ToME: the Tales of Maj'Eyal

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 6:18 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 4:39 pm
Posts: 318
Why play an alchemist?
There are several reasons why I would recommend this class, especially to newer players. They play fast, can deal very easily with large crowds and it's fun to tinker around with the golem. And they get filthy rich! My last alchemist was able to buy 5 of those 4k special randarts.
It's also the easiest way to unluck uttercold and wildfire, two highly desirable unlocks for mages.

For your first win, Alchemist is one of the easiest, fun and profitable classes. On normal difficulty they totally rock.

What is the most important thing I need to know?
You can access the skills and inventory of your golem. You can level him up, give him items, teach him skills. Click your golem avatar on the top of the screen.
Your golem can even use runes! You absolutely must use the Rune of the Rift on him, it's awesome.

Also, use auto-rest and auto-explore! Press "r" and "z". Learning this was a major step forward for me at least. :wink:

What are the strong and the weaker points of the class?
- Bombs are excellent crowd control! Huge range, big damage, hit instantly.
- The golem is a great meatshield
- Easy to learn
- Make big big money
- Unlock Wildfire / Uttercold with ease

- The early game (before bomb skills are developed) is not as strong
- Monsters that resist your element of choice
- Monsters with Bone Shields
- Except for the golem they don't have many defenses (glass cannon).

How do I deal with the weaknesses?
Early game: teach your golem Eye Beams and pump his magic. Then he can pull you through the early game on his own and kill the monsters for you, until you learn how to bomb properly.
If that fails, play a Skeleton. The Bone Shield is good even without pumping dex, especially early on.
Resistances: Turn off your elemental infusion temporarily. It is annoying and your damage will suffer, but at least you can kill them then. Another thing that helps is to hand your golem all the non-aligning damage runes that you can find.
A different (and somewhat better) way to deal with resistances is the artifact ring Elemental Fury, if you have found it. Equip it when you meet resistant monsters, take it off when they're dead.
Bone shields: Wear them down before throwing bombs. This is when your golem really shines, he can be a great help in breaking down bone shields. And the Elemental Fury ring can help you deal with this problem, as well.
Being a Glass Cannon: Hide behind your golem and kill things before they can hurt you. If that fails, teleport away! You can always revive your golem and come back later.

What race do I pick?
I will list them from best to worst. Of course the order isn't absolute. Some races have special advantages that may or may not appeal to you.

1. Shalore
The main reason I like them best is that they can reset the cooldown of their Bombs with timeless. That means that (late game) as long as the battle goes according to plan, you start off with two bombs straight away. Which is often enough to kill everything in sight.
With the extra speed from the first talent, you can even hit a monster with two bombs before it gets to act. Timeless also has good synergy with shields and my favourite Alchemist prodigy, Temporal Form.
Their bonuses to crit rate and especially crit multiplier are nice, too.

2. Skeleton
Early game you won't have any great shields yet and you may find it hard to deal with burst damage. Skeletons have an impressive natural shield that covers this. Even without building dex, it's really good. And since stats aren't really critical beyond Magic, you actually might even pump dex a bit.
Not as strong offensively as Shalore, but more robust.

3. Halfling
Halflings are great at scoring critical hits, which is the best way to increase the damage of your bombs further. They might also like to try Eye of the Tiger, which is an interesting strategy. (Eye of the tiger is no good for Shalore, because their racial abilities count as spells too.)

4. Ogre
Ogres can wield a normal staff in their main hand and a dagger or shield in their offhand.
This is especially good if you went for Acid Alchemy and found the dagger Life Drinker.
However, this is a bit of a gimmick build and perhaps best left to players with access to a vault.
Then again, even without using such gimmicks, Ogres do make decent alchemists, as Ogric Wrath works well with bombs and the bonuses to infusions, plus the extra infusion, are really good.

