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Disallowed spells, general balance.
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Alchemy is a science rooted in dualities, opposites that co-exist. Fire and water, earth and air, light and darkness, the four humors, acids and bases, and so on. Alchemy itself is also a duality, a compromise between the mysterious might of magic and cold, calculating logic of science. In this pseudoscientific discipline, an alchemist strives to find the balance between these two to better himself and ultimately acquire that which has so long danced fleetingly in the dreams of men: immortality.
Making an Alchemist
Alchemists tend to be valued for their versatility, which is extends primarily to battlefield control, summoning, buffing, and blasting. Melee combat is a rather undesirable situation for an alchemist, so they naturally combine well with anyone who can protect them said scenarios, which includes front-liners like the crusaders and the warblade, but also extends to other debuffers and zone controllers. As previously mentioned, alchemists are not especially capable in melee combat and though there is some truth the their versatility, they are limited in some respects, especially earlier on before their repertoire has the chance to expand much. Though there's no reason they cannot work well together, the alchemist's relatively similar role to the sorcerer, warlock, wu-jen, and other classes who fill a like role with a shared propensity to avoid melee combat means that having one or more of the type in the party is not necessarily the wisest tactical choice.
Abilities: Intelligence is the measure of how well an alchemist can understand the nature of the world around him, and as such is the primary statistic for determining the strength of his abilities. Other than Intelligence, the usefulness of each other statistic is dependent on how the alchemist in question approaches situations, though Constitution is of particular importance for those alchemists who will be making use of the fermentation class feature.
Races: Humans, with their burning ambition, are most likely to become alchemists. Dwarves and gnomes are also apt choices to become alchemists given the dwarves’ love of gold and the gnomes’ inherently scientific minds. Other races are less common but not entirely unheard of.
Starting Gold: 4d6×10 gp (140 gp).
Starting Age: Moderate.
|Saving Throws||Special||Abiogenesis/Maximum Alchemy Level|
|1st||+0||+2||+0||+2||Alchemy, Infans Solaris||1|
|2nd||+1||+3||+0||+3||Fermentation, Hermetic Seal||1|
|3rd||+2||+3||+1||+3||Abiogenesis, Brew Potion||2|
|7th||+5||+5||+2||+5||Craft Wondrous Item||4|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
All of the following are class features of the alchemist.
Alchemy (Sp): An alchemist does not gain spells like a wizard or sorcerer, but as his understanding of the nature of the universe increases he gains the ability to manipulate the four classical elements in ways which replicate arcane magic.
For each classical element, an alchemist can replicate one spell level for each alchemist level he has. These spell levels refresh on a per encounter basis*. The alchemist can spontaneously cast any spells (except those noted below) that have the [Fire], [Air], [Earth], [Water], [Electric], [Cold], or [Sonic] descriptors, and he can replicate cantrips without limit (note that [Electric] and [Sonic] spells replicated count against the alchemist's [Air] spell levels, while [Cold] spells count against his [Water] spell levels). An alchemist does not gain access to more spells by virtue of having a higher Intelligence, but he must have an Intelligence score equal to 10 + the spell's level in order to replicate any given spell. The highest spell level an alchemist can cast using alchemy is given in the class table.
- *Author's Note: I suggest treating each period between encounters as another encounter itself so as to limit the alchemist's versatility to some extent, which still gives him a reasonable number of spell levels to play around with. Using this method, the alchemist's spell pools would refresh (refill) at the beginning and end of each combat encounter.
For example, Darien Maszlo, a 9th level alchemist, can cast 9 levels of [Air] (or [Electric] or [Sonic]) spells, 9 levels of [Earth] spells, 9 levels of [Fire] spells, and 9 levels of [Water] (or [Cold]) spells each encounter, and the highest spell level that he can cast is fifth level, provided his Intelligence score is 15 or more.
When using alchemy, the alchemist must draw the symbol of the element he is attempting to manipulate (the symbol need not be drawn on a solid surface; treat this as a somatic component) and imbue it with some of his energy. Alchemy-based DCs are dependent on the user's Intelligence and determined according to level of the spell they replicate (10 + spell level + alchemist's Intelligence modifier). An alchemist's ability to use alchemy is not inhibited by armor. Other than what is noted here, alchemy follows all rules associated with spell-like abilities.
