Nerds on Earth
The best place on Earth for nerds.

How to Create Great Pathfinder 2nd Edition Characters: Alchemist

Alchemist from the Paizo Blog

We’ve been fortunate to have Pathfinder Second Edition (PF2) in our lives for nearly a month now–it’s hard to believe that it’s already been that long! I’ve been doing a relatively deep dive into the Core Rulebook but, with the Lost Omens World Guide shipping out to subscribers, I wanted to get some PF2 Class Concepts in your hands. Otherwise, I’ll get lost in Golarion lore and never see the light of day again.

My goal for these guides is to go a similar route as my Starfinder Theme series; I’ll give a little blurb about the class and then offer some build suggestions to help kickstart the creative side of your brain.

If you’re looking for optimized character builds you’ll have to look elsewhere! After the initial brainstorm, I’m going to include a brief roadmap, or ‘Pathmap‘, to outline various mechanical choices I might make for such a character.

Taking these two at a pop, it would only take me six articles to finish all of the core PF2 classes in alphabetical order. Unfortunately, as I started to write this I realized that I’d be better off doing one class at a time. I’m incredibly sorry to all of the wizard-lovers out there!

Alright, let’s kick this off with a BANG by running through the Alchemist.

Pathfinder 2nd Edition Alchemist Class

Fumbus, the 2E Iconic Alchemist

The first Pathfinder character I ever made was a goblin alchemist. Inspired by the goblins in the Magic: the Gathering universe, I really wanted to tap into the inner workings of a chemist who reveled in making things go BOOM.

Pathfinder Second Edition Alchemists get that same sort of flavor. Using their formulas and reagents, they are able to mix up various spell-like effects each day. What’s even better, they can use Quick Alchemy to temporarily make a handy item that’ll expire at the beginning of their next turn.

Alchemists are usually smart, meticulous, and curious, using their skillsets in a variety of ways. Some specialize in the medical arts, while others are inclined to a more…explosive nature. No matter which way you slice it, you can be sure that alchemists will make a SPLASH at your table.

  DECORATED SURGEON

As a medical expert, you’ve performed countless surgeries–both restorative and experimental. People come to you looking for guidance on even the most mundane of ailments. You may not have a cure for the common cold, but you’re one major breakthrough away from solving that particular puzzle.

When you’re not giving the Golarion-equivalent of TED Talks, your focus lies mainly in research. How will you resolve the problems that plague the modern world? What can you do to help those in need of basic and advanced medical care? Did you spend most of your time in temples, or were your efforts distinctly separate from religion?

Have you published any noteworthy bits of research? Are you credited with specific discoveries of surgical techniques of alchemical antidotes? Do you perform tests on yourself or do you have a loyal following of willing subjects who would be more than happy to assist you?

Pathmap

  • Research Field: Chirurgeon
  • Ability Scores: Wisdom, Intelligence
  • Skills: Academia Lore, Medicine, Survival
  • Formulae: Quicksilver mutagen (lesser), Antiplague (lesser), Antidote (lesser), Acid Flask (lesser)
  • Alchemist Feats: Alchemical Savant, Poison Resistance (2nd), Enduring Alchemy (4th), Combine Elixers (6th), Powerful Alchemy (8th), Merciful Elixer (10th), Extend Elixer (12th), Greater Merciful Elixer (14th), Eternal Elixer (16th), Miracle Worker (18th), Craft Philosopher’s Stone (20th)

  STRUCTURAL ENGINEER

Explosives have been central to engineering since gunpower first went BOOM. When you need a plot of land cleared out quickly, or when you’re trying to reach some valuable minerals underground, everybody’s go-to is a hard-packed stack of dynamite.

You know how to find the weak spots of structures. In fact, you’ve come to realize that flesh-and-blood bodies aren’t much different than buildings; everything is a frame with stuff in and around it. Just swap out the wooden joints for bony ones and you’re well on your way to demolishing enemies.

When did you create your first bomb? In what clever ways have you experimented with gunpowder? Have you witnessed any nasty accidents in your career? Did you work in the mining industry, or have you been more architecturally-inclined? Do you find certain building styles abhorrent? Is there a specific set of safety equipment that you wear, or do you flirt with disaster?

Pathmap

  • Research Field: Bomber
  • Ability Scores: Constitution, Dexterity
  • Skills: Engineering Lore, Athletics, Nature
  • Formulae: Smokestick (lesser), Cognitive Mutagen (lesser), Alchemist’s Fire (lesser), Thunderstone (lesser)
  • Alchemist Feats: Quick Bomber, Smoke Bomb (2nd), Calculated Splash (4th), Directional Bombs (6th), Sticky Bomb (8th), Expanded Splash (10th), Extend Elixer (12th), Glib Mutagen (14th), Exploitive Bomb (16th), Perfect Debilitation (18th), Mega Bomb (20th)

  EVOLUTION THEORIST

Everybody’s looking for the next best thing. How can we improve the operation of the human (and non-human) body? Would people be better off with three arms instead of two? What about enhanced strength and uncanny memory? Your job isn’t necessarily to answer these questions; it’s to ask the questions that nobody’s even thought of yet!

