Streamling the alchemist


Homebrew and House Rules


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Regardless of your opinion of the alchemist it probably the most unique of the classes in that it adds a major conplicated subsyetem that no other classes uses.

It is probably the class where it is easiest to be very ineffective and the hardest class to be very effective.

If paizo ever taook another shot at it and tried to bring it more in line with the other classes im the game how do you think they would do it ?


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I think the class is fine ( I mean, not underrated as many may think ), though I also aknowledge that depends the party composition, it can perform more or less good.

Allies with at least a free hand may benefit from elixirs, being able to feed themselves rather than being fed by the alchemist.

Apart from that, there's a few tweaks I'll make:

1) I'd give Enduring alchemy as a baseline perk.

1a) This will also deal with perpetual poisons ( they'll be meant to last until Enduring alchemy lasts, and not indefinitely once applied ). 2 whole rounds is more than enough for either toxicologist and others.

2) Additive changes: Rather than consuming extra batches, I'll give the alchemist a free number of X additive per day ( like the alchemical sciences for the investigator, int +1 per crafting rank past trained ). This way the alchemists would be able to enhance their already existing tools, by expending 1 action to perform quick alchemy.

3) Removing the "manual dexterity" from Lab Assistant familiar ability. If valet is not meant to have it, it should be the same with Lab Assistant. This way a base familiar could get indipendent and Lab Assistant or Manual Dexterity, depends what the alchemist wants.

I Guess it's all.


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I’m an advocate for Enduring Alchemy getting the Powerful Alchemy treatment as well. On top of what HumbleGamer mentioned, it would really smoothen out Double Brew and Alchemical Alacrity as class features.

The last thing for me is their signature items from the errata. Remove the last line from their description like this:

Quote:
Your research field adds a number of formulas to your formula book; these are your signature items. When using a batch of infused reagents to create your signature items using advanced alchemy, you create three items instead of two. Each time you gain a level, you can swap one of your signature items with another formula in your formula book. This new signature item must be on your research field's list of possible signature items.

I get it’s meant to patch up the levels before you get Field Discovery, but it irks me how signature items becomes completely obsolete and meaningless afterwards even though you can still them out every level. Anything to make signature items meaningful at all levels, really. It was a neat idea beyond being an early level crutch.


First, this probably belongs in the homebrew forum. Otherwise you will likely get people arguing that these ideas don't follow the printed rules, or are changing the power balance.

HumbleGamer wrote:

1) I'd give Enduring alchemy as a baseline perk.

1a) This will also deal with perpetual poisons ( they'll be meant to last until Enduring alchemy lasts, and not indefinitely once applied ). 2 whole rounds is more than enough for either toxicologist and others.

I like this a lot.

I could also see having the baseline class feature allowing you to effectively Sustain the quick alchemy item for a round or three. Spend one action at the beginning of your turn to keep all of your quick alchemy items active until the beginning of your next turn. Then the Enduring Alchemy feat would let you do that as a free action instead of 1-action.

HumbleGamer wrote:
2) Additive changes: Rather than consuming extra batches, I'll give the alchemist a free number of X additive per day ( like the alchemical sciences for the investigator, int +1 per crafting rank past trained ). This way the alchemists would be able to enhance their already existing tools, by expending 1 action to perform quick alchemy.

I don't like this, but not because it is unbalanced. It is just more complicated since it is one more number to track.

HumbleGamer wrote:
3) Removing the "manual dexterity" from Lab Assistant familiar ability. If valet is not meant to have it, it should be the same with Lab Assistant. This way a base familiar could get indipendent and Lab Assistant or Manual Dexterity, depends what the alchemist wants.

This one I am on the fence over. I definitely think it is strange that Valet doesn't require Manual Dexterity. But that seems like an error that needs fixed rather than something to base other rules on.

For general familiar ability cleanup, I would rather see Manual Dexterity added as a requirement to Valet and removed from Toolbearer (since the familiar is essentially just wearing the toolkit - not manipulating them in any way).

But that doesn't help the Alchemist with being able to fit Extra Reagents, Manual Dexterity, and Lab Assistant at the same time - since Alchemist doesn't appear to get Enhanced Familiar to increase the number of abilities past 2.


Forcing quick alchemy poisons to be used within a round or two probably kills the Toxicologist. Also how would that even interact with contact or ingested poisons? Those are made for traps and intrigue. It's nearly impossible to apply them within 2 rounds of someone "triggering" them.

