Unearthed Arcana: The Artificer Is Here! & UA Schedule Changes

As promised, WotC has just released the new version of the Artificer in a 10-page PDF! "In a previous installment of Unearthed Arcana, we presented a new character class: the artificer, a master of magical invention. Based on the feedback we received, we now offer a new look at this class."

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They also note that the schedule for Unearthed Arcana is changing -- "We typically look to release Unearthed Arcana once a month. The series remains a valuable opportunity for us to publish playtest content and gather your feedback. That said, we want to release Unearthed Arcana content only when it is ready for you to try. Moving forward, this content will release on a more flexible schedule, roughly once a month and on whatever day works best that month. We’ll let you know when the next UA installment is ready! (There’s a good chance it will contain more content for the artificer.)"
 
Russ Morrissey

Comments

Iry

Explorer
Not liking the shape of this. It's certainly powerful in a batman-utility sort of way, but I didn't expect the Artificer to become a "Must Have Pet" class. My potion thrower is gone, and the party Beastmaster is giving me side-eye.

Unless you can put Returning Weapon on the potions you throw.
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
Yea, I've definitely been spoiled by the amount of good homebrew out there. I don't think there's anything obviously wrong with this (although a half caster getting spellcasting at 1st level is a bit of a proud nail). It's just kind of bland. Some of the infusions are decent. The magical tinkering at 1st level is a nice ribbon++. But forcing a support pet onto both subclasses is kind of not great. I don't like seeing an alchemist with no healing abilities.
 
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Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
I really, really, really don't like that they're trying to fit mechanical engineering into a spellcasting chassis. The whole "The Magic of Artifice" text-box makes my skin crawl:

"As an artificer, you use tools when you cast your spells. When describing your spellcasting, think about how you’re using a tool to perform the spell effect. If you cast cure wounds using alchemist’s supplies, you could be quickly producing a salve. If you cast it using tinker’s tools, you might have a miniature mechanical spider that binds wounds."

It gets worse as it goes on, and the whole time I'm wondering... why? Why not just give the Artificer their own unique abilities that allow them to manufacture mechanical spiders that bind wounds or produce healing salves? Why make these abilities "spells" and dump all the responsibility of making them cool and flavorful onto the players themselves? Also, what happens when the Artificer enters an anti-magic zone? Do the clockwork spiders suddenly stop working? Or the healing salves? Meh...

I wish they'd just make an all-out engineer class (with gunpowder and clockwork inventions a la World of Warcraft) or an all-out magic-item-creation class. Instead, they're trying to kill two birds with one stone and fit both archetypes into a single class. It just doesn't work.
 
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Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
Some thoughts on this:

-They made the spell progression a more standard 1/2 caster level, it brings it more in line with the 3e Artificer.
-I miss having the sub-classes having different combat abilities and scaling to the Rogue. I'm also not a fan on both of the sub-classes getting a pet.
-I feel Artificer Infusions can be expanded in the way Warlock Invocations have expanded. They more infusions to choose from. I know it saves space with "replicate magic item", but maybe they could have sub-class only infusions.
-I think that an Artillerist should be able to use a firearm as an arcane focus, if they're proficient and such weapons exist in a campaign. I want to see pistols that shoot Fireballs.
-The Alchemist seems a lot more boring now, could they have at least had something like being able to enhance some of the special equipment items.
-Could they at least include some of the spells from outside the PHB? I know it's a losing proposition trying to do that with every book that introduces new spells (other than using some D&D Beyond thing). I think Artificers should get something like Ice Knife, and maybe some of those melee attack cantrips like Green Flame Blade. I know it's up to the DM to decide if they get access to new spells, but it's almost like they should get something like the Bard's magical secrets.
-The Artillerist flamethrower should scale up in damage, or maybe allow a spell slot expenditure add damage to any of it's attack types.
-I think there should be more level tiers of replicated magic items, like maybe one at level 6 or 8.
 

Voort

Villager
So I’m an INT-based caster, but I shouldn’t ever actually increase my Intelligence, because I can craft a Headband of Intellect at level 12.
 

Bawylie

A very OK person
Yeah I’m not too keen on this. I have the prior version in a game I’m DMing right now and it’s working great.

TBH, I’m a little tired of every class being a wizard. I get why, I just don’t like it.
 

lkj

Explorer
I thought this little note on the UA page in the scheduling section was interesting:

"We’ll let you know when the next UA installment is ready! (There’s a good chance it will contain more content for the artificer.)"

