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Author Topic: The Unofficial Artificer Player's Guide 3.0  (Read 120791 times)
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dark_samuari
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« on: October 03, 2009, 08:55:50 PM »

Disclaimer: This is a mere re-posting of Edymnion's The Unofficial Artificer Player's Guide 3.0. The only additions will be a visual polish and a new set of formatting.

The Unofficial Artificer Player's Guide 3.0
"Nothing is impossible, what you want is simply expensive."

Welcome to the latest, greatest version of the Unofficial Artificer Player's Guide, version 3.0!

We've had had a lot of conversation, debates, and the occasional downright argument over the years, with the previous incarnations of this guide, each with hundreds of replies and tens of thousands of views. An unbridled success by any standards. However, the very success of the previous guides were also their biggest problem, the threads became very long, unwieldy, and more than a little intimidating to new Artificer players that thought they needed to read the whole thread. So, in an attempt to keep this version of the guide more focused and less cluttered, I've asked (and received permission) to put it in the FAQ area of the boards. Here, I will be able to maintain the guide with whatever new information, or fixes for old information, without people pulling the thread off topic with debates over certain elements. This doesn't mean that I disapproved of good Artificer debate, its just that the guide is not the place for such things. Instead, you should feel free to make a thread to debate any given point, and if a consensus is reached, and I haven't seen the thread already, PM me with a link to it so I can look it over, and see if the information uncovered should be added to the guide.

Anyway, lets get down to business!
I've changed up how this version of the guide is presented, since there won't be anyone posting to it, I can spread things out over multiple posts, and have an index that actually links to the proper places in the guide. So, where it was all one big formatted post before (well, two posts because of the post size limits), each section will now be it's own post. That way, I can have the index post be filled with links. You click the link, it takes you down to the post for that section, no more scrolling through the whole thing just to find the feats!

For those that would prefer to use the guide offline, the PDF is available for download, courtesy of Save-vs-DM's generous hosting of the file. You may download it by clicking ont he following link:
http://www.savevsdm.com/pdf/UnofficialA … ebook3.zip

Introduction

The Artificer is a 20 level base class, just like the Wizard and the Fighter, that was introduced by the Eberron Campaign Setting. Artificers, while not being spellcasters, excel at creating both temporary and permanent magical items primarily through the use of a unique ability to replace spell prerequisites in crafting with Use Magic Device checks, in order to "fake" having supplied the required spell. To facilitate their role as a magical item craftsman, the Artificer gains a number of class features and abilities that make crafting these items quicker and easier than ever before.

While the Artificer may seem straight forward and easy at the first glance, it is anything but. The ability to make and use every magical item (and by extension every magic spell) in the game makes the Artificer incredibly flexible, but it also makes the class very difficult to just pick up and play. This is only made worse by the long preparation time needed for the class to be effective. A Sorcerer picks his spells, and can fire them off whenever he wants, that’s easy. A Wizard has to choose which spells she gets, which spells she prepares for that day, and when to cast each of her prepared spells, that’s harder. The Artificer has to spend days, weeks, even months crafting the scrolls, wands, and weapons they will use. And while they can always use their Infusions (more on that later), the fastest casting time for them is a full round action, with many having casting times of a minute or more (and who can afford to spend 10 rounds trying to prepare when the fight is already under way?). Where the wizard can pick their prepared spells on the fly, many times the Artificer has to know a fight is coming and spend several minutes preparing themselves, putting them at a severe disadvantage in ambush situations.

The Artificer is what many would consider an Expert level class. Those who are new to the game are highly recommended NOT to play one, and instead pick an easier class to play, like a Fighter or Sorcerer. An Artificer takes a great deal of forethought and preparation in order to be effective, as well as a good working knowledge of all the different magical items and spells in the game (or at least the PHB), and has to be able to prepare for situations that haven't happened yet, as well as investing large amounts of time and character wealth into their gear. However, for someone who knows how to make an Artificer work and can accept it's drawbacks, the reward is almost infinite versatility.

The purpose of this guide is to help players who are new to the Artificer class learn how it works, and how to play it. It assumes that you already have a working knowledge of how the game is played, and will not stop to explain things like how to figure out your hitpoints or calculate your saves. Again, this class is not for beginners, as it will quickly overwhelm you with options and abilities. Even experienced players will often find it confusing. This guide will, however, help you make sense of all of those options and abilities, and help show you how they interact with each other. So get a snack, have a seat, and relax, because its going to be a long ride!
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dark_samuari
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« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2009, 08:56:09 PM »

Races

The race you choose for your Artificer can have a drastic effect on what kind of Artificer you end up with, and while D&D has a wide array of different races, this guide will restrict it's focus to mainly the "Core" races. The core races for Eberron are the standard races from the Players Handbook, and the four new races introduced in the Eberron Campaign Setting. In addition to those, I will also cover a race that has an established place in Eberron's civilized areas, makes for a fairly well balanced PC, and that brings it's own flavorful pros and cons to the table, the Goblin.

Humans
As with most classes, the Human is almost always one of, if not the first races you should consider for your Artificer. Despite being very racially tolerant, humans are still in the majority in almost all of the major nations of Khovaire, and as such they are very common. You can easily fit a human background into any region or aspect of Eberron without having to stretch things. In addition to this general ease of use, humans have three things that make them standout Artificers; feats, skill points, and House Cannith.

The Artificer gets 5 bonus feats over 20 levels, aside from the crafting abilities he gets as class abilities. Combined with the standard number of feats for a character, that’s 12 feats. Later in the guide, upwards of 20 feats are mentioned as being specifically good for an Artificer. As such, any Artificer player is going to find himself or herself having to pick and choose which feat they take, and which one they just have to live without, so having one more feat available to you can never be underestimated. Even if you don't spend it on something that will specifically help make you a better Artificer, it still gives you the versatility to make a more well rounded character by picking up a skill boosting feat or a new weapon or armor proficiency

Skill points are also going to be essential for an Artificer. By definition, the Artificer makes things, and knows at least a little bit about every magical goodie out there. Right away that means you are likely going to be wanting to put ranks into some crafting skills, knowledge skills, and possibly even your lock picking skills if you find that you are going to need to fill the role of the rogue. Which skills are important and why is covered later on, but like with feats, you will almost surely feel the crunch of not having enough skill points, and the human bonus can go a long way to relieve that problem. And like with the feats, even if you don't need the skill points to be a better artificer, this will allow you to spend those bonus points on more flavorful aspects, like social skills and maybe a Profession. Even something as seemingly useless as Craft (Drawing) adds a lot of flavor, and could come in handy should you ever need to sketch out what a magic item looks like so you can copy it later.

By far the most influential (if mechanically weakest) aspect of being human is that you could have your Artificer be a member of House Cannith. This opens up the availability of the Mark of Making, which synergizes quite well with the Artificer abilities, as well as opening up the bulk of the official Artificer friendly PrC (almost all of them require you to be a member of House Cannith). The reason behind this is that House Cannith has the virtual monopoly on magic item creation, it hosts the different crafting guilds, and is the all around home of some of the best Artificers out there. Not that you can't be an Artificer and belong to another house (and there are many ways to do this, and do it well, which is covered in a later section), but House Cannith is an exceptionally good choice, which is only really available to humans. Even outside of House Cannith, the bulk of dragonmarked houses are made up of humans. Which means if you want to be a dragonmarked artificer, odds are, you want to be Human.

Gnomes
The idea of the tinkerer gnome predates Eberron by quite a bit, and you find aspects of this in Eberron as well. However, as with everything else, Eberron puts it's own special twist on things that makes a gnomish Artificer an interesting experience. Gnomes are information hoarders, who typically aren't afraid to use what they know about you to plant a proverbial dagger in your back should you cross them. As such, you would be well off putting some points into Knowledge (Local) and Knowledge (Nobility), as well as your people skills. Odds are, if you don't know where a magic item is (or what it is!), as a gnome, you will know somebody who does, if you're willing to trust them with that information, that is.

Mechanically, gnomes have four major advantages going for them.
First, their sharp noses give them a terrific sense of smell, which grants them a +2 to any alchemy check. As an Artificer, you qualify as a spellcaster for the purposes of making alchemical items, and you will find them to be a big help, so making yourself some sunrods and tanglefoot bags is always a good idea. In addition, you can identify unknown potions by making an alchemy check, meaning a gnome knows better than anybody if that vial contains a Cure Light Wounds potion, or a horrible poison.

Second, gnomes get a number of cantrips as a racial ability, including prestidigitation. This means they never need worry about making UMD checks when using scrolls of these spells, or when making items of them. Since the number of UMD checks you get to make an item are dependant on how long it takes to craft them, you don't get many shots at making low level items, so every little bit counts. And while you may think that these cantrips are worthless when it comes to item making, the shear number of useful gadgets you can make out of Prestidigitation alone are astonishing, not to mention lucrative.

