D&D 5E The Clockwork Arbalist (homebrew artificer specialty seeking peer review)


...cause artificers are cool...

Clockwork Arbalist
A Clockwork Arbalist is an artificer who specialises in the confection and use of a windup, spring-loaded, swiss-army-utility, overclocked crossbow. Or something like that.

Bonus Proficiencies (3rd level Arbalist feature)
When you adopt this specialisation at 3rd level, you gain proficiency with woodcarver's tools. If you already have this proficiency, you gain proficiency with one other type of artisan's tools of your choice.

In addition, you gain proficiency with the hand crossbow and heavy crossbow.

Clockwork Arbalist Spells (3rd level Arbalist feature)
Starting at 3rd level, you always have certain spells prepared after you reach particular levels in this class, as shown in the Clockwork Arbalist Spells table. These spells count as artificer spells for you, but they don’t count against the number of artificer spells you prepare.

Clockwork Arbalist Spells​
Artificer Level
Clockwork Arbalist Spells
ensnaring strike, hunter’s mark
cordon of arrows, melf’s acid arrow
conjure barrage, lightning arrow
blight, wall of fire
conjure volley, swift quiver

Clockwork Crossbow (3rd level Arbalist feature)
At 3rd level, you learn to construct a clockwork crossbow, an intricate weapon combining magic, gearwheels mechanism, and clockwork craftsmanship. At the end of a long rest, you can create a clockwork crossbow from a non-magical hand crossbow, light crossbow, or heavy crossbow if you have woodcarver's tools and tinker’s tools with you. If you already have a clockwork crossbow from this feature, the first one immediately cease to function and the weapon reverts to a regular crossbow.

Your clockwork crossbow ignores the loading property, and you can use your Intelligence modifier instead of your dexterity modifier for the attack and damage rolls you make with it. In addition, you can use your clockwork crossbow as a spellcasting focus for your artificer spells.

You can take an action to wind up the mechanism and magically charge your clockwork crossbow, thus unlocking its full potential. Once fully wound, the crossbow acquires the following properties for 1 minute.
  • If you load no ammunition, the clockwork crossbow produces its own, automatically creating one piece of magic ammunition when you make a ranged attack with it. The ammunition created by the crossbow vanishes the instant after it hits or misses a target.
  • Ammunition fired from the clockwork crossbow’s is considered magical for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
  • On each of your turns, you can take a bonus action to make a weapon attack with your clockwork crossbow.
Once you magically charge your clockwork crossbow this way, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest, or until you expend a spell slot of 1st level or higher.

Extra Attack (5th level Arbalist feature)
Starting at 5th level, you can attack twice, rather than once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

Eldritch Quarrel (9th level Arbalist feature)
Starting at 9th level, you can produce special magical bolts with your clockwork crossbow. As an action, you can create any one of the eldritch quarrels options below. Then, as a bonus action, you can make a special attack roll firing the eldritch quarrel against a target within range.

If the target is a creature, it receives the effects of the eldritch quarrel in addition to your clockwork crossbow’s damage on a hit.

If the target is a nonmagical unattended object that isn’t a creature, such as a table, a tree, a wall, or a rock cliff, the attack roll automatically hits without requiring an attack roll.

- Grappling Hook. The ammunition magically penetrates any object that isn’t a creature and that isn’t made of adamantine, and secures a solid anchor for a rope. If the target is an unattended object, you can use an action to pull the object up to 30 feet toward you. If the target is an immobile object, your rope is solidly attached to the object.

- Signal Flare. The ammunition leaves a trail of light and explodes in a dazzling display of colors when it reaches your weapon’s maximum range, or when it hits an object or a creature. Each creature within 10 feet of the explosion must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or become blinded until the end of your next turn.

- Smoking Bolt. The ammunition leaves a thick black trail and explodes in a burst of dense smoke when it reaches your weapon’s maximum range, or when it hits an object or a creature. The smoke spreads out from the explosion in a 20-foot radius, moving around corners. The area of the smoke is heavily obscured. The smoke persists for 1 minute or until a strong wind disperses it.