AD
 

Iry

Explorer
So I’m an INT-based caster, but I shouldn’t ever actually increase my Intelligence, because I can craft a Headband of Intellect at level 12.
Stupificer
Put your lowest score in Intelligence.
Focus on Buff and Ritual spells.
Alchemists let their homunculus make intelligence skill checks, Artillerist take Defender turret.
Craft Headband of Intellect at 12.
Name yourself Algernon.
 

MarkB

Hero
At first glance, I like it. The Artillerist gives me vibes of the Engineer from Guild Wars 2, throwing down turrets for reinforcement or support.

I have an NPC in my Eberron campaign for whom this is a good fit, a rogue House Cannith inventor. I look forward to seeing how it performs.
 

dave2008

Hero
I've never played an artificer or been the DM for an artificer player, but this doesn't feel like what I think of when I think artificer (I think steam punk engineer type). I really think they need a new mechanic, not a 1/2 caster. They at least need new spells I think, not simply leave it to he PC to re-flavor existing spells. But I would prefer a new system/way of making these abilities. It can be magic, but more not "spells" as we know them.
 

pukunui

Adventurer
Not a fan of the video gamey turrets. Not sure about the rest yet.

I like the idea of reflavoring spells but agree with others that it would be better to have unique magical abilities. I think the devs painted themselves into a bit of a corner, though, by not including “spell-like abilities” in 5e.
 

Iry

Explorer
I don't mind a single Archetype being about creating pets; choosing between a homunculus or a turret for example. But having both archetypes be pet classes, at the expense of previous archetypes which were fun to play with, seems unnecessary.
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
Now I get to play Torbjorn from Overwatch in 5e!

I think the class looks interesting, I like it better than the last version but that might just be because it is fresh and new. I definitely like the spellcasting starting at 1st level and I don't know why it never occurred to me to do that for my own arcane half-caster class. I assume it was because I was looking at the ranger and paladin and working of their advancement. As for pets, I know not everyone wants them, I wouldn't mind their being an elemental subclass for the Izzet guild that focuses on harnessing the power of lightning which has some other gadgets instead of a pet.

I'm adding that Arcane Weapon spell to the wizard and sorcerer spell list.
 

Kurotowa

Explorer
Shouldn't Artificers be knowledgeble? Two skills?
With three starting Tool proficiencies and another two from the subclass at 3rd level. Artificiers went to technical college for practical skills, not some big name university to pore over old tomes.
 

Gradine

Archivist
I don't really see the Artillerist as a pet class; I don't really understand why that's the connection being made to it. I mean, it's not like flaming sphere or call lightning are considered pets, or the Circle of the Shepherd's Spirit Totems, which I see as closer analogues than the Beastmaster or even the Alchemist (whose homonculi strike me more as familiars than pets in any case).

For the most part I really like this class. I'll echo that the summon turret ability is a little too on-the-nose video-gamey for my liking, but playing that archetype wouldn't feel like playing a pet class to me.
 

NaturalZero

Villager
The turrets are cool, but the fire damage feels anemic. They need better scaling before waiting till level 14 to get an extra one. The subclass is also supposed to be a battle wand specialist but gets next to nothing to make that apparent mechanically beyond a small damage boost. On the other hand, the gunsmith with different damage types and an AOE out of the same weapon felt more versatile and different from every other guy with a wand.

The alchemist feels like it gets almost no alchemist flavor at all until later in the game. The whole "you cast the same spell as 6 other classes with a slight tweak" is disappointing and bland compared to unique features. I hate having yet another class that just uses the same spell list as multiple other classes as a primary ability.

I also feel like they should drop the requirement of using a magical weapon for Extra Attack. You shouldn't have to use a specific infusion or spell slot in order to use a basic function that plenty of other classes get without restriction.
 

Ristamar

Explorer
I don't really see the Artillerist as a pet class; I don't really understand why that's the connection being made to it. I mean, it's not like flaming sphere or call lightning are considered pets, or the Circle of the Shepherd's Spirit Totems, which I see as closer analogues than the Beastmaster or even the Alchemist (whose homonculi strike me more as familiars than pets in any case).

For the most part I really like this class. I'll echo that the summon turret ability is a little too on-the-nose video-gamey for my liking, but playing that archetype wouldn't feel like playing a pet class to me.
Reminds me a bit of Roland from Borderlands.
 

Mistwell

Hero
Wait...can the Alchemical Homunculus give all PCs advantage on all out of combat skill checks, and 12+Int temporary hitpoints prior to any combat, as often as it wants at no cost?
 

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