Is it possible to make a good melee alchemist that's not a Vivisectionist?


Advice


I know that Vivisectionist is the best ultimate super melee alchemist that everyone online loves beyond all other, But personaly I dont like trading away bombs... Having a good ranged attack can be good for a melee character too, And Bombs are not just damage, They can be so useful with all their utility aswell!

So I wanted to ask, Is it possible to build a good melee alchemist that's not a Vivisectionist? I know it wouldent be as good as a Vivisectionist, But could you make one that could still work well and not fall behind too much?

Thanks.


The Ragechemist isn't bad for melee, and keeps bombs - but if you want the melee monster,the Metamorph is scary (but gives up bombs).


Thanks for the reply. =) I havent looked at the Ragechemist, Though I heard people say it is pretty bad. I'l take a look at it though!


The Alchemist has access to a lot of great polymorph spells that allows them to be quite proficient in melee. The vanilla class is perfectly viable as it is, but Vivisectionist is just so grossly unbalanced that it skews one's perception.

Beastmorph is pretty great since it makes your mutagen stronger, giving you Beast Shape abilities in addition to your normal benefits.


Yup.

The basic chassis of an Alchemist is 3/4 BAB with a bunch of self buffs. You don't need anything else really, just pick up a weapon and buff yourself and go to town. It might be worth picking a race or spending a feat to get a better weapon, but that's about it.


Thank you both. =D The Alchemist is such an amazing and awesome class that can be built for just about anything, I always try to think of how to fit it into any idea I have! xD


I had some fun with a grenadier alchemist. Did Well both in melee and ranged combat.


Grenadier is good with martial weapons.

Dragonblood Chymist is also very good imho. It allows you to boost STR while keeping high INT for firebreathing.


Alchemists have the best progression in Grapple Mods of any character over 4 levels or so.


The ragechemist is how to fall asleep in the middle of combat, with all the potential danger that implies.

OTOH, thirding grenadier as a workable non-vivisectionist melee character.


So, Grenadier with a melee weapon would be better then Natural Attacks then?


Grenadier's better at the one big hit thing. Possibly with a polearm if like Magda you are a true believer in reach tactics. Many natural attacks ideally wants a source of bonus damage (like sneak attack) but could still work to some degree with mutagen-boosted strength, especially if you go hunting for more natural attacks.


Fighter [Mutagen Warrior]


@avr Thank you. =) I have actualy never tried a reach build before, Might be worth trying! Thanks. =)

@Slim Jim Unfortunately, I'm after a alchemist, Not a fighter with Mutagen, But thanks anyway!


The name of the class doesn't matter; what matters is if XYZ does what you want. --If you want to bulk up with chemicals and pound on stuff in melee, Mutagen Warrior does the trick.


Mutation Warrior is a Fighter with Mutagen, It lacks the extracts and bombs and everything else the alchemist has so it is not like a melee alchemist at all. I'm sorry but it isent what i'm looking for, It is just a buffed fighter and not an alchemist so it is not what i'm looking for.

If I wanted "A melee combatant with mutagen no mather what it is." Then I'd have gone for Mutation Warrior or Mutagenic Mauler, But thats not what i'm looking for.

Sorry..


Merellin wrote:
So, Grenadier with a melee weapon would be better then Natural Attacks then?

Huh,

Half Orc with an Orc Hornbow, a Butchering Axe.

Grenadier Alchemist.

I'd dip a level in Ranger with the Freebooter Archetype and use a Wand of Lead Blades and a Wand of Gravity Bow.

Alchemists can Enlarge Person, I'm pretty sure as a Standard Action.

Strength Mutagen is pretty cool.

Lead Blades does for the 'Axe what Gravity Bow does for bows: +1 Virtual Size Increase.

Enlarge Person gives an actual Size Increase.

Between the 2, the Bow will do 4d6 Damage/Shot. The Axe 6d6. Then Vital Strike Feats for 8d6/12d6/16d6 and 12d6/18d6/24d6.

As you take levels in Alchemist, you will start shooting exploding arrows. Alchemal Weapon lets you add a flask of Alchemist Fire, Acid, or something to each arrow. The Explosive Missile Discovery will let you add you Alchemal Bombs and shoot as a Standard Action. So the explosives in the arrows will do 1d6 at level 2, 3d6 at level 4, 5d6 at level 5, and +1d6 for every odd level after.