I would add Elixir of Life to the chirurgeon's perpetual infusion. Add a 1 minute cooldown so it doesn't escalate healing outside of combat. (Noone will use 2 actions to use a low level elixir of life in combat anyway.)

Beyond that, I'd give the Alchemist martial weapon proficiency so they have an easier time doing noteworthy stuff if they run out of resources. I personally think all non-caster should have martial weapons.

Oh, and mutagens should totally last an hour at all levels. It makes no sense that they are limited to a minute or 10 at the lowest levels when resources are scarce.

Beyond that, I'd say the class is fine fine. I have yet to play one myself, so I might be oblivious to other issues.


breithauptclan wrote:


This one I am on the fence over. I definitely think it is strange that Valet doesn't require Manual Dexterity. But that seems like an error that needs fixed rather than something to base other rules on.

It may be good that way too ( My intent was for the 2 feats to be equal ).

Given the fact at my table we don't allow poisons to last indefinitely, and we don't see much value in perpetual infusions, using quick alchemy the way it is something just not convenient.

An alchemist would prefer a wizard dedication to alternate 1 bomb + 1 electric arc, for example, and because so bombs will last even 2 or 3 days of fights at some point.

So, currently, the best an alchemy can have is

Indipendent + Manual Dexterity.

or

Valet + Extra reagents ( Because indipendent won't do nothing good without manual dexterity ).

And Lab assistant won't work because of lack of abilities ( It requires manual dexterity + alchemical lab, but not having indipendent would require you to expend 1 action to make it work. It's useless, leaving perpetual infusions apart.

Blave wrote:
Forcing quick alchemy poisons to be used within a round or two probably kills the Toxicologist. Also how would that even interact with contact or ingested poisons? Those are made for traps and intrigue. It's nearly impossible to apply them within 2 rounds of someone "triggering" them.

Not at all.

A toxicologist will be able to create and apply a poison with a single action ( Quick alchemy + apply ) and even shot on the same round. On the next round he'd be able to draw another perpetual poison, apply it and attack with it.

With the poison weapon feat he'd also be able to save an action.

Quote:
You apply a poison to the required weapon; if you have a free hand, you can Interact to draw a poison as part of this action.

So, as a toxicologist:

Round 1:

- Quick alchemy ( 3 poison created, for example. 1 in hand, 2 in bag ).
- Apply Poison
- Strike

Round 2
- Poison Weapon
- Strike
- Poison Weapon
- Strike ( being quickened by the time you have 3 poisons with quick alchemy is easy, as there's a common rune ).

As any other alchemist

Round 1

- Quick Alchemy
- Apply Poison
- Strike

Round 2
- Poison Weapon
- Strike
- Poison Weapon
- Strike ( Quickened )

Obviously:

- Assuming your DM allows you to stow more than 1 item, since alchemical alacrity only allows you to stow one.
- Assuming your dm allows to play poison weapon making it a better feat than the toxicologist baline apply poison ( I think it's probably meant to apply the poison you get from the feat ).

But I have the feel anybody who goes with unlimited duration on perpetual poisons would also easily go with these too, so no worries.


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I can't say for sure what paizo would do, but I can see a lot of ways to take it.
One would be to revamp all the items and make them more effective for the alchemist, so stuff like making bombs that are more effective on misses or hit saves instead of AC, and reducing drawbacks on mutagens.
Another would be to split the class into a martial and caster version, with the martial version being a full martial, and the caster getting some minor casting (cantrips maybe?) and the ability to brew up some potions as well, being a class that mixes magic and alchemy.

Another would be to keep the current class and try to just rewrite and streamline it, which IMO would require significant rewrites, and is the one I've thought about the most. I'll go over some of the stuff I'd like to see done to streamline the class while keeping it mostly the same.

1. Perpetuals starting at level 1. Alchemist bombs are pretty comparable to weapon strikes, and you need to spend an extra action to make it anyways. You'd get a single level 1 perpetual at level 1, the second at level 3, and then progress at the same rate as the base alchemist. This could replace signature items.

2. Flatten out the Infused reagents progression. Alchemist has the weirdest progression curve in the game, starting out being starved for resources, and ending the game flooded with them. Make it a base 10+int or something so the class' playstyle doesn't shift as dramatically as it does currently. The fact that quick alchemy and additive feats are basically dead until mid levels is disappointing, because those are some of the coolest class features. Also it would be cool if alchemists could get a focus point equivalent that could only be used for quick alchemy (note this would be a fine low level feat).

