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D&D 5E Does the Artificer Suck?


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Look at the replicate magic item lists. The 2nd & 6th level ones are relatively appropriate and the value of the +1 on a nonmagical weapon is still good because it's not until 5ish that the party is likely to have them. After that however that +1 weapon/armor doesn't improve till 11th & never gets better again wile the +1 and some minor stuff like radiant weapon just never improve to begin with.
So at 6th level they can swap out their enhanced weapon infusion for the radiant option. The power of blinding your opponent generally improves with the power of the opponents you face, so they may or may not want to swap back to enhanced weapon at level 10 for the +2 bonus.
Note also that there are quite a few weapon and armour infusions that offer benefits useful at all levels.

The higher an artificer goes the more hat replicate magic item needs to pickup the slack for those infusions but instead of doing that it fails at doing so. Look at the level 10 & level 14 replicate magic item lists, yea there are a couple good items but even those wouldn't be out of place if obtained earlier & even some of those are made not useful due to obtaining them too late(ie gauntlets of ogre power). do you really think that a 10th+ level character is needed to keep a quiver of ehlona, uncommon boots of the winterlands, wonderous item brooch of shielding, wonderous cloak of the bat(oops that's actually on the 14 list not 10), wonderous hat of disguise, uncommon helm of telepathy, uncommon medallion of thoughts, uncommon gloves of swiming & climbing, wonderous necklace of adaptation, uncommon periapt of wound closure, uncommon ring of jumping, uncommon ring of mind shielding, or uncommon slippers of spider climbing from being unbalancing to the 2nd or 5th level list of replicate options?
I think that all of those items are going to be useful, particularly on a situational basis when you get a pool of potential ones available for the next day, and get to swap one every level.
These are not like finding the item as treasure, whereupon you have that item all the time and get to use it when the right situation comes up.
An infusion replicating a Hat of Disguise is not just like having a Hat of Disguise for example. Its like having a Hat of Disguise that you can swap for Winged Boots or a Necklace of Adaptation overnight to fit with whatever your plans are for that day, and swap for anything else on that list when you level. The more situational the item, the more powerful the ability to produce it when required is compared to simply having the item.
These are class abilities. They are in addition, not instead of, whatever the party actually finds on adventures.

do you think there are many strength or int based characters needing or even benefitting from gauntlets of ogre power or headbands of intellect still by level 10 when they become replicatable? It's just a recycled grab bag of a few good items a tier or two too late to stil be meaningful in most cases that is padded out with stocking stuffer neat but not very likely to change much at any level a gm awards them to players
I think that being able to set their Int or Str to 19 is probably going to be useful to several members of most parties. I do not believe those items were never intended to be for characters that are based around those abilities.
If you're expecting that an artificer should be able to provide an item that removes the need for a character to invest in their primary ability score at low levels, then that strikes me as quite frankly, unrealistic.

People keep saying that, but the mechanics of artificer don't really support doing that & more importantly it's probably not really needed after level 5 or so in most of wotc's HC adventures.
Just to be clear, are you claiming that wotc's HC adventures have enough magic weapons that any character will have a magical version of their preferred weapon fairly soon after 5th level? Is this because they have so many that the characters can pick and choose, or because the DM is instructed to match a found weapon to the optimal chaoice for the characters?
It strikes me that even if, as you say, any wotc adventure is going to provide an enchanted hand crossbow for the fighter, they might still prefer to use one with the repeating shot infusion on it until the adventure provides the +2 hand crossbow.

No at level up he can do that swap, that's hardly accomplishing
It is exactly accomplishing that, unless every single weapon-using member of the party gets a magical version of their build's optimal weapon between one level and the next, and the party already have more than they can use of every other infusion that the artificer knows.
Remember that the artificer knows twice as many infusions as they actually have active, nd they can swap those around on a long rest.

This whole line is like saying that warlock imited spell slots make sense because they can change spells at level up to cast whatever spells the party needs. The difference is that those warlock spell slots come with a powerful feature in the form of getting the back on a short rest while the powerful feature for the infusions never made it to print.
Its more like wizard spells: They can daily change them in and out between a limited pool, and they can adjust that pool every level.

More importantly the artificer specific infusion items and replicate magic item lists don't fill the slack once +1 is met.
Really? You think that blinding an opponent or blasting them back, a thrown weapon returning to your hand, or ignoring half cover with your spell attacks as well as a +1 bonus is only as good as a +1 bonus?
You think that automatically passing a concentration check 4 times a day, or having an extra 3rd level spell slot, or being resistant to an element is of no use to a character once some members of their party have obtained +1 items?

