Hi everyone, long time lurker here asking for some help looking over something that's quickly become a pet project of mine.

The Alkahest
This is the cumulation of a bunch of minor changes I made to the Artificer's Alchemist subclass to suit my own preferences. It is much closer to a modification than a new subclass, and I've tried to keep all of the features roughly equivalent. I'm open to any changes or additions, as long as it doesn't come across as too powerful.

Spoiler: Regarding the many Spoilers
I'm going to be using a fair number of spoiler tags throughout this post. Hopefully these will give insight to my choices, and possibly answer any questions or justify any descisions that I might have made.
Hopefully, these asides will allow people to read into or ignore as much as they want to keep it streamlined.

Spoiler: Name and Theme
Alkahestry as a name is taken from Full Metal Alchemist, where it exists as a variation of Alchemy that draws more on, and effects, life energy. Although simplified, that is the summary of the subclass I'm trying to embody: magic focused on restoring or damaging life force through it's careful understanding. Functionally, I want the subclass suited to single target combat, primarily direct damage, bolstered by healing abilities.

Level 3
Proficiency, Kits and Crafting as normal. Spell list has been almost entirely changed.

Spoiler: New Spell List

Spoiler: Goals and Theming
I wanted to accomplish a few things with this list:
  1. Life and Death: I want each spell level to have one healing spell, and one necrotic spell. The premise of the class is that they act as two sides to the same coin.
  2. Synergy: I want any specific or important subclass spells here. Theoretically, I want to be able to run this subclass with only these spells, and still feel like i have everything I need.
  3. Versatility: I don't want any overlap of Spells. I want each spell listed to be unique, even if only slightly. The last thing I want is for a spell to become invalidated by a newer one, or for an old up-casted spell to be just as good.
  4. Play Style: contrarian as it may seem, my two priorities for this subclass are healing, and single target damage. I want the spell list to reflect this at every level.

3.) Cure Wounds, Ray of Sickness
Spoiler: explanation
  • Cure Wounds is a staple, and while it's already on this list, I wanted it to be tied intrinsically to the subclass.
  • Ray of Sickness is thematically appropriate, if a bit weak and limited. I've added a bit to the lv 6 feature to address this.

5.) Prayer of Healing, Gentle Repose
Spoiler: explanation
  • Prayer of Healing is a powerful and previously unique spell that I'm stealing. It's clearly an out of combat spell, and at least it isn't Healing Spirit, so I don't think it's too much.
  • Let's be clear: Gentle Repose is a garbage spell, and a waste of a choice here. BUT it is fitting, and seeing as my level 6 feature will be buffing Ray of Sickness a bit, I feel it balances out.
  • I considered Blindness and Ray of Enfeeblement as other necromantic spells, but disliked that they were direct debuffs, and didn't match the class goals I have.

9.) Aura of Vitality, Vampiric Touch
Spoiler: explanation
  • Shamelessly stolen from the Battle Smith. Seeing how many functions our Bonus Action has, and seeing that this is the only BA healing this class will get, I don't feel that this is overpowered.
  • A fun spell, and one that is exactly what I envisioned when I made this subclass: Damaging foes to heal the self. As a spell it also has a decent length of use for 1 casting. Also one of our only melee spell attacks.
[*] I considered Life Transference here, or Mass Healing Word, but decided against them.

13.) Death Ward, Blight
Spoiler: explanation
  • Didn't feel the need to change this one bit form the base class. Grave and Death Clerics get this, the Alchemist does too, and they fits my goals to a T.
  • Unique spell function? Yep. Thematic cohesion? Yep. Perfect choices, good spells. No changes here.

17.) Raise Dead, Enervation
Spoiler: explanation
  • Raise dead seems like the perfect way to realize the full potential of this class. Not to mention it was already one of the Alchemist's, so there's no issue.
  • I was debating over this or Cloudkill, but Enervation fits the role and theme much better. It's also different enough from Vampiric Touch that I'm not worried about overlap.

The Homunculus has been removed, and instead replaced with the following abilities. Some are direct abilities from the homunculus, and some are meant to fill the gaps in it's absence.
Spoiler: Why?
Honestly? Personal preference. I couldn't see this subclass working with a pet, and didn't really want one as a player.
The abilities that follow also don't mesh well with the overall theming, but are internally consistent to themselves, and I like them alot.

The following may be performed as a bonus action:
  • Invigorate (3/LR): apply one of the following effects to yourself or an ally that you can touch;
    1. Buoyancy: 10ft flight speed for 10 minutes
    2. Resilience: 2d8+Int temp HP
    3. Inspiration: advantage on up to Int-mod ability checks of the user's choice over the next hour.
  • Grab: can move one unsecured/unequipped object weighing no more than 5*Prof lbs within 30ft. The grasp is simple, only able to move the object's location up to 30ft. a round, within a 30ft radius of the user.
  • Hurl: A light, unsecured object can be thrown at a target within 30ft. Make a ranged weapon attack with a modifier of Dex+Prof, and damage equal to 1d6+Prof bludgeoning damage.
  • Ward: Add 1/2*Prof to your AC or Saving Throw roll against the next ranged attack or single target effect that requires a dexterity saving throw.
  • Jolt: Target one medium or smaller creature within 10ft: they must make a Str saving throw against your spell DC, or suffer disadvantage on the next melee attack they make before the end of the round.
Spoiler: Explanation
Okay some big differences here. These are all designed to make up for the absence of our Homunculus:

Spoiler: Homunculus Features; the things we are replacing

Placing this here so we keep in mind what needs replacing.
  • 5xLvl + Int HP. Nearly equivalent to ours, so able to take a few hits.
  • 13 AC, tiny, Not able to provide cover, nor particularly hard to hit
  • Utility: simply controlling another character, however simple, allows for a lot of opportunities.
  • 30ft fly speed, 60ft darkvision: free senses and abilities that are now lost to us
  • Healing: can be healed 2d6(+Int) by a cantrip, and resurrected as an action by a 1st level spell. gives it some staying power.
  • Immunities: immune to acid/poison damage, and the poisoned, charmed, or exhausted conditions. Better than our 14th level subclass cap.
  • Actions: Auto-dodge, BA disengage, Dash, and HELP, which do not conflict with movement.
  • Salves: powerful, if limited effects, applicable by our wandering pet while we focus on the action.
  • Attacks: 1d6+Prof Acid damage as a BA at 30ft. Solid, reliable damage and a great use four our regular bonus action.
  • Scaling: Nearly all the functions of the Homunculus scale with out level, our Int, or our Proficiency.

    From all these features, and ignoring the countless creative uses of the Homunculus, this is the breakdown:
    1. Attack: Acid Spit is almost directly ported to Hurl, but is limited by our positioning and has a weaker damage type.
    2. Salves: An even cleaner 1:1 transition of abilities, in the form of Invigoration
    3. Utility: to make up for a general loss of an extra set of limbs, the Grab action should make up for it.
    4. Defences: This encompases the help action, the ease of healing, the extra HP, the immunities, and any other minor uses. Ward/Jolt are a weak trade-off, if anything.

Invigorate: Is it a spell? A potion? An injection? Who knows! Pretty simple. Take the salves from our pet, and give it to ourselves as an ability. Same costs, same limits, same effects. pretty confident about this one.
--My only qualm is range: should it be usable on an ally up to 30ft. away? The loss of a separate applier hits our range the hardest.
Grab: This strikes me as an even trade-off for something like mage-hand. Same movement, invisible, but clumsy and simple. Helps make up for any loss in general utility.
Hurl: This is designed as a replacement to the Acid Spittle attack. It's nearly identical, except for the weaker damage type and loss of acid damage. Probably deserves to be made magical later on. 6th level, maybe?
Ward: Here's where it get's creative. I wanted some defensive ability to make up for the loss of 15-105 easily recoverable health points and immunities from our pet.
Jolt:Designed to gimp attacks of opportunity, and possibly help allies. Unlikely to work against anything strong, and only imposes 1 disadvantage.
--The last two are designed to be basic defensive features that scale with our level, and provide reliable but specific functions.
--If you think any of the above are too strong, I'd ask you to review the Homunculus Features before taking that stance. Critique and criticism fully welcomed
Spoiler: What's the deal here?
This section is far more driven by my desired playstyle than the theme of this subclass. Gun to my head, the inspiration for these abilities actually comes from Skyrim. These abilities are how I wish I could play. Telekinesis is neat, but ineffective. Wards are cool, but vastly inefficient. The shield bash is a neat idea as a parry or interrupt, but way too overpowered to be fair. I do think that these abilities both grant the playstyle I'd like, and make up for the absence of our pet in a balanced way. I look forward to making changes based on your disagreements.

Level 6

The uses of Lesser Restoration are unchanged.
Adding Int to one healing spell roll is unchanged.
The similar offensive ability is changed to the following:

Spell Sickness:
  • Instead lieu poison or acid damage, Int may now be added to one necrotic spell damage roll.
  • Spells that deal Poison damage can now be made to deal Necrotic Damage instead
  • The immunity of creatures to the Poisoned condition may be ignored, as long as they neither resist nor are immune to necrotic damage

Spoiler: Changes
Effectively, I've replaced the acid damage type with the necrotic type for the purposes of this feature. Acid is a bit stronger than necrotic, and this change works to my theming, so I believe it to be balanced.
The second part is a new addition I've made to fix what I see as a flaw of the Base Alchemist: the unreliability of Poison damage and the Poisoned condition.
Spoiler: The Problem with Poison
It's no secret that everyone and their mother has resistance or immunity to poison damage. Just as many are immune to the poisoned condition. Even ignoring these, a great many enemies are proficient in Con saves anyway, which are always paired with these spells/effects. Changing to Necrotic allows poison to remain relevant, and allows our use of poisons to actually be of use. Any creatures that resist or are immune to necrotic damage already have a corresponding poision(ed) immunity, so this isn't accomplishing anything tricky by swapping damage types.

Functionally, this accomplishes the same thing as the original feature with one notable change: Ray of Sickness and it's kind are now usable, and our Alchemist can actually poison something.

Level 14:

The use of Greater Restoration is unchanged
Resistance is now granted against Poison and Necrotic Damage, instead of Acid.
Immunity to the Poisoned condition unchanged.
Spoiler: Changes
Honestly, pretty straightforward. The resistances are kept nearly identical, and the swapping of damage types is meant to be consistent with other changes made so far. honestly, this feels a bit lackluster; effective but boring.

Spoiler: Thank you for Reading!
I appreciate you taking the time to look this over, and would love to hear your thoughts. Whether it be or better, for worse, or just to chime in.

If there are any issues of balance or glaring flaws to be addressed, then I welcome you pointing them out. If you have a critique or a suggestion, I'd love to hear them. This is very much a rough idea, and I appreciate any feedback you'd like to give.