Unearthed Arcana Unearthed Arcana Introduces The Artifcer


Garresh

First Post
Not all of us play with feat or multiclassing optional rules (as described in official game materials). Yes, when playing with optional rules that create powergamey combos, the game breaks apart and things may change (this is true of every rpg ever). However, playing the game as designed without the poorly designed optional rules is very different. Even with xbow expert, having to burn a feat to be mildly competative (but still worse) with this broken class hints at a balance problem.

I'm not sure I agree. Rogues have the mobility and better defense in combat than the artificer. The biggest issue right now is the construct. That thing is beyond broken, and needs toning down. Other than that, it's on similar footing to the rogue in other categories, or has sensible tradeoffs.
 

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Datalore

First Post
That is a fallacy. A rogue who uses his bonus action to have a better shot at getting his damage at range (after burning a feat - assuming those are even allowed - AND assuming he has an ally near the enemy) loses his mobility (cunning action) thanks to using up his bonus action. The same is obviously true of the melee rogue unless he takes a very specific archetype and fights in a very specific way. He keeps his mobility, then he loses all the crap people have mentioned.

A rogue gets nothing remotely comparable what this class gets even if you removed the servant. The bonus magic items, the ability to aoe, the whole magic infusy business, etc etc etc. Its silly.

Bottom line, you cant call something balanced when you have to come up with a bunch of corner cases where other classes might be remotely comparable (but still worse) if they are built and fight in a few very specific ways.
 
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Garresh

First Post
Uhm? The assertion isn't rogues have to use their bonus action to "catch up". Rogues already match them at base. But they can use their bonus actions to essentially give themselves twice as many chances to hit at any time. Artificers do not have that option. They do have a metric ton of utility, but let's revisit those things on a point by point basis...

If you compare their casting progression side by side, it's basically identical. They're both 1/3 casters.

Infusion is nice, but all it really does is allow a "delayed buff" that you can give to an ally. Given the 1/3 casting progression, that's really not that huge. It provides a lot of out of combat utility, and you could give someone going to negotiate with a big bad a Ring of Invisibility, so he can escape if things go south. But by that point people are throwing around 5th level spells, and most every face class I can think of could just, you know, cast that themselves? Useful, but not overpowered.

Their magic items? All are non-combat, and the ones they get are specifically hand picked to be "fun", not overpowered. Stuff like darkvision, magical lights, a fold up boat, and advantage on investigation checks? Such power! Marvel at my ability to create magic items which MIMIC CANTRIPS AND RACE TRAITS. Heh.

Let's talk about AOE. A 14th level alchemist can do 5d6 damage in a 5 foot spread. Roughly 17-18 damage in a VERY tight AoE. This is definitely better than a cantrip, so I'll give you that. A rogue at base doesn't have an at will AoE, but their single target damage assuming a longbow is at 14 is going to be 1d8+7d6+5, for an average of 34 damage. In the rare situation that 2 enemies are standing literally next to each other, the alchemist does about 3-4 more damage than the rogue. The gunsmith does 4d6 for average of 14 damage in a 30 foot line. He might hit more enemies, but the short range and line of it mean its unlikely to exceed the rogue's damage in practice. So we know that the artificer has the rogue beat on at-will AoE, though his damage is still nothing special in that case. But all of that is rendered irrelevent because if a level 14 rogue finds themself in a situation where they need real AoE right now, they can just cast Fireball and hit for 8d6 in a 20 foot spread, outclassing anything the alchemist brings to the table.

Now let's see where Rogues one up them. Expertise goes *slightly* in favor of rogues, due to being able to apply it to skills as well as tools. I admit artificers make a nasty dip, but they're still not the skill monkeys that rogues and bards are.

Defense goes handily to the rogue, as the rogue has multiple ways to reduce damage taken, both from AoE attacks, and from using their reaction to dodge.

Rogues who go Arcane Trickster(which is what we're comparing here), have much better crowd control than the artificer. They can start fights by using some low level crowd control effects on targets, but giving them disadvantage by means of Magical Ambush. An artificer can make difficult terrain and some smoke. A rogue at level 14 could start a fight with an AoE Fear spell, or a Hypnotic Pattern, and force everyone in range to take disadvantage on their initial save.

Rogues at level 13 also overcome their limitations on Sneak Attack to a degree, by using their Mage Hand as a bonus action to grant themselves advantage on attacks for that turn, further blurring the lines between the two classes.

Now I would be remiss if I didn't draw attention to 2 additional things worth noting. The first is that the artificer is simply a better support caster than an arcane trickster. What the artificer loses in CC, he makes up for in healing ability, and great buffs. He actually pulls some choice buffs from both wizard and cleric spell lists, making him really great at that. But he's still a 1/3 caster, so it's only so good.

