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

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by Tempest_Stormwind:

DarkSphinx wrote:In all of the Augmentation material...
 
I didn't see "force" as an option for damage type.  Is this a purposeful omission?
Yes. Force is a rare resistance at best, and I didn't want to just give it out. (EDIT: The artificer's specialist anti-construct spells deal Force damage, but that's against a limited target type (realistically, most games will see them used with objects, i.e. repairing vehicles or in demolitions. Generally speaking, Force is nigh-irresistable - I think only Helmed Horrors, Mummy Lords (in some circumstances) and raging bear totem barbarians resist or are immune to it.)  
I'm also uncertain about the psychic and poison damage types, at least offensively. I'm still entering data on resistances, immunities, and vulnerabilities by CR (I've been delayed on doing this because I've been doing intense analysis on the size of the book of schema!), so I can't exactly check against the monsters as rigorously as I want yet. (Generally speaking, Armor Augmentation is used to defend the party against a monster's most dangerous attack, while Weapon Augmentation is used to get around a resistance or immunity or exploit a vulnerability. The artificer casting the latter enjoys a bonus on their own weapons, but that's not shared with the rest of the party - instead, the opportunity cost of using it gets reduced.... except for this one ability, which expands the spectrum on which those spells operate.) I'm open to feedback on this point.
 

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RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by Tempest_Stormwind:

All right, numbers geeks. Here's the R script I promised. (It's deliberately brute-force rather than elegant, just so people can actually follow what I'm doing. And yes it's heavily commented.)

For R nerds only.
[sblock][UNKNOWN=pre]: scrolls<-numeric()#Number of scrolls found.for(i in 1:100000){#Over this many campaigns loot<-0 #Scrolls found this campaign for(j in 1:7){#Rolls on CR 0-4 if(sample(c(1:100),1)<=24){#Chance of Table A result for(k in 1:sample(c(1:6),1)){#Roll 1d6 on Table A if(sample(c(1:100),1)<=20){#Chance of level-1 scroll on A loot<-loot+1 } } } } for(j in 1:18){#Ditto for CR 5-10 if(sample(c(1:100),1)<=16){ for(k in 1:sample(c(1:6),1)){ if(sample(c(1:100),1)<=20){ loot<-loot+1 } } } } for(j in 1:12){#Ditto for 11-16 if(sample(c(1:100),1)<=14){ for(k in 1:sample(c(1:4),1)){#Here it's d4 rolls on A if(sample(c(1:100),1)<=20){ loot<-loot+1 } } } } scrolls<-c(scrolls,loot)}#Do any of the results have the needed 72?mean(scrolls>=72)#Didn't think so. How many did we get?max(scrolls)#Bootstrap a 95% CI on the average number of scrolls.boot.scroll<-numeric()for(i in 1:1000){ this.scroll<-sample(scrolls,replace=T) boot.scroll<-c(boot.scroll,mean(this.scroll))}quantile(boot.scroll, c(0.025,0.5,0.975))#95% of the time, you'll get 1st level scrolls between those numbers#What about the overall distribution?#(I bet upthread it's Poisson.)hist(scrolls,probability=TRUE)#That sure looks like a poisson distribution to me!library(MASS)fitdistr(scrolls,"Poisson")#That's a pretty low standard error for Lambda=4.xcoord<-c(1:max(scrolls))ycoord<-dpois(xcoord,lambda=4)lines(xcoord,ycoord,lwd=2)#Decent fit. Let's quantify.#The standard for count data is the chisquare:chisq.test(scrolls)#But if I wanted to get fancy I can do Kolmogorov-Smirnov:ks.test(scrolls,rpois(length(scrolls),4))#Either way, that's phenomenally low p.

[/sblock]This code generates 100,000 sample campaigns, which (on the d% scale) is far more than enough to be representative of all of them. For each campaign, it rolls the suggested number of times on each table, and if the result is a 1st-level scroll, it adds it to the pile. I get a list of numbers showing how many scrolls each campaign sees.
 
Recall that, in order to know "all the spells", you need to get at least 72 1st-level scrolls, and all of those have to be unique. (The actual odds of this happening are quite a bit lower.) The rest of this post assumes that every scroll you get is unique.
 
I start out by checking how frequently we saw the 72-scroll result: 0/100,000. No surprises there, I told you it's virtually impossible even if you assume every scroll is unique. 
 
So let's take a look at how many scrolls we actually got. 95% all campaigns got fewer than 8 scrolls. The absolute maximum that I saw was 19, which showed up once out of 100,000. I bootstrapped a 95% confidence interval on the mean, and found (4.016 4.046), with a median result of 4.032. (We've seen that number before!). This means that I can say with 95% confidence that across any given set of campaigns, people will see an average of 4 scrolls - or, more apropos of our discussion, will not average more than 4 scrolls.
 
Now, that's still an average over a set of campaigns. To figure out how frequent each individual result is within an individual campaign, it's worth plotting the thing. When I did that, I noticed that it was pretty similar (visually) to a Poisson distribution, which isn't exactly surprising. So I fit a Poisson distribution to that curve, found that it was damn close to λ=4, and ran chi-square and Kolmogorov-Smirnov tests on the result to see how well the fit was in fact. In both cases, the p-values were on the order of 0.0000000000000002. A reminder that, by convention, p-values less than 0.05 are considered "significant", which in this case means that the distribution is, in all likelihood, Poisson-distributed with λ=4. (Well, in truth, it'll be λ=4.032, as that's the expected value we determined upthread. But that's close enough.)
 
(If you like pretty pictures, here's the graph. You'll note right out that most results are clustered around 4 (about a 15% chance of that specific result.))
 
So, the question arises: What's the actual chance of a Poisson-distributed (with λ=4) process returning 72 or higher? Well, thankfully, that's something we can compute exactly, since we know the Poisson distribution's equations. The probability of getting at least 72 scrolls is 3.86*10^-64 or about 1 chance in 10^145, which is amazingly low.
 
(For something more familiar, the odds of getting straight 18s on 3d6 straight down are 1 in 10^14,  which, for visualization purposes, is about one yard out of the orbit of the outer planets. And this is 48 orders of magnitude higher than that!)
 
Note that I was assuming 35 schema in my balance sweeps, up from 24 base. Since we now know the distribution from which they're pulled, we can determine that the odds of getting the remaining 13 from random drops of 1st level scrolls (the most common one by far) are therefore 1 in 7*10^15, which is about one yard out of a light-year - or about four paces relative to the distance to the nearest star. (Note: This is not a comprehensive answer, since realistically you'll get higher-level scroll drops as well, but I'm not about to repeat this analysis for you unless it becomes clear that this is actually being read instead of being dismissed out of hand.)
 
(EDIT: Although, assuming the other levels coincide with Poisson distributions with λ=their expected values (which is very likely to be true), an interested party could compute the probablity of getting any number of scrolls of any given level - in other words, exactly the data we'd need to determine how likely worst-case scenarios are. This is good, hard data, if it holds. A far cry from "unbalanceable", I'd say!)
 
 
EDIT2: Okay, I went ahead and did it because this is actually really simple once you know it's a Poisson distribution. Here are my results from 10,000 sample campaigns, using the expected values determined above for λ (as per the definition of a Poisson distribution).

Show
[sblock]First, summary data on the number of scrolls of each level found in this simulation.
 
[UNKNOWN=pre]: first second third fourth fifth sixth seventh Min. : 0.000 Min. :0.000 Min. :0.0000 Min. :0.000 Min. :0.000 Min. :0.000 Min. :0.00 1st Qu.: 3.000 1st Qu.:1.000 1st Qu.:0.0000 1st Qu.:1.000 1st Qu.:0.000 1st Qu.:1.000 1st Qu.:1.00 Median : 4.000 Median :1.000 Median :0.0000 Median :1.000 Median :1.000 Median :1.000 Median :2.00 Mean : 4.004 Mean :1.653 Mean :0.6804 Mean :1.381 Mean :1.189 Mean :1.489 Mean :1.71 3rd Qu.: 5.000 3rd Qu.:2.000 3rd Qu.:1.0000 3rd Qu.:2.000 3rd Qu.:2.000 3rd Qu.:2.000 3rd Qu.:2.00 Max. :14.000 Max. :8.000 Max. :5.0000 Max. :8.000 Max. :7.000 Max. :7.000 Max. :8.000
Second, bootstrapped 95% confidence intervals on the mean (that is, I can say with 95% confidence that, over all games played, the average number of scrolls found will be between the numbers reported (this is to show tha the extreme values found at the "max" above are not likely):
 
[UNKNOWN=pre]: first: 3.97 4.04second: 1.63 1.68third: 0.66 0.70fourth: 1.36 1.4fifth: 1.17 1.21sixth: 1.47 1.51seventh: 1.68 1.74
 
Finally, the upper bounds of bootstrapped 95% confidence intervals on the 95th percentile (i.e. 95% of all games will be lower than this), along with the approximate odds of getting that many scrolls or more:
[UNKNOWN=pre]: first: 14, 1 in 45850second: 8, 1 in 16754third: 5, 1 in 12771fourth: 8, 1 in 65341fifth: 7, 1 in 32564sixth: 7, 1 in 6337seventh: 8, 1 in 12827
 
tl;dr: Absolute worst case scenario: 81 spells known. Likelihood of this happening: about 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. For comparison, the odds of winning the grand prize jackpot in Powerball are 1 in 175,223,510.
 
(This assumes conditional independence, which isn't quite true since some of the scrolls show up on the same loot rolls, but it's a good first-order approximation and is sufficiently small as to never actually happen.  The impact of violating conditional independence is also much smaller than the impact of assuming that every single scroll you get is unique.)
 
Most likely scenario (with 95% confidence): 32.75 schema, assuming you do not get a single duplicate. Because there's a chance of duplicates in reality, the most likely scenario is actually lower than this.
 
