D&D 5E Artificer Class, Revised: Rip Me A New One

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by rampant:

 
It's not a matter of too many Spells per day, it's a problem of too many different spells.
 
Having the ability to cherry pick from any spell in the game within the reach of their spell levels offers them too much versatility, especially since if they ever find out there's a spell they really need they can go back and get it without giving up anything valuable unlike a sorcerer who has to devote one of his limited number of spells known. The sorcerer has an upper limit on his personal versatility because while the sorcerer class as a whole has a large spell list any specific sorcerer can only learn so many spells. Wizards and clerics are certainly broken as hell because they don't have that limit but at least they have a limit in the form of a defined class list which creates gaps in their capabilities, wizards have very limited if any ability to heal, and clerics tend to be less efficient blasters, and have less access to certain kinds of magic, especially if it falls outside their domains and the general cleric selection of healy-buffy stuff.
 
Without either of those limitations the artificer, even with the limits imposed by the craft reserve gains the ability to be good at anything and everything as an individual. It's ok for a class to be versatile as long as individuals still have gaps and weaknesses, generally created by forcing the payment of an opportunity cost, or in the case of the broken stuff by having a limited spell list (at least to start). 
 
As for the artificer turning everyone into casters, no that's not it at all. I expect him to put a little magic in their tool boxes is all. Furthermore I have a problem with the spell scroll model because it makes him massively more versatile and influential based on party composition. Not significantly more efficient like a rogue who has melee party members, but total paradigm changer. It's  unavoidable that some abilities are going to synergise better with some characters than others. What I'm saying is that there is a whole lot of swing here and that steps should be taken to even things out a bit. You have an excellent point when you mention that the weapon buffs work better with weapon classes, however I'm not sure that those are anywhere as useful or versatile as the spell scrolls or the opportunities they create.
 
As for playing a 5e wizard, well that's just not going to happen any time soon, I have no group right now, and 9 time sout of 10 I end up as the DM when I do have one. I admit upfront that 3rd edition was way easier to upgrade a wizard's spells known count in. The problem isn't a matter of ease, it's far more binary than that. If it happens once it's too much. It was a bad idea to begin with and has been grandfathered in since. It's somewhat vaguely tolerable at the start of an edition because there are simply fewer spells, and 5e has done a decent job of controlling the versatility of each class list. You have thrown the gates wide open to any and all spells, including spells originating from gods and demons and nature (cleric and warlock and druid/ranger). 
 
Furthermore it's not really the combat spells I get too worried about when dealing with the artificer's over-versatility, although that can cause issues mind it's just not the big concern in my mind. The big issue is the non-combat spells that can still be pretty potent over the long term, find familiar for example.
 
As for 3e non-casting leaders, you may be one of the first people I've met online who doesn't either lump the martial adepts in as casters, or try to pretend they don't exist. Well it's good to know we agree on something at least. 
 

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RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by Tempest_Stormwind:

rampant wrote:It's not a matter of too many Spells per day, it's a problem of too many different spells. 
Having the ability to cherry pick from any spell in the game within the reach of their spell levels offers them too much versatility, especially since if they ever find out there's a spell they really need they can go back aand get it without giving up anythign valuable unlike a sorceror who has to devote one of his limited number of spells known. The sorceror has an upper limit on his personal versatility because while the sorceror class as a whole has a large spell list any specific sorceror can only learn so many spells. Wizards and clerics are certainly broken as hell because they don't have that limit but at least they have a limit in the form of a defined class list which creates gaps in their capabilities, wizards have very limitied if any ability to heal, and clerics tend to be less efficient blasters, and have less access to certain kinds of magic, especially if it falls outside their domains and the general cleric selection of healy-buffy stuff.
These complaints really sound like they're entirely coming from a 3e mindset. In 5e, you really can't find the scrolls you're looking for. There is no scroll economy in 5e, and they're hard to come by. Wizards and clerics in 5e also have another limiting factor - their prepared spell list (equal to their class level + their spellcasting mod in total spells). The artificer has something similar, but it's even harder to work with most of the time - namely, it's his craft reserve. Unlike the wizard and cleric, he spends one reserve per spell level (and after he uses a spell in the form of an arcane device, he can't use it again - he has to "prepare" multiple copies of the spells he wants to use multiple times), and has other things calling for its use beyond arcane devices. In exchange, he can fill one spell over the course of a long rest, or he can gamble it by using a spell slot for a Prototype in a shorter span of time. 
 
In Eberron, there presumably will be, but there, it's limited to the lower-level scrolls. I'm still not sure how that will turn out, so consider this a trial run in lieu of knowing exactly how Eberron will work in the future.
 
As for the artificer turning everyone into casters, no that's not it at all. I expect him to put a little magic in their tool boxes is all.
Right, and that's weapon augmentation, armor augmentation, and infuse potion, plus the other related magical gear buffs in the spell list (and the bombs and spell flasks open to alchemists - alchemists were expressly designed to be able to pass out the fruits of their labor if your party wanted to use them that way). If you want them to actually use magic, then congratulations, you want them to become de-facto spellcasters, and my counterpoint from before still holds.
Furthermore I have a problem with the spell scroll model because it makes him massively more versatile and influential based on party composition.
The only way around this is to say that only the artificer can use his arcane devices. I'm not opposed to this, but you were vehemently opposed to something similar on spell storing item upthread (which contradicts your desire to add magic to the other classes). I'd rather keep the differences between scrolls and devices to a minimum for now - it really hasn't been that much of a problem in playtesting. (A team with an artificer and a wizard on it in 5e means that the artificer has to concentrate on wizard spells if he wants the wizard to make use of his devices - and every wizard schema the artificer picks up is a cleric or druid or bard or warlock or paladin or ranger spell he doesn't. Remember, again, that scrolls aren't simply available from a catalog at your local magic mart in 5e.)
 

Furthermore it's not really the combat spells I get too worried about when dealing with the artificer's over-versatility, although that can cause issues mind it's just not the big concern in my mind. The big issue is the non-combat spells that can still be pretty potent over the long term, find familiar for example.
That was my gut reaction to the tomelock, which is similarly versatile and capable of learning from any spell list on the cheap, limited to rituals only. Despite having access to Find Familiar and other rituals, it hasn't broken anything. That's not to say it can't, but I'm not worried about it for now.
 
You have thrown the gates wide open to any and all spells, including spells originating from gods and demons and nature (cleric and warlock and druid/ranger). 
Um, you do realize that the artificer's always had access to this sort of thing? He's not actually casting Entangle by praying to the Old Gods and the Circle of Being, he's figuring out the principles by which those prayers cause the land to respond that way, and replicating that. Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science, and all that.
 
(TECHNICALLY the artificer isn't actually casting spells at all - it's all this kind of macgyering and binding magic into metal. But 5e is pretty uniform in how magic works (there's no arcane/divine distinction, for instance, and psionics are handled through spellcasting with a special tag), so I figured for parsimony it should all just use the same rules here, too.)
 

As for 3e non-casting leaders, you may be one of the first people I've met online who doens't either lump the martial adepts in as casters, or try to pretend they don't exist. Well it's good to know we agree on something at least. 
Really? I've met only two that did either of those. If you'd look through my sig, you'd see that I'm immensely fond of the book, and consider it quite probably the best book written for 3.5. However, it wasn't just the martial adepts - I mentioned a marshal aura back there (yes I know that the marshal sucks, but that aura has seen use in more than one caster party because it does its job so well - it was even included in the original Mailman blaster build despite it being a noncaster level for that reason!), and the character I'm playing that works as a kill zone is a hexblade (and calling them a caster is more than a bit of a stretch), which happens to have a lot of caster-friendly debuffs in its repertoire.)
 
 
 
EDIT: Revisions made:
 
  • Magitechnicians' Guild: Prototype Expertise is now Prototype Mastery, giving advantage instead of double proficiency. This reduces the odds of failure without increasing the maximum result, which favors lower-level prototypes. High-level prototypes are still a gamble, but less of a gamble than for non-magitechnicians. (This also causes Flash of Genius to show up more frequently.)
  • Spellforgers' Guild: No longer gives heavy armor proficiency, to avoid treading on paladin/fighter toes, particularly when multiclassing from a class without heavy armor into artificer. The cleric can get heavy armor, but not both heavy armor and Extra Attack (War Priest is close but limited); the other caster-turned-fighters (Valor bard, bladelock) have light armor only.
  • Alchemists' Guild: Renamed Fast Hands, as I forgot the thief ability had the same name but a different effect.
  • Synchronize has two words added to it which now allows you to actually use items that you normally couldn't (similar to the thief's use magic device, except it's costly, requires setup time, short-lived, and takes concentration, but it's available sooner because you do specialize in magic items, after all) while under its effect. In this way it's actually closer to its original form, Suppress Requirement. (And yes, you can attune to items that don't require attunement normally, so there's no snag in using Synchronize on, say, a spell scroll that has a spell you don't have a schema for.)
  • Minor edits throughout; apart from a few minor tweaks this is actually looking pretty done, unless tesing reveals a bigger problem as I go. (I haven't done the numbers on resistance/vulnerability by CR to the damage types included in Expanded Augmentation yet, for instance.)
For Prototype Mastery (which will probably be renamed to a more invention-themed form soon), here's the original Prototype success rates and the success rates with Prototype Mastery (from levels 11+), assuming a starting Intelligence of 15 with +2 Int at 4th and 8th (and +1 at 12th). 

Prototype success rates
[sblock]Standard artificer (if a success rate is too risky for you, then that's a way of saying "use an arcane device instead except under time pressure"):
LevelProfInt ModArcana1st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th
1224  --------------
2224  65%------------
3224  65%------------
4235  70%------------
5336  75%65%----------
6336  75%65%----------
7336  75%65%----------
8347  80%70%60%--------
9448  85%75%65%--------
10448  85%75%65%--------
11448  85%75%65%55%------
12459  90%80%70%60%------
135510  95%85%75%65%------
145510  95%85%75%65%55%----
155510  95%85%75%65%55%----
165510  95%85%75%65%55%----
176511  100%90%80%70%60%50%--
186511  100%90%80%70%60%50%--
196511  100%90%80%70%60%50%--
206511  100%90%80%70%60%50%40%
 
Magitechnician's Guild (reminder: These guys get the ability to cast Prototype from craft reserve at 3rd, the ability to speed it up to 1 action casting by spending a Hit Die at 5th, advantage on the roll to trigger prototypes at 11th, and Flash of Genius (a bonus charge on the item if a natural 20 happens on a successful activation; since these tables have max Intelligence by that point, a natural 20 will always be a success, meaning Flash of Genius occurs 9.75% of the time assuming no disadvantage is present, and 5% of the time when disadvantage is present):
 
LevelProfInt ModArcana1st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th
1224  --------------
2224  65%------------
3224  65%------------
4235  70%------------
5336  75%65%----------
6336  75%65%----------
7336  75%65%----------
8347  80%70%60%--------
9448  85%75%65%--------
10448  85%75%65%--------
11448  98%94%88%80%------
12459  99%96%91%84%------
135510  100%98%94%88%------
145510  100%98%94%88%80%----
155510  100%98%94%88%80%----
165510  100%98%94%88%80%----
176511  100%99%96%91%84%75%--
186511  100%99%96%91%84%75%--
196511  100%99%96%91%84%75%--
206511  100%99%96%91%84%75%64%
 
All of these are rounded to the nearest hundredth, then expressed as a percentage (the actual number for an 11th level magitechnician's 1st level prototype is 97.75%, for instance).
[/sblock] 
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by rampant:

Yes the complaints about spell versatility sound like they come from 3e, that's because 3e was the last edition to have this issue. That's like telling a guy with his leg chopped off by an axe that he sounds like the last guy to get his leg chopped off with an axe. They're going to sound pretty similar in a lot of ways, partly because the casting system in 5e suffers from being too much like 3e casting, I mean yeah they fixed a lot of things but not everything, and the shapeshifting magic is if anything worse than it was in 3e. The fact that 5e has a variable level of scroll-schema access doesn't actually fix the problem from the design end, i.e. classes that don't pay opportunity costs for new powers. It forces the DM to play a certain kind of world in order to maintain class balance, or to ban/mod classes themselves in order to maintain class balance in their worlds.
 
The other way around the party composition problem is to allow any of the artificer's allies to use their infused items. It's not a completely broken ability in and of itself I just want to make it more consistent across party types.
 
As to the artificer having always had access to every spell in the game, at least indirectly: I am very aware, in fact I attribute a lot of what broke the 3e artificer to a combination of universal spell access and a poorly controlled crafting system.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by Tempest_Stormwind:

rampant wrote:Yes the complaints about spell versatility sound like they come from 3e, that's because 3e was the last edition to have this issue.
3e had this issue due to, in a large part, the ability of the players to tap into established game world resources (specifically research time and magic item shops) to expand their capability, in addition to having the capacity of expanding their capability.
 
4e, interestingly, kept the former in play (through tomes, which were similar to the 3e "runestaff" concept) but clamped down on the latter (tomes didn't change the number of powers you could use, but allowed you to employ a larger array of powers within that limitation than you normally could). They were only really balanced out by their expense, just like in 3.5 (except 4e was much more rigorous on WBL than 3.5 was). So it did have the same issue, but it attempted to regulate it through wealth management - and we all know that can't possibly fail. (The last time I helped a player learn 3.5 after being trained on 4e, they presented their 7th level wizard specializing in fire spells as a model of what they wanted in 3.5. That wizard, like virtually all such wizards (accounting for build) knew a fixed number of powers (the base numbers were 2/3/2/2 (AEDU notation), but build and racial options and a Spellbook feat added more, and wizards technically knew more than this in their book that they could swap out, but the number they could bring to the fore in combat was about that amount). Then I looked at their equipment and saw thirteen extra spells available through tomes, of which seven were available at once. What was that about 4e preventing players from doubling their versatility again?)
 
5e inverted that - they allowed the expanded capability, but seriously clamped down on the game world resources used to do that expanding. Research cannot provide spells, there are no scroll shops, and scrolls are less common as loot. You have the ability to expand your spellbook, but not the tools to do so. (This allows you to, for instance, have an NPC wizard hire the PCs with the offer of a rare spell he knows, or to have the PCs approach said NPC and accept a quest to prove their worth before trading spells.) Multiple PC wizards at once introduce the largest possible expansion of spell lists in the game, through trading spells.... but they do pay an opportunity cost for this. It's the cost of playing a party with two (squishy!) wizards in a system where the wizards aren't curbstomping everyone and they really do need to be protected and supported. At the player level, characters are best if they specialize, but at the party level, you want your party to be diverse but synergistic. Having multiple characters of the same class (with, ultimately, the same spells known under this assumption!) goes against that goal. 
 
