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For the discoveries for alchemist, a good chunk of them say "An alchemist must be at least X level before selecting this discovery".

Case in point:

Explosive Missile: As a standard action, the alchemist can infuse a single arrow, crossbow bolt, or one-handed firearm bullet with the power of his bomb, load the ammunition, and shoot the ranged weapon. He must be proficient with the weapon in order to accomplish this. When the infused ammunition hits its target, it deals damage normally and detonates as if the alchemist had thrown the bomb at the target. If the explosive missile misses, it does not detonate. An alchemist must be at least 4th level before selecting this discovery.

Does this refer to character level or to class level? AKA a character who is 3 Barbarian(or any other class really)/2 Alchemist has a character level of 5 but only an Alchemist level of 2 (which some discoveries are based off of Alchemist level explicitly like Spontaneous Healing)

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Class abilities refer to Class level unless specified.

See the MultiClassing Section for the exact rules but the part that is important for you specifically is in the last paragraph of the section.

Note that there are a number of effects and prerequisites that rely on a character's level or Hit Dice. Such effects are always based on the total number of levels or Hit Dice a character possesses, not just those from one class. The exception to this is class abilities, most of which are based on the total number of class levels that a character possesses of that particular class.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Therein lies the question, since it specifically makes the differentiation for other discoveries, it still begs the question. It is a prereq and not internally consistent with its wording, hense the spontaneous healing example. It is a prereq to determine eligibility, not strength of a power. \$\endgroup\$ – TechImp Oct 27 '14 at 18:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TechImp I would say this is probably inconsistent wording. Under the ability you linked to is the discovery Sunlight Bomb which has similar wording not specifying Alchemist levels but just saying the alchemest needs to be 10th level. The writers are only human :) \$\endgroup\$ – Aaron Oct 27 '14 at 18:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TechImp Also it seems that the sections that specify Alchemist level are referring to effects such as healing 5 per 2 Alchemist levels or dealing X damage per X Alchemist levels. While the prerequisites section all use the "An Alchemist must be level X before selecting this discovery" format. \$\endgroup\$ – Aaron Oct 27 '14 at 18:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Aye that's why I want to double check. Granted there are other low/no prereq discoveries that I want, but the ability to grab explosive missile right away was tempting enough to double check the ruling on it for a PFS game. \$\endgroup\$ – TechImp Oct 27 '14 at 18:38

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