Alchemists in Practice: What should I be doing?


Advice

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'm playing an alchemist in Ruins of Gauntlight atm. We're using free archetype, I'm taking medic, and took the Anatomist background. Character is essentially a doctor and teacher who uses his knowledge as a weapon, I.E.: bombs.

While a doctor was my first idea, chirurgen is almost completely useless in a very real sense, so I decided to go bomber for more combat versatility and use.

Now, I've played through the entirety of Agents of Edgewatch and numerous other campaigns, and a lot of adventures. My group plays A RIDICULOUS AMOUNT during the pandemic, and we have lots of real play experience under our belts. I get how the game flows, how classes grow, and etc.

I just do NOT get how an alchemist stands out. I really don't. I'm a Paizo simp to the utmost, but I really just don't get what happened here.

My issues (and the requests for advice on fixing/addressing them) are as follows.

1. My bombs are trash. In a balanced situation, against the first mite miniboss in the dungeon, our rogue attacks from hidden and crits. Does 4d6+1d10 with her shortbow. One-shot the boss. Meanwhile when I crit against a group earlier, I did a total of 8 damage, which our wizard has a very real chance of doing, also in an AoE, with electric arc. My damage, even at it's HIGHEST POTENTIAL, is currently and, as far as I can tell, will ALWAYS be behind.

2. I can craft potions and the like. That's nice, and the freedom and flexibility of the reagents is great. Problem is, when am I gonna have a need to spend two actions pulling out and administering a 1d6 potion to someone when I could spend a SINGLE action using battle medicine, something literally ANYONE can do? Even at the highest, and even if you consider them being free, a medicine check will always outshine an elixir of life for the sheer simplicity of it. Can't roll assurance on drinking a potion.

3. Almost every mutagen is statistically bad. Any sort of skill bonus they give can easily and simply be replicated by a guidance spell until level 3, and even then do I want to spend my needed reagents on helping our wizard get a +2 on recall knowledge for ten minutes when I could just use the alchemical crafting skill feat as any other class and do the same thing?

4. Any sort of advantage I get is able to be copied or done better by another class, or often as a skill feat. The main purpose I can foresee is my quick production of antidotes and antitoxins. As the campaign goes on, I am going to be relegated to nothing more than a 'running around the field using battle medicine' bot, and I just don't see why bombs cap at such a LOW number for a disposable weapon, when a fighter with a flaming rune and a fearsome rune can both debuff and do energy damage on a (pretty likely) crit, when I have to struggle to do more than a few points of splash damage on anything slightly high in AC.

Am I really missing something here? I know there's been a lot of discourse over the alchemist. I have LOVED every class I've played but I just do NOT get why alchemist was made a class as-is, especially when compared to how fun the 1e alchemist was. It's like a skill-class that gets overshadowed by a rogue at even that.

TL;DR: my damage is subpar, my healing is subpar, my utility is overshadowed, and my group niche seems... nonexistant. I feel like an NPC, to be honest, and it sort of sucks.


Level 1-2 Alchemist is plain bad. There's not much you can do about it.
Starting at level 3, bombs start to be useful (actually, at level 3, they are gorgeous).


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My friend retired her Alchemist after 11th level, swapped for a 2h Redeemer. She was much happier in combat afterwards. I don't think she regretted the change.


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if you are playing in a nonpfs game i recomment heavy houseruling for the Alchemist.

It's the only thing that can be done to bring him up to par with the rest classes at this point, since small erratas will be hardpressed to change all the small (and big) problems the class is facing and i do not think we are yet in the point(timewise) of having an "unchained" class redo

Liberty's Edge

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If you want my advice, it would be to let go of the idea that you should be treating the Alchemist like any other Martial Class because they're not a Martial Class.

They are support, utility, flexibility, and skill centric.

Actions to Aid are fantastic.
You're looking at the Mutagens the wrong way, sure they're not statistically BETTER than some other option (That you don't even have real access to in the first place) but that doesn't mean they're worthless or a waste of time/energy. That's like complaining that you only got Vanilla Ice Cream because you wanted Cookie Dough.

For real, quit looking at the Bombs as your yardstick here, if you're trying to measure your effectiveness and all you're doing is focusing on offense then... well, no wonder you and your group are coming up short. Raw offense and damage potential is just not part of their bag of tricks. Instead, they are able to lean into battlefield control, exploiting weaknesses, make reliable Recall Knowledge checks, prepare backup strategies such as ensuring the party can always retreat if needed, and ward themselves and their party against environmental hazards (one thing bombs ARE great for is breaking/triggering Traps remotely).


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your analogy with icecream is off. mutagens feel more like asking for icecream and instead getting just a cone filled with poison. getting a +1 to something at the expense of getting -4 to a stat is a tough pill to swallow. for the most part, apart from very VERY specific circumstances, mutagens are indeed a waste of resources and time.

as for skills, alchemists are in no way, shape, or form "skillcentric" either. If you want to make a skill focused utility character you build an investigator or a rogue, and those have way higher skills plus actual skill support from their class feats/abilities.

for utility, any caster is simply better utility as well.

TBH, there's literally no reason alchemist should have lower than martial weapon proficiency, not when classes like investigator and rogue have full weapon proficiency while simultaneously more utility.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I'm going to link back to the other thread, because I addressed some of this over there. Especially the crit numbers-- those are a really bad way to look at the class when bombs are built around reliable chip damage.

All that being said... This might the wrong class for you. An Investigator with the forensic field plus medic is an amazing healer, and is arguably better at crit fishing than the rogue. Make sure you build in some things to do that aren't strikes like Demoralize or Electric Arc.

If you do want to make the alchemist work, I'd suggest trying to adjust your expectations to that of a support class. You're not gonna be hitting as hard as a hidden rogue with a deadly crit. But you can make that rogue hit significantly harder. Poisoning her arrows helps. So does hitting her target with bottled lightning. Keeping an opponent flat-footed can be a real struggle and action sink for a ranged rogue. You massively simplify her turn by hitting with a zap jar and give her more opportunities to crit fish.

