Alchemist review


Classes


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So, initially I was very pleased with how he works. Stuff seemed more or less about the same between my char and others.

Now we started to scale things up a bit, and alchemist fell completely flat. Like, unplayable flat.

Reason was, as expected, RP pool.

To put it simply: no other single class uses as her class resource a common resource.

Alchemist has nothing outside of his, well, Alchemy to balance the very limited resource he has to work with.

Ofc, paizo has given a few outs, namely just 2 outs:

A) Advanced Alchemy makes 2 items/RP and
B) half level at lvl 9 to RP for quick Alchemy.

The serious problems with that are A) NOTHING (of worth) works with advanced Alchemy after a level, and all require quick Alchemy instead. And B) is too damned late.

From my experience, an alchemist at lvl 7 is good for about 2-3 encounters/day.then he's a commoner.

I think this is just a numbers problem that is easily fixable. At least in our table, the problems got alleviated greatly when we changed every single "quick alchemy" reference to "advanced alchemy"

Thematics wise, it is ridiculous that only bombs you make on the fly can, as an example, sicken people, while those you make with careful preparation can only be vanilla items.

We also lowered the level of the free RP points from 9 to 7 and, again, switched quick Alchemy to advanced Alchemy.

You have to remember :

In order to attach ANYTHING to a bomb you can't have made it before hand (which is plainly stupid)

Every single infusion costs basically double RP for your allies (again, I don't see cleric using a heal costing ME anything, only him. While alchemist using a heal costs both him and his target resources)

You Still need RP equal, or even more (if you want to take advantage of your mundane crafting class advantages at all), to everyone else.

So, simply put:

Alchemist severely needs:
Less restrictions on when he applies his class features (seriously stop with putting everything only on his quick alchemy)
More RP (it still is a general resource that on average you need more than the rest of the classes even without quick/advanced alchemy)
Better scaling. Up to level 5ish he felt OK (mainly because vanilla bombs still were ok). Around level 7 he felt terrible. Later levels look even worse off.

Edit:

Now that I'm reading what I wrote, it feels like the problem lies elsewhere :

No "low maintenance" ability.

Everyone gets something to do that doesn't costs class resources:
Martials get passively better at combat
Casters get scaling cantrips
Alchemists get... Nothing.

They are about caster level martial wise, they don't get a spammable power, everything costs resources. When your level 1 class feat gives you the ability to throw 2 bombs, out of like your 4 total in a round, but your "sustain" feats come online at level 16,then there's a design error.

Maybe give a level class feat that's like a minor version of the improbable potions feat: choose 2-4 cantrips that you can make as potions, these don't cost RP to make, you can carry as many as your int modifier (but can remake in between encounters) or something like that.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I can't make head or tails of the Advanced Alchemy section. What is a batch? That's explained elsewhere? Oh, the page number is missing?

It's written really obtuse. Overall, the organization of all classes reminds me of the Kineticist, which was a nightmare to understand.


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magnuskn wrote:

I can't make head or tails of the Advanced Alchemy section. What is a batch? That's explained elsewhere? Oh, the page number is missing?

It's written really obtuse. Overall, the organization of all classes reminds me of the Kineticist, which was a nightmare to understand.

Crafting Skill says that a batch is generally 4 items unless otherwise noted by the item itself. That means half a batch is generally 2 items.

So, if you pre-prep your alchemy items you get 2 items per 1 RP. If you do quick alchemy you get 1 item per 1 RP.


S. J. Digriz wrote:

Also, if alchemists must use resonance points for their alchemy, they should calculate RP as level + intelligence. A charismatic alchemist is an oxymoron. It might even make sense to give them bonus resonance points. If their class abilities are tied to the common resources that all classes expend to use magic items, it would make sense that they are experts at magic item utilization.

Alchemists are level + intelligence modifier.

From level 1:

Studied Resonance
Knowledge, rather than personality, fuels your interactions with alchemical and magical substances and devices. Your maximum number of Resonance Points is equal to your character level plus your Intelligence modifier (instead of your Charisma modifier).

Dark Archive

By using resonance as a class resource, and then giving buffs to that, it makes the alchemist a magic item expert for no apparent reason, right?


Alchemists get the alchemical crafting feat, which gives the 4 formula, and then have the formula book feature where it says their book has 4 formula. Does a 1st level alchemist have 4 or 8 formula in their book?


S. J. Digriz wrote:
Alchemists get the alchemical crafting feat, which gives the 4 formula, and then have the formula book feature where it says their book has 4 formula. Does a 1st level alchemist have 4 or 8 formula in their book?