(Including the spells in Elemental Evil, and assuming that every spell of a given level is equally likely, the probability of at least one duplicate within any single spell level is 13%. (I made a mistake earlier and computed the odds of no duplicates, but forgot to subtract it from 1. This 13% is accurate, when selecting the expected number of scrolls from the pool of all published spells.))
 
What I've been balancing with: 35 schema as an upper limit, with 24 as a lower limit.
 
*booyah*
 

[/sblock] 
So, yes, I am quite satisfied that, given the assumptions with which the game is balanced, my artificer will not break the game by having an expandable spellbook. DMs who deviate from the assumptions do so at their own peril and understand the risks - it's not up to the game designer to foresee every single possible houserule and plug it, particularly in 5e (which assumes the DM isn't a mindless automaton and will be able to make common-sense adjustments if something goes south). Rather, it's up to us to provide people a well-balanced toolkit within a standard set of assumptions - assumptions that are presented in the Dungeon Master's Guide.
 
 
 
 
Now, can we please discuss some of the rest of the class?
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by rampant:

I haven't moved onto sub-classes because of the fundamental flaw in the core class makes working on those seem like a waste of time. Yes trying to desing a class to deal with Eberron's assumptions regarding economy is futile at this point. In fact my entire point is that you should TRY to design classes so that they don't care about the economy, because every game world is gonna have a different one.
 
Yes I think that the number of powers you can access should be an absolute number, how is this strange to you? Would you think that a class that learned 1d6+3 powers is a good idea where the 1d6 is rolled per character made so that one guy would have 4 powers and the other might have 9 without doing anything differently?
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by Tempest_Stormwind:

You still haven't said the magic word. I asked you twice for it when I first presented it. Are you reading what I wrote?

It shows up for the first time after the only other appearance of "ad-hoc" on this page, beyond in this sentence.
rampant wrote:I haven't moved onto sub-classes because of the fundamental flaw in the core class makes working on those seem like a waste of time.
Setting aside that I wasn't talking about subclasses - I was literally talking about any other part of the class beyond "Acquiring Schema of 1st Level And Higher", such as the remaining class features, the spell slot progression, the unique spells, and Salvage Essence...
 
I've shown, conclusively, that this is not a problem, and I have asked for data instead of more impassioned arguments about it. This is "rip me a new one", not "cry me a river".
 
Which of the following do you disagree with?
 
1) Above, I have shown that if you assume 100% of the party's scrolls go to the artificer, that the artificer hangs on to them until she gets a spell slot capable of copying them, and that 100% of those scrolls are unique (not a given), then following the DMG's rules, you can expect about 33 schema. I have been stress-testing the artificer with as many as 35 and haven't found a problem.
2) Even if you give the artificer ALL THE SPELLS, her delayed spell slot progression really puts a clamp on what's available to her. Generally, the spells that get used are low-level non-combat utility spells which other casters can't provide (typically due to poor preparation), with the occasional combat spell (if you have sufficient preparation), instead providing buffs, object support, and augmented weapon combat when initiative rolls.
3) In conjunction with the delayed spell slot progression, the intense limits on arcane devices (craft reserve cost, creation time, single-use-only, action requirements, and no benefit from your Intelligence) and Prototype (slot cost, significant chance of failure (if used on higher level spells), and setup time (or HD cost for magitechnicians)) limit the artificer to pulling a rabbit out of their hat only with warning, and only occasionally.
 
I'll address your concern below; I ask that you please identify which of those you disagree with. I do not like repeating myself, and this is at least the third time for most of those points. Clearly we're hitting a wall, and I'd rather not do that.
 

Yes trying to desing a class to deal with Eberron's assumptions regarding economy is futile at this point. In fact my entire point is that you should TRY to design classes so that they don't care about the economy, because every game world is gonna have a different one.
And that's a good point. That's basically what I did with Salvage Essence, and why I introduced as many chokepoints (note the word change: these aren't negotiable like throttles are) as I did into Infuse Arcane Device and Prototype, and why I'm testing with 24 schema and 35.
 
In a sense, I think the fact that the core wizard has an expandable spellbook is actually a good thing in this regard, because DMs will recognize that purchaseable scrolls imply an expanded repertoire. I would agree with you completely if I were introducing the only spellbook-user to the game. But I've got precedent, and that precedent is a warning.
 
If you introduce a free item economy to the game, you violate a major assumption in the rules. If every fighter has +3 gear, the challenge curves go out the window - and any DM deciding to pass out +X gear like that should be aware that they are doing something the game doesn't anticipate.
 
Since I can't anticipate how any DM will decide to break the rules, though, I'm forced to comport with the rules as they are written. I can make it as robust as possible - something I've actually been trying to do amidst all of the screams of "UNBALANCEABLE!!!111!!", by the way - but I can't prevent some DM from introducing a houserule that causes every other class to explode as well.
 
The best I can do is design a system that won't break if the game's played close to the published rules. Why do you take issue with this particular goal?
 

Yes I think that the number of powers you can access should be an absolute number, how is this strange to you? Would you think that a class that learned 1d6+3 powers is a good idea where the 1d6 is rolled per character made so that one guy would have 4 powers and the other might have 9 without doing anything differently?
I find the problem with that is only the case if the two characters are in the same party. So long as the class is designed to function with 4 powers without failing and with 9 powers without breaking (i.e. the designer has done their job), then the only balance problem will be if they are in the same party. This is because different parties play with different expectations, while those in the same party have the same expectations and are in constant communication.
 
You're also strawmanning, in that this is a roll that is set per campaign (shared among all players), not per character. Such rolls are already present in the game, by the way - if you only roll one magic short sword, who gets it between your fighter, your monk, or your rogue? OMG POWER IMBALANCE? Or part of the game that the game's rules account for (namely, that all classes work with the baseline, and the rates at which +1 weapons drop are frequent enough that the other characters will probably get theirs soon)?
 
And, incidentally, the way to retain that campaign-level randomness while preventing player-level interparty conflicts? It's to have them share powers. Two wizards in the party will evenly split all the wizard scrolls you find. Ditto for two artificers. There will be a conflict for wizard scrolls in parties with both a wizard and an artificer, but the wizard is better situated to use advanced spells, spells that augment well, or combat spells (fast spell slot progression, specific features improving thosee spells), while the artificer (again, with the delayed spell slot progression and no way to leverage their Intelligence, let alone other features) is better suited for lower-level situational or non-combat spells, so the niches are different enough that the conflict for those scrolls is lowered. And that's just for the wizard scrolls; other scrolls have a different conflict (namely, do you pass that Raise Dead scroll to the cleric who can cast it, or sit on it for five levels until the artificer can copy it? That's a question whose answer is a function of how many dead PCs or important NPCs each party has.)
 
The main reason I went with a spellbook in the first place was this chain of reasoning:
1) Artificers used to have access to every spell, ever. This allowed them to pull out the perfect tool for the job, but it was super-easy to abuse, especially for item creation. (The item creation thought forked off into a different discussion which eventually led to Salvage Essence.)
2) An easy way to limit what spells the artificer could emulate while still allowing for a wide array of unpredictable effects would be to use a spellbook.
3) If I link the spellbook to what items they can build (this eventually became Infuse Arcane Device) as well as to what they could emulate (via Spell Storing Item, now Prototype), then I can use the same centralized resource for everything. This also shows how they can be ritual casters (something Keith and I definitely agree on, and I think everyone else would as well).
4) However, artificers should not be able to freely cast any spell in that book. So I'll introduce a different mechanism for "spells known" and adopt a different terminology ("schema") for what's in the spellbook, so players won't get into arguments about "Why can't I cast Fireball if I 'know' it?".
 
That's how I settled on the "spellbook" approach - an attempt to capture the broader versatility of the older artificer without porting over its brokenness. I always started with a half-size spellbook and plenty of chokepoints on their applications, but these have since been refined, through reasonably productive conversation with you (such as the blocker preventing wizards and tomelocks from poaching artificer's spells, or artificers poaching the faster spellbook progression of the wizard's). I'm hoping to continue that conversation now, but I can't do that if you're so absolutist about this particular point despite all the data pointing the other direction.
 
 
 
Revisions Made:
  • I removed Poison and Psychic from the expanded augmentation options, limiting high-level artificers to just the five common elements and radiant/necrotic (though a few other sweeps still show paladins and certain clerics as coming out ahead on the radiant front; the artificer's lower output comes at the benefit of greater efficiency, especially for a party). Constructs, the traditional tools and foes of artificers, are all immune to Poison damage, and that just left Psychic sticking out like a sore thumb. 
  • While confirming that, I also found out that, oddly enough, constructs aren't actually immune to disease. I've kept the old "disease -> curse" transition (i.e. Disable Construct) in the meantime, since artificers can remove such curses but not heal disease, but that could change. 
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by rampant:

I dobn't bother with the higher level abiliteis because when we started most of this back and forth most of them were fine. You may have changed them recently but the last time I checked the only isseus were the scroll thing and the magic item recipe problem. 
 
All the +3 sword sin the world aren't going to expand your capabilities. They don't give you any new powers, some of the specific weapons do, but aside from the dagger of venom and the slayer weapons they seem tor require attunement and that has a hard coded limit of 3. Furthermore most of the classes don't have the special power to copy the abilities of magic weapons they find and keep using them long after the weapon they found has been eaten by a rust monster or something. The fact that your class interacts incredibly oddly with the DM controlled magic item system is not a feature, it is in fact a bug. The reason I suggested a custom magic item creation system in the first place was because the DMG magic items are inherently outside the realm of what a class should messing with. 
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by Tempest_Stormwind:

Still haven't heard which of those points you disagree with....

rampant wrote:I dobn't bother with the higher level abiliteis because when we started most of this back and forth most of them were fine. You may have changed them recently but the last time I checked the only isseus were the scroll thing and the magic item recipe problem.
That's good to hear. Can we discuss the magic item recipe problem, as you see it? I don't think there is one, and I'll say why below.
 