Also, how are y'all for scouting and intel gathering? Buffing in combat is hard but when you can do it right before you kick in the door it is sweet. A familiar with a permissive GM or feats like Terrain Stalker can go a long way towards being prepared with the right answer.


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shroudb wrote:

your analogy with icecream is off. mutagens feel more like asking for icecream and instead getting just a cone filled with poison. getting a +1 to something at the expense of getting -4 to a stat is a tough pill to swallow. for the most part, apart from very VERY specific circumstances, mutagens are indeed a waste of resources and time.

as for skills, alchemists are in no way, shape, or form "skillcentric" either. If you want to make a skill focused utility character you build an investigator or a rogue, and those have way higher skills plus actual skill support from their class feats/abilities.

for utility, any caster is simply better utility as well.

TBH, there's literally no reason alchemist should have lower than martial weapon proficiency, not when classes like investigator and rogue have full weapon proficiency while simultaneously more utility.

Alchemist can be quite good at skills, on par with Rogues or Investigators. They are less specialized but can have a crazy breadth of skills with high bonuses.

For utility, it's quite good, and not far away from casters. It really depends on what caster. Of course, a prepared caster has a lot of utility. But a Sorcerer will rely on scrolls for most of its utility. So, Alchemist is competitive in terms of utility. And Quick Alchemy gives you a lot of versatility at high level, too.

Alchemist has its issues, and I clearly wouldn't play one outside very specific circumstances. But it's not all wrong either.


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Themetricsystem wrote:


They are support, utility, flexibility, and skill centric.

Actions to Aid are fantastic.

On a skill focused character, they can be but alchemist isn't really bringing the skill part of any benefit to aid any other character can.

Themetricsystem wrote:
Alchemist can be quite good at skills, on par with Rogues or Investigators.

I'll have to strenuously disagree that alchemists are even close to Rogues or Investigators in terms of skills: just plain numbers of skills is better then you add in more skill feats and it's no real contest. An alchemist only has ONE more skill than a wizard...

Themetricsystem wrote:
You're looking at the Mutagens the wrong way, sure they're not statistically BETTER than some other option (That you don't even have real access to in the first place) but that doesn't mean they're worthless or a waste of time/energy. That's like complaining that you only got Vanilla Ice Cream because you wanted Cookie Dough.

It's more like asking for vanilla, you getting that vanilla AND a free kick to the groin.

Themetricsystem wrote:
For real, quit looking at the Bombs as your yardstick here, if you're trying to measure your effectiveness and all you're doing is focusing on offense then... well, no wonder you and your group are coming up short.

Well, when one subclass of the class is all about the bombs it's hard to not use it's main thing as a yardstick. battlefield control and exploiting weaknesses is interesting but it's a tough pill to swallow that handing a martial those bombs gives you better results than using them yourselves.


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graystone wrote:
I'll have to strenuously disagree that alchemists are even close to Rogues or Investigators in terms of skills: just plain numbers of skills is better then you add in more skill feats and it's no real contest. An alchemist only has ONE more skill than a wizard...

It's not the number of skills, it's the bonuses. Mutagens give you the max item bonus +1. If you add something like Ageless Patience for a +2 circumstance bonus, you get the equivalent of Expert/Master proficiency in all skills you're Trained, so basically all skills. And starting at level 11, you can add any skill you need when you want, mostly Lores, allowing you to use Int on skills that are not Int-based (this one's very GM dependent).

Yes, you are very competitive against Rogues and Investigator. Not in specialization but in breadth.


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Alchemists are the portable store class.
If there's some useful alchemy you wished you'd brought along, an Alchemist can make it appear. That's an amazing amount of utility...though less amazing the more capable, wealthy, and resourceful the party is!
So it's not that their damage can contend with a martial (it can't), but that if there's a particular need (i.e. fire vs. Trolls) they'll be able to get that without issues. Versus vanilla enemies or in "white room" battles, there's little for an Alchemist to contribute other than as a body on the field. Also a bummer if you're thinking "I have a solution for this!" when a caster does too (or a martial who bought well).

They also can get bonuses +1 higher than regular sources (or better if the PC is also behind the curve). That's pretty sweet too, except it also makes up a lot of the Alchemist's usefulness for those minor bonuses. That's neat when attrition isn't a factor, yet harder to justify when it is, or when there's a large party and your abilities are single target.

So yeah, there's a conundrum of it needing a veteran to run an Alchemist (w/ product knowledge & knowing when mutagen penalties won't ruin the benefits...which is usually), yet they're less useful in a veteran party (which you seem to have).

If possible, I'd switch out, maybe try MCD Alchemist so you have a stronger main shtick, but still can dabble with alchemy.

ETA: Or you could be the guinea pig for us all. Take it to high levels and relate to us whether there was a payoff or benefit we'd overlooked.
Who knows, right? Enough devs seem to think Alchemists function fine.


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SuperBidi wrote:
It's not the number of skills, it's the bonuses. Mutagens give you the max item bonus +1.

Anyone can use them, including a real skill class: for instance an investigator with Alchemical Sciences.

SuperBidi wrote:
If you add something like Ageless Patience for a +2 circumstance bonus, you get the equivalent of Expert/Master proficiency in all skills you're Trained, so basically all skills.

Sure, but that's something anyone can take: I'd say it's be even MORE valuable on an actual skill class.

SuperBidi wrote:
And starting at level 11, you can add any skill you need when you want, mostly Lores, allowing you to use Int on skills that are not Int-based (this one's very GM dependent).

What are you getting at 11th that other classes aren't?

SuperBidi wrote:
Yes, you are very competitive against Rogues and Investigator. Not in specialization but in breadth.

Not really, as EVERYTHNG you're pointed out can also be taken by a real skill class so the alchemist doesn't gain any ground on them: they are just 1 skill better than the wizard and I don't count a wizard as a skill class either even though they can cast spells to buff those skills.


Castilliano wrote:

Alchemists are the portable store class.

If there's some useful alchemy you wished you'd brought along, an Alchemist can make it appear. That's an amazing amount of utility...though less amazing the more capable, wealthy, and resourceful the party is!