Alchemy and Metamagic:
- Unlike other spontaneous casters, alchemists can apply metamagic effects to their spells without increasing the casting time, though the modified spell requires a number of spell levels equal to its adjusted level, and an alchemist's ability to apply metamagic to his alchemy may be limited by the highest level spell he can replicate.
- An alchemist must have the appropriate metamagic feat to use a metamagically altered spell.
- An alchemist using the Energy Substitution feat must pay the appropriate cost from the pool that corresponds with the effect's new energy type.
To approximate a rogue (or approximate tier 3) level of balance, certain spells, though having the appropriate descriptors, should be disallowed on an individual basis. Below are a few you might (should) consider:
|Player's Handbook||Acid Fog, Blashphemy, Dictum, Forcecage, Gate (calling option), Greater Planar Ally, Greater Planar Binding, Holy Word, Lesser Planar Ally, Lesser Planar Binding, Planar Ally, Planar Binding, SRD:Wail of the Banshee, Wall of Force, Wall of Stone, Word of Chaos|
|The Complete Seriesv|
|Complete Arcane||Freezing Fog, Internal Fire, Greater Spirit Binding, Lesser Spirit Binding, Spirit Binding, Transmute Rock to Lava|
|Complete Mage||Caustic Mire, Caustic Smoke, Any Orb spell (Orb of Force, etc), Lightning Leap|
|It's ______ Outsidev|
|Frostburn||Blizzard, Call Avalanche, Flesh to Ice, Entomb, Freezing Glance, Frostbite, Frostfell, Heartfreeze, Hibernate, Ice Assassin, Ice Slick, Ice Web, Shivering Touch, Whiteout|
|Sandstorm||Spells, spells, spells|
|Stormwrack||Spells, spells, spells|
|Player's Handbook II||Spells, spells, spells|
|Spell Compendium||Energy Spheres, Raise From The Deep, Vortex of Teeth|
Infans Solaris: Alchemy derives a large portion of its power from the sun, and as a child of the sun, so too does an alchemist. When the alchemist is in natural sunlight, he gains a +1 circumstance bonus to all d20 rolls he makes.
Hermetic Seal (Sp): Sometimes an alchemist deals with dangerous substances that should not be accessible to ordinary people. To protect that which is his, and to a lesser extent would-be trespassers, an alchemist may expend a standard action to replicate the effects of either a hold portal or gentle repose spell. These abilities are useable at will.
Fermentation (Ex): In food processing, fermentation refers to the process by which carbohydrates are anaerobically converted into alcohols or acids. For an alchemist it is a little different. By forcibly burning carbohydrates stored within his own body, an alchemist can create an acid effect outside his body. Using fermentation deals two point of lethal damage to the alchemist for every spell level recreated (catrips deal one damage) or one point of lethal damage per power point that would be expended. For every five points of damage dealt to the alchemist in this manner, he takes one point of temporary Constitution damage, which can be restored by eating, but not by magical effects. One meal restores one point of damage. An alchemist's level must be double the level of any spell he re-creates in this manner, or equal to or greater than the amount of power points that would be expended. Unlike the classical elements, fermentation's usage is limited only by how much damage the alchemist can take, not his available spell levels. If an effect created via fermentation would put an alchemist's hit points at or below zero, the effect fails and the alchemist is reduced to one hit point. An alchemist without a Constitution score cannot use fermentation.
Abiogenesis (Sp): By combining the elements around him and willing them to animation with a little push, an alchemist can recreate the effects of a summon monster spell once per encounter. At the end of the ability's duration, the creature crumbles in the elements that were used to create it. The strength of this ability, which requires a full-round action to use, is given in the class table on this page.
Brew Potion: In keeping up with the scientific aspect of his profession, an alchemist gains the Brew Potion feat at third level. For the purposes of creating a potion, an alchemist is treated as knowing every spell whose level is less than or equal to 1/3 the alchemist's class level rounded down.
