Talk:Alchemist (5e Subclass)

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RatedOppose.png Stryker opposes this article and rated it 0 of 4.
I wrote out a whole long-winded explanation but then I lost it and can't be bothered re-writing it. Basically, the focus of this class is a bit all over the place. Needs to be a bit more specialized as "reality warper" is waaay too broad, maybe some kind of counter-speller who specializes in altering the properties/traits of enemy spells would be better? The name could be better as well, Alchemist makes one think of someone who uses potions more than someone who judges and controls existence, Adjudicator seems like a better fit. The most pressing problem however is the lack of understanding the author seems to have for 5e overall, for starters Arcane Tradition's capstone is at 14, not 20.
RatedOppose.png Ghostwheel opposes this article and rated it 0 of 4.
See my comments, and actually read through 5e before you make material for it please.
Rlyehable dislikes this article and rated it 1 of 4.
This rating refers to a substantially different version of the article, or concerns mentioned in it have already been addressed.
This class as stated seems way too powerful. Same spell slots and more cantrips than wizard. No limitation on spells known, but without risk of loosing spellbook. Super powerful abilities (transmute). Almost all of the transmute abilities need to be simplified, perhaps using current spells and conditions. Interesting idea, but needs to be scaled back significantly.

Thoughts, as requested[edit]

Transmuter Notes

Convert energy damage. There is no "immediate action", probably should be a reaction. Unsure about the duration. This is kind of wonky. Seems like it should be either an area effect (i.e. 20 foot radius), or affect 1 target.

Transmute. I would suggest moving this to start at 3rd level. 1st sentence needs to reworded so that players do not think that they can transform a rock into gold; something like "transmute material or energy as described below". Duration -- Duration is not stated. I would suggest 1 round or at most concentration up to 1 minute. Uses -- Number of times would be easier to say "number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, but not more than your transmuter level". Considering the power of the ability, I would suggest removing the restoration of uses at a short rest. Area -- Is cube centered on caster? If not what is the range? Area seems to grow at an enormous rate. 1000 cu feet at 2nd level, 3,375 cu. feet at 3rd., 8000 cu. ft. at 6th ... 64,000 cu. feet at 18th. Maybe 10 foot cube at 3rd, 20 foot cube at 12th, 30 foot cube at 18th or 20th. Earth -- Permenant is super powerful for 2nd level ability. Suggest 1 minute per caster level, slowly returning to normal state.

Harden Ground -- I don't understand the reason for the damage; being restrained I could understand, but damage? Also, saves are normally ability based (Str, Dex, et.) not skill-based. 
Soften Ground -- Permancy (see above). Penalties to speed, attack rolls and AC is a bit much. Again, I would suggest  restrained for those falling in. Survival check (see above). 

Water. Again range needs to be stated.

Boil -- Suggest changing name to Mist or Evaporate to avoid the impression of fire (heat) damage.
Freeze -- Maybe change the wording to something like "Creatures in the water affected by this feature must succeed on a DC 10 Athletics check to avoid being caught under the ice. Those under the ice must swim around the ice if possible, if not possible see Holding Breath.

Gravity. Duration not stated, 1 round? Perhaps a Wisdom save to negate the effects to attack rolls an ability checks? I would consider making this affect only the target creature(s). Otherwise it is much too powerful (think of the effect on buildings).

Heavy Gravity -- Maybe simplify by having it inflict the Heavily Encumbered state (see. SRD5:Encumbrance)
Light Gravity -- penalty to attack rolls should only apply to ranged weapon attacks.
Object Directional Gravity -- should also affect ranged weapon attacks.

Magnetics. In general in 5th edition, objects that are worn or carried are immune to targeting.

Magnet Dancing Object -- 

Magic. I assume this applies only to creatures in the area of effect.

Spell Dampening -- too complicated. Suggest giving resistance to spell damage and give advantage on saves vs. spells. Perhaps also reducing range by half.
Spell Enhancement -- 3 dice seem too powerful (especially for cantrips); perhaps 1 die and impose disadvantage on saves vs. spells.
Wild Magic -- unsure how I feel about this. Seems to steal the whole schtick from another class.