If you have the formula that is. ;)

Castilliano wrote:
They also can get bonuses +1 higher than regular sources (or better if the PC is also behind the curve).

True, but they pay VERY dearly for it with massive penalties compared to the bonus.


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Castilliano wrote:


They also can get bonuses +1 higher than regular sources (or better if the PC is also behind the curve). That's pretty sweet too, except it also makes up a lot of the Alchemist's usefulness for those minor bonuses. That's neat when attrition isn't a factor, yet harder to justify when it is, or when there's a large party and your abilities are single target.

the tricky part being that this is worded wrong.

they get ITEM bonuses 1 higher yes.

but total bonuses they get the exact same as suing a cantrip which gives the same +1 status bonus.

the difference is that status bonus doesnt come with a drawback.

so you have 1 superior type (spells/cantrips) and 1 inferior (extra item bonus)

you can stack them, but then they should be equal, so if one has a penalty so should the other, and if one doesnt have a penalty, neither should the other as well. (ans that's exluding ALL the other problems of the mutagens as applying only to specific skills, specific attacks, and etc, while status bonuses apply to all skills, all attacks, evfen some aoe ones and etc)


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

See, Graystone really gets it.

As I said in my main post, an alchemist CAN do all these things. But so many other classes can do literally everything they can, and without much effort.

Targeting weakness is also something a bit lame to focus a class on. In our Agents of Edgewatch campaign, our aasimar swashbuckler did HUNDREDS of weakness-damage due to the +1 point of good damage on her attacks, while not specifically going for it. Meanwhile an alchemist has to specifically use class features to achieve a worse result.

And as I stated I'm not looking at this as a martial class, just as a class in general. It has no strengths that make it stand out as a class on its own. Could have been an archetype tbh.


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I find it funny that I damned the class with faint praise, and counterpoints to that praise, then people retorted with similar counterpoints.
The Alchemist gains no love.

And Virellius, I think it comes across better were it an archetype for many of the same reasons Gunslingers do: its feats are fixers.

ETA: Fixers for issues an archetype likely wouldn't have.


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Here's somethings every Alchemist defender seems to never account for:

You can't debuff your enemies if you're not able hit them.

Dealing 2-5 damage on a miss doesn't feel good. It is made worse when you really can't have the dice go your way.

Weakness are rarer in real adventures than they are in theoretical arguments. At least on Paizo's APs.

Having no alternative to Strike is a missed opportunity to the class, more so if we're talking about a mutagenist.


Castilliano wrote:

I find it funny that I damned the class with faint praise, and counterpoints to that praise, then people retorted with similar counterpoints.

The Alchemist gains no love.

It's hard to tell that that was the intent: I've seen far too many people make those same point in all seriousness when pointing to how good the class is. ;)


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graystone wrote:
Castilliano wrote:

I find it funny that I damned the class with faint praise, and counterpoints to that praise, then people retorted with similar counterpoints.

The Alchemist gains no love.
It's hard to tell that that was the intent: I've seen far too many people make those same point in all seriousness when pointing to how good the class is. ;)

Technically, I had been trying to show good an Alchemist is by laying out all its advantages. I guess you've run into people who think that list of advantages is significant?

IMO even steelmanned, the Alchemist comes out poorly and has little to contribute. It does have that little bit, but I can't see basing a PC around incremental nudges (at least not in any party configuration I've been able to dream up). Nearly everything you can contribute gets overshadowed, or can be duplicated by MCD Alchemist on a class with martial prowess or full casting.

Unfortunate thing is, as an archetype (non-MCD), there'd have been more Alchemists because the feats wouldn't have been at 2x the level.
As it is, a PC Alchemist can contribute nearly as much by parking at the entrance of the dungeon as they can inside (and not need to be protected!). "Hey, run back and get X from our dungeon-store-guy while we do Medicine. And get some milk & bread while you're at it." 10 minutes is a long time to travel on the scale of most dungeons.


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Quote:
1. My bombs are trash. In a balanced situation, against the first mite miniboss in the dungeon, our rogue attacks from hidden and crits. Does 4d6+1d10 with her shortbow. One-shot the boss. Meanwhile when I crit against a group earlier, I did a total of 8 damage, which our wizard has a very real chance of doing, also in an AoE, with electric arc. My damage, even at it's HIGHEST POTENTIAL, is currently and, as far as I can tell, will ALWAYS be behind.

Yes, bomb damage is low. Go for support or sticky bomb on a weakness. You can get good aligned damage with access to alignment ampoule. Ask your GM.

Quote:
2. I can craft potions and the like. That's nice, and the freedom and flexibility of the reagents is great. Problem is, when am I gonna have a need to spend two actions pulling out and administering a 1d6 potion to someone when I could spend a SINGLE action using battle medicine, something literally ANYONE can do? Even at the highest, and even if you consider them being free, a medicine check will always outshine an elixir of life for the sheer simplicity of it. Can't roll assurance on drinking a potion.

Get an independent manual dexterity familiar. Gnomes can get one at level 1.

Quote:
3. Almost every mutagen is statistically bad. Any sort of skill bonus they give can easily and simply be replicated by a guidance spell until level 3, and even then do I want to spend my needed reagents on helping our wizard get a +2 on recall knowledge for ten minutes when I could just use the alchemical crafting skill feat as any other class and do the same thing?

Mutagens give item bonuses. This type of bonus is rare. All other classes give each other status bonuses or circumstance bonuses and those don't stack with each other. Either way, noone is forcing you to make mutagens. If you don't like downsides, make elixirs (cat's eye or mistform) or poisons.

Quote:
4. Any sort of advantage I get is able to be copied or done better by another class, or often as a skill feat. The main purpose I can foresee is my quick production of antidotes and antitoxins. As the campaign goes on, I am going to be relegated to nothing more than a 'running around the field using battle medicine' bot, and I just don't see why bombs cap at such a LOW number for a disposable weapon, when a fighter with a flaming rune and a fearsome rune can both debuff and do energy damage on a (pretty likely) crit, when I have to struggle to do more than a few points of splash damage on anything slightly high in AC.

