Alchemist Reality vs Theory


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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One major problem as I see it with Alchemist is resource management that no other class has to do. This is on top of almost mandatory low-level feats just to make the class play smoothly, and the fact that there are a lot of small stop signs that feel intended to prevent shenanigans on this class, while those shenanigans are every round for other classes. It seems like we'll need an Unchained Alchemist pretty soon here just to get it rolling.

They're neither a martial with good proficiencies and baseline combat potency nor a caster with various inexhaustible daily resources. No "cantrip" alchemy until deep into the character's career. No "encounter abilities" in the form of focus spells. The alchemical items themselves aren't as potent as a spell, and in a lot of ways are about as good as a martial class' regular attacks (discounting the fact that you need a feat to throw a bomb with one action). This compounds with poor proficiency and only light armor, to where the Alchemist can't be always on like other classes.

My experience in play has been as a DM for various alchemy-based enemies (FoP and beyond). They're very potent enemies because they don't have to worry about resources and the conditions that bombs apply are pretty strong against PCs who care about persistent damage.

I think they either need cantrip alchemy earlier and focus alchemy at all, or they need proficiencies on par with a martial so they have something to do when they run out of reagents. I think leaning more towards a caster would be more fun.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
These combine to a net -1 to -5 (depending on level, foe, and strategy), averaging -2, probably more like -3 at high levels, to hit on just about every attack as compared to the playtest. Given the tight math in PF2, that's enough to make them something like an order of magnitude worse.

Some of this (not all of it, and I am not claiming anything of the sort) is offset by bombs typically doing something (damage, at the moment, but there is design space for more) even on a miss. Bomber alchemists have to miss by 10 to not do anything at all, a benefit that no other martial class manages with the same regularity.

The effect is comparable to spells that have basic saves (only crit saves have no effect), but that comparison also shows some of the problem: I imagine that most people would be a lot happier with bombs if they did half their damage as splash instead of (Int mod) total.


graystone wrote:
What if your expectations are that it JUST does as well as the other classes in PF2?

Mine has.

beowulf99 wrote:
I'm a pretty hardcore alchemist apologist (I mean, my forum avatar is the old iconic after all) and I struggle to find anything truly redeeming there.

Let's start with: you get to do every kind of elemental damage from level 1 and have enough skill points to identify weaknesses on everything. It only takes splash to trigger weakness so you auto-hit anything with elemental weakness.

You get as many bombs in PF2 with Int 14 than PF1 with Int 20 at Level 1. Keep that in mind when you read complaints about running out of bombs. :rolleyes:

You're right that if you want to optimize, multiclassing would be nice. I thought about taking a rogue dedication for the precision (bottled lightning + sneak) or a wizard dedication for the cantrips, but ultimately decided to go healer (picking up Battle Medicine and working on its feat chain). I've skewed more and more towards bottled lightning - making unflankable enemies flatfooted is awesome for my martial allies.

I play my PF2 alchemist like a PF1 witch - a relatively fragile spellcaster debuffing enemies.

---

Here are some stories since you may appreciate them. Spoiler alert: they're not going to involve flying through the air and beheading enemies.

1. Flanking ally goes down on the far side of large BBEG with reach. Anyone who wants to revive will have to run allll the way around or run through and take an AoO. Unless someone with Battle Medicine has a smokestick handy! Smoke Bomb, throw, run in. (PFS 1-06)

2. Mexican standoff with armed gang and an infiltrator. Who wants to crit a Society roll to expose the infiltrator and turn the gang against him? The alchemist does. Who wants to deafen him to stop him from going invisible? The alchemist does. (PFS 1-08)


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Shisumo wrote:
Some of this (not all of it, and I am not claiming anything of the sort) is offset by bombs typically doing something (damage, at the moment, but there is design space for more) even on a miss.

Because 2 to 4 damage on a miss is sooo worth doing half-the-damage on a hit.

Quote:
The effect is comparable to spells that have basic saves (only crit saves have no effect), but that comparison also shows some of the problem: I imagine that most people would be a lot happier with bombs if they did half their damage as splash instead of (Int mod) total.

You know how incapacitation spells have a bad rap? Bomber alchemists basically suffer under those rules.

Critical Success: Full damage
Success: Half damage
Failure: 4 damage
Critical Failure: 0 damage

At level 11 an alchemist can use greater flasks of fire for 3d8 damage, 3 persistent, and 3 splash.
At level 11 a wizard can cast Burning Hands for 12d6

3d8 and 4d6 are approximately equal (both average ~14 and both have a maximum of 24).
The 3 persistent is worth about 6 damage, given the probability of it going away and the creature surviving long enough to keep taking it (average over 3 turns is 7 damage and it doesn't stack with itself). 6 damage is roughly equivalent to 2d6.
4d6 + 2d6 is 6d6
6d6 is exactly half of 12d6.


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Watery Soup wrote:


Let's start with: you get to do every kind of elemental damage from level 1 and have enough skill points to identify weaknesses on everything. It only takes splash to trigger weakness so you auto-hit anything with elemental weakness.

You get as many bombs in PF2 with Int 14 than PF1 with Int 20 at Level 1. Keep that in mind when you read complaints about running out of bombs. :rolleyes:

You're right that if you want to optimize, multiclassing would be nice. I thought about taking a rogue dedication for the precision (bottled lightning + sneak) or a wizard dedication for the cantrips, but ultimately decided to go healer (picking up Battle Medicine and working on its feat chain). I've skewed more and more towards bottled lightning - making unflankable enemies flatfooted is awesome for my martial allies.

I play my PF2 alchemist like a PF1 witch - a relatively fragile spellcaster debuffing enemies.

---

Here are some stories since you may appreciate them. Spoiler alert: they're not going to involve flying through the air and beheading enemies.

1. Flanking ally goes down on the far side of large BBEG with reach. Anyone who wants to revive will have to run allll the way around or run through and take an AoO. Unless someone with Battle Medicine has a smokestick handy! Smoke Bomb, throw, run in. (PFS 1-06)

2. Mexican standoff with armed gang and an infiltrator. Who wants to crit a Society roll to expose the infiltrator and turn the gang against him? The alchemist does. Who wants to deafen him to stop him from going invisible? The alchemist does. (PFS 1-08)

If there were low level enemies that actually had elemental weaknesses that might matter. Sure, you'll murderize any swarm that looks at you funny, but then so will anyone who picked up an alchemist fire at the market for "just in case". Or, you know, a sorcerer or wizard.