So, this looks like a build with high damage at Range and in Melee.


Merellin wrote:
Mutation Warrior is a Fighter with Mutagen, It lacks the extracts and bombs and everything else the alchemist has so it is not like a melee alchemist at all. I'm sorry but it isent what i'm looking for

What are you going to do with a bomb in melee? Drop it at your feet and take them out with you?

-- I provided an answer which satisfied the thread title-as-worded's request, and probably does it a lot better than some other options you had in mind or have received, as, for starters, you won't flatline quite so often when the angry monster you poked unloads five attacks on you, which it can do because it's standing 5' away, in melee.) (The MW can also wear full-plate and carry a big sword, both useful things in melee, whereas the alchemist has simple weapon proficiencies and light armor proficiency.)


^^ Bombs give you flexibility to be at range when desired and extracts give you flexibility to mitigate damage with mirror image, displacement, stone skin, or to buff yourself and get four natural attacks plus ways to boost your AC.

Also, grenadier gets you martial weapon proficiency.


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Slim Jim wrote:
What are you going to do with a bomb in melee? Drop it at your feet and take them out with you?

The whole point of this thread is to make a melee alchemist who doesn't trade out bombs.

To be more general, bombs alone make the alchemist a viable switch-hitter - no feats/discoveries/items needed. You just build a melee character and if a situation occurs where you can't use your beat-stick you throw a bomb at them.


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Slim Jim wrote:
I provided an answer which satisfied the thread title-as-worded's request (...)

Wait, what? You think you satisfy the request for an alchemist "as-worded" by suggesting something that's neither neither an Alchemist, or has the alchemy class feature?

@Merellin: Vivisectionist is overrated, anyway. Kiddies irrational players think "Sneak attack with three natural attacks? I'll roll so many damage dice!!!!", while ignoring that most of the time no, you don't, and when you do, the enemy would probably have died anyway.
The important archetype for a (non-Metamorph) melee Alchemist is Beastmorph, not Vivisectionist.


Slim Jim did bring up a good point though: Armour.

Remember that Alchemists have no spell-failure, so if you want better armour you just need to spend a feat or two.


Yes, Hyde builds predate Vivisectionist. The trick is finding a build that wouldn't be better with it stuck on. The problem with bombs on a melee build is action economy, you have to decide between a bomb and a melee attack, but not a melee attack and sneak attack.


Mr. Hebeme wrote:
Also, grenadier gets you martial weapon proficiency.

I am quite happy with a grenadier that I built though I must admit I haven't actually played her yet. She's tiefling; they have perfect racial stat bonuses for alchemists and their FCB gives extra bomb damage (yum). I pumped her dex and chose a kukri as my martial weapon proficiency because finessable and sweet crits. Then you can get dex to damage with slashing grace by level 5.

She's no powerhouse in melee but can cut things decently enough not to get laughed at according to the bench-pressing document. You can also just get an agile weapon if you don't want to wait or have better things to do with your feats. I didn't have to worry about it because I'd be starting her at no less than level 9. This may not be the funnest character to play from new, having several levels to tough through before getting dex to damage, but YMMV. I do like it very much as a backup level 5 or higher for sure.


You can mix the Mutagen Warrior and Opportunist Fighter archetypes and get Bombs with the Mutagen Warrior... but that is besides the point.

Grenadier is a great choice and pretty much answers the original question perfectly.

Inspired Blade/Investigator VMC Alchemist is an option... if you're allowed to multiclass and VMC simultaneously at your table.

Underground Chemist/Scout Rogue VMC Alchemist is another fun option. Sneak Attack Bombs and Sneak Attack on a charge, should be relatively consistent.


VoodistMonk wrote:
You can mix the Mutagen Warrior and Opportunist Fighter archetypes and get Bombs with the Mutagen Warrior... but that is besides the point.

Actually that kind-of IS the point.

Mutagen, some bombs, full BAB, Weapons & Armour, and eventually Weapon Training.

I prefer Alchemist, but what do people think?

(The others might be good suggestions too.)


I really don't think the Ragechemist is that unplayable - the key is a good will save. A DC 15 isn't that hard, and you can all but eliminate criticals. It will eat a few feats, but not failing will saves is worth a few feats.