All the +3 sword sin the world aren't going to expand your capabilities. They don't give you any new powers, some of the specific weapons do, but aside from the dagger of venom and the slayer weapons they seem tor require attunement and that has a hard coded limit of 3.
+X weapons don't require attunement. Only the ones that add new powers to your repertoire do - meaning every warrior class has a minimum number of powers (what their class provides) and a maximum number of powers (that number, +3 - one for each extra attunement slot - with even more leeway since not every attuned item gives a new power, and some give lots of new powers. The ones that give the most new powers are limited even further, requiring attunement by a specific class - usually including a wizard, by the way).
 
The reason why I mentioned +Xs is that they radically change the accuracy curve. The game's bounded accuracy curve works perfectly for normal weapons (there are a couple of hitches at high levels where you need some form of magical weapon to bypass resistance or immunity, but you also get more and more ways of actually making your weapons magical as you increase - EK bonded weapon and bladelock pact weapon, monk unarmed strikes, and for the buddies who lack these, you've got the Magic Weapon spell). Adding in magic weapons moves attackers with them into an entirely different category, such that their attacks may as well be entirely different powers.
 

Furthermore most of the classes don't have the special power to copy the abilities of magic weapons they find and keep using them long after the weapon they found has been eaten by a rust monster or something.
Is there any circumstance where a character can actually give up the use of an ability, forever, as opposed to the DM taking it away? Because the DM can totes take away the wizard's spellbook (or the artificer's book of schema) too, and unlike the warriors, he can't just disarm a guard or loot a corpse and have something perfectly servicable to wield. (Fighters who don't rely on one specific weapon property (i.e. Finesse, or the Polearm Mastery feat) can fight equally well with just about any weapon, largely because the math works the way I described above.)
 
To answer this question, yes, there is - it's swapping out spells during the level-up process. However, people who swap out spells do so because the older spell isn't pulling its weight anymore. Maybe monsters have too many HP for Sleep to be useful anymore. Maybe Burning Hands just isn't outputting enough damage to justify its really short range anymore. In these cases, it's akin to picking up a new power "for free", because even if you'd retained the old one, it wouldn't be worth using anymore. The analogy to weapons isn't that he'll constantly keep using Flame Tongue + Frostbrand - it's that the +1 sword he picked up ten levels ago isn't as useful to him as the +2 that he just got.
 
A character with 5 powers, one of which he never uses, who exchanges that power for another that he is likely to use, has 5 powers that he is likely to use at any given time (class mechanics depending). A character with 5 powers, one of which he never uses, who learns a new power.... has 5 powers that he is likely to use at any given time (class mechanics depending).

The fact that your class interacts incredibly oddly with the DM controlled magic item system is not a feature, it is in fact a bug. The reason I suggested a custom magic item creation system in the first place was because the DMG magic items are inherently outside the realm of what a class should messing with. 
You still haven't explained what's odd about this, since you focused so heavily on the spellbook aspect. That's why I keep asking for other discussion angles - I'm actually not seeing anything weird on this.
 
See, if the DMG items were not meant to be within players' grasp via item creation, why would you include rules on formulas in the first place? (Page 128-9, 141) All the artificer does is that it checks which items the DM is already OK allowing in the game (because they're the ones the artificer has access to), looks for which ones have a low enough rarity (so truly rare items are still outside of the players' grasp), and then provides a mechanism by which the formula can be placed - with a risk and definite loss to the artificer (since the item you salvage isn't available to be used until you build a replacement, meaning you basically "buy" an extra of the item over a very long span of time for twice the price).
 
A game with lots of +1 weapons won't break if the artificer is able to take the third +1 longsword you find, salvage it, and use what he learns to make the +1 whip that your bard really wants, for instance - but that same artificer won't be able to give everyone a Flame Tongue unless you place one in a treasure hoard and allow the artificer enough resources to make it (assuming you go entirely by the book without any adjustment, the party's spellcasters needs to pay 500gp (assuming a modest lifestyle) and spend 20 downtime days to build one - how much downtime did you give out / get between the last adventure? It very likely might not have been long enough to build two, which would be the minimum required to replace the sword you salvaged and give a second one to a different teammate.)
 
 
 
 
Revisions made:
  • "Object Dependence" added into the rules for spellcrafting, which subsumes the "object components" that were discussed under cantrips, spellcrafting, rituals, and spells. All of those sections were adjusted as a result. It's more elegant when it's consolidated.
  • Added another cantrip known at 10th level, and made mending optional. You finish off with 4.
  • Clarified that ritual books (such as from the Ritual Caster feat or the Tome of Ancient Secrets invocation) are spellbooks, as far as copying to/from books of schema are concerned. (Given how no one's really having a problem with tomelocks, I don't think this is a problem mechanically, but this was for consistency and to make absolutely sure that, although you can have a tomelock crib rituals off of a wizard, you can't use that tomelock as a gateway for extra schema.)
  • Magecraft is now its own class feature, rather than rolled into Spellcrafting. (It was already pretty distinct, and I could hypothetically see another spellcrafter without access to it or someone with access to it but with a different source of craft reserve (say, a Magewright feat or NPC feature similar to the Martial Adept feat), so...).
  • Prototype no longer makes any reference to "charges", preventing some potential exploits (the only ones I found were in my own spells, but it's easier to put the clamp on this early). In fact, it now includes wording that automatically triggers a mishap if you try to tinker with it as if it were charged - they're just that unstable. The magitechnician's Flash of Genius, Jumpstart, and Power Surge also got slight tweaks because of this change.
  • Spell flasks now dissipate harmlessly if they're damaged (unless you spend the action to break it, that is). This prevents a rather spectacular spell nova if they're employed like bombs can be, as an area trap.
  • Clarified what Construct Dominance does if the construct is independent (i.e. warforged, (arguably) modrons, etc.). It causes the construct to behave as if charmed - note that this isn't the same as actually applying the charm condition, so it should break through charm immunity.
  • Surprise! All the spells (new ones plus remixed old ones) are now presented in full, instead of just abbreviated form. The completely new spells appear with blue names. There's a few subtle surprises in there, largely motivated by AlHazred.
  • Another editing pass.
 
I've also come across a potential hurdle at the low levels - before you have a lot of slots available, it's really hard to keep Personal Weapon Augmentation running except during big scenes. I didn't notice how much of an impact this had until I introduced Magic Stone to the list of cantrips - it's too perfect a fit to remove, but also too much of a gamechanger, especially since it's "non-core". This leads me to suggest reworking Personal Weapon Augmentation to be on short-rest craft reserve - basically activating it by spending 1 craft reserve (short rest) and choosing an element type, or by casting Weapon Augmentation (and matching its elemental type). This will increase the artificer's demand on craft reserve slightly at the low levels, which further incentivizes them to be frugal with their arcane devices, and it also increases the emphasis on Intelligence.
 
This is currently being tested. The default is that this takes a bonus action and lasts 1 hour if cast from craft reserve , but it happens automatically for the duration of Weapon Augmentation. If this change is made, artificers might no longer automatically learn Weapon Augmentation (as the reason for them all having it would have been rolled into their class features - while most of them would still take it, it'd be to artificers what Eldritch Blast is to warlocks.)
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by transcendantviewer:

I looked this over and it seems to do everything right without breaking anything, though, despite the 5th edition philosophy, I'd like to see one of its high-level abilities being able to make permanent magic items using energies from other magic items, like the Artificers were known for back in 3.5. I've just always adored that feature about them. And it's far from broken considering they had to cannibalize other items just to be able to make something else. You could allow for their highest level ability to be "Craft Reserve spent to create items now returns to you normally and the item becomes a permanent magic item, useable by others without any more or less difficulty they could normally." but, if that's not possible, I'm okay with that too. It really looks good and I'm looking forward to seeing how it plays.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by Tempest_Stormwind:

transcendantviewer wrote:I looked this over and it seems to do everything right without breaking anything, though, despite the 5th edition philosophy, I'd like to see one of its high-level abilities being able to make permanent magic items using energies from other magic items, like the Artificers were known for back in 3.5. I've just always adored that feature about them. And it's far from broken considering they had to cannibalize other items just to be able to make something else. You could allow for their highest level ability to be "Craft Reserve spent to create items now returns to you normally and the item becomes a permanent magic item, useable by others without any more or less difficulty they could normally." but, if that's not possible, I'm okay with that too. It really looks good and I'm looking forward to seeing how it plays.
Thank you!
 
I'm not quite sure what you mean - they can already do that, through the item creation rules in the DMG (Page 128; it works similarly to normal item crafting in the PHB, except you need a formula (and the cost per day is five times more expensive, but since magic item prices are also high, it still takes a long time to make most items). The only catch is you need a formula, which a DM can give you, make you work for, or have you obtain by reverse-engineering loot that's already appeared in your game. You also need enough downtime to build the item, or enough assistants to keep that time manageable (which, incidentally, actually gives you something to spend your vast high-level wealth on - you still can't "buy" magic items, but you can hire enough assistants to help you build one in two months rather than five years. (Yes, by default, it takes around five years to build a very rare item from a formula. By the levels where you can do this, I hope you've positioned yourself high up in one of the artisans' guilds and can commission a special team to work on it with you.))
 
Craft reserve is currently used to create:
-Magecraft tools (technically a buff)
-Arcane Devices (identical in almost all ways to scrolls; these actually are permanent, but there's a catch to prevent you from selling them and creating an item economy. These can be used by others, as they're spell scrolls.)
-Potions (also usable by anyone, and they last long enough to be more or less permanent without creating an item economy.)
-Casting Prototype or Augmentation spells if you're a Magitechnician or Spellforger (permanent prototypes are basically arcane devices)
-Alchemist bombs (these are also permanent and can be used by anyone)
-Alchemist spell flasks (Also permanent and can be used by anyone; this is the only way for a total nonspellcaster to cast spells. If your goal was to build arcane devices for the entire party, this is it.)
-Construct Dominance (a "charm" type effect)
-Alternate fuel for charged items via the Power Surge spell.
 
