with the caveat that it is presented in a way that doesn't involve this gotcha kinda moment. Others have different opinions, sometimes strongly so.

I know this is a rules discussion, but the consequences of rule choices are an important aspect of such discussions, and when played out in game rather than employed through "gotcha" methods, can result in a more vibrant world view, more extensive engagement with the game world rather than the game books, and a more robust gaming experience. Whether that is interesting and desired for any particular gamer and/or gaming group is another story.


Some good questions and thoughts brought up, but AFAIK there is no such thing as fluff or crunch in the RAW. People deciding they can ignore some piece of the rules as "fluff" is house rule territory.


I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds this wording difficult to adjudicate properly.

It will be hard on the Alchemist as Will is his poor save, but it's difficult to believe he will fail every single one of the saves. End result: he will lose a bunch of potions and class ability uses for the battle (adding dramatic tension!), but the party can re-equip right where they are afterwards, so not a debilitating loss.

I am not worried about 'fairness to the players' in this instance as they are 5 very powerful 12th lvl characters with 3 mythic tiers and high fantasy WBL, not to mention having two NPCs of 17th and 18th lvl. I have to expose them to some pretty epic stuff to challenge them.

So a 'save or lose' per item for the group is bad, really bad for the alchemist of course, but the dragon would be made short work of by this crew.

Only one real answer to that... MOAR DRAGONS!!!


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Bombs are not prepared in advance and it is not worth the headache. Extracts are created in advance, and so are mutagens, so they are fair game IMHO.


Bombs are partially prepared in advance--specifically, the liquid catalyst is prepared in advance. Reread the ability description. The catalysts generally aren't tracked because it's rarely of importance, but the assumed behavior is stated in the ability description.


Bombs should be a moot case as they shouldn't contain water.


And round and round we go.

Looks like this thread is firmly in circularville, so have fun folks.

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