Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Ogre's Alchemist Guide (Recovered)

Zenith Games did not write this guide. This guide was found on until the site went defunct in early 2017. The guide has been recorded and stored here.
The alchemist is a strange creature, choice of discoveries and which mutagen you use can greatly alter what role you take in the party.  The obvious niche alchemists fit into is the proverbial glass canon, primarily just blasting with damage but with lots of interesting debuffing options.  A little less obviously the alchemist can also serve as a backup melee slugger for the party by using mutagens and extracts to self buff himself into true Jekyll and Hyde a monster. This guide separates the two into two separate ‘builds’ and gives recommendations for feats and discoveries for each.
This guide is styled similarly to Treantmonk’s guides (though I am less humorous).  It’s a bit lengthy and much of it should be treated as a reference work rather than an article you read all the way through.  Items that are omitted are not recommended.
Color guide
Ideal choices – If you are most interested in building a powerful character you will probably want to select these whenever possible.
Good choices – Maybe not the best choice but they are solid options.
Situational choices – These choices are good for certain characters but not universally useful
Challenging choices – These choices are bit tougher but can be quite fun as role playing options.
Outside combat the Alchemist is a skill monkey, with his high INT alchemists likely have as many skill points as a rogue.  Given the class skills list the alchemist can make a decent stand in for a rogue or works well as a knowledge skills person too.
Acrobatics – This is a dex friendly class, particularly at high levels if you have greater mutagen.  Unfortunately it’s cross class.
Craft(alchemy) – Almost required.  You get some good bonuses in this skill and can use it for crafting a variety of items which are useful for the game.  All alchemists should take at least a few ranks in this, particularly at low levels but it’s not important to keep it maxed out throughout the game unless you are doing a lot of crafting items and poisons.
Disable device – A good skill to have all around, particularly if there is no rogue in the party.
Knowledge (*) – Work with your group to cover the knowledge skills.
Perception – Very important skill and you have it as a class skill and the skill points to cover it.
Spellcraft – Needed to learn new extracts, also useful for spotting spell effects so you can target dispelling bombs.
Stealth – Alchemist is a Dexterity friendly class, and the alchemist can make a decent scout.
Survival – Useful for wilderness campaign, in particular if you party lacks a ranger or druid.
Use magic device – All around a good skill, unfortunately as an alchemist your charisma is likely low.  Still, worth taking since it’s a class skill.  You will likely need to take skill focus to be good a good device monkey before 10th level.
The following equipment is suggested for either build:s
I don’t recommend many wands because they are expensive and consumable. They are an excellent way to avoid cast spells without an attack of opportunity. Some are also better because they affect multiple targets while extracts only affect the imbiber. Suggested wands:
  • Cure Light Wounds – Cheapest out of combat healing in the game.
  • Enlarge Person – Mostly for Hyde but not bad for a bomber who wants to buff.
  • Haste – The only way an alchemist can share this great buff. Expensive and only suggested if your party lacks an arcane caster who can cast this.
  • More to come Elixirs
I don’t recommend buying potions or extracts for consuming, instead I offer up this list which you can and should reuse over and over with alchemical allocation. The catch here is they take 2 full rounds to utilize so there are no short duration potions here. When an alchemist gets third level extracts amplify elixir will double the duration of any of these.
These are my favorites:
  • Greater Magic Fang – (Hyde only) Long duration enhancement bonus for claws. Use this for enhancement bonus and Amulet of Mighty Fists for other effects to take advantage of overlap. Get it with the highest caster level you can find.
  • Heroism – Long duration morale bonus to most every d20 roll.  Lasts longer than Good Hope and is usually a better choice even though it lacks the damage bump.  Unfortunately they don’t stack.
  • Life Bubble (APG) – Available via the ranger list.  Immunity to all gas attacks (including your own), and breathe underwater or in a vacuum for 2 hours/ level.
  • Magic Circle against Evil – A great defense against mind control, summoned creatures, etc. – Since this is an emanation I don’t believe it works.
  • Nap Stack (APG) – Get by with 2 hours sleep, doesn’t let you use more extracts or bombs in a day but useful for recovery or when camping.   Apparently with alchemical allocation alchemists can ignore the material component costs.
  • Elixir of Hiding – +10 to stealth for 1 hour, extremely nice.
  • Elixir of Vision – Use this when you are travelling or scouting, perception is one of the most important skills.
  • Elixir of Tumbling – +10 to acrobatics for 1 hour, not quite as good as the others because it’s harder to plan for.
  • Elixir of Shadewalking (Campaign Setting) – An elixir that lets the drinker and up to 11 people shadow walk. This would be questionable as a one shot at 3,500gp but when you can re-use elixirs it’s awesome.s
  • Headband of vast intellect – Intelligence is the bread and butter of an alchemist, these are almost mandatory, in particular for Strangelob.
  • Handy haversack – Strangelob is a gear hungry guy, this is where extracts and mutagens go.
  • Portable hole – This is ideal mostly for crafters.  A compact alchemists lab fits into one of these.d
  • Holy Water – Probably the biggest advantage of holy water is the only splash weapon that against incorporeal undead,  alchemists get to keep their INT bonus to damage here also which is nice.  Keep a half dozen (or more) of these for shadows or other incorporeal nasties.  Once you get force bomb it’s not as important.
  • Acid Flasks – A good alternative damage type for low levels, craft these to save gp.
Using Extracts
Equivalent to spells in most ways extracts give alchemists a tremendous amount of versatility and power.
Using an extract is just like using a potion except it is a free action to retrieve an extract. This means it’s a bit different from normal spellcasting.
Mainly, when drinking an extract the alchemist:
  • Can’t ‘cast’ defensively to avoid an attack of opportunity.
  • Can never apply metamagic feats or rods to extracts
  • Never needs a concentration check to ‘cast’ including: when deafened, while you are burning, or taking on going damage, grappled (only extracts in hand), ‘distracted’
  • Can drink extracts even if they would be incapable of preparing them due to ability damage or other impairing effect (even if drained to an 8 INT you can quaff any of your extracts).
  • Can quaff extracts while raging

Preparing Extracts

Unlike casters most of your extracts are generally not used in the spur of the moment so it’s a good idea to only prepare extracts required for the next combat. In the morning prepare long and medium duration extracts (hours and 10 min per level respectively) and only enough short duration extracts for a single encounter. Try to quaff the long and medium duration extracts so that you can benefit from them all day, or if uncertain try and time it so they are active during the most dangerous encounters.
During combat action economy is king, if an encounter is going to be short taking an extract can be half the alchemists actions. Keep an extract (maybe two) in hand so you can quaff it in the first round without having to retrieve it and consider items and feats that allow you to quickly retrieve potions.

