Dragonmarks: The Evolving Artificer

The latest Unearthed Arcana presents a new version of the Artificer for 5E D&D.  Right from the start, there’s a few things to note.

  • This is a work in progress. They say at the outset that it’s a rough concept that hasn’t been refined or fully tested. They’re presenting it because they want feedback, not because they think it’s perfect.
  • This isn’t designed for Eberron. The word “Eberron” never comes up in the article or introduction. The existence of an artificer class is obviously useful for Eberron, but this isn’t specifically designed with Eberron in mind; it’s an artificer that could exist in any setting, and that thus works with the general “magic items are rare” assumption of 5E D&D.
  • I haven’t tried it out. I’m juggling a lot of projects right now, and I haven’t had a chance to review the class in depth.

Having said all of that, I’m not going to go into a detailed analysis of mechanics and balance. They aren’t claiming that it’s balanced; that’s the point of pushing it out into the world. What I’m concerned with is how it fits into Eberron and how it lines up with the original Eberron artificer.

THE GOOD

This is a big step forward from the last version of the artificer we saw in Unearthed Arcana, where it was a wizard subclass. We have a d8 hit die, light and medium armor proficiency, and proficiency with thieves tools… all things missing from the wizard and more in line with the original artificer. Just having it as a standalone class is important, because it allows for subclasses, unique spells, and similar features. I like the Tool Specialist and Magic Item Analysis features. So I like the foundation.

Wondrous Invention and Superior Attunement seem like a reasonable step at blending one of the core concepts of the artificer — being able to create magic items — with the low-magic foundation of 5E. You can’t make ANY item as a 3.5 Artificer could… but it still provides the artificer with the ability to say “Good thing I made these goggles of night!” I haven’t had time to review the item lists and really think about the impact on character balance, but it seems like a good start.

THE BAD

In Eberron, the artificer is presented as a magical engineer — someone who approaches magic in the same way a technician approaches technology. The artificer’s spells are all infusions, and all reflect the artificer’s ability to temporarily cobble together short-term magic items. This is most strongly represented by the infusions Armor Augmentation, Weapon Augmentation and Spell-Storing Item. The Augmentations allow the artificer to temporarily infuse weapon or armor with an enchantment — making your hammer Undead Bane when the vampire shows up, or adding some fire resistance to your armor when things get hot. Spell-Storing Item is the cornerstone of the artificer for me: it allows you to attempt to create a one-shot wand of almost any low-level spell, but with a chance of catastrophic failure. To me, this ties to the concept of the artificer as a magical hacker. The artificer doesn’t know the rituals and formulas a wizard uses to reliable create a fireball over and over. But she understands the principles of generating magical fire, and if you give her a moment she can put something together; just hope it doesn’t blow up in her face.

The critical point is that this emphasizes the idea of the artificer as someone who works with magic; again, spell-storing item is essentially about creating one-shot wands. One of the protagonists in my Dreaming Dark novels, Lei d’Cannith, is an artificer and I frequently represent her as weaving tapestries of magic to create her tools. She also makes regular use of spell-storing item and the augmentation spells.

By contrast, the foundation of the UA artificer is about magic… but the specialties are not. The alchemist specialty seems like it could be fun at low levels, and I love it as a way to represent a Zil alchemist. We’ve always said that the Zil were the masters of alchemy and that they manufacture alchemical weapons, and I love the concept of the gnome alchemist darting around and blowing things up. But that’s an alchemist, not an artificer. The focus here seems to be as much on science (chemistry) as on magic. Yes, the inexhaustible alchemist’s satchel is clearly magical, but the general effect is that the character is running around throwing flasks of acid and fire; it is more mundane than using spell-storing item to create a one-shot wand of fireball.

So: I like the alchemist, but it doesn’t feel like a classic artificer to me. On the other hand, for Eberron specifically, I have bigger issues with the gunsmith. Because the gunsmith is presented as USING A GUN: an alchemical device that explicitly fires lead bullets. I’ve never liked firearms in Eberron because I’ve always emphasized that people in Eberron solve their problems with magic instead of technology: make a wand of magic missiles or enchant a crossbow, don’t invent gunpowder. Next we have the obvious question: If this is a technological device, why is the artificer the only one who can use it? How is it that the Thunder Cannon becomes inert the moment the artificer hands it to a friend? If that’s the intent – that it is magical, and that’s why the artificer is the only one who can use it – then in my opinion, don’t make it a gun. Make it a literal boomstick, a staff that functions as a gun in the hands of the artificer, but which is clearly a magical tool. Or make it about elemental binding – it’s a rod with a fire elemental bound into it. In Eberron, I posited the existed of siege staffs instead of gunpowder artillery – essentially, magical staffs the size of tree trunks, enchanted for maximum range and area of effect. They serve the same FUNCTION as cannons, but they are tied to the existing wand/staff “technology” of the world, as opposed to introducing an entirely different paradigm.

Essentially, in Eberron the artificer is a magical engineer who manipulates magic as if it’s technology. Both of the UA specialties bring in a degree of mundane science – gunpowder or chemistry – that push them away from the vision of the artificer as the person who understands the principles of MAGIC. It becomes a blending of magic and ACTUAL technology, which is something I generally sought to avoid in Eberron. Warforged aren’t steam-powered; they are golems, operating on entirely magical principles.

WITH ALL THAT SAID: I still think that this is a very good start, and I can see that both these specialties work for the idea of the artificer-as-technological-tinker, which might be exactly what you want in most settings. And I think that in Eberron, many problems could be solved by adding additional infusions to the artificer spell and a specialty path that is specifically tied to Eberron. Spell-Storing Item was an infusion, not a class feature; it’s something that could easily be added to the artificer spell list in an Eberron sourcebook.

So overall, I’m happy with the article. It creates a general-purpose artificer that I can see fitting into a range of settings, and it’s a big step forward from the last version. It creates a foundation that could be adapted to Eberron. I think I’d have fun with an alchemist, at least at low levels. And as for the gunsmith, in MY campaign I’d shift the Thunder Cannon to be an entirely magical tool, but that doesn’t invalidate the concept… and I know there are many people who DO like gunpowder in their chocolate, who I’m sure will love it as is.

Update

On consideration, most of my issues are cosmetic. If you shift the appearance of the Gunsmith and Alchemist to a more magical interpretation, I’m happy to give them a try. Rather than having the Alchemist hurl flasks of oil, his “Alchemist’s satchel” could be a bandolier of components that he uses to assemble one-use charms and wands. The effects he can produce are identical, it’s just a different tone. Likewise, if the Thunder Cannon is a mystical tool – perhaps a weird variant of wand and staff that’s the size and weight of a log – I’m happy with the “Wandsmith.”

