The Artificer: Ponderings and Adjustments

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The Artificer: Ponderings and Adjustments

Postby HawkDiesel » Sat Sep 02, 2017 3:48 pm

I am currently running an Eberron campaign, and it really bothers me that the last two Artificer attempts have been so lackluster. The second was definitely an improvement over the first, but I have been thinking how the Artificer might be improved and even made viable. Here are some of the potential adjustments I am considering, and some of the reasoning I have.

1) I feel the HP, Skills, and Proficiencies are appropriate.

2) For Magic Item Analysis, I would just allow the Artificer to use Detect Magic at will rather than as a ritual (though keep the Identify ability as written). I also am... ok with the Artificer Specialist archetypes.

3) The original had some sort of spellcasting right away, which included spell storing item (arguably the signature spell of the artificer). The most current version of the artificer doesn't gain any real magic until level 3. Now I understand the need to limit the spellcasting ability to balance with the Artificer's other abilities, but still this is supposed to be the bread and butter of the artificer.

First Major Proposed Change: Instead of Tool Expertise, the Artificer gains Imbue Magic Item as written below:

Imbue Item
You have learned to imbue magical enhancements into weapons, armor, and gear. You gain an enhancement pool equal to your proficiency bonus. You can use this pool to provide an enhancement bonus to weapons, armor class, saving throws, or ability checks. To do so you must choose an appropriate item and imbue it with the magic by maintaining contact with the item for one minute. Once finished, anyone that uses the item gains the chosen bonus while using it.

You cannot imbue any single item with any more than half your enhancement pool points (rounded down). Once imbued, the enhancement lasts until the casting artificer takes a long rest, at which point the magic fades.

4) The next change I would propose is getting rid of Mechanical Servant. Creating as creating and maintaining constructs should be its own archetype.

In its place I would put in Spell Storing Item. I'm not sure how to write up the ability, but I have a certain vision for how it would function based on the bullet points below:

*You choose one of the spellcasting lists. This becomes your magical specialization. So choose either Bard, Cleric, Druid, Paladin, Ranger, Sorcerer, Warlock, or Wizard. This represents your study of a specific spellcasting discipline.

*This would function similarly to Infuse Magic, but success is not guaranteed and you don't need to know the spell. If the spell is of a level you could cast and on your chosen spell list, the DM makes a Spell Caster check for you, DC equal to 10 + the spell level. If you succeed, the spell is imbued in the item and can be used normally as per the spell and infuse item. If you fail by more than 5, the spell slot is wasted. If you fail by less than 5, you think the check was a success and there is a kind of wild surge effect rather than the desired effect.

*You could attempt to store a spell that is not on your list, but doing so increases the DC by 5.

*I'm also considering an ability to use multiple spell slots to store a spell higher than you could normally cast. For example, using a 1st level spell slot and a 4th level one to store a 5th level spell, but doing so would increase the DC by an additional 3 (requiring a spell caster check of 18 to succeed). But that may be too complicated or too open to abuse. Not sure.

5) At level 10, I think I would add Improved Imbue Item.

Improved Imbue Item
At level 10, you have learned to increase the versatility of your enhancements. Each of the following options can be placed within an item in exchange for one point. You are still limited to half your enhancement pool (rounded down) in any single item.

-Weapon deals +1d6 damage of an energy type of your choice.
-Item grants resistance to an energy type of your choice.
-Melee weapon gains the Thrown and Returning property.
-Advantage on one type of skill check.
-Advantage on one type of saving throw.

Thoughts?
Last edited by HawkDiesel on Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Artificer: Ponderings and Adjustments

Postby tetrasodium » Sat Sep 02, 2017 5:52 pm

HawkDiesel wrote:I am currently running an Eberron campaign, and it really bothers me that the last two Artificer attempts have been so lackluster. The second was definitely an improvement over the first, but I have been thinking how the Artificer might be improved and even made viable. Here are some of the potential adjustments I am considering, and some of the reasoning I have.

1) I feel the HP, Skills, and Proficiencies are appropriate.

2) For Magic Item Analysis, I would just allow the Artificer to use Detect Magic at will rather than as a ritual (though keep the Identify ability as written). I also am... ok with the Artificer Specialist archetypes.

This sounds worrisome. detect magic at will seems like it would quickly lead to the old "I search for traps & secret doors'"> "great, I open the door" >"ok, I search for traps in the room">etc that passive perception solves. Id suggest maybe instead "gain advantage (+5 passive perception) to notice the presence of magical traps, safeguards, defenses, & similar."

3) The original had some sort of spellcasting right away, which included spell storing item (arguably the signature spell of the artificer). The most current version of the artificer doesn't gain any real magic until level 3. Now I understand the need to limit the spellcasting ability to balance with the Artificer's other abilities, but still this is supposed to be the bread and butter of the artificer.

I blame this on WotC trying to fix the self inflicted spellplague/sundering wound inflicted on FR's [url="http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Lantan"]lantans[/url] & shake in terror over the idea that after once again [url="https://t.co/S9DFOL3bX9"]not even bothering to consider eberron[/url] they plan to resort to ecg4's "if it exists in the D&D®world, then it has a place in Eberron". every version of it has fit lantan just fine while being an abomination towards eberron.

First Major Proposed Change: Instead of Tool Expertise, the Artificer gains Imbue Magic Item as written below:

Imbue Item
You have learned to imbue magical enhancements into weapons, armor, and gear. You gain an enhancement pool equal to your proficiency bonus. You can use this pool to provide an enhancement bonus to weapons, armor class, saving throws, or ability checks. To do so you must choose an appropriate item and imbue it with the magic by maintaining contact with the item for one minute. Once finished, anyone that uses the item gains the chosen bonus while using it.

