Please convince me to play an Alchemist.


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


Alchemists look fun; they can throw bombs, they get something called mutagens which I'm not 100% sure what they do.

They seem overly complicated though.

What's so great about Alchemists?


Its not that complicated really, its just a class with a lot of options. I would suggest focusing on what you like best about the class and build for that. In my case that is the bombs. They can set up fog clouds and nauseate (the best condition to afflict an enemy with!) with them and once they get rapid bombs they become the tactical nuke of the party.


1) Bombs
2) No Arcane fail chance for med armor
3) Good skill list and points to utilize them
4) Bombs
5) Mutagen to give a stat boost when you really need it
6) Discoveries that are unique(i.e. extra limbs)
7) Combine extracts. Used to make to potions take effect at the same time.
8) Did I mention Bombs?


They have a wide varieties of builds you can specialize in, depending on the discoveries, feat, and archetypes you take.

2 handed str? Natural attack (perhaps with some nice sneak attack?) Ranged with a bow (and some nice bombs attached?) Tank? Buffer? Debuffer? Battlefield control?

There is a lot you can do. Obviously, you can't do it all...but it is not hard to get a few different roles down.

The infusion discovery allows you to hand out your spells like they were potions for your allies. That can help action economy greatly

Weird discoveries can give you extra hands, or a tentacle that could be a fairly good basis for a grappling build. How about some wings to fly over enemies while you snipe, or to chase crafty wizards down with your nice big weapon?

The bombs are fantastic once you start getting discoveries in there. Touch AC means that you do not need to necessarily specialize in ranged attacks to make the bombs useful (big bad monsters like dragons are notoriously weak to the bombs...and that just FEELS right that you need heavy ordinance for them). Also, the save DC for their effects is the same as a witch's hex (10+1/2 level+int), so they can be fairly powerful.

Many try to nova by launching a ton of bombs at once with a bow...but honestly, with the crippling debuffs and battlefield control they can dish, I would just view it as a spontaneous pool of extra spells. Options include bombs that copy Fogcloud/cloudkill/incindiarycloud, blind them, curse them, bombs that dispel magic, do tanglefoot or grease (with the much higher save DC of your bombs), and frost bombs that stagger on a direct hit. You have a ton of options...and can use any of the ones you have discovered up to 20 times a day depending on level.

EDIT: Minos Judge, you forgot to tell her about the bombs.


lemeres wrote:


EDIT: Minos Judge, you forgot to tell her about the bombs.

I knew there was something I forgot. ;)

Also if you pick up random splash weapons while adventuring you get to add your Int modifier to the damage. Just like you do with BOMBS!

In PFS ,y lvl 2 beat a lvl 7 Boss with all the alchemist fire we picked up. Had to play up because of the other high lvl players who all failed their fear checks or just got pummeled into lala land.

I will say this though if you have no interest in bombs there is always poison. However the bomb mechanic is the most interesting to me. The Mutagens allow you to make some changes to your character on the fly.


Oh and the Alchemist has one of the most brutal Melee Killing machine builds in Pathfinder... by combining the Vivisectionist and the beastmorph. Granted you cannot play that combo in PFS since Vivisectionist is banned (I still can't understand why it is banned...), but they pretty much wreck everything they run into...

Dark Archive

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icantfallasleep wrote:
What's so great about Alchemists?

That is simplicity itself Mein Liebchen.

To start off "Every" and in conclusion "thing."


Alchemists are pretty versatile. Never played one myself, but played in campaigns alongside one and have GM'd for a few.


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They make better Rogues than Rogues.

They explode things for a living.

They turn themselves into monstrous doom machines for fun and profit.

They have all kinds of weird and unusual rules interactions for you to discover and alternate between hugging and cursing the devs for.

They're fantastic debuff machines (every time I read Curse Bombs, I laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of it).

They explode things for a living.