Learning new Extracts

Alchemists can learn new extracts in 2 ways, either as part of leveling up, or by learning from a scroll or wizard’s spellbook. To learn from a scroll or a spellbook an alchemist makes a simple DC 15+spell level spellcraft check and if he passes he can copy the spell to his formulabook. Grab formula whenever you get the chance, they are few and far between.

Specific Extracts

To keep things simple there is only one section on extracts for both Dr. Strangelob and Mr. Hyde.  If the rating is different for the two builds there is a second rating for Dr. Strangelob in parens after since Strangelob is likely much less reliant on extracts. All the new extracts appear on the list but core spells only appear if they are at least situationally useful. If they don’t appear they are not recommended.

1st-Level Alchemist Formulae

Color guide
Ideal – These are the best extracts.
Good – Frequently used extracts.
Situational – Good in the right situation.
Rarely Useful – Rarely useful or worse than alternatives.
Ant Haul – Occassionally useful for getting big loads home. Probably best as an infusion given to the party dwarf or maybe a horse :D.
Bomber’s Eye – Throw bombs long distances, only interesting because it enables bombing accurately at 90’+ ranges.
Crafter’s Fortune – Not a daily spell but alchemists will be using this a lot.
Cure Light Wounds – Good low level healing and gets the alchemist access to the wand of cure light wounds.
Disguise Self – Lots of uses for this outside of combat.  This is why you don’t prep all your slots in the morning.
Endure Elements – For those campaigns where extreme weather is a routine issue.
Enlarge Person (DS) – A great buff for any melee character.  If you are Mr. Hyde that’s you, if you are Dr. Strangelob you need the infusion discovery for this to be useful.
Expeditious Retreat – Short duration means this is usually only good for a single encounter you know is coming.
Identify -This is your lowest level detect magic spell spell and helps you identify items.  It’s a must have spell but you won’t prepare it most of the time.
Keen Senses – Short duration low light and small perception bonus…
Negate Aroma – Stealthy adventurers will love this hours per level destink.
Reduce Person – Pretty situational all around.  Strangelob’s damage isn’t size dependent which makes it a touch better for him.
Shield (DS) (Infusion) – Duration is short but it’s a good spell if Mr. Hyde is going to tank.  Strangelob is probably using other defenses.
Stone Fist (DS) – A low level alternative to feral mutagen, you are generally better off with using a weapon instead.
Touch of the Sea – Swim like a champion.
True Strike (DS) (Infusion) – This is ideal for poisoner builds to ensure delivery.  Decent for Dr. Hyde but Strangelob is all about touch attacks so he won’t need this.
2nd-Level Alchemist Formulae
Alchemical Allocation – Amazingly good, spend 2 full rounds to gain the benefit of any potion or elixirwithout consuming it. Not a combat spell but amazing for buffing or out of combat healing. Some good choices good hopegreater magic fangcure serious wounds, elixir of vision, elixir of stealth, elixir of tumbling. This is likely filling a good percentage of your daily second level extracts.
Alter Self (DS) (Infusion) – A decent short term strength buff that stacks.  More important you can use it to get  scent, darkvision, or swim (including water breathing)
Barkskin (DS) – A nice duration AC buff that stacks with Mutagens.
Bear’s Endurance – A short term hit point buff until you get an item that boosts  constitution.
Blur (DS) – A miss chance turns every attack into double jeopardy.
Bull’s Strength (DS) – This is a good low level strength buff but it’s only useful for a few levels until strength boosting items are common.
Cat’s Grace – Doesn’t stack with magic item bonuses.  Somewhat useful before you get a dexterity belt.
Cure Moderate Wounds – Situationally effective for in combat healing.
Darkvision – The hours/ level duration makes this a good spell for scouting.
Delay Poison – Immunity for poison for hours/ level, stop an active poison for a similar amount of time.
Detect Thoughts – Detect thoughts of unseen creatures or through walls. Useful for scouting or interrogation.
Elemental Touch (DS) – Elemental damage can complement other damage and you can apply a status effect or light them on fire.
False Life – Pre-healing,  all the benefits of in-combat healing but cast in advance to avoid lost actions.  Longer duration makes this better than Aid.
Fire Breath – Spend 2 actions to get an effect comparable to a single bomb? Optionally waste more actions to do even less.
Invisibility – The ultimate scouting spell.  Not quite as useful for Dr. Strangelove but as an infusion it’s better than the spell by the same name.
Levitate (DS) – A great defensive spell for Strangelob, levitate up and nuke them from orbit.
Owl’s Wisdom – Sine you are likely not getting a wisdom boosting item for a while this could be useful for a bit longer.  Quaff it when you are fighting a spellcaster to get a +2 on Will Saves.
Perceive Cues – A decent medium duration perception buff, using alchemical allocation with an elixir of vision is almost always better.
Protection from Arrows – Protection from non-magical ranged attacks.  The value of this tapers off but it’s still useful against giants stones and maticore spikes.
Resist Energy – Excellent protection from energy damage.
Restoration, Lesser – Ability damage is common enough this is a goto spell.  This is also makes a good wand.
Note: I am aware it doesn’t say “lesser” in the spell list, since there is another “restoration” listing at 4th level I assume this is intended to be the level appropriate lesser version. If your GM lets it slide as ‘restoration’ is in every way better.
See Invisibility – An alchemist’s defense against invisible foes.  In campaigns where invisibility is uncommon consider crafting a few potions instead.
Vomit Swarm – Vomit up a swarm that you can leave on cruise control or control as a move action. The swarm type scales with level so this spell can be relevant for a long time. This is a great way to occupy an enemy spellcaster.
3rd-Level Alchemist Formulae
Note: Third level extracts are a bit thin,  not a lot of really useful stuff here, hopefully Ultimate Magic will get some better options. Look at the bottom for some combined extracts as an alternate.
Absorbing Touch – The obvious use of this is for smuggling items, the limitation to non-magical items is the big problem here.
Amplify Elixer – Empower or extend all potions or extracts you manage to suck down over a duration. Looks like you will mostly be extending but there are a few spells you can empower.  Gets more useful at higher levels.
Bloodhound – Long duration perception bonus and scent ability.
Cure Serious Wounds – In combat healing.
Displacement (DS) – Nice defensive spell for tanking but duration is limiting.
Draconic Reservoir – A defensive spell that lets you store up elemental damage for your own use. The problem is creatures who damage you with elemental damage and the things that are around them have a great chance of being immune to it. Can potentially be used as a long duration attack buff (stand in a fire for 10 rounds to charge up then attack the frost giants). Probably the most interesting thing about this spell is the possibility to use it in combination with Detonate.
Elemental Aura (DS) – Punish people for being close to you. Decent until reach is common since attackers have to save every round to avoid a status effect.
Fly – Utility, defense, offense, just a great ability. Particularly good for Strangelob.
Gaseous Form – Utility and defensive extract.
Haste (DS) – Self only makes this a bit less appealing but it’s still great.
Heroism – Long duration buff to attacks and saves.  Stacks with most other effects you have to this point.  Quite good but consider using Alchemical Allocation with a potion instead.
Rage – Heroism is a vastly better buff.
Remove Blindness/Deafness – Consider crafting a potion of this and labeling the stopper in braille.
Remove Curse – Fairly uncommon condition.  Keep a potion and use alchemical allocation.
Remove Disease – Slow onset and fairly uncommon condition.  Put this in the formula book and forget about it until you need it. Keep a potion and use alchemical allocation.