I think you might be pretty far off base by suggesting that +1 stuff is what is needed to qualify as "monty haul" +1 weapon & +1 shields are only uncommon. +1 armor is rare sure, but you can't make more than one so it's still absurd to say it's monty haul.
edit
And I think that you're pretty out of order to attempt to claim that I have ever said +1 stuff qualified as monty haul. I would suggest you read the post that was a reply to and then decide whether to try to justify your claim, or simply apologise.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
So, I'm currently playing a gnomish battlesmith. Level 8. I haven't really dug in to optimizing, but I have made what I think have been reasonable choices.

We have myself, an elven Warlock (Caretaker, which is a 3rd party thing), and an air Genasi Barbarian who just picked up a level of Paladin.

My basic attack shtick is an infused crossbow - so at lvl 8 I am doing two attacks, of +9 to hit, 1d8+6 damage, plus my steel defender, which is +8 to hit, d8+3 damage.

Our Warlock's basic is, of course, Eldritch Blast, two shots of +8 to hit, d10+4 damage

The Barbarian's basic is two sword attacks, +8 to hit, d8+7 damage.

So, assuming an easy target, on an average round I'm doing 28.5 damage, the Warlock 19, and the Barbarian 23. Both of the others have more stops to pull out to do more damage than I do, but no, I do not suck in combat.
 


G

Guest User

Guest
It's just a recycled grab bag of a few good items a tier or two too late to stil be meaningful in most cases that is padded out with stocking stuffer neat but not very likely to change much at any level a gm awards them to players
tetra...I think you are focusing on singular aspects of the artificer class, without considering, holistically, the Impact of all the class' features en toto.

The Alchemist I referenced earlier, was in a Waterdeep campaign. The group owned a tavern and had a good relationship with the staff at the tavern.

At 11th level, the Alchemist could create 4 Boots of Elvenkind, and pay friendly commoners to cast Invisibility through their Spell Storing Item to ensure that the entire party of 8 was Invisible.

4 Heavy Armor wearing Paladins, taking point with normal Steath Checks to be heard, plus being Invisible, leads to some rather nice Surprise Alpha strikes.

Great for interrupting clandestine meetings in Undermountain or the City of the Dead.
No PC had to use any spell slots, nor their Concentration on this.

Items like Lanterns of Revealing, and 2nd level spells are still valuable assets in Tier 4 play.

This is a bit presumptuous on my part, I mean no offense, but your criticism seems more from a 3e perspective and less from how 5e play happens. Every table, runs differently, but an Artificer doesn't 'read on the page' as being as effective as it can be in play.

I will say this, it takes a player that likes to fiddle, and be creative to get the most juice out of the Artificer class. An Artificer in the hands of a player, that doesn't like to take advantage of "swapping load outs" upon a Long Rest or Level Up is going to lead to an underwhelming experience, for everyone.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
DMs with artificers should definitely allow downtime magic item crafting as well.
They absolutely should, however there are two problems
  • Wotc created a design outline for crafting items but never quite finished it choosing instead to largely end it with ask your gm to finish it & largely not even including examples going back to half or a quarter of ask your gm is still ask your gm
  • At no point has wotc ever put out anything resembling a wealth or downtime by level chart (not even a UA rough draft) to give an artificer who feels lacking similar to how a warlock or monk can point to 6-8 encounters with 2 short rests per long rest as a yardstick if they are feeling underdone by a particular GM's style

@Thunderous Mojo I don't agree with that assessment about being too narrowly focused. The replicate lists being loaded with largely inappropriately held back filler would be a nonissue if it were paired with a large number of infused items, the small pool of allowed unfused items would be fine if paired with a selection of powerful items that make the party miss having a supporting artificer when there isn't one . Instead they have the worst of both. An 8th level barbarian not aiming for a paladin aura with a longsword instead wielding a greatsword & powerattack+rage is going to be dealing [2d6+str+rage+powerattack]*2 or 25 average. Once you start dropping things like powerattack & a heavy weapon you might as well be dropping the artificer's heavy crossbow for a light/hand crossbow or effect cantrip like ray of frost/frostbite that deals d8 & d6 damage for the same reason the barbarian is using a d8 weapon or add in a strength rogue with a dagger fr a good spread ofapples & oranges data points. As a whole too many parts of artificer are missing a completed subsystem/guideline needed for them to measure up against or almost good but held back by something keeping them from being good lest they be the strong point

