What kind of action is brewing a Mutagen?


Rules Questions

Silver Crusade

Mutagen:
At 1st level, an alchemist discovers how to create a mutagen that he can imbibe in order to heighten his physical prowess at the cost of his personality. It takes 1 hour to brew a dose of mutagen, and once brewed, it remains potent until used. An alchemist can only maintain one dose of mutagen at a time—if he brews a second dose, any existing mutagen becomes inert. As with an extract or bomb, a mutagen that is not in an alchemist’s possession becomes inert until an alchemist picks it up again.

Mutagen is not a 1/day class feature, and it can be used multiple times per day as long as 1 hour is expended to brew it. However, what kind of action is brewing a Mutagen? Does it requires constant attention? Does it requires the Alchemist to stop and actively expend 1 full hour to brew it? Or is it a passive action, more like a reaction, which once set up just takes 1 hour to be completed, leaving the Alchemist free to explore, loot, fight and so on?

Silver Crusade

No clue?


To fit in with various other rules, such as crafting, I'd interpret it as one hour of work by the alchemist, during which time they'd not be able to do anything else

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'd say you can't do anything else that requires actions while it's brewing, since there's nothing stating that you can't start it and then walk off and it'll take care of itself.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.

From what I heard it was an hour

Silver Crusade

Rysky wrote:
I'd say you can't do anything else that requires actions while it's brewing, since there's nothing stating that you can't start it and then walk off and it'll take care of itself.

However it doesn't say the opposite either. For example, what happens if I start brewing the Mutagen and some enemies pop up in the middle of the brewing? Do I lose all progresses and I have to start it all over again? Do I simply 'pause' it and resume the brewing after the fight? Can I even move? These are all details that should be clearly stated if they apply. But they aren't, so the simplest assumption in my opinion is that they do not apply in the first place.

To me it seems that the 1h brewing rule is just a fluff-way of saying 'After having benefited from a Mutagen, you can't use it again until an hour is passed'.


I would require the alchemist to work on it the full hour. Just like I would require them to work a full minute for each extract.


Gray Warden wrote:
Rysky wrote:
I'd say you can't do anything else that requires actions while it's brewing, since there's nothing stating that you can't start it and then walk off and it'll take care of itself.

However it doesn't say the opposite either. For example, what happens if I start brewing the Mutagen and some enemies pop up in the middle of the brewing? Do I lose all progresses and I have to start it all over again? Do I simply 'pause' it and resume the brewing after the fight? Can I even move? These are all details that should be clearly stated if they apply. But they aren't, so the simplest assumption in my opinion is that they do not apply in the first place.

To me it seems that the 1h brewing rule is just a fluff-way of saying 'After having benefited from a Mutagen, you can't use it again until an hour is passed'.

What happens if you start crafting an item and some enemies pop up in the middle of the crafting? The same thing that happens when enemies pop up in the middle of brewing.

Magic Item Creation wrote:
The caster can work for up to 8 hours each day. He cannot rush the process by working longer each day, but the days need not be consecutive, and the caster can use the rest of his time as he sees fit. If the caster is out adventuring, he can devote 4 hours each day to item creation, although he nets only 2 hours' worth of work. This time is not spent in one continuous period, but rather during lunch, morning preparation, and during watches at night. If time is dedicated to creation, it must be spent in uninterrupted 4-hour blocks. This work is generally done in a controlled environment, where distractions are at a minimum, such as a laboratory or shrine. Work that is performed in a distracting or dangerous environment nets only half the amount of progress (just as with the adventuring caster).

Silver Crusade

Quantum Steve wrote:
Gray Warden wrote:
Rysky wrote:
I'd say you can't do anything else that requires actions while it's brewing, since there's nothing stating that you can't start it and then walk off and it'll take care of itself.

However it doesn't say the opposite either. For example, what happens if I start brewing the Mutagen and some enemies pop up in the middle of the brewing? Do I lose all progresses and I have to start it all over again? Do I simply 'pause' it and resume the brewing after the fight? Can I even move? These are all details that should be clearly stated if they apply. But they aren't, so the simplest assumption in my opinion is that they do not apply in the first place.