5. Thalore
Alchemists can use gems to raise their Resist All and a Thalore can stack it pretty high. The trees give you additional bodies to hide behind. A temporary damage boost (wrath of the woods) is good too.

Other races aren't especially good for Alchemy, in my opinion. Dwarfs will have no trouble funding Power is Money, but armor is useless and their fourth racial is made redundant by Gem Portal. Stay away from Yeek, too; super low hitpoints aren't going to help.

Magic is the most important stat, this is where your points go.
What's left can be divided between constitution, for a few more HP and Thick Skin, and cunning for a few extra crit%.
If you found a nice light (or even heavy) armor with a strength requirement, don't hesitate to put a few points there. You're not an archmage, you aren't ever mana starved and fatigue is not an issue.

Class Talents: general importance and order.
First off: choose an element and stick to it. All the elements can be about equally good, depending on your luck with item drops.
At the start, put all your class points into the first three talents of the Bomb tree and a couple into the elemental infusion type of your choice.
If you're going for Lightning, you will have to wait and unlock it at level 10. Otherwise you're best off buying an extra infusion at level 10.

The first three talents of the bomb tree, together with the infusion, define your main attack and have extremely high priority. Once you have 5/5/5/0 in the Bomb tree, start boosting your golem and other elemental talents.

For a complete and detailed discussion of every class talent, see the list at the bottom of the guide.

You can buy the generic combat tree in Last Hope, for thick skin and armor usage. Do this as soon as possible! It only costs 50 gold.
Thick Skin is of course a priority, as is the first point in Armor for more equipment options. Do not worry about fatigue. Your abilities are so cheap that you can actually wear heavy armor if you feel like it.
Gem extraction also must be upgraded early. Actually using the gems for imbueing items, not so much, you will probably want to put that off until the late game, when you can use really good gems.
Note that you can ask the Shertul shadow in the fortress to attune your transmogrification chest to auto-transmute any items into gems before transmuting them into money. It's even better actually: if transmuting the item directly would yield more profit, it is transmuted directly instead. So spend your first bit of fortress energy on that, it's a big time saver.
Gem portal is a one point wonder and nice escape option, learn it soon.

Staff combat is your main damage option during Bomb cooldown. Even so, raising the first two skills in that tree is not a huge priority. Even at 5/5/0/0 it's not that much damage compared to your bombs. The third and fourth skill in the staff tree are so bad that I forgot what they do, never put points in them.

If you are lucky enough to encounter an anorithil (and manage to save him), learn the light tree and unlock it later. You will end up with an abundance of generic points, and the light tree is one of the best thing you can spend them on. Providence is especially good here, the best way to get rid of negative statuses.
However, unlocking the Chants tree (from a Sun Paladin escort) might be equally good. I love chant of resistance, it grants you over 20% all resistance. If you add in some more All Resistance from gems and a wild infusion, it will make you really hard to kill.

Class points: Golem
5/5 his eye beams before anything else. They alone are good enough to steamroll the early game.
The rest is gravy. Reflective skin does something, I guess.
A fun extra is to teach him Vitality, from warrior escorts. :D

Dump the mana surge, you do not need it.
I recommend starting out with a shield rune, a teleportation rune and a physical wild inscription. If you can find a physical / mental double wild, that's even better.
Once you get additional options, add heroism / healing / movement to taste. Optionally replace teleportation, once you found a torc of psychoportation.

Your golem should have at least one Damage Shield rune, maybe two. Also give him the Rune of the Rift. It is hilarious when an enemy is rifted away by your golem, as well as very effective, since it gives you time to reset your Bomb timer.
The rest can be filled with the most damaging Lightning / Fire runes that you can find. Watch out for friendly fire from acid and cold runes.

