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5E How is Artificer Balanced?

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Doc, I don’t believe this is correct. A tiny cannon can be held in a hand, but does not have to be. Either a small or tiny cannon can have legs.

Snippets from the subclass:
can take an action to magically create a Small or Tiny eldritch cannon in an unoccupied space on a horizontal surface within 5 feet of you. A Small eldritch cannon occupies its space, and a Tiny one can be held in one hand.

When you create the cannon, you determine its appearance and whether it has legs.
Okay, but that has no impact whatsoever on the point of my reply.
 

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You can make your Arcane firearm an Enhanced Spell Focus, but your Eldritch Cannon is an independent creature,, and you don't have to hold it. (Or hold it in your other hand).
Swapping between those and your crossbow could be tricky, but after perhaps the first few levels, you often don't need a crossbow.
Actually your Eldritch cannon is a magical object, not a creature. And it takes the form of whatever you want (within the size limits of the ability).

Nothing stopping you from creating your Eldritch cannon as a wrist or shoulder mounted gun (or shield generator) Predator/ Mandalorian style leaving your hands totally free to do whatever you want.
 

That is certainly how the Artillerist I play with approaches the class. High twenties damage on a ranged cantrip at 5th level is fairly nice. The Artillerist keeps an Infused Handaxe, just in case he needs to melee....came in handy when we encountered a Rakshasa.
Even at level 1 they are better with a wand than a crossbow - intelligence is the prime stat, there is no reason an artificer needs a dex higher than 14.
 


The best use for the turret is spamming Temp HP (remember - they dont stack!) but that requires the Artificer to either be in close with his allies, or the turret being unattended.

I suppose he could create the turret as something to clamp onto a melee PC though.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
The best use for the turret is spamming Temp HP (remember - they dont stack!) but that requires the Artificer to either be in close with his allies, or the turret being unattended.

I suppose he could create the turret as something to clamp onto a melee PC though.
in a white room, perhaps, though the enemies being dead a round faster often saves just as much ally HP.
But which canon is best depends on the situation and how much impact an extra couple damage dice per round make in terms of dropping enemies sooner.

ohh it was not meant as a point of dispute, but of politeness. It was intended in the same spirit as informing someone their shoe is un tied.
ahfair enough!
 

Coroc

Hero
Its AC is pretty decent but lets take its HP at level 1,2,3 are only 5/10/15 so a single good melee or ranged hit deactivates it and there is no chance to resummons it till next long rest, did I get that correctly?

So it is a kind of glass canon in the end, isn't it?
 

Has anyone got much use out of the flamethrower turret? I've seen the Protector turret get a lot of use, and the ballista as well, bt not seen the flamethower option.

Every artilerist I've seen in play, every single one, the concept was focused on using a crossbow. Unfortunately the mechanics don't deliver on that, but instead force splitting focus between a wand, staff, or rod, and a canon.
Interesting. I've seen a couple of ranged Battle Smiths, but the all the artillerists I've seen used cantrips not weapons primarily.

To clarify, we have made it so that your magical weapon can be your canon. You can simply make your crossbow (or magic sword, if you want a gunblade, or shield if you want a gunshield or a magic shield that protects your allies) into your canon. Meaning you don't need to hold a separate object (for those who aren't interested in the mobile canon option) in order to use it. It's part of your weapon. As is the arcane firearm. So, at level 5, you are shooting firebolt or whatever out of your crossbow and adding 1d8 to damage, and then shooting a force bolt from your crossbow as a bonus action.
OK Gotcha. So its like just an additional infusion rather than a pet.

Actually your Eldritch cannon is a magical object, not a creature. And it takes the form of whatever you want (within the size limits of the ability).
Technically (the best kind of :)) correct. Its a magical animated object with the statistics of a creature.

Nothing stopping you from creating your Eldritch cannon as a wrist or shoulder mounted gun (or shield generator) Predator/ Mandalorian style leaving your hands totally free to do whatever you want.
Hence my confusion regarding having to swap it around in your hands.

