Chasing the Philosopher's Stone: N. Jolly’s guide to the Pathfinder Alchemist
“You start out in this field with nothing but a few test tubes and some notes you have scrawled out on a dirty notebook. And for a lot of people, that’s as far as they go. But for some, that’s not enough. Some of us need more…” Kallen Telos, junior Alchemist in training
1. Table of Content and Rating System
Black (?): This option for one reason or another cannot be rated.
Red (*): This option is to be avoided unless you want a challenge.
Orange (**): This is an okay option, but you can do better.
Green (***): This is a good option, and worth considering.
Blue (****): This is a solid option, it’s hard to do much better.
Purple (*****): A class defining option, this should not be ignored
2. Introduction, Roles, and Sub Roles
"A lot of people got a lot of expectations when you start throwing around chemicals, think you're some kinda mad man. But don't let 'em get to you, the path you're on is one that leads to many places. And hopefully one of them will be a pile of gold." -Auric Navlis, professional thief, adventurer, and enemy of the state
Welcome to the reposting of my first ever guide, it’s been one hell of a trip getting here. Honestly the Alchemist is a class that I love to death, one that I personally think is fantastic, and the lack of solid guide for it bothered me for quite some time. That’s why I made this one, although the move to Google Docs was due to spacing issues and other such problems.
The point of this guide is to help all of you out there realize how to build the best damn alchemist possible. This class has SO many options that sometimes it’s hard to know where to look, so my job here is to help you all find your way along and build a character who can accomplish any narrative goals you want through mechanics. With the additional room, I have a lot of space to really flesh out a ton of concepts that I wanted to expand upon in the original guide, as well as place things in a bit more of a logical order.
There’s going to be a few changes to this guide from the original, including a few subtractions (the old guide will be staying up, but no longer updated with new material), but I’m hoping this new format will help me bring you the best possible Alchemist. It’s my hope that you all will be able to enjoy the game, but make sure that you’re playing the game at the same ‘level’ as the rest of your party. Following the advice in this guide could lead to you playing a more powerful character than the rest of your party, so make sure you’re not overshadowing anyone, and respect the GM’s right to alter things to keep their game working smoothly.
Hopefully soon, this guide will be integrated with my Investigator guide as well, since the two overlap so much. I plan on referencing this guide a lot for that one, so please don’t be TOO angry at me for it.
The Alchemist in and of itself has a few basic roles it can fit very well, using its natural talents to excel at a variety of different task. There are of course three main roles of which can be filled, and this guide will focus primarily on those. While you can attempt to do other things with this class (and I encourage you to experiment with different combinations), the following are the ones that the class is most tailored to complete.
Pros: The job of a generalist Alchemist is to be able to do everything the class has to offer; from laying down covering fire with your Bombs to being able to down a Mutagen and mix things up in melee as well as anyone else. Flexibility is the name of the game for this role, and because of it you should be ready to handle any situation that comes your way. Adding Extracts to your list of abilities only widens the scope of which you can handle, making you one of the most versatile characters in the game.
Cons: For everything it can do, it can't do anything perfectly. Specializing is almost always better in 3.P, and lacking that specialization you might feel a bit overshadowed in some parts. For this role, it’s essential that you cover your weaknesses thoroughly.
Suggested Archetypes: Clone Master, Preservationist
Mad Bomber (MB)
Pros: Alchemist are given many different ways to enhance their bombs, and this gives them a wide range of battlefield control. From Frost Bombs staggering to Grease Bombs setting up difficult terrain, your ability to hinder and debuff are hard to beat. You are also very capable of putting out large amounts of burst damage, especially after level 8 (Fast Bombs), ending encounters in a hail of shrapnel and chemicals that leave the battlefield tailored to your choosing. Consider picking up a bow as well since you’re specializing in ranged combat. For more detailed information on playing a Mad Bomber, check out Zenith’s Guide to the Alchemist.
Cons: Bombs are a finite resource, and once you're out, you've lost a lot of versatility. In the 15 minute adventuring day, this isn't that awful. But in the early levels as well as later levels if you build around nova bombing, you can easily run out in only a few rounds. And the mutagen is less useful for you, but only slightly.
Suggested Archetypes: Grenadier, Mind Chemist
Master Hyde (MH)
Pros: This is going to be the more damage focused Alchemist, as generally you’ll be wanting to take Vivisectionist with this. While you can play an Master Hyde build without taking that archetype, you’re still a heavily damage focused character. Your strengths are generally more endurance than your fellow Mad Bombers, although you pay for this with less battlefield control, which can be very important to a lot of players. Master Hyde players are very versatile though, being able to tangle in melee with using bombs as a secondary source of damage, making them quite useful.
Cons: Taking vivisectionist limits your attack options quite a bit, and without it you’re leaving damage on the table. unless you have a certain bomb you can’t live without. Also you’ll be in more risk of taking damage, as well as far more selfish with your use of extracts. It’s always more dangerous on the front lines, so be careful.
Suggested Archetypes: Vivisectionist, Beastmorph
While the main roles are obvious, the sub roles of the class are a bit more subtle, taking up the background of your character's abilities. Some sub rolls will affect your combat style, while others will affect how you interact with the campaign setting itself. When deciding on a sub role, it’s always best to confer with your party to help figure out what the party needs before deciding on which is best for you, as giving your group a wide array of different skills is one of your most important roles as an Alchemist. These are going unrated as each of them is as viable as the others, so feel free to take whichever suits your character best.
Pros: Aside from Trapfinding (which certain archetypes/traits give), you can make a perfectly viable Rogue with a few traits. You almost have as many skill points as a Rogue, can pick up Sneak Attack if you want, and the Alchemist’s Extracts and Mutagens make most of the traditional Rogue jobs (Scouting, Sneaking, Etc,) much easier for you. This is also probably the least intensive Sub Role you can have, making it easy to focus on a second one as well. And for added fun, here's the Rogue's only niche it had left in a trait.
Cons: This basically requires you to burn your traits on skill traits to tailor yourself to whatever type of Rogue you want to emulate. There's a good chance you'll need to take Additional Traits as well, and this will eat into the skill points you need to do your job as an Alchemist. Please don't do this role with a Rogue in your party.
Suggested Archetype: Trap Breaker
Pros: Probably the biggest advantage you have in buffing is the ability to buff without using your own actions. Being able to hand out your buffs (literally) allows you to use your own actions to others can give you a much better chance to get more off. You have a pretty decent list of buffs as well, so make sure to share them. And remember that you have a lot of buffs that only you can give out, like Monstrous Physique which is generally only for the caster. Try giving that to your beatstick and watch him go crazy on others.
Cons: You have two major issues: Unable to multitarget buff and your one advantage, having your party buff itself. Some extracts lack value, being only single target instead of effecting the full number they normally would. And every buff you give your party is one you're not using for yourself, making you individually weaker.
Suggested Archetype: Chirurgeon
Pros: It's not hard at all for you to get scary fast, especially considering all the things you get to boost it. This is especially good for Hyde, whom with Shatter Defenses can get Sneak Attack off on a shaken opponent, which is mostly useful for Vivisectionist.
Cons: Immunity to fear isn't uncommon, nor are save bonuses against it. Shaken itself isn't the best debuff you can stick, and this style tends to use its swift actions quite readily.
Suggested Archetype: Beastmorph
Pros: A specialty of bombers (especially Grenadiers) this route mostly entails using other alchemical items to add to your bombs, as well as using different discoveries to augment your hindering capabilities. There's a few items that work wonders for this, and investing a little coin in some alchemical items could make a huge difference in battles. These can also help keep you useful even once you run out of bombs.
Cons: You'll be burning through consumables much quicker than a standard Alchemist, which could burn a hole in your pocket. Moderation is key, making sure that you don't run out of resources too quickly.
Suggested Archetype: Grenadier
Pros: While originally a divergence of the main Hyde, looking over this really makes me feel like it’s a better sub role than a main focus, and thus it has been downgraded to a sub role. You have a character who has very easy access to Enlarge Person, as well as proficiency with a reach weapon (longspear) which gives you a 20 foot radius of death. With Mutagens as well as other buffs, you'll be outpacing equal level melee without fail, being able to lock down the field like none other.
Cons: This build while solid will probably lack the damage of Brutal Hyde. That's not exactly a problem, but you won't be at peak damage, your moderate BAB will slow your iterative progression, and you'll be investing more into yourself (instead of your party) with your buffs.
Suggested Archetypes: Beastmorph
Pros: You are the undisputed master of poison, and can use them better than anyone else. From your massive boost to Craft: Alchemy to create them as well as tons of discoveries to augment your poisoning abilities (Poison Conversion and Celestial Poison) and eventual immunity to your weapon of choice, you are THE authority on poisoning foes. To get a bit of advice, check the Poison Primer that appears later in the guide.
Cons: Being the best ain’t great. Considering a lot of things are immune to poison, having a separate cost, as well as it targeting fort saves (most creature's good saves), you've chosen a difficult specialty to embark upon.
Recommended Archetype: Toxicant
3. Abilities, Races, and Traits
"Every race has their own way of doing things. The half elves nearly turn into trees, the ratfolk just get everyone sick, and the damn goblins burn everything in sight. Still haven't found that one crazy gnome kid yet though, maybe they really did disappear…" Thark Greybeard, senior professor of alchemical research at Tarth Moorda
The building blocks of your character, these are the most basic choices you can make to shape your character to however you imagine them, making you from a basic concept into a truly well formed and fleshed out alchemist. Make sure to take time and consider everything carefully, as it’s deeply important to make sure you start off with a strong foundation.
Strength (***) (MB (*)/MH (****)) For a bomber, this is basically a dump stat unless you plan on using a longbow. But for Hyde, this is probably your primary stat. It’ll affect your attack roll as well as damage and buffing it even higher isn’t hard with everything you can do.
Dexterity (***) (MB (****)/MH (***)) This is important for both types, seeing as it affects your bomber’s accuracy and both character’s AC as well as initiative. Kind of hard to neglect something so important and with an Amulet of Mighty Fist (Agile) you can attack with it too.
Constitution (***) (MB (**)/MH (***)) Less important for the bombers, especially seeing as you'll be at a range, as well as have a good fort save. Hyde needs it more since he'll be in melee, so take care to not let this dip too low so you have a safe number of HP.
Intelligence (****) (MB (****)/MH (***)) A stat that affects your bomb’s damage and saves as well as adding to your extracts is very important, although since most of your extracts won’t have a save, Hyde can go a little lower on this one. It's still good to keep it high for skills and such though, and it's what defines you as an Alchemist stat wise.
Wisdom (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) Neither of these two need Wisdom, and if you had a better will save, this would be red. It doesn't really factor into most of your skills, so try to keep it around 10
Charisma (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) This is your big dump stat, it adds to nothing that you care about, and anything that does use it can be replaced with traits, so dump this as hard as you can.
Favored Class Bonus: For this most of the time you’re going to want to pick HP, as you’ll have enough skills through intelligence and such. Bombers can pick up some extra bombs which I think is more valuable than damage, since landing more bombs is more debuffs.
One of the first big decisions of your character is going to be their race, and that can have a lot to do with the kind of Alchemist that you’re trying to build. While some are better than others, and some are just terrible, there are no wrong choices here if it fits your story.
Dwarf (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) Nothing that a dwarf provides really helps you, and aside from Hardy just being a great trait, there’s nothing here that you’re looking for as either type of alchemist.
Elf (****) (MB (****)/MH (***)) The racials are perfect for the bomber, and decent for Hyde. One of the best things about this package for either though is the weapons, which I’ll go into detail with later. But it’s a good choice for both.