You’re creative and always think outside the box. In fact, you don’t even understand why there has to be a box in the first place. Using your brilliant, twisted mind, you know that you can unlock the secrets of the past to better the future.

Are you trying to establish a new standard of living? Or are you more focused on improving yourself first? Are there any particular creatures or monsters that you identify with, on a spiritual level? Do you act with divine directive or is everything a machination of your own mind?

Were you ever a part of academia? Is your research sanctioned? And what about testing protocols? Are you performing dangerous testing on your own body? Is there a secret lab we should be worried about?

Pathmap

  • Research Field: Mutagenist
  • Ability Scores: Intelligence, Strength
  • Skills: Warfare Lore, Athletics, Occultism
  • Formulae: Cheetah’s Elixer (lesser), Bestial Mutagen (lesser), Juggernaut Mutagen (lesser), Tanglefoot Bag (lesser)
  • Alchemist Feats: Alchemical Familiar, Revivifying Mutagen (2nd), Efficient Alchemy (4th), Combine Elixers (6th), Feral Mutagen (8th), Elastic Mutagen (10th), Extend Elixer (12th), Glib Mutagen (14th), Eternal Elixer (16th), Mindblank Mutagen (18th), Perfect Mutagen (20th)

  PARTY ROCKER

Enough of all this smart stuff! Academics are SO last semester and you just want to use your delightful mind for something other than book-learning and concoction-brewing. It’s time to cut loose and show everybody how to have a great time!

You know how to put on an entertaining show. Whether you were raised among a traveling band of performers or spent some leftover coin on some razzle-dazzle, you can pump up a crowd with the best of them. Midsummer is a BLAST.

Do you perform in front of sold-out crowds or are you more like someone whose hobby has merely attracted the attention of passerby? Besides explosive ordinances, do you have anything else that keeps the party going? Do you have a script that you follow or are you impromptu and let the night take you where it may? Have you used any other magical means to punctuate your performances?

Pathmap

  • Research Field: Bomber
  • Ability Scores: Charisma, Intelligence
  • Skills: Circus Lore, Performance, Society
  • Formulae: Leaper’s Elixer (lesser), Bottled Lightning (lesser), Frost Vial (lesser), Cognitive Mutagen (lesser)
  • Alchemist Feats: Far Lobber, Smoke Bomb (2nd), Calculated Splash (4th), Debilitating Bomb (6th), Powerful Alchemy (8th), Expanded Splash (10th), Uncanny Bombs (12th), True Debilitating Bomb (14th), Genius Mutagen (16th), Perfect Debilitation (18th), Mega Bomb (20th)

  COVERT OPERATIVE

No more joking around. Sneaking around is serious business. When you’re behind enemy lines with nothing but the ingenuity in your head and the tools at your belt, a single mistake can mark the end of everything. Masters of stealth and surprise, covert operatives are one with the shadows. Every tool can make the difference. And you have A LOT of tools.

Your specialty lies in completing objectives to the highest degree of efficiency. Assassinations, thefts, heists – all of them are fair game. You revel in the cover of darkness, but you can blend well with a crowd if you have to. Impersonations are an everyday occurrence.

Who’s giving your orders? Do you rely heavily on your poisons to see missions through to completion? Are you a sweet-talker or do you punch first and ask questions later? Do you play well with others? What about recognition – is your name well-known throughout Golarion? Or, do you go by a moniker? How do you deal with your conscious? Is there any job that you won’t take?

Pathmap

  • Research Field: Chirurgeon
  • Ability Scores: Dexterity, Charisma
  • Skills: Genealogy Lore, Stealth, Deception
  • Formulae: Arsenic, Eagle-Eye Elixer (lesser), Acid Flask (lesser), Antidote (lesser)
  • Alchemist Feats: Quick Bomber, Smoke Bomb (2nd), Enduring Alchemy (4th), Combine Elixers (6th), Powerful Alchemy (8th), Potent Poisoner (10th), Extend Elixer (12th), Glib Mutagen (14th), Persistent Mutagen (16th), Mindblank Mutagen (18th), Perfect Mutagen (20th)

Pathfinder 2E Alchemist Class – Mix it Up!

And there you have it! Alchemists aren’t just about mixing up doses of random things and chucking bombs. I mean, they’re REALLY GOOD at doing those things, but they’re so much more than that.

Play around with the options in the Pathfinder Core Rulebook to see what interests you most. Keep in mind that a handful of the Alchemist Feats have prerequisites so have a potential endgame for your character in mind from the beginning. At the same time, don’t be afraid to change your ‘Pathmap’ depending on what happens in the story of your campaign.

Barbarian is going to be the next class I tackle. Bottle up your emotions until we get there!

How to Create Great Pathfinder Second Edition Characters