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D&D 5E Does the Artificer Suck?

ECMO3

Adventurer
Calling 20-30 THP “a ton of hps” is wild.
The difference in hps between a d6 hps and a d10 hps is 2xlevel+2, so at 10th level the difference is 22hps. 26.5 hps from one false life, on top of the hps she already has at 10th level, will give the bladesinger more total hps than the 10th level Fighter or Paladin standing next to her. If she loses them in one fight she can cast that again between fights without a short rest and then a 3rd time after a short rest. On top of having more hps at the start of the fight, she is getting hit less and losing hps slower.

Play like you want. If you don't want to tank bladesingers that is cool. However, that is a self-imposed limitation due to build choices or thematic choices, not something supported by the mathematics and mechanics.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
The difference in hps between a d6 hps and a d10 hps is 2xlevel+2, so at 10th level the difference is 22hps. 26.5 hps from one false life, on top of the hps she already has at 10th level, will give the bladesinger more total hps than the 10th level Fighter or Paladin standing next to her.
No, it won’t. THP = HP. 🤷‍♂️
If she loses them in one fight she can cast that again between fights without a short rest and then a 3rd time after a short rest. On top of having more hps at the start of the fight, she is getting hit less and losing hps slower.
Only if your DM is putting in effort to make it so, or not challenging the party with actually threatening enemies, like enemies that aren’t all at the lowest possible end of to-hit for thier CR.
Play like you want. If you don't want to tank bladesingers that is cool. However, that is a self-imposed limitation due to build choices or thematic choices, not something supported by the mathematics and mechanics.
There is just so much missing here. Your Bladesinger tank is successful because of your group’s playstyle, and adherence to rather weak encounter design. I don’t mean that as in “your skills are weak”, but as in “the encounters are weak”. CR 13 with +8 to hit? Really!? No wonder you overvalue the +3 to +5 to AC compared to Hide armor from Bladesong.

You brush off threats that aren’t AC or elemental as if they just don’t matter, but in my games and the games I’ve watched and heard about and played in, those threats are often what threatens the group the most. I've rarely seen a TPK close call from enemies who mostly just attack against AC.

Additionally, you’ve noted that you don’t think Bladesingers are that good at offense. So, why on earth are enemies not just walking past or around the BS to hit targets that are actually wrecking them and their friends?

You’ve talked about playstyle stuff as if it’s numerically objective a lot, like with the familiar. Most DMs IME don’t waste enemies attacks on the familiar unless the familiar has been boosted in some way. An owl with dragon’s breath will last several rounds IME, dealing significant damage in a fight against a large number of enemies. In other fights, I’m not bothering to spend action economy on a thing that gives one PC advantage on one attack per round. I’ll just smack the PC.
 

ECMO3

Adventurer
No, it won’t. THP = HP. 🤷‍♂️
I don't understand what you mean here. THP and HP both spend the same. A 10th-level bladesinger with 62hps and 26Thps can take more damage than the 10th level fighter with 84hps.


Only if your DM is putting in effort to make it so, or not challenging the party with actually threatening enemies, like enemies that aren’t all at the lowest possible end of to-hit for thier CR.
Math is involved here. Even if you assume AC is equal, hits by an enemy that will do the same damage to a character with less total hps will kill that character faster.

If you crit a 10th level fighter with 84 hps for 90 damage that fighter goes down, if you crit the same bladesinger standing next to her who has 62hp and 26THPs and she reduces that damage by 20 with a 4th level slot she does not go down. At this point she still has 16hps left and is still standing even with a crit that would have taken the fighter to 0 outright. If someone comes in and casts mass cure wounds for 20hps the fighter is back up with 20 and the bladesinger has 36.

Now that assumes you crit and assumes the chance of critting is the same. This is not actually true, it is generally going to be harder to crit the bladesinger and it is going to be harder to hit her too, meaning she has likely lost less before that hit, but for the moment we will ignore that.

If you use the same example and it is 91 damage ancient red dragon breath, again the fighter goes down unless he can cast absorb elements as an EK or make a near-impossible dex save. The bladesinger (who has a better chance to save even without indomitable) casts absorb elements, loses all her temp hit points and has 43hps left. Even if the fighter makes his save or casts AE he is still at a lower hp total.