Gnomes (**) (MB (***)/MH (*)) Gnomes have some pretty bomber friendly alternative racials like Pyromaniac, as well as 1/2 bomb per level as a favorite class bonus if you're afraid of running out. For a melee character, being small is rarely ever good though, so Hyde can take a pass.
Halfling (**) (MB (***)/MH (*)) Better stats for your bomber and a few useful racial features make this a solid bomb slinger, but again nothing here is going to help you wreck things up in melee.
Half Elves (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) Flexible stats help sell this, and most of the racials can be traded out to something more useful which helps sell this as a choice, especially Ancestral Arms.
Half Orc (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) There’s not a huge variance between this and Half Elf, but again the abilities you can trade out help this out, and medium size is rarely bad.
Human (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) Humans are amazing for anything, no matter what it is. The feat can be used to start up your ranged attack abilities, pick up extra bombs, or for anything else. The skill points are helpful too, although not vital, so feel free to trade it out.
Aasimar (**) (MB (**)/MH) Your base stat adjustments aren't great for anything, but seeing as you can vary them, it’s not all bad. There’s basically nothing here that you need, but there’s a lot of neat things, and you can at least pull a strength bonus here for Hyde which is surprising rare for most of these races.
Catfolk (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) Decent stat adjustments, but unless you’re here for some nice claws and eventual pounce (assuming you’re not getting it elsewhere), this is barely above average.
Dhampir (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Aside from dexterity, you’re not getting anything you want, and the negative energy affinity basically says that you can’t heal yourself. The stat adjustments of the Jiang-Shi are at least passable though, but the new skill bonuses are kind of strange.
Drow (***) (MB (***)/MH (**)) The dexterity bonus is helpful, and the spell resistance isn't awful since it does not apply to your extracts. Add on some decent weapon familiarities, poison use (so you can trade it away), and a perception bonus, and you have a solid alchemist.
Fetchling (*) (MB (**)/MH (*)) I really want to like these more, but aside from another dex/cha race (Why are there so many?) nothing really adds into your class unless you're in the dark a lot.
Goblin (**) (MB (****)/MH (*)) You’re not taking a goblin into melee, but it seems as though god intended these little monsters to huck fire. They have their own archetypes, their own discoveries, and tons of other things that make them custom suited as alchemist.
Hobgoblins (**) (MB (**)/MH (***)) I wish these guys were the inverse of goblins alchemy wise, but unless you’re looking to make a sneaky brawler, they’re just a bit above average.
Ifrit (*) (MB (*)/MH (**)) Fire resistance is actually pretty nice, and trading away for the ability to enlarge yourself once a day is useful for melee, but nothing here is massively useful.
Kobold (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) This race wasn't balanced to do anything, and without 3.5 kobold tricks, this is a bad race for most things.
Orc (**) (MB (*)/MH) The hit to intelligence hurts, but a +4 to strength is uniquely good. Falchion and Greataxe are two great weapons, and Ferocity could keep you up on you feet long enough to finish off your opponent, or trade it away for scent to be hard to sneak up on.
Oread (**) (MB (*)/MH) Not a bomber, but a strength bonus is nice. Trading away some features for Crystalline Form and Treacherous Earth can give you a bit more utility for a melee build.
Ratfolk (***) (MB (****)/MH (*)) No melee, but gold for a bomber. Perfect stat adjustments, very relevant skill bonuses, small size, a VERY good favored class bonus, and a half decent racial archetype earmark this as a great bomber.
Skinwalker (****) (MB (****)/MH (*****)) There's going to be at least one flavor of Skinwalker you enjoy, from the +Int/Dex Bloodmarked to the +Str/Int Scaleheart, and of course the possible 6 natural attack capable Ragebred. There's so much variety and versatility, and they all come with great traits.
Slyph (*) (MB (**)/MH (*)) Aside from great stat adjustments, you’re not getting anything that’s helping you bomb anyone, so stay away from wind people.
Tengu (MB (**)/MH (****)) A dex bonus is nice, but the real treat here is the bite attack and sword trained. Swapping out S. Trained for the claws though lets you ignore needing feral mutagen, which is another discovery you can use to buff your other offensive styles.
Tiefling (*****) (MB (*****)/MH (****)) Base stat adjustments are gold for a bomber, the resistances are great, and trading away Fiendish Sorcery for a Prehensile Tail gives you the ability to set up your bombs. With the Favored Class bonus to add to damage, it’s hard to get a better bomber. And on the flip side, Oni Spawn makes a great brawler.
Undine (*) (MB (**)/MH (*)) Most of the elemental races are garbage excluding stats. This is no exception.
Uncommon and Other Races
A note here, these aren’t exactly ‘normal’ races, so you might want to make sure you get GM approval before playing anything here, since they may not fit your GM’s view of their world.
Android (MB/MH (***)) Now this is a complex beast; perfect stat placement for anyone but Hyde (and not bad for them either) a bunch of resistances and immunities, and great senses. As long as you're avoiding morale bonuses (check your extracts to be sure), you can take your mech and wreck up things as Alphonse.
Duergar (*) (MB (*)/MH (**)) This race gives some nice SLAs, but lackis good stat adjustments.
Grippli (*) (MB (**)/MH (*)) Just barely passable for a bomber with no helpful racials, being a frog should be more fun than this. Listed simply to tell you that having a racial archetype doesn't make you a worthwhile race.
Lashunta (****) (MB (***)/MH (*****)) We're going male here, as this is the only +2 strength/intelligence race around. A decent buff to the knowledge skill too, this race has a slightly worse form of telepathy out to 30 feet, which is something no other race does. That in and of itself makes this a strong choice, and the best Hyde.
Lizardfolk (****) (MB (***)/MH (*****)) Incredible physical racial adjustments (with no penalties) paired with a large natural AC bonus was good on its own, but pairing it with claws and bite opens up a discovery for natural attacker Hyde. Oh, and they can swim too.
Merfolk (MB (**)/MH (**)) Assuming you went Strongtail, these aren't horrible as they get some AC and a dexterity bonus. Plus it's funny, play one for that reason alone.
Monkey Goblin (***) (MB (****)/MH (**)) Another odd race, it has a crazy +4 to dexterity and a tail, along with a climb speed and being small. Again not a great Hyde, but few things are.
Svirfneblin (***) (MB (****)/MH (**)) While their stat adjustments aren't perfect, their racial traits are crazy good. What they get is almost too good for a PC race, so get permission before playing this one. It would be higher, but it's much like the Aasmir in the fact that few of these myriad bonuses actually help you be a better Alchemist, it's just a very nice chassis.
Vanara (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) Son Goku is here simply because of that tail, as a prehensile tail as amazingly useful in just about every situation. Plus its stats aren't hurting anything you really care about, and Tree Stranger helps out Mind Chemist due to its inclusion of knowledges.
Strix (***) (MB (****)/MH (***)) A fly speed to start with (and a pretty good one at that) is a huge bonus to start off with, and their racials don't conflict with anything you want.
Wayangs (***) (MB (****)/MH (**)) Another set of near perfect racials with perception and stealth bonuses and arcane SLAs mark this as a very worthwhile Alchemist. Darkvision seals the deal, making them solid scouts, but being small hurts their chances of being a Hyde candidate.
Wyvaran (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) The only dragon race of the bunch, this is another flying race with slightly better stat adjustments in place of worse speed and maneuverability. Sadly the tail can't be used to grab items or else this would be purple, but it can make AOOs at full strength bonus, which is often a pretty solid amount.
There are a ton of traits you can use to customize your Alchemist, and a great deal of them are to add class skills. Rather than go over all of them, I'd rather work on the ones that are more relevant to the class, but I'm also providing the following guide to help you find the best traits to use to add anything in the game to your class skills
Accelerated Drinker (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) Drinking a potion as a move action is helping your action economy (Maybe use your standard action to down your Mutagen or throw a bomb). If your GM rules that you can use extracts with this (which I would, since they're basically the same thing) this becomes PURPLE.
Anatomist (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) None of your weapons have a great crit range, so a +1 to confirm will probably be forgotten soon enough, even if it's very flavorful for Hyde.
Armor Expert (***) (MB (**)/MH (***)) For a Substitute Rogue losing some ACP is a good value, but it won't effect really any of your skills aside from that. It also lets you wear a mithril breastplate with no ACP.
Axe to Grind (**) (MB (*)/MH (****)) This is almost specifically for Hyde. Damage bonuses in traits that have easy requirements are perfect.
Bloodthirsty (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) And on the other side of the scale, we see a more situation damage boost that only works on one attack. This is what we stay away from, children.
Dirty Fighter (**) (MB (*)/MH (***)) Hyde should be flanking pretty often to get off their sneak attack, so adding extra damage to that is something you want, as well as being great flavor.
Firebug (***) (MB (****)/MH (**)) While you don't need a lot of help hitting with bombs, any little bit helps.
Killer (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) For such a cool name, this falls short. Either you're using a good threat range 2x crit and doing 2 extra damage on a crit, or a 3x crit and probably killing anything regardless of 3 extra damage.
Reactionary (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) Initiative bonuses will always be worth your time, so be aware that anything that boost your initiative as an Alchemist is your friend.
Resilient (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) It's a good save for you, but your constitution might not be too great.
Fate's Favored (***)(MB (***)/MH (***)) Luck bonuses aren't incredibly common (custom magic item maybe?) but with a Luck Stone or half-orc alternative racial trait, this becomes ugly good.
Indomitable Faith (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) This is a bad save for you and bases off a weak stat for you; do whatever you can to boost your will save.
Inspired (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) It's a reroll for a skill check, which could be important (disable device, perception), so don't be afraid to get a little insurance on passing a check when it matters.
Omen (MB (**)/MH (****)) This is a zenith for the intimidate build if you have decent Charisma; +1/+4 (for being trained) is good enough, but a once per day swift action demoralize is icing on the cake. If you're a scary monster, THIS is how you make others quake in fear.
Zealous Striker (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) Dependent on the number of divine casters you're fighting, but this one is a lot better since you could be stacking a lot of free damage onto opponents.
Air, Earth, Fire, Storm-Touched (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Too painfully specific to validate choosing.
Alchemical Adept (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) While the +2 to craft is nice, the chance not to ruin your stuff is gold.
Alchemical Intuition (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Once a day? Uses your charisma? Trait bonus (so it won't stack with other traits?) Later, skater.
Enduring Mutagen (**) (MB (*)/MH (***)) One extra minute a level isn't great, but Hyde wants to stay hulked extra long.
Focused Burn (***) (MB (***)/MH (**)) Extra damage is always good, and while it sucks that it has to be fire, this is a trait giving your bombs more damage, although the rate in which it increases is rather slow.
Hedge Magician (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) This gets better in a low gold game, or if you're a miser since potions get expensive.
Meticulous Concoction (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) I like this for a bomber more, as giving a +2 to the DC of a bomb's save is a great way to make it stick, especially if it's affecting more than one person. It's a bit of a Hail Mary though.
Pragmatic Activator (*****) (MB (*****)/MH (*****)) This takes the best skill in the game, and this trait bases it off of your best stat. I can't think of a reason not to want this trait, and it could easily be worth taking Additional Traits to get it.
Precise Treatment (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) Another swap stat for intelligence, but this is a far less useful skill. Still not bad if you're going the medic route.
Unscathed (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) Any extra defense is nice, but this is really meant for Tieflings and Aasimars, since they have the most number of innate resistances to boost.