Explosions are fun.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
PIXIE DUST wrote:
Oh and the Alchemist has one of the most brutal Melee Killing machine builds in Pathfinder... by combining the Vivisectionist and the beastmorph. Granted you cannot play that combo in PFS since Vivisectionist is banned (I still can't understand why it is banned...),

Yes, you do... you just answered that question with your second sentence. To balance PFS scenarios against that combo, they'd have to make them insta-kill against everyone else.


To the OP:

No. If you can't convince yourself, then perhaps you should play something other than an Alchemist.

Otherwise: Alchemists are not, to my mind, a complicated class.


LazarX wrote:
PIXIE DUST wrote:
Oh and the Alchemist has one of the most brutal Melee Killing machine builds in Pathfinder... by combining the Vivisectionist and the beastmorph. Granted you cannot play that combo in PFS since Vivisectionist is banned (I still can't understand why it is banned...),
Yes, you do... you just answered that question with your second sentence. To balance PFS scenarios against that combo, they'd have to make them insta-kill against everyone else.

How is it any different than The CAGM Barbarian? Or just a well made two handed fighter? Or Gheleena the Conqueror Ooze? There are a lot of power houses you can make...


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

no


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I present to you

Exhibit A

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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I've never played one, but I've seen a couple in action.

Alchemists have 3 primary class features: bombs, mutagens, and extracts.

Bombs are special splash weapons. They cause significant damage to their primary target, and minor splash damage to those adjacent to the target. Because they are splash weapons, you make attacks against your opponent's touch AC, which is typically a lot lower than their regular armor class.

Mutagens are similar to potions that alter your physiology. They can make you stronger, more dexterous, or tougher, but also make you dumber, foolish, or less personable.

Extracts are similar to spells, but you have to drink them like potions.

All three primary class features can be enhanced with discoveries. Discoveries can make your bombs do acid damage, miss your allies, or turn into poisonous gas. Discoveries can make you grow claws and fangs when you use your mutagen. Discoveries can allow you to share your extracts with your allies or combine the effects of multiple extracts into a single dose. Discoveries can also make a potion you drink permanent, allow you to grow wings, or remain eternally young.

Alchemists also have some additional class features, like poison use and resistance. Their skill selection is pretty good, and since they get 4 + your Intelligence modifier skill ranks per level, and Intelligence is one of their most important, and therefore usually high, ability scores, they get lots of skills.


PIXIE DUST wrote:
LazarX wrote:
PIXIE DUST wrote:
Oh and the Alchemist has one of the most brutal Melee Killing machine builds in Pathfinder... by combining the Vivisectionist and the beastmorph. Granted you cannot play that combo in PFS since Vivisectionist is banned (I still can't understand why it is banned...),
Yes, you do... you just answered that question with your second sentence. To balance PFS scenarios against that combo, they'd have to make them insta-kill against everyone else.
How is it any different than The CAGM Barbarian? Or just a well made two handed fighter? Or Gheleena the Conqueror Ooze? There are a lot of power houses you can make...

I feel the reason it's banned is the problem you have when multiclassing it with other classes. There's not a nice way to calculate their sneak attacks so it'd be a source of huge table variance and I feel that is why it's banned.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Oceanshieldwolf wrote:

To the OP:

No. If you can't convince yourself, then perhaps you should play something other than an Alchemist.

Otherwise: Alchemists are not, to my mind, a complicated class.

Amen, OSW. I've never understood why you would post with a title like this. "Please take time to tell me to do something I'm obviously already considering doing." If the title was "help me make a playable Alchemist" or "explain the Alchemist's XXX ability to me" I would be onboard.


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Exhibit A: a box full of cute, adorable kittens. They are looking at you with those big wide eyes and saying "Mew!". This translates to "Please play an alchemist, icantfallasleep." Either that or, "Get me some cream, slaveboy."

Exhibit B: a woodchipper. Gee these kittens are awfully close to the gaping feedhole of that woodchipper. It would be a shame if one of them were to fall in. Or even the whole box. I'm sure that an alchemist would be able to save them.

------

Oh, there's lots of details about alchemists that are cool. It's the flexibility that I like. They are a class that has good abilities in lots of fields.