Seek Thoughts – A slightly impoved version of detect thoughts useful for information gathering.
Tongues – Keep a potion and use alchemical allocation.
Thorn Body (DS) – Enemies take damage for attacking the caster and Mr. Hyde gets bonus damage. It also stacks well with other types of bonus damage like draconic reservoir.  Would be blue but duration is terrible.
Water Breathing – Keep a potion and use alchemical allocation.
Good 3rd level Combined Extracts
Shield and enlarge person (DS) (Infusion) – A good combination of defense and offense.  For those unexpected encounters.
Enlarge person and true strike (DS) – Maybe not worth a third level slot but a good way to start an encounter with a bang.
Shield and reduce person (DS) – A good combination of defense and offense buffs (+6 AC, +2 on attack rolls) for Strangelob.  For those unexpected encounters.
Bomber’s eye and reduce person (DS) – +3 on attacks with bombs, 50% greater range; lob bombs 150′ and hit.
4th-Level Alchemist Formulae
Air Walk – Many of the benefits of fly but long duration.
Arcane Eye – A good spell for scouting.
Beast Shape II (DS) (Infusion) – A decent size bonus that stacks with mutagens, plus some nice forms. Check Treantmonks Druid guide for some good Beast Shape tips. It’s notable that alchemists infusions are the only way polymorph can be shared around the party until higher levels.
Cure Critical Wounds – Not a great use of a 4th level spell for clerics and even worse with the alchemists slow spell progression.
Death Ward – Short duration kills this. If you know you are fighting vampires and when the encounter is going to be good I suppose.
Detonate (DS) – Marginally better than fireball and you have to take half damage. Better if used in conjunction with amplify and/ or dragonic reservoir.
Dragon’s Breath – The alchemist is great at blowing things up already, this is useful mostly because you can choose the shape and energy at casting.
Fluid Form (DS) – Start with DR 10/slashing, which is decent. Add a 10′ increase in reach and a great utility form, toss in some swimming stuff and most likely get out of grapple free. The reach bonus is pretty awesome, medium creatures get 15′ reach, large creatures 20′. With combat reflexes a melee character is going to get plenty of attacks of opportunities. Most ranged weapons do slashing or bludgeoning damage so this is also a great extract against ranged enemies.
Freedom of Movement – Immunity to a variety of effects, duration is good.
Invisibility, Greater (DS) – Duration is poor, situationally useful if you can use it immediately before an encounter.
Neutralize Poison – An alchemist getting this at 10th level… you have to wonder if this is a subtle joke.
Restoration – You remember when I said not to prepare all your extracts in the morning? Save one so you can fix what the damage the wight or specter did to you.
Spell Immunity – Great under a few fairly rare circumstances, a waste otherwise.
Stoneskin (DS) – Save this expensive extract for critical fights, consider the 250gp the cost of pre-emptive healing.
Universal Formula – Having the right extract in a pinch is a life saver. Whether it’s work having an expensive extract holding your 4th level slot the rest of the time is the big question.
5th-Level Alchemist Formulae
Beast Shape III (DS) (Infusion) – For Strangelob this is a utility spell. Dr. Hyde has a few decent forms to choose from though he will probably find BSII as useful.
Delayed Consumption – Awesome in a can. Release a single extract as an immediate action. Take this as soon as it’s againable. I don’t see anything that would prevent you from chaining this with universal extractallowing you to use any of your third level extracts as an immediate action. The days/ level duration means the first use every day is free, but I can see using this multiple times in a day to ‘quicken’ a buff or as a life saving ‘get out of dead free’ card.  Beast shape II and fluid form seem like a good mix with this.
Dream – Longer message than sending but otherwise worse.
Elude Time – While under the effect of this spell you are outside everything… this is quite cool but it’s hard to see it being commonly used. Suggestions?
Magic Jar (Infusion) – Magic jar is a great spell, what makes this truly great is the fact that it’s available as an infusion. Now your entire party can enjoy the fun of magic jarring into a group of enemies and causing mayhem with little or no risk.
Overland Flight – Sacrifice a 5th level slot to fly pretty much constantly. It’s a tough call when you have air walk available with a good duration and one level lower.
Planar Adaptation – 99% of the time worthless and in that 1% of the time your cleric has it as a much lower level ability.
Plant Shape I – Possibly interesting with Bestiary II, for now stay away.
Polymorph (DS) (Infusion) – Alchemists can already access and share many of these forms. The only advantage here is it’s a bit of versatility.
Resurgent Transformation – This is potentially a great spell, it falls a bit short since the buffs it triggers are exceptionally common. The expensive material component also detracts for the usefulness here.
Sending – Most likely available to the party wizard or cleric at a much lower level. Nice to have for those once in a while situations but overall not your stick.
Spell Resistance (Infusion) – If you absolutely know there is a wizard on the other side of that door. Otherwise the 1 min/ level duration makes this a tough choice.
6th-Level Alchemist Formulae
Beast Shape IV – Prance around as a unicorn to pick up on virgins? Most of the interesting magical beasts are huge and the large ones just don’t compare well to form of dragon or giant form below.
Form of the Dragon I (DS) (Infusion) – It’s hard to say which is better, this or giant form. Dragons get lots of attacks and a raft of special abilities you can use including a natural armor boost, breath weapon, and energy resistance.
Giant Form I (DS) (Infusion) – Regeneration and a good rend paired with stat bonuses that stack are great for any melee character. Bombers benefit mostly from the regeneration but the extra constitution doesn’t hurt either and this is the only polymorph where gear is retained. It’s worth mentioning that while using regeneration creatures can only be killed with fire or acid.
Heal – Late in the game and competing with a lot of really good extracts. Useful mostly to get access to spell trigger items.
Mislead – This is a great extract but falls short in most every way of twin form.
Shadow Walk – Travel spell for alchemists. The random exit point makes this of questionable value in combat but it’s useful for escaping a bad situation. Entering the plane of shadow ends any twin form spell.
Statue (DS) – Maybe the ultimate turtling spell, Strangelob can use this to be immune to a lot of effects when not bombing. Stricktly bad for Mr. Hyde he can’t use attacks of opportunity while turtling.
Transformation – The BAB increase gets a +4 – +5 on attack rolls and an extra attack per round for weapons and bombs (with fast bomb). The other bonuses don’t stack with stat boosting items or many common extracts so are questionably useful. This isn’t near as good as giant form or form of the dragon for Hyde but it does stack with those extracts.
True Seeing – Slow progression and late entry means alchemists get this very late in their progression and it’s competing with some really amazing extracts. This is almost red.
Twin Form (Infusion) – The alchemists splits himself and his and gear into two identical clones and transfers his consciousness between the two as a free action. The clone without consciousness only gets move actions but the alchemist can transfer consciousness as a free action. Use one form to lob bombs and move to your other form as a free action to hold the door with attacks of opportunity. Effectively more than doubles your hit points and you are immune to a ton of things that would otherwise kill you. Twin most of your party for a suicide assault…
Wind Walk – An alternative transportation spell to Shadow Walk. The long duration and multiple uses in a day are both great but it’s no use in combat because it takes 10 rounds minimum for a single ‘hop’. This is a good extract to have available but not one which will be prepared every day.