8. I found this confusing as well, but they give an example lvl 1 Formula Book in a sidebar and it has 8 formulas in it.


Elendur wrote:
By using resonance as a class resource, and then giving buffs to that, it makes the alchemist a magic item expert for no apparent reason, right?

Only, they don't get Any buffs to RP pool.

They get to use int instead of Cha, but that's a replacement, not a buff.

You can make a sorc, get the exact same RP pool as an alchemist, be the magic item specialist, And keep ALL of your spells, abilities, skills, etc.


Elendur wrote:
By using resonance as a class resource, and then giving buffs to that, it makes the alchemist a magic item expert for no apparent reason, right?

It actually makes them a little worse at using magic items, because they are spending all of their resonance on alchemy.

Also, their 'enhanced resonance pool' feature at 9th says that they have to use that resonance on alchemy, which is irritating, because it makes the player track 2 pools of points for the same resource.

Alchemists should be good at using magic items (in 1st edition, they have use magic device as a class skill). I would just let them use whatever resonance they want for magic items and not have the player track 2 pools of points.

I will have to play test them to see if I think they have enough resonance points. Looking at them, I think they could probably use more at low levels, because they will want to also use magic items like characters from other classes do. But we will see.

I definitely don't think you want 2 different pools of resonance for the characters though. Especially since the characters can use either pool for alchemy.


S. J. Digriz wrote:
Also, their 'enhanced resonance pool' feature at 9th says that they have to use that resonance on alchemy, which is irritating, because it makes the player track 2 pools of points for the same resource.

It could be redone as "Each day you can create a number of Quick Alchemy items equal to half your level for free each day without expending Resource Points." or something similar.

At that point it would be less confusing as two resource point pools and instead "oh, I get this many freebie quick alchemy items before I burn resource points"


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S. J. Digriz wrote:
Elendur wrote:
By using resonance as a class resource, and then giving buffs to that, it makes the alchemist a magic item expert for no apparent reason, right?

It actually makes them a little worse at using magic items, because they are spending all of their resonance on alchemy.

Also, their 'enhanced resonance pool' feature at 9th says that they have to use that resonance on alchemy, which is irritating, because it makes the player track 2 pools of points for the same resource.

Alchemists should be good at using magic items (in 1st edition, they have use magic device as a class skill). I would just let them use whatever resonance they want for magic items and not have the player track 2 pools of points.

I will have to play test them to see if I think they have enough resonance points. Looking at them, I think they could probably use more at low levels, because they will want to also use magic items like characters from other classes do. But we will see.

I definitely don't think you want 2 different pools of resonance for the characters though. Especially since the characters can use either pool for alchemy.

Gregg Reece wrote:
S. J. Digriz wrote:
Also, their 'enhanced resonance pool' feature at 9th says that they have to use that resonance on alchemy, which is irritating, because it makes the player track 2 pools of points for the same resource.

It could be redone as "Each day you can create a number of Quick Alchemy items equal to half your level for free each day without expending Resource Points." or something similar.

At that point it would be less confusing as two resource point pools and instead "oh, I get this many freebie quick alchemy items before I burn resource points"

Or, let's stop trying to be fancy (pretty sure that's what paizo was going for here)

And simply give a separate, level+int(+more if needed) resource pool that alchemist uses for his abilities and leave his RP pool to be used for what's supposed to be used, magical items and consumables.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I disliked how bomb-focused the Alchemist is. One thing I liked about the PF1 alchemist was that it had lots of different options and didn't push any of them too hard. In PF2 almost half the class feats involve bombs and most of your fixed features are either directly or indirectly about buffing bombs.


I'm doing a strength/poison Alchemist.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Gregg Reece wrote:
I'm doing a strength/poison Alchemist.

I intend to try that as well; see how it works.

My group doesn't meet during August, so my playtesting for this month is going to just be solitaire play anyways so I may as well just create a bunch of weird off-beat characters and see how they do.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dasrak wrote:
I disliked how bomb-focused the Alchemist is. One thing I liked about the PF1 alchemist was that it had lots of different options and didn't push any of them too hard. In PF2 almost half the class feats involve bombs and most of your fixed features are either directly or indirectly about buffing bombs.

Same here. I'm a longtime fan of the alchemist, specifically mutagen-focused approaches to the class. Pushing what used to be a 1st level class feature to 5th level (or 8th level if you want Feral Mutagen) is a big turn off. It's a bit like if the Ranger got TWF for free, but had to wait until a 5th level before any archery options became available. Sure archery would still be viable once you hit 5th, but if the game is going to support a particular approach to a class (as they seem to want to do with mutagen alchemists), there should be options to support that build at 1st or 2nd level.


