The alchemist is an interesting class that can be a lot of different things to a lot of different people. To some they are bomb-wielding demolitions experts; to some they are masters of creating potions (that only they can easily use); to others they are the closest they are likely to get to the Hulk, or at least Dr. Jekyll and his terrifying alter ego Mr. Hyde. What I’m getting at is that I wanted to create an archetype that could fit the many ideas of what the class does. One might be asking themselves what could I possibly be thinking, and that archetypes are supposed to be specific to a single idea of how a character could be made. Well you would be right: this archetype is all about research and experimentation, making it well suited to different ideas of the alchemist.
New Alchemist Archetype
Scholarly researchers are alchemists who have devoted themselves to one or more areas of study, which they doggedly pursue in order to unlock mysteries and make new discoveries in their field. While the subjects these alchemists study vary, each scholarly researcher uses the same methods in his work.
Research Project (Ex): A scholarly researcher can undertake researcher projects in order to gain knowledge about a particular subject. He may begin or suspend a research project at any time, but may only undertake a single research project at a time. A research project requires at least 20 hours to perform, plus an additional amount of time equal to twice the amount of time required to complete each previous instance of the research project type that was attempted. A scholarly researcher can attempt one of three different kinds of research projects, which are described in more detail below. The kinds of research projects he can attempt are physical research, concerning the body; thought experiments, concerning the mind; and field research, concerning subjects not limited to the scholarly researcher’s mind or body. While a scholarly researcher can complete any number of research projects, he can only gain a number of total benefits for having done so equal to 1/2 his level, minimum 1. Each benefit for completing a research project can be gained only once.
Physical Research: The scholarly researcher performs experiments on his own body or on the body of another subject in order to unlock the workings of the flesh. The scholarly researcher have a willing living subject (which could include himself) in order to perform these experiments. While the exact nature of these experiments varies depending on the scholarly researcher’s training and ideas, it falls into one of two categories: safe or risky. Safe experiments pose no risk to the subject, but offer no bonus on the ability check to perform the experiment. Risky experiments, on the other hand, grant a +5 bonus on the ability check made to perform the research, but if the check results in a failure, the subject suffers an amount of ability damage equal 1/2 the number of hours spent on the research project. The ability damage is of the same type as the ability check made to perform this experiment.
Performing physical research requires a successful Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution check every 5 hours the research has taken. The DC of this check is equal to the number of hours the research has taken to that point. A failure on this check has no consequences unless the scholarly researcher was performing risky research, but indicates the time is wasted. A scholarly researcher can employ research assistants to aid him in his research. An assistant must be present for at least the 5 hours of research she is contributing to and cannot perform other strenuous activities during this time. Each assistant can attempt to improve the ability check as though using the aid another action. A total number of successful ability checks must be made during the course of the research project in order to complete it equal to 1/5 the minimum number of hours required to complete the project. Once this number of checks has been completed, the project is complete and the scholarly researcher gains one of the following benefits.
Armor Plating: The scholarly researcher gains a +2 enhancement bonus to his natural armor.
Enhanced Fortitude: The scholarly researcher gains a +2 bonus on Fortitude saves and 1 hit point per class level; you continue to gain 1 hit point every time you gain an alchemist level.
Enhanced Reflexes: The scholarly researcher gains a +2 bonus on Reflex saves and a +1 dodge bonus to AC.
Great Speed: The scholarly researcher gains a +10-foot enhancement bonus to his movement speed.
Natural Attack: The scholarly researcher gains a natural attack possessed by the subject of his research, his body morphing to take on the characteristics appropriate for the type of attack (for instance, if he gains a bite attack, he might grow large fangs, while he fingernails might grow long and sharp if he gains a claw attack). The damage for the attack is based on the scholarly researcher’s size.
Natural Movement: The scholarly researcher gains a burrow, climb, fly, or swim speed possessed by the subject of his research. The speed of this form of movement is 10 feet. The scholarly researcher must be at least 6th level before undertaking this research project.
Physical Boost: The scholarly researcher gains a permanent +1 inherent bonus to one of his physical ability scores. Unlike other benefits of research, physical boost can be gained multiple times, but its effects do not stack; each time it is selected, it must be applied to a different ability score.