Yes every table runs differently, for example Alice might allow players to buy +1 weapons of their choice as they are simply uncommon using the dmg135/xge126 costs while bob might stick to whatever module he's running & Cheryl writes everything herself. In alice's game the infusions are going to be severely underpowered & only get moreso as players buy rare & higher stuff. In Bob's game it depends on what module he's running & may or may not be useful. In Cheryl's game the artificer has the same "it depends" & could be in the same boat as one table or even the good/bad at both Alice & Bob's table but neither her nor the artificer in question have a yardstick for what wotc intended it to be measured against when they designed the class. Despite some folks pointing at the radiant weapon infusion as a solution to Alice's choice to allow players to buy +1 gear, the artificer is still deeply hamstrung by being unable to make more than one while many other infusions are rendered pointless & the replicate magic item lists are themselves not really much of a meaningfully alternate path for the artificer to hang a hat on saying "This is how I'm awesome." even if it were a path they wanted to somehow specialize in
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
Well one person thinks they suck and another bans them because they are OP.

Sounds like they are just right.
Yeah, but pretty much most later stuff I've banned when I am DM.

On a personal note, I find the class concept silly as well, but that is just IMO. shrug
 

I don't think the armorer features allow a work around for the attunement limit unlike a wand sheath. Saying that. 6-7 is already a large leg up

They absolutely should, however there are two problems
  • Wotc created a design outline for crafting items but never quite finished it choosing instead to largely end it with ask your gm to finish it & largely not even including examples going back to half or a quarter of ask your gm is still ask your gm
  • At no point has wotc ever put out anything resembling a wealth or downtime by level chart (not even a UA rough draft) to give an artificer who feels lacking similar to how a warlock or monk can point to 6-8 encounters with 2 short rests per long rest as a yardstick if they are feeling underdone by a particular GM's style

Xanathars has both downtime and item crafting rules in it.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I actually find Artificers, like much of the later material WotC is adding, OP and unbalanced to earlier material.

We don't allow them in our games anymore.
Can you detail what you find OP about them? With the original poster saying they are underpowered and you saying they are overpowered, I'd like to compare the list.
 


6ENow!

The Game Is Over
Can you detail what you find OP about them? With the original poster saying they are underpowered and you saying they are overpowered, I'd like to compare the list.
Yeah, this.

They're a lot of things, but OP I dont get.
Sorry, I am not going to give a fully detailed explanation. But in short, extra magic items and being able to make your own magic items easily in a game designed on the premise that magic items are not needed.

And, as I already said before:
On a personal note, I find the class concept silly as well, but that is just IMO. shrug
I also find it unnecessary and too focused.

Why? It doesn't matter IMO because it is my opinion. But, considering I dislike 95% of Eberron it shouldn't be surprising. I also think there are too many casters as it is and too much overlap between classes and the roles they play.

On a personal note, I hate tattoos and find their edition to D&D disappointing.

I know lots of people like the class, Eberron, and tattoos, but these things are just not to my tastes. shrug
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Its pretty standard for the fighter to expe t y have a magic weapon by level 5
It is entirely not standard for a fighter to expect to have a magic weapon by level 5. Or well, they can expect what they want but in the majority of cases will not have it. XGtE lays out magic item expectations of the game. At the start of level 5 they will just have complete levels 1-4. At that point the party should have two uncommon major magic items. Not each, but for the whole party. So if a party member will only have an item 40-50% (2 permanent uncommon items for 4-5 party members) of the time, and there are chances it is some other item (armor, wonderous, etc.) even if the fighter, it is an unreasonable assumption for the fighter to have a +1 weapon at 5th.

If you give out a lot ore items than the game expects then yes, you will be diluting the impact of the Artificer.

@Zardnaar, does your 6th level party have more than 3-4 uncommon permanent items for the whole party? If so that generosity well above and beyond what the game expects can be a facet of the Artificer feeling lackluster as their ability to create items of enhance the others in the party isn't as important.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Artificers are strong enough to contribute meaningfully to any group.
But Alchemist and Armorer are trap choices.
Not asking to try to debate it, but curious on Armorer being a trap. I was looking for some previous-edition-style marking and Armorer seemed one of the few subclasses that can do it and the one that doesn't step on otehr player toes. So I'm wondering what the downfalls compared to say a battlesmith is. Again, I'm not asking to disagree, just see what I'm missing.
 

