2nd Edition AD&D Alchemist Rogue Class

Alchemist, Rogue Class

Ability Requirements: Dexterity 12, Constitution 9, Intelligence 15
Prime Requisite: Intelligence
Races Allowed: All

The alchemist is a craftsman whose primary goal is to study the nature of substances, learn the properties, and combine them to make useful tools / weapons. Some alchemists even delve into the study of trying to turn lead into gold - which is believed to be possible by creating a Philosopher's Stone. While other classes can learn Alchemy as a skill, the Alchemist takes the craft more seriously as their primary profession.

Any race can learn the intricacies of alchemy, and there is no limit / max level to what they can achieve. They are only limited by their Intelligence, and thus Intelligence is the prime requisites of all Alchemists. An Alchemist with a 16 Intelligence or more gains a 10 percent bonus to the experience points he/she earns.

All Alchemists gain one six-sided Hit Die per level for levels 1 to 10. After 10th level they gain 2 hit points per level and no longer receive additional hit point bonuses for high Constitution scores.

Alchemists use the Rogue Experience Level chart, the same as Thief and Bard.

Alchemists use Rogue Thac0 progression, the same as Thief and Bard.

Alchemists use the Rogue Saving Throw progression chart.

Thief Skills

Alchemists dabble in Opening Locks and Finding/Removing Traps. They start play with a base 10% chance in each of these two thief skills, and they gain an additional 5% to both skills every time they reach a new level. Racial, Dexterity and Armor modifiers also apply.

When finding and removing an Alchemical Trap the Alchemist gains a 5% bonus to their FRT roll. If trying to open a lock which uses some kind of alchemical substance as part of the locking mechanism, they also gain a 5% bonus to their roll.

Like Thieves, the Alchemist can also Backstab opponents using a well-placed attack or grenade-style weapon. When backstabbing with a grenade-style weapon the Alchemist still needs to take their opponent unawares, but since they lack Move Silently / Hide in Shadows this will rarely be used. Rather their efforts are often more successful due to trickery rather than stealth.

Furthermore, the Alchemist's Backstab bonus only applies to their primary target, and only if they score a successful hit. Normal rules for grenade style attacks apply. eg. If attacking with Holy Water or Acid, the target successfully hit takes double, triple, quadruple or quintuple damage based on the Alchemist's level. Creatures that take splash damage are not effected by the Backstab effect.


Weapon Proficiencies: 2
Non-Weapon Proficiencies: 6

Alchemists can learn any kind of weapon, but start play with only 2 Weapon Proficiencies and one of them must be "Grenade Style Weapon", which is useful for throwing Acid, Glue Bombs and similar alchemical concoctions at enemies.

Note - Alchemists are thus proficient at throwing Holy Water, even though they cannot make holy water. Only clerics or paladins can make Holy Water.

Alchemists are also fond of using other types of weapons to deliver their alchemical attacks. eg. Smoke Bomb Arrows.

The Alchemist starts with 6 NWP / Skill slots, but two of them are automatically used to gain the Alchemy Skill*. Learning to Read/Write is also recommended, but not mandatory. Various skills like Appraising, Brewing, Engineering, Herbalism, Pottery, and Set Snares are also useful.

eg. Pottery is very handy for creating containers just to store alchemical items within, and is suitably breakable when they need to be.

The Alchemist can choose NWP skills from the General, Priest and Rogue NWP lists.

Alchemists gain additional WP and NWP based on their level, at the same rate as other Rogue classes Thief and Bard.


The Alchemist starts play with an Alchemy Tool Kit, which contains everything they need to create acid, alchemist's fire and other items. If they ever lose this tool kit and supplies and need to replace it, a new kit costs 100 gp.

* Alchemy Skill *
Slots Required: 2
Relevant Ability: Intelligence
Base Check Modifier: 0

The Alchemist is accomplished and well versed in alchemical recipes to create a variety of alchemical substances. They are also adept at recognizing alchemical substances, alchemical traps, and recognizing alchemical formulae.

Like a wizard who is memorizing spells daily, the Alchemist will likewise be making new alchemical items daily. At 1st level they should be able to make 3 small jugs of acid (or similar item) every morning while the wizard is memorizing his/her spells. The number they can make each morning improves at levels 3, 5, 7, 9 and every 2 levels thereafter.

The Alchemist also pays a materials upkeep based upon what they are making. The upkeep is their level multipled by their level in gold pieces. eg. A level 4 Alchemist pays 16 gp per day for materials to make their items. If they run out of materials, they cannot make any more items that day.

** The DM should give the alchemist some leeway (but not complete leeway) seeing as alchemy is their primary weapon. They should not however let the PC go hogwild with their creations. Alchemy items should never replicate magical effects. It should also never replicate Herbalism and both the DM / PC should be vigilant about making sure they are never making any alchemical substances that replicate something that a Herbalist could do instead.

The Alchemist starts play at 1st level knowing a number of Alchemical Recipes based on their Intelligence, equal to the number of Bonus Languages. eg. An Alchemist with a 15 Intelligence knows 4 recipes. An Alchemist with a 18 Intelligence knows 7 recipes.

Each time an Alchemist gains a level they learn 1 new recipe. They can also learn extra recipes by trading recipes with other alchemists, and by finding new recipes in books/scrolls/tablets/libraries/etc. If they are willing to spend gold, they can also research a new recipe in a similar manner that a wizard researches a new spell.

Not all alchemical recipes are available to a low level Alchemist. The DM should adjudicate which recipes are available to the Alchemist based on their level. Some of the items below are listed in the DMG as magical items, but for our purposes these items are actually non-magical. A few items are creations of my own.

So for example a 1st level Alchemist might start play with 4 recipes: Acid, Alchemist Fire, Smoke Bomb and Sleep Smoke.

Alchemist Recipes

  • Acid
  • Alchemist Fire
  • Drowsy Dust (causes exhaustion)
  • Dust of Sneezing / Choking
  • Explosives (something similar to dynamite perhaps, but the DM should adjudicate just how explosive this substance is)
  • Freezing Bellows (compressed CO2)
  • Glue Bomb
  • Laughing Gas
  • Mercurial Weapon (+1 weapon damage - Requires the Alchemist to partner with someone with the Weaponsmithing skill.)
  • Oil of Acid Resistance
  • Oil of Fiery Burning
  • Oil of Fire Resistance
  • Oil of Slipperiness
  • Philosopher's Stone * (The DM should allow this to 18th level Alchemists only)
  • Poison Liquid / Gas / Powder
  • Sleep Smoke (1 target must save vs poison or fall asleep)
  • Smoke Bomb (oil + sugar)
  • Smoke Powder** (Arquebus item - The DM may not allow this recipe.)
  • Soap of Massive Bubbles
  • Sovereign Glue
  • Universal Solvent

Character Class Creation Notes
(See the 2nd Edition Dungeon Master Guide)

1.0 Race, Any.
-1 Rogue Thac0.
0 Rogue Saving Throws.
0.75 Hit Dice 1d6.
-0.5 AC 5 Limited (Chainmail or worse).
0 All weapon types allowed.
1 Hit Points beyond level 9 = 2 per level.
1.5 Skill / NWP Proficiencies x6.
0.5 Weapon Proficiencies x2.
1 Backstab
1 OL

Total 6.25

6.25 = Rogue XP Progression Chart.

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