I've been playing artificer with the Alchemist subtype, and my group is unsure of how aiming/hitting targets with items out of the satchel works.

As seen in the artificer class:

Alchemical Fire. As an action, you can reach into your Alchemist’s Satchel, pull out a vial of volatile liquid, and hurl the vial at a creature, object, or surface within 30 feet of you (the vial and its contents disappear if you don’t hurl the vial by the end of the current turn). On impact, the vial detonates in a 5-foot radius. Any creature in that area must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or take 1d6 fire damage. This formula’s damage increases by 1d6 when you reach certain levels in this class: 4th level (2d6), 7th level (3d6), 10th level (4d6), 13th level (5d6), 16th level (6d6), and 19th level (7d6).

Do you need to roll to hit an AC? And how does that work with the area damage?

Do you roll to hit in an area?

Do you only roll the saving throws?

How does this work?


2 Answers 2


It might be helpful to think of this ability as a small fireball spell.

No attack roll would be made. The alchemist declares that she is using her action to throw Alchemical fire to a location within range and the targets in that location roll dex saves. Those that fail take damage as stated in the ability.

If an Alchemical Formula option requires a saving throw, the DC is 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier.

  • \$\begingroup\$ That's what I was thinking but my DM didn't think so. Thanks for the help! \$\endgroup\$ Jun 4, 2017 at 2:22
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Please keep in mind, especially given that UA is intended for playtesting, that the DM gets final say in whether this class can be used in his campaign, and if included he may want to work with you to determine how to use any given ability. Many DMs will be open to working with you to make the character fun and interesting in the campaign, but it will require both of you to keep an open mind and willingness to experiment. Have fun :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Doremar
    Jun 4, 2017 at 2:32

I think that there are 2 options here: If you need to precisely hit the target, you roll a attack action based as throwing a object, and the item can miss the target (like a light hammer or a dagger). Since it's pretty light and a class skills, as I see it's has finesse for Artificer, but don't do impact damage (and don't get damage mod from Dex/Str). If you miss, it falls out of damage range and the target don't need to roll against your DC. If you need to hit a area, you don't need to roll since you don't need to precisely hit the target but a area, and the target will need to roll against your DC. If he get a success against your DC, he moves out of damage range. This vision is specially helpful against to reduce enemies AC using Alchemical Acid because if you want to hit the target armor, it will give maximum damage to items and don't affect the target hit points but will make it easier to your colleagues to hit their enemies. Of course, your DM have the final word about it.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. The artificer's class feature explicitly describes how it works; it calls for a Dex save by those in the area, not an attack roll, so this answer is simply wrong. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Feb 24, 2019 at 17:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Please add citations to indicate why this advice is correct. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 25, 2019 at 11:17

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