You cannot imbue any single item with any more than half your enhancement pool points (rounded down). Once imbued, the enhancement lasts until the casting artificer takes a long rest, at which point the magic fades.

This would be insanely powerful on the scale of "pfft, a dozen giants?... not like they can hit joe"
4) The next change I would propose is getting rid of Mechanical Servant. Creating as creating and maintaining constructs should be its own archetype.

good because it's a stupid not to lantan

In its place I would put in Spell Storing Item. I'm not sure how to write up the ability, but I have a certain vision for how it would function based on the bullet points below:

*You choose one of the spellcasting lists. This becomes your magical specialization. So choose either Bard, Cleric, Druid, Paladin, Ranger, Sorcerer, Warlock, or Wizard. This represents your study of a specific spellcasting discipline.

*This would function similarly to Infuse Magic, but success is not guaranteed and you don't need to know the spell. If the spell is of a level you could cast and on your chosen spell list, the DM makes a Spell Caster check for you, DC equal to 10 + the spell level. If you succeed, the spell is imbued in the item and can be used normally as per the spell and infuse item. If you fail by more than 5, the spell slot is wasted. If you fail by less than 5, you think the check was a success and there is a kind of wild surge effect rather than the desired effect.

*You could attempt to store a spell that is not on your list, but doing so increases the DC by 5.

*I'm also considering an ability to use multiple spell slots to store a spell higher than you could normally cast. For example, using a 1st level spell slot and a 4th level one to store a 5th level spell, but doing so would increase the DC by an additional 3 (requiring a spell caster check of 18 to succeed). But that may be too complicated or too open to abuse. Not sure.

Interesting, I'd think about placing a time to do it & spellslot cost on it though.

5) At level 10, I think I would add Improved Imbue Item.

Improved Imbue Item
At level 10, you have learned to increase the versatility of your enhancements. Each of the following options can be placed within an item in exchange for one point. You are still limited to half your enhancement pool (rounded down) in any single item.

-Weapon deals +1d6 damage of an energy type of your choice.
-Item grants resistance to an energy type of your choice.
-Melee weapon gains the Thrown and Returning property.

Thoughts?

this should probably be the base, rather than +proficiency bonus to an item, choose one of them to one item & then at 10 you can have two items with any one
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Re: The Artificer: Ponderings and Adjustments

Postby HawkDiesel » Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:49 pm

tetrasodium wrote:This sounds worrisome. detect magic at will seems like it would quickly lead to the old "I search for traps & secret doors'"> "great, I open the door" >"ok, I search for traps in the room">etc that passive perception solves. Id suggest maybe instead "gain advantage (+5 passive perception) to notice the presence of magical traps, safeguards, defenses, & similar."


There is already precedent for this though. The warlock has the invocation Eldritch Sight that allows them to use Detect Magic at will, and they can have this invocation as early as 2nd level. This is not game breaking. Yes, it is powerful, but it is also exactly how an artificer is meant to function. In the original 3.5 version, an artificer could make a special skill check to determine if an item has a magic aura, which they could do at will. With 5e's design to simplify rules, this sounds exactly like Detect Magic. So not only is there precedent within 5e with a 2nd level Warlock being able to have this ability, but the only change is that an artificer can use an action to cast Detect Magic rather than take 10 minutes. Not to mention, all Detect Magic does is detect the presence of magical auras and potentially the school of magic. It does nothing for the detecting of traps or secret doors. It does not grant the Artificer any knowledge of the mechanisms of the magic in use. So your concerns seem a bit overblown.

tetrasodium wrote:I blame this on WotC trying to fix the self inflicted spellplague/sundering wound inflicted on FR's [url="http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Lantan"]lantans[/url] & shake in terror over the idea that after once again [url="https://t.co/S9DFOL3bX9"]not even bothering to consider eberron[/url] they plan to resort to ecg4's "if it exists in the D&D®world, then it has a place in Eberron". every version of it has fit lantan just fine while being an abomination towards eberron.


I honestly have no idea what you are saying here...

tetrasodium wrote:This would be insanely powerful on the scale of "pfft, a dozen giants?... not like they can hit joe"


Between this and your final comment regarding Imbue Item, I think you misunderstand the ability. You cannot add your proficiency bonus to an item. You get a pool of points equal to your proficiency bonus. So at level 2, when you get this ability, you get 2 points. You can use these points to temporarily create a magic item. You could create a +1 sword, a +1 leather armor, bracers to grant +1 to ability checks, or a cloak that grants a +1 to saving throws. Since you only have a total of 2 points, you could only conceivably create 2 of these items. And since you can't put any more than half your points in any one item, you would be limited to creating two +1 items. You could not create a +2 item until you had a +4 proficiency bonus, which you don't gain until level 9, as you cannot put any more than half your points (rounded down) into any single item.

This is exactly what the artificer does. Creates temporary magic items on the fly to help out the party. The artificer can use them, or he can give them to the party. It was what the artificer was meant to do. And even by level 20, because of the limits set, he would not be able to create more than two +3 items. How is that game breaking? Especially when we are talking about a class that is specifically meant to create to create magic items! Also, how is having two +1 items at level 2 any more powerful than a barbarian that can rage, or a fighter with their fighting style and action surge? Especially since, once again, the artificer has such limited spellcasting ability?

tetrasodium wrote:Interesting, I'd think about placing a time to do it & spellslot cost on it though.


