Artificer: Alchemist Impressions

Zardnaar

Hero
This thread is about the Alchemist from the Wayfinders guide to Eberron as I have not yet acquired the hardcover.

At a quick glance several things stood out.

1. Not a primary spellcaster
2. Not a warrior/skirmisher type
3. d8 hit dice, half caster.

So its seems to be comparable to nothing, they usually compensate a lack of primary casting with a lot of combat ability eg damage (Fighters, Rogues, Monks) and the existing half casters are warrior types.

proficiency in con saves AKA the best one and proficiency in intelligence saves AKA the worst one. Medium armor plus shields but you're not a primary caster so you're kind of competing with Bards and Clerics in that area. Medium armor spellcaster also tends to MAD except its a half caster. You're probably better rolling for cash vs the starting equipment as most things you would use are cheap.

This was my initial impressions, obviously you have to dig deeper. Not good at dealing damage, not a primary caster big warning signs. I expect a hell of a skill monkey here but we have the Rogue for that and they can deal reasonable damage.

You pick up two extra skills and 3 tools including thieves tools (but you're not dex based) so better than a Rogue in tools, about equal in skills except no expertise. You get magical tinkering which is really some toys. You get two infusions and two cantrips as well though and guidance stands out, leaving one other cantrip and since you can use simple weapons a crossbow is probably the better choice vs a ranged cantrip. With the default array you probably want your best 3 stats to be 16 int, 14 con/dex after racials and assign the rest how you like. You have a few to many abilities keyed off intelligence later to try and be clever dumping it or having it as a secondary or tertiary stat. You get a decent selection of cantrips. At level one this class seems outright bad especially when compared to Bards and Knowledge clerics who get similar skill based boosts but can cast as a primary caster. Level 1 I would go as fa as saying this class sucks. Thankfully level 1 doesn't last to long one way or another.

At level 2 you know 4 infusions and can use two. You could start the game infusing a weapon and armor or something like a +1 crossbow with repeating shot infusion. Or you could be something like a High elf and pick up green flame blade and infuse a rapier. You're not going to rock at combat but every little bit helps. Racial weapon proficiency will help a lot here especially with a race with an intelligence bonus. Or you could go pure support and give the infused equipment to other PCs. You also pick up a couple of spells. You have some decent options here with Faerie Fire and Absorb elements as stand outs. Any spell requiring concentration is better for you than most other casters due to constitution save proficiency. At level 2 you're not looking to bad IMHO, skills and utility. You can also duplicate some basic magic items instead of weapons and armor. Bag of holding, water breathing, darkvison all have uses. Kind of reminds me of the invocations from the warlock.

At level 3 you can basically conjure tools and pick up the alchemist subclass. You acquire healing word and ray of sickness but being a half caster healing word is a lot less useful but you also get Experimental elixir where you get a random quasi potion. You can expend a spell slot to get more and you get to choose your effect. Here you can double down on the support roll, unfortunately it doesn't matter what level spell you sacrifice to get an experimental elixir. You have 3 level 1 spells, and level 4 you get the ye olde ASI a'la every other class in the game.

Level 5 you get alchemical savant which lets you add your intelligence modifier to you to healing or spell that deals acid, fire, necrotic or poison damage. This probably means firebolt or acid splash for cantrips. It has interesting interaction with Green Flame Blade as well so if you acquire that somehow you will be slightly worse than a rogue in combat but the high elf with the right infusions could probably do a respectable job there. Magic initiate feat would also be a good pick at 4 or 1 if you're a vuman. The damage only applies once on spells such as flaming sphere however which is still useful and its an artificer spell. Flaming sphere+ GFB is your combo for a melee artificer along with infused weapon and armor. You get flaming sphere and melfs acid arrow for free, and you have some decent utility spells on the alchemist list. Level 6 is tool expertise with all tools so its a great upgrade on tool checks including thieves tools. Being intelligence based you will be better in some ways that the rogue in a few skill checks, not as good at the sneaky part probably and you can pick up guidance so you're probably a bit better at that, less damage though short of GFB abuse. You can also get new infusions at level 6 and an extra one. You can go for utility items or use a radiant blade which combos with GFB for an exploding lightsaber that can blind you. The alchemist might not be designed for combat early on but magic weapon, armor, plus utility item you can at least not suck at it.

