Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pathfinder Zaniness: The Monk's Alchemist Cohort

Pathfinder includes a silly ability called alchemical allocation that allows a character to get the effect of any potion without using it up.

Now, potions are somewhat limited. Only spells of first through third level with a casting time of 1 minute or less that directly affect one or more creatures can be made into potions.

However, potions are also extremely flexible.  They can be created at any caster level.  A group of adventurers probably cannot convince one of the world's few twentieth-level wizards to make them a potion.  But potions of a third-level spell, created at a caster level of fifteenth-level should be available (if politely commissioned at a large city) at the 1,125 gold piece price described in the rulebook.  That is indeed a lot of gold for a one time expense, but quite reasonable for a reusable and powerful effect.

Imagine a seventh-level Monk who uses the Leadership feat to acquire a fifth-level Alchemist cohort with decent Intelligence and the "Infusion" discovery.  This cohort could wait safely at camp, crafting wondrous items for use or sale, while the Monk adventures with the other party adventures.

The rules cap the profit of any crafter of magic items at 500 gold pieces per day.  That's a decent use of a cohort.  But this situation is even more profitable, because each morning the Alchemist gives the Monk three extracts of alchemical allocation.  The Monk owns three of those 1,125 gold piece super-potions, which he can use without using up.  So the Alchemist is worth an amazing 3,875 gold pieces per day!

Which three potions?  How about two to start with.  The spell greater magic fang would give all of the Monk's unarmed strikes +5 for an amazing fifteen hours, and stoneskin would give the Monk damage resistance of 10/adamantine for two-and-a-half hours.  The Monk could use the stoneskin twice for five hours of damage resistance each day.

This is one example of why the Leadership feat is entertainingly overpowered.  What seventh-level Monk would not want to spend a feat for 15 hours of huge offensive boost and five hours of huge defensive boost each day?

(The stoneskin potion is actually 1,375 gold pieces because of the diamond dust ingredient.  The Alchemist cohort is even more cost-effective!)

Not all Monks would want to use stoneskin twice, since often a party only adventures for a couple hours each day.  A sneaky Monk might want fifteen hours of nondetection as the third daily potion.  A warrior Monk might prefer enough coordinated effort for several fights.

Of course, the villains should also fairly benefit.  A seventh-level adventure could be more interesting if one of the druid villains has this kind of Alchemist cohort, and in combat used wildshape while benefitting from greater magic fang as above, as well as 13 rounds of both fire shield and thorn body.

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