Also, having more bombs doesn't matter when your chance to actually hit with them is much, much lower, thanks to the loss of touch AC. Same thing with debuffing with an electrical bomb: your chance to hit that enemy is less than a martial even before you apply the flatfooted debuff. Back when touch AC was a thing, that would be a great combo. Now, not so much.

Also, to crit that society roll out of combat you're now -2 to all attacks in combat, so good luck hitting them with a thunderstone, which they probably have a 50/50 chance to save against, and the deafened condition doesn't affect the ability for them to cast invisibility one bit. In fact, it might protect them from some spells.

Deafened: https://2e.aonprd.com/Conditions.aspx?ID=8
Things with auditory trait: https://2e.aonprd.com/Traits.aspx?ID=16


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Shisumo wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
These combine to a net -1 to -5 (depending on level, foe, and strategy), averaging -2, probably more like -3 at high levels, to hit on just about every attack as compared to the playtest. Given the tight math in PF2, that's enough to make them something like an order of magnitude worse.

Some of this (not all of it, and I am not claiming anything of the sort) is offset by bombs typically doing something (damage, at the moment, but there is design space for more) even on a miss. Bomber alchemists have to miss by 10 to not do anything at all, a benefit that no other martial class manages with the same regularity.

The effect is comparable to spells that have basic saves (only crit saves have no effect), but that comparison also shows some of the problem: I imagine that most people would be a lot happier with bombs if they did half their damage as splash instead of (Int mod) total.

Seeing it in play, I don't think the trade off is rewarding. Up to 6 damage on a miss (with 4 being from level 1-9, 5 being from 10-19, and 6 at level 20) is certainly not a satisfying trade off for a class that has a weaker chassis, barely any interesting feats and a huge problem with action economy.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Here are my ideas for house rules/errata to buff the class. I'm just gonna link to them since the vote on discussing house rules in this thread was split.


Captain Morgan wrote:


Here are my ideas for house rules/errata to buff the class. I'm just gonna link to them since the vote on discussing house rules in this thread was split.

Looks solid, although the scaling on Perpetual Infusions is confusing. It goes from 1st to 3rd then jumps up to 11th.


Draco18s wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:


Here are my ideas for house rules/errata to buff the class. I'm just gonna link to them since the vote on discussing house rules in this thread was split.
Looks solid, although the scaling on Perpetual Infusions is confusing. It goes from 1st to 3rd then jumps up to 11th.

That's how it scales currently, it gives minor items (1st level) at 7th, lesser items (3rd level) at 11th and greater items (11th level) at 17th.

Liberty's Edge

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Shisumo wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
These combine to a net -1 to -5 (depending on level, foe, and strategy), averaging -2, probably more like -3 at high levels, to hit on just about every attack as compared to the playtest. Given the tight math in PF2, that's enough to make them something like an order of magnitude worse.
Some of this (not all of it, and I am not claiming anything of the sort) is offset by bombs typically doing something (damage, at the moment, but there is design space for more) even on a miss. Bomber alchemists have to miss by 10 to not do anything at all, a benefit that no other martial class manages with the same regularity.

No, it isn't offset, because I'm comparing Alchemists now to Alchemists in the playtest, and they had this advantage in the playtest as well.

It's an advantage as compared to other martials, sure, but that's not the comparison I was doing. I was analyzing how Alchemists in the final game (who just aren't good enough) compared to those in the playtest (who were, or at least were a lot closer).

Shisumo wrote:
The effect is comparable to spells that have basic saves (only crit saves have no effect), but that comparison also shows some of the problem: I imagine that most people would be a lot happier with bombs if they did half their damage as splash instead of (Int mod) total.

Yeah, doing half damage on a miss would be a very large DPR upgrade, though I'm not sure it would actually make the Class feel a whole lot better, and wouldn't help non-bombers at all.


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Watery Soup wrote:

You get as many bombs in PF2 with Int 14 than PF1 with Int 20 at Level 1. Keep that in mind when you read complaints about running out of bombs. :rolleyes:

I am sorry but thats a really weird point, where are you getting more bombs from maybe I missed it?

PF2 Alchemist Infused Reagents wrote:
Each day during your daily preparations, you gain a number of batches of infused reagents equal to your level + your Intelligence modifier.
PF1 Alchemist Bombs wrote:
An alchemist can use a number of bombs each day equal to his class level + his Intelligence modifier.

Unless I missed something, PF2 Alchemist get Int+level to distribute between all uses of free alchemy. While PF1 Alchemist get Int+level for bombs, infinite mutagens (1-hour brew time/dose), and at lv 20 a minimum of 30 Extracts (same progression as Bard spells minus the cantrip): I didnt even count Extra Bombs feat.

You can't say under any circumstance that PF2 Alchemist gets more resources than a PF1 Alchemist. So pls dont try to compare them in that spot, it just makes PF2 Alchemist look worse then they already are.


Temperans, you forget that the PF2 alchemist can make two bombs per reagent.

That said, you're also right that Watery Soup omitted that PF2's alchemist pulls all of their resources from the same pool while PF1's tracked bombs, mutagens and extracts separately.

Regardless, it's kind of a meaningless point to make anyways. PF1 Alchemists having issues with resources at low levels is pretty immaterial to PF2 Alchemists having issues with resources at low levels.


That was exactly my point. The two track resources differently, are built around a different system, and low resources at low level is independent of the system.

You can compare how they and the options they give feel; But that's mostly just a reference for what worked previously, and what may have changed/not changed.


Temperans wrote:
Unless I missed something, PF2 Alchemist get Int+level to distribute between all uses of free alchemy. While PF1 Alchemist get Int+level for bombs, infinite mutagens (1-hour brew time/dose), and at lv 20 a minimum of 30 Extracts (same progression as Bard spells minus the cantrip)

How many people in this thread have actually played an alchemist, in either PF1 or PF2?

Be honest.