Nigredo (Ex): The first step on the road to immortality is nigredo, the blackening, which represents corruption and putrefaction. An alchemist may enter the nigredo phase by spending a standard action (this is reduced to a move action at 10th level). While in this stage the alchemist's skin becomes blackened and dead, with the semblance of rotting and falling off. While in the nigredo phase the alchemist is immune to [Fear] and [Death] effects, does not take Constitution damage from using fermentation, and can cast death knell and rusting grasp at will as standard actions. The nigredo effect lasts for a number of rounds equal to the alchemist's Intelligence modifier, and the round in which it is initiated counts against that total. When the phase ends the alchemist's appearance returns to normal. An alchemist may only enter the nigredo stage once per encounter, and may not enter it outside of combat.
Adaptogen (Ex): Adapt, improvise, overcome. After acquiring the adaptogen class ability, any time the alchemist is hit with a type of energy attack, after damage is resolved he acquires resistance to that type of energy equal to 10 plus his class level. The resistance lasts until the alchemist is hit with a different type of energy, at which point he adjusts to that energy type and is again vulnerable to what he was previously resistant to.
Chrysopoeia (Sp): With a touch, a fifth level an alchemist can transmute one pound of material into gold each week. The amount of material that can be transmuted each week increases by one pound for every five levels the alchemist has beyond fifth (two pounds at 10, three at 15, etc). Chrysopoeia cannot be used to affect living tissue or magically animated entities like undead or constructs.
Alembic: At sixth level an alchemist gains the ability to refine his alchemy and reproduce more potent and varied effects. An alchemist gains a separate spell pool of metamagic levels equal to ½ his class level, which can be used to modify his alchemy without counting against his elemental spell levels. The alchemist can choose whether to spend levels from his alembic spell pool or his elemental spell pools, and he may split the cost among two pools. Like his other spell pools, this pool refreshes on a per encounter basis.
For example, Darien Maszlo, a 9th level alchemist, has four metamagic levels to spend each encounter. If he were to maximize a burning hands effect, he would normally expend four of his nine fire levels. Maszlo can assign any portion of the three metamagic level enhancement to his metamagic spell pool instead of his [Fire] spell pool. If he assigns all of the levels to his metamagic pool, he has one remaining level to be spent on metamagic for the encounter, and would still have eight levels of [Fire] spells to use. For each of the three levels he instead chooses to assign to his [Fire] pool, he preserves one level of his metamagic pool.
Craft Wondrous Item:An alchemist gains the Craft Wondrous Item feat, although he can only make certain types on items, including salves, dusts, ointments, unguents, incense, and elixirs, as well universal solvent, sovereign glue, and silversheen.
Albedo (Ex): Albedo, the whitening, is the second step on the alchemist's quest. After he has been in the nigredo phase for at least two of his turns, the alchemist may spend a swift action to move on to the albedo stage. When the alchemist enters this phase his appearance returns to normal and he sheds a dim moonlight within a 20' radius. Furthermore, the alchemist gains fast healing equal to ½ his class level, and he gains two new uses for his spell levels. With a standard action touch attack that costs five spell levels (which come from a pool (or pools) of the alchemist's choice), the alchemist may heal a number of hit points equal to half his class level squared [CL2] or cast restoration. The alchemist's healing touch does full damage to undead, with a Fortitude save to halve that damage. Rounds spent in the albedo phase continue to count against the alchemist's time limit for nigredo.
Quintessence (Sp): At 10th level the alchemist gains the ability to tap the mystical fifth element, quintessence. Using this ability the alchemist can now replicate [Force] effects. Consult the table below to see what spell level costs are for casting a force spell.
|Force Spell Level||Spell Level Cost|
Filius Sapientiae: As his power grows, the alchemist's ability to draw power from other sources increases as well. While in natural sunlight the alchemist has fast healing equal to 1/3 his class level.
Bonus Feat: At levels 11 and 15 the alchemist gains a bonus feat, which may be a [Metamagic], [Item Creation], or [Reserve] feat for which he meets the prerequisites.