I would just replace this with the Protection from Good and Evil. Perhaps add a variant for Lawful/Chaotic

Time. I would suggest simplifying as follows:

Quicken -- As Haste spell
Slow -- As Slow spell
Eratic Time -- Unsure how this would be implemented.

Overview: This class as stated seems way too powerful. Same spell slots and more cantrips than wizard. No limitation on spells known, but without risk of loosing spellbook. Super powerful abilities (transmute). Almost all of the transmute abilities need to be simplified, perhaps using current spells and conditions. Interesting idea, but needs to be scaled back significantly.

--Rlyehable (talk) 12:37, 16 April 2019 (MDT)

Added spellbook, area, duration and range info, removed time transmutation, removed 12 spells, and simplified language (to your suggestions). Please take another look.--Franken Kesey 13:37, 16 April 2019 (MDT)


All 5e classes I've seen have at least 3 subclasses. This one seems to lack any. --Ghostwheel (talk) 07:48, 17 April 2019 (MDT)

Any ideas on good subclasses?--Franken Kesey 08:36, 17 April 2019 (MDT)

What is it?[edit]

This class really needs to decide what it wants to be.

Is it a meleer? That sounds right from its access to medium armor, as well as some of the strongest weapons in the game (glaives, nets (!?), etc), but it gets full spellcasting. If it's a spellcaster, why does it get access to some of the best weapons are second-best armor in the game?

Convert energy damage is incredibly powerful for a 1st level ability, especially if you've got resistance to a type of damage, for example, if you're a tiefling or dragonborn. Plus, this is worded badly, and should be modified for more clarity.

Seeing through illusions, while extremely powerful, doesn't seem to fit this class.

Transmute is super weird, and should be massively simplified for player usability. Also, penalties in 5e are extremely rare, advantage/disadvantage should be used instead. Plus, this allows you to duplicate a 7th level spell at level 7. No. Just no. And why are you linking to 3e material when it has no relation to 5e? WTF is ability damage and drain? Have you ever read the 5e core books?

And lastly, why are you stuffing some of the best spells from a number of classes into this class's spell list? How does the best cantrip, Eldritch Blast, fit into this class? For example, Fireball and Conjure Animals and Wind Wall in the 3rd level spell list? Quite a few casters in 5e have spell levels where there isn't much good, incentivizing them to up-level spells, but I'm not seeing that here at all.

In short, go back to the drawing board, and actually read through the 5e books before making material for 5e. --Ghostwheel (talk) 08:03, 17 April 2019 (MDT)

1) With regards to your first paragraph: This was made to be the 5e version of Judge of Existence. However, still working out the kinks of converting it. The classes purpose is zone control and matter transmutation. For this reason it got proficiency with three reach weapons and nets (though the weaker of the reach). However, did not give them access to any at first level (outside of whip which cost 2gp). Only gave them light armor, they make medium and heavy armor -- this is not overpowered.
2) Second paragraph: Will reduce the damage, and make it align with the ability score improvement (i.e., increase every four levels). You make a good point. Does a +5 bonus every four sound normal?
3) A transmuter must know what type of matter they are dealing with to transform it. Thus the power is necessary.
4) Will work on simplifying transmutation. In general, 5e is super simplified when compared to 3.5. But am open to suggestions on how to change transmutations to fit the norm. Will fix to advantages/disadvantages. The 3.5 material is currently there because I have not been able to find similar stuff in 5e yet (like plane features). Thus slowly converting. But they will all be eventually removed.
5) Just put all spells that related to matter, energy, or transformation of any kind on list. But will be removing the plant and animal spells shortly, however, if you notice any others that do not meet this flavor noted them below.
6) Fixed, please take another look.--Franken Kesey 09:11, 17 April 2019 (MDT)

Ability Score Improvement[edit]

Just a general note about the basics of 5e class design - just in case you didn't realise back when you made the class - a character does not gain an Ability Score Improvement every four levels, but instead they gain one at level 4, 8, 12, 16, and 19 by default. This is because level 20 is assumed to be for the capstone ability. An easy fix if you want to fall inline with how all the other classes are made, and easily ignored if you don't. --TK-Squared (talk) 08:11, 17 April 2019 (MDT)

Fixed to 19th instead of 20th in last edit.--Franken Kesey 08:36, 17 April 2019 (MDT)

Vaegrim's Opinion[edit]

I have a boilerplate text block I use on reddit when reviewing base classes; since it seems to apply here I'll just put a copy here before moving on to my general thoughts.