Watery Soup wrote:
Temperans wrote:
Unless I missed something, PF2 Alchemist get Int+level to distribute between all uses of free alchemy. While PF1 Alchemist get Int+level for bombs, infinite mutagens (1-hour brew time/dose), and at lv 20 a minimum of 30 Extracts (same progression as Bard spells minus the cantrip)

How many people in this thread have actually played an alchemist, in either PF1 or PF2?

Be honest.

In PF1, I played a bomber in Wrath of the Righteous. Was fantastic, if a bit overpowering after 8th (once you could throw multiple bombs a turn).

In PF2, haven't run one personally, and have only had a player multiclass into one.

I've built them as backup characters, but universally am never happy enough with the outcome to actually dare run one.


Another player is playing one in the Plaguestone game I'm in right now. They've probably been more effective than my character (an APG playest witch), but not by much.


Watery Soup wrote:
Temperans wrote:
Unless I missed something, PF2 Alchemist get Int+level to distribute between all uses of free alchemy. While PF1 Alchemist get Int+level for bombs, infinite mutagens (1-hour brew time/dose), and at lv 20 a minimum of 30 Extracts (same progression as Bard spells minus the cantrip)

How many people in this thread have actually played an alchemist, in either PF1 or PF2?

Be honest.

I've built 2 (Chirurgeon in PF1e and Bomber in PF2e) alchemists so far (still didn't have the opportunity, but I think they will not be my first choice) and I've seen a Bomber alchemist in action for 10 levels now. It's far from "experienced", I know, but I can say with confidence that I'm not impressed with the class at all and that their unique feature of dealing damage on a failure is useful but it doesn't feel good at all.

Every single class has inspired me to build characters in PF2e, except alchemists. I only have one because I wanted to have one for every class, at least.


Watery Soup wrote:
many people in this thread have actually played an alchemist, in either PF1 or PF2?

PF1, over a dozen times. Other than paladin, I can safely say I've played all the classes more than once.

PF2, 3 for an extended amount of time and twice more in one shots.


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I played a brutal melee alchemist in PF1, plus GMed for several more bomber/buffer alchemists. But then again, I haven't commented until now.

The trouble with PF2 Alchemists isn't just expected power level (which is hard to address anyway) but also expected role. A Bomber expects to be the best at bombing. They aren't. They're the best at bomb-supplying. Unless they take feats, then they add some extra abilities...yet remain mediocre at bombing. This only gets amplified vs. solo bosses and those without Weaknesses.
Right now, Alchemists are the guys who make & transport Alchemy for the rest of the group. One guy joked his Alchemist can adventure from outside the dungeon. Why waste resources protecting him, a fragile target, when his presence adds less than it subtracts?
(That would be a funny Research Field!)

Put those bombs in the hands of a Raging Thrower, Fighter, or Precision Ranger and they'll all be better bombers than a Bomber, with little detriment to their main focus. They can even dip Alchemist to get their own supply, and with (Greater) Weapon Specialization and class damage/accuracy bonuses, they'll compete with the Bomber who's using better bombs.
It's really bad when another class can match your main shtick with a side-gig investment. Even a Wizard w/ MCD & Dex competes until 13th when Alchemist finally gets Expert at bombs. Except why would they when Cantrips are superior! (Except to supply the martials w/ energy attacks, I suppose, which seems superior to having an Alchemist along bumping up the difficulty levels.)
And yes, the Bomber invests in feats, yet many of which are accessible via MCD. There needs to be something fundamental about an Alchemist that the other guys can't achieve, something in combat that's gated just for them. And Quick Alchemy ain't doin' it.

Which is to say, too much of an Alchemist's core abilities are centered around manufacturing, and not enough around using. More & faster alchemy is their specialty. Being able to make 2x as many higher level items (and somewhat expected to burn much of that with Quick Alchemy) and tons minor items isn't that great when pressured to actually use them in battle. (Awesome outside of combat BTW.)

The Bomber & Mutagenist need to be built more along the lines of a martial (even if only a less skilled Rogue) because that's the role advertised. I will bomb well. I will mutate into a monster and scratch out people's eyes.

So shift all that "Alchemical Alacrity" and similar stuff over to the feats for those who want that. I understand they're generic, so apply to all three Research Fields, but they aren't the "must-have" or "Oh, I like this!" abilities that were folded into all the other classes. Personally, I hardly consider them when building an Alchemist, yet that's a major portion of the Alchemist's power budget. All that into versatility which may or may not apply, depending on the battle and on one's ability to scout/divine/predict one's foes that day superseding the need for in-combat manufacturing.
Replace those with more abilities suitable to the specific Research Fields, so yes, Research Fields will become about as dramatic as Warpriests vs. Cloistered, if not more so.

Then each Research Field could get some of their "must-have" feats folded into their core abilities (with some being feats for the other guys) and those feats won't feel forced.
Then make them better at using items in their field.
Ex.
"When under effects of mutagen":
-Some bonuses to catch up with martials, akin to how Wild Shape works, so maybe even set values. Trying to balance the alchemy won't work, since it's available to all. So boost these guys. Getting an item bonus one better than normal (which a martial can also get by drinking!) doesn't make up for being two behind for lack of proficiency, especially when it effects Weapon Specialization too. Wild Shape makes for a good baseline target (especially since Wild Shape doesn't require Handiwraps!) Or bump it up another +1 for their infused stuff.
-Ignore one penalty (or one set of penalties) from a Mutagen.
-Gain AC (maybe with a Dex cap like Barbarians/Mountain Monks have)
-Strength as option for stat
-Bleed damage or other ferocious effects (or maybe Precision, so it makes more sense across the variant mutagens).

"When applying a healing elixir"
-Free medicine/Treat Wounds/reusable Battlefield Medicine, perhaps with one degree less success or half value, or even minimal value, but something that makes them a competitive in-combat Healer (being as that's exactly what they'll want to be if they choose Chirurgeon.)
-Quicker application, Feats for (2x?) Stride & Interact w/ another to feed one of your infused elixirs.
-Higher die types if they're the one giving an infused elixir (since it's using their energy, right?)
-Maybe an extra save vs. poison or disease when they give infused antidote/antiplague.