There’s still things I’d change. I’m not thrilled about every artificer having a construct companion, and I’m REALLY not thrilled about that companion being a Large creature; I might have a construct owl, but I don’t want to be followed around by something the size of a horse. I like the idea that the Mechanical Servant could be a path feature or swapped out for another Wondrous invention. I’d add a few new infusions for Eberron. But I’m certainly interested in playing around with it.

What are your thoughts on the latest UA Artificer?

57 thoughts on “Dragonmarks: The Evolving Artificer

  1. I like it with some qualifiers. First off, I strongly agree with your notion of the Gunsmith. It doesn’t fit in my worlds or playstyle. But I think it’s a good idea to include it when looking at the DMsGuild data – people what this as an option. But I think to counteract that a third specialty needs to be added in. At my table an artificer is by default an Alchemist.

    All in all I think it’s a pretty good second start.

    • But I think to counteract that a third specialty needs to be added in. At my table an artificer is by default an Alchemist.

      Frankly, I could be happy with both of these Specialties in Eberron if you simply change their flavor. Make the Thunder Cannon a multi-purpose magical rod and I’m happy with it. If you change the Alchemist’s Satchel to a “Magical MacGuyver Kit” and don’t force its effects to be delivered through potions, I’m happy with it. My point is that Lei could blow things up and she could heal people – but she didn’t have to use potions to do it. Give me the exact same EFFECTS that the alchemist can produce, but let me DESCRIBE them as wands or flashstones or whatever temporary item I want them to be, and it’s fairly solid. Though I’d still want to see some of the unique infusions from the ECS added to the spell list.

      • That’s fair – I definitely bring my own bias against gunslingers to D&D (and thus these rules). The flavoring thing gets tricky when you’re talking about player vision vs. DM vision. But if that collab were to work I could see it being a lot of fun as like an “elite wand corps” type of thing.

        I love the phrase “Magical McGuyver kit!” I think your take on Alchemist is probably spot on. The terminology could go more generic here to fit both with “crazed alchemist” or “rune caster” type effects. I started reading Dreaming Dark series over Thanksgiving and Lei definitely feels to me like she’s working with magical runes / patterns.

        Looking forward to giving this feedback in the next WotC survey!

      • I have a player playing an Alchemist Artificer with your suggestions, and some of my own, right now!

        His attacks are using a crossbow that he has built to basically stabalise those infused effects you describe, so they don’t blow up on him. The healing effects are closer to potions, but don’t need to be drank, it’s just that the flask and liquid medium stabalizes the effect. I’ll also be giving him the Healing Elixer cantrip, but flavoring it as a healing infusion.

        So, it actually mixes your suggestions, and an idea I had to reflavoring the Gunsmith into a guy with a magical crossbow of custom design, that needs the artificer’s knowledge and talent to make work.

        just thought you’d be interested in how folks are making this work in Eberron.

        Question, if you have time in your busy, “I’m always making 16 different gaming products at a time”, schedule. 😀
        What do you think of dropping the construct, adding it to the Wondrous Invention list, adding 1 WI per level where you gain one, and having a few options, like an animated Silver Owl, an Iron Defender, a classic Homunculus, etc, and then a new subclass that takes that concept and ramps it up into something rad like a construct mount, or an adamantium defender, etc?

        Also, what other subclasses would you want to see for this Artificer? Self-Forged? Someone who makes little Artifice helpers, like 4e’s Battle Engineer?
        Would Cannith Maker, and Zil Alchemist be something worth having a Subclass for?

    • I’ll likely reflavor the Satchel as a utility belt or bandolier. And definitely reflavor the gun as a magical item. I could see it being a cool component for a warforged PC.
      I really like this though.

      • I’m treating the gun as either a high tech crossbow, or a DDO style “runearm”. That is, a pseudo mechanical invention that is like a gauntlet that projects a ring of runes around your hand when activated, that you charge and then shoot a blast of magical energy.

  2. I think reskinning the current mechanics can create a much more Eberron-y artificer without much effort. Instead of an Alchemist we can have a Tinkerer: vials of liquid become wands and clockwork devices. Even the Alchemist’s healing potion can be reskinned as a wand that can enchant a vial of water into a healing potion. More options for wands can easily be homebrewed in, and over the course of her career an artificer can build up an arsenal.

    The gunsmith’s gun can be reskinned as a magical crossbow with an elemental core that fires magical bolts instead of lead bullets.

    The Wondrous Invention item lists can be taken as baseline examples; I suppose a DM can approve other items with similar rarity.

    The things I’m missing most are some thematically appropriate spells that are absent form the list, like Knock, Elemental Weapon, and Mage Armor (or an equivalent that requires armor). Also there’s no Repair Damage so you can’t heal your construct easily. But these can easily be added in, like Spell Storing Item.

    As far as magic item creation: this artificer is much more limited as far as spells per day and spells known than previous editions. Other than the five “free” items an artificer receives throughout her career, it seems that this artificer is built to mostly boost the party with *some* daily magical items, while still keeping it exciting to find interesting magical loot, so it still fits in the 5e paradigm. I’m okay with this direction.

  3. Thanks for sharing!

    I agree with a lot of your perspective, especially on the subclasses.

    Game mechanically they’ve made a choice to load this up with features and as a result they’ve limited the spells. The class has far fewer spells than paladins or rangers, much less bard/cleric/wizard. I’d rather they shift.

    Personally I’m still playing with your artificer-as-cleric hack… I’m 5th level and it’s working well.

  4. If the Thunder Cannon hadn’t been two-handed, I would’ve thought it to be a spiritual successor to D&D Online’s Rune Arm – that is, a magical item that can only be operated by artificers, and which is able to fire magical shots as something between a ranged weapon and a spell (since it is activated by a button click not unlike attacking with a weapon, requires no resources to fire except for time, and produces effects similar to those of damaging spells).

    The “almost infinite ammunition” part of the Gunsmith subclass even invalidates the artificer having to search out ammunition (or materials for ammunition) like a ranged weapon user would have to. At that point, it feels like it was only made a ranged weapon because spells work differently from weapon attacks in the rules of the game.

    So if I’m ever going to base an artificer in Eberron on this iteration of the class, I’m probably going to downscale the Thunder Cannon to a one-handed weapon with lower damage die and simply call it a Rune Arm (or maybe a Hyper-Efficient Cannith Wand or something similar). That also works better with the later abilities that modify the Thunder Cannon’s attacks, since you are now “hacking” the magic in your Rune Arm to project a bolt of lightning or a fireball.

    • Absolutely. I don’t mind having a multi-function wand that behaves like a weapon; it’s all about how it’s described.

  5. I’d totally agree on the flavouring to fit eberron more cleanly. Rather than an alchemical satchel or gun, I could see flavouring the relevant mechanics to Use one the wands a Wand Adept might carry. Your fire bomb is Wand A and your tangle foot bag is Wand B sort of thing!