The ONLY standout issue with the artificer I see is their construct. That thing is beyond overpowered. It's the one thing that takes a surprisingly well balanced class, which feels more like a variant arcane trickster than a new class, and pushes it up to overpowered. That thing needs to be heavily nerfed, or reworked, or outright removed. Whichever way it goes, it can't stay the way it currently is. But everyone's already pointed that out. If that were addressed, I think you'd find that the class is perfectly balanced. It does some things a rogue can't, but loses some things a rogue can. It is more vulnerable than a rogue, but does more reliable damage. It doesn't provide as much control and mobility, but makes up with healing and buffing. On the whole, a fun class.
 

Datalore

First Post
So, again, a very specific archetype who fights in a very specific way, might be almost comparable (but still worse) to this broken class at level 13/14 (AT cant aoe nearly as much as this guy, lol, oh man). The other archetypes and most warlocks are just screwed but thats ok, I guess? Also, we ignore the first 12 levels? This does not sound balanced to me.

Again, make the construct a familiar and drop the damage by about 25%. Remove the last magic item tier and move the first tier to level 5. I would also recommend nerfing the spell casting a bit (1/3 Warlock style with a crappy spell list so he has to choose his spells more carefully).
 
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Garresh

First Post
So, again, a very specific archetype who fights in a very specific way, might be almost comparable (but still worse) to this broken class at level 13/14 (AT cant aoe nearly as much as this guy, lol, oh man). The other archetypes and most warlocks are just screwed but thats ok, I guess? Also, we ignore the first 12 levels? This does not sound balanced to me.

Again, make the construct a familiar and drop the damage by about 25%. Remove the last magic item tier and move the first tier to level 5. I would also recommend nerfing the spell casting a bit (1/3 Warlock style with a crappy spell list so he has to choose his spells more carefully).

Dude. You're missing the point. This class has no damage source outside of its own subclasses. Its gun does okay damage. Not great. Just okay. DPR for its peak damage specialization is 8d6+5 at level 14, for a DPR of 33. A warlock does 31.5 at that level. A sharpshooter fighter does 58(with accuracy penalties). That's the HIGH DAMAGE specialization. If they go that route, they don't get any AoEs til high levels, and the AoEs they get are crap. If they go the lower damage alchemist build, their range plummets, their single target DPR is only 24.5, and we already covered how their AoE is not particularly stellar except for being at will.

My point is this: Artificer does almost every role, at a SUBPAR level compared to a specialist. It fulfills a role similar to a bard, except bards in 5e are 9th level casters. It also can't frontline. It has pretty good damage, but I can think of 4 classes off the top of my head that outperform it. It can do a lot of utility tricks, but it doesn't outshine rogues or bards. It can heal and buff, but it's no cleric. You're falling prey to the same fallacy you claim I'm doing. You're acting like it gets gunsmith damage and alchemist aoe together. It doesn't. Artificer has to choose. And if it goes one option, it loses heavily in another category. The class is fine.
 

I thought the Revised Beastmaster no longer had Extra Attack?

This is for the beastmaster ranger from revised ranger, which does NOT gain the extra attack feature. As a result, I calculated the damage as the best single shot range weapon, which is a heavy crossbow. I also erred on the side of the ranger, by allowing them to use hunters mark and assuming the animal will always get its second attack via reaction. The only thing I ignored was accuracy due to fighting style, as this was just a flat damage numbers comparison to get a ballpark estimate. Also, favored enemies are considered unreliable damage.
Fair points. Thank you for setting me straight.
 


Bawylie

A very OK person
An Artificer that's not a wizard? What the hell? Well, good luck with this one, I'm not wasting any more time with it.

"Not a Wizard" was a selling point for me.

The fantasy-firearm was, too.

Finally, the alchemist was the first time I read the abilities and didn't dismiss them out of hand as convoluted, weak, terrible, or boring.

Not that you're wrong to take a hard pass, just interesting to see a completely different perspective.


-Brad
 

Datalore

First Post
I didnt say it gets both. I said it can aoe and single target with both at will (not per rest, at will, all day, infinite). That is a pretty big boon for a variety of reasons. The damage numbers are simply too high for a class with this much flexibility. A ranged warlock, whose spell list is fairly meh, and gets either ritual casting or an invisible familiar should not be outclassed by this guy. A rogue should have dpr numbers much higher than him as well since that is pretty much all he does. It shouldnt be close.
 

Eubani

Legend
I like the idea of the Artificer as a class but this design just does not seem to have any wow factor that grabs my attention and says "play me" it's a tad dull in my opinion.
 

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