In my opinion the best Alchemist prodigy is Temporal Form. Why? Because monsters that resist your damage type are the worst threat, and Temporal Form solves that problem very effectively.
Very few monsters have resistance to Temporal. You will never have to worry about resistances again.
It also raises your damage downright by a fair amount, and gives you a few highly desirable status immunities while at it. It is all around great, and I recommend picking it as soon as you hit level 30.
For the second prodigy there are several interesting options. Crafty Hands would be the traditional choice. You will need to hoard dex boosting items if you want that, to avoid putting actual stat points into dex. (Also remember that heroism works too.)
But you can't deny the defensive power of Cauterize (or Corrupted Shell, if you're into that). It's a little boring by comparison, but if it keeps you alive..
In case you do not mind micromanagement, Swift Hands is another strong option. It lets you instantly and completely readjust your entire equipment set to adjust to any situation, which is especially good if you found a few items with strong abilities (torc of psychoportation, void shard and so on).
If you didn't save any anorithil or sun paladin, don't be ashamed to get the light tree from Worldly Knowledge.
There are some other interesting options, although they are not as effective in my opinion, but gimmick that you might enjoy trying.
Meteoric Crash will give you some extra damage. It's too random and weak to rely on, but hey the visual effect is cool.
If you play a halfling, Eye of the Tiger will effectively nearly lower your bomb cooldown by one turn. Other races will struggle more to reach 100% crit rate, and Shalore / Ogre racials count as spells so they interfere with it. Unfortunately, Temporal Form and shields also interfere with Eye of the Tiger, which is why I'm personally not a great fan of it.
Finally, if you want a real gimmick try Blighted Summoning and let your golem dual wield, say, short staves. Just don't complain to me if his damage is still paltry, compared to your bombs.

Fashion And You: what do I wear? aka Equipment
First of all, try to find a torc of psychoportation and if you found one, never take it off. It's a great item, because it grants you another teleportation, which is worth a full inscription slot. Once you have it, you may consider to replace your actual teleport, although it doesn't hurt to have two sources in case one of them is disabled, or in case your first teleport lands you in a bad spot.
Other than that, the focus should be to make your bombs as badass as possible. Look for these properties above all:
- increase damage % of your element
- increase all damage %
- increase spell crit %
- increase critical hit multiplier
Items that add to the resistance penetration of your element are also nice, but those are usually inferior to simple boosts of the damage type. For example, if a monster has 10% resistance and you have an item increasing resistance penitration by 10%, it will increase your net damage by only 1%.
On the defense side, items with a big HP bonus are also highly desirable, especially early in the game.
If you ever decide to fight Athamaton, after winning the game, gloves with the "of dispersion" modifier are also essential. Those let you remove all positive sustains from a monster, and you really need to get rid of the Reflective Skin if you want to survive the fight.
Such gloves are also a great help in the final fight against the sorcerers.
Finally, pay attention to items with "on spell hit" effects, such as Crystle's Astral Bindings. They are another way to add more damage to your bombs and get bonus points for being fun. 8)

Equipment and Your Golem
Your golem is your meat shield and should be dressed accordingly. Give him a shield and a heavy armor. In his other arm he can wield a short staff or a one-handed weapon with a good debuff effect. Raw damage is not as important as debuffs, because his melee damage will never be that great either way. For the eye sockets, stun resistance is nice, but you can also equip gems here that increase his stats if it lets him wear better armor, for instance.
For the shield, resistances and special effects are more important than blocking. Sanguine Shield is good for the regeneration, Temporal Shield is even better, for the flat damage reduction.
In general, watch for interesting abilities on items, like shields that let you cast Time Shield, weapons that add Resist All, armors that confuse on melee hits, etc.

The class talent compendium: detailed list

Explosive Mixtures: 5/5/5/0-5
As discussed earlier, the first three are your bread and butter and should be maxed as early as possible. The final one is pretty underwhelming, only buy it if you have nothing better left to do with your class points.

Golemancy: 1-5/1-5/1/1
The first two will be maxed in the long run, but have very low priority. Invoke Golem is very nice in case your golem is straying, especially when you have a bonus to movement speed. Golem Portal is neat; don't forget that you have it. The latter two do not need more than one point.