3. Powerful alchemy is level 1 and applies to literally anything you make. Other classes don't need to wait on making their abilities scale so why does alchemist?

3. combat proficiencies, This is a definite problem. The research fields and flavor encourage a few of the alchemist builds to be strikers, but they don't have the proficiency to back it up. It doesn't need to be full martial progression but something should be done to help out. Like maybe mutagenist gets a small untyped bonus when under the effects of their own mutagens or increases the item bonuses slightly, and bomber can apply debuffs like debilitating bombs and maybe even sticky bomb on a miss. Although I'm not convinced full martial proficiency would break the class.

4. The feats are an absolute mess at the moment. Number fixers like calculated splash and expanded splash just need to go. Either build them into the research field (there's a hole there at level 7 where it could fit if perpetuals are granted at level 1) or remove them entirely. Quick bomber is a necessity for an alchemist to use bombs at low levels, is strictly worse than quick draw AND STILL BECOMES A DEAD FEAT AT HIGH LEVELS (because double brew + perpetuals gives a similar effect and you can mix additives in) change it to quick draw or an equivalent for all alchemical items. Demolition charge is depressing, let it do the full damage to creatures, it takes an entire minute to set up + 4 bombs and an opponent to step into the space. Enduring alchemy should probably be a base feature, combine elixirs is confusing and doesn't work on mutagens (which would be cool) so its mostly for making super healing potions, Feral mutagen is another number fixer etc...
In general the feats need heavy rewrite, with less must haves, and more cool options like additives.

5. Chirurgeon: Its a mess, either let them have perpetual elixirs of life (its worth noting that they're always a tier behind on their perpetuals & the action economy on elxirs of life is bad in comparison to options like heal, in addition to the effectiveness, plus plenty of other classes have "infinite" out of combat healing anyways. Now that I think about it though an infusion focus point would work wonders here) or make them REALLY good at medicine. Also the greater field discovery should probably be nerfed to just change the die to d8s or something, literally the entire power budget for chirurgeon is tied into that level 13 bonus.

6. Mutagenist: Give them an untyped bonus somewhere, replace mutagenic flashback with an ability that lets them ignore the drawbacks of their own mutagens, and make mutagenic flashback a level 1 feat. Also change their perpetual option to "any common level <x> or lower mutagen"

7. Bomber: Mostly fine, change their perpetual option to "any common level <x> or lower mutagen"

8. Toxicologist: its fine, just clarify how long perpetual poisons actually last. If enduring is a level 1 feature either ruling would work.

9. More alchemical items to fill holes in their toolkits. I know it seems obvious, but there isn't really a strength alternative to quicksilver, or anything to buff casters much. Also the elixir of life progression is an issue, 1d6hp is barely relevant at level 1 except to wake up a dying ally. Just make it scale up at every odd level.


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There's a lot of power buffs the class could use, but there's some stuff that I think would help streamline and improve quality of life in particular:

Let formulas "auto-heighten." Having to track individual versions of formulas is a pain, and needing to spend limited resources to keep your old tricks relevant instead of getting new tricks is lame. It also just makes the class easier to play.

Let advanced alchemy be used as 10 minute activity rather than only during daily preparations. Plotting out all your items for the day while still leaving reagents for quick alchemy is a pain, and doesn't make a ton of sense given the flavor of the class.

Tweak flavor of elixir delivery. RAW you can feed one to an ally with the same amount of actions as yourself. I'd kind of prefer if we used syringes for the delivery instead, despite the junkie optics. Plus wouldn't it be neat if you could jab an enemy with a strategically selected mutagen so they have to suffer the debuffs? Haven't thought through the balance implications there yet though.

Advanced Alchemy should make batches of four. I just think it is weird that they created a standard batch size and then built an exception into the only class likely to take advantage of it. Plus one reagent covering the average party is nice.


HumbleGamer wrote:
Blave wrote:
Forcing quick alchemy poisons to be used within a round or two probably kills the Toxicologist. Also how would that even interact with contact or ingested poisons? Those are made for traps and intrigue. It's nearly impossible to apply them within 2 rounds of someone "triggering" them.

Not at all.

A toxicologist will be able to create and apply a poison with a single action ( Quick alchemy + apply ) and even shot on the same round. On the next round he'd be able to draw another perpetual poison, apply it and attack with it.

