Artificer: Alchemist Impressions

Ashrym

Hero
Yeah, the abilities that come with experimental elixirs aren't bad at 3rd level but the random part is annoying, and they don't scale well. It's just basically one, two, or three free potions depending on level. At 9th level they give temporary hit points on top of the original effect. Could be worse but clearly not a show stopper. I like this flavor the best so I'll probably play it as is anyway.

The other benefit for the elixirs is the alchemist doesn't have to be the one who uses them, or even present at the time. It's minor but worth a mention.

The eldritch cannon is also a once per day item but it lasts an hour or until killed. If mobile it slows the party down to 15' move for it to keep up (another PITA). No extra free cannons with higher level like elixirs. The cannon scales in hit points and adds abilities at higher levels related to the cannon instead.

Battlesmiths seem to do better than alchemists or artillerist at 3rd level with the steel defender pet and also the battle ready feature. The pet can be healed with the mending cantrip so unlimited healing as long as it doesn't outright die. And that subclass gets extra attack at 5th level for better damage on a lower damage class.


My first impression is that I love how the fluff is written up for the mechanics. Expertise with tools is decent and INT to start with means good with investigation and thieves' tools. Capstone looks kind of awesome if anyone ever plays that high. Extra magic item attunement is nice. The subclasses each add spells prepped like domains so that's a nice bonus. Some guaranteed magic items is decent and using infusions to have those magic items can flesh out some cracks in what the party needs.

A magic using class that has CON save proficiency as part of the class is always good. Starting with medium armor and a shield is a definite plus.

The downside is that this is a very general generalist. The it's not full spell progression and the spell list isn't too flashy. The cantrip limits what will be taken because anyone who has a steel defender or homunculus is going to take mending to heal it. That leaves one damage cantrip or one utility cantrip for some time, and given that the 5th level alchemist or artillerist benefit is a bonus to spell damage it's that's going to be the other cantrip at the time.

This is clearly a support class.
 
Unfortunately, while we are using the Artificer class, we aren't playing in Eberron. So skills are hard to come by.
There is still variant humans and half elves for an extra skill choice, and you do get Thieves' Tools expertise for free, potentially freeing up the rogue to pick something else.
 

Chaosmancer

Adventurer
The eldritch cannon is also a once per day item but it lasts an hour or until killed. If mobile it slows the party down to 15' move for it to keep up (another PITA). No extra free cannons with higher level like elixirs. The cannon scales in hit points and adds abilities at higher levels related to the cannon instead.
I agree with everything you said, but I would like to point out that with the Tiny option it can be mobile or it can be easily picked up, and it keeps the same AC and hitpoints. So, this will rarely be a concern for slowing the party down.

Also, you do get a second cannon at 15th level. High and most people won't, but you only get three elixirs by 15th as well, so they end up comparable in the end.
 

Cap'n Kobold

Adventurer
Battkesmith deal rogue level damage or close to it?
Depends on level. Two attacks using Int Mod and the Steel Defender's attack will mean at level 5 the Battlesmith is probably doing more, but it doesn't scale like the Rogue's damage does at higher levels.
Battlesmith does get to add a damage or healing rider to some attacks, but this isn't great nova (can only use 1/round), or great consistent damage (only get Int mod uses/long rest.)

The boldness elixer for example looks like bless but it's only one target not 3.
At low levels that's not amazing. At high levels in a major fight, the fact that it doesn't take concentration, can be "cast" by the target, and AFAICT will stack with Bless makes it pretty good.
Extra temp HP are just gravy.

Likewise 10ft of flight isn't amazing compared to the Flight spell. Any fly speed from a level 1 slot that can't be dispelled or broken by concentration, and can be given to someone for later use can probably find an application though. Even at higher levels, level 3 spell slots have uses.
 

Ashrym

Hero
I agree with everything you said, but I would like to point out that with the Tiny option it can be mobile or it can be easily picked up, and it keeps the same AC and hitpoints. So, this will rarely be a concern for slowing the party down.

Also, you do get a second cannon at 15th level. High and most people won't, but you only get three elixirs by 15th as well, so they end up comparable in the end.
I definitely missed that. The canon can also be created by spending a spell slot and that looks like a good use of a first level spell slot. I think it looks quite a bit better on second thought than my first glance.

Depends on level. Two attacks using Int Mod and the Steel Defender's attack will mean at level 5 the Battlesmith is probably doing more, but it doesn't scale like the Rogue's damage does at higher levels.
Battlesmith does get to add a damage or healing rider to some attacks, but this isn't great nova (can only use 1/round), or great consistent damage (only get Int mod uses/long rest.)
At 15th level the artillerist can run 2 attacks on a bonus action that each do 3d8 force while spending the standard action on a 3d10 fire bolt + 1d8 bonus damage. 7d8+3d10 is more damage than I was thinking at first.

The steel defender's attack and damage increase with the artificer's proficiency bonus. It's basically extra attack from 5th level and the advantages that come with that plus the steel defender's attack on a bonus action. I haven't checked the math yet but I suspect using the defender for help using the bonus action to offset great weapon master will be the way to go.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
It's why I thought gfb was a great idea for the alchemist.

It scales and with the splash damage it's ok damage.
 

