Identifying Alchemical Weapons


Rules Questions

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Can someone explain how players can identify alchemical items they might find? I haven't had anyone ever play an alchemist and am not very familiar with the rules.

Spoiler:
But we're running Mummy's Mask and they found the vials of alchemical fire on the first corpse in the Tomb of Akhentepi.

My understanding is that these items wouldn't have a magical aura. I'm basically looking for the alchemical equivalent of Identify/Detect Magic/Spellcraft. When you have an alchemical weapon 1) how do you identify that it's alchemical in nature and 2) how can you determine its properties and effects?


RAW, I don't think you can.
RAI, however, you could do this....

Use Craft(Alchemy). I would think if you can make it, you can ID it.

Taking a page from the Knowledge skill, I would place it as:
ID Alchemical item = 10 + DC to manufacture Alchemical item.

/cevah

Grand Lodge

Also, like a potion, I would think it could be identified with a Perception check, although it probably should be more difficult than the Craft (alchemy) check...

Some of those things are going to have a fairly strong, fairly identifiable odor...


I wasn't aware that RAW required a way to determine the identity of mundane objects. My understanding is that characters are allowed to automatically know every non-magical item that can be purchased.

Do you require ID checks on exotic weapons that are found? Why would AF be any different?

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Thanks, everyone. I'm at least glad that there wasn't a rule somewhere that I just couldn't find.

N N 959 wrote:

I wasn't aware that RAW required a way to determine the identity of mundane objects. My understanding is that characters are allowed to automatically know every non-magical item that can be purchased.

Do you require ID checks on exotic weapons that are found? Why would AF be any different?

No, but I don't see how they could reasonably distinguish one vial of liquid from another. Are you saying that they'd know any alchemical mixture, or poison, just by looking at it? I don't think I can get behind that.


TomParker wrote:


No, but I don't see how they could reasonably distinguish one vial of liquid from another. Are you saying that they'd know any alchemical mixture, or poison, just by looking at it? I don't think I can get behind that.

here we go...

TomParker...there are about 1000 things in Pathfinder that don't make logical sense and about 10,000 things that any given person can complain about as not being "believable." Pathfinder is a game. It isn't meant to be "believable" it's meant to be playable. The rules are not meant to simulate real life. The rules are designed to provide a system for playing a game.

Pathfinder doesn't impose any type of requirement to "identify" any alchemical items in the book. How do we know that? Because there are no rules that govern it. Why do you think that is? I'm betting because nobody thought it was fun waste time asking players to ID holy water from alchemical glue. Seriously. Tell your players it's AF and move on.

As a word of advice, the quicker you can learn to set aside the need for everything to jibe with your own sense of plausibility in the game, the more you'll enjoy it. Start down the path of house-rules for arbitrary things like this, and you're going to dig yourself a hole.

If you really want to get hung up on this, AF is probably readily identifiable by a 1st level adventurer because they sell it in every town. Just recognize the liquid has a unique quality to it that anyone can identify.

As far as identifying poison, the only rules I've seen regarding the identification is for Investigators with Poison Lore.


Isn't "recognising something" a Knowledge check?


TomParker wrote:

Thanks, everyone. I'm at least glad that there wasn't a rule somewhere that I just couldn't find.

N N 959 wrote:

I wasn't aware that RAW required a way to determine the identity of mundane objects. My understanding is that characters are allowed to automatically know every non-magical item that can be purchased.

Do you require ID checks on exotic weapons that are found? Why would AF be any different?

No, but I don't see how they could reasonably distinguish one vial of liquid from another. Are you saying that they'd know any alchemical mixture, or poison, just by looking at it? I don't think I can get behind that.

Funny you say that as (as kinevon pointed out) potions are identified by just looking at them (well and smelling them I'm sure) with the perception skill. It's not that much of a stretch to extend that to ID alchemical items (If you felt the need to do so). It certainly shouldn't be any more difficult to tell the difference between Alchemists Fire and Holy Water than it is a potion of cure moderate and a potion of heroism.

Me I'd just go with telling them they have a vial of AF.


Only for 'somethings' with defined knowledge DCs.

What's the DC to recognize a mace or a flail? Lots of people today couldn't identify one or the other.

In Pathfinder, it's assumed everyone recognizes these mundane items, just like they do mundane alchemical items.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
N N 959 wrote:
TomParker...there are about 1000 things in Pathfinder that don't make logical sense and about 10,000 things that any given person can complain about as not being "believable." Pathfinder is a game. It isn't meant to be "believable" it's meant to be playable.

Wow. Um, thanks. I'm playing a game with wizards and trolls, so I don't have a very strong need for plausibility. There are rules for identifying magic items, rules for identifying poisons. I wasn't familiar with alchemists and thought I'd missed a rule.

Thanks again, everyone.


Huhm. I'm pretty sure you could just craft alchemy it.. thats what i've always done in my games as a player. I never knew it wasn't working


TomParker wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
TomParker...there are about 1000 things in Pathfinder that don't make logical sense and about 10,000 things that any given person can complain about as not being "believable." Pathfinder is a game. It isn't meant to be "believable" it's meant to be playable.

Wow. Um, thanks. I'm playing a game with wizards and trolls, so I don't have a very strong need for plausibility. There are rules for identifying magic items, rules for identifying poisons. I wasn't familiar with alchemists and thought I'd missed a rule.

Thanks again, everyone.

My apologies, when you wrote this:

TomParker wrote:
No, but I don't see how they could reasonably distinguish one vial of liquid from another. Are you saying that they'd know any alchemical mixture, or poison, just by looking at it? I don't think I can get behind that.

I took that as a decision based on the palatability of "distinguishing one vial of liquid from another." I must have misunderstood what you were trying to communicate.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
N N 959 wrote:
TomParker wrote:
No, but I don't see how they could reasonably distinguish one vial of liquid from another. Are you saying that they'd know any alchemical mixture, or poison, just by looking at it? I don't think I can get behind that.
I took that as a decision based on the palatability of "distinguishing one vial of liquid from another." I must have misunderstood what you were trying to communicate.

Thanks for clarifying; I appreciate it. You're right, I wasn't clear.I guess I was really looking for consistency between the rules, not with reality.

I saw alchemical creations, with their pseudo-magical properties, as closer to magical potions than a typical mundane item. I thought I had to be overlooking some rule somewhere, and we stick pretty closely to CRB + AP for rules. If it's not a CRB class I'm not very up on it.


TomParker wrote:
I saw alchemical creations, with their pseudo-magical properties, as closer to magical potions than a typical mundane item.

I would submit alchemical items are 100% mundane as viewed by the game. Potions, extracts, infusions, mutagens, those are definitely magical.

Alchemical items are alchemy (chemistry).

Liberty's Edge

dragonhunterq wrote:
Funny you say that as (as kinevon pointed out) potions are identified by just looking at them (well and smelling them I'm sure) with the perception skill.

Actually, you identify potions by taste...which makes for an interesting time when you include a vial of poison in the mix. >:-)

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