Brew Bird wrote:
Dasrak wrote:
I disliked how bomb-focused the Alchemist is. One thing I liked about the PF1 alchemist was that it had lots of different options and didn't push any of them too hard. In PF2 almost half the class feats involve bombs and most of your fixed features are either directly or indirectly about buffing bombs.
Same here. I'm a longtime fan of the alchemist, specifically mutagen-focused approaches to the class. Pushing what used to be a 1st level class feature to 5th level (or 8th level if you want Feral Mutagen) is a big turn off. It's a bit like if the Ranger got TWF for free, but had to wait until a 5th level before any archery options became available. Sure archery would still be viable once you hit 5th, but if the game is going to support a particular approach to a class (as they seem to want to do with mutagen alchemists), there should be options to support that build at 1st or 2nd level.

They've actually addressed this. The reason mutagens are higher level in PF2 is that in PF1 their point was to help the alchemist keep up with martial characters a little better. Being as the math is so close in PF2 they moved mutagens to a later feature.


Gregg Reece wrote:
Brew Bird wrote:
Dasrak wrote:
I disliked how bomb-focused the Alchemist is. One thing I liked about the PF1 alchemist was that it had lots of different options and didn't push any of them too hard. In PF2 almost half the class feats involve bombs and most of your fixed features are either directly or indirectly about buffing bombs.
Same here. I'm a longtime fan of the alchemist, specifically mutagen-focused approaches to the class. Pushing what used to be a 1st level class feature to 5th level (or 8th level if you want Feral Mutagen) is a big turn off. It's a bit like if the Ranger got TWF for free, but had to wait until a 5th level before any archery options became available. Sure archery would still be viable once you hit 5th, but if the game is going to support a particular approach to a class (as they seem to want to do with mutagen alchemists), there should be options to support that build at 1st or 2nd level.
They've actually addressed this. The reason mutagens are higher level in PF2 is that in PF1 their point was to help the alchemist keep up with martial characters a little better. Being as the math is so close in PF2 they moved mutagens to a later feature.

yes, but since now there is no way to enhance your mutagenic attacks via magic items, you'll end up severy lagging behind.

feral mutagen basically replaces your magic weapons, but instead of cool abilities on top, it gets maluses.

Liberty's Edge

I cast Raise Dead on this Thread in hopes to see how your view has changed in light of the recent Updated Shroudb.

OBEY!


Themetricsystem wrote:

I cast Raise Dead on this Thread in hopes to see how your view has changed in light of the recent Updated Shroudb.

OBEY!

most changes have been towards the "good" spectrum of things, but he still needs a ton of work to be even on par with all other classes atm.

except a disturbingly major nerf that basically obliterates the alchemist even more:

basicaly the removal of mutagens from 3/4th of the class per RAW, which is plainly stupid.

i hope that this is just a typo, but the dead silence from the devs for this class-breaking change is disturbing.

this change alone could be enough for me to stop caring for pf2 alogether, since imo Alchemist is one of the most iconic of the "unique" pf material (the other being inquisitor and magus, and both of them are gone from pf2 already...)

apart from that, i didn't play the alchemist in our last playtest session, but a friend did, and as expected:

the bad:
a)the "free" alchemical items only work for bomber, for both the poisoner and the medic they are 100% irrelevant, for the mutagenist they are meh at best as well.

b)alchemical elixirs stop scaling at like level 5. apart from literally 1-2 exceptions like healing elixirs, this bascially guts the whole "support/self-buff/etc" vibe of the class.

elixirs in general need to be about as powerful as an equal level spell, atm they are about 1/2-1/3 as powerful as their equivalent spell/power options. This is terrible.

c)healing elixirs are still the poor man's healing, being the very worst healing option in the game, with the worst scaling and the worst action economy simultaneously.

even the healer path just manages to just make them on par with Heal, and that's after a whole archetype and feats dedicated to just healing. As a counter-example, any sort of class like a cleric or a divine sorc that decides to specialize in healing and similary to an alchemist spends all his daily resources on that, is going to leave a healing alchemist in the dust

d)poisons are still beyond terrible. 75%-80% chance to do nothing with 2-3 actions is nowhere near what a very limited daily power should stand. They need to simultaneously not be "wasted" on a miss (that's just stupid and doesn't even make sense, let alone making them terrible as a consumable in general), and poisoners need to somehow deal at least some damage with them even on a save, akin to how every single spell/power that's just damage has 1/2 on a successful save.

