I’m sure this is just an oversight and the intention is ‘yes they can’, but can alchemists and characters with the alchemist proficiency create magic potions? As written, the proficiency and the specialist state they can assist a mage in creating potions, and they can RESEARCH magic potions, but it doesn’t actually say anywhere that Alchemists can create potions.

Just curious. I’m designing an engineer class and alchemy was going to be a big part of it.

Magic item creation is a research roll. Researching a potion is manufacturing a potion.

With that said, a non-caster alchemist requires a formula or an existing sample to copy, or the non-caster alchemist must be an assistant for a spellcaster, in order to produce a potion, since it is impossible for the non-caster to “know” the spell involved.

A class with a special ability to “know” a certain number of spells without casting them might also be interesting, of course.

Ah, ok. Then I think the class will gain the ability to research a potion’s formula without needing the spell. That way they can create any potion imaginable, but they must first research the potion, then create the potion as a seperate research roll, all of which with the 2x cost and time alchemists suffer.

Actually looking at it now, I wonder if that’s what Alchemists were always supposed to do. If you have 3 ranks in the proficiency, you can research potion formulae like a mage researching spells, but it costs twice as much and, if I"m reading it right, only up to 3rd level spells (it says as a 5th level mage.) Is that correct? Can I get an official ruling on how Alchemy is supposed to work? I’m finding the wording chosen to be oddly confusing I guess.

Here are the relevant rules.

Alchemy Proficiency: If the character takes this proficiency twice, he can work as an alchemical assistant. If the character takes this proficiency three times, he is an alchemist himself, as described under Hiring Specialists.

Alchemist: Alchemists are valuable specialists because they dedicate their expertise to creating potions and other concoctions. They may work as assistants to mages to help them create potions. They may also research new potions as if they were 5th level mages, but at twice the base time and cost.

Assistants: 0th level characters with two ranks in Alchemy may function as assistants in the creation of potions…The assistant must have a formula or sample to work from.

In summary:
With 2 ranks of Alchemy, you are restricted to working as an assistant. You must have a formula or sample to work from.

With 3 ranks of Alchemy, you may either work as an assistant, OR you may work independently. When working independently, you work as if a 5th level mage, but at twice the base time and cost.

There is one area of the rules that’s unclear, which is this: “The assistant’s chance of successfully creating the item is based on the assistant’s level.” So what level is a 0th level Alchemist assistant?

The answer:
With 2 ranks of Alchemy, the character assists as a 0th level character (magic research throw 18+)
With 3 ranks of Alchemy, the character assists as a 5th level character (magic research throw 12+)

You also asked: “I"m reading it right, only up to 3rd level spells (it says as a 5th level mage.) Is that correct?”

The default rule is: “In order to create a magic item, the spellcaster must know the spell(s) that replicate the magic item’s effect, or must find a sample or formula of the item.”

0th level alchemist specialists cannot know spells, so this raises the question of whether an alchemist can create a potion without a sample or formula. As suggested by the text “they can research new potions,” the answer is that an alchemist CAN create potions without knowing a spell or having a formula or sample.

This is why it takes him twice the base time and cost that it would take a mage; he doesn’t understand the underlying magic and instead has to tinker and experiment.