"When throwing a bomb"
-Something like Dangerous Sorcery (or increased Weapon Specialization level)
-Stride + Throw together. (Quick Bomber should be a given, or pulling while Striding, or a combo feat allowing all three, but only bombs.)
-Double Throw and other Fighter-like options, yet for bombs
-An extra +1 item bonus when using own infused alchemy (which could work for the other Research Fields too.) This will catch them up to a martial with an at-level weapon (though not a martial using the same bomb!)
-At minimum they should compete with a martial using the same bomb.
-Dexterity as a stat option

GENERAL FEATS:
-Drink (or pulling) while Striding
-Pick up another Research Field (perhaps at 1/2 level)

Sorry, not sorry, for length. Here's to hoping we get a major renovation from the Paizo folk.
Cheers


I definitely fall in the, "make them a "martial" and leave most abilities alone" camp. Maybe give them a bit more versatility with their reagents, but other than that leave the bones alone.

They should progress in unarmed defense and simple weapons/bombs as fast as a monk or barb advances in training.

Just looking at the math side, this would make an Alchemist much more viable, at least for the mutagenist and bomber fields.

Chirurgeon needs... more.

Scarab Sages

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Bouncing off an earlier comment, I think one of the things really holding alchemists back is that consumables are really weak. Like, unless they're free I'd never even consider buying most of them.


Angel Hunter D wrote:
Bouncing off an earlier comment, I think one of the things really holding alchemists back is that consumables are really weak. Like, unless they're free I'd never even consider buying most of them.

This is especially true with the inclusion of a cantrip that deal splash damage. One of the reason to snag low level alchemy goods in PF1 was in case you ran onto a swarm at low levels: now even non-casters can pick up an Acid Splash... So even the swarm-killer niche is gone.


Angel Hunter D wrote:
Bouncing off an earlier comment, I think one of the things really holding alchemists back is that consumables are really weak. Like, unless they're free I'd never even consider buying most of them.

Alchemical consumables are fairly weak relative to their cost (IMO) with some small exceptions. Though arguably this is because they're balanced around the alchemist making them rather than someone else buying them, the ability to purchase them is more of an afterthought.

For an Alchemist they're actually not bad, as the alchemist can get quite a few modifiers (splash enhancers for bombs, duration extenders for elixirs, mutagens are fine once you get the greater version and arguably ok even at the lesser version, poisons are pretty good but just missing options for injury poisons at some levels, which should be rectified in time) to them to make them a competitive damage option.

Alchemical items are, IMO, not the problem with alchemist (aside from the fact that they don't have any interesting high level versions, just upgrades of lower level versions).


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My issues:

- Alchemists don't make better use of their own toolbox; just more frequent use
- Even that more frequent use is less frequent that how often others can use their toolbox (e.g. casters get more spells per day than Alchemists get reagents; martials can use most of their abilities all day long)
- Alchemists seem the most reliant on Downtime activities i.e. to craft alchemical items so as not to have to rely solely on their infused batches
- Following onto that, other classes do not appear to be nearly as reliant on Downtime activities
- Alchemists don't get an all day variant of their toolbox until level 7 with Perpetual Infusions
- Only one research field, Bomber, feels like it meets expectations
- Mutagenists don't feel like they can really afford to go toe to toe in melee with Bestial mutagens, and they can't afford to bomb all day, so any other options become plinking away with a weapon like any other martial, though with fewer bonuses
- Chirurgeon's just don't feel like great healers, or, to the extent they are a valid healer, their attack options are even worse than the Mutagenist's if only because they can't use mutagens for buffs nearly as often
- Perpetual Infusions only gives one research field a meaningful boost, Bomber.
- Chirurgeon's Perpetual Infusion allows you to create antiplague/antivenom elixirs for free... that last 24 hours. The one version that would give you an immediate benefit to drinking it is the Major version which you never get for free
- Mutagenist's Perpetual Infusion allows you to create 2 of your selected mutagens for free; and to be fair, you don't always necessarily need your best tools to fight mooks. But, see Mutagenist's issues with being in combat (again, I'm looking at you Bestial Mutagen)

Alchemists mostly feel like the handy support guy who can dole out alchemical items and sometimes throws a bomb. It does not feel like a hero and doesn't feel like they are on equal footing with any other class.

IMO :)


beowulf99 wrote:

I definitely fall in the, "make them a "martial" and leave most abilities alone" camp. Maybe give them a bit more versatility with their reagents, but other than that leave the bones alone.

They should progress in unarmed defense and simple weapons/bombs as fast as a monk or barb advances in training.

Just looking at the math side, this would make an Alchemist much more viable, at least for the mutagenist and bomber fields.

Chirurgeon needs... more.

I'd avoided recommending full martial because of Dwarven Waraxes & bows hitting Master Proficiency, yet I've changed my opinion now. Making Alchemists explicitly martial would solve most of the issues! Plus, look at Rogues & Monks. They get Master Proficiency, yet how appealing are those axes & bows when their classes don't support them? Which is to say, if an Alchemist gets proper support for their shtick, Master Proficiency weapons wouldn't overshadow. And two out of three Research Fields are themed around combat prowess, right?

Alchemists already gain martial level Saves plus Master in armor. So add accelerated weapon proficiency (to Master), (greater) weapon specialization, & critical specialization. Swap out the quicker alchemy advancements to feats (for those that want to burn through the limited resources that much faster...)
Yet that still lacks the oomph of a martial, i.e. Rage, Sneak Attack, Flurry, etc. so I propose these:
-Bomber: Add X damage to infused bombs.
-Chirurgeon: Add X damage to light bulk, simple weapons (I'm thinking like a surgeon). Add X healing when administering infused Elixir of Life. There's no reason they can't have a little vivisectionist insight in them to augment a combat role.
-Mutagenist: Add X damage to simple & unarmed attacks when under effects of infused mutagen.