That's like telling a guy with his leg chopped off by an axe that he sounds like the last guy to get his leg chopped off with an axe.
OR, it's more like having a guy cry "wolf". The guy before him cried "wolf" when there was a wolf, so we take the new guy seriously - but for his cry to be valid, we need to find out if there's actually a wolf. And it looks like the environment around town isn't one that can support wolves. A lone wolf might slip through, but we aren't justified living in constant predatory fear. The call is for vigilance, not paranoia.
 
I mean yeah they fixed a lot of things but not everything, and the shapeshifting magic is if anything worse than it was in 3e.
Aye, shapeshifting is one of the areas that I think will cause problems for the artificer. The question is, does it cause more problems for the artificer than it does for existing spellcasters? Because if the answer's "no", then the problem isn't with the artificer, and the problem exists in standard 5e already, and it requires a patch on the spells themselves to fix.... which will also likely solve any problems the artificer would produce with them. 
 
In either case, the answer isn't to do the designer's equivalent of the DM's banhammer. It's to start with what seems like a good or natural idea, and then expose it to rigorous testing to see if it breaks. Or, if you prefer, asking people to rip me a new one. (That's why I'm quite glad for your feedback, by the way - the more brutal it is, the tougher the test will be.)
 
My goal wasn't to fix 5e. It was to introduce another component to 5e. I'm still testing out things like multiclassing to see if it breaks once it starts interacting with things, entirely because I want it to feel like it's a natural part of the game.
 
The fact that 5e has a variable level of scroll-schema access doesn't actually fix the problem from the design end, i.e. classes that don't pay opportunity costs for new powers. It forces the DM to play a certain kind of world in order to maintain class balance, or to ban/mod classes themselves in order to maintain class balance in their worlds.
Ideally, you design rules to automatically adjust to whatever parameters the DM is already using to tune his game. That's why I went the way I did with Salvage Essence and item creation - yes, it leaves a lot up to the DM, but very little is needed beyond what the DM is already doing to regulate magic items in the game, and it will automatically adjust to whatever standards the DM deemed appropriate in his game. For example, in Dark Sun, a Decanter of Endless Water would break the game, but the DM knew this in advance, and simply never places one in the game world. He did this before he knew a player wanted to play an artificer, and boom, the artificer still can't create the disruptive item. Meanwhile, in Eberron,  +1 swords are not as uncommon as they are in 5e standard: not everyone has them, but they're common enough to be manufactured - so the DM decided in advance they'd be available for sale at price X, if you go through the proper channels. Then he finds out a player is playing an artificer, and he can produce +1 swords... if he sacrifices one of them and then pays (in gold and time) to build replacements, which ultimately just wind up with items that you can already buy because the DM considered them appropriate for the game. (This also leaves it open for another potential hook if you want, since it's possible that you view Cannith as aggressively protecting its procedures....).
 
I'm still not sure if the same degree of adjustment is true for the book of schema. That's one of the reasons why I defaulted to making it about half the size of a wizard's spellbook. You have a wider possible array of spells to select from, but only half as much space to carry them by default, so presumably the amount of work you'd need to do just to reach standard wizard levels will vary in 5e standard compared to Eberron. And guessing what form that Eberron's item economy will take is pure speculation at this point. (My guesses are that they'll either change item rarities and make common items available for purchase (possibly with a licensing or black-market system to provide a DM some check on this; Star Wars: Saga Edition did this in a really simple way that made getting certain things very difficult, and changed the dynamic for shopping between civilization and the fringes, which'd work in any setting with bureaucracy, including Eberron; Rodney Thomson was a Saga designer), or they'll introduce a tag on items that marks if they're being manufactured and available for sale at their original rarity.)
 
When I know what form a magic item economy (and by extension, scroll availability) will be in 5e, I'll revisit this. In the meantime, I'll be testing it "by the book". Any DM that varies from the book is already expecting repercussions, and by using a similar system to the wizard, any repercussions from the artificer will at least be predictable.
 
The other way around the party composition problem is to allow any of the artificer's allies to use their infused items. It's not a completely broken ability in and of itself I just want to make it more consistent across party types.
I'm actually leaning the other way, making arcane devices only usable by the artificer themself. This also solves the problem and it prevents the spell use side of the equation from blowing up. (I'm more concerned about spell use than I am spell diversity, which is why there's so many more checks on prototypes and limits on arcane devices than there is on the spellbook.)
 
But leaving things as they are allows the artificer to improve his warrior companions (through Weapon/Armor Augmentation and other buffs) and his mage companions (who fight using cantrips and often avoid getting hit altogether instead of enduring it, so they won't benefit from the same augmentations, but they can make use of spell scrolls and thus arcane devices).  Giving everyone access to the arcane devices adds another exception to the rules, and further favors the warriors, and allows the artificer to go nova in a way that no other class has ever been able to do in 5e (for instance, an 8th level party would be able to toss out four full-strength Fireballs in one round regardless of the party's composition. You'd burn through the artificer's reserve in one round with this, but that's 32-(112)-192 damage (four separate DC 15 Dex saves to reduce it by 4-(14)-24 per successful save), which is enough to basically destroy (or at least cripple) any tough encounter at this level unless it's fire-immune. (That's the point of a nova.) Previously, this was only possible in a party of four wizards, and you've already yelled at length about how the game dies if there's more than one wizard on the team. And this is with only the most banal, obvious, and uncreative spell out there.
 
The artificer is already a force multiplier. (Not a bad thing - that's exactly what he's designed to do.) I don't want him becoming the force with which the party fights, which is what he'd be if he's giving everyone free use of scrolls. At least not early on - again, high level alchemists have spell flasks, which do exactly what you want them to do (they act like spell scrolls that anyone can use, with a small number of limitations - and an unwritten one as well. The alchemist is unusually hungry for craft reserve, since it fuels their signature bombs, and spell flasks aren't any cheaper than normal. You could hypothetically prepare three 7th level spell flasks and pass them around at 20th level, but you'd only have 4 reserve left to spend on bombs, other potions, arcane devices, or other uses like Magecraft. The bombs and magecraft are on a short-rest recharge, but the spell flasks, arcane devices, and potions aren't.).
 

As to the artificer having always had access to every spell in the game, at least indirectly: I am very aware, in fact I attribute a lot of what broke the 3e artificer to a combination of universal spell access and a poorly controlled crafting system.
And the 5e system is much more regulated on both of these.
1) Magic item crafting takes a formula, which is only introduced by Salvage Essence or DM fiat, and even that only gives you a roadmap. The crafting system follows the same tuning knobs the DM is already using to control magic items in the game, and provides him with every possible opportunity to control what little is left.
2) Universal spell access is gone, being reduced to a (SMALL) spellbook; the system itself also prevents that from easily being expanded because the scrolls simply aren't available and the research won't work.
 
 
 
 
EDIT: Revisions made:
  • I've moved all of my designer notes and commentary to the second post, not the first. 
  • For consistency with Tempest and War clerics and Valor bards, the Spellforgers' Guild now gives proficiency with martial weapons instead of one martial weapon. (I feel better about doing this after removing heavy armor from them above, but misreading the more magical Valor bard as having only light armor, when it gets medium armor as well. (The artificer gets Extra Attack one level sooner and thanks to Augmentation Savant often has one or two resistances (from a small list, bypassed by magic weapons), a small amount of bonus damage, and the ability to retool his weapons to match vulnerabilities or avoid resistances/immunities given one action, while the Valor bard has more spells, higher level spells and a bonus-action Combat Inspiration.))
  • While I was looking at the Spellforgers' Guild, I renamed the somewhat lame and potentially ambiguous Augmented Infusion into the more evocative Tools of War.
  • Armor Augmentation now ends if you remove your armor or shield during its duration. (I had this text in Weapon Augmentation but for some reason left it out of Armor Augmentation.)
  • Stone Construction is renamed to Hardened Construction. 
  • Total Repair and Disable Construct have a slight tweak, changing references to disease (which constructs are generally immune to) to curses (which they aren't). Disable Construct also deals Force damage, just like Inflict Damage does.
I'm also considering removing the renames on Shield of Faith and Crusader's Mantle. The crunch is unchanged (apart from the general need for an object as a material component), so why should the names be changed? I'm ramping up to present the spells using the standard format, and that'll be a bit more of a space-saver. (In the meantime, there are fluff notes added.)
 
NOTE: The only big thing that is currently being tested is the impact of switching Precision Reflexes and Infuse Bomb for alchemists - Precision Reflexes is basically a bonus-action attack if you've got an alchemical item available, and bombs are more central to the idea of the alchemist than Precision Reflexes is. However, this will enable more multiclassing options - notably, a three-level artificer dip would give you 3+Int reserve to (slowly) make bombs with, which recovers on a short rest, along with the usual other artificer goodies. I can see arcane tricksters in particular going nuts over this.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by rampant:

 
The problem with your 'automatically adjusting artificer' is that the class becomes more and less powerful base don the DM's world building in a way that most other classes don't. Fighter, barbarians, warlocks, rogues, sorcerers, bards, the properly designed classes can be put into most game worlds and maintain both their overall potency, and their individual strengths and weaknesses. Even the iffy classes like the wizard and the cleric maintain fairly similar limitations in most game worlds. Although like you said in a world with scrolls on the rack wizards get a versatility boost. Clerics just get auto updated with everything which is about 3 times worse. 
 
 
Tomes? Do you mean like the wizard ability from 4e? Guess what, some major differences between the 4e books and the 3e/5e ones. 1st. Of all you could only have one extra spell per qualifying spell known (dailies and utilities if I recall correctly), although some feats would allow you to multiply this effect (however as you were paying with a feat that constitutes an opportunity cost). There were hard limits in place, and you were still picking off a pre-defined list of powers. Yes the 4e wizard learned more powers than any other class, that's completely ok, being the class with the most known powers is not in and of itself a problem. The problem is when you can buy permanent powers known via a non-character building resource without switching out old ones, and the other classes can't. Or in the case of clerics when you just automatically get the new powers for doing jack all. 2.) A 4e wizard had one book, he might make copies, but he couldn't have multiple books with different spells in them his known spells were his known spells, even if he managed to gank another wizard and decode the book he couldn't add them to his spells known until he opened up some spells known slots, either by leveling up or swapping out old ones (also at level up technically).
 
5e makes a big deal about how you don't have to have scrolls at every shop and such like, and frankly removing magic items form the game's assumed mathematical progression is probably a good idea. The flat plus aspects of magic items were always the least interesting bits anyway, more of a chore to keep up with than anything else. However, the fact of the matter is that in many worlds it makes sense for there to be scrolls on the shelves and in those worlds the wizard becomes a lot more versatile, just like your artificer does in a schema rich world, what you call 'automatically adjusting' is basically the problem because the class becomes vastly more or less versatile, and/or powerful based on the game world which is  a major  problem because it makes the class basically unevaluatable, you have to evaluate the game world for each campaign before deciding if the class is balanced, and whats more the class becomes more unbalanced the more appropriate it would be to the setting. You put the work of making the class balanced on the DM instead of the designer. Which means the designer isn't doing their job. 
 
What part of this is hard to understand? the fact that learning new powers via the scroll system is 'harder' in 5e is irrelevant, the class needs to give a balanced number of spells/powers known, and if you want to exceed that number you should pay an opportunity cost. You yourself are fond of pointing out that it's not guaranteed that you'll be able to add schema right? So if you have that sort of situation and you don't give them enough powers then the class is underpowered, if you do give them enough then when someone plays the class in a game where they do get the chance to expand they become overpowered. 
 
As for the spell scrolls I can sort of see the issue when you put it that way, warrior types get the weapon augment and the mages get scrolls, However weapon augmentation is a little sup-par compared to being able to hand off a scroll of just about anything. The artificer get's a nifty damage boost when using it but recall most of the other guys don't .
 
Also even if the party does all pick up a scroll from the artificer and use them, that's not going nova, not at all. Yes you're chewing up a lot of artificer resources and the artificer is involved in a lot of stuff that round, but you're not actually being all that dramatic. See it's still spaced out over the same number of turns, and eats the same number of actions. The party is spending their actions to cast your spells, which can be incredibly useful I'd be the first to admit, but going nova generally means you're doing something unusually impressive for a single turn. Scrolls don't do that, they let you trade your turn for the spell in the scroll, yes it all draws from the scroll writer's resources so they probably feel like they went nova. However, the impressiveness over time equation for an artificer scroll alpha strike is not that high, because they're eating a lot of time.
 
That said I don't actually care whether you limit the artificer's devices to themselves, or open them up to everyone at this point, just pick one, or if you insist that weapon augmentation is comparable for those who can't currently make use of scrolls then you need to do a lot better than energy damage when you cast it on others.
 
I get not wanting to fix 5e with a single class, it's beyond the scope of the project I hear ya. The catch is you can't ignore the problems 5e has, you have to design around them.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by Tempest_Stormwind:

rampant wrote:Tomes? Do you mean like the wizard ability from 4e? Guess what, some major differences between the 4e books and the 3e/5e ones. 1st. Of all you could only have one extra spell per qualifying spell known (dailies and utilities if I recall correctly), although some feats would allow you to multiply this effect (however as you were paying with a feat that constitutes an opportunity cost). There were hard limits in place, and you were still picking off a pre-defined list of powers. Yes the 4e wizard learned more powers than any other class, that's completley ok, being the class with the most known powers is not in and of itself a problem. The problem is when you can buy permanent powers known via a non-character building resource without swtiching out old ones, and the other classes can't. Or in the case of clerics when you just automatically get the new powers for doing jack all. 2.) A 4e wizard had one book, he might make copies, but he couldn't have multiple books with different spells in them his known spells were his known spells, even if he managed to gank another wizard and decode the book he couldn't add them to his spells known until he opened up some spells known slots, either by leveling up or swapping out old ones (also at level up technically).
No, I mean the tomes introduced in Arcane Power, which really were the equivalent of runestaffs with a use limiter on them. The Tome of Replenishing Flame, for instance, contained two daily wizard fire powers of up to its level, and by expending your own unusued daily attack power of equal or higher level as a free action, you could use either one of them instead (though you lost your chance at the end of the encounter). These spells could be copied into your spellbook, but they didn't need to be prepared or anything in advance the way a normal spellbook spell would - just having the tome on hand was enough. The way the level progression and price worked was basically standard for 4e (i.e. it's a money-sinking treadmill to keep the numbers going; like you I believe that removing the assumption of magic items from the game's core math was one of the best things about 5th), but it's still, functionally, "buying" two extra possible (prepared!) spells beyond your normal limits.  Or, in your terms, buying (semi)permanent powers known via a non-character-building resource without switching out old ones. (I say "semi" only because the game expects you to rotate out lower-level tomes, but by then the a higher-level one with better powers in it will be available.) The only limit here is the descriptor.
 
