So I am designing a character for a pathfinder 1 e campaign.

My intention is for him to be a reach build bloodrager. However, I was intending for him to dip a few levels into alchemist so he can get the extra arm discovery.

But I'm not sure if he can since the character doesn't have a 10+ intelligence.

I know for sure you can't cast spells without 10+ in the casting stat in a spellcasting class, but I'm not sure if you can even take the class without at least a 10.

Can someone clarify this from a rules perspective?


2 Answers 2


As a Core/Base/Alternate/Hybrid/Unchained/Occult class, it does not contain a requirement to enter the class like a prestige class does. So you can enter into the class without having a good ability score the class would depend on. However, using features from the class does require the ability score, such as an int ability score to cast spells.

The Vestigial Arm discovery doesnt have any requirements either, so you can take it at 2nd alchemist level unless there is a way to gain a discovery at 1st.


Yes, you can take levels in a spellcasting class even if you cannot cast the spells of that class.

This will be hard to prove, since it’s a matter of the absence of a rule: nothing says an alchemist must have a certain amount of Intelligence. The requirement for Intelligence exists only within the alchemy class feature, and applies only to learning or using an extract via that feature:

To learn or use an extract, an alchemist must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the extract’s level.

(Alchemist → Alchemy description)

Nothing else in the description of the alchemist class indicates a requirement for Intelligence. Ultimately, this is the end of the story: without a rule saying you need to have Intelligence, you don’t. But there is no way to prove it doesn’t exist; I can only assert that and let anyone who disagrees prove by finding it. (They won’t, it doesn’t exist.)

There is some evidence that this is the case, though:

Many alchemist class features refer to one’s “Intelligence modifier,” which might more naturally be called “Intelligence bonus” if one could be sure that the alchemist’s Intelligence was at least 10. But—perhaps—since they couldn’t be sure of that—a lower-Intelligence alchemist is possible—they used modifier.

That’s a fairly weak, circumstantial argument, though; they easily could just default to “Intelligence modifier,” perhaps because of the Intelligence penalties you can take from the alchemist’s mutagen. Or just because it is the default, in their mind.

More compellingly, alchemist is a base class, and base classes do not have any requirements the way prestige classes do.¹ That is, in fact, the definition of a “base” class. So of course you can take alchemist levels. This is fairly close to rock-solid, but then it’s conceivable—though as far as I know, unprecedented—for an individual base class to have an entry saying “actually, this base class does have a requirement...” It’d be weird, and I don’t think Paizo ever did it or ever would do it, but it would be allowed under the rules. So ultimately the answer is still “the alchemist does not require Intelligence because nothing in the alchemist class description says it requires Intelligence.”

By the way, as a low-Intelligence alchemist, you may be interested in the mnemostiller or herbalist archetype. The former uses Charisma for some alchemist features (though annoyingly, still requires Intelligence to learn formulae), while the latter uses Wisdom for everything (but is leshy-only, and in any event a bloodrager’s Wisdom isn’t likely to be very much better than their Intelligence).

  1. Well, except that sometimes they do, but only alignment: some base classes can only be taken by characters of a given alignment, but other than alignment, no base class has any requirements (and alchemist doesn’t even have an alignment restriction).

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