Proposal: Swift Alchemy

mfloyd3

Explorer
Hi All --

As I mentioned in the General Discussion thread, I think we should consider modifying the Alchemist's Swift Alchemy class ability to make it more useful in LPF. Here is the official version:

Swift Alchemy (Official): At 3rd level, an alchemist can create alchemical items with astounding speed. It takes an alchemist half the normal amount of time to create alchemical items, and he can apply poison to a weapon as a move action.

The problem with this in Living Pathfinder is that given that Alchemists have to pay full price for the item (which they should), the crafting time makes the feat useless. Unless I have misunderstood the crafting rules, even if a character maxes out his Craft (Alchemy) skill and rolls well, it is going to take at least a day to craft an item (1/2 time for Swift Alchemy, max 1/3 time for rolling well =1/6th of a week). The Move action to apply poison is nice, but there is no avoiding the fact that the feat loses value in translation.

Here is a modified version I would like to propose:

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Swift Alchemy (Proposed Living Pathfinder Version): The alchemist may apply poison to a weapon as a move action. Additionally, the alchemist gains the ability to purchase an alchemical reserve and use it to make alchemical items at an accelerated rate.

The alchemist's reserve represents a collection of reagents, and may be purchased at any town or larger urban setting. It may be purchased in smaller venues at the GM's discretion, based on whether a variety of reagents would be available for purchase (e.g. a PC traveling with a caravan might be able to find and purchase reagents from the traveling merchants).

The alchemist's reserve is a gold reserve that the alchemist can use to cover the cost of creating alchemical items, including poisons. When the alchemist creates alchemical items, the gp value of the item is deducted from the pool. If the alchemist's reserve is less than the value of the item in question, he cannot craft the item until he has increased the value of the reserve.

The reserve weighs 1 lb per 15 gp in value. It has no special properties with respect to volume, appearance or fragility, though players may attach any suitable description to the items carried for role-playing purposes.

To use Swift Alchemy, the alchemist makes a Craft(Alchemy) check against the DC of the item in question. The alchemist must have both an alchemical reserve sufficient to cover the cost of the item, and either an Alchemist's Kit or an Alchemist's Lab (portable or otherwise). All appropriate class and circumstance bonuses, such as those arising from the use of an Alchemist's Lab, apply to the roll. The alchemist cannot take 10 or take 20 when using Swift Alchemy. Failure means that gold piece value of the item is forfeited, and the alchemist cannot attempt to make that item again for at least 24 hours of in-game time (the character needs time to puzzle out his mistake).

The base time to create an item using Swift Alchemy is 2 hours. For every 5 points by which the roll exceeds the DC value of the item, this time is halved.

A character can make multiple copies of the same item more easily than making separate items. To allow for the creation of multiple items, add 20% of the base DC value for a single item (rounded up). The full cost of all of the items must still be deducted from the pool, and failure still results in both loss of the reserve and a 24 hour waiting period to craft even one copy of the item in question.

Example: Adric the Not as Mad as They Say I Am wants to make two vials of Alchemical Grease. The DC for a single copy of the item is 15, and the cost is 10 gp. The DC is 1.2 x 15 = 18, and Adric tNaMaTSIA must pay 20 gp whether the roll succeeds or not. Adric is using a Portable Lab (+1 Circumstance Bonus), and has other bonuses to bring his total Craft(Alchemy) roll to 12. He rolls a 13, for a total of 25. Since this exceeds his target number by more than 5 and less than 10, the time is reduced to 1 hour. So, one hour after he starts, Adric stands up holding two vials of Alchemical Grease, and his Alchemical Reserve is 20 gp lower (and 1 and 1/3 lbs lighter).
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This is something that is going to be highly situational, but is of comparable usefulness to the ability it replaces. And it does have some potential value. A lot of alchemical gear -- alchemists fire, tanglefoot bags, the various weapon blanches -- is situationally useful. If the party has some information and prep time, the Alchemist could cook up some useful gear. For example, if the party receives a warning from a cryptic old man that the ridge is populated by harpies with poisoned arrows, it might be a good idea to spend the morning making antivenom and tanglefoot bags.

The ability is really only going to be useful in the range 3-8 level range, after which alchemical items are mostly outclassed. Even within this range, alchemical items are not sufficiently useful to really unbalance the game.

Thoughts?
 

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Qik

First Post
I've been eying this for a while now, but I have to admit I was a little wary to really slog through the details of it, especially since my vote doesn't count. :p

I like it, though. It continues to keep the alchemist's ability to craft items relevant while taking into consideration the limitations on crafting that are brought about by our Living World. Like you say, it's very situational, but it could come in handy. It makes sense to me that an alchemist should be able to whip up these sorts of items in the field.

Although I don't consider myself a master of judging mechanics, I will say that the duration you listed seems reasonable - an alchemist can prepare his mutagen in an hour and an extract in a minute, so a tanglefoot bag in two hours seems more than fair. I would say that crafting multiple items of the same type should probably scale (rather than a flat +20% for 2 or more, which is how I read what you wrote); also, how does the duration to craft work for crafting multiple items of the same type?

The only other possible worry would seem to be bookkeeping, but it's no more so than using any other consumable, at least how I read it.
 

Systole

First Post
The alchemist cannot take 10 or take 20 when using Swift Alchemy. Failure means that gold piece value of the item is forfeited, and the alchemist cannot attempt to make that item again for at least 24 hours of in-game time (the character needs time to puzzle out his mistake).