Also, I'm much too simulationist for 4e, so I read point 2 as if it's something I'd say to attack 4e. In 5th, the schema are basically blueprints with personalized notation; if I'm in my fabrication lab in a big university with its library behind me, I don't see any reason why I couldn't construct a massive array of arcane devices (but not at once, since craft reserve won't sustain that many), even as a low-level artificer. In fact, that's kind of an apt description of House Cannith's Tinker's Guild.
 
One thing I toyed around with, but removed because there's no precedent, was using the space in a spellbook as a resource. (I originally said that schema take up twice as much space as a spell of the same level, and formulas from Salvage Essence took up 2^(R+1) pages with R being rarity (Common is 1), but with cleaner language. I removed it when I noticed there's no mention of the length of a typical spell nor the size of a standard spellbook in the game.)  That would at least make schema clunky to transport without proper tools, since there's no Blessed Books and bags of holding are hard to come by. However, it turned out to add a lot of text, which violated Goal 3.
 

5e makes a big deal about how you don't have to have scrolls at every shop and such like, and frankly remocving magic items form the game's assumed mathematical progression is probably a good idea. The flat plus aspects of magic items were always the least interesting bits anyway, more of a chore to keep up with than anythign else.
I'm the same way. This is also the same reason why the Augmentation spells unique to artificers play with damage types instead - that way, including artificers doesn't bake +X weapons into the system any more than, say, adding a character who can cast Magic Weapon does.  (There's Magic Armor, which is a unique artificer spell as well, but looking just at the artificer's spell list, it's a natural fit as a unique spell, and it competes for concentration with the others.)
 

However, the fact of the matter is that in many worlds it makes sense for there to be scrolls ont he shelves and in those worlds the wizard becomes a lot more versatile, just like your artificer does in a schema rich world, what you call 'automatically adjusting' is basically the problem because the class becomes vastly more or less versatile, and/or powerful based on the game world which is  amajor  problem becaus eit makes the class basically unevaluatable, you have to evaluate the game world for each campaing before deciding if the class is balanced, and whats more the class becomes more unbalanced the more appropriate it would be to the setting. You put the work of making the class balanced on the DM instead of the designer. Which means the designer isn't doign their job.
Let me get this straight: If the DM deviates from the rules, the game breaks. I'm supposed to anticipate every possible deviation and test for that, because this is the job for a designer.
 
No, that's wrong. Testing every possible deviation is impossible. What you do is provide a single system with a set of assumptions, and then test within those assumptions to make sure it works. You include guidelines for deviations, and clearly mark those as "variants" and make sure people going off-road know what they're getting into, because that's the only way to account for the massive range of human creativity. 
 
I'm doing the latter - I'm testing the artificer with assumptions for 5e standard. I'm fairly confident in how some aspects, notably Salvage Essence, translate with different sorts of item availability policies, but without having a set of concrete rules to follow for different policies, I don't have a way of knowing how the rest of the game will behave under those policies. As such, I don't have any benchmark to test against, let alone an environment to test in.
 
All of what I've just said, by the way, applies equally well to the fighter as it does to the wizard. The fighter in an Epic Heroism game (using the variant in the DMG; the nutshell summary is that it's the same, but short rests are 5 minutes and long rests are an hour, and high-level spells (6th+) still need an 8-hour rest to recover) is virtually unkillable and has an impossibly high damage output, so much so that I'm certain it wasn't tested under that paradigm. The wizard, being less dependent on short rests and more dependent on long ones, doesn't gain as much from such a paradigm (especially where the high-level slots are concerned), so it's clear that the variant influences different classes unevenly even without deploying the testing metrics. There are certainly other areas of the game that break open if you do this as well. However, it's a variant. It's not intended to be as robust as the main system, as it's only going to be used by people who are comfortable going off the beaten track, and those who do are warned of the risks when they do it.
 

What part of this is hard ot understand? the fact that learning new powers via the scroll system is 'harder' in 5e is irrelevant, the class needs to give a balanced number of splles/powers known, and if you want to exceed that number you should pay an opportunity cost. You yourself are fond of pointing out that it's not garanteed that you'll be able to add schema right? So if you have that sort of situation and you don't give them enough powers then the class is underpowered, if you do give them enough then when someone plays the class in a game where they do get the chance to expand they become overpowered.
Power's a spectrum, not a binary "under/over" thing.
 
Furthermore, there's still not one but three throttles in place for how many of these can be deployed at once, even if you ignore the spellbook and the fact that artificers have slow spell level progression (so by the time they're building 3rd level devices, wizards are picking up 5th level spells; if there's a critical 4th level spell that you designed your adventure around, a PC wizard may have it, but a PC artificer won't). Let's assume that someone's actually got the infinite spellbook and the effect you want is of a level you can cast (this is actually a stronger set of assumptions than the artificer will ever encounter, so the clamping we get from these rules will actually be stronger in real play). 
1) There's craft reserve, most obviously, which is a daily resource with multiple features demanding it (and since devices cost one point of that per level of the spell, you wind up getting fewer and fewer of the strong ones; the fact that they're Spell Scrolls, which don't scale with your proficiency bonus or Intelligence, mean you have incentive to use your biggest ones).
2) There's also construction time (you can only build one of them per rest, and only if you have unspent reserve; if you walk into a dungeon with all your reserve in pre-built items, you can't replenish them until tomorrow, so your "versatility" is set entirely by what you prepared before the adventure began (just like an AD&D magic-user in this regard, since you need to build multiple copies of a device to use its effect more than once). If you walk in with no devices, keeping your craft reserve free to handle whatever problems you encounter with maximum versatility, you only get a chance to build one per rest. And every position in between on that scale.)
3) There's activation time. Using a spell scroll (and thus, an arcane device) always requires it to be in your hand (so you need to Use an Object to retrieve it, since they're not handled like ammunition; this isn't too severe but it does eat up your interaction options taken during movement most of the time), and being an object that requires your action to use (DMG p.139 on Spell Scrolls), you also need to Use an Object to activate them (Basic Rules p72 on Use an Object), meaning they take up your action even if the spell inside is a bonus-action spell, and short of using Contingency there's no way to make use of a reaction-spell-based arcane device. (The flipside is that it takes only one action even if the spell inside is a long-casting-time spell, but none of the long-casting-time spells are combat spells, and many of them are already rituals, which you can cast from scratch faster than you can build the device and paying 0 craft reserve. You, or the tomelock that's already shown this isn't too much of a problem.)
 
Now, you can get around these restrictions by using Prototype, which also uses your Intelligence and proficiency directly, but that carries its own set of restrictions:
1) It consistently costs a spell slot, even if there's a mishap. (Magitechnicians can cast it from craft reserve, but there, it eats up the craft reserve in the same way as an arcane device does - long rest recharge.) You have fewer of these slots to waste.
2) Casting time - it's a 1-minute cast time, preventing its use in combat. (Magitechnicians, again, can get around this, which is one of the big selling points of the guild. However, it costs a Hit Die to do this, so it's at most once per level per day, and long rests only recover up to one-half of your level in spent Hit Dice at most, so this is not sustainable and it eats into your ability to bounce back during rests.)
3) It's risky; I posted the success rates above. Recall how people would get bent out of shape with even a 10% Arcane Spell Failure chance in 3.5? You have much more than that if you're trying a high-level spell, meaning you stick to a lower level one than you need unless it's an emergency. This exposes it to similar weaknesses of using lower-level spell scrolls. Also, that 3.5 bent-out-of-shapeness was in a paradigm where a failed spell was just a wasted action - here, it's also a mishap, which is not insubstantial damage against you to begin with (which I assume during balancing), and possibly much more if the DM is getting creative. (Again, the magitechnicians get around this to an extent, but only after level 11, and the fail chance on your high level slots is still substantial.)
4) It actually shares the same activation time limit as above (need to be in hand, need to use your action to set them off, and as such make reaction spells impossible and bonus-action spells less useful), augmented by the shorter duration on prototypes and without the exception for long-casting-time spells. (Magitechnicians can't get around this, and in fact feel it stronger, since they rely on Prototype so much. Even they need to spend a turn (and a Hit Die!) setting it up, so you actually get the spell one round after you wanted it - and if circumstances have changed by then such that you no longer want it, tough, the slot is spent and the prototype's duration is ticking.)
 
All of that is independent of the size of your spellbook and the availability of spells to fuel it; it's also (more or less) independent of the delayed spell level acquisition that being a 2/3 caster brings with it. These are not hurdles that can be easily ignored.
 

As for the spell scrolls I can sort of see the issue when you put it that way, warrior types get the weapon augment and the mages get scrolls, However weapon augmentation is a little sup-par compared to being able to hand off a scroll of just about anything. The artificer get's a nifty damage boost when using it but recall most of the other guys don't .
The reason you'd use Weapon Augmentation specifically isn't to increase damage (except for you - and that's because artificers lack any offensive cantrips or other weapon support, but are expected to fight with magically-boosted weapons). The reason you use Augmentation specifically is to exploit vulnerabilities or avoid resistances. (A low-level fighter against a mummy is in for a challenge, especially with a nonmagical sword. If that sword gets a fire augmentation, though, expect him to chew through the mummy in a round or two. Switching the damage type here quadrupled the fighter's damage - but it's situational, and relies on the artificer making smart choices instead of simply locking on and deploying a strong buff by default. Augmentation is also a multitarget buff, which is pretty rare among the weapon buffs and changes in utility based on the number of cantrip-users vs weapon-users in the party.)
 
However, look through the rest of the artificer's spell list, paying special attention to those that are buffs or those that create opportunities. None of them support caster playstyles except, possibly, the chess spells at high levels (i.e. Wall of Stone) and its "summon" spells (Animate Objects, Mordenkainen's Sword), none of which are online at any reasonable level. The closest it gets is Glyph of Warding, which is a noncombat support spell (and the way the artificer works, without using prepared spells, he can only pick Explosive Runes with it, which doesn't favor any class in particular). The only wizards that could benefit from his buffs are warforged wizards, if you assume they're constructs (the rules on warforged are ambiguous as to whether they're constructs or humanoids), but the nature of the construct-specific buffs generally favor creatures exposed to direct combat (except for Energy Ward, which also favors nothing in particular). In fact, the defensive buffs that aren't construct-enabled require a suit of armor to work (Magic Armor, Armor Augmentation), and sorcerers and wizards don't wear armor.
 
The spellcasters that benefit most from artificer support - either on the team or through multiclassing - are actually the 1/3 casters, the arcane trickster and the eldritch knight (both of whom are Int casters with access to the wizard spell list, meaning they work well with both arcane devices and prototypes, yet they're primarily considered weapon-users instead of spellslingers). The arcane trickster can do magical things with Mage Hand, including using alchemists' bombs, and can benefit from Sneak Attack more easily with the aid of a homunculus (it's an extra body on the field, even if it isn't commanded). The eldritch knight has blast and defense spells of its own, and wears good armor and carries good weapons to enhance. (In fact, an EK can strongly consider a 3-level artificer dip to get short-rest-recharge, int-based attacks of a tunable damage type, two types of resistance (armor and shield), and a couple out-of-combat spells; everyone already expects him to fight with magic and swordplay, and this lets him interface the two perfectly. Plus, against foes with a basic energy vulnerability, an elemental cantrip and a matching-element-augmented weapon make a good War Magic combo. Meanwhile, an AT/artificer 3 multiclass has Expertise in Arcana, meaning his prototypes are much more reliable, even though he still can't use them in combat even if he's a magitechnician, and he can be in control of his own homunculus if he wants.)
 

Also even if the party does all pick up a scroll from the artificer and use them, that's not going nova, not at all. Yes you're chewing up a lot of artificer resources and the artificer is involved in a lot of stuff that round, but you're not actually being all that dramatic. See it's still spaced out over the same number of turns, and eats the same number of actions. The party is spending their actions to cast your spells, which can be incredibly useful I'd be the first to admit, but going nova generally means you're doing something unusually impressive for a single turn. Scrolls don't do that, they let you trade your turn for the spell in the scroll, yes it all draws from the scroll writer's resources so they probably feel like they went nova. However, the impressiveness over time equation for an artificer scroll alpha strike is not that high, because they're eating a lot of time.
A nova requires two things: A massive expenditure of resources in a short amount of time (such that you're "burned out" later on), and a stronger-than-usual output during that time. It's not related specifically to a single character's turn - it's a small amount of time and a larger amount of resources than would be sustainable or advised.
 
You're burning through the artificer's craft reserve in a single round (ROUND, not TURN, is the important part here) and hurling far more spells than the game would assume except in the 4-wizard-party case (a party the game doesn't suggest, largely because that's a glass cannon - here it's all of the cannon (for that round), none of the glass).
 
Look at the numbers for the very basic case about an 8th level party unloading four Fireballs in one round. Look at the foes you'll fight around CR 8. The actual CR 8 foes in the MM average 118 hit points with 13 Dexterity and thus a +4 Dexterity save unless they're explicitly proficient in it. Four Fireballs averages nearly as much damage as their HP, and with a Dex save that low, it's unlikely that more than one will pass, which is still 90 damage in one turn. And in this case - with a spell that probably isn't all that hot since it's a full spell level behind the wizard's range at this level - that can be done against an entire field of CR 8 foes with pretty decent reliability, without any special support beyond the devices, and without picking a better spell. The question to ask, then, is what the average party would output, and how it compares to ~90 damage to huge clusters of CR 8 foes over a turn. And that requires far more work on my part than balancing the probabilities on prototype took - so it's a lot of work for a potentially exploitable nova enabler that the current rules prevent from deploying, and I'd need to do it against every possible spell at every possible level to be sure it'd work.
 
It would be cool, but it'd be impossible to police at a rules-design level. It'd be entirely up to the DM to prevent that from going wild - and wasn't it you earlier who said that if the rules force the DM to balance things, the rules aren't doing their job?
 
I'm fine leaving this, with limits, to the Spell Flasks on the alchemist. That shows up late enough that I'm fine with it (by 17th level, 6th level spells just aren't cutting it, and they cost a lot of craft reserve), and it has a couple other limitations too (notably, offensive targeted spells don't work - but that'll need testing, and I haven't hit that far with the alchemist yet.) You haven't so much as mentioned spell flasks, even though they do exactly what you want them to do.
 
I get not wanting to fix 5e with a single class, it's beyond the scope of the project I hear ya. The catch is you can't ignore the problems 5e has, you have to design around them.
 