Alchemists are a mediocre support class. Accept it, choose a different class, or ask your GM to homebrew.


Lightning Raven wrote:
Weakness are rarer in real adventures than they are in theoretical arguments. At least on Paizo's APs.

This is better stated as "weaknesses are covariant in APs."

If you're playing a fire-themed AP, you can invest in a frost sword, and if you're playing in a cold-themed AP, you can invest in a fire sword.

If every session you roll a 1d4 and decide which elemental plane you travel to, you get the full diversity. In that case, you prefer the versatile (but smaller) bonus rather than the fixed (but larger) bonus.

Theoretical arguments go from the full list of monsters. APs draw from a subset of related monsters (meaning if one has fire weakness, others are likely to as well). Pick-up games like PFS tend to use a much wider subset of monsters.


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Lightning Raven wrote:

Here's somethings every Alchemist defender seems to never account for:

You can't debuff your enemies if you're not able hit them.

Dealing 2-5 damage on a miss doesn't feel good. It is made worse when you really can't have the dice go your way.

Weakness are rarer in real adventures than they are in theoretical arguments. At least on Paizo's APs.

Having no alternative to Strike is a missed opportunity to the class, more so if we're talking about a mutagenist.

Hello, I like alchemist, I play alchemist, and I don't give a crap if bombs don't hit because I don't use bombs that often. Yes I play a mutagenist, it's an actually good feature with unique benefits and capitalises on the class's strengths. No I don't rely on weaknesses (tho I do carry ghost charges and acid flasks at times, golems and ghosts are nasty). When I don't Strike I normally Shield, Stride, Feint, or Battle Medicine, but there's always a bunch of less-used actions. We don't play with familiar force-feeding potions to people because we don't think it makes sense. Still good, even if I'm always 2-3 points of attack behind the Fighter (will be 4-5 at the highest levels, but guess what, I hit harder than he does).

Trick is to use the good items, not just bombs you sometimes hit with. If you make something, you want to get its effect.

Stop playing full bomber. Bombs are an extra.


Watery Soup wrote:
Lightning Raven wrote:
Weakness are rarer in real adventures than they are in theoretical arguments. At least on Paizo's APs.

This is better stated as "weaknesses are covariant in APs."

If you're playing a fire-themed AP, you can invest in a frost sword, and if you're playing in a cold-themed AP, you can invest in a fire sword.

If every session you roll a 1d4 and decide which elemental plane you travel to, you get the full diversity. In that case, you prefer the versatile (but smaller) bonus rather than the fixed (but larger) bonus.

Theoretical arguments go from the full list of monsters. APs draw from a subset of related monsters (meaning if one has fire weakness, others are likely to as well). Pick-up games like PFS tend to use a much wider subset of monsters.

I meant more like frequency than type. Our group was prepared to fight fire-based enemies and similar, since Dahak was a Red Dragon and had a bunch of followers with his blessings. But nope, only random dudes with no weaknesses whatsoever and after we had access to elemental runes, we didn't fight any creature with Cold weakness. Sure, this doesn't constitutes a trend, but while reading other AP's and checking out some monsters, it seems the GM really needs to go out of their way to put as many monsters vulnerable to weaknesses as it can (which ends up benefiting casters anyway, with their several elemental cantrips and various ways of getting more of them ready).


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Ediwir wrote:
...Still good, even if I'm always 2-3 points of attack behind the Fighter (will be 4-5 at the highest levels, but guess what, I hit harder than he does)...

Curious, what's your build that hits harder than a fighter?


Alchemists' variety of damage types is less about capitalizing on weaknesses and more about circumventing resistances, IMHO.

Having a Witch using Elemental Betrayal helps...


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voideternal wrote:
Ediwir wrote:
...Still good, even if I'm always 2-3 points of attack behind the Fighter (will be 4-5 at the highest levels, but guess what, I hit harder than he does)...
Curious, what's your build that hits harder than a fighter?

Just a simple mutagenist with a decent Strength. Our Fighter is a twfer so his weapon dice isn't huge, while I'll eventually be running agile d12 deadly... he deals more damage overall because I lean towards utility/healing/buffing, but we're definitely switched on the damage/precision axis.


Ediwir wrote:
...I'll eventually be running agile d12 deadly...

How does a mutagenist get agile d12?


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voideternal wrote:
Ediwir wrote:
...I'll eventually be running agile d12 deadly...
How does a mutagenist get agile d12?

He made a mistake, it's d12 Deadly d10 + Agile d10 Deadly d10. And you can use Flurry of Blows with it. So you can strike hard once you get to double digit numbers, you have nearly martial damage at the end of your carreer.


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Are we disregarding the fact that going twf fighter means lower base damage for a whooping +5 on your second attack now? (no map on it)

Also, "eventually d10 agile" also means -2 to AC. That's already an extreme negative for a d8 frontliner.

That's not "2-3 point behind" in accuracy. That's "2-3 on first attack and 7-8 on second".

Let alone that the lower die is already covered because fighter has +4 base damage from higher strength and level 7 weapon spec while alchemist needs level 13 for weapon spec

Liberty's Edge

What I get here is that an Alchemist can be a worthy frontliner while also having all these nice alchemical toys for free, and being able to get the one you need when you need it several times per day. Not that bad. It makes me slightly interested in trying it one of these days.


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graystone wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
It's not the number of skills, it's the bonuses. Mutagens give you the max item bonus +1.
Anyone can use them, including a real skill class: for instance an investigator with Alchemical Sciences.

At level 5, my Alchemist has +15 in Thievery. I've never seen a Rogue having such a high bonus, so I'm the one disarming traps.

Sure, Rogues can have a higher bonus than that but I don't care about what other classes "can" do, I care about what actually happens at my PFS tables. And at my tables, with the proper mutagen (which is costly at my level but will be less and less costly) I'm the one disarming traps, not the Rogue.
So, yes, my Alchemist is a competitive skill monkey.

