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Chapter 11: Crafting & Treasure

Alchemical Items

Source Core Rulebook pg. 543 4.0
Alchemical items are not magical. They instead use the properties of volatile chemicals, exotic minerals, potent plants, and other substances, collectively referred to as alchemical reagents. As such, alchemical items don’t radiate magical auras, and they can’t be dismissed or affected by dispel magic. Their effects last for a set amount of time or until they are countered in some way, typically physically.

Sometimes the reactions of alchemical reagents create effects that seem magical, and at other times they straddle the line between purely reactive and the inexplicable. Alchemists can infuse reagents with some of their own essence, allowing them to efficiently create short-lived alchemical items at no monetary cost. Even in these cases, alchemical items don’t radiate magic auras, instead using the alchemist’s infused essence as one additional catalyst for the item’s alchemical effects.

Rules for creating alchemical items are found in the Craft activity on page 244, and you must have the Alchemical Crafting skill feat to use Crafting to create alchemical items. Critically failing a Crafting check to make alchemical items often causes a dangerous effect, such as an explosion for a bomb or accidental exposure for a poison, in addition to losing some of the materials. Some alchemical items have additional requirements beyond those stated in the Craft activity; these items list their requirements in a Craft Requirements entry.

All alchemical items have the alchemical trait. Most also have the consumable trait, which means that the item is used up once activated. The bomb, elixir, and poison traits indicate special categories of alchemical items, each of which is described on the following pages. Alchemical items without any of these traits are called alchemical tools, and are described further on page 554.

This section contains the following subcategories. Special rules appear at the start of the relevant section.

Alchemical Bombs

Source Core Rulebook pg. 544 4.0
An alchemical bomb combines volatile alchemical components that explode when the bomb hits a creature or object. Most alchemical bombs deal damage, though some produce other effects. Bombs have the bomb trait.

Bombs are martial thrown weapons with a range increment of 20 feet. When you throw a bomb, you make a weapon attack roll against the target’s AC, as you would for any other weapon. It takes one hand to draw, prepare, and throw a bomb. Due to the complexity involved in preparing bombs, Strikes to throw alchemical bombs gain the manipulate trait. The bomb is activated when thrown as a Strike—you don’t have to activate it separately.

Splash Trait

Source Core Rulebook pg. 544 4.0
Most bombs also have the splash trait. When you use a thrown weapon with the splash trait, you don't add your Strength modifier to the damage roll. If an attack with a splash weapon fails, succeeds, or critically succeeds, all creatures within 5 feet of the target (including the target) take the listed splash damage. On a critical failure, the bomb misses entirely, dealing no damage. Add splash damage together with the initial damage against the target before applying the target's resistance or weakness. You don't multiply splash damage on a critical hit.

For example, if you throw a lesser acid flask and hit your target, that creature takes 1 acid damage, 1d6 persistent acid damage, and 1 acid splash damage. All other creatures within 5 feet of it take 1 acid splash damage. On a critical hit, the target takes 2 acid damage and 2d6 persistent acid damage, but the splash damage is still 1. If you miss, the target and all creatures within 5 feet take only 1 splash damage. If you critically fail, no one takes any damage.

Alchemical Elixirs

Source Core Rulebook pg. 546 4.0
Elixirs are alchemical liquids that are used by drinking them. They have the elixir trait. These potent concoctions grant the drinker some alchemical benefits. While all elixirs follow the same general rules, mutagens (described below) have additional rules that apply to their use.

Activating Elixirs

Source Core Rulebook pg. 546 4.0
You usually Interact to activate an elixir as you drink it or feed it to another creature. You can feed an elixir only to a creature within reach that is either willing or unable to prevent you from doing so. You usually need only one hand to consume an elixir or feed it to another creature.


Source Core Rulebook pg. 546 4.0
These elixirs, indicated by the mutagen trait, temporarily transmogrify the subject's body and alter its mind. Typically, only alchemists have the expertise to craft mutagens, and some say they are the only ones reckless enough to use them. A mutagen always conveys one or more beneficial effects (listed in the Benefit entry) and one or more detrimental effects (shown in the Drawback entry). Mutagens are polymorph effects, and a subsequent polymorph effect attempts to counteract an existing effect; the counteract check for a mutagen uses the item's level and a modifier equal to that level's DC – 10, as found on Table 10–5: DCs by Level.

Table 10-5: DCs by Level

Spell Level*DC
*If the spell is uncommon or rare, its
difficulty should be adjusted accordingly

Alchemical Poisons

Source Core Rulebook pg. 550 4.0
Alchemical poisons are potent toxins distilled or extracted from natural sources and made either stronger or easier to administer. Each poison’s stat block includes the Price and features for a single dose. Poison doses are typically kept in a vial or some other type of safe and secure container.

Applying alchemical poisons uses Interact actions. A poison typically requires one hand to pour into food or scatter in the air. Applying a poison to a weapon or another item requires two hands, with one hand holding the weapon or item. The Usage entry for a poison indicates the number of hands needed for a typical means of application, but the GM might determine that using poisons in other ways functions differently.

The full rules for how poisons and other afflictions work begin on page 457. A creature attempts the listed saving throw as soon as it’s exposed to the poison; on a failed save, the creature advances to stage 1 of the poison after any listed onset time elapses.

Some poisons have the virulent trait. This means the poison is harder to remove once it has taken effect; see Virulent Afflictions on page 458.

Method of Exposure

Source Core Rulebook pg. 550 4.0
Each alchemical poison has one of the following traits, which define how a creature can be exposed to that poison.

Contact: A contact poison is activated by applying it to an item or directly onto a living creature’s skin. The first creature to touch the affected item must attempt a saving throw against the poison; if the poison is applied directly, the creature must attempt a saving throw immediately when the poison touches its skin. Contact poisons are infeasible to apply to a creature via a weapon attack due to the logistics of delivering them without poisoning yourself. Typically, the onset time of a contact poison is 1 minute.

Ingested: An ingested poison is activated by applying it to food or drink to be consumed by a living creature, or by placing it directly into a living creature’s mouth. A creature attempts a saving throw against such a poison when it consumes the poison or the food or drink treated with the poison. The onset time of ingested poisons typically ranges anywhere from 1 minute to 1 day.

Inhaled: An inhaled poison is activated by unleashing it from its container. Once unleashed, the poison creates a cloud filling a 10-foot cube lasting for 1 minute or until a strong wind dissipates the cloud. Every creature entering this cloud is exposed to the poison and must attempt a saving throw against it; a creature aware of the poison before entering the cloud can use a single action to hold its breath and gain a +2 circumstance bonus to the saving throw for 1 round.

Injury: An injury poison is activated by applying it to a weapon or ammunition, and it affects the target of the first Strike made using the poisoned item. If that Strike is a success and deals piercing or slashing damage, the target must attempt a saving throw against the poison. On a failed Strike, the target is unaffected, but the poison remains on the weapon and you can try again. On a critical failure, or if the Strike fails to deal slashing or piercing damage for some other reason, the poison is spent but the target is unaffected.

Alchemical Tools

Source Core Rulebook pg. 554 4.0
Alchemical tools are consumable items you don’t drink.