They have a second level extract, Alchemical Allocation. This lets you drink a potion, get the effect, and then spit it back into the bottle, unused. It takes two round, but it lets you carry a big load of buffs that you can now cast as 2nd level spells. It's like being able to add every potionable spell (arcane or divine) to your formula book and being able to cast them on the fly. Of course it's better outside of PFS where you can get potions at higher caster levels. And nobody ever wants to drink your potions.

Explosive missile lets you shoot your bombs with other weapons. It's a standard action, but when you add your bomb to a distance crossbow, it's pretty much a siege engine. The grenadier archetype costs a little more, but it lets you do it as a move action, then it changes to a swift and eventually a free action. Grenadier also lets you add alchemical weapons instead of just bombs. Get a hybridization funnel and mix that in.

The precise bomb discovery is awesome. It lets you throw a bomb in the middle of melee and avoid hitting your friends. (up to your intelligence modifier. This should be sufficient because int is your primary stat and the bombs you threw before this should have winnowed out anybody that isn't a true friend)

----

Mew!

Dark Archive

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Who can take some reagents,
mix them in a flask,
brew them into potions
that accomplish any task?
An Alchemist, an Alchemist can!
An Alchemist can because he combines magic and science and makes discoveries.

Who can take some rare salts,
ferment them with yeast,
make a mutagen
that turns a man into a beast?
An Alchemist! An Alchemist can!
An Alchemist can because he combines magic and science and makes things explode.

An Alchemist can drink
any thought they think
performance-enhancing and yummy
a power-plant inside your tummy!
You can even make yourself a mummy!

Who can make explosives
with preternatural ease?
Scorch or shock or freeze you
or spread virulent disease?
An Alchemist! An Alchemist can!
An Alchemist can because he combines magic and science and transmutes the world to gold.

And the world can be gold because such is the power that the Alchemist holds....


PIXIE DUST wrote:
LazarX wrote:
PIXIE DUST wrote:
Oh and the Alchemist has one of the most brutal Melee Killing machine builds in Pathfinder... by combining the Vivisectionist and the beastmorph. Granted you cannot play that combo in PFS since Vivisectionist is banned (I still can't understand why it is banned...),
Yes, you do... you just answered that question with your second sentence. To balance PFS scenarios against that combo, they'd have to make them insta-kill against everyone else.
How is it any different than The CAGM Barbarian? Or just a well made two handed fighter? Or Gheleena the Conqueror Ooze? There are a lot of power houses you can make...

Actually, as I recall the Vivisectionist was one of several archetypes with evil-ish flavor that got banned as a group from PFS.

Personally, I think banning the Vivisectionist for flavor reasons was a mistake. Or perhaps the mistake was the devs defining such a specific flavor for that particular archetype. In either case, I would say that the player should ultimately be the one deciding upon the flavor for their character, not what's in the book.

Grand Lodge

Alchemists, like Bards, are wonderful for their versatility. You just sacrifice some of the utility for more combat "oomph!" The spell list isn't the greatest, but it's useful, and with the Infusion discovery you can share it like a Wizard or Cleric.

But the real draw here is the Mutagen. It starts as a unique +4 bonus to any score you choose and only increases from there. That means, unlike say Cat's Grace or Bull's Strength, it stacks.

Want to be a vicious melee beast? You've got Curative spells and easy access to +8 STR. (Seriously - by level 4 in society play you could theoretically be consistently rocking a 28 STR. That's +9 damage, or +13 if you're two-handing it - which you unequivocally should.)

Want to be a ranged attacker? You can either go Dex OR (and here's the best part, cause you should be trying to hit touch AC anyway) with a certain archetype or discovery, bump your INT up and add that to your damage on cheap, readily available splash weapons.

Want to debuff? There's a discovery for that. Your bombs can become miasmas of debilitating effects from nausea, to stunned, to confused. All with a DC operating off a stat you can boost at any time. Sure, it's a limited resource, but truly it'd have to be because you can easily make it impossible for some enemies to save on anything but a nat-20.

But dismissing all of that, the best thing about Alchemists is they're unique. They're not a mish-mash of other classes' abilities; they are 100% their own monster. (So to speak.)