Dr. Strangelob Build
Dr. Strangelob’s primary focus is ranged bombing.  You are capable of doing more elemental damage in a game session than any other character. There is no save and no SR to block the primary damage you do and your secondary damage is respectable.

Tossing bombs into combat your mutagen of choice is probably going to be dexterity at low levels.  When you get higher level and touch ACs become easy to hit you might consider switching to boosting constitution for the extra hit points, in particular since dexterity puts a wisdom penalty hitting your already weak will save.  If you do take greater mutagen you will want to boost constitution and dexterity.


Elf – Ability boosts are a perfect fit.  The constitution penalty hurts but alchemists have a good fortitude save and toughness helps with lower hit points.  The bonus versus enchantment is good since the alchemist’s will save is low.  A bonus to perception is always well received.
Half Orc – The alternate favored class bonus adds 1 pt damage to bombs every 2 levels, take this! Dropping ferocity for sacred tattoo in the APG isn’t a bad trade either.
Human – A bonus feat is always welcome.  Add the precise bomb discovery at second level and you can bomb into melee with impunity. Trading out the skilled racial trait for either Heart of the Fields or Heart of the Wilderness is a very good option skill rich class like the alchemist.
Halfling – Dexterity bonus and small size are a perfect fit for Dr. Strangelob.  The save bonuses are particularly welcome and good perception also work well. Consider taking the warslinger as an alternate racial trait, this turns the sling into an excellent full rate of fire ranged weapon with better range than your bombs.
Gnome – The pyromaniac alternate racial trait moves gnomes bomb progression up a level. Their alternate favored class bonus in the APG grants additional bombs per day as well, also a great use. Not as good as the half-orcs bonus but still very nice. The size bonus on ranged attacks, high constitution, and craft bonus also work in their favor. Gnomes are almost blue.
Half Elf – You inherit the save bonus and perception bonus from elves but lack their frailty. The dual minded alternate racial trait is an easy choice to bolster your weak save.
Dwarf – Dwarves are a solid base.  The bonus versus spells, and spell-like abilities helps alot since alchemists have low will saves.


