• Welcome to this new upgrade of the site. We are now on a totally different software platform. Many things will be different, and bugs are expected. Certain areas (like downloads and reviews) will take longer to import. As always, please use the Meta Forum for site queries or bug reports. Note that we (the mods and admins) are also learning the new software.

PF2 The PF2 Alchemist - how did it turn out?

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
So

I wasn't very impressed with the PF2 alchemist as presented in the playtest. It felt to me that they had missed an opportunity for being very creative, and instead the alchemical creations were very "bomb, bigger bomb, ice bomb, poison, bigger poison, poison bomb..."

So I'm creating this thread so people can discuss their impression of the final version of the PF2 Alchemist.
 

Morrus

Administrator
Staff member
Looking at it, there appear to be three ways you can go - bomber (like you said), chirurgeon (medical), and mutagenist (transformation). At each ancestry feat level you appear to choose a feat related to one of those three options.
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
So

I wasn't very impressed with the PF2 alchemist as presented in the playtest. It felt to me that they had missed an opportunity for being very creative, and instead the alchemical creations were very "bomb, bigger bomb, ice bomb, poison, bigger poison, poison bomb..."

So I'm creating this thread so people can discuss their impression of the final version of the PF2 Alchemist.
I haven't had a chance to fully read through it, but a lot of it appears to be as you say. In fairness, Alchemists arguably need combat options too, and bombs/poisons provide those. That said, there are more varied and interesting utility options among the Alchemical Elixers and Tools.

My personal favorite thus far is Snake Oil, which masks the symptoms of any affliction for 1 hour. I see plenty of opportunity for shenanigans with that one. The classic snake oil salesman is obvious enough. But you could also use it to smuggle a sick ally past a quarantine, or trick monsters into helping you in exchange for 'healing' their illnesses.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
and instead the alchemical creations were very "bomb, bigger bomb, ice bomb, poison, bigger poison, poison bomb..."
Now I want to play one in a Monty Python game!

"Spam, bigger spam, ice spam, albatross, bigger albatross, albatross spam...!"
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
Looking at it, there appear to be three ways you can go - bomber (like you said), chirurgeon (medical), and mutagenist (transformation). At each ancestry feat level you appear to choose a feat related to one of those three options.
Yes, but what about the OP's question?
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
That said, there are more varied and interesting utility options among the Alchemical Elixers and Tools.
It seems the answer to the OP's concern lies in the exact balance here.

Can you choose an Alchemist that gets a lot of these things? How do they compare to an utility Wizard? Do you need to sacrifice any combat utility to get them (or is utility elixirs chosen at different levels than combat bombs)?
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
It seems the answer to the OP's concern lies in the exact balance here.

Can you choose an Alchemist that gets a lot of these things? How do they compare to an utility Wizard? Do you need to sacrifice any combat utility to get them (or is utility elixirs chosen at different levels than combat bombs)?
It's hard to speak to balance without having seen it in play, much less without having read and absorbed everything.

That said, from my cursory examination of the classes I would describe them as different. Unless you're simply looking to compare DPR in a white room, I don't think a direct comparison would be easy.

Since the alchemist can acquire formulas in a number of different ways (leveling up, buying them, and potentially even 'inventing' them during downtime) there isn't a serious penalty for taking the 'creative' option over the 'effective' one. You can always acquire the missed formulas later.

Whereas wizards use Vancian magic, Alchemists get a choice. They can use Advanced Alchemy to prepare alchemical items in a manner that is functionally similar to Vancian magic, or they can leave their reagents unassigned and create them on the fly using an action for Quick Alchemy (the downside is that these items need to be use immediately or they lose their efficacy).

Then you also need to consider that alchemical items are explicitly called out as being non-magical, despite sometimes producing effects that would typically be limited to magic. That means that detect magic won't find these items, dispel magic can't end the effects they produce, and they'll function just fine in an antimagic field.

One the other hand, there are a wealth of spells compared to options for alchemical items. Also, from what I've read it seems that spellcasters get many more slots than an alchemist. However, from what I can tell, the alchemist's slots automatically upgrade to the best formula they have available to them (functionally speaking). Therefore, it may well balance out.