I don't see why he shouldn't be able to Take 10. An epic level alchemist shouldn't have any problems making a Tanglefoot Bag, for example. Take 20 implies 19 failures, though, and there doesn't seem to be any benefit from a high roll, so that's probably fine without it.

I'm not a fan of forfeiting the gp value on a failure. And I don't think you need to increase the DC. I briefly considered whether uses/day should be limited, but seeing as you're essentially paying for the items anyway, I don't see why this should be limited. Just say that it takes 20 minutes per item.



I would change it to the following:

To use Swift Alchemy, the alchemist makes a Craft(Alchemy) check against the DC of the item in question. The alchemist must have both an alchemical reserve sufficient to cover the cost of the item, and either an Alchemist's Kit or an Alchemist's Lab (portable or otherwise). All appropriate class and circumstance bonuses apply to the roll. The alchemist can take 10 on this check, but cannot take 20. Failure means the time is wasted.

This ability requires 20 minutes of uninterrupted work per item. At 9th level, the alchemist requires only 5 minutes per item. At 14th level, the alchemist requires 1 minute per item.

This ability is replaced by Instant Alchemy at 18th level.
 

mfloyd3

Explorer
Thanks for the feedback.

[MENTION=93930]Systole[/MENTION], your change seems OK. I had actually intended the multiple copies to scale up (I meant to write +20% per additional item), but shortening the time and doing single crafting makes just as much sense. Also allowing take 10 and not forfeiting gold seems OK as well.

Any other suggestions?
 


Systole

First Post
As far as whether the stash is consumed on failure, I think it would be easier accounting-wise, but on the whole it doesn't really matter. The change I suggested was simply because every time I see fractions or percentages that require multiplication, I cringe.
 

mfloyd3

Explorer
OK, so can we reach consensus on this?
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To use Swift Alchemy, the alchemist makes a Craft(Alchemy) check against the DC of the item in question. The alchemist must have both an alchemical reserve sufficient to cover the cost of the item, and either an Alchemist's Kit or an Alchemist's Lab (portable or otherwise). All appropriate class and circumstance bonuses apply to the roll. The alchemist can take 10 on this check, but cannot take 20. Failure means the time is wasted and the gold value of the item forfeited.

This ability requires 20 minutes of uninterrupted work per item. At 9th level, the alchemist requires only 5 minutes per item. At 14th level, the alchemist requires 1 minute per item.

This ability is replaced by Instant Alchemy at 18th level.
 

Maidhc O Casain

Na Bith Mo Riocht Tá!
ok, so can we reach consensus on this?
____

to use swift alchemy, the alchemist makes a craft(alchemy) check against the dc of the item in question. The alchemist must have both an alchemical reserve sufficient to cover the cost of the item, and either an alchemist's kit or an alchemist's lab (portable or otherwise). All appropriate class and circumstance bonuses apply to the roll. The alchemist can take 10 on this check, but cannot take 20. Failure means the time is wasted and the gold value of the item forfeited.

This ability requires 20 minutes of uninterrupted work per item. At 9th level, the alchemist requires only 5 minutes per item. At 14th level, the alchemist requires 1 minute per item.

This ability is replaced by instant alchemy at 18th level.

YES vote from me.
 


GlassEye

Adventurer
I think the time period is too short. It's almost as good as the 18th level ability but acquired at 2nd level. For example, a 3rd level alchemist would normally take 1-6 days to create an alchemical item. Swift alchemy, by RAW, would drop that to 1-3 days. In comparison, 20 minutes (decreasing to 5 min., then 1 min.) just seems too short to me (a character taking a day out of the adventure to craft could end up with a case of alchemical fire).

I haven't run the numbers for an 8th level alchemist but since the rules don't accommodate construction times less than one day I would prefer the time for LPF Swift Alchemy be set at 4 hours/2 hours/1 hour. I would listen to reasons for decreasing that time.

For now, NO.
 

Systole

First Post
I think the time period is too short. It's almost as good as the 18th level ability but acquired at 2nd level. For example, a 3rd level alchemist would normally take 1-6 days to create an alchemical item. Swift alchemy, by RAW, would drop that to 1-3 days. In comparison, 20 minutes (decreasing to 5 min., then 1 min.) just seems too short to me (a character taking a day out of the adventure to craft could end up with a case of alchemical fire).

I haven't run the numbers for an 8th level alchemist but since the rules don't accommodate construction times less than one day I would prefer the time for LPF Swift Alchemy be set at 4 hours/2 hours/1 hour. I would listen to reasons for decreasing that time.

For now, NO.

I disagree with you, GE. There's a world of difference between a 1 minute crafting and a 1 round crafting. You simply can't do the first one in combat. The difference between 5 minutes and 1 minute is almost never going to be significant.

As far as the actual crafting goes, I don't see it as unbalancing in any way. What this basically does is allow an alchemist to do some very limited shopping in mid-adventure. He's already paid for whatever he makes (actually, he's probably more than paid for whatever he makes, given that failure wastes the reagents), and he's already carting are whatever encumbrance worth of materials he's going to use. So there's nothing that an alchemist is getting out of this than convenience and flexibility.

In World of Warcraft terms, you're allowing a character with the engineering skill to have a portable mailbox. I do not think it's game-breaking. To be honest, I don't think it's even particularly game-changing to any significant degree.
 

GlassEye

Adventurer
The difference between 3 days and 20 minutes seems pretty significant to me but you are probably right that it is not very game-changing. I do like the feel restoring the crafting aspect gives to the alchemist class. I'll consider further; when the other judges weigh in my negative vote might be moot anyway.
 

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