Strength – Not very useful to Strangelob since his primary attack is not affected by strength.  Be careful not to dump this too low though because alchemists need a lot of gear and ultimately you will need some kind of second weapon
Dexterity – Particularly important at lower levels when you have a bit more trouble hitting.
Constitution – You have decent hit dice, no reason to be in melee, and a good fort save.  Use your favored class bonus and possibly toughness to bump HP.
Intelligence – Number of bombs per day, damage modifier, and extracts are all based on intelligence. Strangelob’s prime attribute.
Wisdom – Important to boost your bad will save.  Keep a positive bonus in Wisdom.
Charisma – Strangelob’s only possible dump stat.
Sample 15 point buy (before racial modifiers)
If you want to dump charisma below 8 consider putting the points into an extra point of dexterity or bumping your constitution by 2.
Human/ Half Orc/ Half Elf STR: 10  DEX: 14  CON: 10  INT: 16  WIS: 12  CHA: 8  (bump INT to 18)
Elf STR: 10  DEX: 12  CON: 12  INT: 16  WIS: 12  CHA: 8
Dwarf STR: 10  DEX: 14  CON: 8  INT: 17  WIS: 10  CHA: 9
Gnome/ Halfling STR: 12  DEX: 12  CON: 10  INT: 17  WIS: 12  CHA: 7
PFS 20 point buy (before racial modifiers)
Human/ Half Orc/ Half Elf STR: 10  DEX: 14  CON: 10  INT: 17  WIS: 12  CHA: 8  (bump INT to 20)
Elf STR: 11  DEX: 14  CON: 12  INT: 17  WIS: 10  CHA: 8
Dwarf STR: 11  DEX: 14  CON: 8  INT: 18  WIS: 10  CHA: 9
Gnome/ Halfling STR: 13  DEX: 12  CON: 10  INT: 18  WIS: 12  CHA: 7
Put your stat boosts into intelligence, most likely your dexterity will boosted enough by your mutagen and less important over time.

Acid bomb – Acid resistance is pretty unusual and the delayed damage bump can force an extra concentration check for casters.
Combine extracts – This is good but you will probably want to spend most of your discoveries on your bombs.
Concussive bomb – The low damage is partly offset by the fact that almost nothing is resistant to sonic damage.  More important spellcasters have a 20% chance of spell failure while deaf which is a nice debuff for enemy casters.  In particular arcane casters with weak fortitude saves.
Delayed bomb – For most groups this is underwhelming but I’ve seen some creative applications.  For example making a trap or using sleight of hands to plant a bomb in a pocket as a subtle method of initiating combat.
Dilution – This is essentially discounted potion crafting.  Not great for a bomber who won’t be relying on potions much.
Dispelling Bomb – Dispel magic is a decent spell, being able to cast dispel spontaneously is better. Being able to do it twice or in combination with other effects is great.
Elixer of life – Contingent resurrection on death, or true resurrection.  It’s expensive life insurance or equivalent to a 9th level cleric spell.
Enhance potion – You don’t rely on buffs much and can most likely just use an extract regardless.
Eternal potion – Good hope and haste are good choices for eternal potions. This would be blue but the requirement for extend potion is tough to squeeze in.
Explosive bomb – Burning is nasty but there are other better effects you can inflict. Bonus splash damage is nice but not
Extend potion – As far as I can tell this works with alchemical allocation, extand long duration potions like heroism and the various elixirs. Prereq for Eternal Potion.
Feral mutagen – Great for the melee build, pretty much useless for a Strangelob.
Force bomb – The second best bomb right after Stink Bomb. Knock down enemies with low reflex saves, full damage on incorporeal creatures, bypass energy resistance, and knock down clumsy fliers; what’s not to like here?
Frost bomb – A decent alternative energy type that inflicts a nasty condition. Not quite blue.
Grand mutagen – Leave this for your melee slugging brethren.
Greater mutagen – If you are having trouble hitting consider taking this so you can boost dexterity and constitution.
Infuse mutagen – Leave this for your melee slugging brethren.
Inferno bomb – By the time you can get this it’s not very useful.
Infusion – Many (most) extracts are buffing spells which Strangelob will only be able to get limited value of.  Use this discovery to share those with people who will get vastly larger benefit from them.  Extracts that come from self only spells are usually particularly good and no other casters can grant the effect.  Finally, people using an alchemist’s buffs or healing are using their own actions to do it.  So the fighter quaffs your infused extract of enlarge person on his turn while Dr. Strangelob sits back at a safe distance and bombs.
Madness bomb – Maddeningly dissapointing. Reduce your damage output so you can slowly reduce the enemies will saves.
Poison bomb – At 12th level there is little kill left in cloudkill but it does make a solid area denial effect. Few creatures will stick around and take constitution damage round after round.  As a bonus the alchemist is immune to the effect.
Precise bomb – Keep bombing while your teammates melee, invaluable for most alchemists.
Shock Bomb – Lightning plus dazzled just not very exciting.
Smoke bomb – Nice gateway discovery and a decent effect.
Sticky bomb – A bit of extra damage is particularly good for forcing concentration checks against ongoing damage.  The wording implies it can be combined with other bombs.
Sticky poison – Bombers are not going to be attacking with weapons often enough to make this useful.
Stink bomb – Simply put this bomb ends encounters. Nauseated means all they can do is run away at 1/2 speed. I cannot emphasize how much better this is than normal splash damage.


There are two primary feat paths for Dr. Strangelob, the Point Black Shot/ Rapid Shot chain or the Two Weapon Fighting (TWF) chain. Which path you choose is largely a matter of choice Rapid Shot requires Point Blank Shot but since Point Blank opens up so many ranged feats many alchemists will want it regardless. Rapid shot works with bows which gives elf alchemists a nice backup weapon for energy resistant creatures. With the TWF chain alchemists can take Improved Two Weapon Fighting at 17th level to get an additional attack per round. So both chains have their advantages, regardless of which path you take you need to have Rapid Shot or Two Weapon Fighting by 7th level to get that third bomb per round at 8th when you get fast bomb.
Extra Discovery – There are enough great discoveries most alchemists will be use this at least once.
Iron will – A weak will save and powerful attacks makes alchemists a prime target for domination, confusion, and will based spells.  Iron will is almost a requirement past 6th level or so.
Improved precise shot – Ignore blur, clouds, and displacement when targeting.  Very nice but steep requirements.
Rapid shot – This is the Nova option. Get up to 3 bombs/ round at 8th level, blow lots of stuff up then run out of bombs.
Two Weapon Fighting – Essentially the same benefit as Rapid Shot with lower entry requirements.
Extra bombs – At 8th level alchemists have 12-14 bombs per day and with rapid shot and haste they are lobbing 3-4 bombs per round. At lower levels it’s likely not an issue but starting at 8th level running out of bombs is a very big issue.
Defensive combat training – Help defend against grappling.
Far shot – The 20′ range increment on bombs really hurts.  Far shot won’t extend total range but it helps minimize the range penalty.  Take this if Splash Weapon Mastery isn’t available since long range encounters are likely.
Focused shot – Add intelligence bonus to crossbow/ bow attacks. Running out of bombs is going to be a common issue with alchemists, particularly after 8th level. This is a big boost to damage at short range and stacks with deadly aim.
Improved iron will – For all the reasons outlined on Iron Will
Improved initiative – Area effect spells are often best dropped before everyone scrambles and gets into melee.  For the cloud bombers this is even more important so you can use them for battle field control.
Improved Two Weapon Fighting – Assuming you have Two Weapon Fighting you are already lobbing 4-5 bombs per round. An extra bomb at -12 to hit is of questionable value at this point in the game compared to other options.
Point blank shot – Not great itself but required for a lot of really useful feats: Rapid Shot, Precise Shot,
Precise shot – Combined with precise bombs an alchemist can bomb into melee at will.
Magical aptitude – Makes UMD much more useful for you and spellcraft is a useful class skill.
Master alchemist – If you are crafting a lot… extracts and bombs don’t use this skill and while many alchemists will craft it’s purely optional.
Skill focus (use magic device)– Makes UMD much more useful for you.