At level 7 you pick up flash of genius which lets you grant your allies your intelligence bonus on a save or ability check a number of time per long rest equal to your intelligence modifier. More support and utility, nothing to exciting but on saves that is very good. Level 8 is another ASI. Level 9 you get to use lesser restoration equal to your intelligence modifier/long rest and any elixir you craft grants additional temporary hit points (2d6+int mod). A level 1 spell slot can heal 2d+2+int mod and then grant these additional hit points. Not bad and puts the actual cure spell to shame. You also pick up a level 3 spell which can include haste, see previous comment about the beatdown build. Level 10 grants another cantrip+ infusion and lets you attune up to 4 items and craft uncommon and common magic items at half price and a quarter of the time. This means you can easily and rapidly craft Gauntlets of Ogre Power or just replicate them. No ASI is needed to buff an attack stat, everything can key off intelligence. This combines with at level 11 you can put a level 1 or 2 spell into an item and use it up to twice your intelligence modifier per long rest. That is probably 8 or 10 uses of a level 2 spell. That is enough to use a flaming sphere or whatever in every combat or gain a lot of uses of some of your utility spells.

I'll leave my impression there at level 11, its not a level 1-20 guide just a few things I noticed. I think the class is leaning heavily into the skill monkey role with a side helping of support and some nova damage. There also a beatdown build in there as well using green flame blade and various infusions. The class in underpowered IMHO at level 1 but ramps up rapidly from there. How good the artificer is will vary and I think the obvious replacement is the rogue or adding an artificer as a 5th member of a 4 person group that has got a warrior, artillery, support, skirmisher covered. If you double down on the support part and give your infusions away. Or you can use a homonculous to grant advantage via the help action or use it as a weak spiritual weapon type effect. Some of the items you can replicate are also things such as girdles of hill giant strength or amulets of health so having 21 strength or 19 con is very very useful. Overall a very interesting class.
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
I think tge alchemist class is the weakest of the subclasses. Maybe random potions should rather be a short rest than long rest ability. Or at least: if you don't have a potion left you can refill it at short rest.

On the other hand I don't share your opinion about level 1. At that level the alchemist is quasi a full caster. Cantrips and 2 fkrst level spells. Since he they have armor and weapons like a base cleric and tool proficiencies on top, there is not a lot to complain. 2nd level gives infusions so again, nothing to complain about.
In the end, the alchemist compares to the other subclasses like the support orriented bard subclasses to the sword bard.
While you don't do flashy things yourself, your support is quite good.
A bless potion gives an unconditional +1d4 to all rolls. Feary fire on top and infused magic weapons for the great weapon fighter, and they will deal damage for you.
I still think the potions are too few (1 potion per spell level would not be that imbalanced actually), but the support is there.
At level 5 the alchimist has 2 hidden features: the healing word is very powerful: d4+(2 x int) is better than 2d4+int and later it is equal to 3d4+int.
A flaming spere initially deals +int damage. A nice boost for a level 5 caster. Since it is always prepared it could come in handy. Bot other subclasses don't even have it on the spell list nor do they have a bonus action remaining.
Here I am unsure if the bonus damage is releated every round or only on initial cast. Probably the latter. I think to make the alchemist more competitive you could change the wording to 1 roll per turn.
 

ccs

39th lv DM
Sounds like a fun class if I ever get to play 5e again as a player (I'm stuck in DM mode atm)
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I am building a Artificer for a game that's going to start tomorrow. I'm building off the UA document for now, and the GM is expecting his Eberron book to show up before game - having seen reviews of the Eberron version, we don't expect many differences that will be apparent at 1st level, and any others are, of course, for the future.

The skill choice is a little underwhelming - I'd have preferred a third skill slot. Or, Arcana + 2 slots would also have been reasonable. I know they get a lot of tools, and eventually expertise with those tools, but I expect most of the tools to be mostly irrelevant in play.

I think a major part of the class gets hidden in the infusions. If you are playing D&D with lots of magic items anyway, those don't seem like much. If your group is playing with magic items as optional rarities, then those infusions become a whole lot more interesting. We are talking about a character who can be walking around with two magic items at the beginning of 2nd level, or supporting their party handing out those items, with some ability to swap out to make them the most useful at the moment.
 
Given that the "extra attack with a magic weapon" was dropped later on, arcane weapon wasn't really needed.

One of the things I have noticed about Eberron is a lot of the races pick up extra skills (even expertise and additional bonuses are available). So a judicious racial choice could help to make your artificer a true skill monkey.
 