Powerful Attack: The scholarly researcher gains a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls.
Thought Experiments: The second kind of research project the scholarly researcher can undertake is the thought experiment. Thought experiments concern matters of the mind and the workings of the universe in ways that cannot be physically explored. Thought experiments function in much the same way as physical experiments and take the same amount of time. The scholarly researcher may employ research assistants in a think tank to aid him in his thought experiments, in the same way as those he employs as research assistants to aid in his physical research. Thought experiments cannot be risky, however, unless the scholarly researcher employs an intelligent creature of a different type as a research assistant. If he does, then the scholarly researcher suffers an amount of ability damage equal 1/2 the number of hours spent on the research project. The ability damage is of the same type as the ability check made to perform this experiment. Unlike physical research, a thought experiment requires a successful Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma check every 5 hours, though the DCs are the same. When a thought experiment is concluded, the scholarly researcher gains one of the following abilities.
Knowledge Boost: The scholarly researcher gains a +2 bonus on all Knowledge skill checks.
Mental Boost: The scholarly researcher gains a +1 competence bonus to the mental ability score of his choice. Unlike other benefits of research, mental boost can be gained multiple times, but its effects do not stack; each time it is selected, it must be applied to a different ability score.
Minor Power: The scholarly researcher chooses a 1st-level psychic spell. He can cast that spell as a spell-like ability once per day. His caster level for this ability is equal to his class level, and the saving throw DC is Intelligence-based.
Powerful Mind: The scholarly researcher can take 10 on Will saves made to disbelieve illusions.
Slippery Mind: The scholarly researcher is able to wriggle free from magical effects that would otherwise control or compel him. If he is affected by an enchantment spell or effect and fails his saving throw, he can attempt it again 1 round later at the same DC. He gets only this one extra chance to succeed on his saving throw. A scholarly researcher must be at least 6th level before he can gain this benefit.
Spell Power: The scholarly researcher gains a +1 bonus to his caster level.
Tough Mind: The scholarly researcher gains a +2 bonus on Will saving throws.
Field Research: Field research requires active study of the surrounding world. Unlike other research projects, field research can be undertaken while doing other things. However, field research takes much longer than other research, as distractions and dangers tend to arise in the course of study. Field research takes a minimum of 200 hours to complete, plus an additional amount of time equal to the total amount of time spent on previous completed field research projects. At the end of each 40-hour period, the field researcher must attempt an ability check. He must select a different ability for this check each time, until he has selected all other ability checks at least once. Because field research provides more exciting opportunities for research, the DC for this check is always 15, and any character that accompanied the scholarly researcher for the entire 40-hour research period can use aid another to contribute to the check. After 1 successful check per 1/50th the hours spent on research, the research is complete and the scholarly researcher gains one of the following benefits.
Beast Insight: The scholarly researcher can make Handle Animal skill checks as a swift action. If he has the Mounted Combat feat, the scholarly researcher can use that feat an additional time each round.
Crafting Lore: The scholarly researcher gains a bonus on all Craft checks equal to his class level, and the cost to craft items is reduced by 10%.
Human Insight: The scholarly researcher gains a +2 bonus on Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate checks, and can take 10 on Sense Motive checks.
Item Lore: The scholarly researcher gains a bonus equal to his class level on Spellcraft checks made to identify magic items. If his check is sufficient to identify the item, he also learns if the item is cursed, and, if the item is an artifact, how to destroy it.
Magical Insight: The scholarly researcher gains a +2 bonus on saving throws against spells and spell-like abilities.
Monster Lore: The scholarly researcher gains a +2 bonus to damage against a creature of a single type (in the case of humanoids and outsiders, he must also choose a single subtype). The scholarly researcher makes this choice when he gains this ability, and it may not later be changed.
Wilderness Lore: The scholarly researcher can take 10 on Knowledge (geography), Knowledge (nature), and Survival checks, and may move at full speed while using Survival to forage for food.
This ability replaces the bomb and mutagen class features.