Ashrym

Hero
It's easy to get a good AC by 2nd level too. Enhanced defense applied to armor or shield is a 19 AC in scale mail guaranteed with 14 DEX. 6th level gives repulsion shield and 10th increases enhanced defense to +2,

I'm seeing a fair bit of tankiness in these options. Assuming we do have magic changes things a fair bit compared to assuming we don't.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
It's easy to get a good AC by 2nd level too. Enhanced defense applied to armor or shield is a 19 AC in scale mail guaranteed with 14 DEX. 6th level gives repulsion shield and 10th increases enhanced defense to +2,

I'm seeing a fair bit of tankiness in these options. Assuming we do have magic changes things a fair bit compared to assuming we don't.
Yeah the Artificers seems to be less MAD as well and you can replicate belts and girdles which with increased number of items you can use is effectively extra asi's.

Or you can make a gauntlet of Ogre power fairly fast and cheap in effect being able to buy them.

You can't compete as a caster or healer, skill/tool monkey though and if you can get your damage out of the gutter you're a rogue replacement. Or great 5th member.
 

Ashrym

Hero
Yeah the Artificers seems to be less MAD as well and you can replicate belts and girdles which with increased number of items you can use is effectively extra asi's.

Or you can make a gauntlet of Ogre power fairly fast and cheap in effect being able to buy them.

You can't compete as a caster or healer, skill/tool monkey though and if you can get your damage out of the gutter you're a rogue replacement. Or great 5th member.
I dunno. I've dropped enough times on a squishy healer to see the value in a high AC and not having to spend the healing on myself. Alchemists actually give a lot of temporary hit points and lesser restorations. Spell storing item is potentially a lot of cure spells or healing words. Producing cheaper magic items like healing potions during downtime stockpiles healing.

The lack of mass healing at the levels (or efficient healing spells) other healers get it is the only real drawback.

How it plays will tell us more.

In my sample builds I was putting together it turned out to be relatively easy to hand out 19 STR, CON, or INT which covers something a lot of characters cannot afford to fit in.
 
It's why I thought gfb was a great idea for the alchemist.

It scales and with the splash damage it's ok damage.
It's not hard to pick up, E:RFTLW actively encourages the play of vumans with Arcane Initiate, and High Elves make good artificers from the start.

You can't compete as a caster or healer, skill/tool monkey though
Again, careful use of Eberron race options can help here: you have expertise in Thieves' Tools, but only 14 dex? Try the Mark of Warding for +1d4.

NB: you also get the Guidance cantrip.
 
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Ashrym

Hero
Artificers also have enhance ability, skill empowerment, and flash of genius. Other than not having reliable talent they seem quite sell suited to using skills.
 

Todd Roybark

Explorer
Playwise, Alchemical Savant allows the Artificer to add their INT bonus to healing spells and some dmg spells. This means a Healing Word cast by an Alchemist with a +3/+4 INT modifier is equal to or better than a Cleric of Life.

Damaging Cantrips are on par w/ a Cleric with Potent Spellcasting, and a little below an Invoker. The Invoker comparison is true for spells as well, comparable but a bit below overall.

The class definitely suffers from a lack of Cantrips and rewards the Highest INT bonus possible, but one could-can “Shoot the Moon” to use a Hearts analogy, and go with Feats, because at 10th level the Artificer can make their own Headband of Intellect.

The Homunculus Infusion at 6th lvl gives you a minor dmg boost potential for bonus action.

I like the potion power, at 9th level you can swap a 1st level spell into 9hp of healing (2d4 +INT) AND 11 Temp HP (2d6 +INT)..assuming an 18 Int ....I take that 1st level spell conversion.

Couple of thoughts: re-skin the Alchemist...allow Artisan Tool Cooking supplies be the focus and you can be the Muffin Man. Take the Tavern Brawler feat and Returning Infusion and you can be the Swedish Chef.

Hobgoblin Artificer with Magic Initiate and the Find Familiar spell synergies with Homunc...and the Hobgoblin racial ability.

The big question is 6 magic items equal to class powers and spells above 5th level.....
 

Ashrym

Hero
Couple of thoughts: re-skin the Alchemist...allow Artisan Tool Cooking supplies be the focus and you can be the Muffin Man. Take the Tavern Brawler feat and Returning Infusion and you can be the Swedish Chef.
"You produce your artificer spell effects through your tools. You must have a spellcasting focus—specifically thieves’ tools or some kind of artisan’s tool—in hand when you cast any spell with this Spellcasting feature. You must be proficient with the tool to use it in this way."

The way I read it the artificer doesn't need reskinned for this. The typical focus will be thieves' tools or tinkers' tools but technically an artificer can take painters' supplies, cooks' utensils, brewers' supplies, etc and turn them into something magical.

A person could learn to make magical beer of healing or exploding acid cupcakes following these rules. ;) Unless I missed detail anyway, but I like it my way. :D

I would apply the fluff to the artisan tools being used.
 
I'm not sure how far you would want to take it, but musical instruments, gaming sets and vehicles are included under tools.

And note that from level 6 an artificer is an expert in all the tools they know, including any from their background. Which might make them a brilliant musician or chess grand master.
 

Ashrym

Hero
Knowledge cleric gets 2 iirc.
They do, but rogue 11 gets reliable talent. Lore bard adds 3 skills and 2 expertise. Artificer 6 grants expertise in at least 4 tools. Following the "if you are already proficient" from rogue it's 5 tools. Make him a half-elf for the bonus skills and he'll have all the expertise (6 skills and 5+ tools) and proficiencies (10) a person could want. That's a lot to work with on top of reliable talent for a flavor build.

A person could squeak a bit more in there but it's costing ASI's.

I'm tempted to make an artificer who spends a tool proficiency on cobbler's tools then focus on footwear infusions, and spells that match up to movement or effects I can tie to footwear just so I can call him a "sole mage". ;) It stemmed from the random though that this might fit fairy tales like The Shoemaker's Elves and similar concepts.
 

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