Unstable Mutagen (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) This is such a cool idea, but the downsides outweigh the upsides. Honestly if you're paying a trait to have this, it should have more benefits than penalties, so unless you want to test your luck, you can do without this.
Adopted (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) This trait is as good as the trait you take with it, so at max it's great, but it can be worse. If your GM rules that this takes up your trait and requires you to burn a trait on the race trait instead of just changing it into a race trait however, it's a big RED (*).
Avid Reader (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) Being able to take ten on a knowledge skill can be pretty powerful, and this will keep you from botching it big.
Bruising Intellect (***) (MB (**)/MH (****)) The biggest problem with Intimidate is it ran off charisma. Now you base it off Intelligence; now it's perfect. This is even better than Omen if you tanked your charisma like most Alchemist do, except for the lacking swift action demoralize.
Charming (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) I've had entire games derailed with this by the player who took it asking "Do they find me sexy?" Skip it now.
Clever Wordplay (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) This negates your need for charisma entirely, although there's other traits that do more unless you need a specific charisma based skill.
Rich Parents (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Gold is fleeting, but bonuses are forever. Even if 900 is a nice sum, by 3rd level you'll have forgotten about it, and be out a great trait.
Student of Philosophy (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) If you want to be a social Alchemist, this is the way to remove charisma from the picture entirely. Perfect for a social Substitute Rogue, and good in case you need a spokesperson.
Glory of Old (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) Boosting your natural Dwarven racial bonuses again is totally worth a trait.
Grounded (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) A reflex bonus is nice, but a slight acrobatics check puts this above other similar traits
Forlorn (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) Another +1 to fort, probably better since you're an Elf to even out the constitution hit.
Warrior of Old (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) And just in case you needed it, another +2 to initiative so you can take a combat trait. If not, improving your initiative is always a good call.
Businessman (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) Never a bad thing to keep pumping that craft: alchemy check.
Rapscallion (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) A +1 to Escape Artist is not worth the +1 to initiative you're losing.
Elven Reflexes (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) Again, not hard to find an initiative bonus, especially if you're at least part elf. Crazy how fast elves can be when they need to be.
Failed Apprentice (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) Arcane spells are more likely than divine, so this stacks up a bit better as a poor man's Hardy.
Helpful (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) If this works with Swift Aid, this is amazing, bringing your aid another action up to very potent levels.
Well Informed (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) Diplomacy is a great skill to have once again, and knowledge local can be decent for your Substitute Rogue.
Legacy of Sand (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) A nice and racial way to get a bonus to will saves.
Tusked (***) (MB (**)/MH (****)) A bite attack is a very nice addition, and a great target for the Adopted trait. It's a perfect fit for races that only have claw attacks, completing the set, and the damage is quite appreciable too.
Carefully Hidden (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) Even better than most other +1 will traits, you get a bonus against divination spells too, which while rare, is still a free bonus.
Spirits in the Stone (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) Another +2 to initiative, but with a +1 to saves against traps and hazards too.
Snake Hater (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) Not an incredibly common knowledge, but getting dungeoneering trained with a +2 bonus is solid if you're investing in it.
Toxophilite (**) (MB/MH (*)) Half of a feat for bows isn't terrible, especially once you pick up your Braces of Falcon's Aim. Still, a little on the lacking side.
Shadow Stabber (***) (MB (**)/MH (****)) Hyde is getting the most out of this, as they should be striking from the shadows, and +2 is a nice buff to damage.
Suicidal (**) (MB (*)/MH (***)) You're not tough enough to use this a lot, but some of the sturdier Hydes can use this to save a friend's life.
Tiger's Claw (**) (MB (*)/MH (****)) Once you're pouncing, this is a straight damage bonus to your best form of attack.
Terrifying Lunge (**) (MB (*)/MH) Another way to make yourself scary, and with the chance of a swift action intimidate to start off the fight.
Blood of Dragons (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) You take this for low light vision, period.
Deathtouched (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) Either choice is solid here, but I'd stick with the +1 to fort saves.
Second Chance (*****) (MB (*****)/MH (*****)) A once a day reroll on any save? There's feats that give less than this, so find you a god and start worshipping for this!
Cheat Death (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) A second chance at life is always worth a trait, although dropping from a save that does damage isn't super common.
Defensive Strategist (*****) (MB (*****)/MH (*****)) Uncanny Dodge in a trait, need I say more?
Purity of Faith (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) Another bonus to your will save, with the added bonus of possibly getting more if you're up against evil outsiders. They're probably going to be your enemies, so all hail Iomedae! Or anyone, since the SRD doesn’t have deities up.
Undead Slayer (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) Undead are a fairly common opponent, and this is a conditionless +1 to damage against them. Raise this up a bit in an undead campaign, but still weak for a religion trait. Consider it if you aren’t taking another trait to buff damage.
Heirloom Weapon (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) If this is the unerrata'd version, this is a solid blue since it's a +1 to attack forever and a free martial/exotic weapon proficiency. If it's the errata'd version, it drops hard (although you can still pick up a martial weapon prof without burning a feat, so it's not terrible.) But you will need the spell Masterwork Transformation in order to keep using it after a point.
Fashionable (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) Found here, this swaps intimidate for sense motive in relation to Extremely Fashionable. Honestly I think it's a good trade, but it depends on if you need to be scary. Great with Student of Philosophy.
Hunter's Eye (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) Found here, bows are the best ranged weapon you can get, and this gives you proficiency as well as twice the effective range, so you WANT this.
Weapon Style (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) Found here, if you’re looking for some goofy martial arts stuff, or a kusari gama build, you’re going to want to pick up this trait.
Note: These traits are only intended for their designated campaign, but there’s really no reason you shouldn’t be able to use them in any game. However some GMs will be sticklers on this, so make sure you get permission before using any of these just in case.
Finding Haleen (*****) (MB (*****)/MH (*****)) Toughness? HA! If your GM lets you take this trait, you take it. This is crazy good in every way, and there's no reason why not to take it unless you're banned from it.
Serpent Runner (****) (MB (***)/MH (****)) Either of the first two benefits is awesome, so do some snake running!
Subject of Study (****) (MB (***)/MH (****)) Once you know the kind of opponents you'll be facing, this is permanent extra damage, and even better, it's untyped.
Sword Scion (***) (MB (**)/MH (****)) While starting with a free weapon is nice, the permanent +1 to attack rolls makes this nice. Even better for an elf or half elf if you pick Aldori Dueling Sword as your Ancestral Arms. Plus long swords are cool, what more reason do you need?
Teacher's Pet (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) Barely better than Secret Knowledge both for being able to start off with it, and not taking up your (very powerful) religion trait.
Trap Finder (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) So, you want to be a Rogue? Here's the keys to the driver's seat, try not to hit its corpse on the way out.
4. Class Abilities and Skills
"Every page, every note, every scrap of information crafts my skills into a new weapon against those who would impose their will on the weak." -Beow Hassen, professional adventurer, housewife, and proprietor of the 'Griffon's Nest' general store
The best way to play your class is to know your class, which is something a lot of people don’t take the time to do, so this section is to help familiarize you with everything that the Alchemist is capable of doing. Once you better understand how to play your class, you can focus on more important things, like role playing them however you’d like.
Alchemy (MB/MH) While you can’t get rid of this for something else, I want to highlight this, as it makes you a factory for alchemic items. At lower levels, this is a lot more helpful (since your DCs for items don’t scale) but there are a few stand outs I’ll bring up later. And remember that poisons and potions can both be made with this. Considering you have a lot of features that involve poison (although you’ll probably trade them away), having a cheaper way of obtaining it is pretty nice, and potion creation is another thing that rarely gets old.
Extracts (*****) (MB (*****)/MH (*****)) The Alchemist has a limited number of Extracts of which provide a huge amount of solutions to your adventuring conundrums. It's true that you don't have the best spell list, but you do have quite a few gems on your list which come from both the arcane and divine list. And the ability to steal spells off of a wizard’s spellbook is golden. You don't get a lot of extracts per level, and the lack of sharing (without taking the “Infusion" discovery) hurts a bit, but this is still a rather large part of the class which helps make it attractive. Also, nothing trades out for it, so you’re stuck with great modified casting
Bomb (****) (MB (*****)/MH (***)) This is the centerpiece of the bomber due to all the different discoveries and such, and even Hyde should take one or two discoveries to add to their arsenal. Your bomb damage starts off pretty nice, but the more you invest in it (Fast Bombs, Sticky Bombs), the more it pays off. Bombs can also carry very nice debuffing abilities, making them quite adaptable to whatever situation you're in. And for Hyde, there's a few types of bombs that can make your job a lot easier.
Brew potion (***) (MB (**)/MH (***)) This is less valuable for a bomber since they don’t need to be buffed as much. Potions are the most expensive and restrictive type of consumable magic item, you do have exclusive access to some potions that aren't normally possible. Honestly I’d only go as high as 1st level potions, but the options are there so that you can stretch your buffing talent. Note that you wouldn’t normally qualify for this, just in case you want to trade it away for an ability from an archetype.
Mutagen (****) (MB (***)/MH (*****)) Your bomber won't get nearly the value out of this that Hyde will, but it's still a very solid addition to their ability roster. A +4 to Strength and +2 to AC is very useful for a melee combatant, especially having only light armor to rely on. The duration on this is also nice, allowing it to last through multiple encounters quite easily. Most archetypes that give this away let you get it with a discovery.
Throw Anything (****) (MB (****)/MH (***)) The second biggest source of damage for bombers, the fact that it works with any thrown item is incredible. Even once you run out of bombs, you can continue to throw acid. It mainly works at lower levels, but it’s always a solid option.
Poison Resistance +2, +4, +6 (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) You’re not going to use this, basically every archetype replaces these bonuses, look for the best one to get rid of it.
Discoveries (*****) (MB (*****)/MH (*****)) One of the best ways to customize your character, these are the most versatile way to define your character. Never be afraid to burn a feat on Extra Discovery.
Swift Alchemy (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) The ability to make alchemical items faster is nice, as is poisoning a weapon quicker. But neither of these is an incredible thing, so don’t feel bad to remove it for something else. The biggest problem is that poison isn't great unless you MAKE it great.
Swift Poisoning (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) This is slightly more useful for Hyde, as you can’t poison bombs. But again, this isn’t really that useful at all, and doesn't speed up your item production, so give it a pass if you can.
Poison Immunity (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) A blanket immunity is never a bad thing, but poison isn't a very common problem for most characters. If it is, bump this, but for most of us it’s trade bait.
Persistent Mutagen (***) (MB (**)/MH (****)) An hour per level is pretty amazing, it means that you’ll be in mutagen all day. You get this very late, so it’s not incredible, but it guarantees that you’ll be hulked up as long as possible, especially if you take discoveries to buff your mutagen.
Instant Alchemy (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) This is pretty awesome, but you’re at a point where alchemical items don’t hold a lot of value. If you can find some that stay valuable, it’s great, but that’s a pretty tall order when you’re this strong.
Grand Discovery (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) It’s cool, and if you get here, it’s great. But don’t plan around this, it almost definitely won’t be a factor.
While skills aren’t the best part of your package, you do get some very nice ones to help you with your job.
Appraise (**) I don’t really think this comes up a lot in most games, but it’s an Int based skill, which is something that’s worth giving it a look.
Craft: Alchemy (*****) You get a HUGE bonus to this, it’s an Int based skill, and you can make a ton of great stuff. This is your skill, and your trademark as an Alchemist.
Disable Device (***) Having access to this is very nice, gives you some rogue like versatility, and is a Dex based skill so you should be decent at it.
Fly It’s not too hard for you to get a fly speed, so pop a rank or two in here if you can.