To me it seems that the 1h brewing rule is just a fluff-way of saying 'After having benefited from a Mutagen, you can't use it again until an hour is passed'.

What happens if you start crafting an item and some enemies pop up in the middle of the crafting? The same thing that happens when enemies pop up in the middle of brewing.

Magic Item Creation wrote:
The caster can work for up to 8 hours each day. He cannot rush the process by working longer each day, but the days need not be consecutive, and the caster can use the rest of his time as he sees fit. If the caster is out adventuring, he can devote 4 hours each day to item creation, although he nets only 2 hours' worth of work. This time is not spent in one continuous period, but rather during lunch, morning preparation, and during watches at night. If time is dedicated to creation, it must be spent in uninterrupted 4-hour blocks. This work is generally done in a controlled environment, where distractions are at a minimum, such as a laboratory or shrine. Work that is performed in a distracting or dangerous environment nets only half the amount of progress (just as with the adventuring caster).

...that is? Because the part you quoted is completely irrelevant to the argument, since:

1- Mutagens are not magic item
2- they require 1 hour brewing, not days, which btw "need not to be consecutive"

So yeah, it doesn't answer the question at all.

Anyway, overall I agree with the general idea it requires 1 hour of dedicated work. I was hoping nonetheless for more specific evidence.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The only specific evidence you would need is specific evidence that you can do other things, of which there isn't any and the ability doesn't suggest you can.

And the magic item creation rules are relevant even if the Mutagen isn't a magical item in that specific sense since those are the "making stuff" rules that lay the groundwork for all other "making stuff" abilities.

Silver Crusade

Then what happens if I stop half an hour after starting brewing? Can you clearly answer to this question?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Either the clock would stop or you'd have to start all over.


Yeah I would say since its chemicals you'd probably have to start over.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Agreed.

Silver Crusade

...and on which basis? Magic items creation rules say that you can devote 4 hours per day to craft an item, but nor this time, nor the days need to be consecutive. In this case it only counts as 2 hours work, sure, but still it's possible. So why the time spent brewing a Mutagen, which in your opinion should follow those rules, should be spent consecutively? I might even agree with this or that answer, but it would still be a totally arbitrary conclusion.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yes, it would be the GM's decision, and a more benevolent GM might rule that time stops so you can back and start it up where you left off later.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

It's the same shtick as prepping spells or such.

I like to call it a morning action. Do it in the morning while you're brewing your coffee and extracts so you don't have to think of it the rest of the day. :-)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

There aren't specific rules.

The magic item creation rules or spell preparation rules are reasonable places to look to for inspiration.

The chemicals either don't spoil and you don't have to start over again (like crafting), or interruption spoils them and you have to start over (like spell prep).

Yes, this will require GM adjudication.

GMs are actually important to the game, and the Paizo staff is extremely pro GM adjudication and anti spelling-everything-out-for-you.

If your GM made a ruling that's reasonable, then that's the rule for that game. If the ruling seems unreasonable, and the suggestions above are more reasonable, then ask your GM if they'd be willing to reconsider to one of the above.

I would personally go the "spell preparation" route, where if you're interrupted, you have to start all over, because it doesn't say you *can* save your progress - which would be awesome and probably too good. (Okay, while they spend 5 minutes searching the room, I'm going to clock in 5 minutes of work on my next mutagen.)

It makes life as a GM much nicer if a player comes to me with a problem *and* a proposed solution than just coming to me with a problem, asking for a solution, and then being disappointed with the solution I come up with.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

The rules clearly state that "It takes 1 hour to brew a dose of mutagen, and once brewed, it remains potent until used."

It doesn't say anything about action expenditure or extreme time dedication, therefore I really don't believe you have to be there for every second of the process. You start it, walk away and do other things, checking back from time to time to make sure everything is working fine.

It's about as distracting as baking.

