Alchemists, Feats, and Items...


Rules Questions


Alchemists are not casters, and can not use meta-magic with their extracts, benefit from spell focus feats, or use items like pearls of power.

The FAQ says:

FAQ wrote:

Alchemist: Is an alchemist a spellcaster for the purpose of crafting magic items other than potions?

As written, no, alchemists are not spellcasters, and therefore can't select feats such as Craft Wondrous Item.
The design team is aware that this creates some thematic problems with the idea of an alchemist creating golems and so on, and plan to examine this in the future.

I was wondering what the mechanical reason for this decision was. They certainly look like 6th level casters on paper, just with a different flavor of "extracts" vs "spells".

I have a player who would like this to work otherwise, and since this isn't for PFS, I'm inclined to agree. However, I would really like to understand what it is about Alchemist extracts that gave the devs pause in allowing such things to be used for this class.

EDIT: Also, are there extract or alchemist specific feats/items that make up for not being able to use these things?


uh. no real reason other than just to differentiate it. That I know of anyway. I thikn they just wanted another category. I do think they should have gone full non magic or less. In between makes it somewhat complicated at first glance.

i've played maybe 1/3rd of my games where they counted as prepped spells, and were allowed to metamagic and in one case count as arcane casting. Since they can still be dispelled etc the gm's thought it was pointlessly unfair. Sure you can pass them around like candy but you already had to build that way. I did have one game where he gave free infusion instead of metamagic stuff and had them follow more strongly potion rules (just easier to pull out in one action) so coudln't metamagic under those rules.

Generally speaking never had an issue with being able to do that. It just made them more useful and more able to do things. It's not like they have the spell levels to do a lot of things. Some metamagic doesn't work of course, like quicken. Simply cause it's the action of drinking it that casts it. so it's not like the magic in the bottle can make you draw and chug it faster (well i guess it could but still). Nor do alchemist havemuch of any attack spells (what..detonate only?
The only time I used that was with a game specific thing where I could throw extracts to have effects happen. Sorta like the chemists from Final Fantasy Tactics 1.

Ireally truly think that should have been a discovery. The ability to throw extracts as ranged touch attacks or splash weapons to finish spells. Then have added poison and maybe a few other debuffs.


Alchemists can get Craft Wondrous Item and Craft Arms/Armor feats by taking an additional Master Craftsman feat. Furthermore, the devs are evaluating this topic further and may make changes to have alchemist levels count as caster levels for crafting. Specifically they probably want to allow Craft Construct for alchemists for flavor reasons.

Alchemists can use Boro Beads instead of Pearls of Power, they do the same thing and cost the same as the pearls. They also can get preserving flasks which are a bit different but serve a similar purpose.

They can extend potions with both an extract and a feat, though this can't be applied to their own extracts. They also can get a feat which will substitute their level for the CL of any potion. At 16th level, they have the ability to make any potion permanent, and if they use their 2nd level extract ability to gain a potion's effect without consuming it, they can have a selection of 'permanent' effects that they swap out pretty much at will. Haste, Heroism, Good Hope, Invisibility, Barkskin, Fly, ....

They have access to both a feat and a magic item that lets them combine extracts so they can use one standard action to get the benefits of two 'spells'.

Alchemists definitely don't have access to the same types of metamagic feats as casters, but they get their own abilities that can be quite useful. Plus, depending on the types of bomb discoveries they take, they can apply debuffs to creatures with a much higher save DC and ignore SR as well.


It is literally just for fluff.


@ _OZY_: good to know there are other options there, thank you.
@ Rynjin, Zwordsman: if true, that is very disappointing.


Yeah, its a fluff thing. The easiest way to make it work when the alchemist was written that it was supernatural which are

Quote:
Supernatural Abilities (Su): Supernatural abilities are magical but not spell-like. Supernatural abilities are not subject to spell resistance and do not function in areas where magic is suppressed or negated (such as an antimagic field). A supernatural ability's effect cannot be dispelled and is not subject to counterspells. See Table: Special Ability Types for a summary of the types of special abilities.

They just happened to closely resemble spells in mechanical implementation, but they aren't spells.

Boro bread is the equivalent of pearls of power. If you think alchemist not getting the equivalent was unfair, how do you feel about the fact that spontaneous spell caster didn't get an equivalent until PFS came up with the Runestones of Power?