Third, gnomes are Small sized, which comes with a number of potent advantages, especially for the Artificer. Bonuses to attacks against larger creatures (like humans), bonuses to your AC, and most important of all for the Artificer, it makes you 25% stronger, meaning you can carry more stuff. Remember, items scaled to fit Small sized characters weigh 1/4 of what they do for Medium sized characters. Small characters only have their carrying capacity cut in half, which means that, as long as everything they carry is scaled to them, they actually have 25% MORE carrying capacity than the tall folk do. Given how many magical goodies you will be carrying around, you can never have too much carrying capacity.

Lastly is the biggest flavor reason. Gnomes in Eberron have a literal monopoly on elemental binding. While other groups have been trying to unravel the secret, none of them (officially) have gotten the hang of it, meaning if you want an airship, or an elementally bound weapon or piece of armor, you have to go to a gnome to get it. If you want your Artificer to be making this sort of equipment later on, the only way for him to learn it (short of invading Xen'Drik and trying to talk the drow into teaching you) is to learn it from the gnomes, and they don't teach it to anybody outside of their own race.

Half-Elves
The main reason to play a half-elf Artificer has nothing to do with their racial abilities or skills, and almost everything to do with one thing, airships. House Lyrander operates the largest airship fleet in the game, and if you want to get your hands on one of those beauties, being a member of the house will go a long ways to accomplishing it. While you won't be able to build an airship yourself, as you are unlikely to get a gnome to tell you how to bind an elemental into it to power the thing, as an Artificer you will have the skills and expertise to keep it running smoothly, and even upgrading it with new defenses, and possibly even magical weapons. Being a half-elf with the Mark of Storms also makes it easy for you to control the ship, which will likely make you the defacto captain, as you will be the only one that can reliably make the ship do what you want.

Of lesser importance, but still worth mentioning, your racial bonuses to the people skills can come in handy when you need to find rare items to craft with, and a good Gather Information check can always help you get a clue to where a powerful magic item is hiding. And while it has little bearing on anything mechanical, always being able to find a place to stay in half-elf communities is very nice. What self respecting Artificer wants to sleep under a bush when a little racial clout can get him a nice warm bed?

However, if you are looking to build a mechanically powerful Artificer, you may want to skip the half-elf. It provides little direct benefit to the Artificer class, although Favored Class: Any means it excels at multiclassing, which opens up a number of doors in its own right (see the Multiclassing section).

Elves
What kind of elf you are will play a large part in what kind of Artificer you play, but all elves give two potent mechanical benefits to the Artificer; bows and Favored Class: Wizard.

The standard Artificer will often rely on a crossbow with various enhancements as his primary damage dealing weapon, but the drawbacks to a crossbow are well known, namely the slow reload time. While this isn't a real problem for the low level Artificer, who doesn't get more than one attack a round anyway, it can become a serious drawback at higher levels, where you have to spend a feat on Rapid Reload, a weapon proficiency for a repeating crossbow, or on a real bow. Elves don't have that problem, and can come into the game with a good long range, fast firing weapon right from the start, conserving feats in the process.

Their other major advantage is that all elves have Favored Class: Wizard, and can dip into it for one level in order to gain access to the arcane spell list. This dip gives them a few spells known that can be used in item making, much like the gnome, but more importantly, they will actually have the arcane spell list, and their artificer side will no longer have to make any UMD checks to activate things like scrolls and wands containing arcane spells. They still have to make UMD to make higher level items, however.

Not to be overlooked, but the racial bonus to Dexterity is a boon as well. Not only will it make you better at hitting your target with your bow, it will make you better at hitting your target with your wands as well. Many ranged attack spells required attack rolls, which always include your dexterity bonus to hit. Blastificers can make excellent use of what amounts to a free +1 to hit.

What kind of elf you pick, as previously stated, will also help dictate what kind of Artificer you are. The areneal elves control the main supply of soarwood for making airships out of, and have a long rich tradition of magic which lets your Artificer draw on millennia’s worth of potential knowledge. Take Right to Council for a feat, and there's no telling what secrets or ancient magics the Undying Court could bestow upon you. Be a Valenar, and you are well on your way to becoming a Meleeficer (explained later on), carrying strong magic weapons and armor into battle atop your trusty stead, which you've also decked out in the finest of magical gear.

However, be careful with the -2 Constitution penalty you'll be taking. The Artificer only gets a d6 for hitpoints, so that -1 hp/level from the lowered Con can make you rather fragile. Be sure to use your infusions and items to buff yourself before going into combat.

Halflings
Like elves, the dual nature of the halfling race gives you two very different courses you could take with an Artificer, while giving you some real tangible advantages regardless of type. Halflings are a bit of a cross between the Small size of the Gnome, and the Dexterity boost of the elves, giving you two good aspects of each race in one tidy little package. In addition, the halfling bonus to their saves means you are less likely to need to burn action points on said saves, which leaves you that many more AP to use to speed up your infusions.

If you go for the "civilized" halflings, you will also gain access to a good number of bonuses through House Ghallandra (detailed later), which means you and your party never need to worry about where you are going to sleep that night. You would be well accustomed to the comforts and luxuries of "the good life", and would likely make a good number of magical items to ensure the quality of living for yourself and your party. For a more direct approach to combat, the barbarian Talenta halflings give you the option to make tribal like magical items, as well as the one thing nobody else in the party gets to do, ride a magically enhanced dinosaur in full barding. Nothin' says lovin' like firing off a massive fireball from the back of your armored velociraptor!

Dwarves
Initially, you may look at dwarves and see that they have a -2 to their Charisma and think they would make a poor choice for an Artificer, and to some extent this is true. The lower Charisma means they will have a lower Use Magic Device check, which means they will have a harder time using and enchanting magical items. However, they do have a number of things going for them that help offset this disadvantage. With a rather fragile d6 hitdice (second lowest in the game), any Artificer caught in harm's way wishes for more hitpoints, and the dwarven racial bonus to Constitution helps make this possible, putting the dwarven Artificer in the same hitpoint range as a d8 hitdice. You also receive a racial bonus to any craft check relating to stone or metal, and given how virtually every weapon, many armors, and the bulk of assorted mundane items have stone or metal of some kind in them means that you will be cranking out items of exceptional quality that you can later enchant and sell for a pretty copper or two.

Dwarves also have a major advantage when it comes to selling magical goods. Dwarves run the banking system in Eberron, and as such poses an implied amount of trustworthiness, which means you should have little problem getting people to do business with you. Being a member of House Kundarak (detailed later) will also help you with your magical item crafting, as you can get loans from the bank fairly easily, meaning you'll never be in a money crunch when it comes time to make that new Sword of Uber Coolness. Paying that loan back is another matter though.

Half-Orcs
Of all of the PHB core races, the half-orc is arguably the worst choice for a traditional Artificer. They suffer a hit to both Charisma and Intelligence, the two prime abilities of the class, that immediately puts them far behind the curve. However, there is one particular kind of Artificer that the half-orc can be that will offset many of his penalties, and accentuate his strengths, the Meleeficer. Artificers get access to medium armor from the beginning, and with the right infusions they can buff their AC and damage output through the roof, meaning they can go toe to toe with just about anything in melee combat, which is precisely what the half-orc is good for, mechanically speaking. That high strength means you will dish out damage like no other artificer out there, and you'll never have to worry about not being able to carry all of your goodies along with you. Don't worry about crafting things, just buy what you need for a base, enchant them with some vicious spells, and get ready to watch the opposition fall before your magically enhanced sword.

Eberron also gives a much welcomed twist to half-orcs and orcs in general by removing much of the savage bent and racial hatred baggage that normally comes with the race. While there are plenty of orc and half-orc barbarians out there, there are also quite a few orc druids (like the Gatekeepers) that are the appointed guardians of Eberron, preventing extraplanar invasion. A half-orc Artificer could just as easily be a wise and calm soul that looks for ways to strengthen the magical wards that protect Eberron as a magically enhanced front line warrior.

Warforged
Like the Dwarves, the Warforged appear to be a poor choice for becoming an Artificer due to their Charisma penalty, but even more so than the dwarf, the warforged makes up for this shortcoming to be arguable one of the best Artificer races in the game. One of the biggest racial drawbacks for a Warforged is it's inability to heal naturally, and it's resistance to healing magic. As an Artificer, not only will you likely have a maxxed out Craft skill to let you make your own repair checks while your party member sleep, you will have access to infusions for Repair X Damage that will let you heal yourself quickly and efficiently. There are also other infusions that only work on constructs in the Artificer list that are personally useless for the fleshy Artificers, of which you can take full advantage of. Even without that, an Artificer has to have something to infuse (more on that later), which means a naked human artificer with nothing around can't use their infusions, where the WF Artificer could always use his own body as the focus of his powers. As icing on the proverbial cake, the warforged have access to what is perhaps the single most useful item for an Artificer, the Wand Sheath, and its exclusively a warforged component.

