This four page PDF (actually 6, 2 of which are OGL license and declarations) details the Alchemist Subclass. A subclass is, as its name implies, a character class that doesn?t provide the abilities of a full class. Rather, they provide a specific set of abilities that in themselves don?t qualify as a full class, and aren?t specific enough to count as a Prestige Class. Think of them as specific character shticks a character can develop.
You obtain a Subclass by leveling; however, those levels don?t add to the character?s level or add a Hit Die. Instead, they are paid for via an experience penalty similar to Multi-classing. This product introduces the idea of favored sub-classes. A character taking a favored subclass only suffers an experience point penalty of 10%, instead of the normal 20%. Gnomes are listed as having the Alchemist subclass as a favored sub-class. Subclass levels appear to be counted as 1/4th of a normal character class level. A character?s Subclass level can never exceed his normal class levels. Because the experience point penalties for sub-classing and Multi-Classing stack, for a whopping 40%, it is not recommended a character both take on a sub-class and multi-class. Additionally, a character can only choose one sub-class; there is no ?multi sub-classing?.
The Alchemist subclass, as its name suggest, is focused on the creation of potions. The subclass has access to an enhanced version of the Brew Potion feat as a class feature. This enhanced version allows access to all of the spells from all spell lists when determining when making potions. He is still limited to the normal strictures regarding what type of spells may be made into potions, as for the normal version of the Brew Potion feat. In addition, starting a 5th level, and for every 3rd level after that, he gains the ability to create potions based on higher level spells, starting with 4th lvel spells at 5th level in the subclass, and 9th level spells at 20th level.
In addition, at 6th level he gains a Modify Metals feat, which allows him to transform an item into a masterwork item if that feature is available to it, as well as being able to add +1 damage bonus to slashing and piercing weapons. This ability does not work on magic weapons. Finally, at 20th level, he gains the legendary Transmute Metal feat, allowing him to transmute five times the gold piece value of lead or iron into gold, at the cost of materials equal to half the value of the gold created.
The PDF also includes a new magic item, the Ciphered Molcajete, which offers a +5 bonus to craft (alchemy) checks when making potions using it. There is also a brief blurb on alchemy in the real world, and details on alchemists in the Hill Lands setting.
The PDF is nicely laid out in a two-column format with an ornate decorative border and a wax-seal like decoration for the page number. It features one piece of artwork, a water-color style picture of an alchemist at work in medieval craftsman?s garb, it is of good quality.
Overall, this class seems to be of limited general appeal, as the abilities it grants don?t seem to be worth the extra cost, compared to simply taking the regular Brew Potion feat. I see it being of general interest only to players playing Gnomes, for whom it is a favored class, and thus only costs a 10% experience penalty. Thus I only recommend it to GM?s interested in making Alchemist NPCs or players playing Gnomes.
<b>LIKED</b>: Modify Metals, Transmute Metals Feat. <br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Limited value of subclass compared to already available Brew Potion feat. <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>