Citrinitas (Ex): The third part on the alchemist's path is citrinitas, or the yellowing. After he has been in the albedo stage for at least one round, the alchemist may spend a swift action to enter the citrinitas stage. Upon entering this phase, the alchemist's body emits a sunburst with a caster level equal to his class level. The alchemist continues to glow as though a daylight spell were cast upon him (heightened to ½ class level), which imposes a penalty to Hide checks equal to ½ the alchemist's class level. Any creature that targets the alchemist with an attack or single target spell (such as a ray) while he is in this stage becomes dazzled without a save, provided they are not targeting him with blindsight or a similar ability. Lastly, while in this stage the alchemist can use searing light as an attack action at the cost of one [Fire] spell level per attack. Rounds spent in the citrinitas phase continue to count against the alchemist's time limit for nigredo.
Aether Field (Ex): The aether field is a reflection of an alchemist's ability to manipulate the elements of air and quintessence. At fourteenth level an alchemist is no longer effected by inhaled poisons, and he gains a deflection bonus to his Armor Class equal to his Intelligence modifier.
Buffer Zone (Ex): The elements are the alchemist's domain, and with regard to his domain what the alchemist says goes. As an immediate action the alchemist may grant anyone within close range immunity to any single type of elemental damage (including acid and sonic damage) until the start of their next turn. The alchemist must be conscious to use this ability. Additionally, at this level the alchemist's adaptogen grants him outright immunity to an energy type after taking damage from it, rather than 10 + class level.
Rubedo (Ex): The final stage on the alchemist's journey is rubedo, the reddening, which represents the transcendence of physical limits. After the alchemist has been in the citrinitas stage for at least one round he may spend a swift action to advance to the rubedo stage. In the rubedo stage this alchemist's appearance is as normal. He is under the effect of a blink spell while rubedo is active and has damage reduction/— equal to his class level. Lastly, while in this stage the alchemist is treated as having the Improved Metamagic epic feat. Rounds spent in the rubedo phase continue to count against the alchemist's time limit for nigredo, but each round spent in rubedo counts as two rounds rather than one.
Filius Philosophorum: The alchemist now has regeneration equal to ½ his class level when exposed to direct sunlight, which is overcome by fire and acid damage. This ability overwrites filius sapientiae.
Unbalanced Dichotomy: At this level, an alchemist can make a caster level check should he attempt to use alchemy in an antimagic field (opposed by the originator of the sphere). If he succeeds, his alchemy can function within the area of effect, albeit with a reduced caster level (two levels below his class level -- note that this does not affect the strongest alchemy he can use, merely its effective level).
Amphoteric: At 19th level the alchemist's mastery of the elements is so complete he no longer has separate spell pools for each element, and instead has one pool (the result of merging his separate pools) that he can draw from to create any elemental effect.
Magnus Opus: A 20th level alchemist has finally unraveled the secrets of immortality. He no longer ages and any penalties to ability scores previously suffered as a result of aging are reversed. The alchemist can still be killed normally, but he does not die from old age. Furthermore, any sort of light, not just natural sunlight, now triggers his infans solaris and filius philosophorum class features.
4 + Int modifier skill points per level.
Alchemy: An alchemist's total spell levels available per encounter continue to increase with each level gained.
Bonus Feats: The epic alchemist gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic <-class name-> bonus feats) every <-number of feats per level-> levels after 20th.
Epic Alchemist Bonus Feat List: <-list of bonus epic feats->.
Human Alchemist Starting Package
Weapons: <-Weapon selection for starting at 1st level with this class.->.
Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 4 + Int modifier.
|<-Skill name->||<-4 for class skills and 2 for cross-class skills->||<-Abbrieviated key ability->||<-armor check penalty based on starting armor. If innapplicable put "—"->|
|<-Skill name->||<-4 for class skills and 2 for cross-class skills->||<-Abbrieviated key ability->|| <-armor check penalty based on starting armor. If innapplicable put "—"->
<-copy and paste the rows as necessary.->
Feat: <-1st-level feat selection->.
Bonus Feats: <-1st-level feat bonus feats due to class or sample race. remove this section if this sample doesn't get any bonus feats at 1st level. ->.
Gear: <-Starting armor and other equipment outside of weapons.->.
Gold: <-Starting gold using this package.->.