D&D 5E The lazy fix to alchemists

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Hello

(I know 5.5 is coming, but the artificer won't be updated for a while, so "tweaks" are still relevant :) )

The alchemist is by far the worse artificer subclass. It's underwhelming. I thought it needed 2 things:
a) a small power boost
b) an improvement to the "potions" power (the Elixirs).

For a), I already had the answer. First, one more cantrip. 2 cantrips is really limiting, but 3 is great (guidance, attack cantrip, mending). Second, 2 extra infusions, but they have to be the alchemy jug (because you're an alchemist!!!) and the homunculus (very on brand for an alchemist, esp if it's an "organic" one as opposed to a mini robot. Can be huge for RP, and very solid utility + a bit of firepower). I know this isn't what everyone would do, it's not very creative but it works and it's easy.

But what about b)? What about the "potions"? I had all these plans for something ambitious to "fix the alchemist once and for alllll!!!!!" based on my work on the GLOG alchemist but... it seems this isn't happening. So what to do? Then it hit me:

1: The potions are chosen by the alchemist, not random
2: You don't get 1, you get 1 per prof bonus. So now it scales decently with level.

I think that these changes make the alchemist more powerful without being excessive, complicated, or changing the nature of the alchemist. This is still a mainly utility/support character, but they have a bit more oomph now, oomph they sorely needed.

What do yo think?

P.S. It is very possible I am not the first to think of this.
 

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Horwath

Legend
how would I simply fix the artificer?

Base class:
add one or two extra cantrips to add some versatility. we agree on that.

Alchemist and artillerist are weak subclasses, can be merged into one subclass, maybe extra infusion or two as you suggested.

Armorer is little weak; just combine both Guardian and Infiltrator armor models into one.

Battlesmith is mostly OK, I would just add extra infusions at levels 5,9 and 13 that can only be applied to Steel defender.
 

Stormonu

Legend
The whole artificer class needs a rework, it's a bit too narrow as it is. I think the two items you mentioned above are good changes.
 


Stormonu

Legend
Putting some of my thoughts together (granted, I've had VERY limited interaction with this class - some of this may already exist)

- Alchemist: this subclass seems to revolve around self-buffing or augmentation through transformation. The subclass really seems like a one-trick pony, some alternative options/abilities that aren't restricted to potions would be nice
  • Armorer/Artillerist: this subclass seems to revolve around item creation of weapons/armor. As noted above, I think these two subclasses should be combined with the option for emphasis on offense or defense. I'd like some options so that every Armorer isn't an Iron Man (the "repulsor beam" attack is the main culprit here) because that's a bit genre breaking; needs an option that allows the character to go heavy melee and not forced to primarily ranged.
  • Battlesmith: this subclass seems to be about battlefield control, and should have additional choices that allow them to push/pull/restrain/prone/flank opponents. The steel defender should provide some additional out-of-combat abilities so they aren't just combat focused.

What I'd like to see
- Forger: this would be a support subclass who primarily crafts items for use by others, somewhat a college of Lore/healer Cleric in nature. Care needs to be taken so that the subclass performs better augmenting allies than themselves (Artillerist/Armorer should cover the self-augmentation abilities).

- Wandsmith: somewhat adjacent to the Artillerist, using wands, staves and rods but not only for offense (Wand of Magic Missiles), but also for support/exploration (Wand of Enemy Detection, Wand of Illusions, etc.)

- Scribner: maker of scrolls, tomes and the like. Creates wards (such as Magic Circle of Protection) and possibly skills with languages

- Tailor: mimics abilities of creatures by creating garments such as robes, cloaks, boots, hats and the like. Sort of like 3E's incarnum class. Option for distilling the essence of creatures to infuse them into accessories.

