Old Experimentalist
The Shapeshifter's Handbook
Forbidden Alchemy: At 1st level, an experimentalist may prepare vials of an alchemical brew that temporarily enhances his mystic and physical potency. An experimentalist may spend an hour to prepare a number of alchemical boosts equal to his casting ability modifier. If additional alchemical boosts are brewed the previous ones become inert. A vial of alchemical boost may be drawn and consumed as a standard action. Once consumed, for the next minute, she increases her caster level by 2 for any sphere effect cast. This applies to variables dependent on a particular casting of an effect (damage, duration, number of targets, etc.), but it does not apply to the caster’s total caster level with that sphere (i.e., it does not determine the strength of a companion from the Conjuration sphere, nor to the total number of HD of reanimated creatures that may be controlled through the Death sphere). This bonus increases by +1 at 5th level, and by an additional +1 for every 4 levels thereafter to a maximum of +6 at 17th level. Archetypes, favored class bonuses, and other abilities that alter the backlash risk and bonus from forbidden lore may be applied to forbidden alchemy instead.

Each time a sphere effect is used while under the effects of an alchemical boost, the experimentalist has a 10% chance of being nauseated for 1 round and sickened for 1d6 rounds. Once the duration of the alchemical boost expires, the experimentalist is sickened for 1 minute. An experimentalist that is immune to these conditions cannot benefit from alchemical boost.

Additionally, while under the effects of the alchemical boost, as experimentalist gains the benefit of one Alteration sphere trait that he has knowledge of for the duration of the alchemical boost. Additional traits are granted a level 5 and every 5 levels thereafter. This is a polymorph effect, but may be retained when under the effects of shapeshift, reducing the number of granted traits by one for each retained trait.

The experimentalist may only benefit from one alchemical boost at a time. Additional uses replace the granted alteration sphere trait. Previous alchemical boosts retain their normal duration and the experimentalist is still sickened as normal when it expires.

This replaces forbidden lore.

Consumption: At 2nd level, an experimentalist may preserve portions of dead creatures for later consumption, gaining the ability to take the creature’s shape.

Harvesting a sample, usually a portion of the heart or of some notable feature of the creature (chimera’s tail, hydra’s head, etc.), requires 1 minute of work and the remains of a creature that has been dead or destroyed for less than 1 hour. Upon completion, she chooses one Alteration sphere talent appropriate to either taking the creature’s shape or mimicking its abilities. These samples can be preserved indefinitely, but an experimentalist may only maintain three samples at one time; if additional samples are taken, she chooses which samples expire. More than one sample may be taken from a creature, but each one taken from the same creature must be associated with a different talent.

When preparing his alchemical boosts, an experimentalist may expend a preserved sample to add its effects to the alchemical boosts. Each sample can enhance each alchemical boost prepared and more than one sample may be added to each alchemical boost. While under the effects of the boost, she gains knowledge of chosen Alteration sphere talent and may disguise herself as the specific creature the sample was taken from as if using the Perfect Imitation talent provided she is capable of taking a suitable form.

An experimentalist may benefit from samples taken by other experimentalists after identifying them with a Knowledge check of the kind appropriate to the base creature with a difficulty equal to that required to identify the original creature +5, though doing so counts against her total number of samples maintained. A slain experimentalist’s sample’s expire 1d4 days after her death.

At 6th, 10th, 14th, and 18th level, the number of samples that an experimentalist may maintain at one time increases by one.

This replaces occult knowledge.

Morphic Adept: At 1st level, an experimentalist gains the Alteration sphere as a bonus magic talent with either the Lycanthropic or Fleshwarper drawback, which can be bought off as normal, but does not gain an additional talent from the drawback. If she already possesses the Alteration sphere, then neither talent nor drawback is gained.

Discoveries: At 3rd, 7th, 11th, 15th, and 19th level, an experimentalist gains an alchemist discovery, using her thaumaturge level in place of alchemist level for meeting prerequisites and casting ability modifier in place of Intelligence for determining their effects. Her thaumaturge level stacks with her alchemist level for the purpose of determining effective alchemist level for qualifying for discoveries.

This replaces invocations.

Flexible Research: An experimentalist may choose to further her alchemical studies or apply her knowledge of physiology to deadly effect in place of increasing her arcane knowledge. An experimentalist may choose to gain an additional alchemist discoveries or to gain 1d6 sneak attack as the rogue class feature (or unchained rogue, as appropriate to the campaign) in place of her normal bonus feats. Each time a bonus feat is gained an additional discovery may be chosen or her sneak attack can be increased by 1d6.

This modifies bonus feats.

Isn't this evil?

Harvesting pieces of intelligent creatures and consuming them to gain their power may mesh poorly with some alignments and character concepts. Experimentalists that object to eating other creatures can instead collect an ethereal essence, morphic energy, or some other less bloody form of sample with no mechanical impact on their class features.

Purchasing Samples

While most experimentalists prefer to collect samples on their own, suitably preserved portions of creatures may be available in large settlements. Portions of common creatures (wolves in a temperate forest, scorpions in a desert, etc.) preserved by unguent of timelessness, the gentle repose spell, or similar methods from which a sample can be prepared can be obtained for as little as 1 GP per HD of the creature, though more exotic creatures (hippogrpyhs, aboleths) can cost up to 10 GP per HD. It is up to the GM to decide if a given settlement is large enough to support an alchemical trade sufficient to supply these portions, but generally settlements smaller than a large town or small city will be insufficient unless a notable alchemist is in residence. Even then, outside a large city or metropolis, many exotic samples may simply be unavailable. Obviously, samples from creatures that don't exist in your game world will be unobtainable at any price or location.

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