The recent post on potions brought up something I had looked at before. The rules on alchemy and potion creation make it difficult for a poor alchemist to sucesfully create enough potions to make a living.
Say I have a master alchemist with a +1 INT and a formula tries to make a 1st level potion (say a healing potion). The target number for the magical research throw is 12+ (12 - 1 (for level) +1 (INT) = 12). The alchemist will only succeed 45% of the time. If you double the cost and time for an alchemist (even if following a formula), in a year they will have invested 13,000 GP to get 26 rolls (not including the costs of any special components). Lets just assume that the costs of the special components is 250 gp per potion. That increases to total costs to 19,500 GP. With a 45% success rate and a sale price of 1000 gp, that only results in 11,700 GP in sales for a total annual loss of 7,800 GP for an initial 4000GP investment for a lab.
I have house ruled that a PC (or NPC alchemist) can add +2 for each level of alchemy to their magic research roll (especially since Magical Engineering is not a general proficiency). That would allow an alchemist to reduce the chance of failure to a point where they can make a reasonable living (assuming they can get special components).
That would increase the success rate of the alchemist in the example above to 75%. That would result in at least an alchemist breaking even. If they had a lab worth 14,000, or +2 INT they would earn a 1,300 gp annual profit.
Now you could read the rules to say that the doubling of the cost and time for an alchemist only applies to researching new potions and not creating potions from an existing formula. You could also rule that certain potions have common forumlas requiring easily obtainible (and cheaper) special components.
It wouldn't overshadow magical engineering (especially in my Dwimmermount campaign due to the value of Magical Edngineering in the dungeon). I have also house ruled that certain potions are more common and 1/2 suggested price (500 gp per level) (e.g healing, oil of sharpness, heroism, climbing).
Has anyone else house ruled anything similiar?