I'm beginning to wonder if you're familiar with the artificer WotC created in the Unearthed Arcana article. I specifically state that it would work similarly to Infuse Magic, which requires the artificer to expend a spell slot.

tetrasodium wrote:this should probably be the base, rather than +proficiency bonus to an item, choose one of them to one item & then at 10 you can have two items with any one


Once again, I think you misunderstand how the Imbue Item ability was meant to work. But I also don't see a specific reason for these abilities to be separated. I think I did it for stylistic reasons. To better illustrate how Improved Imbue Item works, at level 10 you have a +4 proficiency bonus, which means you have an enhancement pool of 4. With that pool you could create four +1 items, one +2 item and two +1 items, or two +2 items. Now, with this ability, you can exchange a +1 for the abilities listed above. So instead of a +2 sword, you could have a +1 sword of fire that deals an extra 1d6 fire damage. Or you could have a Returning Axe of Thunder, an axe you can throw and returns to you, and deals 1d6 thunder. Or you could have a +1 armor of cold resistance. So the ability gives you more flexibility and versatility than adding simple pluses.
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Re: The Artificer: Ponderings and Adjustments

Postby HawkDiesel » Sun Sep 03, 2017 6:31 am

So I have taken the time to refine some of my ideas. Rather than the tool expertise, a second level artificer gets Imbue Item.

Imbue Item
When you reach 2nd level, you a pool of power that you can draw from to place temporary enchantments upon objects that you touch. This is represented by your enhancement pool. You can spend a point to place the following effects into the appropriate item. You can only put a maximum of half your enhancement points (rounded down) into any single object. In order to enchant an item, you must be in physical contact with the object for one minute. These enchantments fade after 8 hours. Any spent enhancement points return after a long rest.

Weapon Enhancement
For each enhancement point you put into weapon enhancement, the weapon gains a +1 to attack and damage.

Armor Enhancement
For each enhancement point you put into armor enhancement, the object grants a +1 to armor class.

Resilience Enhancement
For each enhancement point you put into resilience enhancement, the object grants a +1 to all saving throws.

Ability Enhancement
For each enhancement point you put into ability enhancement, the object grants a +1 to any ability and skill checks.

I have adjusted the Woundrous Invention list, as below:

2nd Level: bag of holding, cap of water breathing, driftglobe, eversmoking bottle, goggles of night, ring of swimming, sending stones

5th Level: alchemy jug, boots of striding and springing, cloak of the manta ray, gloves of swimming and climbing, helm of comprehending languages, Heward’s handy haversack, lantern of revealing, ring of feather falling, robe of useful items, rope of climbing, wand of magic detection, wand of secrets

10th Level: bag of beans, boots of elvenkind, boots of levitation, chime of opening, decanter of endless water, eyes of minute seeing, folding boat, gloves of thievery, medallion of thoughts, necklace of adaptation, periapt of health, periapt of proof against poison, periapt of wound closure, ring of jumping, ring of warmth, ring of water walking, slippers of spider climbing

15th Level: amulet of proof against detection and location, bag of tricks, boots of the winterlands, bracers of archery, brooch of shielding, broom of flying, cloak of elvenkind, dimensional shackles, eyes of charming, eyes of the eagle, gloves of missile snaring, hat of disguise, immovable rod, ring of resistance, ring of x-ray vision, winged boots

20th Level: cloak of arachnida, cloak of displacement, helm of telepathy, gem of brightness, gem of seeing, mantle of spell resistance, ring of free action, ring of mind shielding, ring of telekinesis, stone of good luck, wings of flying

With spell casting, I think that artificers should just know any spell on their spell list. It is a small list, so I don't consider this game breaking.

Infuse Magic has become Spell Storing Item, as below:

Spell Storing Item
Starting at 4th level, you gain the ability to channel spells into objects for later use. When you gain this ability, choose a spell list in addition to the artificer spell list. This represents your particular area of expertise with manipulating magical energy. When you cast an artificer spell with a casting time of 1 action, you can increase its casting time to 1 minute. If you do so and hold a nonmagical item throughout the casting, you expend an appropriate spell slot, but none of the spell’s effects occur. Instead, the spell transfers into that item for later use if the item doesn’t already contain a spell from this feature.

Any creature holding the item thereafter can use an action to activate the spell if the creature has an Intelligence score of at least 6. The spell is cast using your spellcasting ability, targeting the creature that activates the item. If the spell targets more than one creature, the creature that activates the item selects the additional targets. If the spell has an area of effect, it is centered on the item. If the spell’s range is self, it targets the creature that activates the item.

You can also attempt this with a spell that is not on the artificer spell list, but the process is trickier and success is not guaranteed. If the spell is from the spell list you chose when you gain this ability, you must make a caster check (d20 + Proficiency Bonus + Intelligence Modifier), with the DC equal to 12 + Spell Level of the desired spell. If the spell is not on your chosen spell list, the DC increases to 15 + Spell Level of the desired spell. The check is made in secret by the DM. The artificer is then told if the infusion was successful (Spellcaster check exceeds the DC by more than 3), probably successful (Spellcaster check is within 3 of the DC), or failed (Spellcaster check failed by more than 3).

If the artificer is told that the infusion attempt failed, there is an immediate Wild Surge effect and the spell slot is lost. If the artificer is told that the infusion was probably successful, it is assumed that the infusion worked. If the spellcaster check was missed the DC by 3 or less, activating the spell triggers a Wild Magic Surge instead of the desired spell.

When you infuse a spell in this way, it must be used within 8 hours. After that time, its magic fades and is wasted.

