D&D 5E Artificer Homunculus and Uses

I have been participating and learning from others here about artificers.

I have been looking at the homunculus and it’s use and wondered how it might interface with the artillerist.

it can fly. Would it be able to fly with the artillerists cannon? If so, it could open up some options.

i was thinking about a cannon that looks like a gauntlet which wraps around the wearers forearm and hand. That led me to think about a homunculus doing the same—arcane air strikes with napalm or pushing people around either the force ballista.
 

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It's a fairly hotly debated topic but as presented nothing prevents it. You do need to talk to your DM to find out how they would rule certain interactions like the homunculus being invisible and you activating the cannon.

There's a neat combos you can pull off like using be ready action to take advantage of your homunculus placing the EC nda exploding Cannon feature
 

Galandris

Foggy Bottom Campaign Setting Fan
There is no RAW answer. The weight of the eldritch cannon isn't specified. It can be "tiny" and "handheld". A heavy crossbow, which is definitely not handheld, is 18 lb. I'd say that the artillerist's toy fits well under the 60 pounds limit on what a STR 4 homunculus can lift.

Especially if you explain your DM it's modelled after an African swallow.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
There's a solid argument that the homonculus could carry a tiny cannon. However, it seems like it'd usually be a bad idea to have your cannon's mobility dependent on something with so few hit points. Making the homonculus such a tempting target may not pay off.
 

There's a solid argument that the homonculus could carry a tiny cannon. However, it seems like it'd usually be a bad idea to have your cannon's mobility dependent on something with so few hit points. Making the homonculus such a tempting target may not pay off.
Since it's basically dodging all the time and has evasion it's fairly hearty as drone platform for the EC. Like I mentioned before you could always make it invisible to boot.
 

Well it’s funny how the idea came to me. I was going for less “quirky inventor” and more technology from lower planes.

so I was imagining a cannon with many small legs like a centipede that wrapped around the arm when desired.

Then I thought an imp-like homunculus would be fun and further that the “centipede” could sort of wrap around it like an exoskeleton. Whether “held” by the character or “worn” by the homunculus the bearer would a appear to throw energy spears or tridents. Just flavor—-not for advantage.

but then it occurred that the homunculus flies and is faster than the cannon.

was not sure if this might help position the flamethrower or shove to the side vs “back.”

if the homunculus drops (very possible) I assume the cannon could still skitter away.
 
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It seems that one major RAW limitation would be that the homunculus' turn comes right after yours (although you use your own bonus action to power it taking actions other than dodge), whereas the Eldritch Cannon acts on your turn. Thus the cannon laden homunculus would have to get to places a full round before the cannon acts at that location.

Actually playing with this rule it seems like a fair tradeoff to me, given that the cannons can already walk 15 feet per round on their own. Instead (at the cost of an infusion) you've given it a bit more range and flying, but in another way limited its mobility by giving the battlefield a whole round to change between it getting somewhere and it acting, and made it dependent on a homoculus that has fairly low AC and fairly low hit points (albeit with near constant Dodge and Evasion), and which still only gets 30 feet of flight unless you use your bonus action (which you could be activating the Eldritch Cannon with) to make it Dash.

Since it's basically dodging all the time and has evasion it's fairly hearty as drone platform for the EC. Like I mentioned before you could always make it invisible to boot.

Invisibility is only useful if the enemies don't figure out that they are fighting an invisible widget carrying the eldritch cannon around. If they actually know what roughly where their target is and to attack it invisibility only gives them disadvantage which they already have from the Dodge action. In other words, pre-battle casting of invisibility is probably pretty clutch against the right enemy, but mid-battle invisibility may have no mechanical impact.

Even with disadvantage something with an AC 13 isn't exactly hard to hit. But there are plenty of enemies who just have no way of attacking a flying thing that stays above their reach. And any pot shots they take at a homoculus that don't kill it are a net win for the group since you can heal it with the Mending cantrip as soon as you have a few minutes, whereas healing the teammates the enemy could have been attacking takes valuable resources.
 

It seems that one major RAW limitation would be that the homunculus' turn comes right after yours (although you use your own bonus action to power it taking actions other than dodge), whereas the Eldritch Cannon acts on your turn. Thus the cannon laden homunculus would have to get to places a full round before the cannon acts at that location.

Actually playing with this rule it seems like a fair tradeoff to me, given that the cannons can already walk 15 feet per round on their own. Instead (at the cost of an infusion) you've given it a bit more range and flying, but in another way limited its mobility by giving the battlefield a whole round to change between it getting somewhere and it acting, and made it dependent on a homoculus that has fairly low AC and fairly low hit points (albeit with near constant Dodge and Evasion), and which still only gets 30 feet of flight unless you use your bonus action (which you could be activating the Eldritch Cannon with) to make it Dash.



Invisibility is only useful if the enemies don't figure out that they are fighting an invisible widget carrying the eldritch cannon around. If they actually know what roughly where their target is and to attack it invisibility only gives them disadvantage which they already have from the Dodge action. In other words, pre-battle casting of invisibility is probably pretty clutch against the right enemy, but mid-battle invisibility may have no mechanical impact.

Even with disadvantage something with an AC 13 isn't exactly hard to hit. But there are plenty of enemies who just have no way of attacking a flying thing that stays above their reach. And any pot shots they take at a homoculus that don't kill it are a net win for the group since you can heal it with the Mending cantrip as soon as you have a few minutes, whereas healing the teammates the enemy could have been attacking takes valuable resources.
Honestly? I like advantages and competence but am actually a bit more about my vision/flavor.

all of those complications, though I had not yet thought of them, would be acceptable.