Since there is not game term for "brew" we're forced to rely on the English definition:

BREW
1. to make (beer, ale, etc.) by steeping, boiling, and fermenting malt and hops.
2.
to make or prepare (a beverage, as tea) by mixing, steeping, soaking, or boiling a solid in water.
3.
to concoct, mix, or cook (a beverage or food, especially one containing unmeasured or unusual ingredients):
She brewed a pot of soup from the leftovers.
4.
to contrive, plan, or bring about:
to brew mischief.

It's not something that happens magically on it's own, but you don't necessarily have to stand there over the pot the entire time either. If you tried, it would never boil. ;P


I think you mean as distracting as baking. Cooking means you're actively doing something.

And when I think alchemy I don't think throw it all together and put in oven and set timer, wait for ding. I think using a lab and having Bunsen burners and flasks and bubbling potions that require constant tweaking to get right.

You're not making a cookie. You're making a liquid that turns the physical shape of your body around.

I've never seen anything in the alchemy class that made me feel this wasn't the theme and mood of the the class.

One hour. Full activity. Start over of stopped.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Funny thing about labs, Bunsen burners, flasks, and the like: It's very much like baking.

Things don't usually require constant adjustments if you've done it before and know the "recipe" or process.

Even if you were performing wholly new experiments, adjustments would likely be made in between separate trials, not during them (exceptions abound).


Its like a chemistry experiment.... you cant just stop and start in 1 minute intervals!!!

You have to sit down with all your kit..... mix, stir, heat, separate, distill... etc for 1 hour


captain yesterday wrote:

It's the same shtick as prepping spells or such.

I like to call it a morning action. Do it in the morning while you're brewing your coffee and extracts so you don't have to think of it the rest of the day. :-)

Well, that's normal, but it's missing an advantage: There's no limit to the number of mutagens you can brew in a day.

You can only have one at a time, but once you've used your first, you can brew up another one.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
doc roc wrote:

Its like a chemistry experiment.... you cant just stop and start in 1 minute intervals!!!

You have to sit down with all your kit..... mix, stir, heat, separate, distill... etc for 1 hour

Except it's not an experiment, it's a known and fully understood (and likely closely-guarded) recipe.

The "experiments" that lead to stronger mutagens at higher levels likely take place behind the scenes, just like the wizard researching his next (free) pair of spells.

Whether or not you have to sit there doing a multitude of minutiae is totally unsupported by the rules, either way.


This does make me wonder if the fast/instant alchemy abilities would affect the brewing of the mutagen. On the one hand, it doesn't actually say it does, and brewing a mutagen doesn't require any sort of check.

On the other hand, it's clearly an alchemical item to some extent. But it would also be kind broken to be able to whip up a new mutagen as it suits you in the blink of an eye and kinda negate the need to actually think about it.

Silver Crusade

N. Specter wrote:
This does make me wonder if the fast/instant alchemy abilities would affect the brewing of the mutagen.

Of course it doesn't.


Ravingdork wrote:

Funny thing about labs, Bunsen burners, flasks, and the like: It's very much like baking.

Things don't usually require constant adjustments if you've done it before and know the "recipe" or process.

Even if you were performing wholly new experiments, adjustments would likely be made in between separate trials, not during them (exceptions abound).

So you just turn a Bunsen burner on and walk away for an hour?

It's not a bowl you stir and walk away. It's a multi step process that keeps you working on it for an hour.

That's alchemy.


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
thejeff wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:

It's the same shtick as prepping spells or such.

I like to call it a morning action. Do it in the morning while you're brewing your coffee and extracts so you don't have to think of it the rest of the day. :-)

Well, that's normal, but it's missing an advantage: There's no limit to the number of mutagens you can brew in a day.

You can only have one at a time, but once you've used your first, you can brew up another one.

Actually, there is a physical limit: 24. But that's just being pedantic. ;)


Gray Warden,
What answer are you digging for exactly? It takes an hour. That's all the rules specify.

Silver Crusade

Ciaran Barnes wrote:

Gray Warden,

What answer are you digging for exactly? It takes an hour. That's all the rules specify.

I'm not digging for anything, I'm asking whether brewing a new Mutagen requires an hour of dedicated work or not. I thought it was pretty clear.