You can have a limited number of infused spells at the same time. The number equals your Intelligence modifier.

At 10th level, you gain Greater Imbue Item, as below:

Greater Imbue Item
When you reach 10th level, you gain additional effects that you can enchant into the appropriate objects. Each of the following effects cost 1 enhancement point. You still are limited to using no more than half your total enhancement points (rounded down) in any single object.

Energy Weapon
For each enhancement point you put into energy weapon, the weapon deals extra 1d6 extra damage of an energy type of your choosing. You must specify the energy type when the enhancement is first given.

Energy Resistance
For each enhancement point you put into energy resistance, the object grants resistance to a single chosen energy type. You must specify the energy type when the enhancement is first given.

Returning Weapon
An enhancement point you put into returning weapon allows a melee weapon to be thrown with a range of 30 ft. and immediately return to the thrower.

Longshot Weapon
An enhancement point you put into longshot weapon allows a ranged weapon to double its range.

Skilled Enhancement
An enhancement point you put into skilled enhancement into an object grants advantage whenever a specific skill is used. The skill must be specified at the time of the enhancement.

Greater Resilience Enhancement
An enhancement point you put into greater resilience enhancement into an object grants advantage whenever a specific saving throw is used. The kind of saving throw must be specified at the time of the enhancement.

Speed Enhancement
For each enhancement point you put into speed enhancement, the object grants +10 ft to movement for any mode of movement possessed by the wearer.

I also did some minor adjustments to the Alchemist and Gunsmith (which I have reflavored as the Wand Expert, as I think guns don't really belong in Eberron). But those are largely minor changes. I have also created a new archetype called the Clockwork Engineer. You may notice that the levels for the new archetype abilities are slightly off. I have made adjustments to the general artificer as to when they gain their various abilities. Anyways, here is what I have for the new archetype.

Clockwork Engineer
You have melded science and magic to create thinking constructs that are absolutely loyal to you, follow your every command, and will defend you until they no longer function.

Clockwork Familiar
At 1st level, you gain the ability to cast Find Familiar as a ritual. This functions as the spell, providing you with a familiar. The familiar you choose functions exactly as per the spell with the following exceptions:

• It is a construct instead of a beast.
• It can’t be charmed.
• It is immune to poison damage and the
poisoned condition.
• It gains darkvision with a range of 60 feet if it doesn’t have it already.
• It understands the languages you can speak when you create it, but it can’t speak.
• You cannot dismiss your clockwork familiar into a pocket dimension. Instead as an action you can command it to transform into an innocuous object that you carry, such as a watch, belt, or other object. While in this form it cannot be targeted by any attacks and does not risk taking damage. You can use another action to return to its normal form within 5 ft. of you.

Clockwork Guardian
At 1st level you have constructed a Clockwork Guardian to aid you on your adventures. The form of the Clockwork Guardian is up to you, so long as the form is appropriate for the statistics below. The Clockwork Guardian obeys your commands as best it can. It rolls for initiative like any other creature, but you determine its actions, decisions, attitudes, and so on. If you are incapacitated or absent, your Clockwork Guardian acts on its own to protect you as best it can. Your companion begins with the following statistics:

Clockwork Guardian
Medium or Large Construct
Speed 30 ft.
Hit Points 6 (1d8 + 1)

Ability Scores

STR 12 (+1)
DEX 12 (+1)
CON 12 (+1)
INT 6 (-2)
WIS 12 (+1)
CHA 3 (-4)

Senses Darkvision 60'
Languages Cannot speak, but understands any languages of its master

In addition, your Clockwork Guardian is proficient in all savings throws, and resistant to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from non-magical weapons. It is also immune to being charmed, poisoned, and poison damage. Your clockwork guardian has a natural melee attack that deals 1d8 damage. You can choose at the time of its creation if it deals bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage, and you can choose if this attack is modified by its strength or dexterity bonus. Your Clockwork Guardian may also use any items or gear you provide it. The Clockwork Guardian is considered proficient with any weapons or armor you provide it.

If your Clockwork Guardian is within 5 ft of you, it can use its reaction to force one attack that would hit you reroll and use the lower result.

Your Clockwork Guardian has abilities and game statistics determined in part by your level. Your Clockwork Guardian uses your proficiency bonus rather than its own. In addition to the areas where it normally uses its proficiency bonus, your Clockwork Guardian also adds this proficiency bonus to its AC (if it is wearing no armor/barding. Otherwise, use whichever AC is higher) and to its damage rolls.

For each artificer level you gain your Clockwork Guardian gains an additional hit die and increases its hit points accordingly. Whenever you gain the Ability Score Improvement from the artificer class, your Clockwork Guardian’s abilities also improve. Your Clockwork Guardian can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or it can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, your Clockwork Guardian can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

If the Clockwork Guardian is destroyed, it can be returned to life via normal means, such as with the revivify spell. In addition, over the course of a long rest, you can repair a slain servant if you have access to its body. It returns to life with 1 hit point at the end of the rest. If the servant is beyond recovery, you can build a new one with 8 hours of work and 100 gp of raw materials.

Battlefield Repair
Your you have a well of energy that can repair constructs with a touch. You have a pool of healing power that replenishes when you take a long rest. With that pool, you can restore a total number of hit points equal to your artificer level x 10.

As an action, you can touch a construct and draw power from the pool to restore a number of hit points to that construct, up to the maximum amount remaining in your pool. This ability only affects constructs.

Clockwork Upgrade I
By 5th level you have learned more about how your Clockwork Guardian functions and ways to improve it based on your needs. You can choose from the below options to improve your Clockwork Companion.