- Jeweler: Psionic option, utilizing gemstones via rings, ion stones, jewels/gems, helm of brilliance and the like

- Tinker: Creates miscellaneous magic items, catchall subclass with no real focus (jack of all trades) but a wide berth of items that can be created and utilized
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I would fix the alchemist by publishing my own version, like this: The Alchemist - a class of potent and adaptable crafters - Dungeon Masters Guild | Dungeon Masters Guild

I will be updating the document in the next few days to

A- fix some balance issues,
B- rewrite some sloppy wording,
C- adding some optional ingredient harvesting rules.
I'm sure this is a very cool class - but it's not a lazy fix is it ;)

I was mostly looking for feedback - are my proposed changes "enough but not too much"?

(edit: my own efforts, but not for 5e, is here: The GLOG alchemist and The GLOG alchemist: a playtest , based on Alchemists and resources - a hard nut to crack . My "dream" solution is to replace the elixir power with the GLOG alchemist's powers, but that's not a trivial design task)
 

A lazy fix IMO would to got patch the two biggest hang ups.

1) the EE aren't easily applied to others unless they are knocked out. This severely limits their application when time matters.

Solution: allow applying them as the same action if a spell slot is used to create it and allow the artificer to choose their form (elixir, balms, salves, inhaled, and so on)

2) hand economy is crap.

Solution: add the ..must have alchemist tools on person.. clause to replace the need for them to be holding them for the lv 5, 9, and 15 features.
 

Amrûnril

Adventurer
While I agree the Alchemist needs a boost, I don't think these changes solve the underlying issue. Almost every class in the game, including the support oriented ones, gets either extra attack or full spellcasting progression. The exceptions are the Rogue, which instead gains sneak attack and uncanny dodge, and the Artificer, which has extra attack as a subclass ability for all but one of its subclasses. If the Alchemist's subclass abilities aren't going to include extra attack or improved spellcasting progression, they need to be balanced with the understanding that this is what they're making up for.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
While I agree the Alchemist needs a boost, I don't think these changes solve the underlying issue. Almost every class in the game, including the support oriented ones, gets either extra attack or full spellcasting progression. The exceptions are the Rogue, which instead gains sneak attack and uncanny dodge, and the Artificer, which has extra attack as a subclass ability for all but one of its subclasses. If the Alchemist's subclass abilities aren't going to include extra attack or improved spellcasting progression, they need to be balanced with the understanding that this is what they're making up for.
Hello

The artillerist also doesn't get an extra attack, but it does get a turret.

Both the alchemist and the artillerist get a bonus to their spell or cantrip damage at level 5. So an alchemist doing firebolt does 2d10+statbonus, which is better than say a wizard's cantrip (2d10) but not as good as a warlock or a martial (2dice+2stat) - about 1.5 attack. The alchemist can further supplement that damage with a homunculus which can attack with a bonus action for 1d4+3 (at tier 2), which basically bring the damage of the alchemist on par with a basic 2 attacks equivalent. This extra damage from the homunculus is one of the reasons I added it as a "free infusion" for the alchemist. (the other reason being how thematically appropriate it was).
 

how would I simply fix the artificer?

Base class:
add one or two extra cantrips to add some versatility. we agree on that.

Alchemist and artillerist are weak subclasses, can be merged into one subclass, maybe extra infusion or two as you suggested.

Armorer is little weak; just combine both Guardian and Infiltrator armor models into one.

Battlesmith is mostly OK, I would just add extra infusions at levels 5,9 and 13 that can only be applied to Steel defender.
I've more far reaching changes than that.
  • The artificer (any sort) gets to make one permanent item per level (rarity dependent on tier). They also need a discount on some spells to be able to make e.g. walls of stone at about the time a wizard can.
  • That doesn't fix the armourer; a biiig problem is that you need to be something like level 10 before you can enchant the armour and the weapon. Guardian is currently a wannabe paladin and infiltrator a wannabe ranger. And neither can bring the damage.
  • Artillerist depends a lot on in-character pacing. If you can reliably set up your pet cannon before the battle it's a solid class. If you need to spend your first action to do so it's bad. So either don't have it expire, or have it take damage each time it shoots (Mending to fix it) so it blows apart in a long battle.
And I know I gave the alchemist bombs as well as potions...
 

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