    I thought the Infuse Magic feature captured the spell-storing concept quite well, especially as once infused anyone can use the item. I felt that give this the feel of hacking together a temporary item well.

    The item lists are good – nothing really combat-oriented, just a great magical utility belt!

  6. I think it’s a good start. As a quick & dirty adjust for Eberron I’d re-write every presence of the words, ‘gun/gunsmith’ with, ‘wand/wandwright’.
    – The wand starts as two-handed, but a higher level/more skilled hand could make a one-handed wand of equal power (good old arcana & skill proficiency checks).
    – Have the player pick a more magical damage type than piercing as their default (fire, acid, etc.) with an arcana check to see if they can alter the damage type on the fly. It’d be a single use wand, ‘reinfuse-able’ as a bonus action.
    – It might be preferable to roleplay the ammunition/material components limits, but as a guideline, I’d try a daily or long/short-rest arcana check to see how many infusions they can wright up. Call it Base DC=10 with any circumstantial modifiers you think appropriate. Success nets them 1d6+1 charges, double that on a 20, and a wand misfire if they roll a 1 (not Russian roulette, but Cannith craps). That also gives me one more excuse to use the wild-magic table.

    It also seems like the work-in-progress prestige class Rune Scribe (http://media.wizards.com/2016/dnd/downloads/1_UA_Artificer_20170109.pdf) could also be shoe-horned in as Artificer specializing in working with dragonshards by overwriting, ‘rune’ with, ‘shard’: call them a, ‘Shardsmith’ maybe?

  7. Loved your discussion of this. However, I didn’t see any opinion on the mechanical servant. Personally, I think it should be allowed to be Large or smaller rather than Large, and scale (though still slower than the latest UA ranger’s pet)

    • I missed that they HAVE to be large, and I agree; personally, given that it doesn’t scale, I’d want my mechanical servant to be something like a bird or small homunculus, not a giant thing. On consdieration, I’d make the Mechanical Servant part of a specialty or make it an option for Wondrous Invention as opposed to something every artificer has.

      • I like the idea of a mechanical servant, but as an option – it doesn’t seem right that all artificers have one.

        I don’t like the actual execution much – seems very unfinished. I appreciate “Unearthed Arcana” is supposed to be a starting point for a discussion, but when lots of random people on the internet can immediately come up with improvements then it suggests to me the original idea needed to be refined a bit before being let loose in the wild.

        Conceptually, I quite like the idea that the artificer has been “tinkering” for 6 levels to create the servant, but it then makes no sense to me for it not to improve / change in some way – surely any artificer worthy of the name is going to keep on tinkering with it as he gains experience.

        Rules wise, being able to change your servant later would also be a good idea. I know “bounded accuracy” is the catchphrase of this edition, but surely things change as you gain levels – a polar bear bruiser might be useful at level 6, but by level 15 you might be wishing you had a giant vulture scout instead.

        My main gripe is the vagueness of the rules, but here I run the risk of showing my ignorance of 5th edition. My understanding is that “its type changes from beast to construct” is, by itself a meaningless statement. There aren’t any general rules for constructs (if this is wrong my entire argument probably falls apart!) which is why they then have to specify that the servant is immune to poison, for example. (I say “by itself” because, for instance, if you want to know whether Cure Wounds affects Constructs, you have to look at the spell description.)

        Anyway, as far as I am aware there is no general rule in 5th edition to say that constructs do not eat, sleep or breathe. I seriously doubt that the servant does so, but it doesn’t actually say so anywhere.

        Also, the servant presumably retains the Intelligence and alignment of the base creature. So if you take Giant Vulture, you have a servant with an Intelligence of 8 and a NE alignment. It follows your orders, but can it act independently? I don’t know. Is it going around being Evil whenever it is unsupervised?

        And since several options (not just Giant Vulture) have Intelligence well within the normal human range, I’m not at all happy with the implication that the class feature could equally well be called “Mechanical Slave”.

        • What if, for a construct builder subclass, the construct can be improved by adding warforged modules? We’d have to first have warforged that can install such modules, and rules for said modules (and docents), but I think it would certainly work to make each one unique, especially if the base model has a few options.

          How I’d do it is, the wondrous Invention feature has 3 or so pet options. The subclass gets one of them as it’s level 3 feature, but in improved form, because it is customizable. It has X module slots, let’s say, and it can be enchanted with Docents. You choose a couple upgrades right off the bat, bringin the subclass to the power level of the other subclasses.
          Then, at each subclass feature level, you tinker the thing to have a new upgrade, which can include just gaining an extra module or Docent slot.

          There is a decent amount of work involved in making all the upgrades and stuff, but a lot of if would be covered by making the modules and docents the same things that normally only warforged can use, by installing into their bodies. The rest of the work would be no more than the work to make the otpions for the alchemist, I imagine.

  8. Gunsmith: My immediate thought was something more like a fire lance. I forgot about siege staves, but I have long mentioned to my players that wands = pistol and staff = rifle. The Thunder Cannon struck me as the sort of thing that only an artificer or someone trained could safely handle, making proficiency essential for using it. Thus keeping it out of the hands of ordinary folk/soldiers who would much rather have the inherent reliability of a normal staff over the potential power of a Thunder Cannon. Now that I’ve been reminded about siege staves, I definitely see Thunder Cannons as thick, blunt objects somewhere between a wand and a staff in length, and more resembling a piece of firewood in thickness; it’s not something you hold in your hand, but you balance it against your shoulder and cradle the underside to hold it steady.

    Construct Companion: doesn’t strike me as the final feature. It looks more like WotC are testing the upper limit of what they’d allow with that feature by making it the only option. I foresee the released artificer having, if not specific homunculi monsters, at least stricter guidelines for adapting a MM stat block.

    Finally, thanks for your input, Mr Baker. I was considering offering this for my D&D group, and you’ve provided a great way to finesse the flavour for Eberron.

    • Now that I’ve been reminded about siege staves, I definitely see Thunder Cannons as thick, blunt objects somewhere between a wand and a staff in length, and more resembling a piece of firewood in thickness; it’s not something you hold in your hand, but you balance it against your shoulder and cradle the underside to hold it steady.

      Perfect! I love the idea that it’s SIMILAR to a wand or staff, but a weird prototype… a shotgun rod.

      Side note: The original 1-page Eberron description included mention of a hidden assassin assembling his Sniper’s Rod of Seven Parts. I loved the image of a gnome opening a suitcase and pulling out sections of rod that he screws together to form a powerful staff. Same idea: If wands and staffs are the standard paradigm for channeling mystical energy, what else can you do with that principle?