All of these are technically "consumables", if you use the 'permanent' vs 'consumable' distinction. If you want a permanent magic item, like a flametongue, you'll need a formula, raw materials, a place to work, and time to build it, plus anything special the formula calls for. I wrote a little essay on this in Post 2, the first spoiler block ("Regarding Item Creation").
 
Is that what you meant? Or is it something closer to the official artificer's ability, which is "Level 14 (!!) artificers can, once a month, take a week to produce an item on Table A or B, most of which are consumable anyway, and you need to suspend your disbelief as to why this doesn't produce at least some items for sale"?
 
I'd be happy to investigate this direction further, but I need to make sure I'm understanding it.
 
 
 
 
Initial runs on the "Personal Weapon Augmentation from reserve" idea above are very promising, but I have two concerns: They seem to damper down the spellforgers' uniqueness a bit (rather, what happens there is they get more potent for the same reserve cost; it's particularly effective for armor augmentations), and they put even more pressure on craft reserve in the mid levels, when it's tightest and forces the arty to be reasonably careful i.e. a 6th level rock gnome artificer with 18 Int has 10 craft reserve. He might budget three points for PWA and Magecraft (to be tapped into for replacement potions or devices as needed), 3 for an Invisibility potion, and have four left - meaning two 2nd level arcane devices, or one 2nd level and two 1st level devices (drawn from a spellbook containing 10 spells, maybe one more if you found a scroll). That leaves zero left for other class features, apart from spells (he knows six). Compare to the cleric, who has three 3rd level spells, two Channel Divinities, and several domain features that are probably less restrictive, on top of his diverse spell selection (he has 16 prepared). Or compare to the wizard, who trades armor and HP for three 3rd level spells, three levels of Arcane Recovery, 10 spells prepared from a book containing 16, and three Arcane Tradition abilities. All these classes have 4 1st and 3 2nd level slots in common.
 
(You'll see this shows the chokepoints I mentioned upthread rather well. Without assigning craft reserve to PWA, that's maybe three 2nd level devices unique to the artificer, which are single-use-only fire-and-forget objects that don't work with bonus action spells. Does that equal what's listed above for other classes (or does it come close to the 3rd level spells)? Hardly, even if you have full access to every spell in the game, which you don't.)
 
The artificer is currently coming out as slightly weaker than I'd like, but still within acceptable parameters. (They work fine at the lowest levels, but taper off rather fast.) I'm open to suggestions. The best I can think of is going back to some variant of "you know your whole list" thing or cleric-style preparation, neither of which are particularly appealing.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by transcendantviewer:

No, I think you got it. I just found it strange that it wasn't included. You can discredit my post, the Creating Magic Items section of the DMG covers it. Although, if you can break magic items to learn how to make them again, you could find a Flametongue and break it in exchange for being able to produce more. That might be an interesting feature for a higher level Artificer. Maybe offer them some feats like in 3.5 that reduces creation costs somewhat?
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by Tempest_Stormwind:

transcendantviewer wrote:No, I think you got it. I just found it strange that it wasn't included. You can discredit my post, the Creating Magic Items section of the DMG covers it. Although, if you can break magic items to learn how to make them again, you could find a Flametongue and break it in exchange for being able to produce more. That might be an interesting feature for a higher level Artificer. Maybe offer them some feats like in 3.5 that reduces creation costs somewhat?
I'm having to be a bit vague on how formulas work, since they're not described in the rules beyond what I quoted and the rules have to adapt for both Eberron and 5e Standard and everything in between on the item creation front. 
 
However, as written, what you say is already what it does. If I find a flametongue (i.e. the DM says flametongues are OK in the game and one shows up in loot), I can dismantle it to learn how to build it, and spend time and money making more (incidentally, replacing the first one I had to dismantle), assuming I have the means to complete the formula (the raw materials, the time, and anything odd - for instance, the flametongue might require lava, which isn't available in my coastal city lab).
 
Are you suggesting, say, that if we find two +1 weapons, I can dismantle the first to learn the formula to make +1 weapons, and suggest that dismantling the second shows some shortcut that lets me create +1 weapons easier? I can't centrally codify that because it makes assumptions on how easy it should be on following a formula, but I did mention something close to that as a suggestion in my "Regarding Item Creation" essay:

There's also the possibility, in either type of setting, for magic items to have multiple possible formulas. If an artificer disassembles two +1 weapons, he might find that one of them had a much easier-to-fulfil formula than the other. This puts a choice in his mind if you pass him a big item - let's say he was foolish before and dismantled that Nine Lives Stealer only to find he could never recreate it, and by the rolls of the dice, he manages to find another, obviously from a different maker. Does he risk dismantling it, on the chance that it might provide a feasable formula this time, even though he may very well never see another of its kind again?
 
As for feats, feats are problematic because:
  • They're optional. I can't do the 3.5 thing of "fixing" or "upgrading" a class feature through a feat because they're not part of the basic game. (That's something subclasses occasionally do.)
  • They're not class-linked. The closest you'll find to a class-specific feat is "must be a spellcaster" (though Svirfneblin Magic in Elemental Evil and the dragonmark feats* have racial prerequisites).
The idea of transferring over simpler creation tools to artificers is one I like - you might notice it's already there on the golemist's Dedicated Wright homunculus, for instance - and I've long been considering it as a capstone or filler ability (say, "Sustainable Salvage: When you salvage an item, it regains its magic on its own after a week." This, in effect, gets over the long creation time needed to "replace" the original salvaged item, particularly as levels increase and downtime days get more precious.) But I haven't fully explored this yet, since I want the artificer to work well in games where there's no permanent item creation at all (as well as in ones where he's basically Iron Man - I'm with you in that I find this fun, but I also have to design for robustness across different campaigns.)
 
One idea I toyed around with was saying that Magecraft tools let you build twice as much per day when creating items (so up to 10gp per day for mundane crafting, 50gp per day for magic item crafting; you still need to have that much on hand. Functionally, this is what Magecraft did in 3.5 - it let apprentice industrial magewrights work on high-quality masterwork material, or churn out normal material much, much faster), but I didn't work that in. Think it'd be worthwhile? (Personally, I would have loved to see similar abilities on dwarves and rock gnomes, but I'm not designing the races.)
 
Finally, for people who want to create new items instead of just copy the ones you find, there are other formulas in the game (including, hypothetically, those for items which don't yet exist). There's just no way to put them in the players' hands except DM fiat, which is where I'm fine leaving this specific ability. (Having a player quest for the five pieces of ancient lore he needs to complete his thesis work and develop a new formula sounds like a fun personal goal, and a player being sent on a mission from House Cannith to acquire the final pieces of a puzzle they've been working on since they unearthed that strange formula in the jungle ruins of Xen'drik last year sounds like another fun one.) It's on par with a fighter questing to find a special magic sword or a cleric's goal of recovering the lost relic of the founder of his church - and is something to be worked out between player and DM, rather than hardcoded into how a class functions.
 
 

*
[sblock]Something else I disliked, for most of the same reasons listed above. Dragonmarks, I always thought, would work better as a background, at least for least marks. You can use the feat mechanism for powerful marks, aberrant marks, or Dragonmark Heirs, but there should be a way to express marks on 1st level characters or in games without feats.[/sblock]
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by DarkSphinx:

Tempest_Stormwind wrote:Something else I disliked, for most of the same reasons listed above. Dragonmarks, I always thought, would work better as a background, at least for least marks. You can use the feat mechanism for powerful marks, aberrant marks, or Dragonmark Heirs, but there should be a way to express marks on 1st level characters or in games without feats.
 
I totally agree about the background being the source of dragonmarks, particularly because of the racial requirements (and only a human might get a feat at 1st level).  Under the 5e system, the House-specific background should deliver Guild-appropriate tool (and vehicle) proficiencies (or a bonus language or two for House Sivis) as well.  It would seem that the backgrounds in the Player's Handbook would work for just about all the Houses, just by adding a "variant" version with a Variant Feature: Mark of (Whatever).  Action points could be used to activate "daily" resources, but I think I might have dragonmarks activate whenever an action point got spent on something else, which would allow the marked individual one innate casting of each spell (for least dragonmark).  With the use of a feat (Enhanced Dragonmark), I think an increase to the Lesser Dragonmark and usability similar to Magic Initiate feat is appropriate (unlimited cantrip casting and once/day spell).  I think I would also allow expenditure of spell slots (or spell points) to activate the mark powers, just as if they were extra bonus spells known.
 
Speaking of action points, have you considered what benefit those might be to an artificer?  In the original Eberron Campaign Setting, an artificer could spend 1 action point to inbue an infusion in 1 round (Hasten Infusion).
 
 

One idea I toyed around with was saying that Magecraft tools let you build twice as much per day when creating items (so up to 10gp per day for mundane crafting, 50gp per day for magic item crafting; you still need to have that much on hand. Functionally, this is what Magecraft did in 3.5 - it let apprentice industrial magewrights work on high-quality masterwork material, or churn out normal material much, much faster), but I didn't work that in. Think it'd be worthwhile?
 
So, back to dragonmarks, the Mark of Making gave a +2 bonus on Craft checks, how might this affect Magecrafting for the 5e version?
 
-DS
 
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by Tempest_Stormwind:

DarkSphinx wrote:Speaking of action points, have you considered what benefit those might be to an artificer?  In the original Eberron Campaign Setting, an artificer could spend 1 action point to inbue an infusion in 1 round (Hasten Infusion).
That worked because the artificer was only supposed to be used in Eberron. I'm designing with a broader focus in mind, hence the shift away from this. (It's thematically still present with magitechnicians' expenditure of Hit Dice to trigger Prototype faster, but it's missing elsewhere). 
 