Overall, I'd say the balance seems okay, although I think it will be improved whenever they put out a supplement with additional alchemical items. The wizard, unsurprisingly, has the alchemist beat wrt total available options. In fairness though, that has been true when comparing a non-caster vs a caster in every edition of D&D. More alchemical items won't actually change that (unless the alchemy book is massive) but even simply doubling the alchemist's options would go a long way towards this end (particularly for replay), at least in my estimation. I expect that such a book is likely inevitable.

Like I said before though, I haven't finished reading the classes so this shouldn't be taken as more than a first impression of balance. It's entirely possible that I may have overlooked factors that ought to be considered in a more thorough evaluation.
 
Last edited:

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Thank you everyone for replying.

I haven't had a chance to fully read through it, but a lot of it appears to be as you say. In fairness, Alchemists arguably need combat options too, and bombs/poisons provide those.
Absolutely. And honestly, I'm not that upset if the bombs are a bit limited - they are bombs, after all. But what I are about is the *out of combat* options - are they creative? Things like "bomb, ice bomb, acid bomb, bigger bomb"... that's not creative.

That said, there are more varied and interesting utility options among the Alchemical Elixers and Tools.

My personal favorite thus far is Snake Oil, which masks the symptoms of any affliction for 1 hour. I see plenty of opportunity for shenanigans with that one. The classic snake oil salesman is obvious enough. But you could also use it to smuggle a sick ally past a quarantine, or trick monsters into helping you in exchange for 'healing' their illnesses.
See that is reassuring a bit - I love snake oil! - but I hope there are dozens of such tricks. Love potions. Smoke signals. Bread made with grinded-up stone and sunlight. Truth Serums An ear you leave behind to spy on people. A thin paint that only sticks on invisible items. Powdered horse - add water and voila, a horse! A tonic that removes exertion. An oil that makes steel soft as leather. Anti Melt that makes ice stay solid at room temperature. Fake fire. Bug repellent. Bug attractant.

etc etc etc! Amaze me!
 
Last edited:

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
Thank you everyone for replying.



Absolutely. And honestly, I'm not that upset if the bombs are a bit limited - they are bombs, after all. But what I are about is the *out of combat* options - are they creative? Things like "bomb, ice bomb, acid bomb, bigger bomb"... that's not creative.



See that is reassuring a bit - I love snake oil! - but I hope there are dozens of such tricks. Love potions. Smoke signals. Bread made with ground stone and sunlight. Truth Serums An ear you leave behind to spy on people. A thin paint that only sticks on invisible items. Powdered horse - add water and voila, a horse! A tonic that removes exertion. An oil that makes steel soft as leather. Anti Melt that makes ice stay solid at room temperature. Fake fire. Bug repellent. Bug attractant.

etc etc etc! Amaze me!
There are (by my count) 65 alchemical items in the core rulebook. Technically, there are a few more if you include alchemist feats that allow you to significantly modify items (ie, smoke grenades). That may sound like a lot, but once you see the list it doesn't feel that way (IMO).

That said, unsurprisingly (to me at any rate) a large number of the items are combat or exploration oriented.

There are 6 types of grenade, which a person could probably get creative with but whose purpose is combat, first and foremost.

Almost half the list (29 of 65) consists of various poisons. Many of them are contact, inhaled, or ingested (as opposed to injury) so the delivery of the poison might involve creativity, but I wouldn't consider poisons particularly creative myself.

The Elixers section has 24 entries. It's a grab bag of combat and utility items. You've got your typical healing items: Antidote, Antiplague, and Elixer of Life. Then you've got items that are primarily combat oriented, like the Bestial Mutagen and Bomber's Eye Elixer. A number of exploration items exist, such as the Comprehension Elixer (ability to read any language) and Darkvision Elixer. The one Elixer that strikes me as having the most potential for creative use is the Infiltrators Elixer, which allows the drinker to change their appearance. The applications of that are obviously broad, but the really interesting bit is that the potion's creator designates the specifics of the appearance. That has the potential for some creative and amusing applications.

