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The Alchemist

This document provides suggestions and insights into how to translate the ideas of the Alchemist class from the source material into Pathfinder Fate Accelerated.

"Whether secreted away in a smoky basement laboratory or gleefully experimenting in a well-respected school of magic, the alchemist is often regarded as being just as unstable, unpredictable, and dangerous as the concoctions they brew.

While some creators of alchemical items content themselves with sedentary lives as merchants, providing tindertwigs and smokesticks, the true alchemist answers a deeper calling.

Rather than cast magic like a spellcaster, the alchemist captures their own magic potential within liquids and extracts they create, infusing their chemicals with virulent power to grant impressive skill with poisons, explosives, and all manner of self-transformative magic."

Alchemists tend to be roguish, and thus the advice given in the Rogue class translation document is also relevant to many alchemists and you might want to skim that document for general ideas. This document concentrates on content of specific interest to alchemists.

Sample Iconics

Xarren, Twilla, Ruelga, Olivin

Starting Archetype Sets

Hermetic

Arcane +4

Apothecary

Arcane +3, Primal +1

Internal Alchemist

Arcane +2, Focused +2

Crafty Crafter

Arcane +2, Roguish +2

Sapper

Combative +2, Arcane +1, Roguish +1

Gadgeteer

Roguish +3, Arcane +1

Alchemists make potions, elixirs, and similar concoctions and invest magical effects into them.

Alchemical effects most often take the form of buffs (Potion of Giant's Strength!) and utility effects (Potion of Invisibility!), but there is no restriction to enforce that. If an effect can be made to make sense narratively, it is fair game.

Alchemy related abilities rely heavily on Stunts, and are covered in categorical detail in the Stunt section.

Stuntless Alchemy

A character with Arcane +3 that wants to be able to make and carry around some potions (or similar spell completion items), but doesn't want to allocate Stunt slots for such an ability has a neat and tidy option available to them.

Such characters can use the concept of action proxies described in the simple magic guidelines to create "alchemical items" that are really action proxies.

Archetype Considerations

Alchemists have a lot of flexibility when it comes to Archetypes.

An alchemist will need at least Arcane +1 as most Alchemy related Stunts require it. Also, some Stunts have a limited number of uses per day or session based upon the alchemist's Arcane bonus.

Roguish is an excellent and very common choice for alchemists, particularly those who function like gadgeteers or trapbusters.

Roguish allows an alchemist to present a generally skilled and competent demeanor and also to serve as a "face" for an adventuring group.

Also, alchemists tend to be well-educated free thinkers with active minds and unbridled curiosity, which leads them to pick up all manner of interesting knacks and knowledge.

Twilla is a skilled Trapbuster, with many years of experience and delves into dangerous dungeons and ruins under her diminuitive Halfling-sized belt.

Employing a variety of alchemical devices to augment her roguish skills, she is quite resourceful. And when need be Twilla is also lethal with a sharp dagger or a precisely aimed acid bomb, able to hold her own even against trained warriors and fearsome monsters.

Focused +1 or +2 works well for many alchemists, particularly those with more of an "internal alchemy" slant.

Combative +1 or +2 is an option for alchemists who use their alchemy to gain combat boosts, use their alchemy in an aggressive way that brings them into close combat situation, or who turn their craft to the art of the demolitionist and find work as a sapper or seige warfare specialist.

Primal +1 is an option for alchemists who function as herbalists or apothecaries. There's also nothing other than GM veto preventing a player from taking Alchemy Stunts that are normally based on Arcane and re-basing them on Primal.

Divine +1 is a somewhat unusual choice but could be made to work for the follower of a god of medicine or invention. There's also nothing other than GM veto preventing a player from taking Alchemy Stunts that are normally based on Arcane and re-basing them on Divine.

Three Or Four Archetypes

Thanks to the low Archetype requirements of Alchemy, it is feasible for an alchemist to spread themselves across three or four Archetypes, in various dispositions. This allows a character to be very broad based, though at the cost of being less specialized and thus less competitive in specific niches compared to characters that stick to one or two Archetypes.