On top of the mechanical advantages, there is one large advantage to the WF Artificer provided by the setting itself, the Mournlands. The Mournlands hold little terror for a warforged that can heal himself through infusions and repairs, while Cyre was the home to House Cannith, giving it some of the greatest magical riches in the setting, many of which are still literally just sitting there for the taking. The fleshbound Artificers would be hard pressed to retrieve these magics, where you can simply walk in and take them for yourself. Another setting advantage for playing a warforged Artificer is Xen'Drik. The most powerful of magic items, including the Creation Forges, originally came from Xen'Drik, and the fact that there are a large number of WF components in that continent make it a virtual shopping spree for the warforged artificer.

Kalashtar
The Kalashtar have little to offer the traditional Artificer, regardless of what kind of artificer you want to be. No real advantages, but no disadvantages either, making them fairly neutral as to their mechanical effectiveness. However, the real advantage to the Kalashtar appear when you give them access to the Psionic Artificer variant from Magic of Eberron. The naturally psionic nature of the Kalashtar mean they immediately qualify for almost every psionic feat out there without having to burn a feat on Wild Talent first, and the nature of the Psionic Artificer gives them an even bigger advantage over items than the normal artificer. While there are seemingly limitless supplies of magical items in the game, the relative scarcity of psionics means that coming across a psionic item by chance is fairly low, which means this variant will be much sought out in any psionics focused game, and the Kalashtar are far and above the best possible choice to become a Psionic Artificer out of all the core races.

However, if its not going to be a game focused on the Kalashtar, the Dreaming Dark, and Psionics, then you should likely skip this race when making a traditional Artificer. They don't excel at it in any meaningful way, and they inevitably bring a lot of baggage with them that you/the DM may or may not want to deal with.

Changelings
Like the Kalashtar, the Changelings offer little in the way of benefit to the Artificer class in the core books. Unlike the Kalashtar though, there is a redeeming factor that make Changelings pull ahead as Artificers, Racial Emulation. If your DM is allowing material from Races of Eberron (and most do), the Racial Emulation feat allows you to count as a particular race when you take the shape of one. While appearing to be fairly minor in terms of usefulness to an Artificer, it can be very nice for one reason, it removes the need to emulate that race via UMD. Constantly making those checks can be a pain, while the changeling can essentially throw that entire subsection of UMD checks right out the window, at least in regards to that particular race.

From the other way around, the Artificer class can offer quite a bit to the changeling. Many items that would aid their Minor Shapechange ability are fairly minor, both in cost and crafter level, meaning a changeling Artificer could make themselves a Hat of Disguise which would boost their check through the roof, making it virtually impossible to be spotted. Note that while there is some debate on the allowability of a changeling using a Hat of Disguise, the item and the racial ability have different bonus types, so they do indeed stack, strictly by the books.

Shifters
Shifters take a large hit from racial penalties to both Intelligence and Charisma like the half-orc, but do not automatically gain the strength benefit to make a good Meleeficer. While the various shifter traits can certainly add new levels of versatility to your Artificer, the mechanical aspects weigh against the race pretty much across the board. More so than any other race available, shifters are hands down the worst option for making an Artificer, from a strictly mechanical point of view.

From a flavor point of view, however, there is definitely a place for the Shifter Artificer. Shifter culture is described as putting a high value on a small number of well made, portable items (both magic and mundane) that have multiple uses. As an Artificer, making these sorts of items can quickly put you at the head of the pecking order in that regard, and your combat ability after you buff yourself and shift can make you a potent Meleeficer, however the limited amount of time you can stay shifted combined with how many feats you must spend to make this option viable tend to limit it's usefulness.

Like any other race, you can make a viable shifter Artificer (one of my favorite characters was actually a shifter artificer), but honestly, the reason you would choose this race is almost purely one of flavor, not mechanical ability.

Goblins
In any other setting, the choice of a goblin anything for a PC would likely be a bad one. Seen as weak and stupid monsters by all of the other settings, Eberron gives them a twist that not only makes them into viable PC choices, but give them some important advantages for Artificers, both mechanically and for flavor.

Mechanically, the goblin takes a hit to both Constitution and Charisma, making them fairly fragile as well as lowering their UMD checks. However, they have the Small size and Dexterity bonus of the Halflings, darkvision that lets them go places most other Artificers can't go, and more importantly, a 30' movement rate. The biggest drawback to all of the Small races is their 20' movement, but the goblin does not have this drawback.

Flavor wise, it was the goblins that built the initial foundations of Sharn back during the goblinoid empire days, and it was the goblins that the humans used to build much of what Sharn is today, so they have a long, established tradition as magical craftsmen. However, they are still looked upon as second class citizens, and are forced to live in the lower levels of Sharn, scraping by on whatever they can find, beg, or steal. As such, a goblin Artificer almost comes prepackaged with the flavor of being someone who cobbles together working magical items out of what other people throw away. And since it is very uncommon to see a goblin PC, even in Eberron, and especially as an Artificer, its virtually guaranteed to become a very memorable character.
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dark_samuari
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« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2009, 08:56:26 PM »

Ability Scores

After determining the race of your Artificer, the next most important thing you need to do is figure out their stats. Like race, what stats you give your Artificer will greatly affect how they work. One important thing to keep in mind here is that, despite what the books say, Charisma is NOT the most important stat for an Artificer, Intelligence is. The reasoning behind this will be explained in the individual attribute sections below. Also important to keep in mind, I will be suggesting good scores for each attribute as we go along. If you are using Point Buy, these would be good places to start by default. If you are rolling for stats, then try to place the scores more or less in line with what is here, as best you can.

Strength
For the default Artificer, Strength is one of your least important stats. With your low hitdice and middling BAB, front line combat is not your strong suit. You will rely far more on ranged attacks (at first a crossbow, then later wands) to deal damage with, and that means you will need Dexterity more than Strength. Your Carrying Capacity will be an issue at lower levels, but you should be able to buy/craft a Heward's Handy Haversack or a Bag of Holding fairly soon in the game, so boosting your strength isn't critical. However, the fact that you will potentially be wearing medium armor, you shouldn't skimp on your strength overly much. Generally speaking, you are well served by putting a 10 in Strength. Nothing special, but not a weakling. Dropping this score below an 8 is not recommended, however.

If you are going the route of the Meeleficer (covered later in the guide), then obviously you want to have a higher strength score than a mere 10. Like any melee focused role, I would put no less than a 14 in Strength, as you will be relying on it to dish out a good bit of your damage, as well as the fact that you will almost invariably be in Medium or even Heavy armor, which like the name suggests, is quite heavy.

Constitution
Again, for the default Artificer, you will not be on the front lines, and like a Wizard, it should be somewhat rare that you actually take hitpoint damage. As such, Constitution is another stat you can afford to go easy on. However, do not think that you can use it as a dump stat! With a d6 for hitdice, you will already be fairly low on hitpoints, so every hitpoint you do have will matter if and when you get hit. Also, if your Artificer is going to be playing the role of the Rogue in disabling traps, unlocking chests, etc, you run the very real chance of encountering the classic poison needle trap. In that case, a higher Fortitude save is important, as it will help you avoid the effects of the poison.

The recommended Constitution score for a default Artificer is a 12, but you have little reason to take it higher than a 14 unless you are going down the Meleeficer route. If you are building a Meleeficer, then you will need a higher Con score to offset your low hitpoints. A 14 to 16 is recommended in that case, but going higher than that will likely mean you suffer too much in other areas, so don't go too crazy here.

Dexterity
Of all of the physical stats, Dexterity is the most important. You cannot use Heavy Armor without spending a feat or multiclassing, and you still have to cope with Arcane Spell Failure when casting from arcane scrolls, which typically means you will be in light armor or mithril medium armor. Either way, it means you will need Dexterity to help boost your armor class. Combine this with how many of your attacks will be ranged, such as your crossbow (and later on your attack wands, like scorching ray and the elemental orbs), and you will need a good Dexterity score in order to hit the broad side of the proverbial barn. In addition, the biggest threat to your hitpoints in the back row will be area attacks, like Fireball. A high Reflex save could be what keeps you from dying.

For all of these reasons, Dexterity is a score you want to keep fairly high. A 14 is recommended, but you should never let this one go negative, as the associated penalties will hurt you far too much to be worth whatever gains you receive somewhere else. The only real exception here is, as usual, the Meleeficer. You will likely be in heavy armor (either by spending the feat or by multiclassing), and will be using melee attacks, which means the bulk of the advantages from Dexterity won't come into play, meaning you can keep this one low. A 10 is fine, but I still wouldn't let it go below an 8.