I also like the Familiar healer (and I really think it's not something that the GM should forbid as it's a very important part of the Alchemist utility). With Master Form you have one-action Elixirs of Life, which is competitive in terms of action efficiency with max level Heal.

Anyway, I won't say Alchemist is strong as it's wrong. But there are features that can be salvaged to end up with a playable character.


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shroudb wrote:

Are we disregarding the fact that going twf fighter means lower base damage for a whooping +5 on your second attack now? (no map on it)

Also, "eventually d10 agile" also means -2 to AC. That's already an extreme negative for a d8 frontliner.

That's not "2-3 point behind" in accuracy. That's "2-3 on first attack and 7-8 on second".

Let alone that the lower die is already covered because fighter has +4 base damage from higher strength and level 7 weapon spec while alchemist needs level 13 for weapon spec

Your Flurry of Blows is competitive with a Greatsword Giant Barbarian first attack. So, yes, it's quite nice for damage. And Giant Barbarians also have -2 to AC. Now, they have more hit points, but you have strong healing abilities through your Elixirs. So I don't think it's that imbalanced, especially considering that the Barbarian only schtick is to hit monsters when there are a lot of other things you can do.


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SuperBidi wrote:
At level 5, my Alchemist has +15 in Thievery. I've never seen a Rogue having such a high bonus, so I'm the one disarming traps.

I'd like to see a breakdown of that: if it's based on a Quicksilver Mutagen, those have a very limited duration. Unless EVERY lock/trap can be done in 10 min, you're taking multiple mutagens. And even if it was, it's not like it's anything special as an investigator can make them for free too: or for that matter, so can the rogue for a simple feat. There is nothing in class that makes them a skill class.

SuperBidi wrote:
Sure, Rogues can have a higher bonus than that but I don't care about what other classes "can" do, I care about what actually happens at my PFS tables.

I could care less about your antidotal 'evidence' from PFS tables as there is no way to tell how well the characters are made. I know from my own builds of alchemists vs investigators/rogues that I've seen MILES of difference in skills: it's not even a contest. Just the other day I made a rogue that had every skill + Loremaster Lore at level 2: want to try that with an alchemist?

SuperBidi wrote:
So, yes, my Alchemist is a competitive skill monkey.

Maybe if you have an incredibly poorly made skill monkey to compare too [like 8 int or something]: compared to a reasonably made rogue or investigator... I just don't believe you: even at a 10 int, it's got as many skills as an 18 int alchemist and twice the skill feats.

SuperBidi wrote:
I also like the Familiar healer (and I really think it's not something that the GM should forbid as it's a very important part of the Alchemist utility). With Master Form you have one-action Elixirs of Life, which is competitive in terms of action efficiency with max level Heal.

There is a LOT of variance on how much utility you get out of a familiar, especially one that's active in the battlefield. One groups familiar healer is another's dead familiar from area attacks and/or is useless as it has no stats or carry capacity even with master form. There is just far too much left up to the DM to have a familiar solve any of the alchemists issues universally across all games.

SuperBidi wrote:
But there are features that can be salvaged to end up with a playable character.

Well you can PLAY any class: that's not the issue. I mean you can play an NPC class in PF1 but no one is going to say a warrior and a ranger are even close by most metrics.


graystone wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
So, yes, my Alchemist is a competitive skill monkey.
Maybe if you have an incredibly poorly made skill monkey to compare too [like 8 int or something]: compared to a reasonably made rogue or investigator... I just don't believe you: even at a 10 int, it's got as many skills as an 18 int alchemist and twice the skill feats.

+ 7 proficiency, + 4 Dexterity, + 2 Ageless Patience and + 2 Mutagen. There are rarely multiple traps per adventures, so I just need one Elixir.

I'm comparing myself to normal Rogues. Now, if you consider that a Rogue is not a skill monkey unless it is specifically built to be a skill monkey, then my Alchemist is no more competitive. But if you consider that a Rogue is by default a skill monkey then my Alchemist is competitive.

graystone wrote:
There is a LOT of variance on how much utility you get out of a familiar

Actually, no. I play PFS, so with many different GMs, and I've never seen any variance when it comes to Familiars. The variance is purely theoretical. Rules are quite straightforward as long as your GM doesn't try to screw you with a humanoid creature unable to hold a bandolier of elixirs.

graystone wrote:
Well you can PLAY any class: that's not the issue. I mean you can play an NPC class in PF1 but no one is going to say a warrior and a ranger are even close by most metrics.

You understood me.


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Even the most basic of rogues have a +9 prof, +4 dex, +1 thieves tools at that level for a +14

Which means ageless already pulls them ahead at +16

And they don't need to waste any consumables AND waste another 10 minutes to heal the 10 damage you just took from your Mutagen.

PS.
No one said that you can't play an alchemist. Just that there's nothing you can do that isn't overshadowed by someone else.

Similar to how nothing forbids you to play a 12 strength greatsword fighter.


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shroudb wrote:
Even the most basic of rogues have a +9 prof, +4 dex, +1 thieves tools at that level for a +14

So, they are worse than my Alchemist. That's why my Alchemist is disarming traps. Most Rogues won't get to + 15 in Thievery at level 5.

shroudb wrote:
And they don't need to waste any consumables AND waste another 10 minutes to heal the 10 damage you just took from your Mutagen.

My Alchemist doesn't waste a consumable as it comes from her daily allocation. If we are dungeoning, I can just go on with the Elixir. It's only if there's nothing after that I need 10 minutes to heal. But if there's nothing after I don't care of losing 10 minutes.

shroudb wrote:
No one said that you can't play an alchemist. Just that there's nothing you can do that isn't overshadowed by someone else.

You're telling me that a versatile class is overshadowed by specialized classes in their specialties? I'd call that balance.

I don't say the Alchemist is awesome, I agree it's certainly the worst class in the game as it is now. But it's playable when properly built, way more than a 12 Strength Fighter which is just a big pile of junk in comparison.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

So, here's what I see. People who talk about 'just use your debuff bombs!' as if they ever hit b

Group just finished the entire first level of Gauntlight. Here's some actual play evidence of issues I came across.