Heal (*) A Wis skill while you have healing ability is pretty meh. This doesn't need a huge investment, and even one rank in it would be enough.
Knowledge: Arcana (***) This is a pretty common knowledge, so it’s good to keep this maxxed.
Knowledge: Nature (***) I like this, it’s thematic and pretty nice to have. It’s especially useful if no one else has it, and it amuses me for this skill to be green.
Perception (****) You were blessed with this as a class skill, and while you might not have the Wisdom to make it incredible, there is NO reason why not to max this as hard as you can.
Profession (*) Yeah…no. I don’t even think with the new downtime rules this is useful, so skip it unless you really want to know how to run a bakery.
Sleight of Hand (**) Another skill that lets you substitute for a Rogue, this is only moderately useful for most situations, but it is a pretty fun skill.
Spellcraft (****) Since you’ll need this to copy spells out of other people’s books, it’s pretty important to you.
Survival (*) You have magic, you don’t need survival. It’s for people that can’t warp reality.
Use Magic Device (****) This is the best, most versatile skill in the game, and taking it should be obvious if you have any level of magic in your game.
“Who’d have guessed that daughter of mine would have gone into something as ugly as science. Sure, it’s complex as magic, but it’s so imprecise. Sometimes she makes gold, and other times she just makes a huge explosion. Crazy thing is, she seems happier with the latter.” Anleous Telos, Arcanist of the High Elven Inquisition
Discoveries are the most important thing about your Alchemist, they’re what defines your style. Make sure that you take care to style your character to how you envision them, from bomb lobbing psycho to razor sharp beast. Discoveries are far more powerful than feats, so don’t feel bad about taking feats to augment your discoveries, since you’re only going to get more versatile the more you have. But some discoveries are going to be more important than others, and some won’t help you meet your design goals, so choose carefully.
Note: All discoveries with a * cannot be combined, and all Alchemist Discovers are either EX or SU. The level requirement for each discovery will be listed before it, and discoveries out of alphabetical order are listed after their prerequisites, if any. The discoveries are split up into several sections: Bomb/Extract/Mutagen/Poison/Potion(Elixir)/Other/Grand
2nd Acid Bomb* (**) (MB (**)/MH (*)) The only thing good about this is the damage type, as acid isn't rarely resisted, but it has a very lame rider effect, so only take it if you want variety in your damage types, since the bonus damage is rarely going to be a factor
8th Blinding Bomb* (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) Blind is a very brutal condition to inflict on someone, and even Hyde would love to start the battle blinding someone.
10th Sunlight Bomb* (**) (MB (**)/MH (*)) Unless you're in an undead campaign, the extra damage isn't going to come into play enough to use a discovery to buff it. But if you're in a graveyard, show them the sun!
6th Breath Weapon Bomb* (**) (MB/MH) While a 15 feet cone isn't great, the chance to hit more than one person with a direct hit is decent. But lacking the ability to stack other types onto this kind of kills it for anyone other than Hyde playing crowd control.
8th Boneshard Bomb* (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) I actually really like this for a few reasons. First, it’s magical piercing damage, which I’m pretty sure gets through DR. Second, it makes Alchemical Zombie not terrible. The bleed is meh, but the real value of this is that it brings things back as skeletons and instantly. It’s great for minionmancers.
6th Concussive Bomb* (**) (MB (**)/MH (*)) A better damage type than fire with a somewhat useful debuff, but a drop in damage dice. Unless deafening someone is very important in your games, this fall short of the mark. Decent until you can get Force Bombs.
8th Confusion Bomb* (***)(MB (***)/MH (**)) Confusion is a straight roll of the dice to have stick, so while the duration isn’t great, it’s a nice status to stick on people, although the damage drop is ugly.
2nd Cytillesh Bomb* (MB (***)/MH (***)) The drop in damage isn’t great, but sickening is nice to land, and it has a neat little bonus effect that can be helpful for clandestine operations.
2nd Darkness Bomb* (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) This is just some odd Drow bomb sort of thing, and darkness isn’t really that helpful since you can’t see through it either.
2nd Defoliant Bomb* (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) A: It's a poison effect so tons of things get bonuses or are immune to it B: Plants are probably the most rare type of enemy you face C: It does less damage to anything that's not a plant D: Your bombs ARE FIRE, FIRE KILLS PLANTS JUST LIKE ANYTHING ELSE! Also plants are immune to poison so…sucks in every direction.
8th Delayed Bomb (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) I almost feel bad grading this one, as it feels like something that you could really be creative with. It's the prerequisite for some fun things, although by itself it doesn't really do a lot. Still, it has a cool concept at least.
8th Demolition Charge* (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) I want to like this, but it just doesn't do anything valid. If it bypassed hardness, it would be okay, but an extra two dice of damage against unattended objects isn't enough.
2nd Directed Bomb (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) I like this a little more than Strafe Bomb, as it’s like a slightly odd Precise Bomb. Nothing better than those thought, so just another bomb shape.
6th Dispelling Bomb (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) Dispelling is a pretty useful effect, barely enough so to validate losing damage. An interesting note about this bomb is it can be used with others, so combining this with a Frost or T. Foot bomb still nets you both effects, which allows you to debuff while you debuff. The lack of damage on it though is a hard loss though.
2nd Ectoplasmic Bomb* (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) Only really useful in an undead game, this is slightly more powerful than the more universal Force Bomb. Not worthless, but pretty specialized and helpful against invisible incorporeal undead.
2nd Explosive Bomb* (***) (MB (***)/MH (**)) A bigger boom and lighting someone on fire is nice, but it's mainly for minion control, as being on fire does not give a penalty on rolls, which is crazy when you think about it.
12th Siege Bomb* (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) This is almost the definition of "situational", and while it shines in its situation, unless you have a siege weapon around pretty often as well as a target who validates firing it, leave this to the big war campaigns.
4th Explosive Missile (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) This removes range as a problem, as well as adding some damage. The problem being that you lose it as a touch attack, as well as losing out on iteratives. If you have a decent ranged weapon and decent dex though, this will let you fire off some nasty debuffs and damage from much further away.
8th Fast Bombs (*****) (MB (*****)/MH (***)) This is your bomb nova option, and probably incredible if you don't have much combat per day. The more fights you have per day, the worse this is. But the thought of throwing out 4 different kind of debuff bombs in the same round eventually is cool. It does encourage reckless bombing though, so you really need to watch for this, especially if bombs are your main way of contributing in combat.
8th Force Bomb* (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) Force is the best type of damage you can do, and it's worth the decrease in damage to make sure everything takes damage. It's decent for Hyde too, as knocking down an opponent (reflex negates) is a great start to mauling them.
2nd Frost Bomb* (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) This should be your first bomb, and if you care about bombs at all, you should have this by level 4 at the latest. Cold damage is nice, but a staggering effect at 2nd level is a game ender for most opponents, and is even worth it being a fort save (Most opponent's best save) This bomb ages well too, and makes a decent hail mary against bigger creatures, as staggering destroys melee brutes offensive momentum.
2nd Glassfoot Bomb* (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) A caltrop bomb is kind of nice, but not really worth the discovery past early levels, and Shard Gel really just works better in every situation.
6th Grease Bomb* (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) A very nice area denial effect, leaving the ground around your opponent dangerous territory. With Precise Bomb and this, you can custom tailor the splash radius of this too.
2nd Healing Bomb* (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) This is odd, and the real benefit of it is the splash healing you get out of it. Better with Fast Bombs to diversify your bombs so you can do more than just heal.
8th Holy* (***)/Anarchic* (**)/Axiomatic* (**)/Profane Bomb* (***)(MB (***)/MH (***)) Just in case you ever wanted to use the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch in a game, here you go. This is almost a "smart" frost bomb, and since most enemies you'll be fighting are evil, you'll get off the stagger shot pretty often. Ditto for other alignments too.
3rd Immolation Bomb* (*) (MB (**)/MH (*)) While this is a cool visual, and over time it does do more damage to an opponent, the further along you play, the less likely that residual damage will come into play. Hyde especially doesn't want to give their opponent a flame bomb effect to stand next to and continue to take fire damage.
2nd Inspired Bomb (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Wow, two uses of Inspiration for an extra 1d6, and a discover? Pass.
12th Madness Bomb (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) Now this is a team player bomb, help to set your mage friends up for a SOL spell. This is also a great bomb to spam, as even one wisdom damage per shot will hurt if you're throwing 4 a round. While it reduces your damage dice by two, the best thing about this bomb is that it CAN be used with other bomb types, so you can lower your damage to add a pretty nice debuff.
2nd Precise Bombs (***) (MB (****)/MH (**)) This also feels like another discovery tax, since your bomber will be throwing bombs all the time. It's a required discovery so your party doesn't hate you, and should be taken by level 4.
6th Psychoactive Bomb (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Some slight penalties on a few random effects aren't saving this discovery, although at least it doesn't have a save. Not worth the level or the reduction in damage.
6th Rocket Bomb (**)(MB (**)/MH (*)) I don't really understand why this is goblin only, and while the extra splash range makes it a mook killer, lacking a solid target removes SO many debuff options. The best thing this does is expand clouds, so smokers may find more value in this.
2nd Scrap Bomb (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Another goblin only, and it's not great since bleed can't stack. It's nice to stick it on something early in the encounter though if you know the bleed will eventually wear it down a bit.
2nd Shock Bomb* (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) The Acid Bomb at least did extra damage, but this DAZZLES them for 1d4 rounds. Dazzled is the worst debuff in the game, you can do better than this.
2nd Smoke Bomb* (***)(MB (***)/MH (***)) This is such a love/hate discovery for me; on the one hand it leads to some other VERY good discoveries, but on the other hand it also obscures your partners and your own aim. For the review of anything else that involves Smoke Bombs, I'm going to assume you have some way to see through it (such as a goz mask) If not, I would try to avoid smoking out people.
16th Inferno Bomb* (**) (MB (**)/MH (*)) Another mook killer, this would wipe out an army pretty quickly. Since it moves though, it won't really hurt someone more than once after they get out of it, but for crowd control it's an admirable discovery but overshadowed by another cloud (PUN!) Puns are a very large part of being an Alchemist.
8th Plague Bomb* (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Disease isn't a great debuff unless you're an NPC and you can wait the days for it to actually matter. This'll just cause some minor ability damage (if it does that), and not much else.
8th Lingering Disease (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) If you REALLY want to make someone sick, this is the way to do it, but disease is really a bad way to go about it.
16th Plague Bomb, Greater* (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Same stat damage, just harder to get rid of it. This is such an NPC ability, but it's good for that.
12th Poison Bomb* (**) (MB (***)/MH (*)) This is probably a better mook killer than Inferno Bomb as well as a lower level. Neither are great, but this is again another great crowd control bomb against small waves of weaklings.
2nd Stink Bomb* (****) (MB (****)/MH (***)) Nauseated ends encounters, and since it only last one round, as long as you don't gas your party, you can use this with impunity. But only lasting one round isn't great either, since it only forces one save. Yet it's a save that could take them out of the fight for 1d4+1 rounds as long as they’re not poison immune (which could be an issue).
10th Sticky Bomb (***) (MB (****)/MH (**)) While most people are going to get maybe 8+ damage out of this max, your fast bomber will be getting 2-4 times that much damage on a target one round after, making this a nice way to add some damage, especially if you had to pay some for Confusion or Madness Bombs
2nd Strafe Bomb(***) (MB (***)/MH (*)) While it's good to have variety in how your bombs go off, a straight line will rarely be the best way to detonate them. However this discovery does work quite well with Smoke Bombs on breaking lines of sight, as well as in tight corridors.