Community Manager

Removed some posts and their replies. Not everybody plays the game the same way, nor has years of system familiarity to know all its ins and out. Please be civil to each other, thank you—there is no need to get snippy with each other.


Thanks for all the replies everyone.

I had found Alchemists to be complicated. I read through their class information, but I didn't know what was so special about them, other than bombs.

Thanks for all the great information.

Extracts work like wizard spells: you can know as many as you want by adding them to your formula list, you prepare them in advance, and you drink them to use them. They also cannot be shared unless you have a specific discovery.

Mutagens are the same from level 1 to level 20 and they do not get better or worse unless you take a specific discovery. You can only have one a day.

Bombs are this classes primary focus. A clear majority of the classes discoveries are related to bombs. It seems the main reason you would want to play this class is to have access to bombs.

They seem like a lot of fun.

I guess my thread title should have been "Why do you like playing an Alchemist?" or "Why are Alchemists so much fun to play?" instead of Please convince me to play one :P


icantfallasleep wrote:

Thanks for all the replies everyone.

I had found Alchemists to be complicated. I read through their class information, but I didn't know what was so special about them, other than bombs.

Thanks for all the great information.

Extracts work like wizard spells: you can know as many as you want by adding them to your formula list, you prepare them in advance, and you drink them to use them. They also cannot be shared unless you have a specific discovery.

Mutagens are the same from level 1 to level 20 and they do not get better or worse unless you take a specific discovery. You can only have one a day.

Bombs are this classes primary focus. A clear majority of the classes discoveries are related to bombs. It seems the main reason you would want to play this class is to have access to bombs.

They seem like a lot of fun.

I guess my thread title should have been "Why do you like playing an Alchemist?" or "Why are Alchemists so much fun to play?" instead of Please convince me to play one :P

Mutagens do change at level 14 where they jump to hours per level. at that point you can basically have them up all day. Also, they are not limited to once per day but do take an hour to prepare. campaigns based on ships, in cities or with access to wagons allow the alchemist to churn out new ones relatively easily. And there are a fair number of discoveries to customize mutagens further too, i would write them off so easily.


Torbyne wrote:
icantfallasleep wrote:

Thanks for all the replies everyone.

I had found Alchemists to be complicated. I read through their class information, but I didn't know what was so special about them, other than bombs.

Thanks for all the great information.

Extracts work like wizard spells: you can know as many as you want by adding them to your formula list, you prepare them in advance, and you drink them to use them. They also cannot be shared unless you have a specific discovery.

Mutagens are the same from level 1 to level 20 and they do not get better or worse unless you take a specific discovery. You can only have one a day.

Bombs are this classes primary focus. A clear majority of the classes discoveries are related to bombs. It seems the main reason you would want to play this class is to have access to bombs.
They seem like a lot of fun.

I guess my thread title should have been "Why do you like playing an Alchemist?" or "Why are Alchemists so much fun to play?" instead of Please convince me to play one :P

Mutagens do change at level 14 where they jump to hours per level. at that point you can basically have them up all day. Also, they are not limited to once per day but do take an hour to prepare. campaigns based on ships, in cities or with access to wagons allow the alchemist to churn out new ones relatively easily. And there are a fair number of discoveries to customize mutagens further too, i would write them off so easily.

Alchemists are extremely versatile due to their discoveries, and that is their main strngth. They can adapt to any situation. A couple points on the mutagens specifically.

1. They do advance, quite admirably if you take the discoveries, however you are not forced to advance them if they aren't part of your build.
2. While only one mutagen can be active at a time, multiple can be made in a day, at the cost of an hour. A different option is to prestige to master chymist around level eight, gaining mutate as an ability multiple times/day, in addition to the extract.
3.mutagens can be channged to cognatogens, reversing. Their effect.

