Alchemical items are an old standby in most Pathfinder games, but they're quickly left by the wayside once characters gain enough experience to gain iterative attacks, and to get their hands on magical items. However, while we're all familiar with alchemist fire and tanglefoot bags, there are some weirder items on the list: stuff that you never knew you needed, but which you're going to be looking for by the time you reach the last entry.
1) Spider Sac
This handy little item, found in the Advanced Race Guide, is useful for all sorts of adventures. When fired at an enemy as a touch attack with a 10-foot reach, a spider sac acts like a lasso. This entangles enemies and makes it impossible for them to get away if they don't break it. It can also be used as a kind of alchemical rope, letting you climb up sheer surfaces... or perhaps swing your way out of a fall if that's more your bag.
If you load a spider sac into a spring-loaded wrist sheath, then you've got the start of a Spider-Man character build on your hands. Or at least a nasty surprise for the next boss you face.
2) Troll Styptic
Adventurers run into all kinds of pain on their journeys. From spiked pits and goblin raiders, to undead claws and vicious footpads, it seems everyone is out for your blood. If you need a non-magical solution to bind your wounds, especially if it's a life-or-death situation, troll styptic is something you need in your utility belt. This compound, found in Seekers of Secrets, gives a subject “fast healing 2” for 2d4 rounds. It's a painful process, though, which is why the subject has to make a DC 15 Fortitude save to avoid being sickened the whole time the styptic is doing its job.
3) Bachelor Snuff
A favorite among characters with high charisma and low standards, bachelor snuff was featured in Adventurer's Armory. A golden powder that smells vaguely of soot, a pinch of it renders a man infertile for a brief period of time. Of course, regular users will stand out due to their gilded teeth and gold-stained nails. Though whether that makes you more or less attractive probably depends on the partner.
Technically a drug, this substance can be found in a variety of lists.
4) Clear Ear
Another alumni of Adventurer's Armory, Clear Ear can be a thorn in a DM's side if used regularly. Because there are no negative impacts from continually using this item, players will try and abuse it. It's a thick goo you pour into your ear, and two hours after the application it takes effect. For 6 hours, you gain a +2 alchemical bonus on Perception and Knowledge checks, but you take a -2 penalty on all Charisma-based checks. Ideal for a team of safe crackers, dungeon delvers, or just a strike team trying to sneak up on the enemy.
Created by yours truly for Bastards of Golarion, silvertongue is a double-edged sword. This sweet, quicksilver elixir grants users a 1d2 alchemical bonus on their Charisma score for 1 hour, and provides a +2 alchemical bonus on saves against mind-affecting effects for 1d4 hours. However, it deals 1d4 Constitution damage, and it comes with a DC 16 Fortitude save against moderate addiction.
Just remember, sometimes it's that one hold-out item that gets you out of a jam. Always come prepared for the worst the dungeon can throw at you.
For more great gaming insight, check out Neal F. Litherland's gaming blog Improved Initiative!
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.