Approach Considerations

All Approaches are equally viable for Alchemists, but Clever, Careful, and Quick are synergistic with many Alchemy related Stunts.

Stunts

Alchemist characters might find the following Stunt categories of interest: Alchemy, Dastardly, Competence.

The following Stunts might be of particular interest to an alchemist.

Prepared Caster (Alchemy)

While there are other ways to represent an alchemist in Pathfinder Fate Accelerated, the most direct way to make a dedicated alchemist is to simply take the Prepared Caster (Alchemy) Stunt.

The Stunt offers good value for its Refresh equivalency due to the downside of turning off free casting for a character that takes the Stunt, and allows a dedicated alchemist to have a generous prepared item limit.

Xarren is a learned and erudite master of internal alchemy.

In addition to a comprehensive knowledge of alchemical substances, he is also a skilled physicker and holds the secrets of transmogrification and rarefication of corporeal forms.

He seeks the fabled Praxis Perstolian Philosophica, a tome detailing an ancient system of philosophical alchemy nearly lost to the world.

Prepared Caster (Alchemy)

Because of my studies as a classically trained Alchemist, given time and opportunity I may 'prepare' a number of potions, elixirs, salves and similar 'concoctions' equal to ((Careful + Clever + Focused) * Arcane).

Unused concoctions remain until they get activated or destroyed and can be stockpiled. These Aspects are portable; I may give them to others and they can be taken away from me.

Making a concoction requires time, materials, and either a lab or a field kit; the specifics are left to the GM's discretion, but simple potions might take minutes while very powerful potions might take one or more hours.

If a strict economy is being enforced in the campaign, it usually costs about half retail price to make a concoction; GM's discretion applies.

Commodities

Alchemical concoctions can be given, sold to, or stolen by others and used by them. They are effectively a commodity.

However all of an alchemist's concoctions, including those under another character's control, count against their preparation limit.

Alchemical Item Write-ups

A variety of write-ups for specific alchemical items and potions are available. Each usage of these kinds of alchemical items counts against an alchemist's preparation limit.

Note that the provided write-ups are just examples, and not a restricted list of allowed effects; an alchemist can make any sort of alchemical item the GM allows.

To prepare a concoction I roll 4dF and add (Focused + Arcane) against a Mediocre (+0) difficulty; failure indicates a botched concoction and that 'slot' is wasted for the day. I temporarily gain a new personal Aspect corresponding to the concoction I prepared with one invoke, and annotated with the margin of success.

Prepared concoctions are activated by invoking its Aspect as an action and resolving the effect of the concoction using the previously rolled margin of success. It is possible for a concoction resolution to fail if the margin of success is insufficient to the difficulty or if opposed successfully. If I am the activator, I can spend a Fate point at this time to add +2 shifts to the margin of success.

Unfortunately due to my focus on Alchemy, I cannot free cast spells.

This stunt requires Arcane +1 or better to use.

NOTE: as Prepared Casting is handled as a Stunt and Fate Accelerated characters are allowed to swap Stunts at milestones, it is technically possible for strange shenanigans to come up. However, it is recommended that Prepared Casting Stunts be anchored by a character's High Concept, and can thus only be taken or removed when an appropriate High Concept is taken or changed. This equates to character creation and major milestones, and avoids casual fluctuations.

Prepared Casting (Alchemy Dabbler)

A character that wants to use the prepared casting model Stunt without giving up the ability to free cast spells can take a version of the Prepared Casting (Alchemy) Stunt that offers a smaller prepared item limit but without the free casting restriction.

A character with Arcane +1 or better can take the following Stunt, thus making themselves an alchemist. At the GM's discretion, this model could be extended to Divine and / or Primal as well with suitable name and "chrome" changes.

Prepared Caster (Alchemy Dabbler)

Because I am a capable dabbler in the esoteric science of Alchemy, given time and opportunity I may 'prepare' a number of potions, elixirs, salves and similar 'concoctions' equal to (Careful + Arcane).

Unused concoctions remain until they get activated or destroyed and can be stockpiled. These Aspects are portable; I may give them to others and they can be taken away from me.