Non core/ APG feats and Traits (Limited to PfRPG sources)

Accelerated drinker trait (Cheliax Companion) – Most likely doesn’t work with extracts but it should allow you to use alchemical allocation and drink a potion as a full round action.
Splash weapon mastery (Adventurers Armory) – Far shot for bombs and splash weapons and steers misses away from allies.  If it’s available take this at 1st level.


Magic Items

Belt of incredible dexterity or Belt of CON + DEX – Even though touch attacks become easier at high levels these are still useful.  Probably a better idea to get a CON + DEX belt when you can afford it rather than spend the money on higher cost Dexterity only belts.
Lesser bracers of archery – The alchemist will always have problems with running out of bombs so a second weapon is important. The bomber already has a lot of archery feats so getting precise shot and focused shot are logical. Expensive but cheaper than the two feats it replaces. For elves this is pretty weak.

Multi Classing and Prestige Classes

Master Chymst is the only real prestige class choice for alchemists and for Mr. Hyde Chymst it is a fun way to go.  The role playing aspects of the second personality are immense and the class features are appealing for building a melee brawler.  Look to switch to Master Chymst at 9th level after gaining the fast bombs discovery.  Master Chymst triples the duration of his mutagens and gains the ability to mutate as an supernatural ability at first level which is a very nice boost.  Brutality is also a very nice damage boost for a feral mutagen based character and furious mutagen boosts natural weapon damage as well.
The downside of Master Chymst is it’s a bit of a one way trip; alchemist levels stack for the purpose of gaining Advanced Mutagens but the chymst levels don’t stack for gaining Discoveries.  So if you are taking Master Chymst levels make sure you plan around this.  There are lots of good high level discoveries which are delayed or impossible to take if you take more than a couple levels of Chymst.  If 18th-20th level play is going to be a big part of your game consider skipping Chymst entirely because there are a lot of really good Discoveries you will miss out on.
Just Blow Stuff Up
A rough guide for discoveries and feats for a character mainly interested in damaging things with bombs. Plan to take Two Weapon Fighting or Rapid Shot at 7th level so make sure you have your prerequisites in order (see the feats section) other essential feats are listed as well.
2nd: Precise bomb
4th: Acid bomb, or infusion
6th: Acid bomb, frost bomb, or explosive bomb
7th: Two Weapon Fighting or Rapid Shot
8th: Fast bombs
9th: Extra Discovery:Force bomb
10th: Sticky bombs
11th: Iron Will
16th: Elixer of life.
18th: Greater mutagen or eternal potion
20th: Pick two from 14th level.
Grand Discovery: If your campaign has intermittent downtime the philosophers stone is the best choice, for faster paced games with little downtime go with awakened intellect. Eternal youth is awesome but for most games is a flavor only option.

Smoker Option

Stink bomb is the king of the bombs.
2nd: Precise bomb
3rd: Extra Discovery: Smoke bomb
4th: Stink bomb
6th: Acid bomb, or infusion
7th: Rapid Shot or Two Weapon Fighting
8th: Fast bombs
9th: Extra Discovery: Force bomb
10th: Same as 6th + sticky bomb
11th: Iron Will
12th: Poison bomb
14th: Same as 10th level plus explosive bomb
16th – 20th: Same as above

Mr. Hyde Build
Wily alchemists work long hours trying to create an alchemical solution that releases the most primal, powerful untapped potential which they claim exists in all of us. These alchemist generally disdain the use of bombs and ranged weapons and relish in the fury of engaging the enemy with tooth and claw.
Mr. Hyde, AKA the Feral Alchemist, is a strength based character that uses Mutagens and Extracts to maximize their melee potential. Feral Mutagen and the Strength Mutagen are the cornerstones of this class.  Beyond those two choices there are lots of ways to make this character work.
This guide is designed to help build either a straight Alchemist or an Alchemist/ Master Chymst as a melee killing machine.