If it is a green dragon breathes on them for 77, the fighter has 7 left, the bladesinger has 11. The bladesinger doesn't even need to use a spell slot to stay up (although she can and will have even more hps if she does).

Now you can say she used her reaction on the first two and there are more attacks coming and they are going to overwhlem her. Sure that is viable, but regardless of how you slice it she has more hit points and is generally going to be better able to take other future attacks this round than the fighter standing next to her. If he gets to cast 2nd wind he can even it up, assuming he has not done that yet since his last long rest ...... and assuming he is conscious when his turn comes around.


There is just so much missing here. Your Bladesinger tank is successful because of your group’s playstyle, and adherence to rather weak encounter design. I don’t mean that as in “your skills are weak”, but as in “the encounters are weak”. CR 13 with +8 to hit? Really!? No wonder you overvalue the +3 to +5 to AC compared to Hide armor from Bladesong.
I am currently playing in 9 different games (2 as DM, 7 as player) to include 5 games on roll 20 being played with people throughout the world.

According to the DMG p274, +8 is the normal attack value for CR13. There are presumably CR13 with both higher and lower attack bonuses, but that is the nominal value for CR13 RAW and that is what I was quoting when I said that.

Regardless of what the attack bonus is though, it will always be more difficult to hit a higher AC and more difficult still with disadvantage, and will be 1/20th as likely to crit with disadvantage. No matter how high the attack bonus is those things are always true for an enemy that makes attacks and has a crit range of 20.

You brush off threats that aren’t AC or elemental as if they just don’t matter, but in my games and the games I’ve watched and heard about and played in, those threats are often what threatens the group the most. I've rarely seen a TPK close call from enemies who mostly just attack against AC.
I understand that, see the green dragon example above.

But also to be clear, after 10th level the bladesinger can reduce ANY damage as long as she is in bladesong and with false life she can start the fight with as many hit points as a D10 martial, she is ahead at the start of the fight, gets hit less, and loses less hps when she is damaged. It is math.

You say I am brushing off threats that are not AC or elemental. Threats that cause damage can be reduced through SOD, even if they are not attacks and not elemental. Certainly that is not efficient and not optimal, but most other characters, to include most raging barbarians, can't reduce most of those non-attack/non-elemental damage types at all. Threats that are not attacks but cause debilitating conditions most often require a Wisdom or Dex save. She is proficient in wisdom saves and has a decent dex save. Both of these saves are better than most other tank builds. So while non-attacks and non-elemental damage can be challanging both for the party and for the bladesinger, the bladesinger is generally as well equipped to handle it as most other characters.

Additionally, you’ve noted that you don’t think Bladesingers are that good at offense. So, why on earth are enemies not just walking past or around the BS to hit targets that are actually wrecking them and their friends?
Many reasons, chokepoints and movement limit being the two most obvious and common. It is not like it does not happen though. Regardless of who is in the front tanking, intelligent enemies are going to try to get to squishier characters.

You’ve talked about playstyle stuff as if it’s numerically objective a lot, like with the familiar.
It is a familiar and has 1 hit point. It will be killed by any AOE at all and it has limited movement.

Most DMs IME don’t waste enemies attacks on the familiar unless the familiar has been boosted in some way. An owl with dragon’s breath will last several rounds IME, dealing significant damage in a fight against a large number of enemies.
That is because most DMs do not play enemies smart. Most of the time it is generally advisable to take out your weakest foe first if you can. That is particularly true of a familiar flying around breathing dragon breath.

I do know that a lot of DMs don't do this intentionally, but that is because they do not play enemies smart. If you are not using the familiar that is one thing. If you are using him to breath fire every turn or help the Rogue so he gets advantage every turn it is stupid to let him stay on the battlefield when he can be easily removed in one attack. Sure there is an opportunity cost to this, but it is a heck of a lot less costly than letting the Rogue have advantage every turn or worse having multiple people taking breath weapon damage every turn.

Unless you are going to down the PC this turn, it is generally less advisable to attack a PC than an active familiar that you can easily take off the board this turn. This is especially true when you consider a familiar dropped to 0 can not be revived. If you whack the Rogue and manage to take him to 0, there is a significant chance he will be back in the fight on his turn, the familiar is gone for good if you hit him at all.

