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

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
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
 
 

log in or register to remove this ad

RealAlHazred

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

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top