      • You know, I like the idea of a sniper gnome and a sniper staff that needs assembling. Perhaps each individual piece acts as an amusing wand of dancing lights…

        I’m now describing the Thunder Cannon to my Eberron players as a “shotgun rod”, akin to Harry Dresden’s “blasting rod”.

    • “…a piece of firewood in thickness; it’s not something you hold in your hand, but you balance it against your shoulder and cradle the underside to hold it steady.”

      So in Eberron ‘RPG’ is an abbreviation of the nickname used by Brelish troops fighting Droamm, ‘Rod of Perforating Gnolls’.

      As for the construct I agree it should be an option with size variables, not a gimme. Monster CR ratings are a decent guideline for what an artificer should be able to construct for their level. For me the challenge with them is the same as for paladin’s mounts, ranger’s companions, magic-user’s familiars, or the druid’s menagerie: is the player using their creature as a way to increase the amount of story they get to affect at the expense of other players or the DM?

      • “So in Eberron ‘RPG’ is an abbreviation of the nickname used by Brelish troops fighting Droamm, ‘Rod of Perforating Gnolls’.”

        Or the ‘Really Problematic Gimmick’, if it hurts the user more than the target… 😛

  9. HI Keith! Maybe it’s a bit off topic, since I still think in 3.5. But this article suggested me a question: do you think it’s possible to re-design the Artificer as a primal class? I was thinking to a special ashbound that destroys arcane items for creating primal ones. Possibly be could use magic devices only for simulating the druid class, but could have some tool like an animal companion.

  10. Perhaps it’s just that we talk so frequently about the world and the principles therein, that my analysis, while more in depth, is pretty much right on track with yours. Even down to the side note in your reply to Matthew Wesley, Mr. Wesley your “Construct Under Construction” note is pretty solid.

    It really does come down to flavor, and a few of the new-ish mechanics that diverge slightly from 5th, but the class feels super engaging in its first 5-10 levels and a snooze after that. Some of the specialist features are less interesting than its cantrip style spells early on.

    Not to point anyone away from your boards, sir, but if they’ve read this far, they clearly know where your mojo is. As always, I will gladly remove it if you wish!
    It’s there in the “Website” portion of the sign in.

  11. I don’t think the class is “there yet”, but I was really, really happy to see that it was, down to its basics, actually an artificer instead of just another class.

    Also, I’m eager to get more than just Alchemist and Gunsmith. I love the idea of a Gunsmith character, though not for my Eberron games. I’ve actually already started dabbling with a couple other specializations, one for a “Wonder Worker” who uses elements for short-term solutions to things (since that’s how I played my first artificer a few years ago) and another for a construct-maker that dabbles in miniature servants and gizmos. (since my issues with 4e notwithstanding I’ve always liked the flavor of a few of the 4e Artificer’s “summon a lot of tiny helpers” abilities.) I’ve not gotten much further than very rough concepts, though, and I doubt my DM’ll let me test either of those ideas out on Thursday. 😛

    Also, I had mixed feelings about the artificer only being able to infuse “Artificer Spells.” While I agree that as a matter of practicality an Artificer shouldn’t be able to cast *every* spell, I still feel that a given Artificer might be able to cast *any* spell (case in point, my Wonder Worker from 3.5 mostly stuck to the Sorcerer and Wu Jen spell lists with a smattering of Cleric and druid tossed in for party support; nothing prevent me from going outside that, of course, but it felt “right” for the background at the time, even though I know most people don’t self-impose limits like that.) Theoretically, a different specialization of artificer might be able to swap out some spells to gain some others, though (just as they might get “spell storing item” again).

    All in all, I’m *really* happy with the article as a first step. I just hope it really is a first step and not something that gets cemented down as more or less done. It’s a great beginning, but maybe not a great end.

    • I think the solution to giving them limited access to all the other spell lists is with the bard’s “Magical Secrets” ability.

  12. A few thoughts:
    -I’d be inclined to make Wondrous Inventions more of a class feature than items. Like, perhaps they stop working an hour after you hand them off to someone else. (Justified in that they either need an investment of your personal magical energy or are temperamental enough to require constant adjustment.) Similarly if you drop your magical item down a bottomless pit you can make a new one for cheap using this class feature.
    -Mechanical Servant kind of nods towards some kind of clockwork thing, though I’d feel better about having it be some sort of magical construct in general. (It can be clockwork if you like I guess, but just as much it could be a clay creature or a bunch of logs glued together.)
    -I’m not sure of the importance/consequences of making the Mechanical Servant non-magical once it’s animated. Does it prevent it from being dispelled or something?
    -Maybe the Servant could be a base creature with a set of options. (I’d start it at Medium size and make things like “Steed” or “Shoves people around” or “Trips people up with chain-arms” or “Real big and does more damage” as optional extras.
    -As an alternative to a companion, perhaps an option for the artificer to grant allies passive bonuses through weapon enhancements.
    -I like the Alchemist and agree Gunsmith really needs to be reflavoured but perhaps “Improvises weird gadgets to replicate spells” could be another class path open to the artificer. Perhaps with a needlessly complicated second “Improvisations per day” table to allow for spells up to level 9.

  13. I actually have wondered why you didn’t include primitive guns in the setting, so now I know. That being said, you sent me off on a mental tangent of merging gun technology with magic. Alchemical cartridges that are one shot spells. Load them into revolvers for shooting. An effort to put wands into the hands of regular soldiers.

    • An effort to put wands into the hands of regular soldiers…

      Which is on some level what eternal wands are, since you don’t need to be able to cast the spell in question to use the wand (provided you’re an arcane caster of some sort). So a 1st level magewright CAN produce a fireball using an eternal wand.

      There’s also a general point of the “tech level” of the world. Eberron is closer to 1870 than it is to 2016. Air travel is in its infancy. We have reliable point-to-point communication, but it’s more like a telegraph than a telephone. So we were never trying to introduce something that felt like the equivalent of a magical assault rifle. Take the eternal wand and work on it for another sixty years and you might have something that anyone can use, that spits out 60 magic missiles a second… but that’s not where the world is at right now.

      Which also ties to a point I always try to draw out that rarely is explored, which is that as magic is a science, it is evolving. Eternal wands, warforged and airships WERE ALL DEVELOPED IN THE LAST THIRTY YEARS. Per the ECS timeline, the first airships were went into operation in 990 YK – LESS THAN TEN YEARS AGO. There is a general trend in fantasy to see magic as a static force; wizards are casting spells the same way they did hundreds of years ago. With Eberron, I want the sense that things are changing. That discoveries are being made. That someone could invent a new spell or create a magic item no one has ever seen before. It’s a tricky thing to do, and often requires intentional limitation. For example, in 4E I chose to restrict a large set of rituals to Dragonmarked Heirs, with the point being that if you came up with a way to perform the ritual without a dragonmark it would be revolutionary.

