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I'm looking at using this Alchemist homebrew class for my D&D 5e game. (Version as of 16 Oct 2019.)

  • Will this break my game?
  • Are there ways to optimize this class to break my game?
  • How does this compare to a similar class, say wizard?

This class was too big to simply copy/paste into this tiny text box so I am forced to provide a link.

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Overall, this class is surprisingly balanced.

It's pretty obviously that someone decided to port the Pathfinder Alchemist over to 5e, and they did a remarkably good job. Only a few things stand out to me:

The entire Mutator subclass is fairly weak without investing basically all of your discoveries into it, cutting down on your utility pretty heavily. Unfortunate, but not too bad.

The other thing I've noticed is that the Discoveries can vary widely in power. For example, one gives proficiency in Brewers Tools (thematic, yes, but not actually good) while another gives the ability to permanently detect the presence of magic within 30', which is directly comparable to the nearly identical Warlock Invocation that lets you cast Detect Magic at will, but notably still requires your concentration.

The only other thing that I noticed, and this is more of a clerical nitpick rather than an actual mechanics issue, is that some of the discoveries say "This discovery is permanent, and makes X discovery permanent". Which is weird wording to use, because you would assume that all of them are permanent, rather than temporary. What I assume the author meant was "Once you select this discovery, you cannot change your choice later, and you cannot change out one of the discoveries this one has as a prerequisite".

So the base class and all of the sub-classes are pretty OK power-level wise, but the discoveries are hit or miss. I would suggest comparing them against similar Warlock Invocations since that's what they are obviously modeled after, and adjust accordingly, especially since the Warlock has to worry about only having 2 spells available at any given time, while the Alchemist has a much larger pool of spells available past level 3.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Honestly, it’s not that surprising. There’s a lot of good homebrew out there. There’s a lot of bad homebrew out there, too, of course, but often much of it first-pass-obviously bad, so they don’t come up in discussions, or in questions. Having passed that basic test, the odds of a given example being decent improves a lot. And even more so if the OP found this via recommendation, rather than just a search or something. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jan 23 '20 at 20:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ While I'm not surprised there's good homebrew out there, i'm also not convinced this is good homebrew. Not having any content about the actual class in the question does make this hard, but not actually reviewing the content in the answer makes it even harder to assess if this is correct or not. Just a top-level "this is balanced" is usually not enough for homebrew review. There is a lot of content in that link, it's all surprisingly balanced? I mean, it could be, but this answer doesn't really prove it (yet.) \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jan 24 '20 at 17:59