First, my standard warning: If this is your first published piece of 5e homebrew, don't start with a full class. Almost every homebrew class concept could be better implemented as an Archetype or a Prestige Class. Full classes are by far the most complicated and time consuming content both to review and to develop. The time to develop them means you'll be less inclined to scrap work that's gone down a wrong path, and the difficulty to review them means you're less likely to get good advice about what/why your work has problems. Even if you're convinced it needs a full class, just balance the first five levels before you try to write 20 levels worth of class. If you insist on creating a base class from scratch; make sure to read the design articles on Modifying Classes as well as follow the development over time of the Mystic. This is the development cycle for people who are ostensibly professionals.

And in this case I feel like the "Transmuter" completely fails to carve out a thematic niche independent of the Wizard. Not only is the name already a Wizard Archetype, but the class features just feel like rehashes of other Wizard features: True Sight at 2nd vs Divination's 10th level feature, Convert Energy Damage vs the Lore Wizard's Spell Secrets. Even the seemingly unique Transmute breaks down into a big list of spell equivalent effects you can do a few times per long rest (I'm assuming they recover at some point, the feature doesn't say), functionally a replacement for Arcane Recovery; with a Free Wish once per day as a big fat capstone. There just isn't enough going on to justify a full class, and the attempts to do so are rife with implementation problems. For example:

  • 3rd level gains Transmute AND 2nd level spell casting, but 18th is a dead level.
  • The class has no archetypes, and wouldn't have any room for them even if you could come up with some.
  • Why does this class have more weapon, armor and skill proficiencies than the bard?
  • Every feature has multi-dimensional scaling with different intervals. CED gains new types at 10th, duration every 3 levels, and more damage every four levels after 5th. You increase uses of Transmute with Proficiency bonus, duration every level, area and transmutations known every 4 levels after 6th, except Magnetic Control and Object Directional Gravity at 7th level. What is the benefit of all this baroque bookkeeping!?
  • Convert Energy Damage is a complicated mess and doesn't ultimately accomplish much in exchange. As a 6th level Transmuter who cast Flaming Sphere, after the first round of converting 10 fire damage into 10 force damage, if I roll 12 damage on the second round can I use my reaction to convert the remaining 2 damage? If they failed the save on the first round, do they get another save next round or only if I use CED to further alter the damage? Why not ditch the whole feature and just put Absorb Elements on their spell list?
  • Another problem with CED, the following types of Energy Damage don't exist in 5e: Air, Earth, Water, Electricity (Lightning?), Sonic (Thunder?)
  • Why doesn't Transmute have a single unified save dc? Why isn't it the same spell save DC as your spellcasting?

I don't really see anything I'd suggest keeping about this design. Transmute is an awkward list of clunky one-off features that you have to manage in addition to being a full-caster. You get a bunch of weapons that don't matter unless you go get the SCAG cantrips (so you will). Presuming you're dedicated to it i'd cut it down to the simplest expression of its thematic essence and try that as a Wizard School. Since your 3.5 version was basically a variant Ardent however, I'm not sure what that core essence was supposed to be. Vaegrim (talk) 23:50, 17 April 2019 (MDT)

"I don't really see anything I'd suggest keeping about this design."
Very much my impression as well. --Ghostwheel (talk) 05:21, 18 April 2019 (MDT)
Simplified and moved all transmutations into spells. Also changed armor and weapon issues.--Franken Kesey 09:53, 19 April 2019 (MDT)
The reason convert energy damage is not replaced with adopt to energy is it is an area effect. It changes damage done by one opponent (or ally), thus affecting all damaged creatures in area (by that one spell).--Franken Kesey 09:57, 19 April 2019 (MDT)

5e; Read it[edit]

You really need to go actually look at the wizard and see what they get at certain levels to make this a subclass of it. Also, regarding your new spells, 5e has a tight enough range that there are no balance levels. There's no "Very High" or "High" spells because material is either balanced, niche in certain situations, useless, or overpowered. --Ghostwheel (talk) 18:00, 19 April 2019 (MDT)