2nd Tanglefoot Bomb* (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) While not an auto entangle like a regular tanglefoot bag, this also can entangle anyone in the splash radius, making it a weapon that can debuff A LOT of opponents at once.
2nd Underwater Demolition (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) Quick question: Do you spend time underwater? If the answer to that is yes, then you probably already took this. And if it's a no, you probably didn't know that this existed at all.
6th Void Bomb* (*****) (MB (*****)/MH (*****)) Holy god, is this good. A great effect on both a passed and failed save, bludgeoning damage being done magically (which bypasses DR), and amazing crowd control. While this is in the drow section, I don’t think drow is (or should be) a prereq, as this is DEADLY for crowd controllers.
6th Blackstar Bomb* (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) Solid for crowd control and scattering enemies and a fine addition to Void Bomb.
6th Bottle Ooze (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Being unable to control this and making it cost an extract is terrible. Sadly by the time you get this, the ooze will never be relevant to combat.
8th Combine Extracts (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) This is hard to recommend, as most third level extracts will be better than two first level ones and you can buy this Discovery, making it even harder to validate taking this.
2nd Infusion (****) (MB (****)/MH (***)) This really is a discovery tax, which I don't care for at all. Your bomber needs it more, since they want to pass out their buffs, while Hyde wants them all to themselves, so they can live without it. Sad since the bomber needs their discoveries way more than Hyde. This goes PURPLE if you plan on abusing a tumor familiar/Poisoner's Gloves.
4th Intuitive Understanding (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) I’m not a fan of needing Cognatogen, but this is like getting the Psychonaut archetype in a discovery, which makes it pretty solid, since Divination spells are solid investments.
4th Tainted Infusion (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) This is another cool discovery that you will rarely get the chance to use, but when you do, it’ll be AWESOME. This becomes great with Touch Injection or Injection Spear.
2nd, 12th, 16th Cognatogen (**), Greater (**), Grand (**) (MB (****)/MH (*)) The main thing this does is add +2 damage per bomb and to the save DC which I suppose a dedicated bomber could enjoy. The ability damage is a bit rough though (Only strength is fine, but the higher levels start to hit your other physical stats as well), meaning this is really only a once a day sort of thing unless you want to spend extracts healing your ability damage.
2nd Elemental Mutagen (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Small skill bonuses and a small amount of elemental resistance is pretty weak for a mutagen buff, leave it alone.
2nd Feral Mutagen (***) (MB (**)/MH (****)) The BACKBONE of Hyde build, this gives you 3 attacks at full BAB starting at second level. No one else gets this level of offensive presence so soon. This can be circumvented if you brought your own claw/claw/bite to the party.
2nd Infuse Mutagen (*) (MB (*)/MH (**)) This cost 1k to do, does intelligence damage to you, and really only gives you a backup in case you don't have an hour to make another one. One of those would be bad enough, but both are awful. Hyde likes having a mutagen ready for whatever though, so it's slightly more useful on their side of things.
2nd, 12th, 16th Inspiring Cognatogen (**), Greater (**), Grand (**) (MB (**)/MH (*)) Oh man, this is something cool that has SO many restrictions. While inspiration is nice, needing to make a save (which when you first get it, is going to be REALLY hard), taking ability penalties, and ability damage kills this as a viable option unless you have some way to make it worthwhile. I don’t think the investment is worth it myself.
2nd, 12th, 16th Mutagen (***), Greater (***), Grand (***) (MB (**)/MH (****)) Hyde thrives on mutagen, and making it better is making them better. Everyone but the bomber enjoys better physical stats, so continue following along with this discovery chain if your game goes this high.
2nd Rag Doll Mutagen (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Nothing here is good until level 10, and by that level, you should be flying or setting things on fire while on solid ground.
8th Celestial Poisons (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) I really want to like this more, but the best way to make poisons work (stacking inhaled doses) won't work on undead, and fiends are prone to having high fort saves. If you're willing to put a significant GP investment into this or are a poison specialist, this is your discovery.
2nd Concentrate Poison (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) This is basically the only way to stack poisons aside from ingested or inhaled. The time limit on this one is a huge stumbling block though, since you have an hour to use it or it goes bad. If you're nuts about poisoning though, this is another one for you.
8th Deadly Excretion (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Both no and ew. Racial poisons are lame, once a day racial poisons are lamer, and taking discoveries to buff either one of them is apex lame. Buy your own poison, ya hobo.
10th Malignant Poison (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) If you had any other way to raise your poison DC, this would be great, since it removes the onset time from poisons that would rock your opponent hard. It's probably one of the best poison discoveries, and with Celestial Poison, could make it up to GREEN.
12th Nauseating Flesh (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) How often are you bitten or eaten in a game? Does this happen often to you? Are you prone to smelling like food? If so, here you go Mr/s/x Worst Character Ever!
6th Poison Conversion (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) Most of this guide I bashed poison, but here's where it pays off. There's only one type of poison worth using, and that's inhaled. Why's that? Because multiple doses of it add a +2 to the DC the opponent has to make.. Make sure to follow the suggestions in the Poison Primer I included, as there's a lot of other poison types that are very cheap that can damage different stats as well.
6th Sticky Poison (**) (MB (*)/MH (**)) If you're going to poison weapons, you need this. Getting 3-5 times your money's worth on a poison is worth a discovery. If only poisoning was better.
Potion (Elixir) Discoveries
12th Dilution (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) Once per day, you may get a potion or elixir for 1/4th the cost. And you thought you were a potion factory before, just look at you now! Sadly potions are still the most expensive consumable, but you're getting a far better return on your investments.
16th Elixir of Life (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) The only reason this isn't higher is the price. Yeah, it's a (True) Resurrection in a bottle, but as a bonus life it works only as regular Resurrection, and has an expiration date. While still very solid, you wouldn't be crazy to pass this up, especially with how close you are to getting a Philosopher's Stone…
2nd Enhance Potion (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) It's never bad to get a potion at a higher caster level, so this is okay. If you make a lot of potions, this gets better though, so go potion power.
2nd Extend Potion (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) In and of itself, this is underwhelming. But you're not taking this for this, you're taking it so you can later take…
16th Eternal Potion (MB/MH) A potion that last forever is beautiful. This will always be useful, so have fun picking out whatever spell you want to always have affecting you.
2nd Collective Memory (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) This does have a bit of use, but not being able to be used with Mindchemist is kind of lame, considering it’s the only free way to get Cognatogen.
8th Alchemical Simulacrum (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) There's honestly a lot of fun things you can do with a simulacrum. While it's kind of expensive, getting a half level copy of yourself could help increase your damage for a day as well as serving as prerequisite for…
10th Doppelganger Simulacrum (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) While you're going to be at half strength, this is an incredible scouting ability. It's kind of hard to say no something this useful; never underestimate being more than one person. It'd be perfect if it didn't cost 1k, but by level 10, this won't be a huge issue.
14th Greater Alchemical Simulacrum (*****) (MB (*****)/MH (*****)) A simulacrum for 1/5th the cost? This is amazing. Simulacrum is already a great spell, this isn't limited to Simulacrums of yourself.
8th Alchemical Zombie (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) Undead are the worst controllable minion you can get, and zombies especially. Still they can be used for anything a normal meat shield can as well as have bombs implanted inside of them, which makes them at least passable. Still, if you want to use minions, go with a Preservationist (****).
2nd Chameleon (*) (MB (*)/MH (*) This doesn't really give you anything that special, barely more than a Skill Focus, so don't bother with it unless you REALLY need to be sneaky
12th Change Alignment (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Unless you can trick someone else into drinking this, it's basically worthless. Flavorful, but also not worth a discovery.
2nd Collective Memory (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Situational, it’s mostly for non Mindchemist. Easy pass on this.
2nd Fire Brand (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Nothing that you do is made better by wasting a bomb for a +1 to your weapon. A goblin shouldn't be doing anything but throwing bombs.
4th Intuitive Understanding (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) This isn’t an amazing ability, but it’s giving you an ability that you wouldn’t normally have, which gives it a bit more utility.
4th Lingering Spirit (*) (MB (*)/MH (**)) Unless you're willing to take Endurance and Diehard to make this worth a discovery slot, leave it to die.
2nd Material Mastery (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) It’s okay, but a small bonus really, these checks should be pretty easy.
2nd Method to the Madness (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) It’s good if you need it, but most alchemist don’t, and it’s a 2 discovery tax to being able to do much of anything, making mad races not the best.
2nd Monstrous Graft (**) (MB (*)/MH (**)) This isn’t the most efficient way of getting claws, and the bonuses to travel speed aren’t great, making the lost wisdom that much less worth it.
10th Pickled Quasit (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Summon monsters you don’t control? Bad.
2nd Preserve Organs (**) (MB (*)/MH (**)) Light fortification that doesn't stack with similar effects isn't great, especially since you can buy fortification, but you're taking this so that you can take the far more useful…
10th Mummification (****) (MB (***)/MH (****)) Although it has some weird fluff qualifications, and you're a living mummy, you're immune to cold, nonlethal damage, paralysis, and sleep. That's a nice group of immunities for only 2 discoveries, even if you are a freaking monster.
8th Phantom Limb (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) This is like a worse tentacle, only useful if you need to guarantee damage. Unless you need to menace The Monarch, this is a weak discovery.
14th Plague Vector (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) This is a villain’s ability, not a PC’s.
4th Psychokinetic Tincture (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) While I like this in theory, since frightened is really nice, this is really hampered by the lacking number of spirits and only being once a day. It really should regenerate after time.
2nd Precise Poison (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Poison isn’t best delivered with an attack like this, it’s no good.
6th Promethean Disciple (***) If you want to make constructs, you’re now able to, which are generally far better (and more expensive) than constructs. This gives you the tool kit to make whatever you want, which for those of you with a DIY itch can be nice, but be mindful of the cost, since it’s hard for you to repair your creations.
4th Ranged Baptism (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) First of all, Ranged Baptism is something I never thought I'd have to type. Secondly, adding utility to Holy Water is never a bad thing, as is Consecrating an undead for X/Rounds, it's just hard to validate against other discoveries.
2nd Sandstone Solution (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Everything about this just seems weird, and it’s hard to think of in a positive fashion. You don’t need to harden or soften stone this badly.
12th Sleeper Agent (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) This is a pretty fun ability, and the duration on it is just amazing, making it very nice. While it can be hard to get a good target for this, the payoff is well worth it if you can.
2nd Spell Knowledge (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) As of yet, I can’t think of anything especially fun to do with this, but it seems like there could be some things that it could be useful for, so leaving this green for now.
2nd, 6th Spontaneous Healing (***), Healing Touch (***) (MB (**)/MH (***)) The real selling point of this discovery is that it activates upon going unconscious, although the healing isn't impressive. While Healing Touch isn't great either, boosting the amount of curing it delivers is why you're taking it, especially since it has such needless restrictions.
2nd Sunlight Acclimation (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) Most things you play shouldn’t have this issue, and hopefully you have a long term solution aside from this, but it does protect you if needed.
6th Syringe Stirge (***) (MB (**)/MH (****)) This is actually a neat little ability, better for those who aren’t focusing on bombs though to help give them the chance to use them, making this great for Hydes who have kept their bombs. The duration isn’t great, but everything else about it is quite fun.
2nd Tentacle (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) Basically you're getting a hands free grapple with this, which is sometimes useful.