1: scorpion grabbed the rogue and crit with it's claw. Did an absolutely goofy amount of damage and dropped the rogue in one hit. We ended up getting the scorpion hella low but it had the barb grabbed now and she was poisoned.

My options: use a bomb to hit the scorpion and kill it, but also kill the rogue who had nat-oned her save, or use my crossbow at the same to-hit (a 6) for in theory about the same damage.

On my turn I could not debuff, could not heal without risking an AoO, could not cleanse the poison, could not use a single class ability but a simple ranged attack, which missed anyway due to piss poor numbers (needed like a 13 or so on the dice to hit anyway)

2: after the fight we went to bandage up the rogue and get going. I could use an elixir of life! Just kidding the cleric hits with stabilize and negates my necessity. I just roll medicine (which is low because it's a Wisdom skill for some reason despite me literally being a doctor) and get to heal for 2d8, which our WIZARD could have done, and done better.

3: we finish up the main dungeon area and complete the fight on top of the lighthouse. Once again, I can't do anything as the monster dropped our melee pretty low and any attacks I made would like just miss and deal splash to my allies. Boss had like a 19 or 20 ac, I'm missing over 50% of my heavily limited shots with a GUARANTEED damage to my allies unless I crit fail. So once again, I have no real in-combat use.

4: Fight ends, almost lost two members, but we pull through, no thanks to me who did a total of 10 healing (medicine plus my last elixir). By this point I'm out of reagents,out of crafted potions and bombs, and then the 'start of chapter two' event occurs. Barb and rogue, exhausted, are still ready to go. Wizard groans and says oh well, I got cantrips, let's do this.

I am a crossbow npc at this point. There is absolutely NOTHING I can contribute in any way. I have lost my class features for the rest of the day, in a way no other class in the game can.

Now with ten or so undead, I cannot support, cannot damage, and am not in any way a tank, but I end up going into melee with a borrowed mace and a buckler because what else am I going to do?

Tl;dr: so many of the people commenting here have never played an alchemist in a long-term situation, or if they have, have done so at a much higher level. What I would not give for cantrip-type reagents!


Virellius wrote:
Tl;dr: so many of the people commenting here have never played an alchemist in a long-term situation, or if they have, have done so at a much higher level. What I would not give for cantrip-type reagents!

You're right about that, but not because I never ended up in a long term situation, but because no one would ever forced me to play an Alchemist in an AP. Alchemists are extremely limited in number of Reagents. If you end up in more than 3 fights a day, you will feel it. If you always end up in more than 3 fights a day, you're screwed.

Never play an Alchemist in an AP. Play it in PFS or in a homebrew campaign that is not too combat intensive.

Also, at low level, Alchemist is really bad. It gets better at higher level. But level 1 and 2 are just weak.

Anyway, I don't think there's any point in playing an Alchemist in Abomination Vaults. It's a dungeon, so I don't think you'll have much use of the Alchemist's versatility. And there are tons of fights, so you will always struggle with your reagents.


Virellius wrote:
My options: use a bomb to hit the scorpion and kill it, but also kill the rogue who had nat-oned her save, or use my crossbow at the same to-hit (a 6) for in theory about the same damage.

Didn't you say you're playing a bomber? You shouldn't hit your allies with splash damage. Well, not unless you want to for some reason.

Quote:
What I would not give for cantrip-type reagents!

Well, you get them eventually at level 7. Which is probably a point where you don't really need them anymore since you might actually have enough reagents to get through the day.


Virellius wrote:
4: Fight ends, almost lost two members, but we pull through, no thanks to me who did a total of 10 healing (medicine plus my last elixir). By this point I'm out of reagents,out of crafted potions and bombs, and then the 'start of chapter two' event occurs. Barb and rogue, exhausted, are still ready to go. Wizard groans and says oh well, I got cantrips, let's do this.

One thing I've notice in my party during the whole time we had an Alchemist was how often we stopped to rest because the Alchemist had no resources anymore, instead of our trigger happy wizard (he often used Slots on the simplest fights), keep in mind that our Alchemist always prepared the items with Advanced Alchemy rather than Quick because of limitations.

Overall, your experience with the alchemist was slightly worse than our own because the player chose the only workable playstyle at the time, the Bomber.


I tried different approaches with the alchemist, and came to the conclusion that the class is some sort of enhancer, meant to provide extra options to other players:

You will be always able to provide 2x ( or 3x if those are your field ) alchemical items, and depends your research field you will also have some other advantages/disadvantages:

Bomber:

Quote:

Pros

- 3x bombs with advanced alchemy
- Great Splash aoe starting from lvl 13

Cons
- No Alchemist DC on bombs created with advanced alchemy
- Very low damage ( especially with perpetual infusions )

Chirurgeon:

Quote:

Pros

- 3x Elixirs ( lot of elixir of life )

Cons
- Ridiculous Perpetual infusions

Mutagenist

Quote:

Pros

- 3x bombs Mutagens ( Excellent combat and trivial boost to allies )
- Nice perpetual infusions
- Nice Greater Field of Discovery

Toxicologist

Quote:

Pros

- 3x Poisons
- Apply poisons with 1 action instead of 2
- Nice perpetual infusions ( expending 1 action to create and apply it to your weapon, especially given your ridiculous attack bonus, will provide you an enhanced strike, which would be always better than trying to rely on a second strike in the same turn ).
- Class DC on all poisons ( Excellent ) if higher than the poison's one

Cons
- Perpetual infusion might be hard to use because they will require 1 more action than any other class ( you have to interact to apply them ), unless you plan to use an "inhale" poison ( which also might be excellent with the lvl 12 feat which allows you to make a straight line with the poison fumes ).

...

You will be creating stuff for other players ( elixir of life, mutagens and poisons ), in order to enhance their combat effectiveness. You will also probably go for the toxicologist, which is the best one you can have, since it allows you to apply your class DC to all poisons.

