True Alchemist (3.5e Class)

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True Alchemist[edit]

The true alchemist produces near magical effects by essentially MacGuyvering her way through everything. Alchemy is an entirely mundane task, but produces near magical effects. The true alchemist laughs in the face of this distinction.

Making a True Alchemist[edit]

True alchemists, like spellcasters, are vulnerable in fights due to their low hit points. However, they fulfill an interesting niche in any group. Being a "spellcaster" that can function just fine in an antimagic field is an intriguing perk. They may be amused at spellcasters, who look to some other force to give them the powers that they could just attain by looking at what's right in front of them. This stigma especially applies to wizards, whose lives are spent in just as much study as the true alchemist.

Abilities: A high Intelligence score allows for a true alchemist to make their creations better and faster. Charisma allows for a true alchemist to better work with magic items, despite not having a spell repertoire of her own. Dexterity can be useful for aiming splash weapons, like vials of acid or alchemist's fire. Constitution is as important for a true alchemist as it is for any other class.

Races: Most true alchemists are either humans or gnomes. Gnomes have a natural affinity to alchemy, and humans have the inborn curiosity that drives one towards the path of magic without magic.

Alignment: Any

Starting Gold: 5d4×10 gp (125 gp).

Starting Age: "As wizard".

Table: The True Alchemist

Hit Die: d4

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special
Fort Ref Will
1st +0 +0 +2 +2 Alchemist, Skill Focus (Craft [Alchemy])
2nd +1 +0 +3 +3
3rd +2 +1 +3 +3 Secondary Study
4th +3 +1 +4 +4 Bonus Feat
5th +3 +1 +4 +4 Deceive Item
6th +4 +2 +5 +5 Expedited Creation
7th +5 +2 +5 +5
8th +6 +2 +6 +6 Bonus Feat
9th +6 +3 +6 +6
10th +7 +3 +7 +7 Improvisation
11th +8 +3 +7 +7 Augmented Alchemy
12th +9 +4 +8 +8 Bonus Feat
13th +9 +4 +8 +8
14th +10 +4 +9 +9
15th +11 +5 +9 +9 Alchemical Item Creation
16th +12 +5 +10 +10 Bonus Feat
17th +12 +5 +10 +10
18th +13 +6 +11 +11
19th +14 +6 +11 +11
20th +15 +6 +12 +12 Bonus Feat, Craftmaster

Class Skills (8 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
The true alchemist's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Craft (Int), Disable Device (Int), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Int), Open Lock (Dex), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Survival (Wis), and Use Magic Device (Cha).

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are class features of the true alchemist.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: True alchemists are proficient with all simple weapons, plus the gnome calculus (see the Arms and Equipment Guide sourcebook). They are proficient with light armor, but not with shields. A true alchemist's class features are not hindered by armor, however..

Alchemist (Ex): Despite not being able to cast spells, a true alchemist's skill with alchemy is so great that she gains a caster level equal to her class level. This caster level is neither arcane nor divine, and as such, cannot meet caster level requirements with this conditions. She can however, use her caster level to qualify for Item Creation feats and prestige classes that do not have arcane or divine specifications. The true alchemist applies her caster level as a bonus to all Craft (Alchemy) checks.

Bonus Feats: A true alchemist gains Skill Focus (Craft [Alchemy]) as a bonus feat at 1st level. At 4th level and every fourth level thereafter, she gains an additional bonus feat selected from the following list: Skill Focus (any Craft, Knowledge, Profession, or Use Magic Device), or any Item Creation feat.

Secondary Study (Ex): Specializing greatly in a field such as alchemy lends well to synergies with other trades. At 3rd level, the true alchemist chooses a single Craft skill (other than Craft [Alchemy]). With this skill, she gains a bonus on all checks equal to half her caster level.

Deceive Item (Ex): At 5th level, a true alchemist has the ability to more easily commandeer magic items made for the use of other characters. When making a Use Magic Device check, a true alchemist can take 10 even if distracted or threatened.

Expedited Creation (Ex): At 6th level, a true alchemist may take a -10 on a Craft (Alchemy) check to craft a single item with exceptional speed. Use normal Craft rules, except that instead of measuring progress by weeks (working with price in gp), measure it by rounds. If the results indicate that the item would be finished sooner than a full-round action, it instead takes a movement action. This ability provokes attacks of opportunity. In order to maintain working (and avoid spoiling the raw materials), the true alchemist must succeed on Concentration checks as appropriate. A true alchemist may “Craft Defensively” as a spellcaster casts defensively with an appropriate Concentration check.

Improvisation (Ex): As she researches more, and tasks become more routine, a true alchemist of 10th level or higher may create alchemical items and items from her secondary study by paying 1/2 the normal cost of raw materials.

Augmented Alchemy (Ex): Whenever creating an alchemical item or substance, a true alchemist of 11th level or higher can choose to make it more powerful than normal by adding +20 to the DC required to create it and multiplying its price by 5. If the item or substance deals damage, double the damage dealt. If the item or substance doesn’t deal damage, double the duration of its effect. If the item or substance doesn’t deal damage and doesn’t have a specific listed duration (or has an instantaneous duration), double all dimensions of its area. If the item or substance doesn’t fit any of these categories, then it cannot be affected by this class feature. She may not improve an item beyond a number of +20 DC augmentation increments equal to 1/4 his class level.