Example: the party is exploring a dungeon and has no time to stop and wait for the Alchemist to brew his Mutagen, which he has already used before that day. The reasons can be many: they are in a hurry, they have 10 mins/lvl buffs on, each minute spent in the dungeon increases the chances of random encounters rolled by the GM, ect. In such circumstances, can the Alchemist set up the reaction and continue exploring so that in an hour it's ready?

To me it seems that he indeed can, since this doesn't conflict in any way with the rules and it's the simplest option: "It takes 1 hour to brew a dose of mutagen, and once brewed, it remains potent until used". Saying, on the other hand, that he can't because he needs to stop and devote 100% of his attention to that still doesn't conflicts with the rules, but it nonetheless adds details which are completely unsupported and arbitrary.

EDIT. Before other chemistry-based arguments are pulled out, there actually are reactions that are just started and go on until they reach equilibrium or are stopped without any further assistance. You know, it's not like chemistry in the universe needs tiny chemists steering molecules to happen.


I don't think anyone here can give you a satisfactory answer. There is nothing in the description that answers your question.

I am playing an alchemist and and investigator in two campaigns and so it would benefit me to have it be a start and forget, but I choose to interpret it as dedicated work.

Silver Crusade

nicholas storm wrote:

I don't think anyone here can give you a satisfactory answer. There is nothing in the description that answers your question.

I am playing an alchemist and and investigator in two campaigns and so it would benefit me to have it be a start and forget, but I choose to interpret it as dedicated work.

Yeah, I know. I'm not pretending an answer, I'm just discussing. Sure, if a dev randomly popped by and saw this question and wanted to answer...

Too bad James Jacobs is off the boards :/

Shadow Lodge

From what I remember of basic university chemistry, Ravingdork is correct that most procedures don't require the chemist's full attention at all times. You can have stable intermediates, which would let you take a break. You can also have parts where something needs to heat or chill or dry and you can do something else meanwhile. But there are also a few bits that are sensitive and require the chemist's attention at just the right point.

I don't think it's intended for the alchemist to be able to put something on a flame and leave it alone for an hour, I wouldn't let an alchemist prep a mutagen in twelve 5-minute sittings, and I wouldn't argue with a GM that required uninterrupted work. But being able to brew a mutagen in 2 or 3 chunks of at least 15 minutes each seems reasonable. Probably with a chance that any unexpected interruptions occur at a sensitive point in the process and spoil the whole thing. I'd also be fine with the alchemist preparing a mutagen while talking or even mixing up a few extracts while the mutagen distills.

Really, I'd say it depends on how much you want time pressure and resource limitation to be a factor in your games. Requiring a full hour of uninterrupted work to brew a new mutagen adds the most resource pressure. On the other hand, allowing progress in shorter blocks could lead to interesting time tradeoffs as the alchemist says "if we break for 20 minutes here, I can finish my mutagen - can we afford to risk Resist Energy running out?"

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Gray Warden wrote:
Ciaran Barnes wrote:

Gray Warden,

What answer are you digging for exactly? It takes an hour. That's all the rules specify.

I'm not digging for anything, I'm asking whether brewing a new Mutagen requires an hour of dedicated work or not. I thought it was pretty clear.

Example: the party is exploring a dungeon and has no time to stop and wait for the Alchemist to brew his Mutagen, which he has already used before that day. The reasons can be many: they are in a hurry, they have 10 mins/lvl buffs on, each minute spent in the dungeon increases the chances of random encounters rolled by the GM, ect. In such circumstances, can the Alchemist set up the reaction and continue exploring so that in an hour it's ready?

To me it seems that he indeed can, since this doesn't conflict in any way with the rules and it's the simplest option: "It takes 1 hour to brew a dose of mutagen, and once brewed, it remains potent until used". Saying, on the other hand, that he can't because he needs to stop and devote 100% of his attention to that still doesn't conflicts with the rules, but it nonetheless adds details which are completely unsupported and arbitrary.

EDIT. Before other chemistry-based arguments are pulled out, there actually are reactions that are just started and go on until they reach equilibrium or are stopped without any further assistance. You know, it's not like chemistry in the universe needs tiny chemists steering molecules to happen.

