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The Artificer: D&D’s Newest Character Class for the “Science-Minded”

This Intelligent Inventor of D&D 5e Will Litter Your Campaign with Magic Items!

5e Artificer

The 5e Artificer Character Class is… unfairly… the “outcast” of the D&D 5e character classes.


To date, it is the only class that was not in the original 2014 PHB (it was released 5 years later). During that time D&D 5e exploded in popularity and hundreds of thousands of people fell in love with the other 12 classes.


Translation: the artificer class missed the bandwagon. Most players have 6 subclasses they still want to try before they learn the basics of the Artificer Class.


But when it comes to you, dear reader, that does not have to be the case! If you are one of these types of four players, you should give the artificer a try.


Players That Want To Be An Inventor


D&D 5e Artificer

The other reason the artificer is often forgotten is because it doesn’t fit neatly into the “spell casting” and “martial” class distinctions.


Don’t get me wrong… the artificer is 100% a spell casting class… but too many people assume they are the “scientist” of 5e (ex: alchemist feels similar to a chemist). And in the modern mind “scientist” and “arcane” do not mix; functionally it doesn’t FEEL like a spell casting class.


But… “scientist” really isn’t the best fit. While you CAN try to give all their spells a scientific-method-approved makeover… it would be really difficult. A much better word to describe them would be INVENTOR.


An artificer invents by:


  • A) takes an object and

  • B) puts some magic into it to

  • C) create a special magic item


Basically, they are an Intelligence based class (the Wizards have an INT buddy… yay!), that invent something by combining the magical and the mechanical/material/natural to create something new.


Its definitely different from anything else in D&D, and everything else in this post expands on that idea.


Players Who Want More Than “Just Spells”


dnd Artificer

As stated above, artificers do have spells they can cast “normally”; the entire artificer spell list is available to them and they can prepare their INT modifier + level of spell each day.


But if you look at the class, you’d notice they have a lot less spell slots than the other full casters. That is because, while the artificer rely on MAGIC ITEMS more than any other class, demonstrated through their four primary class abilities:


Magical Tinkering: At level 1 you can touch an object and give it some minor magical effect (small sound, smell, light, etc).


Infuse Item: The CORE of the class, allows you to turn a normal item by giving it an “artificer infusion” (read more here). You only know a select number of infusions (like Sorcerer’s Meta Magic), they do specific magical enhancements (similar to the Warlock’s Invocations), and while you can only have so many infused items… they last until you die (ie. forever!).


Magic Item Increase: Attune to four magic items by level 10 (Adept), five by level 14 (Savant), and six by level18 (Master).


Spell Storing Item: Like “Infuse Item”... but on steroids. Place a spell in an item and use 2x your spell intelligence modifier. In other words, the artificer is a spell caster that leans HEAVILY on magic items!


Players That Want to be MacGuyver


Artificer spells

If you are reading this, there is a 60% chance MacGuyver was before your time… but maybe you saw an episode or two one rainy day in high school chemistry. (Quick refresher: it was a show guy that could use random household objects as tools to do stuff).


Well, as an artificer, you can also use tools to do stuff. You get thieves’ tools, or tinker’s tools, one type of artisan’s tools of your choice (you have 17 to choose from).


Oh… and with “The Right Tool For The Job” feature, you can magically summon ANY set of tools and be PROFICIENT in them until you summon another set of tools.


Translation: your artificer is proficient with EVERY TOOL!!! You can brew, make shoes, craft potions, build furniture… the list goes on and on!


Sure, the Bard and Rogue classes have tons of skills, but did you know that tool proficiencies gain you similar benefits as skills, and then some? Furthermore, the artificer also gets “Tools Expertise”, allowing them to DOUBLE their proficiency bonus for any check.

5e Artificer Infusions

BTW… in the same way that half of the episodes of MacGuyver ended with him disarming a ticking bomb in a hospital with a paperclip… so too can your artificer work under pressure! The 7th level “Flash of Genius” class ability allows you to add your intelligence modifier (which should be +5 by like level 9) to saving throws and ability checks.


Oh… I’m sorry… I got that wrong… its for saving throws and ability checks for ANY ALLY WITHIN 30 feet!!!


Players Who Want To Pour, Tinker, or Blast!


Artificer Tool Proficiency

Ok… so the Artificer is aaaaaaaall about tools and magic items… but so far its just “inventor”.


Not very flavorful.


However, just like the fighter class, the artificer subclasses are wildly unique and full of personality! Because it is a new class, there are only 4 subclasses to choose from:


Alchemist: Mix and match potions like a Black Plague Doctor to create elixirs of life… and death! Gain some healing spells, buff allies, and make crystal meth with a high school drop out.


Armorer: If you are imagining Iron Man, you are almost exactly right… its a suit of armor that encases your whole body. Choose from the elusive, lightning throwing “Infiltrator” or the front-line bruiser “Guardian” Also… its heavy armor. Also… you get more spells. So, like Iron Man, its pretty good.


Artillerist: You get a big, BIG gun… with legs! Have this magic canon follow you around the battlefield shooting fire, cannon balls, or … positive vibes to boost your allies!!!


Beginners guide to artificer
Artillerist Artificer Art via Wizards of the Coast

Battle Smith: You know those Swiss rescue skiers with the St. Bernard dogs? You become like that, except you’re not skiing… and you’re armored in battle… and you heal wounds instantly… and you inspire allies… and the dog is a robot… and it attacks enemies. Perfect analogy


You can dive deeper into the pros/cons of the Artificer Subclasses here at RPGBOT.net.


Lack the mind of an engineer? Check out some of our other posts on the D&D spell casting character classes:


The Ever-Pious Cleric Class


The Eldritch Warlock Class


And don’t leave without trying our fantasy candle sampler pack.

It’s our free gift to you… all you need to pay for is shipping!


What is a artificer?


 

Riley Rath

Based out of Spokane, Riley is a freelance copywriter that combines his love of reading, writing, and people into something useful! He is thankful to be applying his passion for imaginative role-playing to help DnD related businesses communicate their value in the best way possible. He's kinda like a bard giving inspiration, except without the annoying pop covers!

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