You also have to design within the constraints of 5e. One of those constraints is that scrolls aren't freely purchasable. That's what I'm testing within. I can't foresee how available they'd become in games with more liberal economies, at least not without a point of reference (i.e. a 5e Eberron Campaign Setting Guide). But I do know that if I set it to be robust against all possible modifications (say, by adopting a spells-known model for schema), then the artificer ceases to feel like an artificer to me even in the assumed and shared 5e standard. I'd rather risk a potential imbalance in the face of a DM's houserule than ultimately producing a castrated version of the class - seeing as that's exactly the direction that WotC's Unearthed Arcana article tried to take, and if I thought that worked, then I wouldn't have done this project at all.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by rampant:

I know that scrolls aren't freely purchasable I've mentioned that several times I'm sure, the problem is if you ever find/buy 1 you've broken the balance. By allowing the artificer to 'scale to the expectations of the game world' or whatever you call it you'vre created a class whose versatility and power come from the DM. The artificer isn't adjusting to a new scenario he's just flat broken in certain ones, and less so in others (because I still think that being allowed to cherry pick any spell of the level sthey can reach is nuts in and of itself).
 
Allowing artificers to learn from schema is not designing within the constraints of 5e, it's reapeatign a mistake that they made with wizards, but on a whole other level because they don't even have the constraints of a spell list. Forcing them to pay opportunity costs to learn spells/powers is certainly not outside the constraints. It doens't matter if it happens less often then in 3e, that it happens at all is wrong, especially without some sort of upper limit to enforce opportunity costs. Either they have a balanced number of powers/spells known and adding more is broken, or they don't and you need to up the number grante dby the class, not leave it ot the DM to decide whether or not the artificer gets to suck or soar.
 
Also where does it say 5e assumes that you can't buy magic items because All i see isthat they leave it up to the DM whether a magic item can be bought/made/found, I don't know if you can really take their unavailiablity as being baseline anymore than we could take availiability as  a baseline. The class should be desinged so that it remains balanced in both cases.
 
Yes power is a spectrum, but classes need to be in a fairly narrow band of that spectrum.
 
Weapon augmentation is the one that gets all the class feature buffs, looking over your spell list I'm not really seeing a ton of love for the wepaon users, elemental weapon is nice but faces the same basic limits as weapon augment, i.e. elemental damage, and little else. MAgic weapon is again all right but even in conjunction it doesn't seem on the level of scpell scrolls, and remember both of those are concentration spells. Frankly trying to rely on magic to make things better for non-magic weapon users almost never ends well. The classes that have the spells wepaon users actually want tend to be selfish self-buffing gish classes. 
 
As to your scroll nova, still no. A party Comprised of a wizard, a cleric (preferably with a blasty domain), a  lock, and let's say a sorceror would have a similar alpha strike potential, and none of them would be 'going nova' In fact some could probably go nova on top of that. The only thing the spell scrolls do is allow them to cast different spells using your resource list it's not actually any more impressive than if they were takign their normal actions, unless you achieve spell synergy, and frankly that's doable in either scenario. 
 
As for 4e tomes: I don't have AP on me, and can't seem to find a reliable quote of the rules. However If it works as you described it sounds more like the Magic item gives you access to the spells as long as you use that item. COuld you use more than one simultaneously? if you lost the tome did you keep the powers? It sounds like the book is eating the spells you'd notrmally cast to give you the spells so the book itself acts as  aspell converter but with only two posisble outputs. I think I'm missing something here.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by AlHazredLiane the Wayfarer:

rampant wrote:Also where does it say 5e assumes that you can't buy magic items because All i see isthat they leave it up to the DM whether a magic item can be bought/made/found, I don't know if you can really take their unavailiablity as being baseline anymore than we could take availiability as  a baseline. The class should be desinged so that it remains balanced in both cases.
I can chime in with that. From the Players Handbook page 144: "Selling magic items is problematic. Finding someone to buy a potion or a scroll isn't too hard, but other ilems are out of the realm of most but the wealthiest nobles. Likewise, aside from a few common magic items, you won't normally come across magic items or spells to purchase. The value of magic is far beyond simple gold and should always be treated as such." I would assume Eberron is one of the exceptions, but still "the value of magic is far beyond simple gold and should always be treated as such."
rampant wrote:However If it works as you described it sounds more like the Magic item gives you access to the spells as long as you use that item.
From Arcane Power page 151: "A tome is a thick book packed with knowledge about casting a spell. The materials that make up the cover of a tome range from leather and thin wood to heavy pieces of metal. The pages of a book can be paper, leather, thin pieces of metal, or other flexible materials. You can't make melee attacks with a tome."If you can wield a tome as an implement, you can add its enhancement bonus to the attack rolls and the damage rolls of implement powers you use through the tome, and you can use its properties and powers. Otherwise, you gain no benefit from wielding a tome." The Tome of Undeniable Fire has this property: "This tome contains two wizard daily fire powers, Both powers must be of a level equal to or lower than that of the tome. Choose these powers when you acquire the tome; they cannot be changed later. You can add these powers to your spell book." And it has this power: "Power (Daily. Arcane, Fire, Implement): Free Action.Choose a power contained in this tome and expend an unused wizard daily attack power of an equal or higher level. You gain the use of the chosen power during this encounter, The power is lost if you do not use it before the end of the encounter."

rampant wrote:COuld you use more than one simultaneously? if you lost the tome did you keep the powers?
No and no. Per the 4E rules, you can only use one implement at a time.
rampant wrote:It sounds like the book is eating the spells you'd notrmally cast to give you the spells so the book itself acts as a spell converter but with only two posisble outputs.
Correct. Other tome substitutions from Arcane Power: Summoner's Tome (two wizard daily summoning powers), Timeless Tome (time stop), Tome of the North Wind (two wizard daily cold powers) and Tome of the Replenishing Flame (two daily wizard fire powers).
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by Tempest_Stormwind:

rampant wrote:I know that scrolls aren't freely purchasable I've mentioned that several times I'm sure, the problem is if you ever find/buy 1 you've broken the balance.
If and only if the class is maximally powerful with the "starting" number of schema. I lowered the starting number of schema far below what I think would be okay, entirely to allow room to grow before breaking. (The increased versatility and access to existing artificer spells, plus the emphasis on non-spell combat and buffs, gives you plenty to do even with a small number of schema.) 
By allowing the artificer to 'scale to the expectations of the game world' or whatever you call it you'vre created a class whose versatility and power come from the DM. The artificer isn't adjusting to a new scenario he's just flat broken in certain ones, and less so in others (because I still think that being allowed to cherry pick any spell of the level sthey can reach is nuts in and of itself).
First, that scaling refers to Salvage Essence (the "create permanent magic items" part of the class), not the schema (which relate to an entirely different ability, namely that of building the ideal tool for any magical task, be it through arcane devices or prototypes). The schema aren't referenced at all for Salvage Essence, though certain formulas (which are, by 5e standard, entirely up to the DM) may reference your specific ability to cast a particular spell.
 
Second, by standard assumptions, spell scrolls might show up on loot tables, but which spells they contain are set by the DM, which ups the workload for the DM (note: this is by standard, well before the artificer enters the equation) but also creates a gateway where problem spells don't appear (i.e. if your game has a lot of wilderness travel, then no scroll of Teleport would be appropriate, similar to how no decanters of endless water would ever show up in Dark Sun). 5e, by default, leaves quite a lot up to the DM. That's not an assertion I can change, but it's one I can work with. I can test under some assumptions (i.e. that scrolls of level X show up with probability Y), but I have to follow the game's own assumptions in other areas (i.e. those scrolls contain spells Z, set by individual DMs). This isn't like other editions where absolutely everything is (allegedly) tested until it cracks, but I can at least reduce the probability of those cracks appearing if the game is run as the books suggest.
 
Allowing artificers to learn from schema is not designing within the constraints of 5e, it's reapeatign a mistake that they made with wizards, but on a whole other level because they don't even have the constraints of a spell list. Forcing them to pay opportunity costs to learn spells/powers is certainly not outside the constraints. It doens't matter if it happens less often then in 3e, that it happens at all is wrong, especially without some sort of upper limit to enforce opportunity costs. Either they have a balanced number of powers/spells known and adding more is broken, or they don't and you need to up the number grante dby the class, not leave it ot the DM to decide whether or not the artificer gets to suck or soar.
How about this, then: I can adjust the amount of time it takes to devise a schema from a spell scroll, such that it's only possible during downtime. Wizards can do this over the course of a few hours, but they can already read the spell scrolls by default (while artificers cannot! I did gloss over this hitch earlier - their spell list is the artificer list and the spells already in their book of schema, so a new spell scroll is one they can't use unless they cast Synchronize on it). By turning it into a downtime activity, they're encouraged to hoard spell scrolls you find on an adventure, which I disliked earlier (so I didn't do this), but if that's enough of an opportunity cost for you to finally move on to criticizing some other aspect of the class besides the "spellbook", I'll do it.
 
Note that downtime days are something the DM hands out like experience points, so they're controlled, and artificers have to spend those days on item creation if they want to employ that.
 

Also where does it say 5e assumes that you can't buy magic items because All i see isthat they leave it up to the DM whether a magic item can be bought/made/found, I don't know if you can really take their unavailiablity as being baseline anymore than we could take availiability as  a baseline. The class should be desinged so that it remains balanced in both cases.
Basic Rules pages 43-44. "Likewise, aside from a few common magic items, you won’t normally come across magic items or spells to purchase. The value of magic is far beyond simple gold and should always be treated as such." The only magic item with an explicitly listed shop entry is the Potion of Healing (which, interestingly, also includes the only reference in the game about how a magic item is made - you need an herbalism kit to make it. No other guidelines are given), and no other Common items are listed. 
 
There are two things in the artificer that directly interact with magic items that don't have a hard cap on them - Salvage Essence and the book of schema. In the case of zero items available for sale, these can't easily be exploited (since everything that could expand them is only earned through hard-won adventures). Let's consider the other extreme, where there are lots of items available for purchase and plenty of money to do so (something even more liberal than 3.5 Eberron).
 
Under these upper-limit assumptions, for Salvage Essence, it consumes the item (not a factor, you can buy a replacement), and requires you to spend downtime days to build copies of your own (this is less useful, since you can buy replacements faster than you can build them). For items not for sale, it reduces to the zero-item case (i.e. if +1 weapons can be bought but Luck Blades cannot, +1 weapons follow the discussion in this paragraph while Luck Blades follow it from the previous one). For the book of schema, you are limited to scrolls (not a factor under these assumptions; they'd be plentiful - note that you can't learn from wizard spellbooks!) and the only limit is the time needed to copy them over (although there's still limits on actually using them(x) even if you have an infinite spellbook). 
 
This is why I offered to come up with a downtime mechanic for actually adding anything you learn to the book of schema - that's the only real "cost" paid under the upper limit of magic item availability. (It's also paid in the zero-item extreme and the very-few-item with no-purchasing baseline, but in those cases there are fewer available items to do this with at all, so even if you learn every scroll you find you might still have downtime days left to spend on other things).
 
Weapon augmentation is the one that gets all the class feature buffs
That's because 1) it's central to the class concept, 2) it's the only weapon/armor buff that can multitarget, and 3) adding in those options as features prevents it from being abused if cribbed by bards, since the vanilla spell is pretty meek but the progression of abilities that add on to it are more useful.
 looking over your spell list I'm not really seeing a ton of love for the wepaon users, elemental weapon is nice but faces the same basic limits as weapon augment, i.e. elemental damage, and little else. MAgic weapon is again all right but even in conjunction it doesn't seem on the level of scpell scrolls, and remember both of those are concentration spells.
Being higher-level than Weapon Augmentation, Magic Weapon and Elemental Weapon also add a bonus on attack and damage rolls, which is not insignificant in this edition (there are many threads that single out Bless as one of the most abusable spells in the edition, for instance).
 
Meanwhile, Armor Augmentation and Magic Armor only work if you're wearing armor (everyone except monks, sorcerers, and wizards), and the best aspects of armor augmentation only work if you're using a shield (only some barbarians, Valor bards (with whom it competes for somatic components, unless they've got a variant feat for it), clerics and paladins (who can, through the shield-mounted holy symbol, still use somatic components), fighters (if they aren't great-weapon fighters or two-weapon fighters or archers), rangers (with whom it interferes with both of their signature combat styles) and artificers). The more martial you get, the more of this you can benefit from.
 
Then there's other buff forms from existing PHB spells, like Enhance Ability (bigger benefits on the physical scores) and Disruption Aura (Crusader's Mantle; it only adds damage to weapon attacks).
 
There are rare other boosts that would be appropriate, but I do not want the artificer's basic spell list to include all the appropriate buffs - this increases pressure on selecting the right spells for their book of schema.
 
And none of these are on the same order as "able to use spell scrolls", which is actually one of the reasons why I considered making devices only usable by the artificer himself. But you (and I) seem to like the idea of passing spells to other characters, so I'm reluctant to do this. It's odd that your arguments support reducing access to arcane devices, yet you continue to argue for the exact opposite.
Frankly trying to rely on magic to make things better for non-magic weapon users almost never ends well. The classes that have the spells wepaon users actually want tend to be selfish self-buffing gish classes.
Grammatically, I don't follow what you're saying. I think you're saying that "a caster who buffs others' weapons is less viable than a person who buffs their own weapons", which is still partly true with the artificer (but again, they have ways of overcoming concentration on a couple of those buffs later on, so they can buff their own weapon with Weapon Augmentation and still buff the team, or they can buff the team early on and rely on devices instead of an augmented weapon for a more magical playstyle).
 

As to your scroll nova, still no. A party Comprised of a wizard, a cleric (preferably with a blasty domain), a  lock, and let's say a sorceror would have a similar alpha strike potential, and none of them would be 'going nova' In fact some could probably go nova on top of that. The only thing the spell scrolls do is allow them to cast different spells using your resource list it's not actually any more impressive than if they were takign their normal actions, unless you achieve spell synergy, and frankly that's doable in either scenario.
A party like that is, apart from the cleric, physically fragile, which is the opportunity cost they pay for using classes capable of doing that kind of alpha strike. If you take the kind of attack this enables, and staple it onto characters who can't already cast those spells (which is exactly what appeals to you about that proposition, after all), then you no longer pay that opportunity cost. You have fully functional warriors and non-blasty spellcasters, and now you have an artificer who gives up all of his versatility in order to allow them to perform like a party of full-casters for a brief while. Yes, that's a nova, and it's a problem.
 