You're addressing this as if alchemy is chemistry, it isn't. It's similar to chemistry in a lot of ways, but it involves magic. It could be a absolutely necessary component of the of process that you watch the entire brewing processes while thinking happy thoughts.

It's magic, and while nothing is required for the recipe to bake a cake once you put the ingredients in the oven, that doesn't mean its not for creating a mutagen.

Besides, you quite clearly said you were not interested in using a mutagen on your investigator.


Gray Warden wrote:
Ciaran Barnes wrote:

Gray Warden,

What answer are you digging for exactly? It takes an hour. That's all the rules specify.

I'm not digging for anything, I'm asking whether brewing a new Mutagen requires an hour of dedicated work or not. I thought it was pretty clear.

Example: the party is exploring a dungeon and has no time to stop and wait for the Alchemist to brew his Mutagen, which he has already used before that day. The reasons can be many: they are in a hurry, they have 10 mins/lvl buffs on, each minute spent in the dungeon increases the chances of random encounters rolled by the GM, ect. In such circumstances, can the Alchemist set up the reaction and continue exploring so that in an hour it's ready?

To me it seems that he indeed can, since this doesn't conflict in any way with the rules and it's the simplest option: "It takes 1 hour to brew a dose of mutagen, and once brewed, it remains potent until used". Saying, on the other hand, that he can't because he needs to stop and devote 100% of his attention to that still doesn't conflicts with the rules, but it nonetheless adds details which are completely unsupported and arbitrary.

EDIT. Before other chemistry-based arguments are pulled out, there actually are reactions that are just started and go on until they reach equilibrium or are stopped without any further assistance. You know, it's not like chemistry in the universe needs tiny chemists steering molecules to happen.

I suppose it would depend on the circumstances and the GMs take on them.

Silver Crusade

Imbicatus wrote:


You're addressing this as if alchemy is chemistry, it isn't. It's similar to chemistry in a lot of ways, but it involves magic. It could be a absolutely necessary component of the of process that you watch the entire brewing processes while thinking happy thoughts.

It's magic, and while nothing is required for the recipe to bake a cake once you put the ingredients in the oven, that doesn't mean its not for creating a mutagen.

This is the rules forum, not the fluff forum, so saying it's magic just doesn't answer to anything. I could even say "It's magic, so after saying the magic words it goes on for exactly 60 minutes by itself". For the chemistry argument, if you paid some attention to the context you would have noticed I was using it to reply to other people who had used it in the first place.

Imbicatus wrote:


Besides, you quite clearly said you were not interested in using a mutagen...

Yeah, and guess why? If it requires a full hour work to brew it's an unsustainable option in games like the one in the example before, practically limiting Mutagens to a 1/day feature, which is terrible.

I mean, you don't have to guess actually, since this was clearly stated in the Investigator thread, which btw was about trap finding...But I assume it's pointless discussing about it right now, since you probably brought it here in an attempt to appear clever.

Also, I have an Alchemist in PFS which makes regular use of Dex Mutagens, since in PFS there's a lot of downtime. Just saying.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Gray Warden wrote:
These are all details that should be clearly stated if they apply. But they aren't, so the simplest assumption in my opinion is that they do not apply in the first place.

Actually, those are all "Ask your GM" questions. Don't assume what you don't know, ask your GM. It's their job to fill in parts the rules left out.

Dark Archive

There is no answer. The Mutagen rules do not specify, and there are no similar abilities from which an answer can be extrapolated. Any interpretations given here will not be based on an explicit rule because there quite simply isn't one. Ask the GM.


I've always had it to where the alchemist can brew a mutagen as part of their morning preparations, with them needing to devote one hour to brewing another one if they want more than one in the same day.


I always assumed it was the same action as the hour spent studying/praying/meditating/reciting/what-have-you that any spellcaster class must do to prepare their spells in the morning. It certainly seems that was the intention.

So whatever rule you have for spellcasters preparing, you should follow the same rule for alchemists brewing their mutagen.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / What kind of action is brewing a Mutagen? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.