Alchemist, Variant (3.5e Class)
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Alchemy is a science rooted in dualities, opposites that co-exist. Fire and water, earth and air, light and darkness, the four humors, acids and bases, and so on. Alchemy itself is also a duality, a compromise between the mysterious might of magic and cold, calculating logic of science. In this pseudoscientific discipline, an alchemist strives to find the balance between these two to better himself and ultimately acquire that which has so long danced fleetingly in the dreams of men: immortality.
Making an Alchemist
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<-Strong points and weak points, and effectiveness with party members.->.
Abilities: Intelligence is the measure of how well an alchemist can understand the nature of the world around him, and as such is the primary statistic for determining the strength of his abilities. Other than Intelligence, each other statistic's usefulness is dependent on how that particular alchemist approaches situations.
Races: Humans, with their burning ambition, are most likely to become alchemists. Dwarves and gnomes are also apt choices to become alchemists given the dwarves’ love of gold and the gnomes’ inherently scientific minds. Other races are less common but not entirely unheard of.
Alignment: Any, although accepting that there are both laws of science and of magic which govern their profession tends to make many alchemists Lawful.
Starting Gold: 4d6×10 gp (140 gp).
Starting Age: Moderate.
|Saving Throws||Special|| Abiogenesis |
|1st||+0||+2||+0||+2||Infans Solaris, Abiogenesis||I|
|2nd||+1||+3||+0||+3||Fermentation, Hermetic Seal||I|
|3rd||+2||+3||+1||+3||Brew Potion, Fire||I|
|4th||+3||+4||+1||+4||Outside the Box||II|
|5th||+3||+4||+1||+4||Chrysopoeia, Craft Wondrous Item||II|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Appraise (Int), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge: Alchemy (Int), Knowledge: Arcana (Int),
All of the following are class features of the alchemist.
Alchemy: An alchemist does not gain spells like a wizard or sorcerer, but as his understanding of the nature of the universe increases he gains the ability to manipulate the four classical elements in ways which replicate arcane magic. Using alchemy in this manner is a standard action (that provokes an attack of opportunity) during which the alchemist must draw the symbol of the element he is attempting to manipulate (the symbol need not be drawn on a solid surface) and imbue it with some of his energy. This action can be disrupted like a spell. Alchemy-based DCs are dependent on the user's Intelligence and determined according to level of the spell they replicate (10 + spell level + Intelligence modifier). The highest level spell that an alchemist can replicate is equal to 1/2 his class level rounded down. For each particular element, an alchemist can replicate two spell levels per class level each day. An alchemist can replicate cantrips without limit, although he must still have gained understanding of the particular element necessary. An alchemist does not gain access to more spells by virtue of having a higher Intelligence, but he must have an Intelligence score equal to 10 + the spell's level in order to replicate any given spell. The rules for using alchemy apply to the alchemist's fermentation, fire, water, air, earth, and quintessence class abilities. An alchemist's ability to use alchemy is not inhibited by armor.
For example, a Darien Maszlo, a 9th level alchemist, has access to both the fire and water elements. He can cast 18 levels of fire spells each day and 18 levels of water spell each day, and the highest spell level that he can cast is fourth level, provided his Intelligence score is 14 or more.
Infans Solaris: Alchemy derives a large portion of its power from the sun, and as a child of the sun, so too does an alchemist. When the alchemist is in natural sunlight, he gains a +1 circumstance bonus to all rolls he makes.
Abiogenesis (Sp): By combining the elements around him and willing them to animation with a little push, an alchemist can recreate the effects of a summon monster spell once per day. At the end of the ability's duration, the creature crumbles in the elements that were used to create it.
Fermentation (Ex): In food processing, fermentation refers to the process by which carbohydrates are anaerobically converted into alcohols or acids. For an alchemist it can be a little different. By forcibly burning carbohydrates stored within his own body, an alchemist can create an acid effect outside his body. Using fermentation deals one point of lethal damage to the alchemist for every spell level recreated (acid arrow would deal two points of damage, zero level spells deal one non-lethal damage) or one point of lethal damage per power point that would be expended. For every five points of damage dealt to the alchemist in this manner (lethal or non-lethal), he takes one point of temporary Constitution damage, which can be restored by eating. One meal restores one point of damage. An alchemist's level must be double the level of any spell or effect he re-creates in this manner. Unlike the classical elements, fermentation is limited only by how much damage the alchemist can take, not his class level. If a spell would put an alchemist's hit points at or below zero, the spell fails and the alchemist is reduced to one hit point.
Hermetic Seal (Sp): Sometimes an alchemist deals with dangerous substances that should not be accessible to ordinary people. To protect that which is his, and to a lesser extent would-be trespassers, three times per day an alchemist may expend a standard action to replicate the effects of either a hold portal or gentle repose spell.