Clockwork Fortitude
Your Clockwork Guardian 's maximum hit points increases +2 for each hit dice it possess. Anytime it gains new hit dice, it adds an additional +2 to its maximum hit points.

Fleet
Your Clockwork Guardian can use Dash as a bonus action.

Furtive Filcher
Your Clockwork Guardian becomes proficient with Dexterity (Stealth) and Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) checks and adds double proficiency bonus on these checks.

Ranged Attack
Your Clockwork Guardian is able to use its natural attack as a ranged attacked. This attack has a normal range of 30 ft and a maximum range of 60 ft.

Clockwork Upgrade II
By 9th level you adjusted and improved your Clockwork Guardian even further. You can choose any options from Clockwork Upgrade I, or additional options from the list below.

Counter Attack
Whenever an enemy within range of your Clockwork Guardian strikes you, your Clockwork Guardian can use its reaction to make an immediate attack against that enemy.

Extra Attack
Your Clockwork Guardian can make two attacks when it takes the attack action.

Improved Armor
Your Clockwork Guardian gains heavier armor plating, giving it a +2 to Armor Class.

Clockwork Upgrade III
By 13th level you adjusted and improved your Clockwork Guardian even further. You can choose any options from Clockwork Upgrade I or II, or additional options from the list below.

Fly
Your Clockwork Guardian gains a fly speed equal to its walking speed. The Clockwork Guardian can carry you when flying as long as you are wearing armor no heavier than medium.

Heavy Hitter
Your Clockwork Guardian adds double proficiency bonus to its damage.

Quick Reflexes
Your Clockwork Guardian can react to danger. As a reaction whenever it takes damage, it can reduce the damage by half.

Whirlwind Attack
Your Clockwork Guardian can use its action to make melee attacks against any number of creatures within 5 feet of it, with a separate attack roll for each target.

Clockwork Upgrade IV
By 17th level you adjusted and improved your Clockwork Guardian even further. You can choose any options from Clockwork Upgrade I, II, or III.

Thoughts?
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Re: The Artificer: Ponderings and Adjustments

Postby AvonRekaes » Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:54 pm

These are very innovative ideas. I previously attempted a more or less straight conversion of the 3.5 artificer on my website. It's also modeled closely on the 5e cleric, as per Keith's Charid20 game in which he played a fifth level artificer and hacked the cleric class for its abilities.

Lately though, I've been ruminating on switching out its typical spellcasting progression for one mimicking the Warlock, with limited spell slots that return every short rest. I haven't decided if it's necessary yet, as the artificer playing in the game I'm running seems satisfied with it as it is.
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Re: The Artificer: Ponderings and Adjustments

Postby tetrasodium » Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:49 pm

I like the second version much more with it's improved clarity. Yes a warlock can choose to be able to spend 10 minutes casting detect magic without a spell slot instead of one of the many very powerful options in order to choose an invocation that doesn't fit the rest of the class very well. It's a more potentially troublesome thing on an artificer because the rest of the class conforms so well to it. Having advantage when attempting to discern magic fits better with the magical hacker fluff and is more interesting than "the following things light up" to boot.

AvonRekaes wrote:These are very innovative ideas. I previously attempted a more or less straight conversion of the 3.5 artificer on my website. It's also modeled closely on the 5e cleric, as per Keith's Charid20 game in which he played a fifth level artificer and hacked the cleric class for its abilities.

Lately though, I've been ruminating on switching out its typical spellcasting progression for one mimicking the Warlock, with limited spell slots that return every short rest. I haven't decided if it's necessary yet, as the artificer playing in the game I'm running seems satisfied with it as it is.

I also really like the idea of artificer being warlock-like when it comes to spell slots. The more limited but more quickly recoverable resource would do a really nice job of letting them pull athe right awesome little trick out of their metaphorical toolbox based on the situation without overshadowing classes with that actual trick or having too much power in their toolbox that it makes other classes irrelevant
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Re: The Artificer: Ponderings and Adjustments

Postby HawkDiesel » Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:57 am

tetrasodium wrote:Yes a warlock can choose to be able to spend 10 minutes casting detect magic without a spell slot instead of one of the many very powerful options in order to choose an invocation that doesn't fit the rest of the class very well.


Sorry, but that's not how the invocation works. The warlock can cast Detect Magic at will as an action, not a 10 minute casting time. And it actually fits very well with the warlock class if you consider a warlock scout-type with Pact of the Chain. But honestly, in the WotC version, an artificer can already cast Detect Magic as a ritual. Literally, the only difference is whether an artificer could cast it on a time crunch or in battle. And being able to see and interact with magical energies absolutely fits the intention of the Artificer, as they study the fundamental properties of magic and enhancements. They approach magic as a science in a way even wizards do not, and so being unable to perceive the energies they need to work with would, to me, not make sense. As I mentioned before, Detect Magic at will in no way breaks the game or prevents the DM from surprising the players.

tetrasodium wrote:It's a more potentially troublesome thing on an artificer because the rest of the class conforms so well to it.


So because a class decides to specialize in something, it needs to be nerfed? I'm sorry, but that doesn't make sense to me. This is akin to saying someone that decides to specialize as an archer or sniper can only use a short bow because otherwise they become too good. It's their shtick, and they suffer from the lowest spellcasting progression of any class to get it. Let them have their moment to shine.

tetrasodium wrote:Having advantage when attempting to discern magic fits better with the magical hacker fluff and is more interesting than "the following things light up" to boot.