e)Level 17 feature is unusable unless you simultaneously dedicate class feats just to have your base features even usable AND you're a mutant (you make 3 things, but you can't use them before they vanish in thin air, AND you hold 3 things in one hand). The level 9 class feature is barely usable (you still hold 2 things in 1 hand, but if you dedicate yourself in just making and drinking and spend 3 actions doing so... it actually works!)

the above shows how little forethought was given to the class, when abilities don't even work.


the good:

a)seperate resource pool compared to RP is good. But removal of 1/2 uick alchemy /level from level 9 is nowhere near being equalized by the (75% worthless) free items. mainly because it's better to fling rocks at opponents that even bother with said items.

b)paths are a nice direction, but poisoner and mutagenists need work/love

c)the bomber. It's clear that this is the only path/items/feats/etc that works. My only nitpick would be that splash is ridicusly low "bombs", even with feats, let alone that insulting 1 point of splash even on a 17 level item by default. Splash should be greatly increased, not to the point of a full nuke, but doing less aoe damage at level 15 than a 1st level spell is simply put, bad.

p.s.
my detailed thoughts on the post errata alchemist, in seperate threads as requested by the Devs for visibility are here:

Loss of the Mutagen Class feature from the base class:
https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42ctn?Wait-Did-all-non-mutagenic-Alchemists#12

Perpetual infusions being terrible (excpet bomber ones) plus some discussion on poison being basically unusable as well:
https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42cst?Alchemist-changes-1st-imprssions-Perpetu al#25

elixirs being bad (mainly their type bonus, but also complete lack of high level utility/buff elixirs):
https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42ctm?Alchemical-items-bonus-type#1

errata worthy issues that shows little forethought on the alchemist abilities altogether:
https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42cyf?Alchemist-and-Hands-Errata-issue#1


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I think the alchemist should be reserved for an Advanced players guide sort of book and not the core book. It is fairly confusing and not new player friendly. The entire alchemical items section is a lot of space to use for just one class. Classes that require their own subsystem should come later as they can get their own play tests on their unique new systems (I.e. Guns for gunslingers, summoner eidolon, etc.).

Anyway, probably way too late for this comment. I just think the oracle or witch would be better for a core rule book as they use the same casting system as other core classes.


There is a level 17 Alchemist in my WTSGD game I started GMing the other day and FWIW he contributed greatly. The level 16 bombs are really solid, I allowed him access to mutagens so he has Quicksilver giving him actually rather good accuracy. The debuffs or persistent damage on the bombs is nice and the splash damage on his bombs is only a couple points behind the Fighter's Certain Strike, so if he dedicates to bombing in a turn he's sure to get some work done even if he gets misses in there.

His True Elixirs may not be as good as Heal but the party likes having the heal items on their person to pull out and chug on their own turn if needed.

He does mostly just make bombs and healing elixirs (And a couple of the inhaled poisons with about on-level DC) but he's quite alright with that. Managed to open up an enemy to some good hits in one fight and did serious damage and heavy persistent damage to another, and saved an ally from falling in the first fight.

All told, from an in-practice perspective he's really happy with how it plays at this level. I know YMMV but the class is definitely far from unplayable and while he did have a decent time with it in chapter 1 and a good time in chapter 4 he finds the class to feel WAY better after 1.6. Decoupling from Resonance alone did wonders, the rest is gravy from what I've seen (Barring the Mutagen issue, I feel most GMs would be cool about that but if Alchemists don't have any other access to item bonus to accuracy besides Alchemist's Goggles then it does NEED fixing.)


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Also I think it'll be much better in the final book as there are currently a lot of gaps in poisons (I think the highest injury poison is like 13th level) and elixirs and such too, there just needs to be more content but that's a playtest vs. CRB issue, not a baseline one.

Also I sincerely think that alchemical items, regardless of your branch of research, created by any use of your reagents (Quick Alchemy OR Advanced Alchemy) need to at minimum be at your class DC.

Because when you make them, it's the same resource cost whether you're making a level 1 poison or level 20. Theoretically making a lower level poison is already less optimal as it likely has weaker effects, there is NO reason to cripple the DC as well when, again, you are using the same daily resource.

(Depending on what form of Resonance makes it into the final game, I plan to houserule something similar to this for magic items. IMO if you are spending Resonance to activate an item then the DC should at least be Class DC, since it costs the same to activate a level 3 item emulating a level 1 spell as it does a level 17 item emulating a level 8 spell. Etc.)