X could be various things, depending on how the DPR calculations work out (noting that Alchemists using their top alchemy will have an attack advantage of +1 over their non-Fighter peers, yet so will their peers if the alchemy gets shared!).
-So perhaps 1d6, akin to Sneak Attack and ramping up w/ level. Also maybe precision damage, to have similar limitations. I could see it being a lower die or slower progression since it's easier to apply every attack. (In this vein, feats which debilitate or extend a bomb's debilitation would fit well.)
-Or X could be a flat score, perhaps based on level (like Dangerous Sorcery) or even Int (like Thieves; And to give Int some applicability!). Bypassing Resistance would be another option, though maybe through a feat (much like blasters get).
Right now I'm liking X=Int, though I'd like some progression too.
-Another option is X represents an increase in die type. So Bombers increase the die type of bomb damage, Chirurgeons the heal or light/simple weapon damage, and Mutagenists the die type of natural weapons gained. The last has the problem of not working well with many mutagens (so maybe as a feat?), yet a die type increase has that natural scaling progression.

Mutagenists are likely to need more, something defensive. So maybe bonus temporary h.p.? Or a feat like Animal Skin for Barbs (but while under infused Mutagen).
Right now they're 8 h.p. Barbarians w/ no extra damage, no Instinct, and lower weapon proficiency... :( You're required to be a martial first if you want to play Mr. Hyde, perhaps the iconic mutagenist.


Castilliano wrote:
beowulf99 wrote:

I definitely fall in the, "make them a "martial" and leave most abilities alone" camp. Maybe give them a bit more versatility with their reagents, but other than that leave the bones alone.

They should progress in unarmed defense and simple weapons/bombs as fast as a monk or barb advances in training.

Just looking at the math side, this would make an Alchemist much more viable, at least for the mutagenist and bomber fields.

Chirurgeon needs... more.

I'd avoided recommending full martial because of Dwarven Waraxes & bows hitting Master Proficiency, yet I've changed my opinion now. Making Alchemists explicitly martial would solve most of the issues! Plus, look at Rogues & Monks. They get Master Proficiency, yet how appealing are those axes & bows when their classes don't support them? Which is to say, if an Alchemist gets proper support for their shtick, Master Proficiency weapons wouldn't overshadow. And two out of three Research Fields are themed around combat prowess, right?

Alchemists already gain martial level Saves plus Master in armor. So add accelerated weapon proficiency (to Master), (greater) weapon specialization, & critical specialization. Swap out the quicker alchemy advancements to feats (for those that want to burn through the limited resources that much faster...)
Yet that still lacks the oomph of a martial, i.e. Rage, Sneak Attack, Flurry, etc. so I propose these:
-Bomber: Add X damage to infused bombs.
-Chirurgeon: Add X damage to light bulk, simple weapons (I'm thinking like a surgeon). Add X healing when administering infused Elixir of Life. There's no reason they can't have a little vivisectionist insight in them to augment a combat role.
-Mutagenist: Add X damage to simple & unarmed attacks when under effects of infused mutagen.

X could be various things, depending on how the DPR calculations work out (noting that Alchemists using their top alchemy will have an attack advantage of +1 over their non-Fighter peers, yet so will their...

I like the martial approach; it would address some of the numbers related issues.

I wouldn't say no to more defensive options as a Mutagenist, but I have to admit that in practice, Mistform Elixir is actually not too bad. The results are a little swingy in that once the Mistform is penetrated (succeed vs DC 5), I'm still pretty easy to hit and don't have great hit points, particularly when I've taken a Quicksilver Mutagen. But I should point out that, in my experience (up to 6th level), Mistform Elixir has been a nice defensive bump.

I'll add in that while this more martial minded approach augments attack numbers, it also still fails to address two other things that I wish I had mentioned in my first post:

- I want to be using Alchemical items a lot. In theory, I would expect I would be using alchemical items in most encounters. In practice, you really, really cannot. Offensive or defensive number bumps would address some of the feat related issues, but it still wouldn't make me feel more "alchemical" because at the end of the day, I cannot afford to use alchemical items with much frequency.

- I want to make more use of my primary stat. In theory, other classes have a primary stat that will be used directly when making use of their toolbox; Fighters get STR/DEX to use with their toolbox (of hitting things), Rogues get STR/DEX/CHA for same, Wizard gets INT for spells. In practice, it only impacts the number of infused reagents you get (and not by much) and the DC on your alchemical items (and only at 8th level and only if you take Powerful Alchemy).


QM:
- I want to be using Alchemical items a lot. In theory, I would expect I would be using alchemical items in most encounters. In practice, you really, really cannot. Offensive or defensive number bumps would address some of the feat related issues, but it still wouldn't make me feel more "alchemical" because at the end of the day, I cannot afford to use alchemical items with much frequency.

- I want to make more use of my primary stat. In theory, other classes have a primary stat that will be used directly when making use of their toolbox; Fighters get STR/DEX to use with their toolbox (of hitting things), Rogues get STR/DEX/CHA for same, Wizard gets INT for spells. In practice, it only impacts the number of infused reagents you get (and not by much) and the DC on your alchemical items (and only at 8th level and only if you take Powerful Alchemy).

1. How much alchemy? At 10th, you could have 45 mutagens (or bombs or elixirs of life if those are your specialty). Or 12 mutagens, 12 elixirs, & 5 in-combat options. Plus the cheap freebies.
That seems like it'd cover each combat. For you, not the party.
Or 1st, that's 4 mutagens & 4 elixirs & 1 in-combat option.
Or 10 bombs. Can't really afford in-combat options, but that'd cover most rounds.
Chirurgeon's a bit stretched trying to cover the party...hmm.
Maybe Field Discovery should move to 1st level, or some alchemical Cantrip (alcantrip? alchemtrip?) needs to be created. Maybe a 1st level ability in the Research Fields, like an elemental toss, faux-mutagen boost, or minor temp h.p. booster? Nothing they can share, so it can align w/ Cantrips in power (though not necessarily ramping up, that could be a nice addition, much like Rage ramps up).
And that Quick Alchemy & feats which use up infusions...so costly.
Dunno what to say.

2. In my first post I'd recommended Str as an option for Mutagenists and Dex for Bombers. Maybe Wisdom for Mutagenists? And the X=Int suggestion in my second post would cover this too. It is odd how easy it is to skip Int. Considering PF2 took out bonus spells for high stats, it's another oddity to see this similar mechanic for Alchemists.


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Exocist wrote:
Angel Hunter D wrote:
Bouncing off an earlier comment, I think one of the things really holding alchemists back is that consumables are really weak. Like, unless they're free I'd never even consider buying most of them.