I don't see how. As is, the Artificer is already something very different from any other class. If we go by the rule of parsimony, we can either make whole new rules to cover the artificer's ability to detect and see magic, or we can use existing rules and spells and make the class less complex. Personally, I favor the option that is more parsimonious and less complex.

As to Artificers using the warlock spell system, I don't think it would work. In order to have any ability to function and feel like an artificer, at least from my perspective, an artificer needs access to more spell slots than what the warlock gets. As one-third casters, they max out at 4th level spell slots, making them lower in capability than even paladins and rangers, and getting the second fewest spell slots (only warlocks get fewer spell slots). They will never have power behind their spells. Which is why they get a great deal more utility with their spells. They will never outshine anyone, but they are the ultimate support player and with preparation can have exactly the tool they need. This is the very definition of artificer as it was originally presented in Eberron.

Also, as someone having played in a longterm campaign as a warlock, they are incredibly frustrating if you are relying on their spells. While they do recharge on a short rest, this only makes a difference if your group (and DM allows) frequent rest between encounters. If you don't get that chance, it hurts. Spellcasting is really secondary for warlocks. They tend to rely more on their other class abilities and cantrips, which is why they get things like agonizing blast. While an artificer is also not really relying on their spells, they need more slots. It won't work if they only get one or two spell slots per rest for most of their adventuring careers. Warlocks automatically raise their spell slots to their highest spell level, but an artificer doesn't need that. An Artificer is happy using spell slots of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd level because they are not trying to get maximum power out of their spells. They are not casting fireball or burning hands. They are casting casting spells to maximize utility. They are casting spells before going into battle/facing a challenge after having prepared ahead of time and knowing exactly what they are about to face. They have the right tool for the job. Not the best, not the biggest, not the most powerful. Just the right one.
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Re: The Artificer: Ponderings and Adjustments

Postby AvonRekaes » Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:30 pm

To clarify, Hawk, I meant to give Artificers a complete mirror of the spell progression of Warlocks, with 1st through 9th level spells known.

One of the reasons I intend to stick to my version of the Artifcer over the UA one is the terrible spell progression of the UA Artificer. I personally think it's a travesty that the Artificer has less spells than the Ranger or Paladin.

In my campaign, if someone really wanted to play the UA Artificer, I'd probably give it another name and specify that these guys aren't the true masters of artificer arts, and are instead like a paladin is to a cleric. Maybe something like "Arcanic". An arcane mechanic. Same power source, different focus.
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Re: The Artificer: Ponderings and Adjustments

Postby tetrasodium » Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:42 pm

HawkDiesel wrote:
tetrasodium wrote:Yes a warlock can choose to be able to spend 10 minutes casting detect magic without a spell slot instead of one of the many very powerful options in order to choose an invocation that doesn't fit the rest of the class very well.


Sorry, but that's not how the invocation works. The warlock can cast Detect Magic at will as an action, not a 10 minute casting time. And it actually fits very well with the warlock class if you consider a warlock scout-type with Pact of the Chain. But honestly, in the WotC version, an artificer can already cast Detect Magic as a ritual. Literally, the only difference is whether an artificer could cast it on a time crunch or in battle. And being able to see and interact with magical energies absolutely fits the intention of the Artificer, as they study the fundamental properties of magic and enhancements. They approach magic as a science in a way even wizards do not, and so being unable to perceive the energies they need to work with would, to me, not make sense. As I mentioned before, Detect Magic at will in no way breaks the game or prevents the DM from surprising the players.

tetrasodium wrote:It's a more potentially troublesome thing on an artificer because the rest of the class conforms so well to it.


So because a class decides to specialize in something, it needs to be nerfed? I'm sorry, but that doesn't make sense to me. This is akin to saying someone that decides to specialize as an archer or sniper can only use a short bow because otherwise they become too good. It's their shtick, and they suffer from the lowest spellcasting progression of any class to get it. Let them have their moment to shine.

tetrasodium wrote:Having advantage when attempting to discern magic fits better with the magical hacker fluff and is more interesting than "the following things light up" to boot.


I don't see how. As is, the Artificer is already something very different from any other class. If we go by the rule of parsimony, we can either make whole new rules to cover the artificer's ability to detect and see magic, or we can use existing rules and spells and make the class less complex. Personally, I favor the option that is more parsimonious and less complex.

As to Artificers using the warlock spell system, I don't think it would work. In order to have any ability to function and feel like an artificer, at least from my perspective, an artificer needs access to more spell slots than what the warlock gets. As one-third casters, they max out at 4th level spell slots, making them lower in capability than even paladins and rangers, and getting the second fewest spell slots (only warlocks get fewer spell slots). They will never have power behind their spells. Which is why they get a great deal more utility with their spells. They will never outshine anyone, but they are the ultimate support player and with preparation can have exactly the tool they need. This is the very definition of artificer as it was originally presented in Eberron.

Also, as someone having played in a longterm campaign as a warlock, they are incredibly frustrating if you are relying on their spells. While they do recharge on a short rest, this only makes a difference if your group (and DM allows) frequent rest between encounters. If you don't get that chance, it hurts. Spellcasting is really secondary for warlocks. They tend to rely more on their other class abilities and cantrips, which is why they get things like agonizing blast. While an artificer is also not really relying on their spells, they need more slots. It won't work if they only get one or two spell slots per rest for most of their adventuring careers. Warlocks automatically raise their spell slots to their highest spell level, but an artificer doesn't need that. An Artificer is happy using spell slots of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd level because they are not trying to get maximum power out of their spells. They are not casting fireball or burning hands. They are casting casting spells to maximize utility. They are casting spells before going into battle/facing a challenge after having prepared ahead of time and knowing exactly what they are about to face. They have the right tool for the job. Not the best, not the biggest, not the most powerful. Just the right one.