Intelligence
Despite what the Eberron Campaign Setting book says, this is your primary stat as an Artificer, not your Charisma. Of all of your various Artificer skills and abilities, almost all of them are keyed off Intelligence. All of the Craft skills work off of Intelligence, as are your Knowledge skills (namely Knowledge Arcana), and if you are acting as the replacement Rogue, you will have Search and Disable Traps keyed off your Intelligence to worry about. As with being a Human, the bonus skill points from having a high Intelligence are also quite important to the Artificer. Above and beyond that, your bonus Infusions are keyed to Intelligence. In short, every single defining attribute of the Artificer is based on your Intelligence score, save one, Use Magic Device.

The importance of this attribute cannot be over-emphasized. I would recommend no less than a 16 here, with the sky being the limit. A Meleeficer could skimp by with a 14, but given the number of self-buffing infusions they need to use, even they benefit greatly from a high Intelligence.

Wisdom
Wisdom is the least important of your mental stats, purely through the fact that Intelligence and Charisma are your key scores, and can be used as a dump stat if you so desire. Remember though that your Will save, as well as your Spot and Listen skills are running off of Wisdom, so you should not let this drop too low. A score of 10 should be the minimum, but I wouldn't advise putting more than a 12 here, as the benefits from a high wisdom do not count for much in the world of artifice.

One possible reason to boost this up is if you are going to be using a lot of Divine magic. Anything that requires a divine spell of a certain level to be cast will also require an underlying Wisdom score of 10 + Spell level. While you can fake a high Wisdom with with some difficulty with your UMD check (subtract 15 from your UMD check to get your emulated ability score), by the time you can actually make this check at a high enough level to be useful, you are generally better off with a stat boosting item or infusion. Generally, this isn't a problem with Arcane magic, because you will have a high Intelligence anyway, but it could be a problem with Wisdom, depending on how often you think you will run into it. Generally though, with only so many ability score choices, you're better off leaving this one fairly low, but definitely non-negative.

Charisma
The class entry for the Artificer claims that this is your most important stat, but in reality, it isn't all important. The only thing Charisma does for you as an Artificer is increase your Use Magic Device checks. It does not affect your Infusions, it does not affect any of your key skills, it does not help you deal damage directly, or survive damage you take. It only makes activating and crafting magic items easier, and that is all it does. And as with any other class with a large number of skill points, the ability to keep a skill maxxed out quickly means the actual ability modifier on the score becomes less and less important. Given all of the bonuses to UMD you can get through various methods, a high Charisma simply is not required to be a successful Artificer. I would not suggest putting anything higher than a 14 into this stat. However, that does not mean that it is not important, as being able to activate that wand at lower levels can be a matter of life or death, so under no circumstance should you ever let this score go below a 10.

Like with several of the other stats, the exception to this is the Meleeficer, who can actually afford to let this score stay low, or even potentially go negative. This will all be covered in much more detail in the Meleeficer entry later on, but they rely more on their infusions to buff themselves before going into battle, and far less on activating magical goodies in combat, meaning being able to activate things in one try (and hence having a high UMD check) are far less important, letting them get away with having an 8 to a 12 in Charisma and not suffering from it too much.
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« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2009, 08:56:43 PM »

Feats
*This Renegade Mastermaker Blastificer attempts to decide what feats he wants to pick to improve his boomstick.*

You may have heard this already, but its still true.  Which feats you will take will depend heavily on what kind of Artificer you want to be.  A Meleeficer will want to take feats such as Power Attack and Cleave, while a Blastificer would stock up on metamagic.  That said, the below feats are aimed at the generic Artificer.  For more particulars on what feats would be best for specific builds, please see the build section of the guide.

Point Blank Shot
The generic Artificer relies heavily on ranged attacks, be it from a crossbow, or a ray from a wand.  However, there is a drawback to Point Blank Shot, you have to be within 30’ to make use of it.  Like a spellcaster, if you are within 30’ of your opponent, you are in the danger zone, as they could simply walk up and attack you.  Ideally, you would want to be farther than 30’ from your target at all times, preferably outside 60’ so that they can’t Charge you.  Given that, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.  Since it is rare you will find yourself in ideal conditions, that +1 to hit will prove valuable, and since the feat is not restricted to a particular weapon, it will work with your crossbow, a bow, your wands, anything that shoots can use it.  Combine that with the fact that it is a prereq for another useful feat, and the general lack of useful first level feats, and it becomes an excellent choice for your first level feat.

Precise Shot
Precise Shot builds off of Point Blank Shot, but is more useful for the Artificer.  As already mentioned, the generic Artificer makes a large amount of ranged attacks, and will rarely be alone.  The main assumption is that they will be part of an adventuring party with other characters providing melee cover to keep the opponents off the “back row” characters, including the Artificer.  Even without party members, the Artificer is likely to have combat homunculi or constructs to fill the same roll, to keep things busy while you blast them.  The problem comes into sight when you realize that even using a wand means you are subject to the Firing Into Melee penalty, giving you a -4 to hit.  The penalty is not as stiff as it was in 3.0 when you risked hitting your friend on a botched roll, but the assumption is that the majority of the time you will be firing on an opponent that someone is currently in melee with, which means you will get a lot of use out of Precise Shot.  This is skippable however if you rely mainly on wands, as they are almost always ranged touch attacks, meaning you can take that -4 and still hit them more easily than anyone else.

Rapid Reload
This is not a good feat to take, but if you intend to stick to using a crossbow as your primary mundane form of attack, you will need this in order to get multiple attacks per round at higher levels.  Honestly, if you are going to spend a feat to pick this up, mechanically you are better off spending it on a new weapon proficiency.

Weapon Proficiencies
The Artificer does not get a wide selection of weapon proficiencies, so it is only natural that if you wanted to focus on using a weapon to deal damage with instead of relying entirely on wands that you would want something more power and/or efficient than a mace or a crossbow.  Picking up proficiency in a one handed martial weapon for melee combat, or proficiency in the longbow can go a long way towards increasing your damage output in combat.  If you are simple enamored with the concept of using a crossbow, spend this feat on a repeating crossbow.

Armor Proficiencies
The Artificer comes with access to Medium Armor from the beginning, and this is generally enough for most characters.  However, especially for the Meleeficer, you will want to beef up your AC by taking Heavy Armor Proficiency.  Even for non-melee oriented Artificers, the fact that none of your class skills are effected by check penalties and that your AC can never really be too high, a suit of Full Plate along with a large steel shield can go a long way towards that goal.  If you combine the heavier armor with a Magic Vestments spell, your AC can go even higher.  A determined Artificer can make himself nearly unhittable, and this is where he starts.

Metamagic
The ability to apply known metamagic feats to wands is the core of the Blastificer build, so obviously having actual metamagic feats is essential, although a few metamagic feats can be useful for even the generic Artificer.  The key things to look for when it comes to metamagic is how much flexibility they can give you, and how much power they can give you.  For flexibility, you can’t go wrong by picking up Energy Substitution.  Your Fireball wand does no good against fire based monsters, but if you have Energy Substitution, you can turn it into an acidball and plow on through.  For pure power, you can’t go wrong with Empower or Maximize, however the higher the level adjustment for the metamagic, the more charges you will burn through per use.  The official ruling is that you can only apply one metamagic effect per use, which limits the usefulness of having a large number of metamagics, although a creative crafter could get around this by crafting a wand with metamagic already in it, then using metamagic trigger to apply a second one on the fly.

Skill Focus (Use Magic Device)
There has been much debate over the usefulness of this feat.  On one side are those who back that your UMD can never be high enough, and that this feat goes a long way to increasing the power of your Artificer.  The other side points out that the higher your level, the more ranks you have in the skill, the less valuable this feat becomes until you reach the point where it’s usefulness becomes less than what you would have gotten by picking almost anything else.  In truth, its somewhere in between.  While it is a very powerful feat early in the game (and if you are playing a game that won’t go above level 10 or so, by all means, pick this feat up ASAP), it becomes just okay at middle levels, and poor at high levels.  Its really a matter of delayed gratification, are you willing to be weaker at lower levels to become stronger at higher levels, or do you want to be more powerful at lower levels, and not as powerful at higher levels?  Do you need that power boost at low levels just to survive to reach the high levels?  This is going to depend a lot on the individual game and DM, but overall, this feat is middle of the road overall.  Its not great, but its not bad either, so it really boils down to a matter of personal preference.

Creation Feats
The Artificer gets the majority of the crafting feats for free as class abilities, if you are patient enough.  However, there are some useful crafting feats you don’t get for free that you should look into.  Craft Construct is immensely powerful, especially at higher levels, as it will let you get things like a Shield Guardian (and later on a Runic Guardian), not to mention the classics like Iron Golems.  If for some reason, like a racial substitution level, you don’t get Craft Homunculus from the class, this feat will also let you build them as well.