As for 4e tomes: I don't have AP on me, and can't seem to find a reliable quote of the rules. However If it works as you described it sounds more like the Magic item gives you access to the spells as long as you use that item. COuld you use more than one simultaneously? if you lost the tome did you keep the powers? It sounds like the book is eating the spells you'd notrmally cast to give you the spells so the book itself acts as  aspell converter but with only two posisble outputs. I think I'm missing something here.
As AlHazred said, yes, you have the long and the short of it - they're items that hold other powers (typically dailies), and as a free action, you give up one of your own dailies and replace it with one of the ones in the tome, for the rest of the encounter. You have the same number of daily powers, but a dramatically increased selection in those powers, which was my entire point.
 

AlHazred wrote:
rampant wrote:COuld you use more than one simultaneously? if you lost the tome did you keep the powers?
No and no. Per the 4E rules, you can only use one implement at a time.
As an implement, yes, but as I understood it, just like nothing stopped you from having a backup sword if you could afford them (or a different implement, in storage, that you'd switch between depending on your foes - maybe one enhanced fire, and another enhanced cold), nothing stopped you from owning more than one tome. You just needed to hold a different tome - you're still only using one implement at a time, but you're holding a different implement (one that hasn't expended its daily ability to give you a different daily power). 
 
5e put the kibosh on this sort of item swapping (even in high item environments) by requiring attunement, but there wasn't a direct analogue in 4e (though there were similar ones in places).
 
Please correct me if I'm wrong - my understanding of 4e is really limited (I really only played it early on, as part of a focus group just before it was published). 
 
 
 
 
From discussion elsewhere:
Vaelorn wrote:Some general comments, as I've only quickly scanned it. It certainly "feels" more like an Artificer than the UA version which is great!
Thanks!
My only concern is that there seems to be quite a lot of complexity built into the class. Now of course, that might just be how artificers work in the game - it may be unavoidable. But it seems like there's a lot to keep track of compared to other classes: craft reserve, construct variants of existing spells, new spells, salvage essence etc.
There isn't as much to track on a single character as it seems - just like a 12th level (to pick a point) wizard might know 30ish spells (from a list of 159 available at that point), but would have at most 17 (plus a small number of nearly-identical cantrips) to keep track of during any given adventuring day. In this case, a 12th level artificer would have 17 schema to track (which are only used when levelling up or building arcane devices (once per rest at most) or casting Prototype (a 5e adaptation of Spell Storing Item, which was orders of magnitude worse); none of these are in-combat options in general) and 10 spells to consider (from a list of 29 available at that point, it's also a tightly focused list), but next to nothing else. In terms of resource management, yes, there's craft reserve on top of spell slots, but in general craft reserve isn't used in combat, so you aren't really tracking it when the fighting is going on. Furthermore, due to time limits, it's rare you'll need to use reserve more than once per rest, so it's something that can safely be relegated to the back of a character sheet. Compare to the warlock, who has some at-will abilities through cantrips / pact boons and invocations, some "per-encounter" abilities through Pact Magic slots, and some "per-day" abilities through invocations and Mystic Arcanum, all of which need to be juggled every round in combat.
 
Most of the complexity involved in this class happens outside of combat, when you're not under any specific time pressure and can think your way through problems. In combat, it nicely simplifies down to just what you've built beforehand (the single-shot devices and potions you have on hand), your small number of item-modifying infusions, and your (probably augmented) weapon. There's an exception on the magitechnician guild, but they're designed entirely around Prototype, so it's entirely clear what the player's getting into if they choose that guild. (On the flipside, the spellforgers' guild is expressly designed to make things simpler, since it focuses on armed combat and has a way of making augmentations more or less persistent, and the alchemist is similar by increasing demand on craft reserve (and thus decreasing the number of devices and potions available to you). The golemist guild is the one I'm least sure about regarding added complexity, though.)
 
For a different discussion on complexity, see the Design Goal 3 discussion in the second post.
 
I like the idea of a craft reserve - I wonder if that idea could be extended to be a more defining feature of the class?
That was how the class originally worked, but it made more sense (thanks, Rampant!) to switch over to more conventional spells. Playtesting shows that craft reserve is actually a defining class feature, though it doesn't quite look like it from the amount of space it takes up in the rules. Managing that reserve, especially at lower levels, is very significant, and at level 1 it's basically all the magic you can bring to the table.
 
Could you replace the construct spell variants with a single feature that says something to the effect of "any healing/buffing spell you learn works on constructs not living creatures"?
That's possible, but tricky, since there's no unified subschool for healing spells or the like. It's a great guideline and one I was following when designing things, but it's proving nearly impossible to work into the existing rules unless I add another tag to the game (currently, there's just the Ritual tag).
 
Salvage essence requires that you track every individual item your artificer has ever salvaged, which might add to the book keeping.
Here's an edition changeover that took me a while to get used to - not only are items not available for sale and difficult to resell (the assumption is that you need to dedicate downtime to selling any magic item - it's not as simple as walking into a shop, erasing it from your sheet, and increasing your GP count), they're also much rarer on the loot table. Those tables suggest most characters can expect to see somewhere around 6 permanent magic items over the course of their entire career, and maybe around 20 consumable items (potions, scrolls, Feather Tokens, etc), and unlike 3.5 and certainly unlike 4e, the vast majority of these are useful and applicable at nearly every level. Furthermore, item creation is a downtime activity only, and it takes a very long time - you'll only consult that list of salvaged items during (tightly-regulated) downtime, and not during an adventure itself (i.e. between sessions, when you've got more time to plan and think). The bookkeeping during playtime is almost nonexistent. 
 

That being said, in the PHB the Wizard class takes up 8 pages so maybe it's fine!
It's actually far more than 8, if you include spells in that. You're including spells when counting against the artificer, so why not count them against the wizard? (A reminder: there's ~40 spells on the artificer list, and not all of them are new. There are 200 wizard spells in the PHB.) I wager that, with all the proper headings/typesetting/table, I can still fit the entire class and all of its new spells within 8 pages.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by rampant:

My entire point is that the open ended number of schema known is inherently unbalancing the class. IF you reduce the number of schema known for the base class then it's dependent on the DM to give them opportunities to expand that list, iif you don't and the class gets the opportunity it's unbalanced. What part of this do you disagree with or not understand? It's plain old bad design because the class fails to establish an evaluatable baseline of competence. The artificer sin one game can be drastically less mechanically powerful/versatile than a similar artificer in another game because of whether or not magic items/scrolls are avaliable or not. You're trying to make the artificer run on setting rather than it's own power. The class is unbalanceable as long as it's powers remain undefined.
 
As for magic used on non-mages my point was that the spells that would actually help being a weapon user more interesting are self only buffs used by classes like the ranger. A lot of th ebuffs used by a dedicate dmagic class are kind of boring.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by Tempest_Stormwind:

rampant wrote:My entire point is that the open ended number of schema known is inherently unbalancing the class. IF you reduce the number of schema known for the base class then it's dependent on the DM to give them opportunities to expand that list, iif you don't and the class gets the opportunity it's unbalanced. What part of this do you disagree with or not understand?
You're viewing it binary again, where unless something is exactly the right value, it's under- or over-powered. 
 
Let me make up some numbers as a demonstration; they'll have a narrow range of "good" target values and the ability to expand, just like spellbook versatility. Let's say that something has a base value, and can be expected to grow by about 5 points, but hypothetically could grow by up to 25 (however, it might not grow at all, and all signs point to 5 being a good average for expected growth, maybe plus or minus 2 if you want a 95% confidence interval, but the possibility of +25 still exists.). Anything over 35 would be considered "overpowered". Anything under 25 is considered "underpowered". What's the value you'd pick for the starting point? 
 
Your argument seems to be that you should pick 30 and remove the ability to expand it at all, which prevents the possibility of it ever growing to broken values. After all, if you kept the ability to expand, 30+25 = 55, which is ZOMGBRORKEN. (Note: I'd agree that in this example, 55 is broken.)
 
My argument is that it should start at 25. If the system expects a 5-growth range, then this will stll reach 30 (it's rare that you'll see anything higher than 32), which isn't yet broken - and it still has some leeway. The possibility exists of a 50, but all signs point to this being very rare, and the cirumstances that will bring this about cause other problems (because they imply a set of houserules that the system doesn't account for). And in the other corner case where it grows by 0, the result is 25, which is still acceptable.
 
THAT'S what I'm aiming for. If I reduce the number of schema available to the base class, low enough that it's still useful but it has room to grow between its base value and the point where it breaks, AND if the "wiggle room" corresponds to a more room than the game's default systems can expect to fill, I will have done my job. Adding in crazy Monty Haul circumstances where everyone can buy a bajillion scrolls every Tuesday is something a DM undertakes under caution, just like every other variant in the rules (including Honor, Sanity, wounds, and Epic Heroism resting), and that rule will impact far more than just the artificer.
 
My goal is to get the base artificer balanced against the base system using its baseline assumptions, first. I am attempting to make it robust to changes in those assumptions, but I can't be expected to think of every crazy houserule that DMs come up with. Neither could WotC, really, which is why there are so many cautionary notes about variant rules scattered throughout the DMG.
 

As for magic used on non-mages my point was that the spells that would actually help being a weapon user more interesting are self only buffs used by classes like the ranger. A lot of th ebuffs used by a dedicate dmagic class are kind of boring.
Setting aside that buffs in 5e are decidedly in the Boring But Practical category, instead of in the "Turn the caster into an impossible avatar of death" category that plagued CoDzillas everywhere.... 
I see two ways to accomplish something like this. One of them is understandable but is bad design. The second is new design space, but only potentially bad design.

The first, understandable, one is looking at self-only caster buffs - like paladin smites and ranger Swift Quiver - and wanting them as a fighter or rogue without having to multiclass.
 
Surely you see this is entirely centered around stealing another class' unique thunder - I wouldn't give Action Surge to paladins nor Metamagic to wizards, and I went to great lengths to prevent Spell Storing Item use from stealing Pact Magic's unique uses. Unique spells (which include nearly all of the Personal spells) are under the same umbrella. (Honestly, if it weren't for the cumbersome steps an artificer has to go through, I would restrict schema to spells that appear on more than one spell list, just to prevent this (even though that's incredibly cumbersome to figure out, thanks to the way the PHB is laid out!). Single-classed artificers generally lack the resources to exploit the low-level uniques like Hunter's Mark, but multiclassed artificers - which I'm still working on testing - don't necessarily have this limitation.)
 
It's also completely accomplishable through multiclassing - especially since one level in Ranger is all you'd need to use an artificer's arcane device of any ranger spell, so the artificer already lets you pull this off with fewer actual Ranger levels than normal (assuming he's high enough level to get the schema, and he can find it or chooses it with one of his few free level-up schemas - in the specific case of ranger, this potentially lets you get Swift Quiver slightly earlier (14th instead of 17th), but bards were already doing this at 10th (or even 6th, for Lore bards), and I'll happly apply any patch WotC uses to fix that in the core rules.). It just won't let you pull it off without ranger levels. And what was that you were saying about opportunity costs?
 
(A minor addendum: You can't actually use a one-level artificer dip the same way. You'd need to copy the higher-level schema from another artificer's book of schema, and you can't do that if you don't have a high enough spell slot. You'd need at least two levels, unless you're already a spellcaster of some sort, which isn't in your example.)
 
The second, potentially usable, is that you would prefer it if the warriors could contribute a concentration slot, so casters won't see "buff the fighter" as a burden.
 
Because that's pretty easy to accomplish through a different infusion (I don't have a name for it yet, but it would affect an item that's currently under the influence of a spell whose caster is both willing and maintaining concentration; the item's wielder is now considered concentrating on it). It's also the reason why I originally had spellforgers bypass concentration on the Tools of War spells. However, using an infusion like this is not like that (now ex-) concentration bypass, because it allows any caster's buff to transfer the concentration load onto its subject. For an artificer, that means that you might stop concentrating on one Magic Weapon and start concentrating on another.... but for a wizard, it means you stop concentrating on one Magic Weapon and start concentrating on Evard's Black Tentacles. THAT would require all kinds of crazy balancing and testing to prevent an explosion.
 
I'm not saying it's impossible - just that it's very treacherous waters.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by rampant:

NO I mean t that classes like ranger and paladin had all the spells for buffing that a weapon user would actually want cast on them, and can't because those spells are self only, and the dedicated caster classes have the boring buffs that can be cast on anyone. Relying on magic classes to make the non-magic classes more interesting is  waste of time because the hybrids are almost always better buffing themselves, and the dedicated casters don't actually have the really interesting buffs for weapon users in 5e.
 
Here's how to balance the artificer with the base system: a pre set number of powers learned. I don't understand why this whole learnign schem/spells without leveling up is so important to people, it's a piss poor mechanic that relies on an inflexible and rigid set of assumptions that in my experience rarely pans out, especially if one uses the treasure tables in the DMG, or the DM populates the world with classed NPCs to swap with. My biggest issue is the unbounded upper limit. If you're so sure that tehey'll not be able to easily get dozens of extra powers this way then it shouldn't be a problem to put a limit on it.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by Tempest_Stormwind:

rampant wrote:NO I mean t that classes like ranger and paladin had all the spells for buffing that a weapon user would actually want cast on them, and can't because those spells are self only, and the dedicated caster classes have the boring buffs that can be cast on anyone. Relying on magic classes to make the non-magic classes more interesting is  waste of time because the hybrids are almost always better buffing themselves, and the dedicated casters don't actually have the really interesting buffs for weapon users in 5e.
And those are the unique spells I was talking about. I don't view them as detached from the class they're in - I view them as part of the class they're in. The artificer can already steal the low-level ones for hiimself relatively easily - a prospect that I will probably end up curtailing, if the multiclass tests come out the way I think they will. I wouldn't want him to also be able to steal them for others.
 

Here's how to balance the artificer with the base system: a pre set number of powers learned. I don't understand why this whole learnign schem/spells without leveling up is so important to people, it's a piss poor mechanic that relies on an inflexible and rigid set of assumptions that in my experience rarely pans out, especially if one uses the treasure tables in the DMG, or the DM populates the world with classed NPCs to swap with. My biggest issue is the unbounded upper limit. If you're so sure that tehey'll not be able to easily get dozens of extra powers this way then it shouldn't be a problem to put a limit on it.
I did mention earlier that having two sets of "spells known" raises all sorts of confusion and exceptions (Why can't he cast a spell he knows? He knows it! And likewise, why can't he create an item of a spell he's got committed to memory?), while having a spellbook (described as blueprints, not spells) and a separate space of spells known keeps the concept separate in players' minds. This is a cognitive argument independent of the size of the book. 
 
That said, I mentioned a while ago, and I didn't follow it, but I will mention it again now and I WILL follow it going forward: I will not address concerns about the size of the spellbook until you bring me some hard data on it being broken under 5e's basic assumptions. In your case, that must involve at least some experience with wizards in 5e standard. And yes, that includes its treasure tables - you'll be surprised at the results.
 