Alchemical consumables are fairly weak relative to their cost (IMO) with some small exceptions. Though arguably this is because they're balanced around the alchemist making them rather than someone else buying them, the ability to purchase them is more of an afterthought.

I think that's broadly true, but... personally, there needs to be more to a class than the discount version of a shopping list, and more to class feats than making the discount store purchases 'less bad.'

I've seen people argue that the PF1 Alchemist got too much (multiple stacking buffs out of different resource pools), but the PF2 version really lost too much.

It feels like the old 'Expert' NPC class with a weak theme.


It'll be hard to rectify because the way Alchemist was built for P2e seems to push the character into one of three* builds (bombs, elixirs, mutagens, *and not even really poisons), but doesn't make any one item type quite strong enough on its own.

So unless you're a Bomber and really focus on bombs with all of your feats, your bombs are going to be pretty inefficient. They just aren't all that effective without things like Quick Bomber or Far Lobber or whatever. An Alchemist who wants to do Medicine checks needs to be a Chirurgeon or invest precious ability score points into Wisdom (those that are left over after pumping everything into Dexterity and Intelligence), and then they're not going to do it much better than a Rogue with a MCD without the benefit of everything else the Rogue does well. Plus, if you want to use lots of poisons, you don't have any options for dialing those up either, assuming they even hit with your bad proficiencies. If you're a Mutagenist you don't get anything, really, and by and large mutagens are pretty lackluster because of their odious penalties and can't stack with any gear because all of the alchemical items provide item bonuses.

That's all troubling because the 1e Alchemist could do all of those things well--cast extracts, use their mutagen, and throw bombs--and without any additional investment those options were all pretty useful. Once they specialized they could do some really kooky things, and I think a lot of that got lost.


Castilliano wrote:

QM:

- I want to be using Alchemical items a lot. In theory, I would expect I would be using alchemical items in most encounters. In practice, you really, really cannot. Offensive or defensive number bumps would address some of the feat related issues, but it still wouldn't make me feel more "alchemical" because at the end of the day, I cannot afford to use alchemical items with much frequency.

- I want to make more use of my primary stat. In theory, other classes have a primary stat that will be used directly when making use of their toolbox; Fighters get STR/DEX to use with their toolbox (of hitting things), Rogues get STR/DEX/CHA for same, Wizard gets INT for spells. In practice, it only impacts the number of infused reagents you get (and not by much) and the DC on your alchemical items (and only at 8th level and only if you take Powerful Alchemy).

1. How much alchemy? At 10th, you could have 45 mutagens (or bombs or elixirs of life if those are your specialty). Or 12 mutagens, 12 elixirs, & 5 in-combat options. Plus the cheap freebies.
That seems like it'd cover each combat. For you, not the party.
Or 1st, that's 4 mutagens & 4 elixirs & 1 in-combat option.
Or 10 bombs. Can't really afford in-combat options, but that'd cover most rounds.
Chirurgeon's a bit stretched trying to cover the party...hmm.
Maybe Field Discovery should move to 1st level, or some alchemical Cantrip (alcantrip? alchemtrip?) needs to be created. Maybe a 1st level ability in the Research Fields, like an elemental toss, faux-mutagen boost, or minor temp h.p. booster? Nothing they can share, so it can align w/ Cantrips in power (though not necessarily ramping up, that could be a nice addition, much like Rage ramps up).
And that Quick Alchemy & feats which use up infusions...so costly.
Dunno what to say.

2. In my first post I'd recommended Str as an option for Mutagenists and Dex for Bombers. Maybe Wisdom for Mutagenists? And the X=Int suggestion in my second post would cover this too. It is odd how easy it is...

1) As a Bomber, as I said, your schtick, to throw bombs, can be performed adequately in combat, if only because bombs lend themselves to that; you could throw one every round if you had quantity, and in later levels and after 7th, you will have that quantity. It's worse than a cantrip but it's doable. For Mutagenists, yes you may have the number but not all of your elixirs will be relevant. And your access to bombs is not nearly as replete as for Bombers; you simply can't bomb all day. And regardless, that's not what you signed up for, you signed up to be a combat beast using chemistry. Chirurgeons don't need antiplagues and antivenoms all day, but that's what they can generate for free.

2) Yeah, the combat numbers would be nice to boost, but yeah, something to make a primary attribute significant would be nice.


Bombs are a good bit better than cantrips though, and they even out perform fighters at level 3.


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Quintessentially Me wrote:

My issues:

- Alchemists don't make better use of their own toolbox; just more frequent use
- Even that more frequent use is less frequent that how often others can use their toolbox (e.g. casters get more spells per day than Alchemists get reagents; martials can use most of their abilities all day long)
- Alchemists seem the most reliant on Downtime activities i.e. to craft alchemical items so as not to have to rely solely on their infused batches
- Following onto that, other classes do not appear to be nearly as reliant on Downtime activities
- Alchemists don't get an all day variant of their toolbox until level 7 with Perpetual Infusions
- Only one research field, Bomber, feels like it meets expectations
- Mutagenists don't feel like they can really afford to go toe to toe in melee with Bestial mutagens, and they can't afford to bomb all day, so any other options become plinking away with a weapon like any other martial, though with fewer bonuses
- Chirurgeon's just don't feel like great healers, or, to the extent they are a valid healer, their attack options are even worse than the Mutagenist's if only because they can't use mutagens for buffs nearly as often
- Perpetual Infusions only gives one research field a meaningful boost, Bomber.
- Chirurgeon's Perpetual Infusion allows you to create antiplague/antivenom elixirs for free... that last 24 hours. The one version that would give you an immediate benefit to drinking it is the Major version which you never get for free
- Mutagenist's Perpetual Infusion allows you to create 2 of your selected mutagens for free; and to be fair, you don't always necessarily need your best tools to fight mooks. But, see Mutagenist's issues with being in combat (again, I'm looking at you Bestial Mutagen)

Alchemists mostly feel like the handy support guy who can dole out alchemical items and sometimes throws a bomb. It does not feel like a hero and doesn't feel like they are on equal footing with any other class.