I like the abilities of artificer but am twisting myself in knots to not be a tinker gnome or have talking pots and pans a la Disney’s beauty and the beast! 😏
 

It seems that one major RAW limitation would be that the homunculus' turn comes right after yours (although you use your own bonus action to power it taking actions other than dodge), whereas the Eldritch Cannon acts on your turn. Thus the cannon laden homunculus would have to get to places a full round before the cannon acts at that location.

Actually playing with this rule it seems like a fair tradeoff to me, given that the cannons can already walk 15 feet per round on their own. Instead (at the cost of an infusion) you've given it a bit more range and flying, but in another way limited its mobility by giving the battlefield a whole round to change between it getting somewhere and it acting, and made it dependent on a homoculus that has fairly low AC and fairly low hit points (albeit with near constant Dodge and Evasion), and which still only gets 30 feet of flight unless you use your bonus action (which you could be activating the Eldritch Cannon with) to make it Dash.



Invisibility is only useful if the enemies don't figure out that they are fighting an invisible widget carrying the eldritch cannon around. If they actually know what roughly where their target is and to attack it invisibility only gives them disadvantage which they already have from the Dodge action. In other words, pre-battle casting of invisibility is probably pretty clutch against the right enemy, but mid-battle invisibility may have no mechanical impact.

Even with disadvantage something with an AC 13 isn't exactly hard to hit. But there are plenty of enemies who just have no way of attacking a flying thing that stays above their reach. And any pot shots they take at a homoculus that don't kill it are a net win for the group since you can heal it with the Mending cantrip as soon as you have a few minutes, whereas healing the teammates the enemy could have been attacking takes valuable resources.
Mage armor is pretty handy for the homunculus to push it up to 15 AC which is respectable. I personally prefer just use a familiar as a way to place the EC in a good position to avoid action economy issues but it's softer but worse case your EC is now on the ground. Once you get winged boots it's a whole new game for the class.
 


Mage armor is pretty handy for the homunculus to push it up to 15 AC which is respectable.
Indeed. 15 AC vs. 13 AC isn't that much difference in normal circumstances, but with always on Dodge based disadvantage, and typical enemy to-hit bonus ranges, it's a whole world of difference.
IME the game has a lot of “target you can see” stuff.
For spellcasting and other character abilities sure, and that's a major limitation on many player characters. It ends up being a pretty small part of the overall portfolio in most monster stat blocks though. But yes, against the right enemy it might shut down a key ability. I'm not saying its useless to make your homoculus invisible, I'm just saying that a creature already taking dodge every turn gets substantially less additional defensive utility out of invisibility than other creatures do, and I don't think it would often be worth a half-caster's 2nd level spell slot and concentration.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Indeed. 15 AC vs. 13 AC isn't that much difference in normal circumstances, but with always on Dodge based disadvantage, and typical enemy to-hit bonus ranges, it's a whole world of difference.

For spellcasting and other character abilities sure, and that's a major limitation on many player characters. It ends up being a pretty small part of the overall portfolio in most monster stat blocks though. But yes, against the right enemy it might shut down a key ability. I'm not saying its useless to make your homoculus invisible, I'm just saying that a creature already taking dodge every turn gets substantially less additional defensive utility out of invisibility than other creatures do, and I don't think it would often be worth a half-caster's 2nd level spell slot and concentration.
I probably both use more Spellcasting enemies in my games, and fight more of them in my friends’ games, than the average.

For my game, most supernatural critters have some Spellcasting, even if they’re a Fey knight or soemthing.
 

There is no RAW answer. The weight of the eldritch cannon isn't specified. It can be "tiny" and "handheld". A heavy crossbow, which is definitely not handheld, is 18 lb. I'd say that the artillerist's toy fits well under the 60 pounds limit on what a STR 4 homunculus can lift.

Especially if you explain your DM it's modelled after an African swallow.
30 lbs. They are tiny creatures. Still strong enough to carry a crossbow. They might be slowed down if using variant encumbrance.
 





Yes, the homunculus (or another party member, or a pack pony, or anything else) can carry the turret. As pointed out, the drawback is it fires on your turn, but the homunculus moves after your turn. RAW you cannot ready an action for the turret to fire on the homunculus's turn because ready an action doesn't work with bonus actions.

You could have the turret move under on it's own legs during your turn, then have the homunculus swoop in and carry it way immediately after.

I think 10 lb for a tiny turret and 30 lb for a small turret are reasonable values if you need to know how much it weighs. That would make it too heavy to mage hand around, which I think is fair.

There is also the possibility that an enemy could pick it up.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Since it's basically dodging all the time and has evasion it's fairly hearty as drone platform for the EC.

With an AC of only 13, I was more concerned about plain old arrows.

Like I mentioned before you could always make it invisible to boot.

Is it really doing enough damage to justify using up the spell for the one free shot it'll get you? Remember, you're only a half-caster.

Sure, there are situations where this might be important - you're going into the royal hall, and trying to sneak in weapons, or the like. But as a general tactic, it seems expensive.
 

jgsugden

Legend
....
Is it really doing enough damage to justify using up the spell for the one free shot it'll get you? Remember, you're only a half-caster.

Sure, there are situations where this might be important - you're going into the royal hall, and trying to sneak in weapons, or the like. But as a general tactic, it seems expensive.
Don't forget your concentration. At level 8 to 12 you might be able to start affording that 2nd level slot - but using your concentration for it is a tough ask.
 

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