I'm playing a beastmorph alchemist in PFS (vivisectionist is not PFS legal) and I'm having a lot of fun. Natural Attacks build with Feral Mutagen, buy a helm of mammoth lord for a 4th natural attack (at your max bab), get pounce at level 10. Thinking of taking Master Chymist prestige class from 11th.


MrCharisma wrote:
VoodistMonk wrote:
You can mix the Mutagen Warrior and Opportunist Fighter archetypes and get Bombs with the Mutagen Warrior... but that is besides the point.

Actually that kind-of IS the point.

Mutagen, some bombs, full BAB, Weapons & Armour, and eventually Weapon Training.

I prefer Alchemist, but what do people think?

(The others might be good suggestions too.)

I still prefer the grenadier alchemist because of the versatility of extracts in and out of combat. However, all the options VoodistMonk suggested could fit the bill for what the OP is looking for in combat. I think his investigator build would do very well and keep the versatility of keeping extracts with some very fun class features.


EldonGuyre wrote:
I really don't think the Ragechemist is that unplayable - the key is a good will save. A DC 15 isn't that hard, and you can all but eliminate criticals. It will eat a few feats, but not failing will saves is worth a few feats.

A +13 makes 95% of those DC 15 saves. But on a class with a poor base will save, wanting good combat stats & Int, you're not getting much more than +8 by 6th level and even that takes work (surviving to 6th level is another question). And on a bad day the way that the stacking -2's apply to both Will saves & Int and can't be reversed short of taking a couple of hours to rest means that yes, you are going to drop in the middle of a fight.


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Thanks for all the replies. =) Grenadier seems pretty good, Able to infuse a alchemical weapon into your weapon (Alchemist Fire, Meet Sword!) Beathmorph seems pretty good too! I love the alchemist because it is so versatile, And if you get for example the Enlarge Person extract, Thats helps even more! And later you also get Giant Form!

The Alchemist Extracts add so much versatility to the class, Ontop of discoveries, Bombs and mutagen. Bombs arent just damage, But also utility!

Thanks all! =D


MrCharisma wrote:
Slim Jim wrote:
What are you going to do with a bomb in melee? Drop it at your feet and take them out with you?
The whole point of this thread is to make a melee alchemist who doesn't trade out bombs.
That's not what either the thread title or the first post says. Let's take a look:
The First Post wrote:
I know that Vivisectionist is the best ultimate super melee alchemist that everyone online loves beyond all other. But personaly I dont like trading away bombs... Having a good ranged attack can be good for a melee character too, And Bombs are not just damage, They can be so useful with all their utility aswell!

Someone indicating that they don't like giving something up does not parse to meaning that retaining said thing is "the whole point" of the thread when they did not say so.

(Alchemist bombs are just another type of magical woo in PF1, of which there might be over a dozen categories now. Classes that aren't given free magical woo can frequently just buy, often inexpensively, as in the case of cheap wands to be UMD'd.)

Anyway...

Merellin wrote:
So I wanted to ask, Is it possible to build a good melee alchemist that's not a Vivisectionist? I know it wouldent be as good as a Vivisectionist, But could you make one that could still work well and not fall behind too much? Thanks.

I shall interpret "not fall behind too much" to mean that multiclassing is still on the table, so long as it isn't too many dips, and does not interfere with typical concentration-required alchemist class features.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Concept: dwarven demolition squad-member from Warcraft II ("I love blowin' things up!", "Bombs are great!", "Tilt one back with me, dog!", etc.) Naturally, these chaotic-suicidal tendencies are frowned upon in polite, lawful dwarven society, so he masquerades as an honorable mithral merchant (or some other esteemed occupation) while visiting the relatives.

str: 14
dex: 12 (dwarf, 20pt-array: 15,14,12,12,12,12)
con+ 14 (or 16)
int: 15
wis+ 14 (or 16)
cha- 10 (or 5, if 15,14,14,14,12,7 array instead)

Traits: Defender of the Society, Glory of Old
== FT RF WL (saves versus poison, spells, and spell-like abilities)
00 05 04 05 (stats + Hardy + Glory of Old)
01 09 06 07 Fighter1 [Power Attack], Steel Soul
02 09 08 09 Vigilante1 (Avenger)
03 11 10 09 Alchemist [Trap Breaker]1, Extra Bombs (or FEATg)
04 (rest alchemist)

*Fighter unlocks full-plate armor and AC+1 from the fighter-required Defender trait. Being dwarf means your speed doesn't suffer while wearing it.