Action points, as written, only really interact with d20 rolls (meaning, interestingly, that spellcasters who focus on spells with saving throws or auxiliary effects (including the artificer's buffs) are the only character type not likely to employ them on offense*). I would have preferred if action points were a bit more universal, but more limited (say, 1+half your level instead of 5+half your level, but using them gave you an extra action, similar to the fighter's Action Surge but with absolutely no refresh short of levelling up; to make them all the more dramatic, allow spending two to take an action out of turn), as then they'd be equally usable by everyone.
 
But this is digressing.
 
 
*
[sblock]I play in two 3.5 games set in Eberron, with the same players (two separate parties of five). One of my characters is a shaper, focusing on summoned constructs and other no-attack effects (plopping down walls, countering enemy magic, and so on). It reached the point where I would go entire character levels without spending a single action point, because my primary methods of influencing the world were ones that didn't employ d20s, and my tactics kept me safe enough that AP's defensive uses never came up. I eventually had to take Action Surge as a feat just to have something to spend them on (it's a good match, too, since my primary offense was really slow to set up).

[/sblock]
 
 
So, back to dragonmarks, the Mark of Making gave a +2 bonus on Craft checks, how might this affect Magecrafting for the 5e version?
There are no craft checks, which makes this difficult to do. I might tackle an alternative take on dragonmarks once the artificer is finished to a satisfactory degree.
 
 
 
Revisions made:
  • Having Magecraft now lets you complete twice as much work per downtime day engaged in crafting (including magic item creation if you're using that), and the wording on the golemists' Dedicated Wright changed to accommodate this (a Dedicated Wright and a magecraft-using artificer working together can complete projects four times as fast as a normal worker, but this is only available after level 11.). This is only for the character with it - a party of five non-artificers can create up to 25gp in one day of mundane crafting, while a party of four non-artificers and one artificer can create 30gp. A party of five artificers can create 50gp in one day, and since Magecraft is available at level 1 (early enough in the "apprentice" levels) this might have a dramatic impact on campaign manufacturing. (The basic solution assumes that most NPCs aren't artificers, in the same manner that most medical professionals in a hospital aren't MDs (rather, you'll find more RNs and other assorted medical personnel without the title "doctor".). A setting like Eberron would instead have an NPC archetype, the Magewright, which has Magecraft as a class feature the same way the Berserker has the barbarian's Reckless Attack.) 

I haven't had a chance to further test the proposed change to Personal Weapon Augmentation yet (a reminder: this would allow it to be activated by spending 1 craft reserve as a bonus action in addition to triggering automatically if you cast Weapon Augmentation on your own weapon; craft resere spent this way recovers on a short rest). I'm quite open to feedback on this topic while I try to clear up enough time to repeat my tests with it.
 
 
 
Also, in case you're interested, here's my entire in-progress Eberron rules compilation, which includes the artificer in fully-formatted style, along with my take on the three released Eberron races, and will soon include dragonmarks. 
Summary
[sblock]You'll notice there's a dearth of fluff. It's not all that important yet since all of these elements have established fluff from two editions to draw upon, but there's still placeholder text for it.
 
Warforged
  • The race is substantially different from the Unearthed Arcana version. It's strongly based on Keith's hacked warforged stats.
  • The race's living construct nature is emphasized and elaborated as simply as I could manage. Amongst other things, it's now clear what type they are. I rather like how this turned out.
  • Composite plating is actual integrated armor, not a +1 AC mod. This returns to the 3e style rather than the 4e "hermit crab" approach. They still have very good AC (and a racial Con bonus).
  • There are three subraces (soldier, scout, and juggernaut) which each have slightly different composite plating stats (light, medium, and heavy armor), with proficiency requirements that favor martial classes and keep the race separate from the mountain dwarf.
  • A sidebar attaches some fluff to attunement and the (Medium/Heavy) Armor Mastery feats to revive the idea of warforged components and Mithral Body / Adamantine Body. (There's also a proposed Light Armor Mastery feat, which here is fluffed to Mithral Fluidity but has some slight nods to the useful bits of Unarmored Body.)
I haven't implemented it yet, but I think I've found a way to get the benefits of the "hermit crab" style armor without sacrificing the integrated armor's mechanics either - by expanding the idea of "attunement = warforged component", and observing that a character can attune to any magic item, even those that don't actually require it. Namely, if a warforged attunes to a suit of magic armor, it integrates with their composite plating and its stats replace that of the plating until the warforged is no longer attuned to the armor. The logic here is the same as, say, a character in scale mail who has Mage Armor cast on him - you just pick the AC formula you use, and if you pick the magic armor's, you also get its special properties. The trick is just finding an easy, rules-lite way of doing this, since the warforged is already slightly wordier than I'd like. 
 
Changelings
  • My take is really similar, since, on balance, I like how they turned out.
  • I kept the term "polymorph" since there isn't a better term for what happens, and it mirrors the monster ability Shapeshifting, but now I'm clear that it doesn't change stats at all (including no temporary HP, as there's been some confusion on that point.)
  • Shapeshift is no longer limited to humanoids you've seen - you can create new disguise identities again. 
  • I've added a Natural Linguist ability expanding on their ability to learn languages. It's fairly minor but one of the things I felt they were really missing.
Shifter
  • Most of the changes here are minor, but they do add up. The core race, pre-subrace, is pretty much unchanged, and I didn't touch Beasthide, Cliffwalk, Longtooth, or Wildhunt.
  • I've restored the Dreamsight trait, but I'm not completely sold on its shifting feature.
  • Longstride's been slightly altered so it's actually worth considering as a rogue - it not only unlocks a bonus-action Dash, it also cuts your movement costs in half while doing a bonus-action Dash (sort of a reverse Difficult Terrain).
  • Razorclaw was adjusted, since the original was only really useful if you were a monk, but monk martial arts made it superfluous. The tweak is simple - you can make the claw attack as a reaction to being hit as well as a bonus action. It's still useful for monks (who get the bigger unarmed strike damage on the bonus-action or reaction attack), while remaining useful for everyone else (since there's very few ways to get reaction attacks).
Dragonmarks:
  • They're coming. I'm toying around with a background feature substitution for the basic effect, using a feat to reflect Dragonmark Heirs, as hinted above. "Aberrant" is going to be one of the mark choices, with a somewhat more flexible collection of combat spells.
  • In terms of which spells are available, I actually like most of the choices from the Unearthed Arcana document. It's not what magic's available, it's how that magic's available that I'm adjusting.
I have a few good ideas for the kalashtar as well (they're my favorite of the four unique Eberron races), but like Mearls, I think working on them prior to the release of psionics rules is premature. 
 
Finally, I've included an in-progress sidebar on adapting all of the elements to games other than Eberron. I plan on including full examples of where they might be found in Faerun and Athas once I get a chance to fluff everything.

[/sblock]
I'd like to thank AlHazred for bringing the templating for this to my attention. This is what I've been working on with that since.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by Tempest_Stormwind:

Since the last post, WotC has provided feedback on the community response to the Eberron Unearthed Arcana material. Most telling was this:

The artificer still needs a good amount of work, so that one will go back to the drawing board. I think the class needs a more unique, evocative feature that does a better job of capturing a character who crafts and uses custom items. We played it too conservatively in our initial design.
That's absolutely consistent with how I felt when I decided to do this. I know they weren't evaluating this version, but it's satisfying all the same.
 
I also finally got some time to test and revise all this material. I've updated the PDF; the post is being updated as I type this.
 
Revisions made - Artificer:
  • I'm playing around with something new. The very small number of schema and small spells-known from a small and focused spell list felt overly restricting (it was scarcely better than the ranger on this regard, and I'd rather not repeat the mistakes that class made; like WotC I think I was too conservative here), so I'm experimenting with giving it paladin-style casting for its own spells - that is, prepared from the entire spell list. The number prepared is two-thirds your class level, rounded down, plus your Intelligence modifier; you don't need your book of schema for this (since that describes a different set of spells - those that you can build, rather than those that specifically breathe magic into objects). I suspect the narrow focus and short length of the spell list won't push this too much, but the increase in situational versatility certainly will. And, as a side effect, some of the situational spells may see more use - the artificer is now the only class capable of casting Cordon of Arrows without being stuck with it for their entire career, for instance. (Do note: While the artificer spell list contains zero rituals, even if it's later adjusted to include some, their Ritual Caster ability only applies to their book of schema.)
  • As a consequence of this, the magitechnicians' guild Inventor ability treats Prototype like a domain spell (always prepared, doesn't count as a prepared spell), instead of adding it as a spell known, and the class table's Spells Known column was changed to reflect cantrips known.
  • Personal Weapon Augmentation now works off of (short-rest) craft reserve, and kicks in automatically if you use Weapon Augmentation, allowing artificers to conserve their spell slots. This lets them feel more like they're tinkering with their weapons rather than casting buff spells, though they can do both together quite well.
  • Alchemist Bombs are now expressly considered weapon attacks.
  • The alchemists' Precision Reflexes ability is now "Measured Response", a much better name. It's also been tuned a bit, since the earlier wording allowed for attacks with small weapons (which was not its intent).

Spells available comparison
[sblock]Although it seems like this adds a lot of extra spells to the artificer's daily repertoire, it really doesn't. Assuming 15 starting Int and maxing it at the earliest opportunities, here's what you get:
LevelOld Spells (known)New Spells (prepared)More Spells?
1----
233
344
455
5561
6671
7671
8792
98102
108102
119112
1210133
1310133
1411143
1512153
1612153
1713163
1814173
1914173
2015183
Even at maxed-out Int (level 8), you're never more than 3 spells ahead of the old progression, and the big advantage is that you can change them out, which means your situational versatility over time goes up but your overall versatility or power remains pretty similar.
[/sblock] 
The feedback results also spoke a bit on races, and we've seen a maritime campaign Unearthed Arcana since. The most interesting bits of the feedback said:

The changeling will likely have its ability scores and Shapechanger ability tweaked. The shifter scored well, so expect a few shifts there (pardon the pun) but nothing too dramatic. 
The warforged had the most interesting feedback. I think we’re going to take a look at presenting a slightly different approach, one that ties back into the original race’s armored body options to make them feel more like innately equipped characters.
This is noteworthy in that my assessment was nearly identical. My changeling was virtually the same as theirs but with slight tweaks to Shapechanger and a "ribbon" ability added to model their linguistic ability (though I left the ability scores the same, I can definitely see them changed). My shifter was very similar as well, with only slight tweaks (mostly to Razorclaw). And my warforged definitely moved to the "innately equipped" feel, though I also emphasized their construct nature more strongly.
 