In general any race that’s good in melee is going to be good as Mr. Hyde. One significant difference between Hyde and a typical melee class is the Alchemist is limited to simple weapons so racial weapon proficiencies have a lot more value. The half orc and elf have some great choices for racial weapons.
Plan on taking the extra hit point for Mr. Hyde’s favored class bonus for almost any race. If you want to make a switch hitter character that bombs and melees then the half orc bonus damage could be a huge help. Gnomes extra bombs could also be useful here.
Human – Consider Heart of the Wilderness as an alternate racial trait, alchemist get plenty a fair number of skill points Heart of Wilderness means going into negative con is more survivable.
15 point build STR: 16  DEX: 12  CON: 12  INT: 13  WIS: 10  CHA: 8
Add Racial bonus to STR. Use 4th level bonus on INT.
20 point build STR: 17  DEX: 12  CON: 12  INT: 14  WIS: 10  CHA: 8
Add Racial bonus to STR. Use 4th level bonus on STR.
Half Orc – The bonus damage for bombers is very nice, and if you are going to switch hit it’s a delacate balancing act between survivability and extra damage. Tusks are an awesome and fun option. There are three ways to grab them so lots of choices, I use the racial trait in Orcs of Golarion. Getting a secondary attack at 1st level is even if it’s a weaker attack. At higher levels it’s a great way to get some extra use out of that Amulet of Mighty Fists.
Use human sample builds
Dwarf – Consider picking up medium armor proficiency for the tanking option. The stubborn alternate racial trait is a nice way to shore up the alchemist’s weak will save.
15 point build STR: 17  DEX: 10  CON: 13  INT: 13  WIS: 8  CHA: 8 (before racial modifiers)
Use 4th level bonus on STR.
20 point build STR: 17  DEX: 12  CON: 12  INT: 15  WIS: 8  CHA: 8 (before racial modifiers)
Use 4th level bonus on STR.
Elf – Good weapons, decent spell defenses, good racial ability bonuses, overall a great choice. Take toughness and use the favored class bonus to boost hit points.
15 point build STR: 17  DEX: 10  CON: 12  INT: 11  WIS: 10  CHA: 8 (before racial modifiers)
Use 4th level bonus on STR. I recommend toughness at first level.
20 point build STR: 17  DEX: 10  CON: 14  INT: 12  WIS: 10  CHA: 8 (before racial modifiers)
Use 4th level bonus on STR.
Half Elf – Half elves inherit the save bonuses and perception bonus from elves but lack their frailty which is quite nice. Skill focus (UMD) is a nice little bonus to make up for your low charisma. Half elves should also take the dual minded alternate racial trait to bolster their will save.
Use human sample builds
Halfling – So keeping in mind this idea is likely insane; the warslinger alternate racial trait makes it possible to create a master chymst halfling slinger. Deadly aim, rapid shot, +4 strength (and later +6 strength and +4 dex), and brutality could add up to a lot of damage. Halflings would make excellent poisoners also. I really think this can work…
No real recommendations
Gnome – It’s really difficult to make a melee thug with a strength penalty and small weapons. The pyromaniac gnomes are better built up as Dr. Strangelob.
No real recommendations

Ability Scores

As you can see from the sample builds above strength is the biggie here. Bomb damage is going to seriously suffer but Mr. Hyde is primarily a melee thug and most of your calls are going to be based on that idea. If switch hitting between bombing and melee is important you will to bump intelligence higher than the above recommendations.


Bomb related discoveries are detailed more in the Dr. Strangelobsection. Advanced Mutagens are included and denoted with a (AM) in the name.
Feral Mutagen – This is the cornerstone to Mr Hyde Builds. This is almost always your first discovery. This will make the two weapon fighter and monk in your party cry at low levels.  At mid to higher levels strength boosts, power attack, and better mutagens helps keep this relevant. Use an amulet of mighty fists to extend the usefulness of this. You will need a backup weapon or two to help with damage resistance.
Combine Extracts – Take two extracts in a round.  This is like quicken for extracts but at lower levels.  Enlarge person plus shield; cure moderate wounds plus bear’s endurance.  Lots of great combos.
Force Bomb – Damages anyone… Bypasses DR, SR, and Energy Resistance. Also, knocking down creatures on a failed save is awesome.
Eternal Potion – Use eternal potion with Haste, Good Hope, Righteous Vigor, or any number of great low level spells.
Grand Mutagen – You had me at “Grand”.  If dexterity will bump your AC significantly then take this at 16th level, otherwise take Elixer of Life first.
Greater Mutagen – Absolutely yes. Your best bet is to boost strength and constitution.
Poison Bomb – At 10th level the alchemist becomes immune to poison making this an awesome area effect screen.
Concentrate Poison – If you take sticky poison you should seriously consider this, adding 2 to the DC for double the cost is a bargain.
Dual Mind (AM) – This is a bit redundant with Improved Iron Will but still quite nice.
Enhance Potion – This is good when combined with Alchemical Allocation, particularly with spells like greater magic weapon that have variable effects. It’s a struggle figuring out where this can fit into a crowded build though. Just barely green.
Evasion (AM) – Sort of orange-green, Evasion is a decent defensive ability.
Extend Potion – Works with Alchemical Allocation to make your 10m/ level buffs like Heroism last all day long. Lots of overlap between this, Enhance Potion, and Amplify Elixir.
Furious Mutagen (AM) – Very nice bump up in damage (table here) particularly when you move up to size large.
Infusion – Some of your self only buffs are great for sharing around the party. Shield is an early option also, you are the only one who can share polymorph spells until higher level.
Sticky Poison – Poisoners are kind of a sub-build of Mr. Hyde. After 10th level you can poison your claws and even teeth without worrying about the effects on yourself.
Also Recommended: Dispelling BombPrecise bombStink Bomb

Questionable Discoveries

Burly (AM) – For combat maneuver focused builds, if you are trying to make a trip monkey or a grappler then it’s good.
Dilution – In most cases Mr. Hyde is going to use Alchemical Allocation and not burn through a lot of potions.
Extended Mutagen (AM) – By the time an Master Chymst can take this he’s able to stay mutated for 300+ minutes/ day which is likely enough already. This should be a discovery :(
Growth Mutagen (AM) – It’s an long wait to get extended enlarge person. Even so it’s almost green because it means you are large all the time.
Infuse mutagen – Keep a dexterity mutagen to go on the defensive. Expensive so not recommended.
Draconic Mutagen (AM) – When the Master Chymst finally qualifies most of the benefits are weak or superceded by fairly low level extracts. Not worth a slot.
Not recommended: Disguise (AM), Night Vision (AM), Restoring Change (AM), Scent (AM)