I think the difference might be some gm's allow players to sense/feel/notice magic with perception and such while others only with detect magic. "I cast detect magic">"you see magic ahead" is bland & boring while "Alice up ahead you can feel the thrum of magic anchored to various points around the hallway in a complex defensive web" is an interesting active thing. as to the concerns of detect magic, there is absolutely precedent for them... compare the find traps spell to detect magic. Detect magic gives anything magic that is not invisible a visible aura. Meanwhile find traps spends more pagespace explaining what it won't do than what it does. Specifically, find traps will "sense the presence of any trap within range that is within line of sight. A trap, for the purpose of this spell, includes anything that would inflict a sudden or unexpected effect you consider harmful or undesirable, which w as specifically intended as such by its creator. Thus, the spell would sense an area affected by the alarm spell, a glyph o f warding, or a m echanical pit trap, but it w ould not reveal a natural weakness in the floor, an unstable ceiling, or a hidden sinkhole.
This spell merely reveals that a trap is present. You don’t learn the location of each trap, but you do learn the general nature o f the danger posed by a trap you sense."


One has exceptions and things that would make it less than optimal, the other has no chance of not working

as I said earlier, I think the current artificer is trying to fit lantan or perhaps planeshift amonkhet above all. The spell progression is almost certainly part of that. A single class warlock relying on only warlock spells can be very limited yes, but toss in some sorcerer or even paladin & things change completely. multiclassing casters in 5e shifts a little bit of power progression into a truckload of flexibility, if your warlock is feeling especially constrained I recommend it. First level spell slots are great for first level spells, but when the spell you need is higher level it does you no good. I stand by short rest recovery of warlock type spell slot progression being something that would go great for artificers

edit:
AvonRekaes wrote:To clarify, Hawk, I meant to give Artificers a complete mirror of the spell progression of Warlocks, with 1st through 9th level spells known.

One of the reasons I intend to stick to my version of the Artifcer over the UA one is the terrible spell progression of the UA Artificer. I personally think it's a travesty that the Artificer has less spells than the Ranger or Paladin.

In my campaign, if someone really wanted to play the UA Artificer, I'd probably give it another name and specify that these guys aren't the true masters of artificer arts, and are instead like a paladin is to a cleric. Maybe something like "Arcanic". An arcane mechanic. Same power source, different focus.

me too
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Re: The Artificer: Ponderings and Adjustments

Postby HawkDiesel » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:10 pm

@tetrasodium

I disagree.

tetrasodium wrote: think the difference might be some gm's allow players to sense/feel/notice magic with perception and such while others only with detect magic. "I cast detect magic">"you see magic ahead" is bland & boring while "Alice up ahead you can feel the thrum of magic anchored to various points around the hallway in a complex defensive web" is an interesting active thing.


Here you are confusing flavor and description with mechanics. There is nothing that says you can't describe the Detect Magic spell as you described your proposed perception check. I would argue that both can be active and both can be passive. What matters is what you are using it for, and how the GM describes it. And you make the parallel between Detect Traps and Detect Magic and make the argument that Detect Traps focuses more on what it won't do whereas Detect Magic... doesn't I guess? Except that in the Detect Magic spell it specifically describes ways in that Detect Magic does not work, such as the kinds of barriers that will block your sight. And while you can sense that magic exists and if it has any relation to a particular school of magic, it gives you no knowledge of the properties of the magic, how it is activated/triggered, what it can do, or the intention for the magic's existence. Heck, you could argue that if there is enough magic in the room, you may have trouble distinguishing for the various sources and origins of magical energy.

Also, Detect Traps inherently must be written differently than Detect Magic, because a trap is somewhat difficult to define as a trap is inherently a man-made creation with intent. It is ambiguous, because what one person sees as a trap another may see as an accident or natural occurrence (such as the unstable structures mentioned within the spell). Magic is a much more concrete entity. Something either is or isn't magic. In addition, if artificers are introduced into a world, crates lined with lead and the use of Nystal's Magic Aura become much more common and necessary, which I find interesting as Eberron is so based on the idea of wide-magic.

AvonRekaes wrote:To clarify, Hawk, I meant to give Artificers a complete mirror of the spell progression of Warlocks, with 1st through 9th level spells known.

One of the reasons I intend to stick to my version of the Artifcer over the UA one is the terrible spell progression of the UA Artificer. I personally think it's a travesty that the Artificer has less spells than the Ranger or Paladin.


I'm not sure what you mean by a mirror of Warlock progression, or how you might do that with 1st through 9th level spells. But I have no problem with Artificers only being able to cast up to 4th level spells, for the following reasons:

1) Artificers were never intended to cast high level spells. If you look at the original created by Keith Baker, it was never about the power of the spell, but rather being able to cast a huge range of spells from multiple spell lists. Being able to cast low level spells from wizards, druids, clerics. The artificer is able to replicate spell effects by manipulating raw magical energies regardless of their source. They aren't actually casting a spell, but manipulating spell energy in such a way to roughly replicate the effect. Doing so is feasible on a small scale, but to use the amount of energy required to power spells of 5th level and higher is too dangerous. In those situations, you need the specific equations and training of high level wizards and clerics. They cast spells, artificers replicate spells. From my perspective, this is a difference.

2) Let's look at the setting that spawned the Artificer. Eberron is purposely about wide-magic. Not high-magic. The average adventurer will never get close to the level of power to cast the high tier spells. The setting is built on society being infused with low-level magic to such a degree that it almost replaces technology and everyone knows at least a cantrip or ritual that they use in everyday life.