Sorry, I am not going to give a fully detailed explanation. But in short, extra magic items and being able to make your own magic items easily in a game designed on the premise that magic items are not needed.

The magic items they can make (as part of their class features) have limits though (in how many they can have, and of which types), and you're free as DM to limit them making more outside of their class features (in downtime) by either not allowing downtime crafting, or limiting downtime.

I get you dont like the flavor of the class, but you expressly labelled them 'OP', which is what we're questioning.
 

Not asking to try to debate it, but curious on Armorer being a trap. I was looking for some previous-edition-style marking and Armorer seemed one of the few subclasses that can do it and the one that doesn't step on otehr player toes. So I'm wondering what the downfalls compared to say a battlesmith is. Again, I'm not asking to disagree, just see what I'm missing.

Its a class that kind of pushes you into melee, despite not being very good at it.

It has a simple weapon that deals 1d8 damage, which you have to use in order to agro enemies into attacking you. They get extra attack at 5th level, but after then, their melee capabilities are sorely lacking.
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
I get you dont like the flavor of the class, but you expressly labelled them 'OP', which is what we're questioning.
Which is why I wrote:
Sorry, I am not going to give a fully detailed explanation. But in short, extra magic items and being able to make your own magic items easily in a game designed on the premise that magic items are not needed.
IME, the class is OP and banned from my games for this reason and others.

So, that's that.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
It is entirely not standard for a fighter to expect to have a magic weapon by level 5. Or well, they can expect what they want but in the majority of cases will not have it. XGtE lays out magic item expectations of the game. At the start of level 5 they will just have complete levels 1-4. At that point the party should have two uncommon major magic items. Not each, but for the whole party. So if a party member will only have an item 40-50% (2 permanent uncommon items for 4-5 party members) of the time, and there are chances it is some other item (armor, wonderous, etc.) even if the fighter, it is an unreasonable assumption for the fighter to have a +1 weapon at 5th.

If you give out a lot ore items than the game expects then yes, you will be diluting the impact of the Artificer.

@Zardnaar, does your 6th level party have more than 3-4 uncommon permanent items for the whole party? If so that generosity well above and beyond what the game expects can be a facet of the Artificer feeling lackluster as their ability to create items of enhance the others in the party isn't as important.

Nope I've been a bit cheap in that regard. I think they have a single permanent item each maybe some gave none.

Party lvl 6

Dragonkin Paladin (Avenger)
Vuman Cleric1 (death)/ divine soul 5.
Vuman Eldritch Knight
Warforged Storm Sorcerer
Vuman Battlesmith
Hill Dwarf Light Cleric

Not very min/maxed.
 


Dragonkin Paladin (Avenger)
Vuman Cleric1 (death)/ divine soul 5.
Vuman Eldritch Knight
Warforged Storm Sorcerer
Vuman Battlesmith
Hill Dwarf Light Cleric

No Warlocks, Monks and only the one Fighter (and it's one of the few that relies on long rest resources in spell slots).

The classes are all long rest dependent.

Strongly suggests to me that you're letting them nova, or alternatively you're requiring it by throwing Deadly+ encounters at them.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Nope I've been a bit cheap in that regard. I think they have a single permanent item each maybe some gave none.

Party lvl 6

Dragonkin Paladin (Avenger)
Vuman Cleric1 (death)/ divine soul 5.
Vuman Eldritch Knight
Warforged Storm Sorcerer
Vuman Battlesmith
Hill Dwarf Light Cleric

Not very min/maxed.
SIX uncommon permanent items is well above what a 6th elvel party should have according to Xanathar's. Xanathar's says they should only have eight (7 uncommon, 1 rare) by the time they finish 10th level. You've been generous, ot cheap. But not extravagant ... unless those items also are tuned for the characters - a weapon or armor of the right type for the paladin, etc. If you've been generous in number of items and also given out the best choice items, then the Artificer's ability to give out items for the party will seem lackluster in comparison, as opposed to how powerful it actually is.

So if your six items are things like a Trident of Fish Command, Chainmail +1, an Alchemy Jug, a Bag of Holding and the like - then you're just generous but it's likely not having much of an effect on the utility of what the Artificer gives out. If you're both generous in numebr AND giving out items on their most wanted list, then it really will make the Artificer's ability to not make as much of a difference to the party.
 

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