Now for the other aspects
1. I wouldn't bother working to buff the party, you don't have the slots for it. Instead prepare a few buffs for yourself, and leave a few slots open to prepare later depending on situational changes. This only takes 1min per extract.
2. Most people overlook that alchemist add int to ALL splash weapon damage, not just bombs. Holy water, alcgemist fire, bottled acid, and grenades are now relevant weapons.
3.bombs. the discovery list makees this feature go from good to amazing. Read the list.
4. Craft alchemy and poison use. Also frrqiently overlooked, if you use them, these go a long way. By level ten you can easily autocraft anything in the book, and have an exceptional array of response items. Falling? Impact gel. Locked door and the rogue is gone? Rust powder on the lock. Need to stop a fleeing criminal in a non-lethal manner? Alchemist ice on the ground makes terrain turn icy.

There's just so many options for the basic alchemist you have to know exactly how you want to play. This is why I played my alchemist. He was the fifth man, but he was also central to the party because no matter who missed the session, or what crazy scenario the dm dreamt up, i could adapt and respond. Conventional wisdom however says you should pick one aspect of the alchemist and pour your attention on that to make him a combat devastator.


icantfallasleep wrote:

Mutagens are the same from level 1 to level 20 and they do not get better or worse unless you take a specific discovery. You can only have one a day.

Bombs are this classes primary focus. A clear majority of the classes discoveries are related to bombs. It seems the main reason you would want to play this class is to have access to bombs.

Just to correct these two points a bit.

Mutagens are static without more discoveries, but those discoveries are very good and very easy to slot into a build. You can actually have more than one a day; you can however only have one at a time, so you have to stop for an hour to make a new one. I've found that that's not all that difficult to do while crawling through a big dungeon, honestly.

Bombs can run primary or secondary as you feel the urge; it's very possible to build a melee-focused Alchemist who doesn't use them often. Outside of PFS you can use the Vivisectionist, who swaps Bombs for Sneak Attack, in order to run a pure front-line build. On the flip side, yes, it's very possible to build around bombs successfully. Alchemists are very flexible.


In a normal game, you are only on the road for 8 hours a day (since anything more than that means you are doing a forced march, which can cause you to take the fatigued condition- it is a small save to resist that at first, but by hour 11 I doubt the wizard can completely write it off)

So it is not to hard to convince everyone to stop for lunch while you mess around with your test tubes, absentmindedly taking bites out of a sandwich and hoping you did not accidentally grab the graft samples for your horrible, horrible parasitic twin rather than the ham when you made the sandwich.

So expect 2-3 uses out of it per day, usually. And considering the fact that it is a mid length buff (10 min/level), that seems great, since it will last the majority of a dungeon crawl.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

@ mutagens there is the master chymist prestige class to make them much better.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I can't believe no one mentioned that you can grow a tumor into your familiar. I love Stoma my 'owl' growth on my shoulder.

Scarab Sages

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TClifford wrote:
I can't believe no one mentioned that you can grow a tumor into your familiar. I love Stoma my 'owl' growth on my shoulder.

Not my thing, really (I much prefer self-mummification) - but I wonder how many people have made Ragechemists with Austrian accents and Tumor Familiars just so they can have characters who go around saying "It's naht a tuumah!"?


I'd also suggest the Instant Alchemy feat. With the right traits and maybe even Skill Focus in Craft Alchemy, you can make BUCKETS of splash weapons in your down time. If I remember correctly, it only takes a standard action to craft Alchemist's Fire. But you can also make Fuse Bombs and fireworks to give to all of your friends. I love it when books have new alchemical items in them, because it feels like it's just adds so much more to your reputoir.


TClifford wrote:
I can't believe no one mentioned that you can grow a tumor into your familiar. I love Stoma my 'owl' growth on my shoulder.

Or you can name it Migi and have it on your hand and have it be a cold smart arse...


icantfallasleep wrote:
Alchemists look fun; they can throw bombs, they get something called mutagens which I'm not 100% sure what they do.


The Stink Bomb discovery is basically an encounter ender. It's also hilarious.

My favorite alchemist ever was based on the Jester from Gauntlet Legends.
Racial Heritage: Goblin, Roll With It, Rapid Shot, Precise Bombs and Stink Bomb.

Much fun was had.

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