Spell focus: Eh, the alchemist should focus on buffing. There are a few extracts that can be used offensively, but this isn't really the alchemist forte. I don't consider it much of a loss to

Metamagic: Alright, it is perhaps a bit annoying that you can't apply metamagic. But since the majority of spells are buff spells, theo nly metamagic that jumps to mind as being generally useful would be extend. And Ozy covers that there are apparerntly ways to do an even better version of making your spells last all day.

Sure, it's different and slightly annoying, but I'm not sure it's a real problem. Really, the mistake that was made was referring to existing spells so people get confused about what extracts are and how they funciton. Of course, the only other thing to be done was to rewrite a bunch of spells into just formulae for the alchemist. Which would have wasted a lot of time rewriting things that didn't need to be written. So the former was preferable to the later.


So, with all of that in mind...
Pearls of Power = Boro Beads
Certain flasks mimic some metamagic feats...
This is good to know, and will need to look into it further.

Anything else? What possible pitfalls will I be stepping into by declaring, for my game, alchemists = casters?


Well, they could now get arcane strike and add it to their bomb and splash damage. They already can get a little 'breaky' by handing out range:personal infusions to fighters and the like, so perhaps metamagic'd infusions would be more dangerous to game balance.

What sort of 'caster things' is your player looking for specifically? Crafting feats beyond Wondrous Items and Arms/Armor? Metamagic?


Not quite sure, I just know he hadn't realized it wasn't considered a caster until he was done making the character...he may chime in here and ask himself.


Kryzbyn wrote:
Not quite sure, I just know he hadn't realized it wasn't considered a caster until he was done making the character...he may chime in here and ask himself.

/waive

One thing you had not mentioned yet is that this is a gestalt game and my other half is an Arcanist.

Couple examples of the types of things I'd like to do in a perfect world:

Metamagics - empower/maximize/echo/etc on self-heals
Feats - spell focus/penetration on extracts (there are spells that have DCs and allow SR, usually done in the stlye of fire breathing)
Items - Tons of interesting things for casters only to do Dweomer's Essence, meta rods, etc..

One other thing I just thought of: Contingency! The way its worded you would just cast the extract with contingency and it would delay the onset. Honestly reading contingency it almost sounds like it was written by a time traveler for Alchemist dual classing (minus the whole extracts != spells thing)!

Anyways, as Kryz alluded to, we had a discussion after some research on the (endless) threads about alchemist around here and basically it seems we both (I more than he obviously) feel its kind of strange to cut off a spellcasting class with a re-skin from all of the trappings of a spellcasting class just to service the re-skin and then modify well-established rules in new ways to that end (Which from what JJ has said apparently this state of affairs is largely to avoid printing "Even though these are spells they are silent" over and over and instead shorten it to "extracts").

I would go further in submitting that the majority of the angst about the alchemists abilities is born of the disconnect between what the majority of people intuit should be the basic mechanics behind an alchemist and what they can actually do - largely because of how foreign and unclear these rules can be without a lot of knowledge of the system. Now, it is certainly fair to say that not everything needs to be 100% intuitive, but when something causes this much turmoil in my humble opinion I would say it is a sign it could be done better.

But I digress....

PS - Thanks for the tip on the beads/flasks Ozy, I was looking all over for something like that!


Yeah. It should either be more spell casting. or. More different.

I really wish they would have just sepreated it fully. Took a page from Chemist in Final Fantasy. Make it a bit different mechanic wise. Maybe ully seperate the mechanic. Though still need to allow for dispel since that's a thing. but make them easily given out naturally, but deny the group buffing option (since it's weird anyway. I guess.. just passing the drink around but it's weird since by spell logic the user drinks and magically zaps the rest. they techincally don't need to drink it) but in exchange for losing the grou pbuffing ability. You gain the ability to throw them as splash weapon(only the alch can throw them and have them work infusions woudlnt work via ranged)
Then add specific debuffs and poison spells--(possibly very specific damage ones but really bombs take care of that), and create a "poison creation" extract that just makes debuffing poison. then you could hand out candy power ups. Or throw debuff/poisons/bombs.

That would make the alchemist spell list change from "just buff the ever loving ever out of stuff" to more.. alchemist class sorta feel. It would be much more in line with what the rest of the class feels like.