      Anyhow, I could ramble on for a while, and I have in other posts. But you get the idea. A spell-slug crossbow is a valid concept; perhaps a Cannith artificer is working on a prototype right now!

      • “60 magic missiles a second”. If an action is 3 seconds approximately, that’s (with a 20th level warrior) 720 magic missile a round, which is 720d4 unblock able divided as chosen. And then the DM ends up wondering why everyone is multi classing into wizard to learn shield. Even an average person can shoot 180 magic missiles a round. Yikes.

  14. Keith – Glad you had time to comment on this so quickly.

    As a player who obsesses over Artificers, I, too, consider this a notable improvement over the first WotC stab at a 5e artificer. I also still feel that the bigger problem for 5e Eberron is that clash in philosophy between “Magic is rare and difficult to obtain” in 5e, and “Magic is ubiquitous” in Eberron. It produces some odd effects. For example…
    In 3.5e, there are well defined rules for spell-casters to produce magic items. 3.5 artificers have advantages that allow them to do so at lower levels and less expensively. If 5e, magic items exist, and range from “common” to “legendary” in rarity, but there’s no mechanic for PCs to make them, so 5e artificers are given only a very circumscribed list of what they can make, and basically only for themselves, not for the other PCs or not as items for sale. Very different flavor.

    I don’t know that I’ll ever be happy with 5e machanics for Eberrron, BUT if WotC is happy enough with them to open the world up for you to publish new content, hey, I’ll settle happily!

    • If they include the mechanics as the artificer class’ schtick as a sort of revision of the current class features (4+ long rests to make Legendary item with X proficiency) or somesuch, I’d be quite happy.

  15. I’m new to Eberron so I can’t comment on how this new version compares to the original because I’ve never played with the original. However, I do have a few things to add about the subclasses and technology.

    The trend with 5e seems to be to take prestige classes from v3.5 and make them options for a specific class rather than an individual class you can join after a few levels. I’m guessing that the Alchemist is an adoption of the Alchemist Savant from “Magic of Eberron.” Since I’m still reading through the original books (and haven’t even started on 4E yet), I’m not sure if the Gunsmith is an attempt at adopting another prestige class or just an attempt to work in firearms.

    As for Eberron and technology, I was briefly considering continuing the trend of advancement. Eberron feels like Europe during the 1910s and early 1920s. The next logical course would be creating combat-capable airships (similar to how bi-planes gave way to things like Spitfires and Mustangs), tanks/armor (armored ground sleds, essentially), and quite possibly black powder firearms (there always seems to be an article or rules supplement for such things. I think the one for v3.5 was in a “Dungeon” article).

    HOWEVER, after reading your thoughts above about the Gunsmith, reading the opening of Chapter 4 in “Magic of Eberron” (specifically, “Life in a Magic-Suffused Society”), and listening to a recording of your panel at GenCon 2013, I think that firearms are very much against the themes of Eberron.

      • I’ve always felt like Eberron was more early Age of Steam than early 20th Century.

        I generally agree. The Last War and the cold war caused by the Mourning add some flavor of post WWI and WWII eras, but in terms of equivalent technology it’s more 19th century. Telegraphs (speaking stone) and trains, the beginning of air travel, but we don’t have commonplace equivalents of radio, telephones, and other common advances of the 20th century. And yes, there are services that have no equivalent – you CAN find resurrection or teleportation – but these aren’t everyday things.

          • Eberron was never intended to be a perfect parallel to any point in our history. The general ennui following the war is reminiscent of post-WWI; the Cold War and fear of the Mourning is reminiscent of post-WWII; you could certainly decide to draw on the aftermath of the American Civil War for inspiration as to what life is like for the newly-freed warforged. And the balance of power between the Dragonmarked houses and the national governments is if anything reminiscent of the present day. With that said, the ACW is strongly defined by the fact that the war had a clear winner and loser, something that is entirely untrue in Eberron. One of the main points I always make about the Last War is that nobody won; Cyre lost and everyone else was too afraid to continue, but nobody feels that their issues were resolved.

            My point is that in terms of technological services that are part of everyday life, Khorvaire is closer to late 19th century than early 20th. We don’t have cars, Tommy guns, telephones, or mass-broadcast radio. We have point to point communication via speaking stones, which mirrors the telegraph. We have point-to-point mass transit with the lightning rail, mirroring the train. Air travel is developing, but again, it’s only been around for ten years, which ties to the idea that most settlements don’t have any mooring towers or support for it.

            So there’s a lot of different historical periods to draw on for story inspiration; it’s just that in terms of daily life for the people, we’re missing a lot of common 20th century innovations.

  16. From what I gather, in 5e there are classes who front load their core identity and mechanics into the class itself like the barbarian and there are those who vary more wildly based on their subclass like the druid. The provisional 5e artificer is in the former camp.

    The subclasses, effectively, just determine the artificer’s mode of attack, but all the magical hacking and item creation are in the base class and it’s expected all player artificers are equally as good at making magic items and infusing as the next.

    For the gunsmith, and I say this with some bias as all my players desirively describe my campaign setting as “Eberron with guns and sans-culottes”, I think the logic about the thunder cannon is it works in a weird way because it was made by the artificer rather than being mass manufactured for the everyman. The gun doesn’t become inert when not wielded by the artificer, just no one else is proficient with it (it can be used but it’s inaccurate) and it’s magical abilities can only be used by someone who designed it. Due to its reloading property it’s pretty much substandard for anyone who can make two attacks with a shortbow.

    When and if this class is released I expect gunsmith to be renamed and there to be a side box about how to refluff the thunder cannon into being a wand or magic crossbow if guns are unheard of in the setting, much like how the game gives suggestions on how to use existing weapons to represent Asian ones (the club is specifically called out as a nunchaku substitute).

    I’d like to think that the alchemist and gunsmith subclasses will be released with minimal modification. I’d also love to see the pet moved into a subclass they can better take advantage of it (borrowing mechanics from the new beast Master ranger) and maybe a battle Smith with martial weapons and heavy armor who can augment his weapons and those of his allies (which is almost identical to the recently plsytested forge cleric)

    • I’m of the same mind with a lot of what you’re getting at here, Max. I can empathize with Jonathan and Chuck’s comments, too. Firearms seem to be adverse to the world Keith created… would they really be the next step in the evolution of weaponry IF we had magic powering society? One could argue we have, with science, but obviously, conjuring a fireball from fingertips is a far cry from a fuel-powered flamethrower… so take that science!