*Avenger Vigilante unlocks Acrobatics, Bluff, Diplomacy, Escape Artist, Sense Motive, and Stealth as class-skills, and brings +2 to reflex and will saves without losing BAB. Given that alchemist is an Int-based class which will be buying the appropriate amplifying headband, there should be plenty of skill-points to spread around into these.

So, at 3rd-level as a triple-classed Alchemist, you're in full-plate armor power-attacking with a 20' reach longhammer or giant-sticker after Enlarging, your saves are better than a paladin's, and you have a rogue's full skill-set (including magical trap disabling). What makes it easily work in point-buy (aside from being a dwarf) is relegating dexterity to a tertiary stat. Yes, you will throw bombs as an alchemist, but they're ranged-touch splash weapons, so you don't need a Dex of 24 like those rapid-shooting, deadly-aiming archers trying to bore through a monster's ridiculous natural armor bonuses. (By early mid-level, you can whip out an Adaptive longbow to engage distant targets. You won't be terribly accurate, but you're not taking any feats that penalize attack-bonus.)

Full-plate doesn't interfere with an alchemist's abilities ("Sucks to be you, bards!"), and plate's flat-footed AC benefits are a welcome addition to any front-liner concept denied Uncanny Dodge.


Slim Jim wrote:
What are you going to do with a bomb in melee? Drop it at your feet and take them out with you?

Um ... yes?! If you have Precise Bombs, strike out the "with you" at the end.

Has nobody in this thread played an alchemist where they were forced through some bizzare set of circumstances to step up and be an unoptimized melee combatant? Or am I just super unlucky to have had to do it multiple times?

Drink an extract of shield, and an extract of reduce person, if you can spare the time. Run up and spike bombs (pro tip: their feet not your feet), while your party fixes whatever calamity caused this to be the best option.

It's not a good long term strategy but it's a decent short term strategy.


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Slim Jim wrote:
MrCharisma wrote:
Slim Jim wrote:
What are you going to do with a bomb in melee? Drop it at your feet and take them out with you?
The whole point of this thread is to make a melee alchemist who doesn't trade out bombs.
That's not what either the thread title or the first post says. Let's take a look:
The First Post wrote:
I know that Vivisectionist is the best ultimate super melee alchemist that everyone online loves beyond all other. But personaly I dont like trading away bombs... Having a good ranged attack can be good for a melee character too, And Bombs are not just damage, They can be so useful with all their utility aswell!
Someone indicating that they don't like giving something up does not parse to meaning that retaining said thing is "the whole point" of the thread when they did not say so.

The whole point was an melee alchemist with bombs because that's what they asked for.

1. I know [thing] is best.
2. But I don't like [aspect] of [thing].
3. Can anyone suggest [alternate thing]?

Means that [aspect] is a dealbreaker. It's literally the only reason they gave for not just using a vivisectionist.

Everyone else understood this because it's obvious, and there are you complaining directly to the OP about rejecting your suggestion because it ignored what they asked for and arguing that you technically fulfilled it because the Oxford English dictionary defines the word "like" as...


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There's a guy in my current campaign who's playing as a lvl 14 Gun Chemist/Spy and performing greater than my expectations. He has really good stealth and took Sap Adept/Master with his levels in Spy, then enchanted his revolver with Merciful, and he makes "Pathfinder Exploding Bean Bag" rounds to deal bludgeoning damage for his alchemical ordnance bullets. He hits like a Mack Truck with SnA and Alch Ordnance, and hits hard even when he's not doing his sneak attack thing too.

I know that's not the traditional way to play a Gun Chemist, but he's rocking it pretty well. May the gods be with my BBEG when he crits for x4 too :/


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Aldrakan, requoting Slim Jim but snipping the last half of his post where he gives the OP their heart's desire: a bomb-chucker alchemist who doesn't suck in melee, wrote:
The whole point was an melee alchemist with bombs because that's what they asked for.

<flourish doffed tricorne>

"Another satisfied customer!"

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