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I really hope a good alchemist makes it to the core book
fact is.. I like pathfinder but I'm just not a high fantasy guy. Alchemists have always been my preference. Just enough fantasy tech for my liking. Lore wise.

I really hope, that if they keep the "study paths" that they allow some cross over between them.

I still don't think the perpetuals work well.

I'm still a fan of Alchemical Substance.. but I've been stating that all over the place so I'll jus skip it this time.


Edge93 wrote:

There is a level 17 Alchemist in my WTSGD game I started GMing the other day and FWIW he contributed greatly. The level 16 bombs are really solid, I allowed him access to mutagens so he has Quicksilver giving him actually rather good accuracy. The debuffs or persistent damage on the bombs is nice and the splash damage on his bombs is only a couple points behind the Fighter's Certain Strike, so if he dedicates to bombing in a turn he's sure to get some work done even if he gets misses in there.

His True Elixirs may not be as good as Heal but the party likes having the heal items on their person to pull out and chug on their own turn if needed.

He does mostly just make bombs and healing elixirs (And a couple of the inhaled poisons with about on-level DC) but he's quite alright with that. Managed to open up an enemy to some good hits in one fight and did serious damage and heavy persistent damage to another, and saved an ally from falling in the first fight.

All told, from an in-practice perspective he's really happy with how it plays at this level. I know YMMV but the class is definitely far from unplayable and while he did have a decent time with it in chapter 1 and a good time in chapter 4 he finds the class to feel WAY better after 1.6. Decoupling from Resonance alone did wonders, the rest is gravy from what I've seen (Barring the Mutagen issue, I feel most GMs would be cool about that but if Alchemists don't have any other access to item bonus to accuracy besides Alchemist's Goggles then it does NEED fixing.)

If you read what I wrote, is that basically only the Bomber is playable.

It's the 75% rest of the class that's terrible.

Plus, you even had to house rule your bomber getting mutagens, which should have been baseline ability of all alchemists.

That's like having to house rule wizards having spells...


I'm honestly not so sure the bomber is the only viable one. The mutagenist seems pretty reasonable, especially when you consider that mutagen actually puts you ahead in terms of potency bonuses for most levels. Assuming you use unarmed strikes as your main weapon, you even save money on not having to buy potency buffs for your HoMF, freeing up cash for better property runes, armor, or just whatever else you want to buy. There's also a neat trick you can pull with revivifying mutagen that, when combined with your perpetual mutagens, gives you a really fast out of combat heal. Not saying its the best, but nothing I'd consider "unusable"


Alchemic_Genius wrote:
I'm honestly not so sure the bomber is the only viable one. The mutagenist seems pretty reasonable, especially when you consider that mutagen actually puts you ahead in terms of potency bonuses for most levels. Assuming you use unarmed strikes as your main weapon, you even save money on not having to buy potency buffs for your HoMF, freeing up cash for better property runes, armor, or just whatever else you want to buy. There's also a neat trick you can pull with revivifying mutagen that, when combined with your perpetual mutagens, gives you a really fast out of combat heal. Not saying its the best, but nothing I'd consider "unusable"

The main problem of the mutagenist is bad early levels.

There's literally 0 support in the early feats for him, you're forced to multiclass everything away until 8 or so.

As for power, You gain extra dices, yes, but its extra d4s at level 1,and you either have to wait for level 8 or waste all your feats to pick animal barb or unarmoured style monk, for d8s at level 6. By that point you would be just 2 levels away from having d8s by yourself...

The only real solution, stonefist elixirs, RAW don't work with mutagens (both have the polymorph trait)

You have the worst front liner AC as well (worse than raging barbarian)

And etc.

After about 8-10 its OK. But it seriously lacks any sort of support pre-8.

The second, equally major problem, is that mutagenist = feral mutagen.

All other mutagens except Feral for melee and Quicksilver for bomber are trash.

All the support, skill, HP, etc Mutagens need serious buffs to be even viable.

All those +skill by mutagens scream for investigator like playstyle, but they are far too terrible to be usable.


I've been running a PF2 game and I have made some poisoner feats to address the lack of feats for non-bombers.

Penetrating poisons:

When a creature succeeds on a save against your poisons stage 1 of the poison still takes effect, after which it runs its course and the creature is no longer effected by the poison.
On a critical success there creature is unaffected as normal.

Intense poisons:

When making poisons with advanced alchemy. You can make some poisons more intense. When you do so increase the DC of the poison by 2. This more intense poison takes more reagents to make. You instead make only 1 poison per batch instead of 2.

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