I will continue to be open to other feedback about the rest of the class, without any qualifiers.
 
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by rampant:

 
The size of the spell book is infinite, infinite is never balanced, ever. 
 
Do I need experience with a 5e wizard specifically in order to see that two wizards in the same party will double their spells known by trading?
DO I need experience with 5e wizards to see that the first thign they're gonna do with any scrolls that make it back to town with them is see if any of them are spells they don't know and scribe any that are into their books?
Do  I need experience with 5e wizards to realize that a wizard that is other wise identical to either of the above wizards will be less powerful because of not getitng that random scroll or partner mage depsite otherwise makign identical choices?
 
I can read the rules and see these issues without ever rolling a damned dice.
 
I mean seriously you haven't explained how any of this crap is okay, beyond wizards do it, and it's 'harder in 5e'. Harder doesn't mean impossible, and even an extra 3-4 spells known can make a huge difference. Both for the mage that has them, and the one that doesn't. To say nothing of the absolute unfairness of allowing them to get new powers that way when everyone else has to work for it. 
 
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by Tempest_Stormwind:

I had an incredibly long post eaten by a browser, so I'm slightly peeved while I retype this. Know that this is frustration at a tool, and not at you.
 

rampant wrote:The size of the spell book is infinite, infinite is never balanced, ever.
It's not infinite. It's got a minimum size (for artificers, that's your level +4), and there are a finite set of spells to draw from (there are 300 spells in the PHB of levels 1-7), and the size of the book is class-level dependent (since you can't copy a schema if you don't have a slot - if you get a 5th level scroll, you can't copy it until level 14). There's also a very small chance of actually getting that many schema through scrolls (I'll get to that later).
 
For comparison, the wizard's base spellbook is twice your level +4 in size, and there are only 200 spells in the PHB they could copy (levels 1-9, and they get access to each level sooner than the artificer). 
 
Also, I'm still considering restricting schema to non-unique spells only (those that appear on more than one non-artificer, non-subclass spell list), which would reduce the artificer's valid selection choices to 209 and would remove many problem spells from his possible arsenal (such as Find Familiar). However, the rest of this post doesn't do that.
 
I mean seriously you haven't explained how any of this crap is okay, beyond wizards do it, and it's 'harder in 5e'. Harder doesn't mean impossible, and even an extra 3-4 spells known can make a huge difference.
I have explained it, but I'll put it all together here for you and show you more math. To me, math makes a much more compelling argument than a bad feeling based on zero applicable play experience.
 
There are three points to make here. 
 
The first is that word, "extra". You seem to assume I'm assuming only the basic number of schema (24 for a 20th level artificer) as okay, and anything above that is "extra". That's not what I'm doing. I'm assuming a single artificer is able to learn some schema from scrolls, and I'm actually working out how many scrolls of each level the artificer can expect to find. If I'm balancing my test artificers against this expanded level of schema, then finding some scrolls and copying them so you know more than you start with is not providing "extra" schema. That is, in fact, what I'm doing.
 
Second, I've said many times that it's harder to find scrolls, but let's look at exactly how many you're expected to get by looking directly at the loot.

Show
[sblock]Spell scrolls only show up on treasure hoard tables, so we're going to look at how many those tables produce. 
DMG page 133 shows that it assumes a typical campaign will provide 7 rolls on the CR 0-4 hoard table, 18 rolls on the CR 5-10 table, 12 rolls on the CR 11-16 table, and 8 rolls on the CR 17+ table. That's for the entire party, levels 1-20.
 
[One of the things I typed out here was the explicit breakdown of every treasure hoard table, showing its odds of producing certain numbers of rolls on Tables A-D (you don't need to look higher than D, since Tables E-I don't have any scrolls on them that the artificer can copy.) I'm not typing that out again; you can look at the treasure tables and hoard tables to find the probabilities I used.]
 
What emerges is the following. The expected value of scrolls of each level a party can find, by DMG assumptions, is:
1st: 4.032, available to copy after level 2 (one level after the wizard)
2nd: 1.6591, available to copy after level 5 (two levels after the wizard)
3rd: 0.6822, available to copy after level 8 (three levels after the wizard)
4th: 1.3888, available to copy after level 11 (four levels after the wizard)
5th: 1.1684, available to copy after level 14 (five levels after the wizard)
6th: 1.484, available to copy after level 17 (six levels after the wizard)
7th: 1.7192, available to copy after level 20 (seven levels after the wizard)
Total: 12.1337.
 
There's no way of determining which spells are on those scrolls. Thankfully, the artificer isn't restricted to one class' spell list, so that's a step we don't need to do. I'm going to make the assumption that all spells of the same level are equally likely to appear on a spell scroll (even though this isn't necessarily true - since wizard spell scrolls are actually used for spellbook expansion, one would assume there's a higher demand for wizard-list spell scrolls from whoever's making them in the first place. But I have no way to actually implement that - and in the absence of other prior information, it's logical to assume equal priors). Furthermore, since this is a stress test on the expectation, let's assume the absolute best possible scenario for expanding spellbooks - that none of those scrolls are duplicates. (There are 300 spells and you're sampling ~12 times with replacement; I'll need to double-check my formulas, but this appears to have a 92% probability of at least one duplicate if each possible spell is equally likely. But I digress.)
 
Let's assume the artificer holds on to every single spell scroll the party finds that he could, potentially, copy, and then does so at the first available opportunity - I call this the Turbo Packrat artificer. Note that this is not exactly likely - sometimes you'll want to use the scrolls, and if your party has a wizard in it, he'll not only want the wizard scrolls you find, but he'll be able to copy those sooner than you (and you can't copy them out of his spellbook).
 
At level 20, the Turbo Packrat Artificer goes from 25 schema to 37.1337 schema. Yes, this is an increase of 50%. However, that's still only 37/300 (or 12.3%) of the artificer library. A wizard with zero spells copied (because the Turbo Packrat Artificer is hogging them all) has 44/200 (22%) of their potential spell library, and they have fewer restrictions on how to use it (see below).
 
This is compounded by the artificer's slow spell slot access. Let's be ABSOLUTELY CRAZY and assume the artificer gets 100% of his team's career's loot at level 1 as a freebie, so he can copy every schema he can as soon as he gets the right slot level. Let's also pick a level - level 11, say, which is when fighters get their third attack and wizards get fifth level spells. (This isn't one of those levels I could have picked where other progressions get something new and artificers don't - artificers just unlocked a new spell level too, and 11th also comes with a third guild ability and a Salvage Essence upgrade.)
 
At this point, an artificer could have 15 base schema... but could only copy the 1st-4th level schema, of which we expect 7.762. He'll have 22.7 schema, none higher than 4th (he is expected to have about 2 4ths with his natural progression and entire career's worth of scrolls). The standard wizard with zero spells copied has 26 spells in his spellbook, with four 4ths and two 5ths if he's always taking the strongest ones, and he has more spell slots with which to use them (including higher level slots with which to upcast his weaker ones).
 
And that's with an entire campaign's worth of wealth squirreled away at level 1. Now imagine a more realistic trickle of treasure. Yes, it's even weaker on the arty's front.
 
Your point about multiple artificers increasing their versatility is a true one (although it's not a "double", since the scrolls found above are across the entire party; the only extra schema would be the ones the artificers pick from level-ups - since they both start with Detect Magic and Identify, two 20th level Turbo Packrat Artificers in a party would each know 58 unique schema with these super-duper-generous assumptions on scrolls), but this does not come without an opportunity cost of its own - you have more than one artificer, meaning one fewer member of any other class (a heavy armor tank, a high-accuracy archer, a full-strength caster, a feature-monkey, or what), and unlike wizards, the artificer has an intense limit on actually using his schema. I'll get to that next.

[/sblock]tl;dr: The artificer can, at absolute best (assuming no duplicates, copying every single scroll you find instead of using them or passing the compatible ones to the wizard, and only looking at level 20 when the delayed spell access is downplayed), expect to know 37 different schema out of a set of 300. There's some variability on that given that this is an expected value (and I'm not at the moment prepared to fit a confidence interval around that), but it's still far from knowing every one of those 300 spells, and it's even further from knowing infinite spells.
 
Incidentally? For all of my testing, I've been assuming 35 (which is more believable if you use a scroll or get a duplicate, though it still assumes you're giving every scroll to the artificer), and testing both that and the lower limit of 24; I realistically expect an artificer to know somewhere between these (closer to the 35 than the 24, because the only competition for compatible scrolls you'll have is on wizard spells, from wizards, who you may not have in the same party). In other words, the number of spells in that spellbook does not contain "extra" spells beyond the balance point (which it would if, say, it had 40 in it).
 
Finally, there's restrictions on the artificer's use of the schema (which means each individual additional schema is not as powerful an increase as an additional spell would be). I expressed this above, but let me put it in one place for you.

Tempest_Stormwind wrote:Furthermore, there's still not one but three throttles in place for how many of these can be deployed at once, even if you ignore the spellbook and the fact that artificers have slow spell level progression (so by the time they're building 3rd level devices, wizards are picking up 5th level spells; if there's a critical 4th level spell that you designed your adventure around, a PC wizard may have it, but a PC artificer won't). Let's assume that someone's actually got the infinite spellbook and the effect you want is of a level you can cast (this is actually a stronger set of assumptions than the artificer will ever encounter, so the clamping we get from these rules will actually be stronger in real play). 
1) There's craft reserve, most obviously, which is a daily resource with multiple features demanding it (and since devices cost one point of that per level of the spell, you wind up getting fewer and fewer of the strong ones; the fact that they're Spell Scrolls, which don't scale with your proficiency bonus or Intelligence, mean you have incentive to use your biggest ones).
2) There's also construction time (you can only build one of them per rest, and only if you have unspent reserve; if you walk into a dungeon with all your reserve in pre-built items, you can't replenish them until tomorrow, so your "versatility" is set entirely by what you prepared before the adventure began (just like an AD&D magic-user in this regard, since you need to build multiple copies of a device to use its effect more than once). If you walk in with no devices, keeping your craft reserve free to handle whatever problems you encounter with maximum versatility, you only get a chance to build one per rest. And every position in between on that scale.)
3) There's activation time. Using a spell scroll (and thus, an arcane device) always requires it to be in your hand (so you need to Use an Object to retrieve it, since they're not handled like ammunition; this isn't too severe but it does eat up your interaction options taken during movement most of the time), and being an object that requires your action to use (DMG p.139 on Spell Scrolls), you also need to Use an Object to activate them (Basic Rules p72 on Use an Object), meaning they take up your action even if the spell inside is a bonus-action spell, and short of using Contingency there's no way to make use of a reaction-spell-based arcane device. (The flipside is that it takes only one action even if the spell inside is a long-casting-time spell, but none of the long-casting-time spells are combat spells, and many of them are already rituals, which you can cast from scratch faster than you can build the device and paying 0 craft reserve. You, or the tomelock that's already shown this isn't too much of a problem.)
 
Now, you can get around these restrictions by using Prototype, which also uses your Intelligence and proficiency directly, but that carries its own set of restrictions:
1) It consistently costs a spell slot, even if there's a mishap. (Magitechnicians can cast it from craft reserve, but there, it eats up the craft reserve in the same way as an arcane device does - long rest recharge.) You have fewer of these slots to waste.
2) Casting time - it's a 1-minute cast time, preventing its use in combat. (Magitechnicians, again, can get around this, which is one of the big selling points of the guild. However, it costs a Hit Die to do this, so it's at most once per level per day, and long rests only recover up to one-half of your level in spent Hit Dice at most, so this is not sustainable and it eats into your ability to bounce back during rests.)
3) It's risky; I posted the success rates above. Recall how people would get bent out of shape with even a 10% Arcane Spell Failure chance in 3.5? You have much more than that if you're trying a high-level spell, meaning you stick to a lower level one than you need unless it's an emergency. This exposes it to similar weaknesses of using lower-level spell scrolls. Also, that 3.5 bent-out-of-shapeness was in a paradigm where a failed spell was just a wasted action - here, it's also a mishap, which is not insubstantial damage against you to begin with (which I assume during balancing), and possibly much more if the DM is getting creative. (Again, the magitechnicians get around this to an extent, but only after level 11, and the fail chance on your high level slots is still substantial.)
4) It actually shares the same activation time limit as above (need to be in hand, need to use your action to set them off, and as such make reaction spells impossible and bonus-action spells less useful), augmented by the shorter duration on prototypes and without the exception for long-casting-time spells. (Magitechnicians can't get around this, and in fact feel it stronger, since they rely on Prototype so much. Even they need to spend a turn (and a Hit Die!) setting it up, so you actually get the spell one round after you wanted it - and if circumstances have changed by then such that you no longer want it, tough, the slot is spent and the prototype's duration is ticking.)
 
All of that is independent of the size of your spellbook and the availability of spells to fuel it; it's also (more or less) independent of the delayed spell level acquisition that being a 2/3 caster brings with it. These are not hurdles that can be easily ignored.
And yet it appears you are ignoring them.
 
I left out another "limit" here because it's not so much a limit as an opportunity cost, but artificers - unlike warlocks, sorcerers, and wizards - have zero abilities that restore spell slots, so their limited number of slow-progression spell slots are even smaller in practice relative to their non-bard full-casting brethren. (The ability to cast from craft reserve is functionally equivalent to knowing a small number of extra slots, but you don't get duplicate spells without an opportunity cost, and only the spellforgers' Augmentation Savant and the alchemists's Infuse Bomb are on anything other than a long-rest recharge.)
 
This is the kind of argument you will need to address. A simple "bad gut feeling" based on a different game (3e) without any applicable (5e wizard) experience simply isn't going to cut it.
 
 
(There is another point, too, and that's that it's okay if the artificer excels at something. In the case of schema, its particularly good at inventing a crazy solution involving a lower-level spell and the magical equivalent of duct tape and paper clips, particularly if you're planning ahead for just such an occasion. That, and buffing up the team's gear, is basically the entire artificer.)
 