      I think Mercer did the Gunsmith the appropriate justice with attaching it to the fighter. If you want your campaign to have real gun technology, it suits the fighter very well. Think about our modern infantry, as a combat medic for many years, I can tell you a very few number of the people using the weaponry could engineer it. When you look back over our history, that was always the purpose of its design… get it into the hands of the layman so they can kill each other. You don’t risk the engineers… UNLESS there is a magical quality to it that the common fighter cannot use. That’s where the artificer’s ability to make an Infinite Wand, Boomstick, or Siege Staff, would be unique and feel appropriate to a high magic fantasy world.

      I have a feeling that construct building will get a subclass, etc.

      My biggest qualms, sort of mirroring Keith’s, come from the RP potential of some of this… I really dislike features that take away from the opportunity for RP, like the gunsmith’s ability to make his ammunition from… dirt and monster bits… essentially. Now your archer going to the store to buy fletchings has more potential than this. If this stuff is “boring” to you and your players, I can give you suggestions on how to spice it up very quickly and tie new plot points and story arcs in easily. Upkeep might be boring in video games but it provides one hell of a canvas for a DM with story-focus.

      Finally, I am very much on the fence about the way the alchemist and gunsmiths base weapons increase in damage. Sure, they are class defining traits but they are also free and seem pretty overpowered compared to the next closest “cantrip” damager, the Warlock (10d6 vs 5d10).

      Just my two cents. I think we’re all glad it’s getting support. I do know the guys at WotC love Eberron and we’ll probably see some nods to it here and there as Forgotten Realms continues to flourish. Who knows? We might even get some supplements somewhere down the road!

      • With regard to whether or not firearms would ever be invented in a world as high magic (or, as others have called it, “broad-magic”) as Eberron, probably not; though personally I do think that cheap wands of spells like “magic missile” should probably have pistol grips for ergonomics’ sake and as such they’d basically be sci-fi rayguns!

        Now, regarding the warlock’s damage vs. the artificer, consider three things:
        warlocks are very likely to have hex on their target (an extra 1d6 damage per attack), any warlock worth their salt will have taken the agonizing blast invocation (charisma damage each time an eldritch blast hits) and eldritch blast makes separate attacks, meaning on average it’s more likely to hit.

        At max level, assuming the warlock took agonizing blast and assuming both the gunsmith and warlock have maxed their relevant attack stats (dex and cha, respectively), you’re actually looking at a comparison of 11d6+5 (43.5 dmg) vs a whopping 4d10+20+4d6 (56 damage). The gunsmith’s damage is all or nothing; if it misses, he does 0 damage for the entire turn. By contrast, depending on what you’re fighting the warlock may hit or miss, but he has 4 chances to do that damage over one turn so their damage will be far less “spiky.” Out of the box, without feats, a warlock just casting eldritch blast is the most damaging long ranged character in the game, and the gunsmith’s damage doesn’t come close.

        • Well, sort of, and the real difference is you’re comparing the Game Design balance around optional features via spells & invocations to a standard class feature that requires no additional enhancements.

          Essentially, you’re saying that a standard subclass feature, with no resource drain, should be compared to the fully optimized warlock “worth its salt” and expending precious spell slots to overcome the base damage of another ranged class. If the warlock, which is specifically designed to have the highest cantrip damage output, to compensate for it’s reduced number of spell slots, must take TWO specific optional features and burn a spell slot in order to maintain it’s damage output. Your comparison isn’t “Out of the box, without feats” because you’ve added two, already. Neither of which are an automatic selection. A bladelock, out of the box, would not usually select Agonizing Blast at 20th level.

          No subclass of the warlock comes within half of the damage that a Gunsmith is capable of “Out of the Box”, and does so without the use of any actual resource or choice.

          The actual comparison for balance, for flat game balance, is:
          Low < Mid < High
          W20 – 4d10 = (4 < 24 < 40)
          vs
          A20 – 11d6 + 5 (dex) = (16< 49 < 71)

          Further, for proper game design, it should be balanced with multiclassing in mind.
          The gap widens given each class with two levels of fighter for Action Surge.
          W18/F2 – 2x (4d10) = (8 < 48 < 80)
          vs
          A18/F2 – 2x (10d6 + 5) = (30 < 90 < 130)

          The "worth his salt" warlock definitely makes an argument but with resource choices in play. In this scenario, both classes would make use of their bonus action, but one still drains a resource.
          OW18/F2 – 2x (4d10 + 4d6 + 20) = ( 56 < 120 <168)

          Let's compare it to a rogue with a longbow at cap with max sneak attack, which is still conditional, but requires no additional resource, other than a successful Cunning Action to Hide a second time.
          R20 – 1d8 + 10d6 + 5 = (17 < 50 < 73)
          R18/F2 – 2x (1d8 + 10d6 + 5) = ( 34 < 100 < 146)

          Against the single-most damaging single target, non-warlock, non-material resource-required class is only 2 damage points over the Gunsmith (and that's only because he has a longbow. A shortbow would be almost on the nose). He essentially has sneak attack without the conditions of being hidden or needing an ally nearby. Does that still seem balanced?

          This is assuming all attacks hit. Your accuracy point is less appropriate because then we start mathing chance to hit VS a staggard AC system, and if we're including additional optional features, a ranged weapon user that hasn't taken the Archery fighting style for a +2 bonus to range attacks wouldn't be fully optimized for this level of argument. The higher the AC increment the more likely the adventurer would be to hit once than all four.

          But my actual concern, from a Game Design standpoint, it is the sudden change to the mechanic governing the levels at which the cantrip-type damage scales for this class compared to all other classes. This has been clearly defined through the PHB and in additional content like EE and SCAG.

          Now that you've really clued me into the math, I am far more concerned about the damage curve. Granted it is 5:30 AM and I've been doing production all day, and need to get up super early, so my math could be off by a few points. I would not be embarrassed at all if I made some aggregious error that you can easily correct…
          AND it doesn't change the fact that I agree with your flavor feelings completely.

          • This hits on my primary concern with this build of the Artificer.

            Ruty, your issue is that the Gunsmith is dealing equivalent damage to a character specialized in ranged combat – a longbow rogue, a ranged warlock. And this seems unfair because it’s an out-of-the-box artificer. But my question is, what is a Gunsmith if not a ranged combat specialist? What other role can a Gunsmith actually have in the game? He’s great with thieves tools and can replace a rogue if that’s all your rogue did, but he lacks the rogue’s stealth and recon capabilities (unlike a classic artificer, who could at least whip up an invisibility charm with spell-storing item). He’s got some versatility with Cure Wounds, but that’s his only cure spell so he’s not taking the place of a cleric. He HAS no spells like Hex/Hunter’s Mark/ Smite, so it’s not like he HAS a spell choice that would further define him as a ranged combat specialist. The Warlock has a CHOICE to take invocations that aren’t about combat; the Gunsmith doesn’t have that choice in the first place, because he made all his relevant choices when he chose to be a Gunsmith.