Its AC is pretty decent but lets take its HP at level 1,2,3 are only 5/10/15 so a single good melee or ranged hit deactivates it and there is no chance to resummons it till next long rest, did I get that correctly?
It starts with 15HP (you get it at 3rd level) with a decent AC, so it can probably survive a number of attacks. You can summon it as an action by spending a spell slot

So it is a kind of glass canon in the end, isn't it?
If you get it to sit on your helmet, it could be your headcanon. ;)
 

Coroc

Hero
Has anyone got much use out of the flamethrower turret? I've seen the Protector turret get a lot of use, and the ballista as well, bt not seen the flamethower option.


Interesting. I've seen a couple of ranged Battle Smiths, but the all the artillerists I've seen used cantrips not weapons primarily.

OK Gotcha. So its like just an additional infusion rather than a pet.

Technically (the best kind of :)) correct. Its a magical animated object with the statistics of a creature.

Hence my confusion regarding having to swap it around in your hands.

It starts with 15HP (you get it at 3rd level) with a decent AC, so it can probably survive a number of attacks. You can summon it as an action by spending a spell slot

If you get it to sit on your helmet, it could be your headcanon. ;)
It sounds like cool approach to the artificer, very close to the DDO version which I really love.
 

TaranTheWanderer

Adventurer
First, thanks for all the answers. This is our first foray into Artificer, so the group is wonderiing why it's so good. I was curious where it balances. As far as competing with the wizard in our party, our wizard has 2 levels of rogue so, at fourth level, the 4th level is out-doing the wizard, obviously. Looks like the wizard will eventually out-shine the artificer at in spellcasting at higher levels.

Healing Word is in many ways better than the cannon’s temp hp. Healing Word brings back PCs from unconsciousness, which is arguably its best use. If you’re at 0 hp, temp hp won’t make you conscious. You need at least 1 hit point for that, and temp hp don’t do that.
The best use for the turret is spamming Temp HP (remember - they dont stack!) but that requires the Artificer to either be in close with his allies, or the turret being unattended.
The thing with spamming temp HP is that it's hard to drop anyone down to 0.

the barbarian is getting 7hp(on average) per round. It means he has to take 14 damage before it even eats into normal HP, and then, the next round, those HP are replenished. To boot, it's topping people up all around. It just makes everyone near the turret that much more tough to drop. So, sitting it near the barbarian is pretty potent and the barbarian can protect it.

The player hasn't used it this way because a) He thinks it's boring and; b) he didn't want to munchkin it up and he thought it would be too powerful.

Has anyone got much use out of the flamethrower turret? I've seen the Protector turret get a lot of use, and the ballista as well, bt not seen the flamethower option.
The flamethrower is great. Sure, it has to get into close range but an AoE 1st level spell as a bonus action has done lots to help us. Especially considering we don't have a full spellcaster yet.

It starts with 15HP (you get it at 3rd level) with a decent AC, so it can probably survive a number of attacks. You can summon it as an action by spending a spell slot
That 15 HPs is just a few HP worse than the rogue and it has a higher AC. So, it's as tough as some of the squishier PCs. The fact that an enemy has to use an action (or two or three) to drop it is just a boost to the party's survivability.

For the record, we were going to put the balista turret on my Mastiff mount (who, through RP, is intelligent - essentially, an NPC). We thought that would be cool...as long as the dog consents to being mobile artillery.
 

the barbarian is getting 7hp(on average) per round. It means he has to take 14 damage before it even eats into normal HP, and then, the next round, those HP are replenished. To boot, it's topping people up all around. It just makes everyone near the turret that much more tough to drop. So, sitting it near the barbarian is pretty potent and the barbarian can protect it.
The Barbarian isnt raging every combat, and he only gets resistance to certain types of damage when he does.

Yeah, it gives itself and creatures within 10' 1d8+Int mod Temp HP.