Now if the familiar is not doing anything that is a different story.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
That is because most DMs do not play enemies smart.


Okay, I read to here, and I give up.

Im done with this exhausting exchange. There is too much wrong with your post and most of it is stuff I’ve already refuted or at least challenged without any rebuttal from you.

I’ll reply to one simple thing, though. Well two.

False Life lasts 1 hour, and the norm is for attack values to vary within a given CR. If you aren’t frequently seeing enemies with attack values on the high end of the CR, your DM is taking it easy on you.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Bringing things back vaguely on topic, let’s look at a fighter that makes sense to compare to a tank Artificer.

Not an optimized tank, just a solid one.


So, 19 AC assuming only one uncommon magic item (+1 Shield), 18 without that. 94 HP with a 16 Con.

Went with Dueling Rather than Defensive because I’m assuming a solid team, allowing the fighter to be a punishment tank rather than a turtle. Barbarians are better turtles anyway.

He’s got too many reaction manuevers, but they fit different situations.

Rally might not be there depending on the party, for instance, but the main thing here is he can Goad, Disarm, Bait and Switch, Rally, Brace, give the rogue an off turn attack with Commander’s Strike, and he can mix those in a single turn if needed.

Obviously if stats were rolled, he might have more feats, different AC or HP, but this is pretty good.

IME, a fighter like this will be incredible effective at stopping enemies, boosting team defense and offense, incentivize focus on him, punish enemies for doing what he doesn’t want, and put out enough hurt that enemies want to take him down.

Dex means he is also helpful when range is called for, but it also means he isn’t in plate, but I intentionally was going for a broadly useful tank, not a hyper focused turtle.

Now, I haven’t seen a tank Artificer yet. Anyone wanna do a comparison?
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
A quick Artificer tank. Used Mark of Warding Dwarf because it’s a fun concept and grants access to Armor of Agythis.


20 AC, 83 HP, solid defensive spells, a defensive pet, and Mind Sharpener Half-Plate means she can cast Aura of Vitality or Haste or Heroism or Branding Smite and won’t lose Concentration. Sentinel is especially good because the you can block better than most by having a pet that can just dodge and protect you or someone else, and if someone attacks it you do a whack. Also, you have lightning lure and Booming Blade to help stick someone to your side.

Slightly lower Int is offset by +1 from Radiant Weapon, but you could use Tashas to move the +2 to Int if you don’t like that.

Definitely a different tank from Byron the Battlemaster, but I’m not sure she’s less good. Some self healing, can turn on bonus action healing, can use Branding Smite for offense to make herself a good target.

Level 12 might take Fey Touched for +1 Int and Compelled Duel.

I think I’ll build an oddball Paladin, and Barbarian, next, for further comparison. Later in the week I might do the same for skirmisher builds, and blaster builds.
 

A quick Artificer tank. Used Mark of Warding Dwarf because it’s a fun concept and grants access to Armor of Agythis.


20 AC, 83 HP, solid defensive spells, a defensive pet, and Mind Sharpener Half-Plate means she can cast Aura of Vitality or Haste or Heroism or Branding Smite and won’t lose Concentration. Sentinel is especially good because the you can block better than most by having a pet that can just dodge and protect you or someone else, and if someone attacks it you do a whack. Also, you have lightning lure and Booming Blade to help stick someone to your side.

Slightly lower Int is offset by +1 from Radiant Weapon, but you could use Tashas to move the +2 to Int if you don’t like that.

Definitely a different tank from Byron the Battlemaster, but I’m not sure she’s less good. Some self healing, can turn on bonus action healing, can use Branding Smite for offense to make herself a good target.

Level 12 might take Fey Touched for +1 Int and Compelled Duel.

I think I’ll build an oddball Paladin, and Barbarian, next, for further comparison. Later in the week I might do the same for skirmisher builds, and blaster builds.
Not that great of of a build for battlesmith. Not bad either just kinda unfocused and the use of the smite spells are a poor choice 90% of the time.

why didnt you also give them an additional magical item to make the comparison equal?
 