Field of Study: Starting at 2nd level, a scholarly researcher must choose a single field of study to focus his research on. Whenever the scholarly researcher would gain a new discovery, he can instead choose to gain the next ability in his field of study (he gains them in order, from 1st to 5th). Scholarly researchers choose from the bombs, life, or poison paths of study, each of which is outlined below.
Bombs: This field of study focuses on the chemistry of creating new and ever more powerful explosives.
Bombs (Su, 1st): The scholarly researcher gains the bomb class feature of the alchemist.
High Explosives (Su, 2nd): The scholarly researcher’s bombs do more damage due to increased explosive potential. His bombs do an additional 1d6 points of fire damage. At 10th level, this additional damage increases to 2d6, and at 20th level the additional damage increases to 4d6.
Demolitions Master (Su, 3rd): The scholarly researcher’s bombs do double damage to objects.
Alter Energy (Su, 4th): When the scholarly researcher uses a bomb, he may choose to have it deal his choice of acid, cold, fire, electricity, or sonic damage.
Effortless Bombs (Su, 5th): The scholarly researcher can create and thrown any number of bombs each day.
Life: This field of study focuses on life, death, and resurrection.
Animation (Su, 1st): The scholarly researcher can return a character that has been dead no longer than 1 round to life, restoring it to 1 hit point. The process is imperfect, however, and after 1 round, the target suffers 4d6 points of damage, possibly killing it. The scholarly researcher may use this ability once per day.
Zombie (Su 2nd): The scholarly researcher can create a zombie from a deceased humanoid corpse. The process takes 1d4 rounds, during which time the scholarly researcher can perform no other activity. At the end of the process, the corpse is returned to life as a zombie. The scholarly researcher has no control over the newly created zombie and must use other means to control such a creature.
Revival (Sp, 3rd): Once per day, the scholar researcher can return a simple creature to life, as with the spell raise dead. The process takes 1 hour and requires access to an alchemical lab. The scholarly researcher can only restore life to a creature with 2 or less Intelligence in this way.
Create Undead (Sp 4th): The scholarly researcher can attempt to create undead creatures in a laboratory setting. The scholarly researcher must have access to an alchemical laboratory and a corpse which has been dead no more than 1 day per point of Intelligence modifier you possess in order to use this ability. The process requires 24 hours and the scholarly researcher must expend raw components equal to 100 gp per Hit Dice of the undead to be created. The effect otherwise functions like the spell create undead, using your class level for your caster level. At 20th level, this ability functions like create greater undead, instead.
Resurrection (Sp, 5th): The scholarly researcher can restore life to a complex creature. This process requires that the subject be dead no more than 1 day per point of Intelligence modifier you posses and access to an alchemical laboratory. Additionally, the scholarly researcher must expend 2,000 gp in raw components. The process takes 24 hours, but otherwise functions like the spell raise dead, except that the target gains 1d6-1 negative levels, instead of gaining 2 negative levels.
Poison: This field of study focuses on the use of poisons.
Enhanced Poison (Ex, 1st): The saving throw DC of any poison the scholarly researcher creates is increased by 1.
Virulent Poison (Ex, 2nd): The frequency of any poison the scholarly researcher creates is extended for 2 rounds. (For example, the frequency of black lotus extract would increase from 1/round for 6 rounds to 1/round for 8 rounds)
Potent Poison (Ex, 3rd): The saving throw DC of any poison the scholarly researcher creates is increased by an additional +1.
Deadly Poison (Ex, 4th): The number of successful saving throws required to cure a poison the scholarly researcher creates is increased by +1.
Perfected Poison (Ex, 5th): The base saving throw DC of any poison the scholarly researcher creates is equal to 10 + 1/2 his class level + his Intelligence modifier, or the poisons normal /saving throw DC whichever is higher.
This ability modifies the discovery class feature.
Research Paper (Ex): At 14th level, the scholarly researcher can create a single research paper on one of his projects, explaining his finding and sharing what he has learned with the world. He must choose one of the benefits he has gained from a completed research project and commit his finding to writing. Any character that reads his scholarly paper (a process that takes 8 hours) gains the chosen benefit for 1 week. The scholarly researcher can create numerous copies of his work if he chooses. A character can never benefit from reading more than one research paper at a time.
This ability replaces the persistent mutagen class feature.