Revisions made - Races (See the PDF for full stats):
  • Changelings haven't had any changes, but I will duplicate anything WotC provides on ability scores.
  • Dreamsight shifters have had slight rules tweaking. They're more aware of their surroundings and in tune with animals than Wildhunts, but they can't hold a candle to Wildhunt's tracking ability or mental fortitude. The wildhunt is unlikely to fail on simpler awareness tasks while the dreamsight is capable of better results in specific areas if they're trained.
  • Longstride shifters have been adjusted slightly again, borrowing text from the monk's Step of the Wind. Longstride's shifting ability was adjusted to provide something to rogues (Cunning Action was better than it in every sense) and to monks (it's slightly better than Step of the Wind for the specific purpose of Dashing through difficult terrain, though you still get something for the ki point), while providing a speed boost to everyone else.
  • Razorclaw has been reworded slightly from my previous take, but the intent is similar. Since it was an unarmed attack, the WotC version really only worked with monks, but at the same time monk martial arts made it obsolete. My adjusted version allows the razorclaw attack while armed (as long as you have a hand free), and even allows it as a reaction if you're hit in melee, and it can work off of Strength or Dexterity. This widens the scope of who might find it appealing, while at the same time making it actually work with Martial Arts. Furthermore, the original only had slashing damage on that one attack, while mine changes all unarmed strikes to slashing during a shift.
  • In light of the aquatic adventures Unearthed Arcana, I restored the Truedive shifter trait. It's the second trait to come with a Con bonus (the only other one is Beasthide), it brings a 15-minute Hold Breath ability both with and without shifting, and its shifting state gives it a swim speed equal to its land speed.
  • The warforged got a few tweaks from their previous presentation. Most dramatically, I think I managed to strike a balance between the Innate-Equipment 3e model and the hermit-crab 4e model. They're still innately equipped - they are considered to be wearing armor at all times, they can't put armor on over top of it, and the stats of the armor are based on their subrace - but they can still attune to magical armor they find, provided it matches the type of armor their plating provides. Since I was using attunement to model warforged components already, it was easy to say that an attuned suit of armor just integrates itself into their composite plating, transferring its magic to the plating for as long as attunement lasts. (Yes, you can attune to any magic item, not just those that require it. The wording also specifically avoids "don" or "wear", so it's consistent with both the warforged's composite plating and the druid's "will not wear metal" restriction.) Only the magic transfers over, not the base stats - a +2 chain shirt and +2 scale mail both provide identical bonuses to a warforged who attunes.
  • Warforged now have advantage on Constitution checks. This does not include Con saves (such as for concentration or forced march), just the checks, which usually only kick in when feats of stamina are involved. (There are no skills tied to Constitution, and Constitution checks are referred to very rarely in the game; the hard rules usually skip over places where they'd matter.) The 5e warforged needs to rest and can still exhaust itself, but this advantage (plus their preference for martial classes who are proficient in Con saves - recall that warforged are only innately proficient in light armor, so soldiers and juggernauts need medium/heavy proficiency from somewhere) firmly cements in the mechanics their reputation for just not stopping.
  • I'm slightly more explicit that the Medium Armor Mastery and Heavy Armor Mastery feats are how you model Mithral Body and Adamantine Body in 5e.
  • The overall word count is slightly lower; I plan on shrinking the warforged text even further if I can since I don't like having races with this much in the way of wording, but I really do want to express that these are living creatures and constructs, not merely humanoids with an AC bonus.
I'm not 100% satisfied with my warforged yet (notably, only Scouts with the Light Armor Mastery feat (see the PDF) will function as monks or unarmored barbarians (although the basic warforged works fine as a barbarian, just not an unarmored one; similarly, warforged druids should still work)), but I'm still quite happy with how they turned out. Everyone I show them to has been similarly satisfied, I think, so I'll keep going with this direction.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by Marandahir:

I still don't feel comfortable with Artificers being a 2/3 caster. I really think they should be either a full caster or a half-caster.

2/3 your class level, rounded down is too complicated math. I know it's basic fractions but you're asking for more than a half or a third, you're asking for someone to take a third and then double it. We got rid of THAC0 for a reason: too much time and mental energy wasted on math calculations.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by Tempest_Stormwind:

Marandahir wrote:I still don't feel comfortable with Artificers being a 2/3 caster. I really think they should be either a full caster or a half-caster.

2/3 your class level, rounded down is too complicated math. I know it's basic fractions but you're asking for more than a half or a third, you're asking for someone to take a third and then double it. We got rid of THAC0 for a reason: too much time and mental energy wasted on math calculations.
It requires less math than I think you seem to think it does, and adjusting it in either way introduces more problems than it solves. 
1) Artificers have traditionally been more magical than the half-casters (who feel like warriors with spells rather than spellcasters with weapons), on par with bards - but I don't want to go the route that the 5e bard did and go with a full caster. The delayed spell level access is huge when it comes to how this class is balanced - full spellcasting would cause the artificer to race ahead of the full casters in the "supply top-notch magic" department (a big problem with the original artificer, and one I really don't want to repeat), and half-casting would force me to redo the entire schema rules because only the half-caster spell lists were designed with slow spell progression in mind. As it stands, it gets spells on a delay, but not an insurmountable one; it can supply the perfect lower-level spells for any situation (craft reserve and time depending), but it can't pull out effects on par with the specialist casters' top-end spells. That's exactly what I was hoping for, and 2/3 happened to hit the spot rather sweetly. (I originally started with 3/4, but that proved a little hard to manage.)
 
2) The game already uses thirds with Eldritch Knights and Arcane Tricksters - and the actual tables those classes use is not actually 1/3. It gives you the slots of a 1st level caster at level 3, as expected, but then gives you a 2nd level caster's slots at level 4, then 3rd and 4th level spellcaster slots at levels 6 and 7... you're getting spells at every level divisible by 3 and every level immediately after that. (By means of comparison, the artificer's slots are the standard spellcaster slots, skipping level 1 and every 3 levels after that.)
 
3) The actual calculation of 2/3 comes in exactly two places - both when you level up. You make one calculation - two-thirds your new artificer level - and use that for multiclass spell slots (if applicable) and spells prepared. That's done once. It's not touched again until you level up. Actual gameplay only ever uses halving as far as fractions are concerned. Incidentally, this is exactly the same logic behind proficiency bonuses - your proficiency bonus is actually your level, divided by 4, rounded up, added to 1, but no one complains about that because it's listed in a table. (Ironically this is exactly the same justification as THAC0, except the math is done for you by the designer instead of by you.)
 
If it helps, I can do the same thing the Eldritch Knight and Arcane Trickster did, or proficiency bonus did, and put spells prepared (the one place where the 2/3 factors in apart from multiclass slots, and multiclassing is a separate optional module from this class) in a column. I didn't do this originally because it might bring in more confusion, since the spells-prepared limit is 2/3 your level, + your Int modifier.
 
 
 
Incidentally, I never said this before, but I did try to keep the amount of "systems" specific to the artificer to a minimum. It all boils down to craft reserve in the end, similar to inspiration, wild shape, or channel divinity uses.  I find it's helpful to have a list of "standard" devices and potions that you keep and refill as needed (similar to how prepared spells worked in older editions), changing it when the situation demands it and your rest cycle allows. This also helps you budget enough free reserve for effects like Personal Weapon Augmentation, Magecraft, and unforeseen uses of your guild features.
 
Revisions made:
  • Object Dependence allows you to perform somatic components with the extra objects it requires. This should allow artificers to work on their own weapons while still using a shield.
  • The Alchemist's Master Distiller ability now allows any number of potions to be made during one short rest, as long as you've got the vials of water and the craft reserve to make them. This lets 11th+ level alchemists rely far more on their bombs (which are created using the Infuse Potions ability), which is kind of a signature point of the Alchemist's Guild playstyle.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by Marandahir:

Why don't you want to go the way of the 5e Bard with full-casting and limit the magic in other ways? It seems to me the "racing ahead of everyone else" happens regardless of the max-out level because of having access to everyone's spells. This is the fundamental problem, in my opinion. If you had a select Artificer list, like everyone else has for their classes, you could get 9th-level spells just fine. You could even have a Magical Secrets-like feature if you want more diversity, but here's the rub: Artificers have rarely, if ever, been about Illusion, Enchantment, or Divination. Sure, they'll make items related to these schools, but they really are more the mad scientists, tinkerers, spell blasters and supporters. Bard gets access mainly to healing conjurations/evocations, some supportive conjurations, abjurations, and necromancies akin to the Cleric, and then sound-based evocations (for the music stuff) and Illusion, Enchantment, and Divination spells akin to the Wizards of those schools. Artificers have a clear spell-list that goes in an almost exact opposite direction: healing conjurations/evocations, ome supportive conjurations, abjurations, and necromancies akin to the Cleric, and then Trasmutations, Abjurations, Conjurations, and Evocations akin to Wizarding schools. It wouldn't be that hard to develop a list of spells that are scream "Artificer."