Fire Alchemy: 5/1/5/5 OR 1/2/0/0
If you specialize in fire damage, go 5/1/5/5. Increasing the first skill itself (infusion) has very low priority due to diminishing returns.
Smoke Bomb is a neat little skill that lets you hide away, but only if you do NOT specialize in fire. If there is any burning monster inside the smoke, the smoke will clear up, which actually makes the skill less useful for fire specialists.
Fire Storm is a damage spell with great potential, but a little impractical because of the short range.
Body of Fire likewise has great damage potential, but is even more impractical. It is expensive, even for an alchemist, and the bolts it fires move very slowly. Nonetheless, if you specialize in fire you might as well go for it.

Fire specialists should be especially aware of Luminous Horrors, they are not just resistant to fire but actually heal from fire damage. You must turn off your infusion if you see them.

Acid Alchemy: 5/1/5/5
Again, the infusion will be maxed in the long run, but with very low priority.
Caustic golem will make your golem deal some extra damage passively. Not good enough for more than one point, though.
Caustic Mire is good, so good that you might want to take it even if you do not specialize in acid. It only deals low damage, but it has a long range, area of effect and greatly slows monters down. It seems the slow effect can not be resisted. Disabling monsters is good, it buys you time to throw another bomb.
Dissolving Acid offers you solid single-target damage with a very nice long range. A good addition to your bombs, if you specialize in Acid. The debuff is not so important, it (sometimes, if you're lucky) disables physical/mental sustains, which are not as important as magical sustains (reflective skin, essence of speed, fearscape).

Acid specialists should watch out for Worms that Walk, one of the most lethal monsters in the game and they resist 100% acid.

Frost Alchemy: 5/1/5/5
Again, the infusion will be maxed in the long run, but with very low priority.
Ice armor is a weak effect, but in theory it makes your golem a little sturdier.
Flash Freeze is a decent damage spell with a nice, large area of effect. Be aware that the special effect only prevents monsters from moving, they can still shoot at you or cast spells.
Ice Core is a nifty sustain that offers good protection from critical hits.

Ice specialists should pay special attention to items that let you pierce ice blocks. If you find the artifact dagger Icy Kill, you might want to try wielding it in your off-hand, with a short staff.

Energy Alchemy: 5/1/5/5
Again, the infusion will be maxed in the long run, but with very low priority.
Dynamic Recharge is such a weak skill that it is hilarious, but you will have to spend a point in it to move on to..
Thunderclap. Now this is quite nice. Solid damage, large range and it pushes attackers away from you. The disarm effect is just icing on the cake.
Living Lightning. This is the reason you might want to spend a category point on Energy. It is a great sustain. Cheap, solid passive boost to damage that will even work when you are running past some monsters with a movement infusion (without breaking it). It also serves as an alarm when you failed to notice a monster. :) The boost to movement speed may sound weak, but is actually good, because it nearly guarantees that you will get to act first when you spot a monster in the distance. And finally, the extra emergency turn might just buy you enough time to gtfo when you need to.

Energy alchemists should put off Advanced Golemancy until later. At level 20, buying your 4th inscription slot is too important to delay it any longer. They might also want to skip the Tempest Peak until they're back from the east.

Advanced Golemancy: 1/5/1/5
Life Tap can be a life saver in emergencies, but is not good enough for more than 1 point, unless you really have nothing better to invest in.
Gem Golem is cool and one of the things you need to max when you have all the basics covered.
Supercharge Golem is essential, now you can revive your golem instantly. Like Life tap, additional points are super low priority.
Runic Golem is good, one of the best ways to improve your metallic friend.

Last edited by grobblewobble on Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:37 am, edited 12 times in total.

PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 11:33 pm 

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 12:25 am
Posts: 244
> Note that you can ask the Weirdling Beast

Uh, I think you mean the Sher'Tul fortress shade, because the Weirdling Beast is the boss you have to fight in order to ACCESS the fortress. :lol:

Please help with the ToME wiki!

PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 2:13 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2016 11:24 pm
Posts: 15
It would be nice to have some analysis for the usefulness of the "optional" talents such as like:

Smoke Bomb
Fire Storm
Caustic Mire
Dissolving Acid
Flash Freeze
Ice Core

PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 8:40 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 4:39 pm
Posts: 318

Did I really write that? Corrected.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 8:40 pm 
Sher'Tul Godslayer

Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2003 7:38 pm
Posts: 1968
Location: GMT-8:00
I know alchemists are famously able to clear with nothing but bombs, but why is there no discussion at all of the elemental trees beyond that you have to unlock lightning at 10 if you want it?

n. 1. technocracy. 2. government by the numbers. 3. rule by people with the longest fingers.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 10:40 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 4:39 pm
Posts: 318
Yeah I could add more about them, and I also should add some more equipment pointers.

Will have to edit this post later, when I have the time.

PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 2:48 am 

Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 1:24 am
Posts: 2
This is awesome! I'm pretty new and had to make a new char since the bulwark step up skill kept freezing my game. Needed to work on 1mil fire damage for wildfire, so I decided on alchemist. Searched and found this, SUPER HAPPY!

Now I'm stoked @ the game again and even getting the expansions now.

Just an aside, does anyone know a good way to set up auto skills? Or is it best to just manually toss bombs for maximum effect? Sorry so new.

PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2016 8:41 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2016 11:24 pm
Posts: 15
Well, you can set up your sustains to be automatically used when no enemies are in range. This helps to not to forget turning them on when you are dispelled or your mana is drained to zero.
In a rare case you may want to -not- to spend turns on putting sustains back when no enemies are in range, in example when you are running from a boss. In general this setting is okay and useful.

A more dangerous move is to put your shield rune or even a shield spell on auto-cast when you see the enemies. This is highly convenient, but you may end up in a situation when you used the cooldown instead of saving it for when you are really in danger. Not recommended.

And yes, you toss your bombs manually. I dont think you can put bombs on auto-cast, and even if you can, dont do it.

PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2016 9:29 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2016 11:24 pm
Posts: 15
Okay, let me put some comments on the optional skills, you are welcome to copy-paste that into a guide, or just skip, as you wish.

One thing to be aware of the optional talents is that you don't really need to be restricting yourself to only taking optional talents from the elemental trees you fully develop. Alchemists have more that enough class talent points to be able to reach any talents they decided to take.

Smoke Bomb - lifesaver skill. Does not require a lot of points, 1-2 can still be very useful to greatly reduce probability of receiving lots of damage from casters. Also prevents them from putting non-AOE detrimental effects, teleporting you in the middle of friendly crowd etc. But, while they cant see you, you can not see them too! The trick is to either remember of where to toss your bombs, or to cast an arcane eye you can get from escort or items so that you can see outside of your cloud. Melees and sometimes even casters are going to close up the distance to see you under the smoke cloud. 1 point in shockwave can help kicking them off. Also even if you don't kick them back, it takes time for them to move to you, and all that time you are safe from ranged non-AOE attacks. Beware that this skill is not compatible with fire bombs as your cloud is going to burn as soon as any burning mob is getting inside.

Fire Storm - good damage, good range, good duration. The only drawback is that it is centered on the caster (you). And you really do not want to be in 3 range of anything wanting to hurt you. Thus, useless most of the time.

Body of Fire - bad damage, but that damage does not require you to spend the turn and is adding up while time passes. Useless for short fights, but may help with long boss fights. There are also rumors that sometimes bosses are trying to evade fire balls and spend a turn for that dodging (moving one square). Cant confirm that. Also gives fire resists, which is useful. So even 1 points may be worth it.