Making a concoction requires time, materials, and either a lab or a field kit; the specifics are left to the GM's discretion, but simple potions might take minutes while very powerful potions might take one or more hours.

If a strict economy is being enforced in the campaign, it usually costs about half retail price to make a concoction; GM's discretion applies.

Commodities

Alchemical concoctions can be given, sold to, or stolen by others and used by them. They are effectively a commodity.

However all of an alchemist's concoctions, including those under another character's control, count against their preparation limit.

Alchemical Item Write-ups

A variety of write-ups for specific alchemical items and potions are available. Each usage of these kinds of alchemical items counts against an alchemist's preparation limit.

Note that the provided write-ups are just examples, and not a restricted list of allowed effects; an alchemist can make any sort of alchemical item the GM allows.

To prepare a concoction I roll 4dF and add Arcane against a Mediocre (+0) difficulty; failure indicates a botched concoction and that 'slot' is wasted for the day. I temporarily gain a new personal Aspect corresponding to the concoction I prepared with one invoke, and annotated with the margin of success.

Prepared concoctions are activated by invoking its Aspect as an action and resolving the effect of the concoction using the previously rolled margin of success. It is possible for a concoction resolution to fail if the margin of success is insufficient to the difficulty or if opposed successfully. If I am the activator, I can spend a Fate point at this time to add +2 shifts to the margin of success.

This stunt requires Arcane +1 or better to use.

Special Purpose Stunts

An ability that is thematically "alchemical" can be expressed as one or more Stunts that define their own function.

Also, it may sometimes make sense to define such a Stunt in a way that it instead interacts with a Archetype other than the character's primary spell casting Archetype, thus expanding the breadth of the kind of effects the character can use.

Ruelga is an enchantingly beautiful Jadwiga hailing from the land of Irrisen.

Older than she seems, Ruelga is a descendant of the legendary Baba Yaga, and heir to ancient and somewhat primitive but dangerously insidious magics including the ability to make various potions and poisons.

Theriaxis: Because I am a dedicated scholar who has mastered highly esoteric magical and medical lore, I am able to make and apply ointments, salves, nostrums, and elixirs that can heal and repair just about any form of illness, wound, infection, or impurity. While I am Carefully Arcane and I have access to my alchemical supplies, I may clear a Stress box or clear a Consequence by overcoming a difficulty equal to the numerical value of the stress box or Consequence. If I fail to overcome the difficulty of a Consequence I may not attempt to heal that same Consequence again. I may use this ability on others as well as myself if I am able to examine and treat them. I may use this ability (Focused + Arcane) times per day.

This stunt requires Arcane +1 or better to use.

Potions, Poultices, Poisons: Because I know ancient lores from more primitive times, I am able to brew potions, poultices, and poisons that can harm and heal and work odd and subtle magics on those who imbide them. I can be Cleverly Arcane and make substances that replicate effects that are usually the province of Primal. At any given time I can have a number of substances brewed up and ready for use equal to my Arcane + Primal capability.

This stunt requires Arcane +1 or better to use.

Restorative Elixir: Because of my alchemical studies I am able to create and then later use restorative elixirs.

When I am Carefully Focused I gain +3 to overcome vs a Superb (+5) difficulty.

If I am successful I remove all debilitating situational Aspects currently affecting my health or normal functioning that have a difficulty to remove of Great (+4) or less. This does not work on environmental Aspects, scene Aspects, or other situational Aspects that affect me externally, it only works against situational Aspects that affect me directly and personally such as poison, fatigue, some spells, curses, and so forth.

Additionally, if I am successful, I may also clear one of my stress boxes or a Mild Consequence.

To use this ability I must be able to access the elixir and drink its contents.

For a given session I can make and carry around a number of Restorative Elixirs equal to my (Clever + Arcane). Other people can use my restorative elixirs, but only gain +1 while Carefully Focused when using one of them. Restorative elixirs given to others do count against my per-session limit.

This stunt requires Arcane +1 or better to use.

Source Material

Pathfinder alchemists are less brewers of potions and more of an odd combination of Dr. Jekyl & Mr. Hyde crossed with a Mad Bomber. There is no need to take that particular path in Pathfinder Fate Accelerated, but for those who want to adhere to the source material such abilities can easily be handled by Stunts.

