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

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
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 (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
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 (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
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 (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
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 (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
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 (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
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 (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
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 (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
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 (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
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 (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
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]
 

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