Revisions Made:
  • I've swapped Precision Reflexes (that really needs a new name...) and Infuse Bomb, I've increased the augment effect of bombs, and I've made them ranged attacks (with the creator having the option of using their casting score instead of Dexterity for the attack roll; they remain Int-based for the damage roll and save DC) instead of spell attacks. Testing showed alchemists took too long to "feel unique" unless they spent just about all of their downtime crafting alchemical items, and if they did that then having a bonus-action attack at 3rd was a little over the top. (This change also puts their bonus-action bomb attack at the same level spellforgers and most other characters get Extra Attack, which is appealing.) Their bombs also didn't have enough of an impact on battle at higher levels - the slower spell level progression hurt alchemists more than anticipated. Switching them to ranged attacks was to make the alchemist particularly appealing to rogues if multiclassing is allowed (a sneak attack bomb is positively deadly), especially because you only need 3 levels to get the bomb now. (Sneak Attack scales faster than bomb damage if you're targeting a single foe, but bomb damage and DC scale better if you're using them in an area.)
  • I also tweaked Precision Reflexes' wording a bit, so you can't use it to use arcane devices as a bonus action. (You can still use the bonus action to retrieve the right device, just not to cast its spell. I don't mind this increased ability to use them - the alchemist technically specializes in Infuse Arcane Device and Infuse Potion, but it's hard to see that underneath the name and the bombs, and that's deliberate - but I don't want it to bust things open.
  • Power Surge has been adjusted so that it can't be used to overload and destroy cursed magic items. I missed this earlier because there aren't any items in the DMG with both charges and curses, but it could easily happen, and I don't want an easy out on this (though Lift Curse still works to temporarily get rid of such items, artificers shouldn't be any better at permanently dealing with such curses than any other class).
  • The golemists' guild now clearly limits you to one homunculus.
  • The Reconstruction and Total Repair spells are slightly altered to reflect their very limited nature.
  • I changed the artificer's base spell list to drop Crusader's Mantle (Disruption Aura), which is a paladin unique otherwise. Crusader's Mantle was really only there because it was on Keith's artificer, but I'm putting more development into this, and the more I think about it, the more I prefer leaving easy radiant damage to the paladin. 
I'm considering limiting the schema to non-unique spells only, and also removing Shield of Faith (Deflection Field), which is also a paladin unique. (There is a third otherwise-unique, Blade Barrier, but artificer spells are sorely limited at the high levels and that one's appropriate.) I'm also considering simplifying the overall language about extra components (exploiting the ability of a component pouch to replace all M components otherwise), but I'm not exactly sure how to go about doing this.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by rampant:

I'm not assuming you're assuming that 24 is the standard and anything else is extra.
 
 
I'm telling you that anything else is extra. Set the standard to whatever the hell you feel it should be, but make a standard. This whole bit where you leave it up to the DM, or random chance, or just the caprices of the game world to determine an important function of a class like how many powers/recipes it can learn is bad class design. It doens't matter how good or bad the numbers are when you compute the chances and statistics. If you're recall the bell curve concept for a moment you'll understand the problem a  little better: Sure most artificers will be within that 1 standard deviation sweetspot where the number of extra powers you get/don't get aren't a huge anomaly. However that still leaves 30-40%, if I'm recalling correctly, out on the extreme ends, and that's assuming everyone has the exact same interpretation of the game's basic assumptions. Yes people can't muck with the rules too much and expect the game to not break, but there needs to be some wriggle room since not everyone is going to interpret things the exact same way especially since they saw fit to provide a price guide if you do wanna make magic items availiable for sale. 
 
What is so special about this idiotic wizard spell knowledge type system that people keep thinking it's not horribly horribly broken? Aside from it being less broken than Cleric casting,
 
A spell book has no upper bound on what it can hold. Sure chances are miniscule this becomes a big deal, but at no point have I been able to find how many pages a spell takes up in the book, only a number of pages in the book, also even if there was such a thing, there;s nothign keeping either wizards or arties from getitng multiple books. 
 
I don't care how many throttles you do or don't have, throttles are the wrong tool for the job. Throttles need someone paying attention to them, running them up and down all the time, an external force controlling them. A well designed class will perform as designed without the DM checking it's vitals every session. I've DMd for 3e wizards and I hated it, always making sure I didn't drop too many scrolls, or not being able to use wizard enemies without developing insane defenses and contingencies on their spell books to keep the party wizard from dramatically increasing his spells known, or using a wizard with a similar spell list to ensure that the gains were minimal. One class's power/versatility should not vary that much. That's like fighters learning the maneuvers of each other fighter they kill, why do wizards and your artificer get to play Highlander the RPG? While the guys with swords get left out to earn their powers the normal way?
 
No you haven't explained why I can't draw upon previous experience when it comes to your artificers and how they can get more spells known, I mentioned several examples that don't involve buying scrolls and are still functional under 5e rules. The only hting 5e doens't do in regards to this type of spell acquisition that 3e did is the whoel eeasy to buy scrolls thing, and honestly they both essentially leave it to the DM, there's just a bit of not-so-subtle encouragement to go one way over the other base dn the which edition you read. FOr example the two artificer party, each artificer can double theyr spells known by trading, nothing in 5e stops this, and it leads to a major boost of both of the artificers' personal versatility/power. Why is this acceptable to you? What makes you think that this is a good thing to enable?
 
What are you actually trying to keep/preserve/accomplish with such a bloody awful and UNBALANCEABLE power acquisition system. Because yes it is unbalanceable, because it's either random or DM controlled, neither of which is a balanced class feature. 
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by Tempest_Stormwind:

rampant wrote:I'm not assuming you're assuming that 24 is the standard and anything else is extra.
 
 
I'm telling you that anything else is extra. Set the standard to whatever the hell you feel it should be, but make a standard. This whole bit where you leave it up to the DM, or random chance, or just the caprices of the game world to determine an important function of a class like how many powers/recipes it can learn is bad class design. It doens't matter how good or bad the numbers are when you compute the chances and statistics. If you're recall the bell curve concept for a moment you'll understand the problem a  little better: Sure most artificers will be within that 1 standard deviation sweetspot where the number of extra powers you get/don't get aren't a huge anomaly. However that still leaves 30-40%, if I'm recalling correctly, out on the extreme ends, and that's assuming everyone has the exact same interpretation of the game's basic assumptions. Yes people can't muck with the rules too much and expect the game to not break, but there needs to be some wriggle room since not everyone is going to interpret things the exact same way especially since they saw fit to provide a price guide if you do wanna make magic items availiable for sale.
For someone bringing up the bell curve concept, you're remarkably averse to probability distributions or things that aren't of equal utility every single time you play. Do you also assume thief rogues' Use Magic Device is terrible design, because its use is contingent upon the amount of class-limited magic items that appear in a game? What about the assassin rogues' infiltration abilities, whose use varies wildly depending on the amount of long-term social interaction in the game? Or Wild Magic, which is inherently probabilistic (and even more expressly DM-based, since the wild magic surges occur only when you cast a spell and the DM says so - employing a tradeoff by having the DM decide to Surge you also giving you an extra use of Bend Luck)? Or, horror of horrors, any spell that involves damage dice, because what could happen if you roll a string of straight-1s all the time?
 
Note: I don't think all of these are necessarily good design. But they're all examples of cleanly mechanical things whose utility explicitly depends on either the DM's personal fiat or the whim of the dice (or both), and none of them are examples you've brought up as bad design, since you keep latching onto the wizard's spellbook in the hypothetical (and virtually-impossible) "knows every spell" sense that I maintain will not exist in 5e practice.
 
 
(Full disclosure: I'm working on my PhD in cognitive science, specifically based on the mathematical psychology of probability reasoning. I also do casual reading, in my off-time, of statistics methods. So yes, I do understand the idea of a bell curve.)
 
A spell book has no upper bound on what it can hold. Sure chances are miniscule this becomes a big deal, but at no point have I been able to find how many pages a spell takes up in the book, only a number of pages in the book, also even if there was such a thing, there;s nothign keeping either wizards or arties from getitng multiple books.
Pages in the spellbook aren't a resource anymore. (I was surprised at this and actually started writing up rules for that here - schema used to take up twice as many pages as a comparable-level spell (since you had to understand everything about the spell's fundamentals instead of employing arcane shortcuts as a wizard would), and formula would take 2^(N+1) pages, where N was the rarity of the item (1 for Common, 5 for Legendary). I removed this when I confirmed there was no number of pages in a spellbook in the core rules, but I'd definitely suggest similar guidelines for anyone using spellbook space houserules!)
 
You're also completely obsessed with this "no upper bound" bit. Do you also assume that melee characters always roll nothing but critical hits with maximum damage? Because that's what it sounds like to me, except I think the odds of doing that over the course of an entire combat session are actually higher than the odds of a campaign producing a maxed-out spellbook.
 

I don't care how many throttles you do or don't have, throttles are the wrong tool for the job. Throttles need someone paying attention to them, running them up and down all the time, an external force controlling them. A well designed class will perform as designed without the DM checking it's vitals every session.
While a valid perspective, maybe my words weren't the right ones. Most of the things I've used throttles for in the artificer are self-regulating, using things you're already doing in game (notably item creation, which is entirely regulated by what items you're already allowing in-game and how much downtime you're handing out already; there are knobs to twist in case something slips through the cracks (notably adding a quest requirement to a formula), but again, that's only to catch things that slip through the cracks. Those are items that you're okay allowing in the game, but not okay if the players can replace them - and even then, you have lead time to adapt, since they need to build two of the item before they've got spares.)
 
I also discussed, at length, why arcane devices and prototype both had sufficient automatic checks on their power (in both their inherent mechanics and on the psychology of the player using them) to provide limits on how their schema are expressed, even if you have unlimited schema in the book, which you won't. (See the next point.)
 

I've DMd for 3e wizards and I hated it, always making sure I didn't drop too many scrolls, or not being able to use wizard enemies without developing insane defenses and contingencies on their spell books to keep the party wizard from dramatically increasing his spells known, or using a wizard with a similar spell list to ensure that the gains were minimal. One class's power/versatility should not vary that much. That's like fighters learning the maneuvers of each other fighter they kill, why do wizards and your artificer get to play Highlander the RPG? While the guys with swords get left out to earn their powers the normal way?
So you're assuming every wizard NPC you kill has their spellbook on them? And that the loot tables are as loaded with scrolls as they were in 3e? Neither's the case here.
 
For one, the NPC wizards you fight don't follow the player rules. They don't have spellbooks unless you say, fiat-wise, that they do (just like adding magic items to something). Look at the Monster Manual Appendix B (or the entire chapter in the DMG on designing NPCs) and it's quite clear they're not using the PC's rules, although they're similar. None of the spellcasting monsters - including the generic archmage and mage stat blocks - who have wizard spells also have a spellbook (you customize the spells they've got prepared via the rules for customizing NPCs rather than having it be something inherent to their class). In fact, the entire monster manual mentions spellbooks exactly twice (as the fluff reason for a lich's lair dungeon (note: liches also don't have a spellbook!), and as something nagas sometimes search for), and the DMG lists them four times (when providing rules on copying spell scrolls, using the Tome of the Stilled Tongue (a legendary item) as a spellbook (note: It doesn't come with any spells in it, and there's an easy way to instantly erase it), as the potential location for a "charm" (which is a DM fiat gift, similar to but more optional and regulated than wondrous locations), and in a table of random books (i.e. a table of stuff you can use to explain what's on a library shelf if a player investigates; you don't have to use the result of the table (you can reroll or choose again), and if you do, it's entirely up to you what's in it (i.e. just like another option's "Tome of Forbidden Lore" doesn't say what's in it...). None of these are given out as loot (i.e. there's no equivalent to the "Possessions: Spellbook containing X, Y, Z spells" entry from 3e wizard stat blocks). In short, spellbooks as loot only exist when you decide (by fiat) that they exist.
 
For two, the information I lost when my last post collapsed included the chance of getting a spell scroll on each table. I'm not typing them out again; you can look at pages 137-139 to see how likely it is you'll get a specific magic item table and how many times you roll on it, and on pages 144-145 for every table where spell scrolls appear. You can compare this to 3e's DMG if you want to see how likely the system "assumes" you are to get a scroll.
 
For instance, let's look at the most frequent scroll, a 1st level scroll. These only appear on Table A 21% of the time. Table A shows up on the CR 0-4 treasure hoard table 24% of the time (1d6 rolls), on the CR 5-10 table 16% of the time (also 1d6 rolls), and on the CR 11-16 table 14% of the time (1d4 rolls); it doesn't show up as a reward for the CR 17+ table. Again, the system assumes a typical game gives 7 rolls on the first table, 18 rolls on the second, and 12 rolls on the third for your entire party across an entire campaign. This is where the 4.032 expected 1st level scrolls came from.  (Remember that this also assumes no duplicates, as you don't need two scrolls of Alarm unless you have both an artificer and a wizard in the party.)
 
Since you like dealing with absolute maximums, the absolute maximum number of 1st level scrolls that could show up in a typical game is 198. (There will be duplicates, since there are only 72 1st level spells in the game). The probability of this happening is 1.75*10-52. For the record, 10^-52 is about one-tenth of the fraction of energy you'd get when comparing a housefly doing a single pushup to a supernova. This is why I don't consider maximum possible results a discussion worth having.
 
Now, you might consider that this is duplicitous - after all, there are only 72 1st level spells in the game, so I should concern myself with the probability of getting all 72 across those 7+18+12 drops that could contain 1st level scrolls. Let's assume, again, that every scroll you drop is unique, so there are no duplicates (the case with duplicates is needlessly complex, and I don't have a probability distribution for each specific spell, so I'd have to ad-hoc it. If you're actually reading this far, mention bananas at the start of your reply. In any case, the odds of getting all 72 spells allowing for duplicates is lower than the chance of getting 72 scrolls, so this is an absolute best-case scenario). I'm writing an R script to get this exact number for me - I believe it will be low enough to convince anyone reasonable that the odds of this happening are sufficiently low. Unless you're an absolutist who claims it must be zero, at which point I assume that no amount of discussion would ever change your mind, and further discussion would be pointless.
 
 
 
Meanwhile, let's look at the 3.5 DMG.
 
In 3e, simultaneously a bit easier and a bit harder to figure out how the treasure tables work, since the wealth by level guidelines are more firmly baked into the math. I COULD go through Table 3-5 to figure out how many minor, medium, and major items you're expected to find, then use Table 7-1 to figure out how many scrolls those would contain (as an aside, 35% of all minor items, 15% of all medium items, and 10% of all major items), then use Table 7-20 to figure out the level of these scrolls (note: if we're continuing 1st level spells, they only appear as 45% of minor magic items, each scroll holding 1d3 spells). Note: You'd need only 17 minor magic item drops to find more 1st level spells on scrolls than an entire 5e career! Note that 3.5 assumes 13.5 encounters per character level, and levels 1-4 have a 23%, 20%, 20%, and 20% chance of a single minor item drop each. This means that in 3e, you could expect to find 4 1st level scrolls by the start of level 5 (a reminder: you'd find 4 scrolls over 20 levels in 5e), assuming nothing but average rolls. (The maximum number you can have by this point is 54, if the dice entirely rolled in your favor, assuming every single encounter you fight is of equal CR to your party's level.)
 