Brew Potion: In keeping up with the scientific aspect of his profession, an alchemist gains the Brew Potion feat at third level. For the purposes of creating a potion, an alchemist is treated as knowing every spell whose level is less than or equal to the alchemist's level divided by three, rounded down.
Outside the Box: Creating potions in a laboratory is child's play. Creating a potion of flying when you're in the middle of nowhere with no supplies and you've suddenly discovered a giant gorge is another thing entirely. If an alchemist succeeds on a Knowledge: Nature check, a Search check, and a Craft: Alchemy check (all DC 15 + spell level x caster level), he can create a potion entirely from the materials he has at hand. Creating a potion in this manner cost the alchemist one experience point per 10 gp the potion would cost to buy. An alchemist still needs a place to collect potion (a vial or other appropriate container) as well as other items at the DM's discretion (mortar and pestle, knife, fire, etc.), which can also be improvised if the environment allows for it. Creating a potion in this manner takes one hour per level of the spell the potion will replicate. If an alchemist fails the first check (Knowledge) no time is spent. If the alchemist passes the first check but fails the second check (Search), half an hour is spent searching (unsuccessfully) per hour the potion would normally require to make (with Outside the Box). If the alchemist passes the first two checks only to fail the third, a whole hour is spent (per hour the potion would require), as is the experience point cost. Taking 10 on the Search check doubles the time requirement; taking 20 quadruples it.
Chrysopoeia (Sp): At fifth level an alchemist can transmute one pound of material into gold each week. The amount of material that can be transmuted each week increases by one pound for every five levels the alchemist has beyond fifth (two pounds at 10, three at 15, etc). Chrysopoeia cannot be used to affect living tissue or magically animated entities like undead or constructs.
Craft Wondrous Item: An alchemist gains the Craft Wondrous Item feat, although he can only make certain types on items, including salves, dusts, ointments, unguents, incense, and elixirs, as well universal solvent, sovereign glue, and silversheen.
Aether Field (Ex): The aether field is a reflection of an alchemist's developing ability to manipulate the element of air. At sixth level an alchemist is no longer effected by inhaled poisons, and he gains a deflection bonus to his Armor Class equal to his Intelligence modifier.
Antimony (Ex): Antimony is an element recognized for its flame retardant properties. By channeling this element, the alchemist can create an aura that confers fire resistance 20 as a swift action. The aura lasts for a number of rounds equal to the alchemist's Intelligence modifier and can be used a number of times per day equal to the alchemist's Intelligence modifier.
Alembic: At ninth level an alchemist gains the ability to refine his alchemy and reproduce more potent and varied effects. After attaining this ability the alchemist can apply metamagic feats to his alchemy abilities, but he is limited in how much he can do this. An alchemist can boost his alchemy with a number of metamagic levels equal to his own level each day. For example, Darien Maszlo, a 9th level alchemist, has nine metamagic levels to spend each day. He may maximize a burning hands effect, which only uses one of his eighteen fire levels, but would expend three (maximize spell raises spell level by three) of his alembic levels in doing so. He would have fifteen levels of fire spells and six levels of alembic remaining on the day. An alchemist still cannot cast a spell that has a level greater than half his level (i.e. Maszlo could not use an empowered ice storm, because although he could normally use ice storm, empowering it raises it to a sixth level spell).
Midas Touch (Sp): Once per day a twelfth level alchemist may attempt to petrify an opponent with a melee touch attack. This functions as a flesh to stone spell (alchemist level equals caster level), although the creature is transmuted into gold instead of stone.
Arsenic (Sp): Alternately known as the king of poisons and the poison of kings, arsenic has a long and colorful history. Once per day a thirteenth level alchemist may attempt to poison an opponent with a melee touch attack. Arsenic functions as a maximized poison spell (alchemist level equals caster level). The maximization of this spell does not count against an alchemist's daily usage of alembic.
Adaptogen (Ex): Adapt, improvise, overcome. After acquiring the adaptogen class ability, any time the alchemist is hit with a type of energy attack he immediately acquires resistance to that type of energy equal to 10 plus his class level. The resistance lasts until the alchemist is hit with a different type of energy, at which point he adjusts to that energy type and is again vulnerable to what he was previously resistant to.
Mercurial Opposition (Sp): Once per day, as a standard action, an alchemist can channel the element of mercury, taking on a quicksilver appearance. Any creature gazing upon the alchemist when he is in this state is treated as having looked into a mirror of opposition. The creature's doppelgänger splits off from the alchemist as a free action and immediately begins to attack its counterpart. When either the copy or the original is dead or the effect is over, the double evaporates and is reassumed into the alchemist's body. While the double is alive the alchemist suffers -2 penalty to his Constitution. A creature can avoid this effect by wearing a blindfold, which offers the alchemist total concealment. An alchemist does not have control over who is duplicated when he activates this ability, although it will not affect his allies. Mercurial Opposition affects the hostile creature with the highest initiative roll when activated, provided a line of sight exists. If there are no hostile creatures who can see the alchemist, the sheen lasts for a number of rounds equal to the alchemist's level. If a creature is not duplicated in that time the alchemist returns to normal and cannot use this ability for another twenty four hours.
