One of my players is an alchemist of the reanimator archetype. The concept is flavorful and I like some of the fun that can be had in our campaign. After a few sessions my feeling is the archetype gives up too much for and over values the undead creating spells. Giving up a single level of bomb damage for the individual extracts might be worthwhile, but reducing damage to d4's with no other exchange feels harsh.
So here were my thoughts on an alternate. A single new ability that replaces a few others rather than bomb damage. The first four spells overlap to an intentionally great degree. The restriction of touch and a single creature makes animate dead less efficient than a Cleric or Wizard of equal level but does open up variant undead. Even as a 5th level extract Create Undead comes in later than for cleric/wizard. No Greater Create Undead since that was for incorporeal undead which was restricted. Temporry Resurrection seemed like a fun idea for a reanimator to play with.
What do people think?
Reanimate: At 2nd level and every 3 levels after the reanimator adds a specific spell to their alchemist formulae book. When using these spells as extracts, rather than drinking it, the reanimator injects the extract into a single corpse with a range of touch.
2nd Level - Grasping Corpse (1st level extract)
5th Level - Lesser Animate Dead (2nd level extract)
8th Level - Animate Dead (3rd level extract)
11th Level - Torpid Reanimation (4th level extract)
14th Level - Create Undead (5th level extract)
17th Level - Temporary Resurrection (6th level extract)
This replaces Poison Resistance +2, Poison Resistance +4, Poison Resistance +6, and Persistent Mutagen.
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The big problem with the Reanimator is that it doesn't actually get the Animate Dead spell; all the other undead creation spells are (quite frankly) garbage and this is the only spell that matters. If you give the archetype access to Animate Dead then that solves its primary problem and you should be good to go.
I agree that the reanimator is a bit underwhelming.
What if they gained an undead companion (like a druid's animal companion, except undead)? I always thought that the animate dead spell was a bit cumbersome, because it forces you to create a new stat block whenever you zombifie a new creature.
Basically the Promethean archetype but an Undead companion and Alchemical zombies instead of the craft construct discovery. That is something I also considered. Some like my player would rather keep the bomb and doesn't want a big permanent undead to start with though. It is a good alternative take.
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I think the additional extract list is reasonable. You could also make the alchemical zombie discovery available at lower levels, where it works like lesser animate dead.
- If they like tossing bombs, maybe they can have a necrotic bomb discovery that causes their bombs to deal negative energy damage (harming living creatures/healing undead)?
- A mutagen mod that allows the alchemist to pass for an undead (maybe gaining certain undead abilities).
- An ability that allows them to control undead (this could also be a bomb discovery, or maybe some sort of alchemical tincture that makes undead creatures susceptible to the alchemist's 'charm').
The Hellfire bombs discovery indicates there shouldn't be a bomb die size penalty for negative energy damage.
Two ideas (fleshing out) based off of Amaneunsis' suggestions:
A Reanimator’s bombs deal negative energy damage. Splash damage is equal to the reanimator's base bomb damage. (Splash damage to squares not directly adjacent to the bomb target, such as those caused by the explosive bombs discovery, take minimum damage) The Reanimator's bombs count as channeling negative energy for all feats requiring or modifying it. Those not directly hit may attempt a Will save for half damage. The DC of this save is equal to 10 + 1/2 the reanimator’s level + the reanimator’s Intelligence modifier.
This ability otherwise functions as and replaces the standard alchemist bomb class feature.
Maybe replace the 4th level discovery with Command Undead. (the feat)
Or give the following discovery in place of the 4th level discovery:
Necrotic bombs Alchemist discovery:
When the alchemist creates a bomb, he can choose to have it inflict negative energy damage. Necrotic bombs deal 1d4 points of Negative energy damage, plus 1d4 points of negative energy damage for every odd-numbered level, instead of 1d6. Any creature in splash range also full damage. This ability counts as channel energy for any feats requiring or effecting it, such as Command Undead.
For undead powers, I'd base if off the Master Chymist's prestige class advanced mutagen abilities, like Draconic Mutagen. It takes some powers from form of the Dragon I, a 6th level spell, so we can borrow powers from Undead anatomy III.
Draconic mutagen gives:
resist energy 20
a one-off ability per change for 8d8 of said energy type (same as a CR~11 dragon)
Requires 16th level
Requires advanced or feral mutagen
So, based on our model, a sample would be
cosmetic changes, maybe heal from negative energy while in mutagen form
Grants resist cold 20
a one-off ability, from a ~CR11 undead, like a negative energy ray attack, or negative levels.
replaces 16th level discovery
Damphiric Mutagen: When the reanimator assumes her mutagenic form, she gains undead-like features— pale skin, sunken eyes, and so on, resembling a damphir. The reanimator gains resistance 20 to cold. The reanimator gains a ray attack at close range (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels) firing four rays plus one ray per 4 levels beyond 16, dealing 4d6 points of negative energy damage each. She may use her ray attack once per transformation into her mutagenic form.
I used a ray attack to maintain distance, scaled it off scorching ray.
Let me know what you think.
I had an idea like this for an alchemist/summoner hybrid class. I used some of the rules for creating necrocrafts for the undead homonculus eidolon thing. I worked on it for a while, but couldn't find its niche. The class never seemed to coalesce.
If I ever get around to working on it more, I'll totally put it up on the forums here.