And three actions for a single attack with the alchemist's low attack bonus and that targets Fort to deal any real damage doesn't seem like a problem to you? Poisons are probably the least reliable way of dealing damage in the game due to frequent high Fort saves and immunity on many monsters. Spending so many options on a single low attack bonus Strike is bad. Very bad.

Also, your example is also only feasible with a Reload 0 ranged weapon, which is not available to the class. Unless you count Air Repeaters, I guess, but I doubt you can apply poison to rounds in a magazine on the fly. And even if you get Bow proficiency, you'd probably be unable to pull your turn off, since by RAW you'd need to hold th arrow in one hand and the poison in the other to apply the poison. Where's your bow during that time?

Quote:
With the poison weapon feat he'd also be able to save an action.

Poison Weapon is not an alchemist feat (for what ever reason) and shouldn't be part of the expected things the class can do.

Quote:

So, as a toxicologist:

Round 1:

- Quick alchemy ( 3 poison created, for example. 1 in hand, 2 in bag ).
- Apply Poison
- Strike

Round 2
- Poison Weapon
- Strike
- Poison Weapon
- Strike ( being quickened by the time you have 3 poisons with quick alchemy is easy, as there's a common rune ).

What common rune makes you quickened? I didn't know such a thing exist and I can't find anything like it on the Archives.

Anyway, I don't see how a Toxicologist would ever be able to make use of Perpetual Infusion if he can't use it to pre-poison his weapons/ammunition before combat.

And you still haven't answered how your suggestion interacts with other types of poison, like contact poisons.


Blave wrote:
And three actions for a single attack with the alchemist's low attack bonus and that targets Fort to deal any real damage doesn't seem like a problem to you?

No, because it's included in a strike with the same map.

Using it to get 2 bombs of a lower level ( throwing them with separate rolls ) would do something similar.

If the character wants to use it over and over despite having int + lvl x3 items per day, for example by feeding elixirs and mutagens to a whole squad, it's a choice, but that's it.

if you find that striking with a poisoned weapon once ( + poison ) is less powerful than throwing 2 low level bombs, I guess that our opinions just differs.

Blave wrote:


What common rune makes you quickened? ..

My ( pathbuilder 2e ) fault.

Rune of speed is common there, while rare on nethys.

Gotta go with Electromuscular stimulators ( 30gp each. 1 action to activate ) then ( until you hit lvl 18 more or less ).

Not a big deal by lvl 16, but it's the best the market offers.


I still don't think a low accuracy class like the Alchemist can affort to only attack once per turn for three actions. That's like going Eldritch Archer as a Wizard - except the bonus damage from your "spell" allows a fort save to negate and hits the most frequent immunity BY FAR.

MAP screws your second attack pretty hard, of course, but at least it's a second chance to hit. Relying on a single Strike after spending all your actions just to get some poison going also meant no "special attacks" you might pick up via archetype like Parting Shot.

And you still need to be quickened to even shoot once per turn since you can't hold a bow while you're poisoning an arrow. You could do it with a melee weapon, but chances are you often need to move to attack in melee, in which case you're running out of actions again. That leaves a returning throwing weapon as the only half-reliable way of attacking with a poisoned weapon each turn.

Yes, you can of course still use the poisons you create during your daily preparations to pre-poison weapons and ammunition. But under your suggestion, it's nearly impossible for an alchemist to use Quick Alchemy on any kind of poison in a useful manner. Which also makes Perpetual Infusion a dead class ability for the Toxicologist.


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I could see quick alchemy poisons being useful if there was a decent additive feat for poisons. Make it virulent or something.


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It is a good question though, how would the alchemist be designed if they designed it today instead of on release. I think it would be more in line with martial classes. Standard proficiency progression with simple weapons and bombs. I don't know what it would have to give up from it's original power budget though.


aobst128 wrote:
It is a good question though, how would the alchemist be designed if they designed it today instead of on release. I think it would be more in line with martial classes. Standard proficiency progression with simple weapons and bombs. I don't know what it would have to give up from it's original power budget though.

You can afford to buff low level alchemists even then, so a modified amount of reagents (more at low levels, less at high levels) would work. Even investigator got flat int as their number of quick reagents.

You could also remove/modify the math fixer feats like feral mutagen and sticky bomb to not be straight damage increases (i.e sticky converts the splash into persistent instead of getting bonus persistent).

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