Etch Schema from Magic of Eberron is, while not a great creation feat, not a bad one either.  This allows you to craft Minor Schema, which are basically the scroll equivalent of an Eternal Wand.  It holds spells like a scroll, but its usable once a day, and recharges itself every day.  This is excellent for every day utility magic that you wouldn’t otherwise think about, such as making a Minor Schema of Endure Elements for exploring Xen’Drik so you don’t have to worry about heat exhaustion from the high temperatures.  The other big benefit of minor schema are that they allow you the bonus to your UMD checks to activate them that you can’t get with scrolls.  You get a +2 to your UMD check to activate any item you’ve activated before.  You can’t do that on scrolls, as you use it up as soon as you use it, not so with minor schema.  Add to that that you get +2 to UMD to activate any item you have the creation feat for, and you’re looking at +4 to activate those schemas after the first time.  Top it off that anyone with the spell stored on the schema on their spell list can use the schema, which means unlike with your scrolls, the wizard and cleric in the party can get use out of this item as well, and you’ve got a winner.

The last big one to touch upon is also the hardest to get, but one of the most powerful, Bind Elemental.  Elementally Bound weapons and armor are found in the Ebberon Campaign Setting, and are quite powerful.  Airships also use bound elementals for power.  Although the flavor restrictions make this next to impossible to get unless you’re a gnome, its one you should pick up if you get the chance, just for bragging rights if nothing else.

Heroic Spirit vs. Action Boost
Artificers tend to run through action points like a Fighter goes through hitpoints, if they didn’t use any in the combat, then the fight was probably too easy.  An Artificer can spend an action point in order to speed up infusions, meaning they are very likely to spend at least one action point in every combat they don’t have the chance to specifically prepare for.  As such, if it comes down to a choice between getting more action points, or having your action points be more effective, the Artificer should always choose to get more points, as speeding up an infusion doesn’t care if you’re spending a d6 action point or a d8, the effect is the same.

Dragonmarks
From a mechanical aspect, dragonmarks in their own right tend to be fairly weak as far as feats go, and investing heavily in them could lead to your artificer falling behind the power curve.  That said, dragonmarks also open the path to many House related benefits and roleplaying opportunities you can’t get without them, and some of them can be fairly beneficial to the Artificer in their own right.  The Mark of Making is obviously the best of the batch, due to all of it’s crafting related powers.  Other good choices, provided you are the proper race, is the Mark of Finding (which grants you a free use of Identify per day, which really helps with all of the random magical items you’ll be finding as treasure), and the Mark of Healing (which will let you be a more effective backup healer for the party).

Other than this though, the decision to take a Dragonmark is entirely a flavor issue.

Favored in House
The Dragonmarked sourcebook provided some spelled out benefits for having Favored in House, many of which are quite useful for the Artificer.  There is far too much to cover everything here, but benefits include loans of gold that can be used for item crafting, free use of airships and lightning rail, introductions to powerful high ranking NPCs, right up to being given gifts of magical scrolls and other items.  The amount of clout your Artificer can get from this feat opens up a lot of doors that would remain closed to them, even as marked members of their house.

Artisan Feats
The various artisan feats are bread and butter for the crafting Artificer, but a few things need to be pointed out before we go any farther.  These feats have been errata’ed to no longer stack with themselves, and that they do not interact with each other.  For example, the time required to craft an item depends on how much gold it costs to make.  If you use an artisan feat to reduce the gold price of crafting the object, it does not also reduce the time required as well.

The most useful of the artisan feats, and the one you should pick up first, is Extraordinary Artisan, which shaves 25% off the gp price of crafting the item.  Over the course of the character’s adventuring life, the savings reaped from this feat will be simply astounding (it can save you tens of thousands of gold on single items late in the game).  The Artificer has ways of getting around all of the other crafting aspects to one degree or another except for this one, so its very important.

The next artisan feat on your list should be Legendary Artisan, which reduces the xp cost of crafting the item by 25%.  You already have a Craft Reserve that keeps you from having to pay actual xp for your items, but it is a finite amount, and crafting a lot of items, or even just one or two really big ones can drain your reserve pretty fast.  This lets you stretch your Craft Reserve even farther.

Exceptional Artisan is a feat you should actually avoid taking.  It reduces the crafting time by 25%, which while useful, is made obsolete by the Dedicated Wright homunculus which can do your crafting for you while you adventure.  The main advantage of this feat is that it reduces the downtime required for crafting, but the wright means that you don’t need any downtime at all to craft, since you can just leave him behind to do the work while you and the party go raid a temple or whatever else you want to do, and come back to find the item finished and waiting for you when you get back.  To add insult to injury, the reduced crafting time actually makes crafting the items HARDER for the Artificer, as they get fewer chances to make their UMD check (see the Crafting Items section for more details).

Attune Magic Weapon
Attune Magic Weapon is such a good feat, it practically speaks for itself.  As an Artificer, you are virtually the ONLY person in the party that is guaranteed to have a magical weapon. With this feat, you get a +1 to hit and a +1 to damage using an attuned weapon. Its effectively a free +1 to every magic weapon you have (although it won’t help you get past Epic damage reduction). Its everything that Weapon Focus is, applies to any kind of weapon, and even throws in half of Weapon Specialization, for any weapon. The only reason you would want to take Weapon Focus when Attune Magic Weapon is available is because they stack with each other.  It’s a must for any Meleeficer, and any Artificer that uses a weapon of any kind will reap big benefits from taking it, so by all means do so.

Extra Rings
This is a powerful feat, very, very powerful.  It lets you wear an extra magical ring on each hand, meaning you can benefit from four rings at the same time.  By comparison, the only other way to get this effect is the Extra Slot feat, which is in the Epic Level Handbook as an epic level feat, and even that would only give you one extra ring slot.  This gives you two, pre-epic, and since Forge Ring is a prereq for it, you are guaranteed to have access to all the rings you could want to fill those extra slots.

Wand Mastery
Any Artificer that relies on his or her wands to deal damage will find this feat desirable, and its critical to a Blastificer build.  It increases the caster level and DC of the spell stored in the wand by 2, meaning you do more damage, the spells last longer, and they are harder to resist.  Given how expensive it is to raise the caster level on a wand, this feat can get a lot of mileage and save you a lot of gold by letting you intentionally craft the wand 2 levels lower than normal, and using this feat to bump it back up to full power for you and you alone (which also makes it a good security feature, as anyone who takes the wand for you will not be as dangerous as you were with it).  And of course, you can always use this to make the most powerful wand you’re capable of, and then letting it ramp the power up two more notches.  This is basically the wand equivalent of Attune Magic Weapon, and should be taken for the same reasons.

Cull Wand Essence
This feat allows you to convert wand charges into raw damage.  The damage output per charge is dependant on spell level, and typically isn’t a match for an actual attack spell, but it means the Artificer can get double duty out of what would normally be utility wands.  So, for example, if you are carrying around a Wand of Knock and get in a tight spot, you could use this feat to turn that Knock wand into an attack wand.  Its not efficient, but it is effective.  Blastificers won’t get a lot of use out of this, as they will have all of the attack wands they could ever want anyway, but for generic Artificers, Buffificers, and most of the rest, it can provide a last ditch fallback that could save your character’s life in a pinch.  Or it can let your Buffificer with all their Bull’s Strength wands and the like turn into a rudimentary Blastificer when needed without having to waste character wealth on attack wands they won’t typically be using.

Improved Homunculus
An important feat choice for a Hordeficer, and any Artificer that wants to use their Craft Homunculus ability for more than just window dressing.  It will let you increase your Iron Defender’s hit points, give your Furtive Filcher sneak attack, and the bonuses it give are FREE based on hitdice.  You could turn your Iron Defender from a nuisance into a powerful flanker by increasing it’s strength, giving it the ability to make sneak attacks, adding a Flaming enhancement to it’s bite, and more, without spending any extra gold in the process.  It won’t work for other constructs, so no making a flying Iron Golem with this one, but it gives your homunculi a much needed boost that can make them viable even at higher levels, where they normally become a liability.

Rapid Infusion
Normally, to speed up an Infusion’s casting time, you have to spend one of your limited action points to do so.  When you are out of action points, you can no longer speed up your infusions, leaving you at a distinct disadvantage.  This feat allows you to speed up an infusion, just like if you had spent an action point, without actually spending the action point.  Its only good for one speed up per day, but it will help drastically reduce the number of action points you spend per level.  Just using one AP to speed up infusing Bane on your weapon every combat will end up costing you 13 AP per level, which is more than you get until well into the later levels.  This feat would save you 3 action points per level, assuming a standard 4 encounters per day, which puts it right on par with Heroic Spirit.  However, unlike Heroic Spirit, you can be completely out of action points and still use this ability (although you can use the Heroic Spirit’s actual AP boost on things like attacks and saves, so it balances out).  This one is a must have feat.  And if you combine it with Heroic Spirit, your action point needs should be covered for the rest of your career.