Recommended Feats

Recommended feats for Mr Hyde are generally the same as they are for any melee character, Power attack, Vital Strike, etc.
Iron will – A weak will save and powerful attacks makes Mr. Hyde a prime target for domination, confusion, and will based spells.
Power Attack – This should be your third level feat. Natural weapons take full advantage of power attack so all three attacks get -1/+2 while using feral mutagen.
Improved Unarmed Strike – When you get that Holy Amulet of Mighty Fists and Greater Magic Fang… this lets you benefit from it all the time. How useful it is depends largely on how much non-mutagen combat a character ends up in. If you want to make a grappling build it’s also required for Improved Grab.
Other recommended featsCombat Reflexes, Improved Initiative, Improved Iron Will, Lunge, Quick Draw, Rapid Shot, Toughness, Vital Strike and Improved Vital Strike, Weapon focus (claws)

Questionable But Worth Mentioning

Eldritch claws – Lets you overcome DR/ silver and DR/ magic. By 4th-5th level Mr. Hyde should be able to keep greater magic fang going most of the time which should deal with much of this.
Improvised weapon mastery – Beer mugs are deadly weapons in my hand.  Can you get a +1 frost beer mug?  Since you have throw anything this is a great feat for follow up.  Seriously a fun and kind cool feat (but… not very powerful)
Rending Claws – Feels like not enough to merit a feat.
Precise shot – If there is melee going on Mr. Hyde usually wants in on it not bombing into it. Add in the PBS requirement and this is just not worth it.

Recommended Non Core/ APG feats and Traits (Limited to PfRPG sources)

Accelerated Drinker trait (Cheliax Companion) – This won’t work with extracts (check the FAQ) but is quite useful for using with alchemical allocation so you reduce it to a single round of activity instead of 2 rounds. Also, carry a potion of Enlarge Person in one hand and you can quaff it and still get a bomb off in the first round of combat, worth the 50gp in a lot of cases.
Reactionary (Trait) – Stacks with improved initiative, a nice goto trait.
Indomitable Faith (Trait) – Or any trait that bumps will save is very helpful.
Splash weapon mastery (Adventurers Armory) – Not quite as useful as it is for the bombers but doesn’t require point blank like far shot does.


Amulet of Mighty Fists – A must if Mr. Hyde is relying on feral mutagen.  Treantmonk also has some great advice in his Guide for Monks “One thing to note regarding this item is that unlike weapons, it does not need a minimum +1 enchantment to gain other weapon properties.  Holy is the obvious go-to enchantment to get, as DR /good is common with evil outsiders.  Damage enhancers (remember our question) of any kind are going to be good though.  Besides, the imagery of shocking or flaming fists is pretty cool too.  If you are unable to get Greater Magic Fang or Greater Magic Weapon cast on you regularly, then the enhancement bonus is needed for the + to hit as well as damage.  Go with Holy + whatever enhancement bonus you can afford.”
Belt of Giant Strength or Belt of Strength + Constitution – Stacks with alchemical bonus so this is an excellent choice.  Boost your strength and constitution first then get the dexterity belt when you can afford all three.
Headband of Vast Intellect – Extracts and bombs are still important, consider picking up one of these as soon as possible.
Boots of Speed – Alchemists have big problems with action efficiency with their extracts so there are a great way to guarantee you get hasted.

Multi-classing and Prestige Classes

Multi-classing is generally not a good choice for alchemists.  The number of class features that fall behind is quite high so think carefully before committing to a multi-class path.  In general multi-classing grants a big short term boost in character power but longer term the character is weaker due to loss of higher level class features.
Barbarian are probably the best multi-class choice for alchemists, rage offers a strength/ constitution bonus that stacks nicely with mutagens.  The Drunken Brute archetype in particular has some nice potion drinking synergy and the ability to extend the rage by drinking alcohol.  As for rage powers,  one possibility is “Good for What Ails You”, as a move action take a drink, get a new save on some nasty effects and extend you rage at the same time.
Rogue is another good candidate for Mr. Hyde and alchemists with their high intelligence and skills will often wind up substituting in a party for a rogue.  Sneak attack while flanking with feral mutagen is a very nice combination. Consider taking the Poisoner archetype which offers the very nice Master Poisoner class ability at third level that allows converting poisons from one type to another.  There are quite a few good rogue talents, unfortunately the poisoning ones you can take at low level are a bit redundant with alchemist abilities.
Master Chymst is an awesome choice for Alchemists (even bombers and switch hitters). The role playing aspects of the second personality are immense and the class features are appealing.  Look to switch to Master Chymst at 9th level after gaining the fast bombs discovery.  Master Chymst gives two additional uses of the mutagenic ability (under a slightly different guise) effectively tripling the amount of time you can be mutated. Brutality is also a very nice damage boost for a feral mutagen based character and furious mutagen boosts natural weapon damage as well.
If you are looking to build more of a switch hitting character Master Chymst is also awesome because you can choose what type of mutagen you are using on the fly when you use mutate. You can be strength focused for a set of melee encounters then mutate to a dex focused alchemist to lob bombs at distant targets. Master Chymst’s also has full BAB progression so they get their third iterative bomb attacks two levels quicker. The downside to Master Chymst is slower extract progression and the higher level Advanced Mutagens aren’t near as good as the high level discoveries. If playing at 16th level plus is a big part of your game plan it’s going to be a very tough call.
One way of dealing with the slower spell progression of Master Chymst is to take the class for fewer levels and intermix levels of Master Chymst with Alchemist.  I suggest one level of Master Chymst at 9th level, two levels at 12th and 13th levels, then another three levels at 16th, 17th, and 18th level.  This way you pick up many of the best features of master chymst but can pick up 5th and 6th level extracts a bit earlier.

Starter Guide for Hyde

1st (Feat): (Choose From) Iron Will, Improved Unarmed Strike, Toughness
Essential 1st level formulae: Cure Light Wounds, Enlarge PersonIdentify
2nd: Feral Mutagen
3rd (Feat): Power Attack
4th: Choose> Acid Bomb, Infusion, Concentrate Poison
Essential 2nd level formulae: Alchemical AllocationInvisibility
5th (Feat): Master Alchemist, Weapon Focus (Claws), or use the 1st level list
6th: Concussive Bomb or Sticky Poison
Essential 3rd level formulae: Amplify ElixirFly
8th: Combine Extracts, Fast Bombs, or Force Bomb (All three are great).
Consider taking Master Chymst at 9th level.