Autoabiogenesis (Sp): As the alchemist begins to master the secrets of humanoid transmutation, he acquires this insurance policy. At 16th level the alchemist gains the ability to cast clone once per month as a spell-like ability.
Strangelet (Ex): At seventeenth level, the alchemist can introduce a strangelet into a system. A strangelet is a particle that forces all particles it comes into contact with to conform to the strangelet. The most famous example of this is the fabled "Ice-Nine" sample. A number of times per day equal to his Intelligence modifier, an alchemist may create one of the following effects:
- Flesh to Stone
- Otiluke's freezing sphere
- transmute metal to wood
- transmute mud to rock
- Transmute Rock to Lava
- transmute rock to mud
- stone to flesh
Amphoteric: At 19th level the alchemist's mastery of the elements is so complete he no longer has separate spell pools for each element, and instead has one pool (the result of merging his separate pools) that he can draw from to create any elemental effect.
Magnus Opus: At 20th level the secret of immortality is finally revealed to you. You no longer suffer the effects of aging and cannot die of old age. You still gain the mental bonuses of aging, but you no longer incur physical penalties. Gaining this ability does not make you young if you are already old, and ability score penalties already acquired from aging do not go away. An Alchemist can still be killed by normal means, just not by old age. An Alchemist with the Magnus Opus ability still must eat, drink, and breath or he will die.
|22nd||Metamagic Bonus Feat|
|24th||Metamagic Bonus Feat|
|26th||Metamagic Bonus Feat|
|28th||Metamagic Bonus Feat|
|30th||Metamagic Bonus Feat|
4 + Int modifier skill points per level.
Alchemy: The alchemist continues to accumulate spell levels per day for each element.
Playing an Alchemist
Religion: Alchemy, by its very nature, is not conducive to traditional religion. Science and religion have long been at odds, and magic is not too much better. Most alchemists are therefore not devoutly religious, although less devoted beliefs and displays of faith are not uncommon. Likely portfolios for a reverent alchemist include elemental domains, as well as the creation, sun, and rune domains.
Alchemists tend to get along well with wizards, who share similar rituals of preparation and method. They are rarely at odds with any particular class, and in turn there aren’t many classes who have particular reason to shun alchemists. The exception is that there are known issues between alchemists and barbarians on occasion, since neither science nor magic go hand-in-hand with what a barbarian knows best and is comfortable with.
Advancement: Because an alchemist's dedication to his craft prevents him from mastering the finer points of armored combat, yet his spells are not adversely affected by armor, it is only logical that many alchemist's would take a level or two in cleric or fighter, or even barbarian, to take advantage of the more thorough martial training these classes have. Taking a level (or two) in rogue offers a healthy boost to Reflex saves as well as evasion. As a minor multi-class option, the alchemist does not have so much to give since his core class abilities scale in strength and would offer little to a high-level character looking to round out their weaknesses.
Alchemists in the World
|“||Look around you, all you see is vials and random chemicals, all which are nothing on their own. When I look I see a vast number of options... I could take a number of these vials, and depending on what I mix, I could do anything.||”|
|—Hanover Fist, Human Alchemist|
Alchemists tend to live in larger cities where it is easy to find materials to work with, although sometimes an alchemist will stock up and move somewhere remote to keep his work hidden.
Daily Life: Alchemists like to spend most of their days inside studying and are usually only drawn out of their home from a need for food, water, materials, or the hope of getting some rare material with which to work.
Organizations: While it isn't very common, sometimes there will be a local gathering of alchemists to share what they know or any new discoveries. Alchemists tend to be very reclusive as they do not like to be bothered or have their work stolen.
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (Arcana) can research an Alchemist to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|11||Alchemists are researchers and loremasters who specialize in potions.|
|16||Alchemists are very skilled in creating potions and are able researchers of the secrets of life and the multiverse in general.|
|21||Alchemists are able to learn incredible secrets, and thus are able to reshape themselves and the universe around them.|
|26||Very powerful alchemists can even reach the secret of eternal life, making them young forever and thus able to evade death. However, that ability doesn't stop them from dying by the sword.|
Alchemists in the Game
Alchemists rarely interact well with the divine or the magical. They don't like to be interrupted unless absolute necessary. Alchemists are more of a buffer class, and are not very useful in combat themselves. They are, however, useful for strengthening items, and improvising weapons.
Adaptation: Not all Alchemists adhere to these rules however. Some alchemists are more open minded, they may accept magic or divinity, but they will always be somewhat critical, and will always see science as the stronger power.