You're 3rd level when you can do this, and while great, there are plenty of encounters where it's not that big of a deal (and some where it is).

I dont think its broken at all.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
It also encourages the DM to focus fire (more). DMs who switch from spread to focus fire in response to that ability probably get deadlier even with the first 1d8+3 soaked; and for those who where already focus firing, the AOE nature of it just means the PCs are either clumped unwisely, or the DM can focus a non-protected PC.

I guess it does mitigate AOE damage from unwise clumpimg.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
First, thanks for all the answers. This is our first foray into Artificer, so the group is wonderiing why it's so good. I was curious where it balances. As far as competing with the wizard in our party, our wizard has 2 levels of rogue so, at fourth level, the 4th level is out-doing the wizard, obviously. Looks like the wizard will eventually out-shine the artificer at in spellcasting at higher levels.



The thing with spamming temp HP is that it's hard to drop anyone down to 0.

the barbarian is getting 7hp(on average) per round. It means he has to take 14 damage before it even eats into normal HP, and then, the next round, those HP are replenished. To boot, it's topping people up all around. It just makes everyone near the turret that much more tough to drop. So, sitting it near the barbarian is pretty potent and the barbarian can protect it.

The player hasn't used it this way because a) He thinks it's boring and; b) he didn't want to munchkin it up and he thought it would be too powerful.


The flamethrower is great. Sure, it has to get into close range but an AoE 1st level spell as a bonus action has done lots to help us. Especially considering we don't have a full spellcaster yet.


That 15 HPs is just a few HP worse than the rogue and it has a higher AC. So, it's as tough as some of the squishier PCs. The fact that an enemy has to use an action (or two or three) to drop it is just a boost to the party's survivability.

For the record, we were going to put the balista turret on my Mastiff mount (who, through RP, is intelligent - essentially, an NPC). We thought that would be cool...as long as the dog consents to being mobile artillery.
Have someone cast Dragonbreath on the mount, and you’re really cookin!
 

Ashrym

Hero
Alchemist don't do it to yourself at least if you care about damage.
Alchemists use the bonus action for flaming sphere and later animate objects. Artillerists often use the bonus action for temp HP instead of damage and the canons compete with animate objects regardless.

It's not that the gap is big so much as the canons are a much cheaper resource cost.

The artificer I have seen in play tends to supply gadgets to the other party members.
Yup.

Its AC is pretty decent but lets take its HP at level 1,2,3 are only 5/10/15 so a single good melee or ranged hit deactivates it and there is no chance to resummons it till next long rest, did I get that correctly?

So it is a kind of glass canon in the end, isn't it?
The immunities are also nice to have but the saving throws are awful when they do come up. AoE damage can hit the canons hard, for example.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I'm playing a battlesmith at the moment. 6th level.

I admit that I'm not optimizing for damage - we have a barbarian and a warlock for that. I instead shifted the character a bit towards filling a support and rogue slot...

So, not using a combat cantrip at this time - I have mending (for the Steel Defender) and Mage Hand for utility. I'm working with an infused crossbow, and with the extra attack, and the Defender's attack, it all comes out to be a decent steady damage output.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I'm playing a battlesmith at the moment. 6th level.

I admit that I'm not optimizing for damage - we have a barbarian and a warlock for that. I instead shifted the character a bit towards filling a support and rogue slot...

So, not using a combat cantrip at this time - I have mending (for the Steel Defender) and Mage Hand for utility. I'm working with an infused crossbow, and with the extra attack, and the Defender's attack, it all comes out to be a decent steady damage output.
Steel defender is the DPS build.

Extra attack plus defender is competitive vs rogues 3d6 sneak attack.

Between the tools and guidance the artificer is the rogue replacement. Magic items boost the damage as well.
Idk if crossbow is best idea but I guess it would work well enough.

I would probably use a greatsword but that's more personal preference.
Rogue 1d8+4d6+4 dual wielding 18 dex.