Or maybe a prestige or archetye that alters things a bit.

But yeah. Easier solution is just make it straight up arcane magic.


Ahh, ok full disclosure:
This is for a Mythic Way of the Wicked campaign, in which I am allowing gestalt, and they will get 1st tier mythic by the end book 2. Sqrl is one of 5 players. I'm not quite sure what the others are playing...

One might think "well hell's bells, why worry about the power level if you're doing all that?" For me it's not a power level thing, it's a mechanics thing. If there's a good reason not to cross the streams here, I'd like to know about it before hand. I've never played an alchemist, so I do not know what is potentially abusive with them. I trust Sqrl not to go overboard, but I think he depends on me to be at least aware of what's possible so I can make an informed decision.


with the combo he mentioned. I personally don't see any super comboss. It'd mostsly justs be ethat his alch extracts will just always be healing or buffs and his spells will be free for whatever.
I suspect a lot of handing out infusions or something.

I actually don't see a whole lot of combo between the two really. with exception that i'd love to make a blade adept out of that gesult.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Claxon wrote:

Yeah, its a fluff thing. The easiest way to make it work when the alchemist was written that it was supernatural which are

Quote:
Supernatural Abilities (Su): Supernatural abilities are magical but not spell-like. Supernatural abilities are not subject to spell resistance and do not function in areas where magic is suppressed or negated (such as an antimagic field). A supernatural ability's effect cannot be dispelled and is not subject to counterspells. See Table: Special Ability Types for a summary of the types of special abilities.

They just happened to closely resemble spells in mechanical implementation, but they aren't spells.

Making extracts supernatural is a really bad idea. That would make the not subject to dispelling and that is a BIG buff.

You really want to gift a class with spells up to level 6 that can't be dispelled?


Diego Rossi wrote:
Claxon wrote:

Yeah, its a fluff thing. The easiest way to make it work when the alchemist was written that it was supernatural which are

Quote:
Supernatural Abilities (Su): Supernatural abilities are magical but not spell-like. Supernatural abilities are not subject to spell resistance and do not function in areas where magic is suppressed or negated (such as an antimagic field). A supernatural ability's effect cannot be dispelled and is not subject to counterspells. See Table: Special Ability Types for a summary of the types of special abilities.

They just happened to closely resemble spells in mechanical implementation, but they aren't spells.

Making extracts supernatural is a really bad idea. That would make the not subject to dispelling and that is a BIG buff.

You really want to gift a class with spells up to level 6 that can't be dispelled?

I didn't make extracts supernatural. They already are.

Quote:
Alchemy (Su): Alchemists are not only masters of creating mundane alchemical substances such as alchemist's fire and smokesticks, but also of fashioning magical potion-like extracts in which they can store spell effects. In effect, an alchemist prepares his spells by mixing ingredients into a number of extracts, and then “casts” his spells by drinking the extract. When an alchemist creates an extract or bomb, he infuses the concoction with a tiny fraction of his own magical power—this enables the creation of powerful effects, but also binds the effects to the creator.

They clearly aren't spells, they clearly aren't spell like abilities. That leaves pretty much only supernatural for them to still be magic. However, I guess it's been established somewhere within the rules that they are subject to being dispelled like a spell.

Edit: Wait, right here:

Quote:
Extracts are the most varied of the three. In many ways, they behave like spells in potion form, and as such their effects can be dispelled by effects like dispel magic using the alchemist's level as the caster level. Unlike potions, though, extracts can have powerful effects and duplicate spells that a potion normally could not.

Explicitly subject to dispel despite being supernatural.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I think that the ability to make them is supernatural, not the extract, but probably your reading of the rule is the correct one.


Diego Rossi wrote:

I think that the ability to make them is supernatural, not the extract, but probably your reading of the rule is the correct one.

I mean, it's not particularly important since we know they're not spells, don't apepar to be SLAs, are somehow magical, and can be dispelled. Whether they are supernatural or not...I can't see how it's really important. It just looks like they are to me.


Sqrl wrote:
PS - Thanks for the tip on the beads/flasks Ozy, I was looking all over for something like that!