Alchemical Item Creation (Ex): A true alchemist of 15th level or higher can use her alchemical genius to create magic items, even if she does not know the spells required to make an item (although he must know the appropriate item creation feat). He can substitute a Craft (Alchemy) check (DC 15 + 5 × spell level) in place of a required spell she doesn’t know or can’t cast. If the check succeeds, the true alchemist can create the item as if she had cast the required spell. If it fails, he cannot complete the item. He does not expend the XP or gp costs for making the item; his progress is simply arrested. He cannot retry this Craft (Alchemy) check for that spell until he gains a new level. In addition, any items he makes through this method continue to function normally in an antimagic field if they succeed on a Will save equal to the DC of the antimagic field + 5.

Craftmaster (Ex): the total experience point costs for any item creation incurred by a 20th level true alchemist are reduced by 1/10 or 500 XP, whichever is less. The character may reduce the XP cost further, to a maximum reduction of 1500 XP or 3/10 the total (whichever is less) by paying an additional 375 silver pieces per point of point of experience reduced from the total cost.

Epic True Alchemist[edit]

Table: The Epic True Alchemist

Hit Die: d4

Level Special
24th Bonus Feat

8 + Int modifier skill points per level.

Epic Alchemist: The epic true alchemist's caster level equals her class level, and bonuses that are derived from it increase as normal.

Augmented Alchemy: The limits on the number of increments equals 1/4 class level. The Augmented Alchemy Epic Feat increases the maximum number of increments by one.

Bonus Feats: The epic true alchemist gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic true alchemist bonus feats) every four levels after 20th.

Epic True Alchemist Bonus Feat List: Additional Magic Item Space, Augmented Alchemy, Efficient Item Creation, Epic Skill Focus (any Craft, Knowledge, Profession, or Use Magic Device), Craft Epic Magic Arms and Armor, Craft Epic Rod, Craft Epic Staff, Craft Epic Wondrous Item, Forge Epic Ring, Scribe Epic Scroll, Perfect Health, Extended Life Span.

Gnome True Alchemist Starting Package[edit]

Armor: leather armor (+2 AC, 0 check penalty)

Weapons: gnome calculus, longspear (1d6).

Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 6 + Int modifier.

Skill Ranks Ability Armor
Concentration 2 Con
Craft (Alchemy) 4 Int
Craft (any other) 4 Int
Disable Device 4 Int
Heal 4 Wis
Knowledge (any) 4 Int
Open Lock 4 Dex
Sense Motive 4 Wis
Survival 4 Wis
Use Magic Device 4 Cha

Feat: Weapon Focus (gnome calculus).

Bonus Feats: Skill Focus (Craft [Alchemy]).

Gear: two flasks of acid, two flasks of alchemist's fire, one tanglefoot bag, one thunderstone, bedroll, waterskin, flint and steel, 1 day's trail rations, 1 bag of caltrops, three empty vials, explorer's outfit. (all alchemical items made before starting adventure)

Gold: 4 silver pieces

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing a True Alchemist[edit]

Religion: Like a wizard, a true alchemist may find himself worshiping magically- or knowledge-oriented dieties such as Boccob or Vecna; however, many may be too involved in their studies to consider religion worthwhile.

Other Classes: True alchemists sometimes look down on spellcasters with a level of pity, since their study is so great in what they may consider foolishness. Spellcasters generally return the favor.

Combat: From tanglefoot bags to alchemist's fire to other pre-battle enhancements, a true alchemist has a wide range of items potentially in his arsenal, if he has some time to prepare for combat beforehand. It might be wise for a true alchemist to develop a stockpile of nifty items just in case she gets ambushed.

Advancement: While the base class itself essentially doubles the power of the Craft (Alchemy) skill, some true alchemists may want to pick up a level here or there of another class. A skill-heavy class like rogue might make a good choice for a consistent multiclass. Prestige class options are great, particularly ones that continue to improve the true alchemist's caster level, and futher blur the line between the mundane and the magical.

True Alchemists in the World[edit]

Nothing can beat the power of science!
—Fnipper, gnome true alchemist

Most professional alchemists typically stay confined to their shops, making a fairly lucrative profit off their items and wares. A non-spellcasting alchemist is somewhat rare and a bit of a prodigy in the art of alchemy.

Daily Life: Most days would be spent researching and experimenting, with results that may or may not be desirable.


Organizations: Many true alchemists don't distinguish themselves from their spellcasting partners, and they congregate where they can sell their wares for a fairly lucrative profit.

NPC Reactions: Spellcasters might think the true alchemist is one of them at first glance, albeit one very focused in craftsmanship. Other NPCs might just think they're spellcasters.

True Alchemist Lore[edit]

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (local) or Knowledge (arcana) can research true alchemists to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.

Knowledge (local/arcana)
DC Result
5 True alchemists dedicate themselves to alchemical creation and research.
10 Oddly enough, true alchemists aren't spellcasters.
15 True alchemists can produce profound effects of alchemy unheard of elsewhere.
20 Some true alchemists are better creators of magic items than actual spellcasters.

True Alchemists in the Game[edit]

True alchemists fill the sorcerer block of a group, or, for a low-to-no-magic campaign, can fill the arcanist slot. The limits of what they can make and create (via Knowledge and Craft) are really only limited by the player and the DM.

Adaptation: For more futuristic settings, "Alchemy" can be changed to "chemical" to make an incredible scientist-like character.

Sample Encounter: <-DM placement for NPCs of this class.->.

EL : <-Encounter scenario and character info on sample NPC including stat block. The CR of the NPC is typically the same as the EL for the encounter.->.

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