I mean yeah.. but its now at a point that we can start to talk constructively about where it could go. Alchemist Specialization puts me of a mind of Arcane Initiate from the School of Theurgy, or more recently the Psionics School from Mearl's Happy Fun Hour. It's focused on expanding the scope of what the wizard can cast. Rlyehable did something similar with the Summoner. We can tighten up the list here and aim in that direction. So the Alchemist has a bonus cantrip and can choose to learn specialty spells from a list when they level. That's a bit bland for my tastes, but it's solid. I think Truesight can make some reasonable trades against the Diviner's Third Eye as long as we move it to 10th level and set a 30 ft range. Likewise, Lore Mastery's Master of Magic emulates a lot of what Wish does and serves as a reasonable stop-gap capstone. With that all its missing is a 6th level feature. Vaegrim (talk) 01:18, 20 April 2019 (MDT)
Interesting that you mention it, the summoner is a major inspiration for the class. A few concept questions:
  1. Can subclasses be subclasses of multiple classes (i.e., wizard and druid)?
  2. They can only choose two per level, thus it does not matter too much on how many they can select from. However, I removed some of the non-elemental/matter stuff in last selection.
  3. Changed true seeing to 10th. Any ideas on what would be good for 6th level, or 16th?--Franken Kesey 18:26, 21 April 2019 (MDT)
I don't know what the answers to your questions are, but I'm sure that you could figure out the answer to #1 by reading the book. --Foxwarrior (talk) 20:59, 21 April 2019 (MDT)
You can't write a single subclass to apply to multiple classes, no. Not only are the foundations and expectations different for each class, the number and distribution of subclass features is different as well. I'd prefer if you standardized the number of available specialty spells for each level, but otherwise the second level feature seems fine to me. The remaining two feature spots are 6th and 14th. For 6th, I'd say bring your Convert Energy feature back. "When you or a creature you can see deals acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder damage, you can use your reaction to substitute that damage type with one other type from that list (you can change only one damage type per reaction). " That seemed to be something of a signature effect across your prior versions and making it the class feature at 6th works fine. Wish at 14 is obviously unacceptable, but I'm not sure what else you've got for these guys conceptually. The closest thing I can think of is something like the Lore Wizard's Master of Magic. Vaegrim (talk) 13:04, 22 April 2019 (MDT)
Considering Giving them a bonus feat at 14th. What feat types are in 5e?--Franken Kesey 13:41, 22 April 2019 (MDT)
As we all know because we're all well-accustomed to the source material, Feats are an optional rule and are not mentioned as part of a class or its archetypes. --TK-Squared (talk) 13:53, 22 April 2019 (MDT)
You could give them an extra Ability Score Increase at 14th. That's weird, unprecedented, and doesn't seem at all connected to the story of the subclass... but I don't think it'd be a balance issue and there aren't any system problems with it I can see. Vaegrim (talk) 14:24, 22 April 2019 (MDT)
Of course, you *can*. But no other archetype / subclass gives an Ability Score Increase as their bonus and it's inherently really boring. An Abjuration Wizard gets super sweet spell tanking skills; the Alchemist gets... an Ability Score Increase. After they've already maxed out their Intelligence. Woo... +2 Dex? --TK-Squared (talk) 14:34, 22 April 2019 (MDT)
Kesey, familiarize yourself with 5e rules before attempting to write homebrew for it. This is just painful to read. Surgo (talk) 15:02, 22 April 2019 (MDT)

→Reverted indentation to one colon

Dislike the ability score idea. It is just weird. Will come up with something for 14th at some point. But that is another matter. Right now just reducing spell selection. To re-emphasis a point above, it matters little how many they can select from when they can only select two per level anyway. Still removing all non-energy or matter transforming spells. Let me know what spells do not make sense. This was somewhat inspired by the Summoner (5e Arcane Tradition).

An item creation or spell crafting ability at 14th is probably what will be added.--Franken Kesey 15:28, 22 April 2019 (MDT)

OpposedStryker + and Ghostwheel +
UncountedRatingRlyehable +