Caustic Mire - average damage. But more importantly, its a global speed slow. Anything in range is going to be slowed really hard, I haven't seen anything discarding or resisting the slow, so maybe there are no checks. The slow does not affect you and your golem.
So, hard AOE slow? Yes, please!

Dissolving Acid - the main problem of alchemists is a lack of a good single-target damage. This one is a step in a right direction for solving the issue. It is also a dispel. One of the most useful optional talents.

Flash Freeze - good damage. Big AOE. Long cooldown. The cooldown is the main problem. If it was like 8 or 12 turns, it would be no brainer. Currently, highly optional.

Ice Core - phys resist and -crit. The last one is more important. Either 1 point of 5 points.

PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2016 6:34 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 4:39 pm
Posts: 318
Thank you, Munch. You also beat me to it about the autocasting: I agree, only do it for the sustains and set them to "auto-use when no enemies in sight".

I am done with a complete playthrough of an energy alchemist (already finished the game at least once using each of the other elements) and finally feel ready to write up in detail about all of the `optional´ elemental skills. I almost completely agree with you about most of them Munch. You didn't mention Living Lightning, though, and after trying it in practice, this is the one I consider the best of the bunch. :)

edit: done! I also revised the rest of the guide.

PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:17 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2016 11:24 pm
Posts: 15
>I am done with a complete playthrough of an energy alchemist (already finished the game at least once using each of the other elements)

Wow, that's some serious experience and dedication! Did you have a chance to play as alchemist on nightmare or even insane? Everyone around is telling the class is not good for a higher difficulties, what do you think?

>You didn't mention Living Lightning, though, and after trying it in practice, this is the one I consider the best of the bunch. :)

I mentioned nothing from energy tree as I never tried it, so cant provide any opinion based on experience.

Checked you guide update, looks very good, now the guide feels quite complete. The only remaining thing to cover is Golem talents.

Regarding golem equipment, I would also mention two items: shields with Time Shield on-use talent and single-handed weapons with +resist all. Those two look quite useful for me.

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:04 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 4:39 pm
Posts: 318
Re: golem powers: there is a short section that mentions how eye beams and reflective skin are good and the rest is meh. Also that Vitality from warrior escorts is cool. Is there something I should add here? There are a few interesting possibilities with escorts and so on, if there is anything that you found especially good, please let me know.

Honestly i didn't even know that shields with Time Shield exist, sounds like they deserve a mention.

I always played normal roguelike so far. But I'm going to try higher difficulties next. My last (shalore, energy) alchemist had it just too easy. He ended up with 95% crit rate and bombs consistently dealing over 5k damage. With grace of the eternals and timeless7, monsters usually had to eat two of them before they could act. Even most stair bosses, as well as the overpowered wyrms, melted away before they could say hi. I also destroyed Athamathon with relative ease. Admittedly I did use the vault.

So yeah, I'll finally try nightmare and beyond now and see how far I get.

P.S.: Searching the vault, I found an alchemist that has beaten Madness in version 1.4.3. He never picked any prodigy.. :shock: ... d2baca9109

PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:43 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2016 11:24 pm
Posts: 15
>golem powers: there is a short section that mentions how eye beams and reflective skin are good and the rest is meh.

Well, I find Molten Skin adding noticeable damage. There is also a big question whether or not to put 1 point into each of the physical golem talents. On one hand it highly increases golem mobility. On another hand, despite of whatever figures you put into the tactics talent table, Golem will cast those talents randomly instead of something more useful (like runes, beams etc).
There is also a question of how many points to put into Taunt.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 4:07 am 
Perspiring Physicist

Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:43 am
Posts: 5384
Information about Smoke Bomb is incorrect.
Once a smoke cloud is created, it does not interact with burning at all.

My feedback meter decays into coding. Give me feedback and I make mods.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 4:45 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2016 11:24 pm
Posts: 15
So, you state that it only burns when something already burning is in radius during smoke bomb cloud creation, and if something burning goes into the cloud after that, nothing happens?

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