Wand Surge
A must have feat for Blastificers, and quite powerful for even normal Artificers that have Heroic Spirit.  Wand Surge allows you to spend Action Points instead of charges when using a wand, which means the Blastificer in particular can pour on the metamagic triggers with their wands without worrying about making a huge dent in their wallets.  Of course, the dent in their Action Points will be pretty big, but when you just need that extra mile out of your wand, this is how you get it.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2009, 09:01:18 PM by dark_samuari » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2009, 08:56:59 PM »

Skills
*An Artificer Demonstrating His Knowledge of the Planes*

What skills your Artificer takes will have little bearing overall on how they turn out as far as Artificer types are concerned, but will have a lot of bearing on what they feel like to play. An Artificer that maxxes out his Search, Disable, Open Lock, and Appraise is going to feel very different from one that maxxes out Knowledge Arcana and Spellcraft, for example. But when it comes right down to it, as an Artificer, you job is to make things, so keeping at least one craft skill maxxed out is a good idea. Not only will you be able to make the base items you use for enchanting cheaper than you could buy them, but you can also enchant them while you make them, letting you kill two birds with one stone, time wise. Where you end up spending your skill points will be up to your own personal style of play, but a few key skills will be covered here, as well as all of the appropriate skill synergies to let you get the most out of your skill ranks.

Weapon and Armor Smithing
Odds are that you will be the first stop for your party when it comes to getting new gear, and first and foremost this means weapons and armor. If you don’t want to spend points to max these out, figure out what kind of weapons and armor your party will be using. See which one is the hardest to make from each category (the hardest to make weapon, and hardest to make armor), then find the craft DC to make them. Buy up enough ranks in these skills so that you can Take 10 on crafting and automatically succeed at that highest DC, and then don’t bother putting any more points into them, as you won’t need them. After you can craft the gear 100% of the time without fail, there’s no real need to invest more ranks. Although, when crafting, you can voluntarily increase the check DC in order to lower the amount of time required to craft the item (you are essentially doing a rush job), so there is a reason to keep investing points, but it isn’t absolutely required.

Armorsmithing, Blacksmithing, Gemcutting, and Sculpting
These are the four skills that can be used to repair a Warforged, and if you know there will be a Warforged in the party, you can get yourself a pretty dedicated defender out of them by being the one that patches them up with those repair checks, so keep one of these maxxed out. Which skill you choose to use will depend on what you want to do with it, besides just repairing warforged (you may wish to put ranks in all of them for different reasons). Armorsmithing, as already covered, is great for making armor for yourself and the rest of the party. Blacksmithing covers making any metal object not covered by the other skills, like jewelry, as well as the more standard horseshoes and nails. If you plan on making your own rings and amulets, this is the skill you would use. Gemcutting is a relatively obscure skill, and doesn’t have much practical application (when was the last time your DM ever gave you uncut gems as treasure?), so you can skip it. Sculpting is almost as bad as gemcutting, however there is a very useful homunculus that requires a sculpting check in order to create the body for. Its not enough to warrant max ranks though, but a few points here wouldn’t hurt. Overall though, Armorsmithing is the best skill to keep maxxed for warforged repair, as it has the most practical secondary uses.

Knowledge
Depending on the DM, the various Knowledge skills can be essential for playing an effective Artificer. Beyond simply knowing magic rituals and tidbits of information with Knowledge Arcana, the DM may make you roll to see if you can properly identify an opponent’s type before (s)he allows you to use a Bane infusion of the correct type, citing that you can’t very well know to make your crossbow an Aberration Bane if your character doesn’t know how to tell an Aberration from an Outsider. If your DM does ask this of your Artificer, put ranks in Knowledge Arcana, Religion, The Planes, Nature, and Dungeoneering, and you should be covered.

Spellcraft
The most generally used aspect of Spellcraft is to identify ongoing magical effects. For an Artificer, knowing what is going on is the first step in being able to choose the proper counter measure to disable it. Which, while useful in it’s own right, is not the most useful function of this skill for the Artificer. It can also be used to identify magic items, for free, simply by looking and playing with them. By examining the way the item uses magic, how it reacts, etc, you can determine things like it’s plus bonus, it enhancements, and more. While not 100% reliable, it is totally free, and means you will be able to help identify magical items without having to spend money and time using an Identify spell.

Search, Disable Device, and Open Lock
How much use your Artificer gets out of these skills depends directly on if your party has a Rogue in it. If you have a Rogue, these things are his department, let him spend his higher number of skill points on them. If you do not have a Rogue in the party, then the Artificer’s ability to find and disable traps will be very important for the party, and you will need to max out your ranks in them, as you are officially the replacement Rogue.

Craft (Alchemy)
Many times this skill goes overlooked, by Artificers and other casters in general. The main reason for this oversight is the general lack of good alchemical items to be found in the PHB, limited really to simple tanglefoot bags, thunderstones, sunrods, alchemist’s fire, and acid, with the occasional tindertwig. While no one would really call these items useless, even at higher levels, they often times are not worth the investment of skillpoints required to reliably craft. However, if you add books that contain alchemical substances to your game, such as Complete Adventurer, or one of the older issues of Dragon that had a large number of alchemical items, the skill quickly becomes far more useful. Alchemical healing salves that work almost as well as healing potions, to chemicals that increase various skill checks, such as oils that loosen up stuck locks, sticky gels that make climbing easier, or ointments that increase your visual prowess.

However, because of the generally low level usefulness of these items (most often by the higher levels you will be better served using infusions to replicate spells that grant similar or better results), it is unlikely that you would want to spend a large investment of skillpoints here. Instead, look through the sources you have available, find the most difficult to craft substance, and invest just enough points in this skill that you can Take 10 and successfully craft it, and then don’t both putting any more points into it. If, on rare occasion you find something hard to make that you absolutely must have right then, burn an Action Point to add 1d6 to your crafting check to give you the added boost you need.

Craft Skills in General
As briefly touched upon earlier, each homunculus requires a different craft check in order to build it’s body. As with the weapon and armor smithing, you will want to buy just enough ranks that you can Take 10 on the craft check and automatically pass it, and then not worry about putting any more ranks into it, as you won’t need them. Often times though, the low craft DC for these checks combined with the high Intelligence modifier an Artificer should have means the skill point investment for these skills is very minimal, usually only 1 or 2 ranks each. Or, you can always just hire someone else to build the homunculi bodies for you, and then enchant them up on your own later, bypassing the need for these skills entirely. However, when you make them yourself, you get to say what they look like. If you don’t want your Dedicated Wright to look like a mutant dwarf baby, and instead want it to look like a little warforged, crafting the body yourself means you can do that.

Appraise
While not a critical skill for the Artificer by any stretch of the imagination, Appraise makes for excellent roleplaying potential, while still having a real, practical application in game. From the roleplaying standpoint, the Artificer is a master of making just about everything, so it makes sense that they would know what they are talking about when it comes to the value of what they make. An Artificer should be able to just look at something and be able to tell if its well made and valuable, or a cheap piece of mass produced junk, and Appraise is the skill that lets them do this. From a more practical standpoint, it takes very little time to Appraise an object, and even if you don’t get it just right, it will tell you right away if something is cheap, or if it is very expensive, and thus more likely to be magical. With this skill, you can scan the room, pick out what the expensive items are, and take them back with you to cast Identify on later.

Decipher Script
Although not a class skill, Decipher Script can be important to the Artificer for both flavor and mechanical reasons. For flavor, the ability to make and crack codes and ciphers have long been associated with alchemists, and the idea of chalk boards filled with arcane scrawlings in the workshop have a nice feel to them. Mechanically, the Artificer can use Decipher Script to identify unknown scrolls without having to resort to using Read Magic. And, as will be shown next, a high enough Decipher Script check will give you a bonus to your Use Magic Device checks in order to activate a scroll.

Synergies
The hallmark of a truly advanced Artificer player is one that knows how to spread their skill points around to maximize their versatility and power with a minimal cost. They do this through skill synergy, or in laymen’s terms, they know that having 5 ranks in certain skills will give a bonus to other skills, automatically. The most important skill synergies for an Artificer are listed below:

5 or more ranks in Spellcraft gives +2 on UMD for scrolls
5 or more ranks in Decipher Script gives +2 UMD on scrolls
5 or more ranks in UMD gives +2 to Spellcraft to decipher spells on scrolls
5 or more ranks in Knowledge Architecture/Engineering gives +2 on search skills for secret doors and compartments

Also, while not technically a synergy, the well versed Artificer can get bonuses to their Use Magic Device checks using the following tricks:

You get +2 on UMD checks if you've activated the device previously
You get +2 on UMD if they have the appropriate item creation feat

So, just by spreading your skill points around, you can get +6 to your UMD checks to activate a scroll simply by having ranks in Spellcraft, Decipher Script, and having Scribe Scroll (which you get right from the start).
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« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2009, 08:57:17 PM »

Class Abilities

Up till now, we have covered what amounts to generic character creation. Picking races, feats, skills, etc, things that you would do for any character, regardless of class. These are things you could likely have done on your own without too much difficulty, but if you’ve been reading straight through, it should hopefully have given you some ideas on the rough outline of how the class works. Now we will be getting into more specific details on what makes an Artificer an Artificer, their class abilities. If you find that there is something about how an Artificer works, mechanically speaking, this is likely the section you should pay special attention to. While this guide won’t cover *EVERY* ability the Artificer gains (partly for OGL reasons), what it skips over should be self-explanatory (such as Bonus Feats and Disable Trap).