Battlesmith 4d6+10+1d8+3 defender. 18 intelligence, 2 attacks +1 weapon.

Probably has +1 armor as well.

I want to try one out next game or a death cleric.

Rogues still better at skills but tools+guidance narrows that gap.

Steel defender might be a bit to good vs the other 2 options.
 

The immunities are also nice to have but the saving throws are awful when they do come up. AoE damage can hit the canons hard, for example.
The turret is largely immune to AoE effects. Remember; it's an object, not a creature.

If the turret is attended (its being held, worn or is clinging to a creature) it becomes an attended object, and is not affected by most AoE effects. In addition most AoE effects only target creatures, they dont target objects.

Look at fireball:

A bright streak flashes from your pointing finger to a point you choose within range then blossoms with a low roar into an explosion of flame. Each creature in a 20-foot radius Sphere centered on that point must make a Dexterity saving throw. A target takes 8d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

The fire spreads around corners. It ignites flammable Objects in the area that aren't being worn or carried.
Fireball doesnt damage it (its an object, not a creature) even if unattended, and only sets it on fire if the Turret is fluffed as being flammable and is unattended. Burning hands is worded the same.

Same deal with a dragons breath:

: The Dragon exhales fire in a 60-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 21 Dexterity saving throw, taking 63 (18d6) fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
Its also immune to that. It's not a creature; it's a magic object. It is just as immune to the AoE damage as +2 Full plate or a Cloak of resistance or the fighters sword is.

In fact I cant think of many AoE spells or effects that actually target objects, and the few that do require the object to be unattended (not worn or carried).

It's the same with spell targeting generally. A heck of a lot of spells target 'one creature within range'. As the turret is not a creature (it's an object) it cannot be targeted. You cant spam an Eldritch blast on it for example.
 


I would probably use a greatsword but that's more personal preference.
Greatsword does more damage but exposes you to more risk. Medium armour and middling hp makes the battlesmith a bit vulnerable for such close up work.

Heavy crossbow D10 is almost as good from a long way away. Hand crossbow (with the autofire infusion) can be used with a shield. If you are in a setting that allows it infused musket is a winner.

One thing you can do with a greatsword is play an elf - Elven accuracy + GWM + (e.g) Faerie Fire is a fun combo.
 

I suppose he could create the turret as something to clamp onto a melee PC though.
A tiny sized magical object can easily be considered to be within the weight capacity of the Mage Hand cantrip. My group has used that to pass the baton, as it were. Typically to play “keep away” if enemy spell casters get close to the Protector Cannon.

Also,Tenser’s Floating Disk is tailor made to go with an Arcane Cannon.
The flamethrower is great. Sure, it has to get into close range but an AoE 1st level spell as a bonus action has done lots to help us. Especially considering we don't have a full spellcaster yet.
It’s nice, but not game breaking. My experience of the Temp HP machine sounds similar to yours. The turret is limited by the fact that is is always fire. Sometimes you don’t need a cone effect, spammed ad nauseam.

If you do indeed need a constant cone effect, Dragon’s Breath is better.🐉

In addition to the Artillerist, there is a Diviner, and a Sorcerer with Careful Metamagic, in the group. Often times the Wizard just wants to expend a spell slot, for a future Arcane Recovery, or the Sorcerer is just the better caster for a similar effect.

You're 3rd level when you can do this, and while great, there are plenty of encounters where it's not that big of a deal (and some where it is).
That is what I thought, but we are 6th level, and the effect is still quite noticeable. A character with a Ring of Fire Resistance can fail their Saving Throw against an 24 point Fireball and walk out with 4 hp of damage due to the 8 Temp HP they have.

I play a Psi Knight in the game, and that subclass’ paltry damage reduction power is greatly magnified by everyone having Temp HP. I can only imagine what the combo of a 6th level Ancestral Barb and Protector Arcane Cannon would play like.

The only downside to making a tiny walking canon is, if you play with jerks like myself and friends we are going to call the canon this:
 
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