2nd Vestigial Arm (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Thanks to the new errata/FAQ, picking up more than one of theses is worthless, so just take a tentacle and enjoy yourself
2nd Parasitic Twin (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Not only is this weird as hell, it doesn't provide nearly the benefit that 3 discoveries should. Getting to possibly pass off a bad effect isn't incredible, but it's once a day and that's pretty restrictive for the cost.
2nd Subsumed Spirit (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) The cost for this is too large, and risk affecting teammates as well.
2nd Tumor Familiar (*****) (MB (*****)/MH (*****)) This is amazing, giving you Share Spells and more importantly Deliver Touch Spells which could be getting you extra extracts every combat. Getting the skill bonuses of the familiar (Greensting Scorpion for +4 Initiative) and Alertness as well as an extra pair of eyes that you can absorb back into your body is even better. I'd say this familiar is better than a normal one, especially with a pair of Poisoner’s Gloves. This discovery needs a bit more discussion though, as listed below in the familiar primer.
6th Wings (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) There's enough ways to fly on your extract list that you should feel ashamed for being this lazy. Wings that you get at level 6 should be all day flight wings, not minutes per level. This does get better if your GM allows retraining.
20th Awakened Intellect (***) (MB (***)/MH (**)) While reliable, this is also one hell of a boring capstone. If you can't think of something else, this works, but it feels lame to end your career like this.
20th Change Alignment, Greater (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) By the time you have this, Wish and Miracle aren't out of the picture, so unless you feel like running around spiking drinks into making people good forever, I'd skip it.
20th Eternal Youth (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) This feels like a story reward, not a class feature. Stay away from this unless your game takes aging considerations into play AND you're not an elf.
20th Fast Healing (**) (MB (**)/MH) Another boring capstone, but never needing long term healing isn't bad. It just feels like there should be something…cooler here…
20th Philosopher's Stone (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) Hm, infinite free money and potions of True Resurrection? Now THIS is a capstone. I'm sure you could use it to grow back an arm and a leg if you had to as well. Or at least pay for a million new ones. Isn’t getting this the entire point of the guide?
20th Poison Touch (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Your capstone is being uncomfortable to touch? At a level where most things are immune to poison? Are you REALLY proud of yourself?
20th True Mutagen (***) (MB (***)/MH (****)) This is what Hyde's been waiting for since they first started mixing test tubes. Hell, even your bomber can enjoy tons of extra HP, AC, initiative bonuses, and being super strong/fast/tough.
Tumor Familiar: A scientific primer
Ah, the Tumor Familiar discovery. You may ask yourself why I've taken time to specifically call this discovery out. It's because it's amazing. Although it does require a few things to really bring it up to full swing, most of which require a less intensive build or a higher level character to pull off. But first, the basics.
You will NEED the Infusion (*****) discovery
To do anything fun with this, you cannot miss this discovery, it is the lynchpin in making everything else work. This is very annoying, but it's the truth. It's what allows you to start playing God with the action economy. Taking this is also what will allow your familiar to drink one of your extracts to 'hold a charge' for you which you can have it fire off into you whenever you want, which is just heavenly. I’m not exactly sure HOW it gets the charge to hold, I’d assume it drinks the infusion itself, and then just hold the charge until later.
You will probably need either a monkey Tumor Familiar or an Improved Familiar, as well as the alternative feat for familiar’s Extra Item Slot
What we need here are hands, and due to rulings, monkeys are considered to have hands, as is the much better compsognathus (*****) (but you will need Extra Item Slot since you don’t have a hand slot, yet you can grip things.) If monkey isn't your thing or you don't feel like 'edging the rules', pick up an improved familiar (stated to work here and here) so that you can pop on a pair of Poisoner's Gloves onto your little buddy.
With these, they can dose you up with 2 extracts at once (not hard to hit your touch AC since it's low and it gets your BAB), making the action economy weep. If you have a different idea in mind, pick up Extra Item Slot though, since you NEED hand slots to be able to wield yourself some Poisoner’s Gloves.
You should consider the valet familiar archetype or mauler familiar archetype for your familiar
This just gives you so much as a crafter that it's hard to think of a reason why not to take it. Speeding up your crafting or crafting while you're asleep is going to leave you with way more consumables than you'd normally have. If you have a familiar, you'll be taking this archetype for it, since it’s the best one.
Maulers are the other side of the coin, brutal and strong and nearly another party member. If you get a tiny familiar with 8 strength (like the compsognathus (*****)) they’ll end up with 14 strength (due to size increases), as well as +1 strength for every 2+ levels. You sadly can’t get a stronger mauler with improved familiar since they lose the ‘speak with own type’ ability, so it’s not there to trade out. Valet should still work though for a bigger one, and wand use is still very useful for any familiar.
"Most people, they get caught up da the explosions and rush of chemicals that go with da job, but that's when ya get tripped up. You gotta remember the basics, or ya ain't goin' nowhere!" Ritas ‘Gasbag’ Thumper, number one arsonist of the Broken Tooth tribe
Feats are something that you can never have enough of, and damn if you’re not always deciding how to best assign them so that you’ll be at the top of the mountain. The following section is dedicated to finding you the best possible feats to make you into a machine of death and cruelty. The feats themselves are sectioned off according to sources, which are:
Skill Feats (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) (Acrobatic, Alertness,Skill Focus: Any, etc) A while back I heard a statement that I still agree with, "Never take a feat that doesn't let you do something new, or at least that you couldn't before." No skill feat meets that prerequisite, and so unless you have a specific backstory in mind that demands it, it's required for a better feat, or are getting it as a bonus feat (Half Elves and certain Humans), leave these feats alone. Unless there is another benefit to a feat like this, I won't be including skill boosting feats.
Agile Maneuvers (**) (MB/MH (**)) Honestly only Hyde cares about CMB, and they should have a decent dexterity anyways, especially Agile Hyde.
Arcane Strike (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Whoops, this is garbage for you thanks to the NEW ruling. Stupid ruling.
Armor Proficiency, Medium and Heavy (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Considering you can get a mithril breastplate at 0 ACP with the Armor Expert trait, medium is a dead feat. Which also makes heavy a dead feat, unless you’re willing to spend two feats to get it, which is unlikely.
Combat Expertise (**) (MB (*)/MH (**)) While you're never going to likely use this feat, it's the prereq to a bunch of other good feats. I hate needing it though.
Improved, Greater Combat Maneuver (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) There are only two combat maneuvers you want to do, and that's trip and dirty trick. If it's not those, it's not worth taking.
Improved, Greater Trip (***) (MB (*)/MH (****)) Extra attacks are good, getting an opponent on the ground is good, bonuses for attacking a prone opponent are good.
Combat Reflexes (**) (MB (*)/MH (****)) If you spend time with a reach weapon, large, or both like Hyde should, this is how you own the field. Hyde can live without it though.
Critical Feats (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) You get these too late to matter, the only decent crit range weapon you get is a dagger, and you're just not the person to use these feats well
Deadly Aim (***) (MB (***)/MH (**)) There's a good chance you have a crossbow (or hopefully a long bow) as a backup weapon, and if you're a bomber, you probably took a few feats to improved your ranged combat, so this isn't a bad one to keep improving it.
Defensive Combat Training (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) While you don't want to be in a situation where it matters, having some extra defense against being grappled/tripped/ect is preferable to none.
Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack, Whirlwind Attack, Shot on the Run (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) These feats will lead us nowhere good, let us ignore them and pray they never returns.
Endurance, Diehard (**) (MB (*)/MH (**)) The only reason to take this is for Diehard, and that's just to combo with Lingering Spirit and have a much larger amount of time before you die. It's a decent combo, but I don't think it's worth 2 feats.
Exotic, Martial Weapon Proficiency (**) (MB (**)/MH (***)) If only to pick up a long bow, it's barely worth it. But for Hyde, getting a decent exotic weapon with good threat range or reach could really increase your combat prowess.
Great Fortitude, Improved (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) Fort is an important save, but it's a good save for you, so it’s not vital.
Improved Familiar (*****) (MB (*****)/MH (*****)) You don't need a guide to see what makes a familiar that could hold wands or do other things to see why this is amazing.
Improved Initiative (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) Going first is good, especially for bombers who can hit clustered together groups. Going first means buffing/pouncing first too, so Hyde cares about this just as much. Consider taking a trait to boost your initiative even more.
Improved Unarmed Strike, Deflect, Snatch Arrow (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) There’s no style feat worth the investment anymore, so this has lost all value. Bombers won't have IUS because they don't want Crane, and Hyde is going to be in melee, so this is basically worthless.
Intimidating Prowess (*) (MB (*)/MH (**)) Hyde can at least intimidate like a big tough guy, although unless you're willing to invest in being scary, I'd stay away.
Iron Will, Improved (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) This is your bad save with a bad stat, you need all the help you can get, especially considering how badly failing a will save can mess you up.
Leadership (MB/MH) No rating. If you're allowed to take it, do it. If not, leave it alone.
Lightning Reflexes, Improved (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) This is a good save for you, and you should have a decent to good dex, so don't waste a feat here.
Lunge (*) (MB (*)/MH (***)) Add this onto large size with a reach weapon and you're at about 25 feet of range. Not bad for a battle field controller.
Mounted Feats (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Nothing you do is done better from the back of a horse…or dog…or whatever you want to ride, I won't judge you.
Nimble Moves (**) (MB (*)/MH (**)) Always being able to take a five foot step is a decent way to keep yourself mobile…unless you're just in one spot hucking bombs.
Point Blank Shot (***) (MB (****)/MH (***)) It adds to your attack and damage, which makes it perfect at the range you'll be throwing them. And any accuracy bump is a good one.
Far Shot (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Any stringed weapon will have good enough range, and splash weapons get a better version of this in Splash Weapon Mastery.
Precise Shot, Improved (***) (MB (****)/MH (***)) Not taking a -4 for throwing into melee is pretty nice. Combo this with Precise Bombs and you are party friendly in your bomb chucking. And the improved version of this will make sure nothing stops your attacks from going through.
Rapid Shot (***) (MB (****)/MH (**)) Even with just a crossbow, this is a solid feat. And with Fast Bombs, it's harbinger of the end times to carpet bomb most encounters.
Manyshot (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) If you have a Bow, you take it. If you do not, you don't. Simple as that. More shots in the air is more shot that can put your opponent down.
Power Attack (***) (MB (*)/MH (*****)) Hyde wants this at 3rd level, no questions asked. You don’t have a great BAB to power it, but it will still increase your damage something beautiful.
Cleave (*) (MB (*)/MH (***)) If you're not going the natural weapon progression, then this is a solid feat since you won't get a second attack until level 8. But if you're natural attacking, pass.
Great Cleave (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) The investment is too great, just stick with Cleave.
Quick Draw (**) (MB (*)/MH (**)) If you've got a bow or a weapon, getting it out faster will help. Natural attackers and bombers can ignore this though.
Rapid Reload (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) If you're using a gun, eventually you'll need this. Although honestly, you're better using this feat to pick up Martial Weapon Proficiency: Longbow instead of taking this for your crossbow unless you're going with a launcher crossbow.
Shield Feats (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) A masterwork buckler has no ACP. You don't need shield feats, you don't shield bash, just leave these to the Fighters.
Step Up (*) (MB (*)/MH (***)) Keeping people from getting outside of your melee range is a great thing, make sure to stay nice and close to them.
Toughness (**) (MB (**)/MH (***)) Another feat that breaks my rule, but some people like it. Personally, I think there's better things you can do with your feats than gaining HP, but if you're worried about your total, here's a pretty big buffer (Don't forget Diehard/Lingering Spirit either)
Two Weapon Fighting, Improved, Greater (*) (MB (***)/MH (*)) It feels weird not recommending this for Hyde, but he's either using one big weapon, or natural attacks unless you're growing extra arms which don’t help with this at all. This WILL increase your bomb output as soon as you hit level 8 though, which can end encounters before they begin if you're fast enough.