3) The main feature of the artificer was not spellcasting, but rather magic item creation. They can enchant and manipulate energies to create tools that they need. These tools don't need 7th, 8th, or 9th level spells to be useful. The artificer is not the guy you send on the front lines to cast a meteor swarm or shapechange. That's the wizard's job. The artificer is the guy you see when you know you are about to fight a vampire, and want to make sure you have the gear that will hurt the vampire and protect you from its powers. They aren't flashy, they aren't the quarterback or the runningback getting the glory for the score. They are the linemen that open the way for those other guys to succeed.
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Re: The Artificer: Ponderings and Adjustments

Postby AvonRekaes » Wed Sep 06, 2017 4:04 pm

By mirror spell progression I mean take the same amount of spell slots and spell levels the Warlock has at each level and give them to the Artificer, with an Artificer-specific list of spells. I mean I don't just intend to keep the Artificer with the same number of spell levels and only give it two spell slots between short rests.

As for the "main focus" of the Artificer not being spells, I would agree with you to a point. However, spells (in the form of infusions) were a major part of the class. With a max of level 6 spells, they were akin to the Bard in 3.5. A versatile spellcaster with other class features that drew some focus away from their spells.

Come 5e, and look at the Bard now. Full 1-9 spell progression. So if the Artificer was at least as magical as a Bard in 3.5, it should be at least as magical as one in 5e. Especially with the focus on magic items being much less in 5e that prior editions, the class's extra focus will need to go somewhere, and I contend that, as the preeminent experts on magical energy, it should go into their ability to shape magic, ie spells. Is the artificer casting Meteor Swarm or Shape Change? No, that's not on his spelllist. Simple. Just like the Bard has its own spell list which highlights their strengths, the Artificer isn't going to simply use the Wizard list and call it a day, he's going to have his own list of spells tailor made to bring out the flavor of the class.

Artificers didn't tinker with clockwork. They didn't make guns. They didn't even mix alchemy. They shaped and manipulated magic. That's why limiting their magic to LESS than what a paladin or ranger has is a travesty.
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Re: The Artificer: Ponderings and Adjustments

Postby HawkDiesel » Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:00 pm

I think we are on the same line, but just slightly differ on the spectrum. I agree that Artificers use magic and use it differently than other spell casters. But I see them less as casters, and more as artisans and crafters. And that is difficult to translate in 5e, which has no crafting rules and places less emphasis on magic gear. But I would say that WotC did well to create the archetypes they did. While guns really have no place in Eberron (at least not how I play it and see it), wands certainly do, and I rather like the alchemy and clockwork angles. They supported the warforged, they designed and built the siege engines and armed the troops. They weren't casting spells, and the spells they used to Infuse into items served not as bombs, but to make the user more adaptive to the challenges they might encounter.

And at least in so much as I've designed them with my updated version of Spell Storing Item, Imbue Item, and the 3 archetypes, it provides a pretty solid ground and identity for an artificer. From my perspective in the design of my homebrew artificer, to give them full spell casting progression would make them unbalanced and

1) dilute their identity within their niche and

2) make them more likely to step on the toes of other classes and outshine those classes.

So I guess the difference between us is how we see the role of the artificer. You seem to see another spellcaster, whereas I see more of a builder and support player. For me, magic is not the goal of the artificer. They are not striving to do what the wizard or cleric do. Magic is a tool, no different than a hammer. And like a hammer, the goal is not power, but versatility. You can use a hammer for a lot more than a bulldozer or a wrecking ball. When you need a bulldozer or a wrecking ball, you call the wizard or cleric. But when you need a couple of hammers or screwdrivers, you want the artificer.
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Re: The Artificer: Ponderings and Adjustments

Postby AvonRekaes » Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:26 pm

We are going in the same direction, just walking different paths :)

I understand exactly what you mean by the wrecking ball vs. hammer. I just seem to disagree with you that 1st-through-9th level spellcasting HAS to equal wrecking ball. Depending on what spells are on the spell list in question, 1st-through-9th level spellcasting can be that hammer you're looking for.

For example, here's the entire list of 9th level spells I gave the artificer in my conversion:

9TH LEVEL SPELLS
Gate
Imprisonment
Mass Fix (as mass heal, but affects only constructs)
Time Stop

I see a lot of hammers, and not a lot of wrecking balls. Pretty epic hammers, to be sure, but there are no Meteor Swarms or Wishes.
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Re: The Artificer: Ponderings and Adjustments

Postby HawkDiesel » Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:05 am

I guess philosophically I don’t see the Artificer as a true spellcaster, and from a design perspective combining the abilities I implemented with full spellcasting would not make it a balanced class.
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Re: The Artificer: Ponderings and Adjustments

Postby AvonRekaes » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:01 pm

Oh, true enough. I wasn't suggesting adding 1st-through-9th level spells to the UA artificer. It is balanced around the spells it has and adding any more spell levels without taking something away would indeed be unbalancing. I'm content with letting my spellcasting Artificer and the UA Artificer be separate classes.

By saying that a limited-spellcasting Artificer was a travesty, I meant that to me, the UA artificer doesn't do a good enough job of preserving the core of the 3.5 artificer class, which I see as inherently about manipulating magical forces in permanent and semi-permanent ways, where the UA Artificer is more about tinkering. So if I were to allow both versions of the class at my table (which I do), I would allow the spellcasting-heavy one to keep the name "Artificer", and make the tinker-y one be known as something else (Arcanik, or something).
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