Cap'n Kobold

Adventurer
I'm wondering if the Alchemist's Experimental Elixirs were balanced around the "worst-case" scenario rather than the "common usage" that most classes/subclasses are.
At the top level of minmaxing, the stacking-with-other-effects, no-concentration buffs with an action economy you can pass to others may be pretty abusable. At the level that most people play at, probably not, but the spectre of the powergamers prevented them from being allowed to be any better.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Given that the "extra attack with a magic weapon" was dropped later on, arcane weapon wasn't really needed.
:( At low levels, an extra d6 of damage of your choice ain't nothing too sneeze at. The Battle Smith I am told still has "attack with your Int when your weapon is magical", but I suppose infusions can fill that gap well enough.

One of the things I have noticed about Eberron is a lot of the races pick up extra skills (even expertise and additional bonuses are available). So a judicious racial choice could help to make your artificer a true skill monkey.
Unfortunately, while we are using the Artificer class, we aren't playing in Eberron. So skills are hard to come by.
 
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Parmandur

Legend
One big point to consider is how infusions make this the only Class that controls magic item distribution: hard to put a value on that, though I'm sure WotC has a spreadsheet that did.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
I think tge alchemist class is the weakest of the subclasses. Maybe random potions should rather be a short rest than long rest ability. Or at least: if you don't have a potion left you can refill it at short rest.

On the other hand I don't share your opinion about level 1. At that level the alchemist is quasi a full caster. Cantrips and 2 fkrst level spells. Since he they have armor and weapons like a base cleric and tool proficiencies on top, there is not a lot to complain. 2nd level gives infusions so again, nothing to complain about.
In the end, the alchemist compares to the other subclasses like the support orriented bard subclasses to the sword bard.
While you don't do flashy things yourself, your support is quite good.
A bless potion gives an unconditional +1d4 to all rolls. Feary fire on top and infused magic weapons for the great weapon fighter, and they will deal damage for you.
I still think the potions are too few (1 potion per spell level would not be that imbalanced actually), but the support is there.
At level 5 the alchimist has 2 hidden features: the healing word is very powerful: d4+(2 x int) is better than 2d4+int and later it is equal to 3d4+int.
A flaming spere initially deals +int damage. A nice boost for a level 5 caster. Since it is always prepared it could come in handy. Bot other subclasses don't even have it on the spell list nor do they have a bonus action remaining.
Here I am unsure if the bonus damage is releated every round or only on initial cast. Probably the latter. I think to make the alchemist more competitive you could change the wording to 1 roll per turn.
I'm wrong derp you're right about the two spells level 1.

Class still looks interesting but you can't replace a primary caster and it lacks the rogue damage. It's not that good at healing either.
 

Chaosmancer

Adventurer
I tried to do a rework of the 3rd level ability. My biggest issue with it is comparing it to the two other subclasses. The Artillerist gets an hour of their turret, the Battle Smith gets a constant companion and martial buffs. The Alchemist gets a single, random, consumable item. It can be good, that d4 is nothing to sneeze at even if it takes an action to imbibe and lasts for only a minute. But it just feels way weaker than the other level 3 abilities.

Potent Elixir

Beginning at 3rd level, whenever you finish a long rest, you can magically produce an elixir in an empty flask you touch. Choose an Elixir Effect from the table, which is triggered when someone drinks the elixir or throws it. As an action, a creature can drink the elixir or administer it to an incapacitated creature.

Creating an elixir requires you to have alchemist’s supplies on your person, and any elixir you create with this feature lasts until it is drunk or until the end of your next long rest.

When you reach certain levels in this class, you can make more elixirs at the end of a long rest: two at 6th level and three at 15th level. Each elixir requires its own flask.

You can create additional experimental elixirs by expending a spell slot of 1st level or higher for each one. When you do so, you use your action to create the elixir in an empty flask you touch, and you choose the elixir’s effect from the Experimental Elixir table.

If an Elixir requires a saving throw, the DC is 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier.

Alchemical Fire: You create a vial of volatile liquid which you can hurl at a creature, object, or surface within 30 feet of you. On impact, the vial detonates in a 5-foot radius. Any creature in that area must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or take 4d6 fire damage.

This damage increases by 1d6 when you reach certain levels in this class: 9th level, 15th level, and 19th level

(Maxes out at 7d6, and you get three. A Flamethrower turret does 3d8 in similiar area a turn by the mid point, so I feel comparable)

Alchemical Acid: You create a vial of acid, and hurl the vial at a creature or object within 30 feet of you. The vial shatters on impact. A creature must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or take 2d8 acid damage. An object automatically takes that damage, and the damage is maximized.