Two Weapon Fighting Feats (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) None of these help you, and they barely help a regular TWFer. Feel free to ignore this entirely lackluster style of fighting.
Vital Strike, Improved, Greater (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Since bombs don't qualify, you're getting nothing here, just like everyone else. It’s worth it if you’re playing Mythic though.
Weapon Focus (**) (MB (*)/MH (**)) Another prereq feat, but if you have to waste a feat on something that isn't new, offense is always better than defense.
Dazzling Display (**) (MB (*)/MH (**)) A full round action to scare everyone isn't great, but a debuff is a debuff, and a decent way to start combat. Although if you can go non core, Cornugon Smash (***) is a much better way of doing this. But the other reason we're taking this is for…
Shatter Defenses (*) (MB (*)/MH (***)) For a Vivisectionist, this is why you came here. Anything you can do to help you sneak attack is worth doing with that build.
Weapon Finesse (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) You're going to have decent to good dexterity, so might as well put it to work. Hyde could use this until they picks up their Amulet of Mighty Fist (Agile).
Advanced Player’s Guide
Additional Traits (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) Traits are amazing, and this feat is amazing because of it. If you have room in your build, you'll never regret having two extra traits.
Crossbow Mastery (**) (MB (***)/MH (*)) The only reason to take this is to get your full attacks with a launching crossbow, although if you're going for straight damage, this is probably the best way to do it. Without it though, Crossbows are your enemy.
Dastardly Finish (*) (MB (*)/MH (**)) No one but (Vivisectionist) Hyde can take this, and I'm not sure if they has a reliable way to set up either of these conditions. If so though, it does get much better. It’s worth it to work with your party to set you up for the kill though.
Dazing Assault (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) While Daze is a decent debuff, taking -5 on your attacks to force a low save against most monster's best save is not worth a feat, especially one this late.
Deepsight (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) Darkvision is pretty useful. Doubling it isn't a terrible use of a feat.
Eldritch Claws (**) (MB (*)/MH (**)) Either Arcane Strike or a potion of Greater Magic Fang should be doing this, although Silver isn't a bad material to bypass.
Elven Accuracy (**) (MB (**)/MH (*)) If you're an elf, being able to re roll against miss chance isn't awful. Thankfully it's not once a day, which is why this isn't lower.
Enforcer (*) (MB (*)/MH (***)) The duration of the demoralization is what makes this a solid seller, and it's a free action so you can still do whatever else you have planned that round. Good for a scary hulk, but I feel like other things accomplish this a bit better.
Extra Bombs (**) (MB (***)/MH (*)) I'm hesitant to really recommend this, since it's only two more bombs. That's not a lot for a feat, but if you're tearing through them (like any good Mad Bomber should), feel free to pick up a few extra.
Extra Discovery (****) (MB (****)/MH (***)) Discoveries are for the most part better than feats. This is especially true for your bombers, who needs as many different bombs as they can get their hands on to keep people off guard.
Fight On (**)(MB (**)/MH (**)) Staying on your feet is generally good, and with this Orcs and Half Orcs have even more staying power.
Focused Shot (**) (MB (***)/MH (*)) This is better for a bomber, since again they probably invested in ranged combat a bit more, so giving your arrows a bit more sting when you're trying to preserve bombs (or are out) isn't terrible, especially since you don't get a second attack for much longer than a full BAB class.
Following Step (*) (MB (*)/MH (**)) This isn't great, since if something's not moving 5 feet away from you, it's not going to stop at ten. The only thing that makes this good is…
Step up and Strike (**) (MB (*)/MH (****)) The golden rule for Hyde is to get as many attacks as you can. And if you trip them, you stop their movement AND debuff them, which is a very solid strategy. Just make sure you can handle being in melee before taking this.
Furious Focus (*) (MB (*)/MH (**)) Your power attack penalty should never be big enough to the point where you care to reduce it for the cost of a feat. Although for scary Hyde, it does lead into a marginally better feat…
Dreadful Carnage (*) (MB (*)/MH (**)) Another free action demoralize, but by this point you already have better ways to do this. It's not a terrible option as it is a free action, so if you're built around scaring, check it out.
Gang Up, Team Up (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Since by rules this doesn't let you get a ranged flank, this is worthless, as is its follow up. You shouldn't be aiding others when you could be controlling the field.
Heroic Defiance (****) (MB (***)/MH (****)) Holding off a game ending condition for one round can turn the tide of combat. While having to take Endurance and Diehard is pretty painful, this is a pretty solid reward for it that makes the other two feats worth it.
Heroic Recovery (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) …and then there's this. A standard action, only fort saves, and doesn't work against instantaneous effects. Just be thankful this wasn't a prereq for Heroic Defiance and let's move on.
Improved, Greater Dirty Trick (***) (MB (*)/MH (***)) And yet another reason to take Combat Expertise. Dirty tricks are great, versatile, and a solid standard action after a move for when you need to position yourself. As an alchemist, you have great flavor for all the ways you could pull them off too. Dirty Tricks do fall off a bit later when CMBs start getting crazy though. This won’t be great late game however, due to how CMDs scale.
Improved Stonecutting (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) This is a hard RED (*) by itself, but it serves as the prereq to the much better…
Stone Sense (***) (MB (*)/MH (****)) Tremorsense is very nice. Blindsense/sight would be better, but this is incredible for staying aware of everything around you.
Ironguts, Ironhide (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Remember the rule, although Iron Hide is at least less terrible.
Keen Scent (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) Again, scent is powerful, and you're better when you're aware of what's going around you.
Lucky Halfling (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) Being able to roll a fort save for your Wizard or reflex save for your Cleric can be very helpful, even if it's just once a day.
Master Alchemist (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) It feels weird to rank this so low, but the benefit here is the increased crafting speed. A skill bonus with this is pretty nice, but hard to validate a feat on.
Pushing Assault (*) (MB (*)/MH (***)) For a two handed Hyde, this is nice, especially if you're large. It's good for controlling your opponent's movement, and even better if you have a reach weapon.
Racial Heritage (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) I feel like this is open to abuse, but nothing springs to mind. If anyone can think of anything, let me know.
Razortusk (**) (MB (*)/MH (**)) If you're not willing to give up Ferocity, or gave it up for something else, this is a okay call. But Feral Mutagen does this better and with claws.
Rending Claws (*) (MB (*)/MH (**)) It's a situational 1d6 of damage, that's not great. If you have 4 claws instead, it gets a little better, but nothing that you can't live without.
Shadow Strike (*) (MB (*)/MH (***)) For your Vivisectionist, this might become an issue eventually, so seeing as it somehow lacks any prereqs, feel free to take it if people start blurring.
Shield of Swings (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Half your damage for a +4 shield bonus to AC? Ha!
Stabbing Shot (**) (MB (**)/MH (*)) This is a nifty feat that does allow you to manipulate the board a bit more. I want to like this more, but most archers won't be great at landing melee attacks. Still, if you find yourself making longbow attacks that are getting interrupted, this is a good way to make distance.
Steel Soul (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) Most important saves you'll be making will be against magic, so this is a +2 to a lot of important saves. Being a Dwarf Alchemist is hard, but with this feat, I may bump them up to GREEN (***).
Swift Aid (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) If you're not using your swift action for anything else *COUGH*ARCANE STRIKE*COUGH*, this isn't a terrible use of it, although it's only a +1 instead of a +2.
Taunt (**) (MB (*)/MH (*)) You don't have the charisma to pull this off, and bluff isn't a class skill. But Bluff is a better skill than Intimidate, which also isn't a class skill. Picking up a trait to make it a class skill would probably make this GREEN (***), although Hyde doesn't want to be small.
Well Prepared (****) (MB (****)/MH (*)) A once a day "Get out of Jail Free" card for mundane items is pretty amazing. While it doesn't age perfectly, Sleight of Hand is a class skill and you're mostly a dex based class. This gets better the more clever you are, and if you're an alchemist you probably know how to be clever. This is lower for Hyde since they're far less likely to be a Halfling.
Antagonize (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Pre errata, this was broke. Post errata, this is not worth your time. It requires a standard action and doesn’t give enough reason to use it, so give it a pass.
Die for your Master (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) If you didn't have to pay for another one, this would be purple. Saving yourself from death is worth it though, and there’s a good chance you’ll have a Tumor Familiar anyways, so why not have the little thing save your life too?
Eldritch Heritage, Improved, Greater (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) There's so many options here, you're sure to find one that you can use (Abyssal comes to mind for Hyde) While Skill Focus is a crappy prereq, for a Half Elf this is golden if you can somehow meet the 13 cha prerequisite.
Implant Bomb (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) This is another discovery that can be brutal the more creative you are. While you can't land a direct hit with this, combo this with Explosive Bomb and you can have a stealth bomber enter a location and detonate it for maximum impact.
Learn Ranger Trap, Trapper's Setup (**) (MB (**)/MH (*)) Another creative feat, but less useful overall. It seems more like a bomber thing to trap someone, but Hyde would be too busy destroying lives to bother with things like that.
Planar Preservationist (*****) (MB (*****)/MH (*****)) For a Preservationist, you're getting way better creatures here. This is a great way to increase your versatility, and is really the main thing that makes the archetype worth taking.
Remote Bomb (**) (MB (***)/MH (**)) Another cool ability, being able to leave a few bombs around your opponent to set up for an attack could make for a nasty surprise (especially with bombs that hamper terrain like Grease Bomb.)
Ricochet Splash Weapon (**) (MB (***)/MH (**)) I'm assuming you still get the effects of a direct hit. The only thing keeping this lower is the randomness of where the missed weapon could land. your bomber, any chance to score a direct hit is worth taking
Adder Strike (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Poisoning things is not good form, and you have this as a class feature (which you probably traded away for something decent), so leave this serpent alone.
Clustered Shots (***) (MB (***)/MH (**)) For the more archery minded Alchemist, if you're busy using Manyshot/Rapidshot, this is a way to keep DR from making you obsolete.
Death From Above (**) (MB (*)/MH (***)) Finding ways to fly isn't hard for you, and for Hyde, starting off with a +5 to all attacks landing sneak will probably kill most level appropriate encounters. This is only great with Pounce though.
Death or Glory (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) And here we get a standard action attack (not good) that only works against larger opponents (hint: you should be the large one) that gives +4 to attack and damage (decent) and gives them an immediate action to attack you back with THE SAME BONUSES (NO!) I get that this was made to help Vital Strike suck less, but there's no situation this will be good unless you're facing large wizards who are also stupid.
Deceptive Exchange (**) (MB (**)/MH (*)) This specifically calls an alchemist out for Delay Bomb, and it's a very flavorful ability. While you could use this to force a bomb into your opponent's hand and throw another, you could also just Fast Bomb. But this comes up first, so it gets a slight pass as the first way to get more than one bomb a round, but it's rife for a retrain.
Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Firearm (**) (MB (**)/MH (*)) This is separate from others, as I wanted to talk about it a bit. Guns really keep up with your touch attack theme, have about the same range, and can be used with all your fun ranged feats. If you're not picking up a bow, consider picking up a gun instead.
Felling Smash (*) (MB (*)/MH (****)) Assuming you're not using your swift action to Arcane Strike, a free trip attempt per round is pretty amazing for Hyde.