No problem, also look for:

Hybridization funnel
Forumla Alembic
Admixture vial

The 2nd level extract, Alchemical Allocation is great for reusing potions, so for a 2nd level extract slot you could reuse a 3rd level cure serious wounds potion, or high level heroism/barkskin/shield of faith/etc... If you're friends with a summoner, you can try to get potions of greater invisibility and stoneskin. You could then use alchemical allocation with a potion of stoneskin, and never have to worry about material component costs.

The 3rd level extract Amplify Elixir will empower or extend all the potions/elixirs you drink over the next several round (1 rd/level) so you can drink that extract, and then buff using Alchemical Allocation for double length potion effects.

The alchemist has a lot of ways to boost the effectiveness of potions, but fewer option to boost the power of their extracts. About the best you can do is try to improve action economy with things like the poisoners gloves, and the sipping jacket if your GM lets you use that for extracts.

Finally, your bombs can have debuffing effects with DCs that can scale much, much higher than normal spells, and completely bypass SR. You can chuckle mercilessly as your bomb damage punches right through golem spell immunities, demonic SR, and so on. You really do have a good shot of knocking someone down, staggering them, or even blinding them even at high CR encounters, so I'm not really sure I see the need of adding more power to the class by treating alchemical levels as caster levels and opening up access to metamagic.


_Ozy_ wrote:
Sqrl wrote:
PS - Thanks for the tip on the beads/flasks Ozy, I was looking all over for something like that!

No problem, also look for:

Hybridization funnel
Forumla Alembic
Admixture vial

The 2nd level extract, Alchemical Allocation is great for reusing potions, so for a 2nd level extract slot you could reuse a 3rd level cure serious wounds potion, or high level heroism/barkskin/shield of faith/etc... If you're friends with a summoner, you can try to get potions of greater invisibility and stoneskin. You could then use alchemical allocation with a potion of stoneskin, and never have to worry about material component costs.

The 3rd level extract Amplify Elixir will empower or extend all the potions/elixirs you drink over the next several round (1 rd/level) so you can drink that extract, and then buff using Alchemical Allocation for double length potion effects.

The alchemist has a lot of ways to boost the effectiveness of potions, but fewer option to boost the power of their extracts. About the best you can do is try to improve action economy with things like the poisoners gloves, and the sipping jacket if your GM lets you use that for extracts.

Finally, your bombs can have debuffing effects with DCs that can scale much, much higher than normal spells, and completely bypass SR. You can chuckle mercilessly as your bomb damage punches right through golem spell immunities, demonic SR, and so on. You really do have a good shot of knocking someone down, staggering them, or even blinding them even at high CR encounters, so I'm not really sure I see the need of adding more power to the class by treating alchemical levels as caster levels and opening up access to metamagic.

Question on the Hybridization Funnel:

-Can hybrid weapons be recombined? I only ask because the Admixture Vial indicates you cannot keep combining, while funnel has no language on it.

For example:
-I have Acid Flask and Alchemist Fire and I combine them to make "Acid Fire". When thrown Acid Fire would have the effect of Acid Flask and Alchemist Fire.
-Next I make a separate item from Unholy Water and Liquid Ice which together we can call "Unholy Ice". When thrown Unholy Ice would have the effect of Unholy Water and Liquid Ice.
-Finally, Combine "Acid Fire" with "Holy Ice" to create "Unholy Freeze-Burn". When thrown Unholy Freeze-Burn would have the effect of Acid Flask, Alchemist Fire, Unholy Water, and Liquid Ice.

The last step is where the question really comes in. And if it works it raises the next (potentially more degenerate) question of whether you can mix "Acid Fire" with an Acid Flask again.

For my games I would be inclined to allow this with increasing DCs (since failure means you lose the whole thing!). Something like +4 for every basic alchemical item in the completed concoction beyond the first 2 and the base DC starts at 30 whenever Holy or Unholy are included. So in the Unholy freeze burn example you would be at DC 38 (Base 30 b/c of Unholy water, and +8 because of 4 base ingredients). Either way I am curious about what the "official" (if such a thing even exists) ruling on this is or even just the player consensus (if such a thing even exists). Having said that I would definitely warn my players going down this path that these rules could change rapidly if it gets too crazy.

For gray areas I tend to err on the side of allowing things with the forewarning that I could change my mind if it gets out of hand. I think this sentiment largely goes without saying, but actually saying it, I've found, alleviates some of the angst players have if it needs to change (and it very rarely does).