Infusions
Infusions are arguably one of the more confusing abilities possessed by an Artificer. While it is true that the Artificer is not a spellcaster, and that they do not have spell lists, they do have something similar going by a different name, Infusions. Superficially, infusions act very much like a cross between a Cleric and a Sorcerer’s spellcasting abilities. All Artificers automatically know all infusions available to them, much like how clerics know all spells of a given level, but the Artificer can choose which infusion to use without preparation, like the Sorcerer. The biggest difference, mechanically speaking, is that Infusions cannot be cast directly, they must be infused into an object or a construct. In effect, an infusion creates a temporary magic item (or affects a construct), and that is all. They could infuse Bull’s Strength directly into a construct, like a Warforged, but not directly into a human. They would instead need to infuse the spell into an item, like a belt, and then have the person wear the item, creating a kind of temporary Belt of Giant’s Strength.

This does not come cheap, however. Many infusions have very long casting times (anywhere from 1 round actions up to a full minute or longer), and as a general rule of thumb, any infusion that would let the Artificer grant abilities to someone else will have a very costly material component. The long casting time can be partially sidestepped by using action points. If you burn one action point (AP), you can speed up your infusion into a full round action. Note that a full round action is not the same as a casting time of 1 round. 1 round casting times begin when you start casting them, and when your turn comes around again, where full round actions all happen on your turn normally, they simply keep you from taking a move action (although a 5’ step is still available to you). There is also a feat that can help you speed up infusions without the use of action points, as covered in the Feats sections of the guide above. The costly material components, however, you cannot get around so easily.

For example, lets look at one of the Artificer’s best combat infusions, Personal Weapon Augmentation. With this, the Artificer can give any weapon they wield a +1 equivalent ability, even if the base weapon is not already magical, or even masterwork, and it does not cost them anything to do so. However, this infusion relies on the skill and expertise of the Artificer to maintain the temporary enchantment, meaning it cannot be passed on to someone else to use. To give someone else’s weapon that same +1 equivalent ability requires the use of the Weapon Augmentation infusion, which has a costly material component, namely 50 gp worth of oils and unguents, making it fairly expensive for low level use. Worse yet, the infusions that require these costly material components all typically require different components, meaning you must carry a wide arrangement of oils and such with you, tying up a good amount of character wealth in components. While this might not seem so bad, the logistics of trying to carry dozens of various vials and bottles around can become an issue, not to mention the fact that they can get rather heavy. So, you will usually find yourself sticking mainly to buffing yourself via your infusions, and either only using infusions without the costly components on others, while carrying around a few bottles of the costly stuff for emergencies. At higher levels, when you can afford to spend 50 gp a pop to boost someone else’s weapon, by all means do so, and if the party members want the use of your expensive infusions at earlier levels, they can always buy the components for you (see the Team Play section towards the end of the guide for details on interacting with the other players, including charging them for services).

This may all make Infusions sound like a lot of hassle, and to some extent they are, but the benefits far outweigh the costs if used properly (see Tricks of the Trade for some particularly good infusions to use). Beyond their obvious power, infusions are not arcane spells, and do not suffer from Arcane Spell Failure, meaning they can be used in medium and even heavy armor without fear of failure. However, the downside of an infusion not being a spell is that they cannot be used like spells. Yes, you can use metamagic on infusions, but an infusion cannot be used for spell prereqs when crafting items, so that while you may have an infusion that duplicates the Light spell, you would still need to make a UMD check to fake the spell when crafting anything that required that spell. Another drawback is that the Artificer cannot research new infusions like a wizard can research new spells. It simply cannot be done, no matter how bright and creative your Artificer is, he will never be able to simply invent a new Infusion. Adding new infusions to the list should be a big deal, adventures in their own right to wrest the secrets from some long forgotten cult, or finding a schema detailing the new infusion somewhere in the buried heart of Xen’Drik in a long abandoned giant temple, never something the Artificer just does in the downtime and suddenly has an infusion no one has ever seen before.

A helpful way to visualize exactly what an Infusion does when its used is to picture the item you are infusing as being a picture, a diagram, or a web of lines. The pattern of those lines define what the item is, what properties it has, etc. When you infuse the item, you are essentially delving into the pattern, and moving lines around, changing the properties of the physical object in the process. So, if you move this line over here, erase that line, and draw a new one over here, you’ve re-written part of that item to resemble fire, and your sword suddenly bursts into flame (you just infused a personal weapon augmentation to give it the Flaming ability). However, these changes are temporary, and eventually the original pattern re-asserts itself, hence the infusions having a limited duration. The more skilled the artificer (aka the higher their level), the more drastic of a change they can make (hence more powerful effects).

Craft Reserve
Normally, a spellcaster uses their knowledge of magic to imprint a new property onto an item, and has to put a bit of their own life force into it to hold that impression in place. To use the previous visualization, a wizard would see magic item creation as being like taking a big rubber stamp and smooshing the fire symbol on top of the pattern for a sword, and then forcibly holding that symbol in place to make a permanent magical item, but they have to leave a little bit of themselves behind to hold it there. In game terms, they have to spend xp when making items. The Artificer has another option though, which allows them to craft items without spending xp at all, they have their Craft Reserve. Think of it like a reserve of magical energy that the Artificer can tap into to use while crafting. When they craft that new item, they can use some of that energy to hold the new design in place, instead of having to use their own life force.

Mechanically, the Craft Reserve is essentially a little pool of points that can be used instead of xp when crafting magical items. Something important to remember though is that this pool of points resets at every level to the value given on the table, it is not additive. In other words, if you currently have more points in your craft reserve than normal (typically by having used Retain Essence, covered later), and you gain a level, you can actually lose crafting points as your total resets to a lower value. This also means that any points you don’t use from the previous level will essentially be wasted when you level up, as you will have the same number of points for this new level as you would have if you had totally emptied the reserve before, or hadn’t used it at all. Many times, the adventuring Artificer will find that they get enough xp to level up while in the middle of nowhere, without having had time to use all of their craft reserve. If this happens close enough to the end of that particular adventure, the Artificer can make use of the often ignored rule that you can delay leveling up, that you don’t automatically gain a level as soon as you have enough xp for it. That means the Artificer can go home, use up his craft reserve, and then level up, and not have lost anything. If this happens in the middle of an adventure though, not leveling up can put them behind the power curve, and endanger themselves and the party by not being a high enough level to effectively combat the threats presented to them, so it is a balancing act on when to level, and when not to level.

Artificer Knowledge
As the Artificer advances, they begin to get an innate feel for all things magical, as far as items go anyway. Be it a gut feeling or just experience enough to recognize tiny little details that others miss, the Artificer can tell if something is magical just by looking at it. This is their Artificer Knowledge ability.

By handling and examining an object, an experience Artificer can make an Artificer Knowledge check in much the same way a Bard can make a Bardic Knowledge check, except instead of that check telling you the background of the item, this one tells you if it has magical properties or not. Ideally, the Artificer would make an Appraise check to see which items appeared to be unusually valuable, and then make an Artificer Knowledge check on those items in particular. If he thinks they are magical, he can then use Identify on just those items, without worrying about wasting 100 gp worth of pearls and an hour’s worth of time on a mundane item.

Granted, a simple use of Detect Magic is more effective, but is also going to be a more limited resource that may not always be available (like if you’ve already used all of your infusions for the day). This ability is mundane, and costs the Artificer nothing, not even an infusion per day to use.

Artisan Bonus
Knowing how something is made often times gives insight into how it works, and the same holds true for the Artificer. Any time an Artificer attempts to activate a magic item for which he also knows how to create, he gains a +2 bonus to the Use Magic Device check to do so. For an often overlooked and forgotten example, the Artificer gets Scribe Scroll at level 1, as well as his Artisan Bonus, meaning that he automatically starts the game with a +2 circumstance bonus UMD to activate a Scroll, which stacks with his skill ranks, his charisma modifier, possible synergy bonuses, everything. When he gets high enough to be able to craft a wand, he would then gain a +2 bonus to activating the wand. Add that to the fact that UMD automatically grants a +2 to the check for any item you’ve activated before, and you’re looking at an automatic +2 to activating that wand the first time, and an automatic +4 to activating that wand every time after that.

