D&D 5E The lazy fix to alchemists

Starfox

Adventurer
These are my edits, which has not been used. Our one artificer is battle smith. I wrote these a long time ago and have not looked at them since. From Alchemist (5A) - Action

Experimental Elixir​

  • drinking an experimental elixir a bonus action
  • You know the effect of each elixir after making it (this may be how it is supposed to work)
  • Yu create a number of elixirs equal to the level of the spell slot used
  • Add your Proficiency Bonus to healing
  • Swiftness increases speed by 5 feet times PB
  • Resilience: At lvl 15 the bonus is +2
  • Boldness: At 15th level the duration becomes 10 minutes
  • Flight: Flying speed of 5 feet times your proficiency bonus

Alchemical Infusions​

At 3rd level you learn to can create infusions of all potions, magical oils, ointments, and salves, creating two of these instead of one normal infusion. At level 3 you can create common items. At level 6 you can also create uncommon items. At level 10 you can also create rare items. At level 14 you can also create very rare items. If there is a variable effect other than damage or healing (such as a Potion of Resistance) you determine the result.

Alchemical Savant​

the bonus equals your Intelligence modifier plus your Proficency Bonus (minimum of +1). The bonus can apply to multiple targets but the aspect of the spell (damage type, healing) that gets the bonus is the same against all targets.

Alchemical Weapon Proficiency​

At 3rd level you become proficient in substances used as weapons, such as acid, alchemist's fire, and holy water. At 5th level you can apply your Alchemical Savant bonus to the first damage inflicted by each substance used, but not to any continuing damage in later rounds.

Counter-Agent​

At 5th level you have developed various alchemical reagents you can use to reduce the damage you take. As a reaction when you are hit by an attack, you can give yourself resistance to one type of damage that attack inflicts until the start of your next turn.

Restorative Reagents​

  • temporary hit points equal to 2d6 + your Intelligence modifier + your Proficency Bonus
  • you regain all expended uses when you finish a long or short rest

Chemical Mastery​

Once you cast either spell with this feature, you can't cast that spell with it again until you finish a long or short rest.
 

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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.
Have you looked for inspiration in other RPG sources that have the Artificer class or the Alchemist? If not, here are some links on the Alchemist class in Pathfinder 1st edition and the Artificer class in Level Up.

PF 1's Alchemist class: Alchemist – d20PFSRD

Level Up's Artificer class: Artificer | Level Up

The Alchemist class in PF1 is known for making potions, bombs and mutagens. "Better Living Thru Chemistry" they would probably say. 😋 As for Level Up's Artificer, is better or worse than the 5e version?
 

In actual play all our artificers are fine balance wise. I have not seen an alchemist though.

I was tempted to try one instead of the armorer but then decided otherwise...
 

From admittedly little hands-on experience (I played an alchemist to 4th level once, and my current campaign has a 1st level artificer with alchemist on his mind) I'd argue that the major weakness of the class is when it comes to actual in-combat options to put the hurt on someone. I mean, it's generally going to be a cantrip, which makes life hard (although you do eventually get to add your Int bonus to cantrip damage, which is something) You just don't have any major combat buttons you can push when you need to, and it can be frustrating.

I'm not 100% convinced that simply upping the alchemist's already significant buffing and utility capacity will make much of a difference to alleviating its major issue. But I’m having trouble thinking of an alternative that doesn’t take away the alchemist’s unique style and feel. You can easily turn them into Grenade Guy or Poison Guy or Healing Guy (or even Melee Guy via a Hyde-type potion), but is that what an alchenist really is?
 


Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Have you looked for inspiration in other RPG sources that have the Artificer class or the Alchemist? If not, here are some links on the Alchemist class in Pathfinder 1st edition and the Artificer class in Level Up.

PF 1's Alchemist class: Alchemist – d20PFSRD

Level Up's Artificer class: Artificer | Level Up

The Alchemist class in PF1 is known for making potions, bombs and mutagens. "Better Living Thru Chemistry" they would probably say. 😋 As for Level Up's Artificer, is better or worse than the 5e version?
As mentioned, that would not be a lazy fix would it? Besides, as mentioned, I've already created an alchemist class, I just don't want to do the work to make it work in 5e :p
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
From admittedly little hands-on experience (I played an alchemist to 4th level once, and my current campaign has a 1st level artificer with alchemist on his mind) I'd argue that the major weakness of the class is when it comes to actual in-combat options to put the hurt on someone. I mean, it's generally going to be a cantrip, which makes life hard (although you do eventually get to add your Int bonus to cantrip damage, which is something) You just don't have any major combat buttons you can push when you need to, and it can be frustrating.

I'm not 100% convinced that simply upping the alchemist's already significant buffing and utility capacity will make much of a difference to alleviating its major issue. But I’m having trouble thinking of an alternative that doesn’t take away the alchemist’s unique style and feel. You can easily turn them into Grenade Guy or Poison Guy or Healing Guy (or even Melee Guy via a Hyde-type potion), but is that what an alchenist really is?

so there are some combats boosts in there.

First, by having 3 cantrips (vs 2), the alchemist doesn't have to decide between attack cantrip, mending and guidance, ensuring that they do have an attack cantrip. Why is mending important? Because of homonculus.

Second, said homonculus is a mini blaster, inflicting 1d4+prof bonus damage... not a lot, but it does boost the alchemist's damage. The alchemist might boost their combat further with another infusion.

It still remains a tad underwhelming, but at least it's better. ... but maybe not enough?

As far as your suggestions... a great fix to the alchemist is to play an Apothecary instead, a new class from the Sebastian Crowe's Guide to Drakkenheim book. It has several subclasses that match the examples you've given. I actually play a mutagenist, a goblin who turns into a 9 foot ogre via the use of a special elixir...
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
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)

I see that this is a reference to the RAW fact that you can give someone else a potion as an action, but you can't with an elixir unless they are unconscious. I wasn't aware of this and it seems... silly. (why on earth would it be different?!?) The solution is simply make it work as a potion. As my version would create several elixirs per spell slots, I don't think allowing creation/application with one action would be "ok". But thank you for pointing this out.

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.

How does this differ from any other spellcaster? For your previous example I could see the RAW problem, but here?
 

I see that this is a reference to the RAW fact that you can give someone else a potion as an action, but you can't with an elixir unless they are unconscious. I wasn't aware of this and it seems... silly. (why on earth would it be different?!?) The solution is simply make it work as a potion. As my version would create several elixirs per spell slots, I don't think allowing creation/application with one action would be "ok". But thank you for pointing this out.



How does this differ from any other spellcaster? For your previous example I could see the RAW problem, but here?
Yea the hang ups are mostly avoidable with minor word changes.

As for the second part, all the alchemist features have this tag:
...Whenever you cast a spell using your alchemist's supplies as the spellcasting focus...
Or
...provided you use alchemist’s supplies as the spellcasting focus...

This mean you can't utilize any of the cool infusions that work with spell foci nor can you easily utilize a shield. Want the extra damage at level 5? Need to give up a hand to do so if you also want to use EAF (unless you get a specific item which is already a troublesome approach).

If you don't specifically hold the alchemist tools you basically don't have any subclass features.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Not every concept needs to be a whole new character class, either. I wrote a Guild Alchemist background for a player's druid, who wanted their character to have just a touch of familiarity with potions... they didn't want everything about their character to be a potion. It wasn't complicated, just a couple of skill proficiencies, a couple of tools, and a feature that let them identify substances by studying a sample. It's still one of the more popular backgrounds for my table, especially for clerics, rogues, and wizards.
 

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