You will have then to create just 2 non poison alchemical items with advanced alchemy, but the sacrifice will always be worth it. You will mostly create injury poisons, but also some life elixir and mutagen. You won't save a single infused reagent for quick alchemy, since it's worthless.

Starting by lvl 16 ( a little late ) you will always be under the effects of a mutagen of your choice ( probably the quicksilver one ).

Overall, the class is extremely powerful if you consider it to be a party tool. Consider to take a witch/wizard dedication to also get some spellcasting ( arcane spellcasting would be better, since you will be able to exploit the slots issue by equipping a ring of wizardry ), since your int modifier, regardless the low proficieicy, will give you excellent possibilities.

Starting by lvl 1 ( if you are an ancient elf ) or 2 your cantrips will have a higher hit chance than your bombs. There will be some gap between lvl 7-9 ( -2 ) and 10-11 ( -1 ) but this won't be an issue at all.

About the class being fun to play or not, I have no answer since it would be up to the player feelings.


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SuperBidi wrote:
shroudb wrote:
Even the most basic of rogues have a +9 prof, +4 dex, +1 thieves tools at that level for a +14

So, they are worse than my Alchemist. That's why my Alchemist is disarming traps. Most Rogues won't get to + 15 in Thievery at level 5.

shroudb wrote:
And they don't need to waste any consumables AND waste another 10 minutes to heal the 10 damage you just took from your Mutagen.

My Alchemist doesn't waste a consumable as it comes from her daily allocation. If we are dungeoning, I can just go on with the Elixir. It's only if there's nothing after that I need 10 minutes to heal. But if there's nothing after I don't care of losing 10 minutes.

shroudb wrote:
No one said that you can't play an alchemist. Just that there's nothing you can do that isn't overshadowed by someone else.

You're telling me that a versatile class is overshadowed by specialized classes in their specialties? I'd call that balance.

I don't say the Alchemist is awesome, I agree it's certainly the worst class in the game as it is now. But it's playable when properly built, way more than a 12 Strength Fighter which is just a big pile of junk in comparison.

a)no. your alchemist is overshadowed by 1 from the basic rogue. dont cut the sentences in the middle cause you dont like them. +16 for the rogue vs +15 for you.

b)yes, her daily allocation is a limited resource, the rogue can disarm 100 traps, you can disarm 1.

c)you are much less versatile than the rogue. in fact, the vast amount of expert/master skills and the double amount of skill feats, alongside needing 0 limited resources to actually do something in combat, all together make a much more versatile character.

we arent comparing to a fighter here, we are comparing to a skill support class, like the one that's supposedly the alchemist as you said yourself.


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shroudb wrote:
a)no. your alchemist is overshadowed by 1 from the basic rogue. dont cut the sentences in the middle cause you dont like them. +16 for the rogue vs +15 for you.

I have +14 for the Rogue. +9 prof, +4 dex and +1 thieves tools is +14. And that's already close to the top of optimization for a Rogue. So, far from being overshadowed, I overshadow most Rogues.

shroudb wrote:

b)yes, her daily allocation is a limited resource, the rogue can disarm 100 traps, you can disarm 1.

Well, good luck finding 100 traps.

shroudb wrote:
c)you are much less versatile than the rogue. in fact, the vast amount of expert/master skills and the double amount of skill feats, alongside needing 0 limited resources to actually do something in combat, all together make a much more versatile character.

I disagree. The Rogue is a skill monkey, a martial damage dealer and a debuffer. The Alchemist is a skill monkey, a healer, a buffer and a conditional damage dealer. Versatility is roughly similar, but the Rogue is more dependent on the situation and can end up being useless in specific circumstances (hello swarms) when the Alchemist has easier time switching to other roles.


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SuperBidi wrote:
shroudb wrote:
a)no. your alchemist is overshadowed by 1 from the basic rogue. dont cut the sentences in the middle cause you dont like them. +16 for the rogue vs +15 for you.
I have +14 for the Rogue. +9 prof, +4 dex and +1 thieves tools is +14. And that's already close to the top of optimization for a Rogue. So, far from being overshadowed, I overshadow most Rogues.

But you said your Alchemist has

Quote:
+ 7 proficiency, + 4 Dexterity, + 2 Ageless Patience and + 2 Mutagen.

The only thing putting you ahead of the rogue seems to be Ageless Patience. Which has absolutely nothing to do with class. Any rogue could have that as well.


Blave wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
shroudb wrote:
a)no. your alchemist is overshadowed by 1 from the basic rogue. dont cut the sentences in the middle cause you dont like them. +16 for the rogue vs +15 for you.
I have +14 for the Rogue. +9 prof, +4 dex and +1 thieves tools is +14. And that's already close to the top of optimization for a Rogue. So, far from being overshadowed, I overshadow most Rogues.

But you said

Quote:
+ 7 proficiency, + 4 Dexterity, + 2 Ageless Patience and + 2 Mutagen.
The only thing putting you ahead of the rogue seems to be Ageless Patience. Which has absolutely nothing to do with class. Any rogue could have that as well.

You're right, final calculation is +7 proficiency, +4 Dexterity, +2 Ageless Patience and +1 tools = +14. It's just that Shroudb gave Expert proficiency to the Rogue, when I'm obviously not saying that the Alchemist beats the Rogue in the 3 extra skills the Rogue pumps to Legendary, only in the 12 others. The Alchemist is a broad skill monkey, not a specialized one.


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SuperBidi wrote:
Blave wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
shroudb wrote:
a)no. your alchemist is overshadowed by 1 from the basic rogue. dont cut the sentences in the middle cause you dont like them. +16 for the rogue vs +15 for you.
I have +14 for the Rogue. +9 prof, +4 dex and +1 thieves tools is +14. And that's already close to the top of optimization for a Rogue. So, far from being overshadowed, I overshadow most Rogues.