            Essentially, what role does a Gunsmith play in a party beyond ranged combat? Minor healing, traps, some quarter-caster spells that are primarily defensive. If the Gunsmith ISN’T comparable to other ranged-specialized classes I think there’s a problem, because as I see it that is its primary function. Which is slightly disappointing to me because that’s not what I think of when I think “Artificer.”

            Am I missing something? Do you feel that the Gunsmith has a more versatile role?

          • This is right on and also applies to the alchemist. IMHO they made a mistake in over-specializing the base build; they applied so many class features that they had to severely limit the spell slots to compensate. Your title of “quarter caster” is apt.

          • Well, it wasn’t originally. My issue was with the horizontal cantrip-like mechanics that were created in the supplement. This new damage interval is twice as often and I don’t see why except to overcompensate for an unnecessary overspecialization. 5th Edition is supposed to be about simplification, and if you’re going to be counting up a lot of die it’s going to be for a BIG spell or at least one with a wide area. Both the Alchemist & the Gunsmith require fireball-type rolls for single target, non-spell slot, at-will actions.

            I didn’t latch on to the damage discrepancy until after max made mention, and I did the math. Thanks Max! That’s is a separate but related issue. Should a class, who’s purpose is to be bard-like in its versatility, have equivalent damage to the Rogue/Warlock classes. Those classes were always designed as “overwhelming force” type characters. Is that an artificer?

            “What is a gunsmith if not a ranged combat specialist? What other role can a Gunsmith actually have in the game?” and later “What role does a Gunsmith play in a party beyond ranged combat?”

            In this iteration, it has no other purpose, it hasn’t been allowed the choice to have one. A few meager spells making it about as worthwhile as a rogue subclass…
            The real answer is another question, “What role should the ARTIFICER play in the party?”

            For Game Design, balancing should be focused on Class~Class and Subclass~Subclass, yet we are defining this UA as Class~/~Subclass. That is the root of the issue at hand. I’m struggling to think of another SUBCLASS with enough focus in one area to claim the thrown of BEST at anything over the CLASS champion. It would be like giving a bard subclass multiple dice more healing than a cleric.

            Keith, you mentioned the rogue having the edge over the artificer in terms of sneak. Well, the only thing separating the rogue and the artificer in sneaky is…expertise? Yet, the artificer doesn’t need it. His range is superior and his damage isn’t dependent on it. On top of that, he beats out the rogue by way of magic items… “I can attune to six magic items, three of which have invisible or silence on them. *shrug* I suppose I could swap that for a level of rogue to get expertise.”

            Would you say that Subclasses are intended to add options to classes OR pigeonhole a character into one specific of role? Does that fit in with Archetypes, Conclaves, Oaths, Origins, Pacts, Paths, Ways, and Traditions?

            But it’s not just the gunsmith… did you look at the damage on the Alchemist’s Acid Flask? 10d6. So, it’s not the subclass, let’s table that discussion. It’s the vision of the class. It doesn’t feel like it’s own, specifically as one that has any mastery over magic, neither in the number of slots or the power of those slots. He works on a quarter caster spell chart, but what should he be? Full caster like a wizard? Probably not… But definitely not a quarter. Half, maybe? Alternate (ala Warlock)?

            The core of the features that function for effectiveness should be CLASS based, not subclass, especially the class defining ones. Subclasses should be OPTIONS for diversity, not the crux of the class. Barbarians? Rage. Fighters, Extra extra attacks. Sorcerers, MetaMagic. Rogues, Sneak Attack. etc.

            Keith, it really comes down to the intention for the artificer. Was the intention to be a damage class or a support class? Everything I’ve read, you’ve told me, leans me toward versatile support, not overwhelming power. There could absolutely be a boomstick/wandsmith/siege staff type subclass… but then what explains the Alchemists ability to pour (haha) out damage? I suppose the most appropriate exxample I’ve seen came by accident when examining the rogue, and comparing the artifcer’s spell progression… the entire class a reskinning of the Arcane Trickster with some cosmetic feature differences.

            It feels like someone said, “What’s an artificer do?”
            Someone replied, “Makes magic items, helper robots, you know…”
            “Oh, okay, so we’ll have him make some goggles and a servant… what else can we pack on him?”
            “Mercer’s gun fighter is the highest selling subclass on the DMG?”
            “Brilliant!”

          • Keith, it really comes down to the intention for the artificer. Was the intention to be a damage class or a support class? Everything I’ve read, you’ve told me, leans me toward versatile support, not overwhelming power.

            Agreed. So I like this version because it’s a stand-alone class as opposed to a wizard subclass – but it doesn’t serve the same role as Eberron’s original artificer.

            Keith, you mentioned the rogue having the edge over the artificer in terms of sneak. Well, the only thing separating the rogue and the artificer in sneaky is…expertise?

            Expertise is significant, but I’d argue that the thing separating them is Cunning Action, which allows the rogue to hide-attack-hide. Which is REQUIRED for the rogue to deal optimal damage – but given that hiding can provide perfect defense against many opponents, that’s a critical rogue feature that the Gunsmith doesn’t have.

            Regardless: we’re all in agreement on the main point, which is that the artificer wasn’t originally conceived as a striker class.

        • Disagree on guns. IMO a setting like Eberron would logically develop tech that does not require the user to be capable of using magic. Every nation, except possibly Aundair, would be desperate to develop such tech, and the same people who become artificers or other magic scientists would have side projects and experiments to make something that is better than a sword.
          A wizard is cool, but I’d take a gun in the hand of every soldier and a battalion of cannons over a dozen wizards any day.

          That said, magic bows, crossbows, etc can do a lot of the same benefit, but again they still require much much longer training times than a gun, and don’t replace a cannonball. Especially a magic cannonball. That releases a fireball AFTER smashing in a castle wall.

          • Disagree on guns. IMO a setting like Eberron would logically develop tech that does not require the user to be capable of using magic. Every nation, except possibly Aundair, would be desperate to develop such tech, and the same people who become artificers or other magic scientists would have side projects and experiments to make something that is better than a sword.

            Which is exactly my point. I, Keith Baker, don’t WANT guns in my Eberron. The one-page description of the world clearly stated that this wasn’t a world that blended technology and magic; it is a world that uses magic AS technology. But I agree: If SOMEONE develops a gun, it is ridiculous that people WOULDN’T see the value of it and immediately start developing it. Eberron is also founded on the idea of the tools that exist being incorporated into society: magic doesn’t live in ivory towers, it is used to light the streets, wage war and communicate. So if one artificer has a gunpowder firearm, it would be bizarre for others NOT to seize upon it, develop it and use it for all the reasons that you say.