Alternatively, I can take the shortcut, and look at Wealth By Level guidelines - first level scrolls are freely purchaseable for 25 GP, meaning anyone who has just 800gp is able to buy more scrolls than the absolute maximum number an entire party would find over the course of an entire 5e career. (These would not be duplicates; using a local archive of the D&DTools database, there are 297 1st level wizard spells in 3.5, which would cost less than a +4 belt of giant strength to buy.) The game assumes you get that much treasure in a single 3rd level encounter (though you'd be splitting it with your teammates, so it would take 3.5 encounters of 3rd level for a single wizard in a party of four to amass 800 extra gp). It's not recommended that level 3 characters spend all their wealth this way, but since wizards aren't doing much with their loot until they can afford +Int items, nothing stopped a 3rd level wizard from fighting a third of the way to 4th level and using his fresh earnings to buy more 1st level scrolls than a party of 5e characters would see in their entire career.
 
All of this sets aside that in 5e, you can't research new spells in your downtime. In 3e, you could, and it was rather simple to do so, although it was ill-defined. The only hard and fast rules was that it cost 20gp * spell level * caster level and took one day per spell level to research anything (DMG p.198, the same page that declaed "it's perfectly all right for two PC wizards to share spells", so I presume you've read it). In other words, independent research of four 1st level spells in 3e took 4 days and cost 80gp, which is downright trivial in 3e (and impossible in 5e). Independent research would take only ten months and under 6000gp to learn every single 1st level wizard spell ever written - note that 5e takes a comparable amount of time to learn how to speak a new language or proficiently use a new tool. In other words, a dedicated researcher in 3e could learn two hundred and fifty spells in the same amount of time it takes a dedicated 5e character to learn how to play the drums. Sure, the spells cost more in terms of GP, but again, that amount of wealth is about what a 4th level character could expect to have in 3e in terms of hard assets - and there's no asset more valuable to a 3e wizard than their spells (except, perhaps, their spell slots, but nothing that enhances those can be afforded so easily.).
 
You'll see immediately that 3e, by 5e's standards, is bloated with magic items, both baked into the system's rolls and because it has a permissive magic item economy. By 5e's standards, you're starving for magic items, including scrolls.
 

No you haven't explained why I can't draw upon previous experience when it comes to your artificers and how they can get more spells known, I mentioned several examples that don't involve buying scrolls and are still functional under 5e rules. The only hting 5e doens't do in regards to this type of spell acquisition that 3e did is the whoel eeasy to buy scrolls thing, and honestly they both essentially leave it to the DM, there's just a bit of not-so-subtle encouragement to go one way over the other base dn the which edition you read. FOr example the two artificer party, each artificer can double theyr spells known by trading, nothing in 5e stops this, and it leads to a major boost of both of the artificers' personal versatility/power. Why is this acceptable to you? What makes you think that this is a good thing to enable?
Actually, I did explain this - multiple times, including just now. It's not just the "bloody hard to get scrolls" thing (notice how the 5e system "expects" 4 1st level scrolls over 20 levels, while 3.5 hands out 4 of them in just 4 levels, without buying any?). It's also the lack of enemy spellbooks, since 5e villains follow different rules than 5e's PCs (unlike 3e, which used the same rules for both of them), and there's zero indication that enemy wizards use spellbooks. In fact, the only time I'd expect to find a spellbook in a game is exactly when the DM wished to give a specially-designed one out as loot, and in no other circumstance.
 
Indeed, the only thing 5e does do is allow PC-to-PC trading (with a cost in money and time, though I admit these are small - but they needn't be. I could easily make the time a number of days per level (making it a downtime activity), which really does prevent much of this copying - downtime days are a resource the DM hands out, except they can't be banked, and they get more and more precious as character levels go up if the AL is any standard. This sentence is a reminder to mention bananas at the start of your next reply, like I said six paragraphs ago.  Furthermore, spending downtime days on developing schema cuts into downtime days you could spend crafting items.). As I mentioned, sharing doesn't double the number you expect - it only increases the base number by, at most, your level +1, since all artificers start with the same two spells (detect magic and identify) and any scrolls you find add just one spell to your team's collective repertoire instead of adding two. 
 
And this also comes with the opportunity cost of having two of your limited players choosing the Artificer class, instead of one that's got better combat ability (say, Fighter) or faster spell access and better spell stamina (say, Wizard), or one that has more consistently-available class resources and social skills (say, Rogue), or one with all of the above (say, Valor bard). The artificer excels in versatility, especially when he's not under time pressure, but he suffers in sustained combat output - something that a party with two artificers will definitely be able to feel!
 
Furthermore, see above regarding how the throttles work (without DM intervention) even in the case of knowing every spell. They'll work whether or not the artificer knows every spell or not (and I would be very willing to bet you that no artificer played under typical conditions will have every spell).
 

What are you actually trying to keep/preserve/accomplish with such a bloody awful and UNBALANCEABLE power acquisition system. Because yes it is unbalanceable, because it's either random or DM controlled, neither of which is a balanced class feature. 
Again with intolerance of probability. If, for instance, the 95% confidence interval on the number of spells known falls completely within the "balanced" region, then I'd be confident saying that the class is balanced, even if the utterly remote possiblity of knowing absolutely everything exists.
 
I'll be sure to get back with you with the probability of an artificer actually knowing every 1st level spell. (I'll focus, for now, just on the 1sts, since it's a concrete problem and that's the level of spell that's cheapest to build devices and prototypes for.) I'll express it both as a percentage and as the number of artificers one would have to build before expecting you'd find one who did it. 
 
I will change my mind on this if, say, the number was just 5%, or higher, and I say that before I've run the analysis. You can hold me to it. What number would change yours?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Revisions Made:
  • Spells from Elemental Evil have been added. The artificer now has access to Catapult (a ballistic spell that violently launches an item a great distance; it's shared by sorcerers and wizards) and Magic Stone (a cantrip that causes a small number of stones to attack using your Int modifier and deal slightly improved damage; due to its duration and effect I think it's appropriate despite my usual ban on offensive cantrips for the artificer. It's shared by druids and warlocks).
  • While I was at it, I added Cordon of Arrows to the artificer's spell list, removed the reflavoring on Deflection Field, and deleted Counterspell. The first is the only "trap" spell they couldn't cast, and it's not like rangers ever really learned the spell either. The second is now vanilla Shield of Faith, which saves some presentation space and leaves the fluff up to the player. The third reflects how only the "pure" arcanists - wizards, sorcerers, and warlocks - can counter a spell while it's being cast. The artificer is less of a "pure" caster than even the bard, and is less arcane than that. 
  • I've been re-writing the new spells in proper spell format, but none of the changes this has introduced are worth including at this point until I finish them.
  • There might be one more spell added if I can figure out if it breaks anything (Make Whole; it's curiously missing from this edition. If I include it, it'll also be on the cleric list, where it's always been).
  • Minor editing; nothing serious has changed. The biggest tweak was a clarification on how a golemists' homunculus works with arcane devices and prototypes (it's basically the same mechanic as Find Familiar's touch spell transfer, except you also need to spend a bonus action to command the homunculus, which prevents certain spell strategies from working).
If people are curious, I went through the list and noted which spells were previously "unique" (castable by only one non-artificer class) that wouldn't be unique if you use the artificer. These are the "unique class feature" spells that the artificer can "poach" using his own spells instead of arcane devices. If I make the proposed change (that spells that only appear on one non-artificer list can't be made into schema, which will prevent "class feature spells" like Hex and Hunter's Mark from being built), these will still be "poached".
 Shield of Faith (Paladin) - On the artificer list because it's a basic defensive buff and has been on the artificer in some form or another from the get-go. Nothing about it's inherently divine apart from the name, and Keith directly addressed Shield of Faith on his own hack.Arcane Lock (Wizard) - On the artificer list because they interact with objects more readily than wizards. Also slightly trap-themed, and they've both got Knock...Cordon of Arrows (Ranger) - On the artificer list because it's another magical trap, and directly imbues items with magic.Elemental Weapon (Paladin) - On the artificer list because it fits with their augmentation/magic weapon theme. In a sense, it's the paladin emulating the artificer's proficiency here instead of the other way around. (Elemental Evil does introduce a non-unique variant in Flame Arrows, which is also a 3rd level spell, but limited entirely to a quiver, is fixed to fire, and lacks the +X bonus.)Fabricate (Wizard) - On the artificer list because, again, it's direct manipulation of objects. This is a spell that both classes should have.Blade Barrier (Cleric) - On the artificer list as a rare combat spell, it directly controls the weapons forming its components. I also never saw why this was cleric-only, apart from historical reasons. View it as a level-up of Animate Objects. On the flipside, none of the 18 new spells here are on any other spell list as yet (that is, they're unique to the artificer), but I could be convinced to move a couple around.  For comparison, here's how many uniques are on other lists (including those from Elemental Evil, but not counting the "poached" spells, and ignoring subclasses):Bard: 4Cleric: 27Druid: 20 (but the Elemental Evil Player's Companion implies not every druid may necessarily have access to all of the new elemental ones)Paladin: 18Ranger: 8Sorcerer: 0 (I can't be the only one who finds this sad.)Warlock: 6Wizard: 35
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by rampant:

I don't care about % chance, what part "Powers known should not be based on chance and or DM fiat!" leads you to think I care if the odds are 1% or 99%?
 
Your system assumes iron adherence to the assumptions and chances from the DMG, when the artificer originally springs from Eberron, a place that specifically thumbs it's nose at those assumptions.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by Tempest_Stormwind:

rampant wrote:I don't care about % chance, what part "Powers known should not be based on chance and or DM fiat!" leads you to think I care if the odds are 1% or 99%?
Oh, so you're an absolutist. No amount of evidence can possibly change your mind - the position of the fundamentalist.
 
By the way, good thing they're not powers. This is not 4e. This isn't even your spells-known list in 5e. This is far more limited than that.
 

Your system assumes iron adherence to the assumptions and chances from the DMG, when the artificer originally springs from Eberron, a place that specifically thumbs it's nose at those assumptions.
What part of this did you not read earlier?

Tempest_Stormwind wrote:I'm still not sure if the same degree of adjustment is true for the book of schema. That's one of the reasons why I defaulted to making it about half the size of a wizard's spellbook. You have a wider possible array of spells to select from, but only half as much space to carry them by default, so presumably the amount of work you'd need to do just to reach standard wizard levels will vary in 5e standard compared to Eberron. And guessing what form that Eberron's item economy will take is pure speculation at this point. (My guesses are that they'll either change item rarities and make common items available for purchase (possibly with a licensing or black-market system to provide a DM some check on this; Star Wars: Saga Edition did this in a really simple way that made getting certain things very difficult, and changed the dynamic for shopping between civilization and the fringes, which'd work in any setting with bureaucracy, including Eberron; Rodney Thomson was a Saga designer), or they'll introduce a tag on items that marks if they're being manufactured and available for sale at their original rarity.)

...
 
You also have to design within the constraints of 5e. One of those constraints is that scrolls aren't freely purchaseable. That's what I'm testing within. I can't foresee how available they'd become in games with more liberal economies, at least not without a point of reference (i.e. a 5e Eberron Campaign Setting Guide). But I do know that if I set it to be robust against all possible modifications (say, by adopting a spells-known model for schema), then the artificer ceases to feel like an artificer to me even in the assumed and shared 5e standard. I'd rather risk a potential imbalance in the face of a DM's houserule than ultimately producing a castrated version of the class - seeing as that's exactly the direction that WotC's Unearthed Arcana article tried to take, and if I thought that worked, then I wouldn't have done this project at all.
Without a point of reference for Eberron's economy, I'd be aiming at a nonexistent target, blindfolded. I also said that once such guidelines come out, I'll gladly re-evaluate everything, but if it's robust under the normal assumptions, it'll work in the meantime.
 
Or, if you want a 4e example, dragonborn were part of the "Nentir Vale / Points of Light" setting, designed with that in mind. Doesn't stop them from being designed with the generic assumptions about 5e in mind, which causes them to work just fine in other settings (provided there isn't a thematic conflict - there would be in Eberron's Khorvaire due to how that setting handles dragons. But that's a fluff issue, not a crunch one). When a setting book comes out, it adjusts the standard assumptions but accounts for where those assumptions sit. (For instance, Eberron handles half-elves very differently from the core rules - they're not outsiders or ambassadors, they're a proud separate race with ego issues and a lot of money. But they still use exactly the same stats as normal half-elves, just for different narrative reasons. The game assumed the standard, world-less half-elf stats and wrote the setting around it.)
 
 
Also, I can tell you didn't read my last reply. You didn't say the magic word.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by DarkSphinx:

In all of the Augmentation material...

 
Personal Weapon Augmentation
 
While fighting with a weapon under the influence of your Weapon Augmentation spell, you may use your Intelligence modifier on attack and damage rolls. The weapon also deals bonus damage of the chosen type at 5th (+1d4), 11th (+2d4), and 17th (+3d4) level. 
Prolonged Augmentation 
At 7th level, Weapon Augmentation and Armor Augmentation spells you cast now last up to 1 hour while you maintain concentration.
 Sustained AugmentationAt 10th level, Weapon Augmentation and Armor Augmentation spells you cast no longer require concentration. Expanded AugmentationAt 15th level, when you cast Weapon Augmentation or Armor Augmentation (using a shield), you can choose necrotic, psychic, poison, or radiant damage. Armor Augmentation using a suit of armor is now effective against magic weapons. Armor Augmentation
 
1st level transmutation
Casting time: 1 action
Range: Touch
Components: M (a bit of powdered metal, artisan's tools, and the armor or shield itself)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute or until you no longer wear the armor or shield
The touched armor or shield is magically transmuted to protect its bearer. The touched item becomes magical and grants its wearer resistance to one damage type. If you touch a suit of armor, choose bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage; magical weapons ignore this resistance. If you touch a shield, choose acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder damage.
At higher levels: For every spell level higher than 1st, this spell can affect an additional armor or shield in range (which becomes another component).
 
 
Weapon Augmentation
1st level transmutation
Casting time: 1 action
Range: Touch
Components: M (a bit of powdered metal, artisan's tools, and the weapon itself)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute or until the weapon is no longer wielded
You infuse a melee weapon with elemental energy. Alternatively, you can infuse a quiver, and any ammunition present when you do gains the benefit instead. Choose acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder damage. The weapon is now a magic weapon which deals damage of that type in place of one of its normal damage types. 
At higher levels: For every spell level higher than 1st, this spell can affect an additional weapon in range (which becomes another component).
==========================================
 
 
I didn't see "force" as an option for damage type.  Is this a purposeful omission?
 
-DS
 
 

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