Flanking Foil (**) (MB (*)/MH (**)) The big seller here is stopping sneak attack, which if that's an issue, gets better. It’ll help a lot if you know what kind of game you’re running though.
Hammer the Gap (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) All those fast bombs are getting extra damage, and if Hyde managed to snake out any extra natural attacks, they'll also be hitting harder and more often. While not great for Explosive Missile users and single bombers, everyone else who manages to load on attacks will love this (archers included.)
Landing Roll (**) (MB (*)/MH (**)) While it uses Mobility, if you're getting tripped and you know you can get out of the threatened range of your opponent, this has uses. Hopefully you're not getting tripped enough for it to matter.
Moonlight Stalker (**), Feign, Master (**) (MB (*)/MH (***)) If you take a trait to get Bluff as a class skill and have a decent way to gain concealment (Tiefling Darkness SLA), the feigning and damage will become a lot more deadly.
Opening Volley (**) (MB (*)/MH (***)) For Generalist Alchemist, starting off with a bomb of choice and then leading in with a big attack is a very solid strategy, add a charge into the mix to make sure you land that first melee attack.
Quick Dirty Trick (**) (MB (*)/MH (****)) Dirty Trick is amazing, and being able to make your first attack BLINDING your opponent makes Vivisectionist Hyde's sneak attack guaranteed to hit. If you went the Dirty Trick Route, this is when you're getting a return on that investment.
Snapshot (***), Improved (***), Greater (**) (MB (***)/MH (*)) While you can't do this with bombs (Maybe Delay Bombs?), for some of you, this is a solid choice, especially if you're already taking an archery/gun path.
Stalwart, Improved (*) (MB (*)/MH (***)) Yet another Diehard feat, this one is actually pretty solid. DR/- is valuable, and for Hyde who already took Combat Expertise to start tripping, this is your first way to actually start using it. DR 10/- is worth a feat if you're in the middle of melee although try not to depend on it too much.
Kirin Style, Strike, Path (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) The amount of actions this takes to get going is way too much of an investment, you'd be better off using your rounds to do something more immediately advantageous.
Advanced Class Guide
Amature Investigator (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) While this is pretty meh on its own, it leads into something pretty neat.
Studied Combatant (**) (MB (*)/MH (**)) While bombers can’t use it, it’s okay enough for Hyde to sneak in more damage.
Ability Focus (***) (MB (****)/MH (**)) If you're allowed to, this is a very nice ability to pick for your bombs, as raising the saves of your most potent abilities is going to end a lot more battles.
Bullseye Shot (**) (MB (***)/MH (*)) While it’s not incredible, I like it for Explosive Missile users, making sure the shot hits when needed.
Cornugon Smash (***) (MB (**)/MH (****)) That's right, a FREE action demoralize PER hit. This is how you scare people, Hyde.
Dampen Presence (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) These were two abilities you had no defense against before, and now you do. You have ways to deal with scent as well as tremorsense, so enjoy your viable stealth character now, especially with Hellcat Stealth
Extra Feature (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) The benefits of an extra feature from shifting as a Skinwalker are hard to pass up with how varied and powerful they are.
Hellcat Stealth (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) It's incredibly easy for you to get your stealth check up, so the-10 isn't going to break this for you, and it's Hide in Plain Sight for a feat.
Knowledge Is Power (***) (MB/MH (****)) For maneuver specialist, this is probably going to be a +4 or higher to CMB.
Potion Glutton (*****) (MB (*****)/MH (*****)) Are you serious? If this works with extracts, and there’s literally no reason it shouldn’t, this IS your first feat, no questions asked. While worshipping an evil deity isn’t great for most people, it’s a flavor requirement for an impossibly good feat for you.
Splash Weapon Mastery (***) (MB (****)/MH (**)) More an issue for bombers, this will lessen your penalties for throwing at a distance as well as give you a bit more control of where your misses go.
"Sure the gods blessed me with this tainted blood, but why should I stop there? My genius knows no limits, and neither will my strength. By the time I'm done, my body will be a work of art, and everyone will be my spectator!" Harrison Zahhak, graduate of the Arcanium and part time assassin
Extracts are yet another tool you get in order to customize yourself, giving you even greater bounds to modify yourself and others. But Extracts are also rather complicated, so before having you dive head off into them, I’m going to give you a bit of a field guide for extracts. A ‘primer’ if you will. Your extracts are going to be very different depending on your combat role, so make sure that you pick them wisely.
A primer for the nuances of Extracts
In this review, I make sure to always make sure to separate extracts and spells in my terminology. There's a good reason for that, as the two work very differently. One of the biggest and most immediate differences is that extracts only affect the Alchemist themselves. While there is a discovery to change that (Infusion), this is a specific feature of the class, and the designers stated that this was intentional to make them a "selfish buffer."
Extracts are still inherently magical, and can be dispelled like any other magical effect. There are some odd issues with extracts, as they lose all magical ability when out of your grasp (unless they're an Infusion.) Something to note is that infusions stay active once used, so try and make sure that you don't get them stolen, or you could be out of a slot for good! This is also notable because it allows you to leave an infusion with a party member until they need it, so you don't have to continue to reprepare one.
One of the best things about extracts though is how quickly they can be prepared; it only takes 1 minute to prepare an extract, which means while you won't be swapping them out in combat, this does give you a high level of versatility. For this reason, you should avoid preparing all your extract at the beginning of the day.
Make sure you only prepare the ones you know you'll be using (such as Enlarge Person for Hyde), since one of your biggest advantages is your formulae book.
Speaking of your formulae book, you have the same ease as a Wizard to add extracts to your list. While they have to be on your class list, this is a good way of buffing your own extract knowledge, and each one directly adds to your versatility.And on another note, the rules are quite irritating about Communal extracts though. From the rules on Communal Extracts: “Dispensing communal formulae to creatures requires that the alchemist have the infusion discovery. Without it, the alchemist cannot use communal spells as formulae.” So all Communal Extracts will be rated under the assumption you have the Infusion Discovery.
The only thing I could find relating to how to share them would be the Elixir of Shadewalking, which states the additional recipients must be touching you at the time of consumption. Most communal extracts aren't 1 round per level spells, so this shouldn't be an issue though.
Now for your Hyde types, you’re going to be changing into some stranger and wild forms. But picking out which is the best for you is often quite a challenge. I can’t pretend to know every situation you’ll get yourselves into, but if you’re looking for polymorph advice, I suggest you check here
1st Level Extracts
Adhesive Spittle (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) I like tanglefoot bags, and at early levels, this can save you some cash on them. It’s not great, since it’s two rounds to use one with its short duration, but tanglefoot bags are nice.
Abjuring Step (**) (MB (*)/MH (*)) While your baseliner can use this time to hand out buffs, the more proactive Alchemist aren't going to waste a turn not destroying something.
Ant Haul (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) This is an extract that would get better with time, if eventually you weren't picking up a Handy Haversack.
Anticipate Peril (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) While the duration isn't great, if you know you're going into a situation where you need to act first, a +5 to initiative is going to make sure you do.
Blend (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) This is a poor man's Vanish, and it is elf only. Good for a Substitute Rogue however, as the duration is pretty nice.
Bomber's Eye (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) A standard action to do JUST this? You don't need an attack bonus, so save this for when you're combing extracts.
Body Capacitance (*) (MB (*)/MH (**)) Taking damage isn’t great, nor is this spell’s duration. Rarely will you take enough electric damage to validate this weird shocking grasp knockoff.
Bouncy Body (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) It’s not worth a level 1 extract to become a superball.
Comprehend Languages (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) While not an extract you take at first level, this ages well. Having it in your formula book is a good idea for one of your empty slots to make sure you can pop this out when it counts.
Crafter's Fortune (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) This is basically an off day extract, something you use when you're not adventuring to get a craft check buff.
Cure Light Wounds (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) Prepare one just in case of incombat emergencies, and if you have any empty slots left at the end of the day, dump them out with this.
Detect Secret Doors (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) This is such a lame extract, and it has a lame duration. If it were hours per level, at least you could do something with it.
Detect Metal (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) Generally you can tell when there’s metal around. Detecting specific metals is nice, but situational. Not horrible, but not an everyday extract either.
Detect Undead (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) This should not be a hard thing to do without magic, and most things that would try to disguise it are using magic to trick you.
Disguise Self (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) Decent duration, and a good Sub Rogue extract, throw it on if you think you'll need it.
Endure Elements (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) When you need it, this is fantastic. The only problem is that if you need it, probably everyone else does too, so as you level up leave some open slots.
Enlarge Person (***) (MB (**)/MH (*****)) There is no reason Hyde doesn't want to be large. Increased damage, reach, and strength are all within their grasp. Consider making this permanent later in your career, even with the hassle of living in a medium sized world.
Expeditious Retreat (**) (MB (*)/MH (*)) A short duration speed boost isn't great, although a regular Alchemist can get a bit more value out of it.
Firebelly (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Yeah, this is a lame buff and the damage is weak, skip the fire spitting.
Heightened Awareness (****) (MB (****)/MH (****)) The duration of this small buff is really nice, and the initiative boost is well worth dismissing it. This is a great exploring extract, and really helps keep you from being surprised.
Identify (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) A good buff if you HAVE to know if something is cursed, but another off day extract if I ever saw one, since you probably won’t have to appraise everyday.
Illusion of Calm (**) (MB (**)/MH (*)) Seeing as this can only break on a hit from an opponent, you can get some mileage out of this. A lot of stuff you do can provoke, so this is basically Mobility on steroids. Sadly Mobility still isn’t great, and neither is this.
Invisibility Alarm (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) Another new spell I like, invisible creatures are a bane when you can’t make yourself aware of them, and the decent duration on this helps you in situations you’d run into them.
Jump (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) As much as I think I shouldn't like this, I do. Maybe it's just the visual of lifting off and hucking a bomb from orbit. It tops out at a +30 too, which for a first level extract is some nice staying power.
Keen Senses (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) The duration of this one kills it, it doesn't last long enough to be viable.
Linebreaker (**) (MB (*)/MH (**)) A slightly worse Expeditious Retreat that lets you tackle people, it’s okay I guess.
Long Arm (***) (MB (**)/MH (*****)) It’s Enlarge Person without the size issues. Better, it works WITH Enlarge Person to make for a HUGE increase to range. A combined extract of this and Enlarge Person could give you terrifying range.
Longshot (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) Less specific than Bomber's Eye but with no attack bonus, this still doesn't justify a standard action for a range buff.
Monkey Fish (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) This is a really nice ‘just in case’ extract, working well if you’re in need of additional forms of movement, and has a decent duration to abuse it.
Negate Aroma (***) (MB (***)/MH (***)) One of the best ways to ruin a stealth character's day is by scent. This removes that option, and for an hour a level. For a Substitute Rogue, this is what you've been hoping for and more, although loses a few points for being able to be bought as an alchemical item.
Polypurpose Panacea (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) Just barely enough utility to prove useful, it’s a niche buff.
Reduce Person (****) (MB (****)/MH (*)) The bomber's inverse to Enlarge Person, this isn't as vital to them. An AC bonus, a stealth bonus, and an attack bonus from one extract, although Alchemist who were already small lose their 5 foot reach, so this is a bomber priority.
See Alignment (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) With a duration that's hard to find useful, this is really just to snake out of someone's a jerk which is easy to guard against as well.
Shield (**) (MB (**)/MH (**)) A +4 AC for minutes a level isn't terrible, but it's a better combined extract.
Shock Shield (*) (MB (*)/MH (*)) For when Shield is too helpful, here's one that's dangerous to use with a lower AC bonus.
Stone Fist (*) (MB (*)/