Yeah it's my main problem with the class is it's slow to ramp up relative to everything else. There's better combat classes in the game and better support classes and in clerics case it's better in both categories.
I really don't understand why you think that. Actually at low levels, the power difference between a half caster and a full caster should is lower than at higher levels. So you need less abilities to make up for the lack of higher spells.

If you take into account that you are armed and armored way better than a wizard (crossbows or even guns are better than cabtrips, so is medium armor and shield) and have magic items at level 2 that other character in most campaigns won't have, I really can't see the problem.

The only problematic level could be level 5, because you get your subclass boost at level 6 and no level 3 spells... But even there you hardly fall behind, because you have access to the bladesinger cantrips.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I really don't understand why you think that. Actually at low levels, the power difference between a half caster and a full caster should is lower than at higher levels. So you need less abilities to make up for the lack of higher spells.

If you take into account that you are armed and armored way better than a wizard (crossbows or even guns are better than cabtrips, so is medium armor and shield) and have magic items at level 2 that other character in most campaigns won't have, I really can't see the problem.

The only problematic level could be level 5, because you get your subclass boost at level 6 and no level 3 spells... But even there you hardly fall behind, because you have access to the bladesinger cantrips.

It's probably better to compare with the cleric vs wizard. Or Paladin maybe both being half casters.
 

Not that great of of a build for battlesmith. Not bad either just kinda unfocused and the use of the smite spells are a poor choice 90% of the time.

why didnt you also give them an additional magical item to make the comparison equal?
Smite spells are better than their reputation. For a paladin they are often redundant, but if you don't have access to divine smite and don't have anything else to concentrate on, they are ok.
 

It's probably better to compare with the cleric vs wizard. Or Paladin maybe both being half casters.
While a comparison with the paladin and the cleric is possible, the artificer is closer to the wizard if you look at cantrips and utility.
So in a way, the artificer is to the wizard, what the paladin is to the cleric and the ranger to the druid.
So it is ok that they only have d8 hp, because it is one step over the wizardvs d6.
They have cantrips that are actually useful in combat and what I observed in actual play at lower levels is that they bring a lot more versatility to the party than the paladin.
 



ECMO3

Adventurer
False Life lasts 1 hour, and the norm is for attack values to vary within a given CR. If you aren’t frequently seeing enemies with attack values on the high end of the CR, your DM is taking it easy on you.

Ido see attack values on the high end of CR. I simply used the guidelines in the DMG to address your question precicely using mathematics. Regarless,attacks that will hit a Bladesinger will hit another character too, regardless of attack bonus.

False life lasts 1 hour and Barbarian's rage (or for that matter Bladesong) lasts 1 minute or less. On a high level Bladesinger, False Life is normally on before a battle starts, not always but it usually is.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Not that great of of a build for battlesmith. Not bad either just kinda unfocused and the use of the smite spells are a poor choice 90% of the time.

why didnt you also give them an additional magical item to make the comparison equal?
Because on an artificer I’d almost never expect to get as many magic items as the other PCs. A magic weapon or shield or whatever would be fine, though.

As for the rest, strongly disagree on Branding Smite, it’s very good to have in the arsenal. The build isn’t especially unfocused, it just isn’t a CharOp forum build with one dimension.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Ido see attack values on the high end of CR. I simply used the guidelines in the DMG to address your question precicely using mathematics. Regarless,attacks that will hit a Bladesinger will hit another character too, regardless of attack bonus.
Irrelevant. The point is that the BS will get hit, will need to rely on those HP, and will drop more often or be forced to fall back more often, if the DM is actually challenging the group.
False life lasts 1 hour and Barbarian's rage (or for that matter Bladesong) lasts 1 minute or less. On a high level Bladesinger, False Life is normally on before a battle starts, not always but it usually is.
If you’re casting upcast false life, blur, and multiple shields in every single fight, you are bringing less efficacy to your party than any other Wizard build would.

Just knowing that you don’t use spell slots out of combat makes me wince at the thought of your Bladesinger in any party I’ve been involved in.

So, for the last time. We play vastly different games, CR is useless, and there is no point in continuing this.
 

Am I over or under thinking this?