IMO :)

Chirurgeons are weird in that on paper they can dump out a TON of healing probably second only to healing clerics. Their problem is their action economy is atrocious even with a familiar to help what they AND their target need to do action wise to heal makes them not really appreciated. So a lot just kinda wind up being downtime healing but with the healing skill that kind of healing is not even that useful because of the other avenues to just rapidly top people off.


One thing I was always wondering is if you just had alchemists able to make one item of their specialty one tier higher than they normally would be able to would "fix" them. So you have your master piece recipe so bombers would have one main DPS bomb, healers would have one a healing elixer one tier higher and a mutagenist would be one tier higher mutagen.

It would also give them some choices make all your stuff of your one best recipe but lose out flexibility or make a base amount of those and then still have some other stuff for on the fly mixing or diversity.

This would also put their damage and healing a bit more on par with the casters for their one focus item.

It also has the upside of making an alchemist legit better with alchemy than anybody else.


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citricking wrote:
Bombs are a good bit better than cantrips though, and they even out perform fighters at level 3.

...Only because they consume resources.

Fighters don't consume resources and neither do cantrips, so they do less damage than things that require consumed resources (like infused reagents).

Unfortunately bombs (at best) are as good as one half of a spell of the same level (but cost about half the resources and half the actions (but have worse accuracy and still require the occasional Quick Alchemy third action)).

You're trying to compare a fighter (who has a solid +4 to hit above an alchemist) doing 1d8 to the alchemist doing 2d8 and going "see, the alchemist is better" and forgetting that the alchemist is going to miss 50% more, and while the alchemist does get something on a miss, its really really just pity damage (seriously, 2 damage).


citricking wrote:
Bombs are a good bit better than cantrips though, and they even out perform fighters at level 3.

How?

At level 3:

Electric Arc does 2d4 +4 to two targets, with no friendly fire. That's more total damage than the most damaging alchemist fire.

Alchemist Fire: 11 avg damage plus 1 persistent to one target, if they hit,and 2 points to the other
Electric Arc: 9 points average to each target

Alchemist is going to have +5(Trained plus level) +1 item +3 Dex so +9 to hit
Fighter is going to have +7(Expert plus level) +1 item +4 Str/Dex so +12 to hit.

That's HUGE in PF2 math. Plus, the fighter can do it all day and potentially gets Str bonus damage, as opposed to potentially 14 bombs (making nothing but bombs) for the Alchemist.

At best, the alchemist is going to do one or two points of damage if they miss.

So no, I don't agree at all that they can outperform fighters OR cantrips


citricking wrote:
Bombs are a good bit better than cantrips though, and they even out perform fighters at level 3.

Are they? Same action to use as cantrips, similar damage to weapons [one to draw, one to throw], slight damage to friends and foes in an area... What's a "good bit better" and how is it "out perform fighters at level 3"?


Aricks wrote:
citricking wrote:
Bombs are a good bit better than cantrips though, and they even out perform fighters at level 3.

How?

At level 3:

Electric Arc does 2d4 +4 to two targets, with no friendly fire. That's more total damage than the most damaging alchemist fire.

Alchemist Fire: 11 avg damage plus 1 persistent to one target, if they hit,and 2 points to the other
Electric Arc: 9 points average to each target

Alchemist is going to have +5(Trained plus level) +1 item +3 Dex so +9 to hit
Fighter is going to have +7(Expert plus level) +1 item +4 Str/Dex so +12 to hit.

That's HUGE in PF2 math. Plus, the fighter can do it all day and potentially gets Str bonus damage, as opposed to potentially 14 bombs (making nothing but bombs) for the Alchemist.

At best, the alchemist is going to do one or two points of damage if they miss.

So no, I don't agree at all that they can outperform fighters OR cantrips

There's a tool you can compare with

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1yNIsvqBljzB9U0K1UVTEElXOEmD9Wu_FDv9qxiL OdMg/edit?usp=drivesdk


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graystone wrote:
citricking wrote:
Bombs are a good bit better than cantrips though, and they even out perform fighters at level 3.
Are they? Same action to use as cantrips, similar damage to weapons [one to draw, one to throw], slight damage to friends and foes in an area... What's a "good bit better" and how is it "out perform fighters at level 3"?

Quick bomber to throw one at full attack bonus, one at -5. With burn it or a quick silver mutagen you do more expected damage than a d12 weapon using fighter making two attacks at level 3 (this is vs equal level moderate Ac with persistent damage counted as applying once, only damage to primary target counted)


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The URL bbcode tag exists, btw.


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So with a class feat, an ancestry feat, two bombs, and another consumable active you can do damage like a Fighter can every round just by saying "I strike it"


Puna'chong wrote:
So with a class feat, an ancestry feat, two bombs, and another consumable active you can do damage like a Fighter can every round just by saying "I strike it"

"Or"… an ancestry feat or another consumable


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citricking wrote:
graystone wrote:
citricking wrote:
Bombs are a good bit better than cantrips though, and they even out perform fighters at level 3.
Are they? Same action to use as cantrips, similar damage to weapons [one to draw, one to throw], slight damage to friends and foes in an area... What's a "good bit better" and how is it "out perform fighters at level 3"?
Quick bomber to throw one at full attack bonus, one at -5. With burn it or a quick silver mutagen you do more expected damage than a few weapon using fighter making two attacks at level 3 (this is vs equal level moderate Ac with persistent damage counted as applying once, only damage to primary target counted)

Then you misspoke: your point is not BOMBS but a BOMBER is better. You go even further, making it a GOBLIN BOMBER or spending an extra alchemical item [with free 2x damage to yourself and -2 fort] with 2 bombs to make it better than it is on your average attack with a bow.

SO, is a goblin bomber alchemist using a quicksilver mutagen better than a fighter at third? Not IMO, but if that had been your argument it would have been a closer thing.


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citricking wrote:
Puna'chong wrote:
So with a class feat, an ancestry feat, two bombs, and another consumable active you can do damage like a Fighter can every round just by saying "I strike it"
"Or"… an ancestry feat or another consumable

COMPELLING ARGUMENT

citricking wrote:

There's a tool you can compare with

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1yNIsvqBljzB9U0K1UVTEElXOEmD9Wu_FDv9qxiL OdMg/edit?usp=drivesdk

Also, your tool isn't loading for me. The service says "it is taking longer to load then expected, check the logs" and there are no logs.