Also, back on the funnel, am I correct in thinking that INT would only apply once (regardless of how many alchemical items you can or do combine) since the ability is from throw anything and you are ultimately only throwing the one splash weapon. That part seems fairly clear.

As for the "need" (I would say preference personally) to make them a caster, I think for me and the games I run it boils down to simplicity. Complexity is not a bad thing of course, but a well run game manages complexity to where it is interesting and away from where it causes frustration. I just don't think alchemists are different enough from casters to provide the interest commensurate with the complexity they create as non-casters.

Casting rules already make sense to me for Alchemists and there is a substantial amount of confirmed rules information on how they can interact with the world and the massive number of items/feats/abilities/etc.. that players have to choose from. So for me it just makes sense, which is I suppose what house rules are for =)


Sqrl wrote:

Question on the Hybridization Funnel:

-Can hybrid weapons be recombined? I only ask because the Admixture Vial indicates you cannot keep combining, while funnel has no language on it.

For example:
-I have Acid Flask and Alchemist Fire and I combine them to make "Acid Fire". When thrown Acid Fire would have the effect of Acid Flask and Alchemist Fire.
-Next I make a separate item from Unholy Water and Liquid Ice which together we can call "Unholy Ice". When thrown Unholy Ice would have the effect of Unholy Water and Liquid Ice.
-Finally, Combine "Acid Fire" with "Holy Ice" to create "Unholy Freeze-Burn". When thrown Unholy Freeze-Burn would have the effect of Acid Flask, Alchemist Fire, Unholy Water, and Liquid Ice.

The last step is where the question really comes in. And if it works it raises the next (potentially more degenerate) question of whether you can mix "Acid Fire" with an Acid Flask again.

For my games I would be inclined to allow this with increasing DCs (since failure means you lose the whole thing!). Something like +4 for every basic alchemical item in the completed concoction beyond the first 2 and the base DC starts at 30 whenever Holy or Unholy are included. So in the Unholy freeze burn example you would be at DC 38 (Base 30 b/c of Unholy water, and +8 because of 4 base ingredients). Either way I am curious about what the "official" (if such a thing even exists) ruling on this is or even just the player consensus (if such a thing even exists). Having said that I would definitely warn my players going down this path that these rules could change rapidly if it gets too crazy.

No to both.
Quote:
Mixing a substance with a similar or identical substance (such as alchemist's fire with alchemist's fire) has no effect. A mixture cannot be combined with another mixture.


thejeff wrote:
Sqrl wrote:

Question on the Hybridization Funnel:

-Can hybrid weapons be recombined? I only ask because the Admixture Vial indicates you cannot keep combining, while funnel has no language on it.

For example:
-I have Acid Flask and Alchemist Fire and I combine them to make "Acid Fire". When thrown Acid Fire would have the effect of Acid Flask and Alchemist Fire.
-Next I make a separate item from Unholy Water and Liquid Ice which together we can call "Unholy Ice". When thrown Unholy Ice would have the effect of Unholy Water and Liquid Ice.
-Finally, Combine "Acid Fire" with "Holy Ice" to create "Unholy Freeze-Burn". When thrown Unholy Freeze-Burn would have the effect of Acid Flask, Alchemist Fire, Unholy Water, and Liquid Ice.

The last step is where the question really comes in. And if it works it raises the next (potentially more degenerate) question of whether you can mix "Acid Fire" with an Acid Flask again.

For my games I would be inclined to allow this with increasing DCs (since failure means you lose the whole thing!). Something like +4 for every basic alchemical item in the completed concoction beyond the first 2 and the base DC starts at 30 whenever Holy or Unholy are included. So in the Unholy freeze burn example you would be at DC 38 (Base 30 b/c of Unholy water, and +8 because of 4 base ingredients). Either way I am curious about what the "official" (if such a thing even exists) ruling on this is or even just the player consensus (if such a thing even exists). Having said that I would definitely warn my players going down this path that these rules could change rapidly if it gets too crazy.

No to both.
Quote:
Mixing a substance with a similar or identical substance (such as alchemist's fire with alchemist's fire) has no effect. A mixture cannot be combined with another mixture.

Indeed, I apparently glossed over it.

That covers that then.

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