The Alchemical Tools section contains the bulk of the more creative items, but it is also the smallest section (with a mere 6 items). Smokesticks, snake oil, sunrods, and tindertwigs from this section all have potentially creative uses.

I don't think it was necessarily a bad choice. For a core rulebook with limited space, you arguably want to go with options that have a higher degree of general applicability (rather than more esoteric options). Although, IMO, they might have overdone it a little with the number of poisons.

That said, there aren't a lot of those interesting options that you're looking to see in the core rulebook. I wouldn't be surprised if they put out a supplement to remedy that, but for now the options are largely more straight forward.
 
Last edited:

Kaodi

Adventurer
Alchemists have a level 18 feat that allows them to make some actual magical potions as alchemical items too, but that comes a bit late in the game, and might be a bit limited.

In any case I would certainly play an alchemist. I was just working on converting one concept that I had during the playtest to the final rules.

Baurkoff Beer-Baron (the finaling)
male strong-blooded dwarf barkeep alchemist 1 (bomber), chaotic neutral
st 14 dex 12 con 16 int 16 wis 12 cha 8
feats
ancestry - dwarven lore
background - hobnobber
class - alchemical crafting, far lobber
skills
trained - alcohol lore, athletics, crafting, deception, diplomacy, dwarf lore, farming lore, medicine, nature, religion, society, warfare lore
formulas
- arsenic, lesser antidote, lesser alchemist's fire, lesser frost vial, minor elixir of life, lesser silvertongue mutagen
languages - common, dwarven, gnomish, jotun, undercommon
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
Alchemists have a level 18 feat that allows them to make some actual magical potions as alchemical items too, but that comes a bit late in the game, and might be a bit limited.
The really interesting part to me is that IIRC, those potions are considered to be alchemical when created with that feat. Meaning they aren't magical. As such, you could quaff an alchemical potion of flying and soar around in an anti/dead-magic zone. Which is kind of weird to think about, but also really awesome, and potentially a huge tactical advantage.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
I wonder if the Alchemist can brew poisons for everybody or just him/herself.

Playing an archer would be significantly more interesting if you can get the (often significant) boosts of poison.
 

gargoyleking

Explorer
They can hand out their creations all they like. But anything made using their quick alchemy has an extremely limited efficacy. (Start of their next turn.)
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
They can hand out their creations all they like. But anything made using their quick alchemy has an extremely limited efficacy. (Start of their next turn.)
Yeah, okay, that doesn't surprise me.

Do they have any capacity for making poisons during downtime; stuff that anyone can handle without special skill requirements, stuff that lasts at least several days?
 

FowlJ

Villager
Do they have any capacity for making poisons during downtime; stuff that anyone can handle without special skill requirements, stuff that lasts at least several days?
Yes. Anyone can make alchemical items during with the Alchemical Crafting feat, which alchemists receive for free at 1st level. Alchemists don't do it faster or at a discount compared to other characters, but they do learn new formulae for free as they level up, while non-alchemists need to find, buy, borrow, or invent theirs.
 

Saelorn

Explorer
I get that they can infuse their alchemical reagents for free, but what about jars? Does an alchemist need to stock up on jars in every village they come across? Or am I throwing hollowed-out coconuts at people?
 

SkidAce

Adventurer
I get that they can infuse their alchemical reagents for free, but what about jars? Does an alchemist need to stock up on jars in every village they come across? Or am I throwing hollowed-out coconuts at people?
jars, gourds, wrapped paper bundles, hollow bamboo, hollow eggs, chocolate sauce (re: princess bride) ....

but in all honesty, I think that is just left vague for the most part.
 

Saelorn

Explorer
jars, gourds, wrapped paper bundles, hollow bamboo, hollow eggs, chocolate sauce (re: princess bride) ....

but in all honesty, I think that is just left vague for the most part.
It's unfortunate. This class is a major aspect of the brand identity which separates them from their competitors, and yet they completely gloss over how it's supposed to make sense in their world.
 

Aldarc

Explorer
That's probably the one part of the Alchemist that's best left not over-thought about. One person in my old gaming group disliked the concept of Alchemists precisely because of the whole carrying around infinite glass containers thing.
 

Advertisement

Top