I think ultimately that the complications and weirdness of the class come from your desire to make the class the ultimate generalist caster, and yet, it seems odd. If Artificers can learn any spell because they could find scrolls of any spell and know how to read and translate those into magic, why can't the Wizard do the same? Why can't Wizards scribe cure light wounds into their spellbooks? The logic that the Artificer should be able to learn any spell suddenly makes the Wizard feel impotent, which, while some of us would love seeing them knocked down a peg, doesn't make sense from an in-world perspective. It makes a lot more sense to limit the Artificer's allowable spell-pool. And when you do that, you could then make it a full caster, since it wouldn't be overwhelmingly better than every other caster. The nigh-unlimited versatility was what killed the Generalist wizard, after all. There are other ways of making a class versatile. Also, the way you're doing it makes the Bard feel impotent, which is really odd. The Bard, the Wizard, and the Sorcerer all got versatility as their schtick this edition, but in completely different ways (Wizards can cast more often and with more reliable choices each day, Bards have astounding accesss to various spell lists through their dabbling with magical secrets, Sorcerers can convert spell slots into spell enhancers or spell enhancers into spell slots to negotiate around specific issues). This Artificer basically takes the Bard type of versatility and completely outshines the Bard in it, despite the Bard starting from 1st level with magic, and your Artificer only getting 7 levels of magic. The math might work in terms of not overpowering other classes, but what you've presented outshines both the Wizard and the Bard, a feat that for an arcane class that is almost incredible, especially when Artificers have always been the "working class" Arcane class – less sparkly but just as effective. This guy plays Rogue, Bard, Wizard, and while he doesn't do their jobs better than them, he does them in grander ways. That's a problem.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by Tempest_Stormwind:

Thank you for your reply. I'll try to address everything.

Marandahir wrote:Why don't you want to go the way of the 5e Bard with full-casting and limit the magic in other ways?
Because I figured that having a delayed spell-level access would be an important clamp on their power, especially when combined with a spellbook mechanic. It turned out to be the key to quite a bit of how this class actually performs, and you'll see delayed spell access showing up again and again in my explanation for how this works.
 
The old artificer had access to every spell list and could craft items of any spell on them as if he was a member of the same class of the same level. (Actually, the same level +2, but that's a different factor.) That is, a 3rd level artificer could craft spell items, but only those that a 3rd level cleric or wizard could cast... but without any of the limitations present in either class. This was a huge part of the problem.
 
If the artificer were a few levels behind the others, then the others still bring out their signature spells "on time", with the artificer picking up both class's slack... in the much-weaker-spell department. While a wizard's throwing around Dimension Doors and the cleric calling down Flame Strikes, my artificer is building universal lockpicks (Knock) or lie detectors (Zone of Truth), spells the wizard or cleric were using earlier but now might crowd out of their spell preparation loadouts, knowing they can trust the arty to cover the "unexpected lower-level utility magic" niche.
 
If they had full spellcasting progression, all of that goes out the window and I'd have to design an entire new spell list from scratch. All the testing I've done so far suggests the delayed spell level access is immensely important to keeping the artificer reined in - even moreso than the spellbook, in some cases. (All of Rampant's complaints about oversized spellbooks led me to run a few stress-test conditions where the artificer's book of schema was full of every spell ever. Curiously, it didn't break (though it did get hard to manage), largely because of the delayed spell-level access.
 
Don't just look at the final level of spells. Look at when each spell level comes online. 
 
Also, consider craft reserve in this. A delayed spell-level access allows for craft reserve to supply a few "extra" spells (through devices), but because the actual spells are a few levels behind, the total number of spells you toss around is reasonably good (though quite a ways behind a full caster; you average about 9 fewer spell levels, all told. If you ignored craft reserve, you'd average over 20 spell levels behind a full caster.)

It seems to me the "racing ahead of everyone else" happens regardless of the max-out level because of having access to everyone's spells. This is the fundamental problem, in my opinion. If you had a select Artificer list, like everyone else has for their classes, you could get 9th-level spells just fine. You could even have a Magical Secrets-like feature if you want more diversity, but here's the rub: Artificers have rarely, if ever, been about Illusion, Enchantment, or Divination. Sure, they'll make items related to these schools, but they really are more the mad scientists, tinkerers, spell blasters and supporters. Bard gets access mainlyto healing conjurations/evocations, some supportive conjurations, abjurations, and necromancies akin to the Cleric, and then sound-based evocations (for the music stuff) and Illusion, Enchantment, and Divination spells akin to the Wizards of those schools. Artificers have a clear spell-list that goes in an almost exact opposite direction: healing conjurations/evocations, ome supportive conjurations, abjurations, and necromancies akin to the Cleric, and then Trasmutations, Abjurations, Conjurations, and Evocations akin to Wizarding schools. It wouldn't be that hard to develop a list of spells that are scream "Artificer."
Actually, artificers only had a list like that in 4e, where they played very differently from the original, and it's the original I'm looking at. The original artificer's "spell list" was full of infusions. It couldn't heal at all, for instance, unless they were repairing constructs. This artificer's ability to heal comes from its access to every spell (with a delayed spell level access and a spellbook "gate"), and the ability to create items based on those. (Or, more likely, the healing potions; you can make the basic healing potion at level 1, and it's only slightly less efficient than a Cure Wounds device. The higher-level healing potions cost more reserve, but are more efficient than a similarly-levelled Cure Wounds device and don't require you to learn a schema. Same argument - the artificer isn't healing, he's creating devices that heal for him. His own spells don't do healing the way a bard's do.)
 
If I create a specific bardlike spell list, then I'd probably have to restrict the artificer's ability to create magic based on other lists, and at that point I'm not working as a magical engineer (capable of making the perfect tool for the job). I'm just a bardlike spellcaster with special descriptions of what it means to "cast" a spell. Compare to how this artificer works, with spellcasting from a narrow object/construct-focused list, but the ability to create simple potions (not tied to any list) or arcane devices that function like spell scrolls for spells from other lists. 

I think ultimately that the complications and weirdness of the class come from your desire to make the class the ultimate generalist caster, and yet, it seems odd. If Artificers can learn any spell because they could find scrolls of any spell and know how to read and translate those into magic, why can't the Wizard do the same? Why can't Wizards scribe cure light wounds into their spellbooks? The logic that the Artificer should be able to learn any spell suddenly makes the Wizard feel impotent, which, while some of us would love seeing them knocked down a peg, doesn't make sense from an in-world perspective. It makes a lot more sense to limit the Artificer's allowable spell-pool. And when you do that, you could then make it a full caster, since it wouldn't be overwhelmingly better than every other caster. The nigh-unlimited versatility was what killed the Generalist wizard, after all. There are other ways of making a class versatile.
I'm not copying Cure Wounds (note the name!) into a spellbook and learning how to cast it. I'm reverse-engineering the basic magical principles of how it works, and learning how to recreate those principles through objects. A wizard learns their own magical traditions, complete with specific trappings of focus items that show a specific style of working with magic; it's different for warlocks, clerics, bards, and every other spellcaster. They learn to solve their version of the problem. The artificer does that too - except his version of the problem can't be directly solved, and instead has to be jury-rigged together from first principles without use of any of the specialist shortcuts a wizard or other caster learns.
 
Mechanically, the reason this works is because of the limits placed on arcane devices and prototypes. An arcane device of Cure Wounds is costly in terms of craft reserve (one point of reserve per level of the spell, and you're still limited by your (delayed!) spell level progression; for instance, a 7th level artificer can only create a 2nd level Cure Wounds device, and doing so would cost 2 points of reserve; assuming 15 starting Int, she'll only have 10 points total to spread around across all of her devices, potions, and guild abilities).  
 
The delayed spell access, again, helps a lot here. This is a level where wizards are learning Evard's Black Tentacles, Conjure Minor Elementals, Greater Invisibility, Polymorph, and Stoneskin. The artificer has to wait until next level to pick up Haste or Fireball (and has to pay 3 points out of ~12 for each of them!), and the level after that the wizard walks away with Dominate Person, Hold Monster, Scrying, and Telekinesis. Which one's feeling impotent here?
 
You seem to think that this should be a full caster, then point out issues with making it a full caster. Those issues were legitimate in the 3e artificer (whose item creation was completely disconnected from its delayed spell level access, you'll note; mine isn't), and I took great steps to try to learn from them here.
 
Also, the way you're doing it makes the Bard feel impotent, which is really odd. The Bard, the Wizard, and the Sorcerer all got versatility as their schtick this edition, but in completely different ways (Wizards can cast more often and with more reliable choices each day, Bards have astounding accesss to various spell lists through their dabbling with magical secrets, Sorcerers can convert spell slots into spell enhancers or spell enhancers into spell slots to negotiate around specific issues). This Artificer basically takes the Bard type of versatility and completely outshines the Bard in it, despite the Bard starting from 1st level with magic, and your Artificer only getting 7 levels of magic. The math might work in terms of not overpowering other classes, but what you've presented outshines both the Wizard and the Bard, a feat that for an arcane class that is almost incredible, especially when Artificers have always been the "working class" Arcane class – less sparkly but just as effective. This guy plays Rogue, Bard, Wizard, and while he doesn't do their jobs better than them, he does them in grander ways. That's a problem.
Um, no, he doesn't. 
 