But you said

Quote:
+ 7 proficiency, + 4 Dexterity, + 2 Ageless Patience and + 2 Mutagen.
The only thing putting you ahead of the rogue seems to be Ageless Patience. Which has absolutely nothing to do with class. Any rogue could have that as well.
You're right, final calculation is +7 proficiency, +4 Dexterity, +2 Ageless Patience and +1 tools = +14. It's just that Shroudb gave Expert proficiency to the Rogue, when I'm obviously not saying that the Alchemist beats the Rogue in the 3 extra skills the Rogue pumps to Legendary, only in the 12 others. The Alchemist is a broad skill monkey, not a specialized one.

For a rogue final calulation is +16. For a commoner is +14.

you arent comparing a rogue if you dont include the extra skill increases.

you are comparing a commoner.

congrats, your alchemist is better than a commoner.

now, if we compare to an actual Class, like a rogue, your alchemist is behind in how good he is with skills.

and rogue is specialised? with up to 8+ master skills? while you are a generalist? with only 3?

i said in my math, ANY rogue, at level 5, that i have seen ever, has at least expert thieevery. That is because at level 5 any rogue has at least 4 Expert skills as opposed to your alchemist's only 2 expert skills.

so any rogue with ageless patience is by default better than your alchemist with ageless patience.

and he is better than his against all and every trap/lock he will find in a day as opposed to just the 1 or 2 that you will have the 1-2 quicksilvers for.

And you will need 10mins+ in excess to disarm if we count the heal you need after disarming them due to quicksilver.


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shroudb wrote:
so... you arent comparing a rogue if you dont include the extra skill increases.

Honestly, I'm not explaining crazy things. If you don't want to use Mutagens for their drawbacks, that's legitimate. If you don't want to take Ageless Patience, that's legitimate. You won't have a skill monkey out of an Alchemist.

But if you want to use them, then the Alchemist will beat the Rogue at 12 skills when he has time to use them while the Rogue will beat the Alchemist at 3. That's basic maths. And the way you allocate your skill increases won't change much.

There are tons of situation where you have quite some time to use your skills, and in these situations the Rogue will let the Alchemist play unless we are speaking of the 3 skills the Rogue has increased but not the Alchemist. That's all. If you're not happy with that because you need 10 minutes to heal, fine. But don't reduce my arguments to nonsense, I know what a Rogue is.


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SuperBidi wrote:
Actually, no. I play PFS, so with many different GMs, and I've never seen any variance when it comes to Familiars. The variance is purely theoretical. Rules are quite straightforward as long as your GM doesn't try to screw you with a humanoid creature unable to hold a bandolier of elixirs.

You've been lucky then. I DO NOT play PFS and I've seen what you say is theoretical so I can say it does happen. I'm not sure how the lack of any stats makes for "straightforward" rules with no variation in DM rulings...

SuperBidi wrote:
You understood me.

I'm not sure you got me though: you can roleplay any class but that in no way means it pulls it's own weight in any of the categories of play: being able to use one doesn't mean it'll be a fun or productive endeavor.

SuperBidi wrote:
shroudb wrote:
so... you arent comparing a rogue if you dont include the extra skill increases.

Honestly, I'm not explaining crazy things. If you don't want to use Mutagens for their drawbacks, that's legitimate. If you don't want to take Ageless Patience, that's legitimate. You won't have a skill monkey out of an Alchemist.

But if you want to use them, then the Alchemist will beat the Rogue at 12 skills when he has time to use them while the Rogue will beat the Alchemist at 3. That's basic maths. And the way you allocate your skill increases won't change much.

There are tons of situation where you have quite some time to use your skills, and in these situations the Rogue will let the Alchemist play unless we are speaking of the 3 skills the Rogue has increased but not the Alchemist. That's all. If you're not happy with that because you need 10 minutes to heal, fine. But don't reduce my arguments to nonsense, I know what a Rogue is.

The whole issue is that if you give Ageless Patience to both, the rogue wins. If you count skill increases, the rogue wins. If you count skill feats, the rogue wins. If you fairly and honestly give the rogue the same benefits that you're giving the alchemist, the alchemist NEVER comes out on top with skills and I'm including them taking the mutagen and the rogue not. You can't compare yourself to an 'average' rogue when you're doing everything to make your alchemist specialized and not average: if you give the rogue the same benefits, the alchemist is behind. And we don't even have to get into investigator that has an in class option to use the mutagen too.


graystone wrote:
The whole issue is that if you give Ageless Patience to both, the rogue wins. If you count skill increases, the rogue wins. If you count skill feats, the rogue wins. If you fairly and honestly give the rogue the same benefits that you're giving the alchemist, the alchemist NEVER comes out on top with skills and I'm including them taking the mutagen and the rogue not. You can't compare yourself to an 'average' rogue when you're doing everything to make your alchemist specialized and not average: if you give the rogue the same benefits, the alchemist is behind. And we don't even have to get into investigator that has an in class option to use the mutagen too.

Yes, yes and yes. I completely agree with you. A Rogue maxed in skills is better at skills than an Alchemist.

Now, an Alchemist build for skills is competitive against a standard Rogue. And a standard Rogue is a skill monkey, so an Alchemist built for skills is a skill monkey.
I've never said the Alchemist was the ultimate skill monkey, just that it is competitive. And building for skills just asks for Ageless Patience, so it's not like if it was very expensive.


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SuperBidi wrote:
Now, an Alchemist build for skills is competitive against a standard Rogue.

Just no, they can't. They might get to competitive in a skill or 2 WHEN they chug a mutagen but that isn't the same thing as generally competitive in multiple skills: how many skills is that alchemist at +16 with? How many skill feats? How many skills above trained? An alchemist focused on skills doesn't catch up to a rogue not focused on them let alone one that does so.

SuperBidi wrote:
And a standard Rogue is a skill monkey, so an Alchemist built for skills is a skill monkey.

Again, just no. An alchemist can be good at a skill, JUST like any other class. Rogues can be good at multiple skills at once, hence why they are skill monkeys.

SuperBidi wrote:
I've never said the Alchemist was the ultimate skill monkey, just that it is competitive. And building for skills just asks for Ageless Patience, so it's not like if it was very expensive.

They aren't ANY form of skill monkey: not even close. Being good at a skill or 2 doesn't make you a skill monkey.

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