So it’s been close to two years since I’ve even looked at Gorman di Wulfe and it reminded me of the concept of loading up an arrow (bolt, throwable, etc) with a comical amount of damage and dropping it on enemies (think of this as a vital strike build without all the disappointment and sadness). Ideally suited to a low magic campaign that ends at around level 7 or so.
The Basic Concept
Gorman squishes a couple of different things from a couple of different books together to produce a damage line on a weapon that looks like: +to hit(1d10+1+2d6+2d6+4 + delayed 1d6 + 1d6). Breaking this massive line into it’s components, we’ve got:
Heavy Crossbow Bolt: 1d10+1
Alchemist’s Fire x Acid Flask: 2d6
Alchemist’s Bomb: 2d6+4
Alchemist’s Fire:1d6 (yo, yer on fire!)
Bomb bolt: 1d6 (cause more explosives!)
There’s been quite a bit of debate back and forth on the topic of how exactly Grenadiers functions, and honestly I don’t really care what the internet has decided (the residents of the Paizo forums tend to have massive, knee-jerking hate boners for anything that’s: New, Fun, Different). Anyways, onto the build itself. This is a straight alchemist build with the Grenadier archetype. It leverages the interaction between the “Alchemical Weapon”, Explosive Missile and Hybridization Funnel. It also functions pretty much identically to a normal alchemist additionally, so there’s that.
The basic idea is that you shove two alchemical splash weapons into each other, then shove that combo into a piece of ammunition, then shove a bomb into that ammo, load it and fire it. By doing a lot of digging, I’ve found a number of small additions that help to make this build really rather silly for a couple of rounds.
Step 1: Hybridization Funnel
This 200gp item allows you with a DC25 (or 30 if you’re using holy water) Craft(Alchemy) check to splice two alchemical splash weapons into one (for some reason Half Elves get a +5 bonus to this check and that’s why Gorum Redux is a half elf instead of his original tiefling self). Alchemists can get their Craft(Alchemy) super high super quickly, and the fact that you make the items that you then squish together really can help to cut down on costs.
Step 2: Alchemical Weapon
A level 2 feature of the Grenadier archetype, you can take a move action and shove any alchemical weapon (including splash weapons) into a weapon or piece of ammunition, cause those alchemical weapons to effect the target upon impact (there’s a massive list of alchemical weapons, ghoul powder, sneezing powder, etc). We generally will smoosh acid and alchemist’s fire together (but its a situational thing, you can adapt to different enemies by smooshing different things together, a.fire + holywater for undead, etc). One of the big arguments is whether an alchemical splash weapon is a alchemical splash weapon when you imbue it. What people fail to read (including myself for quite a while) is the following line from the text: This action consumes the alchemical item, but transfers its effect to the weapon in question. When you use this power, you aren’t simply sticking the vials on the arrows, but smooshing the power of the items into the ammo (thus you have an Arrow of Alchemist’s Fire x Acid, which isn’t a splash weapon). So no Int bonus to damage from throw anything (sorry 😦 )
The level 4 discovery, Explosive Missile, allows you to shove a bomb into a piece of ammunition, load that ammo into a weapon and fire it. All as a standard action (if you recall, its a move action to shove alchemical weapons into ammo). This ability means that we pick up the biggest, baddest ranged weapon we can find (since we reload it for free…basically). At the moment I’m sticking to a heavy crossbow, but it depends on what you have access to.
Extra: There are a giant number of special ammunitions. Mostly just useless do to cost or low DCs, one of the less useless ones is the Slow Burn Arrow. (Now I know there’s a clamoring, BOLTS AREN’T ARROWS, but there’s a line If it comes as an arrow, there’s a bolt-type version for the same price). So we add 1d6 extra damage for a -1 to hit (that’s a better ratio then Power Attack!)
So that’s the entire build. I’m still playing with the best format for character sheets on wordpress, you can scroll down if you want to see the mess that is Gorman Redux’s character sheet (I haven’t done HTML in years).
Gorman di Redux – Alchemist Extraordinaire (Half Elf Grenadier 4)
|Stats||Score||Bonus||Armor Class| Init:+4| Perc:+7| HP:31|
1: Point Blank Shot
3: Precise Shot
BF: Precise Bombs
BF: Skill Focus(Craft(Alchemy))
2: Explosive Bombs
4: Explosive Missile
Craft(Alchemy): +18 (4 from Int, 4 from ranks, 3 from class skill bonus, 2 from alchemy, 2 from trait, 3 from skill focus). When crafting items it is effectively +20 (+2 from tools).
Highlander: +1 Stealth, it’s a class skill (this increases to a +2 in hilly/rocky areas)
Alchemical Adept: +2 Craft(Alchemy). You don’t loose ingredients by failing a craft check by 5 or more (you still fail on a natural 1).
Equipment: +1 Heavy Crossbow, +1 Chain Shirt, Preservation Flasks, Hybridization Funnel, Masterwork Artisan Tools (Alchemy), Portable Alchemist’s Lab.
This is pretty much everything that’s needed to run a character along these lines. *thumbs up*