I was planning to take heavily armored at level one. AC should be, well the best.

I thought of making the arcane firearm from a staff. Two handed is a d8.

I was going strength. I would get it to 16, but at higher level would go gauntlets of ogre power and belt of giant strength at really high level. But the point is that I would only boost attack stat to 16 and dump dex to 8 or 10.

I thought of going artillerist and using booming blade with the force ballista. My plan was to flavor it as a gauntlet that shoots like a black magic iron man.

at level 4 I would take gunner feat. So in total, variant human, two half feats and good melee opportunity with magic staff/arcane firearm as well as cannon.

often would use fairie fire for advantage. Since the cannon and blade cantrips are limitless would be free to use more utility spells.

just spitballing but with shield and false life, the best armor, I think the character could be pretty robust. Lastly, I would push con up since only worried about str to 16, intelligence otherwise.

I don’t want to play a quirky investor but a Gish like character that melees a lot, with as little quirky inventor flavor as possible.

was thinking the cannon could alternately be like a centipede that latches onto armor of character….

overpowered? No. Sturdy adventurer with good at will damage? Yes.

staff with bb and arcane firearm would be 3d8+4 (str and magic weapon infusion) and maybe more if force ballista (2d8) pushes and enemy want to come back. That’s level 5 anyway.

I could do reasonable damage in two attacks…if the creature wanted to come back at me after two hits and a push, add 2d8. Or of course have the healing going instead for regenerating “shield” hps

it’s not insane but reasonable and maybe saves some spells for utility and more roleplay (e.g. disguise self, etc).

this is all early level stuff. All the gadgets and options would no on a solid platform. I don’t see how they can ‘suck’ unless that is what you are going for.
 
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Because on an artificer I’d almost never expect to get as many magic items as the other PCs. A magic weapon or shield or whatever would be fine, though.

As for the rest, strongly disagree on Branding Smite, it’s very good to have in the arsenal. The build isn’t especially unfocused, it just isn’t a CharOp forum build with one dimension.
Fair is fair. Can't have a clean comparison if you aren't treating them the same as far as external factors are concerned. That's like someone giving the artificer a fighting style because half the classes get them.

Its actually the opposite. You have your infusions slots used on direct mitigation with the periapt if wound closure and repulsion shield instead of something like winged boots and cloak of protection that would add more EHP than those could plus additional damage and works in favor of being flexible address non combat challenges. It's unfocused as an artificer because it's too focused on one thing.

The smite spells always available for the battlesmith so there isn't much cost there but it's the combination of taking away your bonus action, which is a massive part of your flexibility, and your concentration that makes it a back up option rather than a first plan. It does work with ranged attacks so it has its place but 8 out of 10 times I'd probably use that slot on web or aid.

I'd take thornwhip above LL as well just because it's easier to use at any range rather than only within 10 ft. Cover isn't a big issue when you can fly for a better angle.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Fair is fair. Can't have a clean comparison if you aren't treating them the same as far as external factors are concerned. That's like someone giving the artificer a fighting style because half the classes get them.
It’s nothing like that at all. Fighting style is a class feature.
Its actually the opposite. You have your infusions slots used on direct mitigation with the periapt if wound closure and repulsion shield instead of something like winged boots and cloak of protection that would add more EHP
EHP doesn’t exist. Repulsion shield gives a +1 AC, making it strictly better than cloak of protection for a character that was going to use a shield anyway. Flying isn’t helpful for a tank.

than those could plus additional damage and works in favor of being flexible address non combat challenges. It's unfocused as an artificer because it's too focused on one thing.
Except it’s still able to do whatever artificer things you want, and you know you can change infusions, right? The last sentence isn’t even coherent.
The smite spells always available for the battlesmith so there isn't much cost there but it's the combination of taking away your bonus action, which is a massive part of your flexibility, and your concentration that makes it a back up option rather than a first plan. It does work with ranged attacks so it has its place but 8 out of 10 times I'd probably use that slot on web or aid.
An additional option doesn’t take away flexibility, it adds to it. Smite is there for when it’s time for a big hit to recenter attention on you. Any tank needs options for that in order to tank. Pure defense just makes you not a target.
 

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