So very rarely do I look at a subclass and think, “huh, I hate this so much I want to write about it.” Today however, with the release of Eberron: Rising From the Last War, I felt that, and I felt it more than I ever have before. While the base Artificer class is very interesting and still needs to carve its niche in a general adventuring party, I took a particular interest in the Alchemist. I enjoy the idea of alchemy, from shows like Fullmetal Alchemist to spending hours frolicking through giant camps and harvesting their toes for potions in Skyrim, I think the age old study of alchemy is incredibly interesting. So what makes me HATE this subclass and everything it stands for? Lets find out!
Now I’m an opinionated goblin, so I’m not smart enough to go through all of the things the class has to offer. I only focus on hate. So when I read through the 3rd level ability Experimental Elixir, I felt myself surpass Hexblade dips and propel towards the zenith of hatred in Dungeons and Dragons. Thematically, it’s very neat. You produce an Experimental Elixir in an empty flask you touch after taking a long rest, assumedly spent working on this elixir. So why in the NINE HELLS is the effect it produces random?? If I’m spending HOURS working on an elixir, I’m 101% positive I know what I’m working on, so it makes absolutely ZERO sense that it would be a completely random effect (random in the sense that you roll on a table and the elixir gains that effect). But to further spit into my ugly goblin face, you can create additional elixirs by expending a spell slot of 1st level or higher and touching an empty flask. This SPONTANEOUS and INSTANT action allows you to…. CHOOSE FROM THE TABLE.
Now I’m not an alchemist, by any stretch of the imagination. I can’t even cook. But one thing I know is that generally, the more time I spend on something, the more effort I put into it… the more precise it will be, especially if it is a byproduct of something I am proficient in. I also know that if I’m scrapping something together at the last second, especially considering it contains the volatility of magic, it’ll probably be random, uneasy, and more often than not explosive. If anything, I think that these two should be switched. Mechanically I can see Wizard’s argument. Something you get for free, no problem making it random. But once you start spending resources, it’s unfortunate when you get something random that you may not be looking for. But it just… it seems inherently flawed with the ideals of the class. We could get into the details and semantics of randomness and how classes and abilities combat it but… I’m just a dumb goblin and this is my opinion.
Aside from this discrepancy, the rest of the alchemist class is just… boring. You add your intelligence modifier to heals (making your cure wounds heal for 2x your intelligence modifier, nice) or the damage you deal with acid, fire, necrotic (???), or poison damage, your elixirs get a buff (Still can’t choose em after a long rest) and you can cast lesser restoration for free a set amount of times a day, and you eventually get resistance to acid/poison damage, immunity to the poison condition, and can cast greater restoration and heal for free once per long rest. Not to say that it’s BAD, it’s just a bit more boring when I expected the artificer to be a fun class that mixes elixir making with homunculi. Anyway, that’s all this opinionated goblin has to say about the subject, I hope you enjoyed reading through the article and if you disagree or have something to say, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below so I can argue with you about it. Thanks for reading!