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This recently came up while my group and I were discussing potential builds for the next game we would be playing.

A Ragechemist (Ultimate Combat) gets the following at first level:

Rage Mutagen

At 2nd level, whenever a ragechemist creates a mutagen that improves his Strength, that mutagen grants the ragechemist a +6 bonus to Strength, a +2 bonus to natural armor, and a –2 penalty to Intelligence. Furthermore, while under the effects of this mutagen, whenever the alchemist takes damage, his rage grows, with detrimental effects. At the end of each turn that he takes hit point damage, the ragechemist must succeed at a Will saving throw (DC 15, or DC 20 if any of the damage came from a critical hit that turn) or take a –2 penalty on Will saving throws and to Intelligence. These penalties end 1 hour after the mutagen ends and stack with themselves. If the penalty lowers the ragechemist’s Intelligence score to 0, the ragechemist is comatose until 1 hour after the mutagen expires. This ability replaces poison use.

The Alchemist's regular mutagen does this:

When an alchemist brews a mutagen, he selects one physical ability score—either Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution. It’s a standard action to drink a mutagen. Upon being imbibed, the mutagen causes the alchemist to grow bulkier and more bestial, granting him a +2 natural armor bonus and a +4 alchemical bonus to the selected ability score for 10 minutes per alchemist level. In addition, while the mutagen is in effect, the alchemist takes a –2 penalty to one of his mental ability scores. If the mutagen enhances his Strength, it applies a penalty to his Intelligence. If it enhances his Dexterity, it applies a penalty to his Wisdom. If it enhances his Constitution, it applies a penalty to his Charisma.

The debate arose as to whether or not the Ragechemist's mutagen provided a +6 untyped bonus to strength, giving an additional +10 to strength at \2nd level, or instead was an alchemical bonus which would replace the original +4 bonus with the +6 at 2nd level.

Arguments For Untyped Bonus

  1. Greater and Grand mutagen would be useless
  2. It doesn't explicitly state that it is an alchemical bonus.
  3. Why on earth would you have to make the Will save on every hit?

Arguments For Alchemical Bonus

  1. It's just giving you access to the greater bonuses way before your level would allow (1st instead of 12th, 6th instead of 16th for greater and grand)
  2. The usage of the words "that mutagen" implies that it's replacing your previous mutagen.
  3. Nothing else can have a 36 strength at 3rd level (Barbarian 1/Alchemist 2)

This has also been asked on the Paizo forums (by someone else), but there is only one unofficial answer and it doesn't totally justify its response.

So, what kind of bonus does the Ragechemist's mutagen provide, untyped or alchemical?

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This has just come up in my game, and I've got to say it still hasn't been answered. All I can say is that it must be +10, otherwise this is pretty much the worst archetype out there, and even if it is +10, the negative is still pretty big, but at least the payoff is worth it. –  user3090 Feb 10 '12 at 1:38
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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

In the end, you're asking for an opinion since they borked the RAW and haven't errata or FAQed it yet. I would rule it as an alchemical bonus for exactly the reasons you already list - it seems like it's the clear intent. It's a low level extra mutagen so it's only a modest boost.

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Yeah, that is how I was leaning as well, but I kept hearing cries of "But I want to have a crazy high strength!" –  Cthos Sep 1 '11 at 16:48
    
Questions on the Paizo forums have the ability to be 'flagged for FAQ', so it may be worth asking this again over there, if it is not already up there. –  MadMAxJr Sep 2 '11 at 2:18
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As an update, Paizo has issued an official answer for this question: http://paizo.com/paizo/faq/v5748nruor1g1#v5748eaic9p07

Alchemist: Is the Strength bonus for the rage mutagen ability of the ragechemist archetype (page 25) in addition to the normal bonus for a Strength mutagen?

No, the +6 replaces the normal +4 Strength bonus of the alchemist’s Strength mutagen. This will be updated in a future printing of Ultimate Combat as follows:

Page 25—In the Ragechemist archetype, in the Rage Mutagen class feature, change the first sentence to read as follows:

"At 2nd level, whenever a ragechemist creates a mutagen that improves his Strength, that mutagen’s bonus to Strength increases by +2 and penalizes the alchemist’s Intelligence score."

So, it replaces, and does not stack.

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Well, with the current wording it now stacks instead of replacing. :P Good find though! –  starwed Apr 5 '13 at 1:37
    
@starwed - Ha, true! –  Cthos Apr 5 '13 at 4:03
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I would say it's an alchemal bonus, and not stacking with normal mutagen bonus.

I've looked at this build, and decided against it. Normal mutagen and enlarge person, stacked with barbarian rage is the way to go.

A 15 will save (17 after one fail) every time you take damage is just too steep a cost for an effective +1 to damage....

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