This damage increases by 1d8 when you reach certain levels in this class: 9th level, 15th level, and 19th level

(Maxes out at 5d8, Force turret does 3d8 per hit by mid level)

Healing Draught: You create a vial of potent healing liquid. A creature can drink it as an bonus action to regain 2d8 hit points.

This healing increases by 1d8 when you reach certain levels in this class: 9th level, 15th level, and 19th level

(Maxes out at 5d8, Temp Hp turret does 1d8+mod as a bonus action, temp hp is rarely wasted)

Swift Step Draught: You create a vial of bubbling, brown liquid. As an action, a creature can drink it. Doing so increases the creature’s speed by 10 feet for 1 hour.

This increase increases by 5 ft at 9th level, 15th level, and 19th level

Resilient Draught You create a vial of iron-grey liquid. As an action, a creature can drink it. Doing so increases the creatures Ac by +1 for 10 minutes.

The duration increases by 20 minutes at 9th level and becomes an hour at 19th level. The AC bonus increases to +2 AC at 15th level.

Just as a rough draft. I'm thinking of adding the bless brew, but thinking of scaling it along the same lines is difficult.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
Battkesmith deal rogue level damage or close to it?

The boldness elixer for example looks like bless but it's only one target not 3.
 

Chaosmancer

Adventurer
Battkesmith deal rogue level damage or close to it?

The boldness elixer for example looks like bless but it's only one target not 3.
Battle smith gets martial weapons and can use their Int when attacking and dealing damage with magic weapons (which all their weapons could be magic with the magic weapon infusion)

Additionally, they get a companion that acts on it's own turn (though requires your bonus action to do something other than dodge) . It has the Con mod+intmod+ 5*level hp system, 15 AC, hits for about 1d8+2 , can self heal, be healed by mending cantrip, and has a reaction to impose disadvantage on an attack.

All of that at 3rd level, and they get improvements along the way, like an extra attack and the ability to add a minor sneak attack or heal on an attack that hits (9th level)
 

Zardnaar

Hero
Battle smith gets martial weapons and can use their Int when attacking and dealing damage with magic weapons (which all their weapons could be magic with the magic weapon infusion)

Additionally, they get a companion that acts on it's own turn (though requires your bonus action to do something other than dodge) . It has the Con mod+intmod+ 5*level hp system, 15 AC, hits for about 1d8+2 , can self heal, be healed by mending cantrip, and has a reaction to impose disadvantage on an attack.

All of that at 3rd level, and they get improvements along the way, like an extra attack and the ability to add a minor sneak attack or heal on an attack that hits (9th level)
Wow most of the good abilities are baked into the Artificer class, not the alchemist.
 

Chaosmancer

Adventurer
Wow most of the good abilities are baked into the Artificer class, not the alchemist.
Yep, the Battle Smith and the Artillerist have some really cool abilities, and I find the Alchemist's 5 through 17th abilities to be decent, but that level 3 ability is just not up to snuff when both of the other subclasses get long term abilities that can provide massive buffs to defense or offense over time.
 

MarkB

Hero
Yeah, my quick fix for the elixirs would be to remove the random part and the "when you finish a short rest" part and have the daily free usage function the same as the expend-a-spell-slot usage - you can do it at any point in the day, and you choose the result.

That, and maybe abandon the whole spell-slot thing in favour of simply more free uses - either Int-mod uses per day, or it recharges on a short rest.
 

Ashrym

Hero
The experimental elixirs are random, but some of the effects are pretty useful and stackable with other effects because they don't have the concentration restriction. A no concentration flying ability is pretty handy at 3rd level.

It think if a person just takes the randomness out of it then it becomes better.
 

Chaosmancer

Adventurer
The experimental elixirs are random, but some of the effects are pretty useful and stackable with other effects because they don't have the concentration restriction. A no concentration flying ability is pretty handy at 3rd level.

It think if a person just takes the randomness out of it then it becomes better.
Yeah, taking the randomness out alone does help. But, I think some of the options are still too weak, and they never improve the actual effect. They simply add in a bunch of temp hp. Which is awesome, but by 15th level it is still only 10 minutes of flight for 10 ft a turn. And it is kind of useless by that point. As is 2d4+int mod healing, or a free alter self spell.
 

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