  • Spell level delays, again, are a huge part of this. Seriously, look at it level-by-level; build some sample characters, and you'll see. Don't just look at level 20 and see "7thh level spells!!!!". Look at how long it took to get there and how diverse the higher-end spells of, say, Valor bards (not evel Lore bards) have gotten. (Note: At every level, a non-Lore bard, a sorcerer, a wizard, and a Moon druid will all have more spells ready to go than an artificer will, assuming equal casting ability scores. Those are all classes that don't get bonus spells ready.)
  • Off-list access is regulated through a spellbook, which can (barring DM intervention) only be expanded through levelling (one spell per level) or finding Spell Scrolls (note that 5e is quite stingy with these; I did a specific analysis for scrolls(x) upthread). Both of these are also limited by your delayed spell level access. You'll have a good assortment of devices to build, but you won't have the entire book on demand as you seem to think they have. (Seriously, Rampant's helpful criticism on this has had me test this rather extensively; you're versatile but nowhere near as diverse as you seem to think.)
  • Craft reserve is required for every off-list spell. These cost one point per spell level, you have to pay for each individual casting, and in most cases you have to choose them in advance since it takes a short rest to build one such device or replenish one you used earlier. Furthermore, these devices do not make use of your proficiency bonus nor your Intelligence score - they have their own DC/attack mod, since they follow the rules for spell scrolls. (If you try to conserve craft reserve by focusing on lots of 1st level spells, even at 20th level, they'll still only be DC 13/+5; a wizard doing the same would see DC 19/+11 with that.) Even then, again, you're on a delayed spell level, so you can't get the really good stuff that everone else is bringing fresh to the table. Every bit of reserve you spend also can't be spent on your potion bandolier, your Personal Weapon Augmentations, Magecraft, or your guild abilities. (Note that because of the delayed spell progression, you'll be using that weapon augmentation as your primary offense.)
  • If you're not using craft reserve to access those unconventional spells, you're using Prototype. Prototypes have a failure chance, which is enough to discourage many people from relying on them. (Remember how people would get bent out of shape over a 10% arcane spell failure chance in 3e? You don't begin to see failure chances that low until around level 11 or 12, depending on your guild, and even then that's limited to very low-level spells. i.e. you have a 9/10 chance of using a 1st-level Heroism spell 12 levels after bards had a 10/10 chance of doing the same, and at the same level that a bard can reliably toss out Irresistible Dances. You do have a perfect chance of using Elemental Weapon, Energy Ward, or Jumpstart, though, since your thing is to magically modify and enhance objects.) ANd this doesn't get into what happens on a mishap.
On a related note, the delayed spell level access means you cannot rely on an artificer for party-required spells unless they're already stale. If I design an adventure where the climactic fight involves an enemy spellcaster who has very powerful magic, but no way of dealing with Counterspell, for instance, the fight might go from "rather hard" to "rather easy" if the party has Counterspell, which several casters get at level 5 and can cast, as needed, until their slots run dry. The artificer doesn't get Counterspell until level 8, if he chooses to use his one schema for that level on it, and has to build the right number of them in advance to be able to do the same, and each of those eats up craft reserve that could have supplied a better tool, an augmented weapon or prototype, a potent guild ability (like a few strong alchemist bombs), or the right potion for the job. 
 
I really don't see how all of this - especially the delayed spell progression, which you continually ignore - amounts to outshining bards and wizards. Would you care to provide an example? 
 
 
As for rogues, the one area they can outdo rogues in would be magical traps, and even then it costs craft reserve to do it. Rogues can apply Expertise to skills, (and their skill list is broader - especially including Persuasion, Perception, and Stealth) as well as to their thieves' tools (which is a consistent bonus applied everywhere, any time); artificers can only apply it to a tool they're proficient in, and doing so requires them to keep some craft reserve free between short rests (see above on how this resource matters). Rogues also have Fast Hands (Thief) or Mage Hand Ledgermain (Arcane Trickster), allowing them much greater speed or versatility in tackling mundane traps, even if a Magecraft-boosted artificer has a similar bonus (probably a lower bonus, actually, since due to Personal Weapon Augmentation, artificers have less of a reason to boost Dexterity, and disarming mundane traps is still a Dexterity (Thieves' Tools) check).
 
 Magical traps require Intelligence (Arcana) to disarm normally, so wizards are actually better at that than rogues already, and bards (with Expertise in Arcana and possibly a decent Int score anyway) can trump them all. The artificer is supposed to be especially good with magic devices, of which magical traps are one possible form, so I don't mind them having a way of dealing with these in an especially good way, particularly given the limited nature of the artificer's skills outside of this situation (i.e. look at anything the rogue does except disarming traps, and they equal or exceed what the artificer's capable of doing most of the time. That's because the artificer is related to that niche, but only where the devices are concerned.)
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by Marandahir:

Ahh, well, here's the difference: while I did dabble with the Artificer in 3.5e Eberron, I really fell in love with the class in 4e, and the alchemy-healing infusions stuff seem pretty core to it for me. And I always saw it less as reverse-engineering specific types of spells as being the Tech studient (to the arts student the Bard is, and the traditional education students the Wizard, Warlock, and Sorcerer are; those three just have different approaches to getting an A – studying hard, being naturally talented and able to wing it, or bribing the teacher/cheating). So certain elements of this really don't feel Artificer to me, but feel like they're trying to push beyond the class' conceptual bounds, but that may be due to a limitation of my view of it. Conversely, it could well be that 4e distilled the class into something more archetypal (the alchemist/engineer type-character) and that they could really do with trimming the fat. Due to a difference in design goal here, I really don't know if I can use your Artificer concept without some extensive reworking. But there's some good stuff here.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by LordCorwin:

Did the 4e artificer get healing infusions because it was an artificer thing to have? Or, more likely, did it get healing infusions because they wanted to fill the arcane Leader role and artificer happened to fit the bill best? And therefore it had to have healing because all Leader classes had it.
 
I wouldn't put too much stock in the first. Nor would I necessarily allow it to affect how an artificer in 5e works given the lack of established roles as they existed in 4e.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Originally posted by Tempest_Stormwind:

LordCorwin wrote:Did the 4e artificer get healing infusions because it was an artificer thing to have? Or, more likely, did it get healing infusions because they wanted to fill the arcane Leader role and artificer happened to fit the bill best? And therefore it had to have healing because all Leader classes had it.
 
I wouldn't put too much stock in the first. Nor would I necessarily allow it to affect how an artificer in 5e works given the lack of established roles as they existed in 4e.
That was my understanding as well; Keith's actually said as much:

Keith Baker wrote:If you’re talking about the 4E artificer, I can’t help you there. I didn’t work on the 4E Eberron Player’s Guide. The artificer isn’t my design; it was chosen to be a “leader” class, and leaders heal.
 Marandahir, I'd highly suggest that article to you; it goes, in great detail, into the nature of healing and artificers, as well as the "crazy genius inventor" aspect of the class. Note that "Spell Storing Item" is split between my Infuse Arcane Device feature (which is sort of a hybrid between Spell Storing Item and old-school item creation; the permanent item creation bit is in Salvage Essence) and prototype (for the crazy, on-the-spot inventions, but also the single hardest ability to balance in the class).
 
Keith also wrote this, which I, in general, concur with and have been using as a benchmark for evaluating the project (see Goal 2). There's also the specific examples of artificers he uses - think Nikola Tesla and you've got it. My vision of the artificer aligns with Keith's, rather than the everyman that 4e tended to paint it as (though there's aspects of that in Eberron, certainly; artificers may be crazy awesome, but they're working class rather than scholars or clergy. There's aspects of that in mine as well - Guild Artisan being the default background and the one that gives the greatest flexibility to artificers - but the actual "everyman" artificer would be the magewright. Which I've personally been handling using an NPC archetype with an NPC-friendly version of Magecraft.)

Marandahir wrote:Ahh, well, here's the difference: while I did dabble with the Artificer in 3.5e Eberron, I really fell in love with the class in 4e, and the alchemy-healing infusions stuff seem pretty core to it for me. And I always saw it less as reverse-engineering specific types of spells as being the Tech studient (to the arts student the Bard is, and the traditional education students the Wizard, Warlock, and Sorcerer are; those three just have different approaches to getting an A – studying hard, being naturally talented and able to wing it, or bribing the teacher/cheating). So certain elements of this really don't feel Artificer to me, but feel like they're trying to push beyond the class' conceptual bounds, but that may be due to a limitation of my view of it. Conversely, it could well be that 4e distilled the class into something more archetypal (the alchemist/engineer type-character) and that they could really do with trimming the fat. Due to a difference in design goal here, I really don't know if I can use your Artificer concept without some extensive reworking. But there's some good stuff here.
Well, there's three things you've raised in two threads about artificers, and I actually think this provides them, to a point.
 
  • Healing (everyone, not just constructs). From level 1, this artificer can create healing infusions in the form of Potions of Healing. Well, specifically, short-lived versions thereof (they last for a week instead of indefinitely; this prevents the artificer class from introducing a magic item economy to worlds where selling magic items is impossible. You can still create standard healing potions if you have the formula, which you can derive as soon as you hit level 3 and salvage a potion of healing.) The higher-level potions of healing are also useful here since they're more efficient than a maximum-strength Cure Wounds or Healing Word spell cast at the same level.
  • An emphasis on specific schools of magic. Their normal spellcasting list does focus on those, actually - lots of transmutations, some conjurations, and a few abjurations, evocations, and divinations where appropriate. It's just narrowed to focus on the inanimate - for instance, no, artificers can't cast Stoneskin on someone, but they can Augment your armor to work similarly, or Harden Construction on your airship to make sure it endures anti-aircraft fire. And as for the others, well, you can craft arcane devices or prototypes of any spell in the game, so long as you have the schema. The delayed spell level access and spellbook are used to prevent this ability from spiralling out of control, and to let the object-specific spells and potions shine. Note that your schema are different from your spells; they both are limited by your maximum spell level, but they function differently. 
  • A feeling of being a professional rather than a dabbler. You have this as well - three of the subclasses are already professional engineers by training (Spellforgers' Guild members are like the 4e battlesmith, the Alchemists' Guild (directly inspired by the popular Pathfinder alchemist) eschews the less-predictable prototypes for powerful bombs and reliable potions, and the Golemists' Guild can go either way. Even the Magitechnicians fit that direction as well, although I do play up the "mad inventor" feel for them as a default fluff.) The only area this doesn't work, so far, is through the delayed spell access (you're learning 3rds one level after wizards learn 4ths, for instance), and I'm open to suggestions about this.
 
Here's a question for you, then: what would you consider the "crux" of the 4e artificer, in terms of abilities? There's room to expand the standard spell list, and I'm not opposed to more dramatic changes as long as I'm able to test them. (One thing that's apparent from reading this thread is that I tinker around a lot. Usually in response to criticism. If you point out specific areas to improve, I'll work on improving them.)
 

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