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D&D: The Artificer Revisited With Two New Subclasses

4 Minute Read
May 15 2019
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The latest Unearthed Arcana unveils two new subclasses for the Artificer, a spellcasting tinkerer who makes use of magical servants. See what’s new inside.

The Artificer is a magical tinkerer who uses spellcasting and abilities similar to Warlock Invocations to create a variety of magical effects both major and minor. It’s also potentially a new class, the first major addition to the base assortment of D&D classes since 5th Edition’s release. With recent forays into Eberron and “an as-yet-unannounced new setting” the time seems ripe for a big new expansion like this. Here’s an overview:

via Wizards of the Coast

  • New subclasses—the Archivist and the Battle Smith
  • A revised spell list, including spells from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything
  • New infusions—Enhanced Wand, Repeating Shot, and Repulsion Shield
  • A revision to multiclassing—round up when determining spell slots

We’re considering various changes to the class, but we’d love to hear from you before we start the remodeling. With that in mind, we invite you to give this new version of the artificer a read and to try it out in play. Soon a survey will appear on the D&D website. Please let us know in that survey what you think of the artificer.

That’s two new subclasses, more spells, and some new infusions. Here’s our original overview of the Artificer, but now let’s take a look at what’s new for the Artificer.

To  begin with there are two new subclasses, the Archivist and the Battle Smith, and both of these are impressive. They still retain the pet/companion mechanic of the Artillerist and Alchemist, but they introduce a new flavor and markedly different playstyles that feel like welcome additions to the class.

The Archivist is a skill/information based class that excels at organizing information and uses a magical mind spirit to act as an advisor and telepathic coordinator.

The Battle Smith is a combat tinkerer who uses Intelligence to fuel both magic and melee attacks, and fights with a robot battle buddy.

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There is nothing about either of these classes that I don’t want to play–they both differentiate themselves with a list of bonus spells. Here’s a look at the Archivist:

As you can see, there’s a lot of telepathy and information-based spells. They run complementary to the Archivist’s big class feature Artificial Mind which allows you to awaken a mind inside an object. At the end of every long rest, you can pick a Tiny nonmagical object to inscribe with mystical symbols, at which point you can awaken a keen mind that can telepathically supply you with advice (granting you proficiency in two skills, depending on what it’s made of).

You can also use a bonus action to manifest the mind as a Tiny spectral presence that sheds dim light and effectively grants you a new cantrip. I say effectively because Information Overload isn’t actually a spell–it’s an action you can take while your artificial mind is manifested. The effects are very cantrip-like though, in that you pick a target nearby and unless they succeed on an Intelligence saving throw they’ll take 1d8 (which scales as a normal cantrip) psychic damage and the next attack against them has advantage. Only it’s better than a Cantrip because you can also spend a spell slot to deal extra damage, starting at 2d8 extra damage in 1st level +1d8 per level afterward, but you don’t decide to spend the spell slot until after you’ve already dealt damage with the feature.

You’ll also gain the ability to communicate telepathically and deal extra psychic damage, culminating in the ability to teleport and stun targets with your Artificial Mind.

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The Battle Smith on the other hand, has a much more active spell list, with a number of Paladin spells making the jump. Playing a Battle Smith means getting ready to go toe to toe with a foe. As a Battle Smith you’re an expert at repairing materiel and personnel, along with a special construct of your own creation, an Iron Defender. The Iron Defender is one of two big features the Battle Smith gets at 3rd level. It’s a metallic creature resembling a hound, cougar, bear, or another four-legged creature of your choice that obeys your commands. Left to its own devices, it will move and react normally, but will only take the Dodge action unless you use a bonus action to command it to take one of the actions in its stat block. Speaking of:

 

The other big thing you’ll get is the Battle Ready feature that lets you use your Intelligence modifier to attack with a magic weapon (and also grants you proficiency with martial weapons), so you’ll be smiting consistently if you so choose. Later on, you’ll gain the ability to channel damage or healing energy through your defender as well.

Both of these classes look great, and shortly (probably in the next couple of weeks) there’ll be a survey out as well. So give these a playtest and see how they work.

Check out the Artificer on Unearthed Arcana

Happy Adventuring!

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