Howdy friends, we’re back this week with another look at the Artificer. Today we’ve got two of the creatores, Keith Baker and Jeremy Crawfords providing you with some unique insights into what makes this brand new class stand out. Come take a look!
The Artificer is an interesting new class–as we talked about last week, I’m rather fond of the niche it seems to be carving out. It’s a bit like a Warlock mashed into a Paladin, and decided to focus on support. You don’t cast like a full caster, but you also have all kinds of unique abilities to give you a leg up, including several that let you be a boon to your friends. All of that, though, pales in comparison to what the Artificer is meant to evoke in a world. How do you play an Artificer?
Exactly like this.
One of the big things I’d been grappling with is how you use your tools to actually cast spells. Keith Baker, the designer of Eberron and originator of the Artificer, has some insights on that. The chief among them being that the artificer is a chance to step up your game, and really take ownership of what your character does, and a lot of that comes down to flavor. Have a look.
The critical point here is about flavor. From a STORY perspective, an artificer isn’t “casting a spell” like a wizard or cleric does—they are using tools to produce magical effects. As the Magic of Artifice sidebar calls out, while this follows the tried and true rules of spellcasting, from a story perspective it’s quite different. An artificer has to use a tool to perform magic, and the question is what that looks like. MECHANICALLY, an artificer gains no benefits and suffers no penalties from the fact that they are performing magic in a different way. But as long as you don’t demand something that should change the rules, this is an opportunity for you to add flavor to your particular artificer.
It’s a simple thing, but there’s a lot of variety possible. Here’s a look at how some of the different tools can help you cast spells:
Thieves’ Tools. All artificers are proficient with both thieves’ tools and tinker’s tools, and the point is that you largely use them in the same way. Thieves’ tools are picks and other fine manipulators. It’s not that you cast a fire bolt by pointing a lockpick at someone; it’s that you can use the lockpick to clear out that problematic valve on your dragon-pistol. Of course, if you WANT to come up with some lock-based form of artifice you can.
Alchemist’s Supplies. Alchemy blends chemical reaction with magic. This is the underlying principle behind most potions; the challenge of creating a potions is to suspend the mystical reaction so it can be consumed at a later date. It’s much easier to trigger an instant effect, and that’s what you’re doing when you use alchemist’s supplies to cast your spells. Your firebolt could be a thrown flask or some sort of dragon-gun like the tinker; in your case, it’s activating and spitting your flaming concoction. Poison spray is easily justified as flinging foul substances. Cure wounds, false life, water breathing could all be potions you mix and serve on the spot: disguise self or alter self could be mystically charged cosmetics.
Cartographer’s Supplies. This is a twist on the sigilist. On the one hand, you could just use your tools in the same way, drawing sigils. But if you want to be more exotic about it, you could specialize in calculating ley lines and the relationships between the planes. Essentially, the world is filled with mico-manifest zones waiting to be triggered; you’re using your tools to calculate the proper alignments to channel the energies you need.
And those are just three examples. You should check out the whole article for more examples of how you can flavor and texture the artificer to be your artificer. There’s a lot of inspiration there for characters of any class, really.
Moving on though, this week also saw Jeremy Crawford, lead rules designer for D&D 5th Edition sit down to talk with the internet about the Artificer on the live stream portion of this month’s Dragon+
Here we find that this is only a portion of the Artificer–there’s more to come in a later Unearthed Arcana down the line. Which has our curiosity piqued. A few other highlights include:
- The artificer specifically has a home outside of Eberron as well
- The Survey is extra important this go around
- When in doubt against an artificer, counterspell always works
Well that’s it for now folks. Here’s hoping you’re taking the Artificer out for a spin–be sure and stay tuned for the survey later.
And as always, Happy Adventuring!