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Aricks wrote:
citricking wrote:
Bombs are a good bit better than cantrips though, and they even out perform fighters at level 3.

How?

At level 3:

Electric Arc does 2d4 +4 to two targets, with no friendly fire. That's more total damage than the most damaging alchemist fire.

Alchemist Fire: 11 avg damage plus 1 persistent to one target, if they hit,and 2 points to the other
Electric Arc: 9 points average to each target

Alchemist is going to have +5(Trained plus level) +1 item +3 Dex so +9 to hit
Fighter is going to have +7(Expert plus level) +1 item +4 Str/Dex so +12 to hit.

That's HUGE in PF2 math. Plus, the fighter can do it all day and potentially gets Str bonus damage, as opposed to potentially 14 bombs (making nothing but bombs) for the Alchemist.

At best, the alchemist is going to do one or two points of damage if they miss.

So no, I don't agree at all that they can outperform fighters OR cantrips

Don't forget, the Fighter can pick up the same bomb and has a +2 attack advantage over the Alchemist...the one called Bomber.

The Precision Ranger can add +1d8 damage w/ the same attack bonus, and an extra range increment before penalties.

Alchemist's flat out have to be rebuilt as martials, with the same baseline offense and a special perk that adds damage (or attack or healing) w/ their specialties/Research Fields.

And then they need a total revamp of feats so they aren't such a resource drain to use. How many premade bombs/elixirs/whatnot did that just cost to do Quick Alchemy and pay the feat's infusion cost too?
Who can afford using Debilitating Bombs? Now compare that to Rogues doing Debilitating at will w/ Sneak Attack.
(Plus it's part of a feat chain, one Bomber's pretty much need to have an effect at higher levels and something PF2 sought to avoid.)

And feats like Merciful Elixir at 10th, giving you (at a much higher resource cost!) the same effects a Champion can do at 4th?
Exploitive Bomb at 16th mirroring what blasters can take at 10th, yet not at your highest level and with a hefty resource cost while the blasters get it at will.
Is 6 levels later a thing for Alchemists? How high is the price of versatility? Not that I think they're more versatile than a well-prepared full caster, even before one adds scrolls, staves, & wands.

Megabomb at 20th(!) with its deep cost to use giving a decent sized alchemical Fireball, except w/ damage like a 4th level spell and 60' range. I guess if one has anti-magic up or lots of Golems (yet, not really since even their Weaknesses don't close the damage gap).
(Note: When Hasted one could throw 2/round, but you'd burn through your resources really fast. Maybe normal throw, then this? But it's 20th, dang it!)

And Perfect Mutagen at 20th seems its own best argument against using mutagens. So the penalty from mutagens is so severe that it's worth a 20th level feat to get rid of?
As if comparing an Alchemist w/ the highest level Bestial Mutagen (+Feral Mutagen) to a Wild Shape Druid (a full caster...) wasn't already argument enough against a Mutagenist. (Not to mention an Animal Barb.)

Okay, I think I've dived deep enough into this alchemical abyss.
Just hoping Paizo, who hasn't let me down with PF2 yet!, swallows this bitter elixir and reboots the Alchemist.


Draco18s wrote:
Also, your tool isn't loading for me. The service says "it is taking longer to load then expected, check the logs" and there are no logs.

Yep, same here. Even this site doesn't load up a page 1/2 the time. Too many people on the internet these days. ;)


Regardless of how good it is, Alchemist sticks out as simply not being a well-designed 2E class (opinion, of course). It's cumbersome to use, has a weird and unsatisfying feat structure and overall doesn't feel finished.

As I see it, this is the far greater issue plaguing the class rather than power concerns.


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Plus there just aren't enough limbs. I demand more limbs!

Edit: In all seriousness, Puna'chong Sr. has been getting quite into P2e. We've been making characters online in Roll20 and we got to Alchemist last night. Puna'chong Sr. was very unimpressed with the overall package. At one point he said essentially "OK, but they get these cool unique bombs that do crazy stuff right?" and was visibly disappointed at learning that they just use Alchemist's Fires like anyone else.

He was expecting more of what P1e had--arms and tentacles and potion-spells and kooky abilities. While that might come with time, at this stage there are too many required feats and underwhelming, janky class features that I'm not sure you'd even have room to take extra arms or a doppelganger incubation chamber without suffering because you didn't pick up Powerful Alchemy or whatever.


I am trying to carry over my 5e Roll20 group to 2e FG and am really worried about this. One of my friends ended up picking the Alchemist... and am worried it will leave a bad taste in his mouth.

I am really excited to try 2e and just want everyone to have fun. I hear all these stories about Alchemist being weak and I really hope they aren't that bad...


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RPGnoremac wrote:

I am trying to carry over my 5e Roll20 group to 2e FG and am really worried about this. One of my friends ended up picking the Alchemist... and am worried it will leave a bad taste in his mouth.

I am really excited to try 2e and just want everyone to have fun. I hear all these stories about Alchemist being weak and I really hope they aren't that bad...

Depends what level you're starting. Alchemist has 3 main issues IMO. In order of importance:

1) They run out of reagents quickly at low levels. Their main draw (additives through quick alchemy) is not really usable until you get to level 7 due to the cost of it relative to the amount of reagents you have (and the generally weak effect of additives until you get to sticky bomb/greater debilitating bomb).

2) They're boring. Not only are mutagens simply +1s here or there, which may be mathematically fine but are mechanically uninteresting, they also have an issue of things you look forward to. Even martials have cool new tricks at higher levels now days. Alchemist is like playing a wizard who only knows Hydraulic Push, Burning Hands and Magic Missile, and your only option for your higher level slots is to heighten those spells. All of their stuff is given to you in the first 4 levels, higher levels versions are just the same stuff with bigger numbers for the most part.

3) The feat list is full of math fixers. Quick Bomber, Calculated Splash, Expanded Splash (the damage portion), Powerful Alchemy, Potent Poisoner... all of these are things that should be in the base class.

Having said that, if you start at a high level (8+ is preferable) and build "correctly" (bomber, sticky bomb, splash enhancers, quick bomber is optional if you start at level 9+) then the alchemist is actually fine mechanically. Just might not be the most exciting gameplay.

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