            So essentially, I am willfully choosing to state that in my Eberron, gunpowder firearms are simply not part of the world. Perhaps the gunpowder reaction doesn’t work. Perhaps early research into it was suppressed by Big Magic, the way the oil industry pushed against the electric car. The point is, I don’t WANT a gun in the hands of every soldier and a battalion of cannons: I want siege staves and crossbows. If one gun exists, there should be two, then four, then thousands – so I choose not to have any. Thus, in MY Eberron, the gunsmith needs to be using a magical solution – because the idea that he has a single gunpowder weapon that is somehow never picked up on by anyone else and never used in any more significant way doesn’t make sense to me – any more than the idea that continual flame exists and no one would ever use it to light a street.

          • With that said, I’d be fine with a plotline in which someone DOES develop guns and this causes chaos as one nation begins to produce/employ them, etc. As I mentioned on Twitter, this is exactly the sort of thing I’d see from a Traveler-worshipping Cannith artificer. Onatar helps the smith make the perfect sword day in and day out; the Traveler teaches him how to make a gun, an invention that could completely transform the existing paradigm.

          • And at that point, you might as well be playing Starwars where a magical “Force” is not the rarity thanks to a bunch of guns that killed all the true users. You wanna be certain of what could bring about another Mourning? That’s the gateway for sure.

            Riddle me this, if you had dudes walking around that could cure cancer, blindness, and deafness and did so at the behest of their faith… would you need to search for a specific cure to any of those ailments or would Alchemist/scientists spend their time or more incredible things, like Ability Enhancing draughts that make a man as strong as a giant or small as a rat?

            I maintain that a Gunsmith should be a variant Fighter, or it’s own class entirely, that is allowable by a DM but nearly nonexistent in Eberron, Faerun, or any other full fledged fantasy setting. This is not the stance of a purist but of someone who believes PCs are “special” and creating a standardized, simplified powder, that has the capacity and availability to replace all other forms of dispute settlement nullifies the ability of that PC.

            If you do decide you want to allow a player access to this specific archetype, I urge you to consider making it so rare, and the formula so jealously guarded for that reason, that it is wildly expensive to the point that many adventures are required to cover a day’s worth of shot for one weapon.

            Again, the artificer’s ushering into this realm was of Keith’s design, and has weathered the last decade to rise to the prominence of his iconic Warforged. Personally, I would not be so eager to alter the course of it so drastically and so soon, without altering the course of the world just as drastically. Better options, say the Artificer infusion, are better options, and already outlined in multiple editions of the setting.

  17. Has anyone experimented w/ what happens to this version if the artificer if you change the mechanical servant to a small creature? What if you used the stats/rules for a wizard’s familiar or a ranger’s animal companion, and then applied the modifications listed in the UA Artificer? Since the artificer’s mechanical servant comes later than a ranger’s animal companion, you could maybe justify it by making the servant capable of casting one or two artificer spells or if it can be imbued with a magical effect derived from one of the artificer’s spells at the time of creation? I don’t have any of my books with me right now, so I can’t give any better examples, but I agree that the servant should NOT be a Large creature by default…that should be an OPTION presented in a sub-class.

  18. I think you really hit the nail on the head with what this class is missing. I *love* what they have, but it doesn’t quite feel “magical” enough for me.

    I actually really like how they reinterpreted Spell-Storing Item as a class feature, though. Not as versatile (and there really should be a few more spells on the spell list), but you can do something I’ve always wished the artificer could do: share them with your teammates. I don’t mind not being able to reproduce literally *any spell in existance,* which to be honest always felt a little *too* good. Really fun, but maybe not challenging enough.

    Construct thing is awesome, but it should really be a subclass and not be limited to Large creatures. That’s just silly. Oh, and I want a homunculus servant option!

    On a side note, I’ve always wondered: why do you always describe the Spell-Storing Item infusion as turning an object into a “wand with only one charge” instead of just “scroll”? Aren’t scrolls basically single-charge wands?

    • On a side note, I’ve always wondered: why do you always describe the Spell-Storing Item infusion as turning an object into a “wand with only one charge” instead of just “scroll”? Aren’t scrolls basically single-charge wands?

      Primarily it’s the visual. A scroll is words on a piece of paper, and you read it to activate it. A wand is a small object that you essentially point and shoot. I think of Spell Storing Item as imbuing a magical charge into an object that you then release – so cosmetically, more like a wand. You could certainly DESCRIBE an artificer whose Spell Storing Item manifests by him scribbling little mini-scrolls and reading them to release them, it’s just not the visual I generally have.

  19. I was disappointed by this version of Artificer. It’s obviously better nothing, but I hoped for something closer to original 3.5e class, with subclasses based on alchemy (perhaps more emphasis on healing, buffing and AoE damage), pet construct and renegade mastermaker- turning yourself into a construct for better tankiness and melee provess.

    Keith, I do realise you’re likely too busy to review some random homebrew, but if you had time: any thoughts on http://www.eberron5e.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Class-Artificer-Full-Class-v3.4.pdf? It is not my work, but it’s closer to what I imagine artificer being, and what I use in the game I’m running.

    • I don’t have time right now to check out what you posted (and I know I’m not Keith) but what you’ve described is the embodiment of the Arcaneer (what we used for our WotC licensed live-stream, Maze Arcana) in place of the Artificer. With this one coming out, it was suggested that ours have a slightly different name, thus an Arcane Engineer ala Arca-neer.

      Subclasses:
      Alchemist – Heals, Buffs, AoE
      Arcanite – Boomstick with a range of projectile specialties
      Architect – Turrets, Constructs, and “body armor”

      Yet ALL are options from a base class intended to exist as the artificer until the time it was appropriate to change the name (if ever). What feels right for a base class? Well, to me, it’s using infusions and modifications to those infusions, a homunculus like familiar to act as an arcane focus (not a large creature), the ability to sense and locate magic items, and a feature for infusing/recharging mundane and magic armor, items, and weapons, as well as Craft Theories that modify how the class/subclasses just enough to provide unique options and versatile utility.

      Keith and I have gone over it a couple times, fiddling with the minutia, and I am pretty happy with the result. I haven’t released it yet, as I’m rather busy with the fruits and labor of the show, and not before he gets a chance to fidget with it again but I hope to soon.

  20. I stumbled on to this page (and I’m glad I did) while looking for a way to convert DDO Runearms for 5e. I was disappointed with the gunsmith and the alchemist to a degree because I felt it didn’t feel like the magical technician I fell in love with in 3.5 and DDO (which I’m also surprised that they didn’t crib off the DDO version). I noticed that they didn’t include repeating crossbows in the starting weapons which I don’t understand why, because a Runearm/heavy ‘peater combo can be entertaining.

    Well anyways there’s my two copper pieces.

    • IIRC there are stats for a repeating crossbow in Out of the Abyss. I think it’s used by Derro there? It’s a light crossbow without the loading property.

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