Bombs

Chucking "bombs" or grenade-like weapons can be an effective and memorable way for an alchemist to make their presense felt when things get ugly.

One way to approach alchemical bombs is to treat them as merely a way to inflict stress on multiple targets.

It is also possible to define bombs that do other things, such as Sticky Bombs, or bombs that disrupt specific kinds of opponents such as Holly Water Vials.

Olivin is an experienced globadier, dropping gas bombs and other alchemical devices to befuddle and harm his adversaries.

And when that doesn't get the job done, he's got a bunch of other alchemical tricks tucked away in various belt pouches and pockets.

Which is fortunate, since his penchant for snooping gets Olivin in over his head frequently.

Acid Bombs: Because of my alchemical studies I am able to create and then later throw alchemical acid bombs.

When I am Quickly Focused I gain +3 to attack a target within two (2) zones of me by throwing an alchemical acid bomb at them.

If I am successful, the acid bomb shatters, splashing its contents upon my target and inflicting damage as stress normally, but if I succeed with style, I must reduce the stress to get a boost and the boost is upgraded to the situational Aspect Acid Burn! which is attached to the target.

This Aspect is automatically invoked at the beginning of subsequent exchanges to inflict two (2) stress to the target per invoke. This Aspect can be removed by overcoming a Good (+3) difficulty.

For a given session I can carry around and use a number of acid bombs equal to my (Clever + Arcane). Other people can use my acid bombs; they still count against my per-session limit however.

This stunt requires Arcane +1 or better to use.

Alchemical Bombs: Because of my alchemical studies I am able to create and then later throw alchemical bombs.

When I am Cleverly Focused I gain +1 to throw a bomb into my zone or an adjacent zone, generally against an Average (+1) difficulty.

If I am successful, my bomb explodes and inflicts a number of shifts of damage equal to my (Careful + Arcane) against every target in the zone without splitting shifts between them. This is non-discriminatory, and often causes collateral damage.

For a given session I can carry around and use a number of alchemical bombs equal to my (Clever + Arcane). Other people can not catalyze my bombs, they are only usable by me.

This stunt requires Arcane +1 or better to use.

Gas Bombs: Because of my alchemical studies I am able to create and then later throw alchemical gas bombs.

When I am Carefully Focused I gain +3 to attack a target zone within two (2) zones of me by throwing an alchemical gas bomb.

If I am successful the gas bomb shatters, releasing toxic fumes and applying the situational Aspect Toxic Gas! to the zone with two free invokes.

This Aspect is automatically invoked now and at the beginning of subsequent exchanges to inflict two (2) stress per invoke to every target within the affected zone that needs to breathe. This Aspect can be removed by strong winds or focused air by overcoming a Good (+3) difficulty.

For a given session I can carry around and use a number of gas bombs equal to my (Clever + Arcane). Other people can use my gas bombs; they still count against my per-session limit however.

This stunt requires Arcane +1 or better to use.

Holly Water Vials: Because I have learned a special alchemical recipe, I am able to make a mildly magical mixture containing holly water, garlic, powdered silver, and grave dust that causes harm to the undead. These vials can be thrown, with the liquid splashing out upon impact to inflict harm on an undead creature.

When I am Quickly Focused I gain +4 to attack an undead target within one (1) zone of me.

If I am successful, the holly water vial shatters, splashing its contents upon my target and inflicting damage as stress normally, but this damage cannot be reduced by any innate ability of the target (other forms of protection such as a magic item or a spell do apply).

For a given session I can carry around and use a number of holly water vials equal to my (Clever + Arcane). Other people can use my holly water vials; they still count against my per-session limit however.

This stunt requires Arcane +1 or better to use.

Sticky Bombs: Because of my alchemical studies I am able to create and then later throw alchemical sticky bombs.

When I am Quickly Focused I gain +3 to create advantage against a target within two (2) zones of me by throwing a sticky bomb at them.