- Spell Bolt. You can store a prepared spell of your choice in the ammunition by casting it as part of the action creating the eldritch quarrel. On a hit, the target receives the effect of the spell in addition to the clockwork crossbow’s damage. If the spell allows a Dexterity saving throw to recive only half damage, the target has disadvantage on the roll. Treat the target as the spell’s point of origin if the spell has an area of effect. If the attack roll is missed, the spell fails with no further effect.

You can produce an eldritch quarrel a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier (minimum of once). You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Improved Eldritch Quarrel (15th level Arbalist feature)
At 15th level, you gain additional eldritch quarrel options.

- Dispelling Bolt. This ammunition dispels any spell or magical effect of 4th level or lower on the target. For each spell of 5th level or higher on the target, make an ability check using your spellcasting ability. You have advantage on this ability check. The DC is 10 + the spell’s level. On a successful check, the spell ends.

- Quarrel of Slaying. When you create this ammunition, you must select a type of creature. If you attack roll hits a creature of the chosen type, the creature must make Constitution saving throw, taking an extra 6d10 piercing damage on a failed save, or half as much extra damage on a successful one.

- Disintegrating Bolt. The ammunition magically disintegrates a Large or smaller creation of magical force, such as a wall of force, or any nonmagical object that isn’t a creature, If the object or magical force creation is Huge or larger, this bolt disintegrates a 10-foot cube portion of it. A magic item is unaffected by this eldritch quarrel.

- Prismatic Bolt. The ammunition shimmer with colors of the rainbow. A creature hit with a prismatic bolt receives an effect based on the color of the bolt at the moment of impact, in addition to the clockwork crossbow’s damage. Roll a d8 to determine which color affects the target.

1-Red: The target must make a Constitution saving throw and takes 10d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.​
2-Orange: The target must make a Constitution saving throw and takes 10d6 acid damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.​
3-Yellow: The target must make a Constitution saving throw and takes 10d6 lightning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.​
4-Green: The target must make a Constitution saving throw and takes 10d6 poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.​
5-Blue: The target must make a Constitution saving throw and takes 10d6 cold damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.​
6-Indigo: The target is Restrained. It must then make a Constitution saving throw at the end of each of its turns. If it successfully saves three times, the spell ends. If it fails its save three times, it permanently turns to stone and is subjected to the Petrified condition. The successes and failures don't need to be consecutive, keep track of both until the target collects three of a kind.​
7-Violet: The target must make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, the target is Blinded. It must then make a Wisdom saving throw at the start of your next turn. A successful save ends the blindness. If it fails that save, the creature is transported to another plane of existence of the DM's choosing and is no longer Blinded. (Typically, a creature that is on a plane that isn't its home plane is banished home, while other creatures are usually cast into the Astral or Ethereal planes.)​
8-Special: The ammunition bears two colors at the moment of impact. Roll twice more, rerolling any 8.​

Version 1, no playtesting of any kind yet. Probably full of "nice idea but poor implementation" features, and "what were you on?" overpowered-ness. Still comments are welcome.

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Misread as "homebrew artificer specializing in peer review".

Strange name for it tho.


Ok seriously. This looks like the usual problrm. It is a subclass that isn't based around a story, but around a combat technique.

The Battlesmith may have its defender, but it isn't just the defender and upgrades. The Artillerist may have its cannon, but again, it isn;t just its cannon and upgrades. (it is a bit thin; it could honestly use some rounding out). The alchemist has a better story, but is mechanically lackluster.

Back up and make this a clockwork artificer first. It can have a clockwork crossbow, but it shouldn't stop there.
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What if I want to make a clockwork [some other weapon]? I hate that the Arcane Archer, as written, is tied to longbow and shortbow only.

The level 3 ability seems to reproduce the effect of the Repeating Shot infusion, but with less flexibility?

The eldritch quarrel abilities seem okay, some a bit OP.

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