If I am successful, the sticky bomb shatters, splashing its sticky contents upon my target, attaching the situational Aspect Trapped By Sticky Goo! to the target with three (3) invokes. While this Aspect is in play, the target is rooted in their current zone and thus cannot move to another zone. This Aspect can be removed by overcoming a Good (+4) difficulty, but each failed attempt to overcome it expends an invoke.

This Aspect can be removed by overcoming a Good (+4) difficulty. However when it is expended or removed a second situational Aspect, Sticky Goo Residue!, is attached to the target with four (4) invokes. The second Aspect prevents the target from moving more than one (1) zone per action, and they cannot both move and attack. The second Aspect can be removed by overcoming a Superb (+6) difficulty, but each failed attempt to overcome it expends an invoke.

Note that this ability can cause flying targets to plummet to the ground if they use winged flight.

For a given session I can carry around and use a number of sticky bombs equal to my (Clever + Arcane). Other people can use my sticky bombs; they still count against my per-session limit however.

This stunt requires Arcane +1 or better to use.

Mutagens

While they may also grant secondary benefits, the fundamental nature of mutagen Stunts is to allow a character to temporarily move their Approaches and / or Archetype bonuses around to a different disposition suited to an alternate physical form.

This can range from "hulking out", to taking on the forms and natural abilities of animals, or something more unusual.

As this kind of ability is unusually powerful and offers a tremendous amount of flexibility to a single character, it is usually appropriate for this sort of Stunt to cost a Fate point or have scene or session limits. However, the higher the Refresh equivalency of a Stunt the less restricted it needs to be.

Ultimately, GM's discretion applies heavily to this sort of ability.

Mutagen (Bruteform): Because I have mastered strange transmogrifying magics I can concoct substances that allow me to change my own physical structure and capacity, becoming much larger and stronger but at the cost of greatly diminished intellgence. I may spend a Fate point to temporarily move all of my Approach bonuses to Forceful (leaving all of my other Approaches at +0), and to move all of my Archetype bonuses to Focused (leaving all of my other Archetypes at +0). I also change my Trouble to 'Mutagenic Brute'. This lasts for an entire scene unless I spend another Fate point to change back to normal.

This stunt requires Arcane +1 or better to use.

Mutagen (Beastshape; -2)

Because I have mastered strange transmogrifying magics I can concoct substances that allow me to change my own physical structure and capacity, taking on the forms of animals. I may spend a Fate point to temporarily assume an animal form. My trappings magically change with me and are unavailable until I return to my normal form.

When I change forms I move all of my Approach bonuses to a disposition relevant to the animal form I am assuming, and I move all of my Archetype bonuses to Focused (leaving all of my other Archetypes at +0). This lasts for an entire scene unless I choose to return to normal, which ends the effect. Additionally, I may spend another Fate point to assume a different animal's form, and I do not have to first change back to normal.

When I change forms I gain an additional Aspect named for the animal form I have assumed which I can invoke when my current animal form is relevant, and which can be compelled whenever my animal form or lack of humanoid anatomy might inconvenience me.

If the animal form I change into has natural weapons I may use Focused in place of Combatives while in a physical conflict.

If the animal form I change into has an unusual form of movement, such as the flight of a bird, the running of a wolf, or the swimming of a shark then I gain that mode of movement while I am in that form as well, at the GM's discretion.

If the animal form I change into has an unusual or extra keen sense, such as the low light vision of a cat, the olfactory senses of a canine, or the echolocation of a bat then I gain that sense while I am in that form as well, at the GM's discretion.

This stunt requires Arcane +1 or better to use.

Mutagen (Elementalform, -2): Because I have mastered strange transmogrifying magics I can concoct substances that allow me to change my own physical structure and capacity. I may spend two (2) Fate points to temporarily change into an Elemental.

When I activate this effect I must choose Air, Earth, Fire, or Water. For the duration of the effect I use the Large Elemental write-up for the Elemental type I have chosen instead of my own character write-up.

My transformation lasts for an entire scene but I may change back to my normal form at any time, ending the effect.

My trappings change with me and are inaccessible for the duration of the effect.

This stunt requires Arcane +1 or better to use.