This is an innate part of what the Artificer is (since you gain it at level 1), and is essentially 2/3rds of the Skill Focus (UMD) feat for free. A subtle but very powerful ability.

Item Creation
This is the area that even the most experienced D&D player will often stumble over, so do not feel ashamed if you don’t understand it right away. That said, this is the defining ability of the Artificer, the function that the class was built to perform. Through the use of their unique abilities, as will be explained shortly, the Artificer is potentially capable of making literally any magical item ever printed, regardless of who it was originally intended to be made for or by. The process is fairly complicated though, so we will take it one step at a time, and provide some examples of the process towards the end of this sub-section to show you how its done.

Getting Started
At the most basic level, the Artificer makes a magical item just like everybody else. You take the market value of the item you want to make, and divide by 1,000 to get the number of days it will take you to craft the item. Take the market value of the item and divide it by 25, and you will get how many xp the item costs to create (some or all of which you can supply from your Craft Reserve). Take the market value of the item and divide it by 2, and you will get how much gold it will cost you to make the item. This is the basic information you need to start the crafting process.

Cost to Craft (gp) = Market Price / 2
Cost to Craft (xp) = Market Price / 25
Time to Craft (in days) = Market Price / 1,000

The primary difference in what the Artificer does is that instead of casting the spells (if any) that are required as prerequisites, they make a Use Magic Device check to fake it. The DC is 20 + Caster Level of the spell being faked. So, lets say your Artificer wants to scribe a scroll of Magic Missile, a lvl 1 spell, they would need to make a UMD check with a DC of 20 + 1 = 21 (to make a scroll that only fires a single missile). If they pass the check, then they succeed in making the item. If you fail the check, it does not necessarily mean that you fail at making the item though. While crafting, you get to make one UMD check per day, plus a single extra check at the very end as a last ditch emergency check, giving you a minimum of two attempts. You only need to pass one of these checks in order to succeed, so even if you fail the first check, you will always have at least one more try at it. For the more expensive items, you will even get dozens of chances to make that single check, meaning you are virtually assured of success. Should the Artificer attempt to make an item that does not have a spell prereq to emulate, success is automatic. Making a +3 sword does not require you to cast any spells, you only need to be a high enough level, meaning there are no UMD checks to make, and the Artificer can craft it normally.

Quirks
The next level of complication is that an Artificer counts as being 2 levels higher for meeting minimum crafter level prereqs only. For example, take a Wizard making a Scroll of Fireball. Normally, level 5 is the minimum crafting level for that scroll, as that is the earliest level that the wizard could cast a Fireball to fulfill the Fireball spell prereq. The Artificer, however, could potentially scribe that same scroll at only level 3, because he counts as being a lvl 5 crafter, thanks to the +2 boost. The drawback to this is that while the Artificer counts the +2 to determine when he or she can make the item, they do not apply it to their “caster level” when determining the effects of the spell. So, using the Fireball scroll example, when the Wizard scribes the scroll at lvl 5, his caster level for it is also 6, meaning it does 5d6 damage. When the level 3 Artificer scribes that scroll, they have to use their real Artificer level as the caster level, meaning the Fireball will only deal 3d6 damage, not 5d6.

The Artificer also has one further kink in their item making process, that pertains mainly to scrolls. Since they make Use Magic Device checks to scribe their scrolls with, the spells contained in said scrolls are not arcane, or divine, meaning that the only way to activate them is with a UMD check. An Artificer cannot, by the rules, make a scroll of Fireball, hand it to the Wizard, and have the Wizard cast from it like they normally would. While seemingly odd, there is a reason for this limitation. An Artificer can make a scroll of any spell they want, by virtue of faking it with UMD, they do not have to have it as a Spell Known. A Wizard does need to know the spell before they can use it. Given a bit of time and gold, an Artificer could make a scroll of every arcane spell in the game, hand them to the party Wizard, and let him scribe all of the spells in the game into his spellbooks. That’s unbalancing, so this fix was put into place. It does have its up side though. Since a scroll made by an Artificer is not Arcane, it does not suffer from Arcane Spell Failure, meaning the Artificer can cast from it with UMD while wearing medium and heavy armor without worrying about botching the spell.

Walkthroughs
Lets go through an example of the entire process using a fairly simple item from the DMG:[sblock=The Scabbard of Keen Edges]Found on page 266 of the DMG, the Scabbard of Keen Edges has the following crafting information:
“Faint transmutation; CL 5th, Craft Wondrous Item, keen edge; Price 16,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.”

From this, we pick out the information we need.

It’s crafting level is 5.
It’s market price is 16,000 gp.
It has Keen Edge as a spell prereq.

The rest of the information we don’t really need to worry about (aside from that you need to have Craft Wondrous Item before you can even start to make it). We now need to extract the other information we need out of the market price:

Cost to Craft (in gp) = market price / 2 = 16,000 gp / 2 = 8,000 gp.
It will cost us 8,000 gp to make this item

Cost to Craft (in xp) = market price / 25 = 16,000 gp / 25 = 640 xp.
It will cost 640 xp to make this item, which will have to come from the Craft Reserve, your actual xp total, or a combination of the two (so if you only have 600 points in your reserve, you could spend all 600, and only have to pay 40 real xp).

Time to Craft (in days) = market price / 1,000 = 16,000 / 1,000 = 16 days.
It will take just over 2 weeks of work (16 days) in order to make this item.

Now, the only thing we have left to figure out is what DC the UMD check is going to be, so we go to the PHB and look up the Keen Edge spell, and find that it is a lvl 3 spell, which means the minimum caster level for it is 5th. And we know that the UMD DC is 20 + Caster level, meaning this spell requires a DC 25 UMD check to successfully fake.

We bring all of that information together, and we get this:
Cost: 8,000 gp
XP: 640
Time: 16 days
UMD DC: 25

Assuming we have the necessary magical laboratory to work in, and that we have all of the needed supplies, we can start crafting. Lets assume we have the minimum level Artificer required to make this item, lvl 3 (don’t forget that while the item has a crafting level prereq of 5, the Artificer counts as being 2 levels higher than he really is for this), and we’ll just assume somebody else gave him enough gold to be able to afford it. We’ll also assume that he has a total of +8 to his UMD checks (+6 for max ranks, +2 for a Charisma of 14).

Day 1: Enchanting Begins.
Flavor text aside, the only mechanical aspect you need to worry about is the UMD check. Its DC 25, and you have a +8 to your UMD check, meaning you need to roll a 17 or higher to succeed. Pretty steep odds, so lets assume you fail the check. No big deal. Since it will take 16 days to craft, you get 16 tries to make the roll, plus an extra one at the end.

Day 2-12: Constant Progress, Constant Failure
You are working diligently, things are coming along, but you still haven’t made that UMD check yet.

Day 13: Success!
You rolled a 19 for today’s UMD check, meaning you passed. Hooray, no more skill checks required, you’re on easy street from here out.

Day 16: The End
You made your check, so at the end of this day of crafting, you will have your Scabbard of Keen Edges. If you had not made the check before today, you would get your normal check for the day, and if you failed that, you would get your last ditch emergency check to try and salvage everything.

Here’s the kicker though. If you fail that check every single time, then you will fail at making the item, and all of the money and xp/craft points you put into making it will be wasted as well. That is a *LOT* of time and money to flush down the drain, so should you actually find yourself using that emergency roll at the end, you should spend an Action Point to boost the outcome. Remember though that you can only spend an AP before you know if your roll succeeded or failed, and since you’re going up against a known, set DC, that means you’ll need to burn it before you make the roll. But by this point, potentially wasting an AP is far better than potentially failing the roll and wasting all that time and money. And if you still fail, well, you did everything you could, better luck next time.[/sblock]Now, lets throw some extra complications into the mix. What if your Artificer has some of the Artisan feats to reduce the time/gold/xp costs of making an item? Lets look at that Scabbard of Keen Edges again, this time with the Extraordinary Artisan feat.[sblock=Scabbard of Keen Edges with Extraordinary Artisan]Lets first grab the necessary information from the previous example, no need going through all of it again.

Crafting
Cost: 8,000 gp
XP: 640
Time: 16 days
UMD DC: 25

Now, Extraordinary Artisan lowers the gp cost of the item by 25%, which seems pretty easy at first, but it has some pitfalls. Even though the feat says market price, it *ONLY* affects the cost to craft, nothing else. First, lets find out how much of a reduction we get. Market Price is 16,000 gp, to find the lower price we can either multiply the market price by .25 and subtract that number from the original, or we can just multiply the original by .75, either way we get that the new price is 12,000 gp.

Now here is where people mess up. You use that 12,000 gp price to determine only the crafting price (which will be 6,000 gp now, instead of 8,000 gp). You do not use the 12,000 gp price to determine time or xp costs, for those you still have to use the original 16,000 gp price.

You would use the same procedure with the other Artisan feats, changing each cost as appropriate. If you haven’t noticed it already, and didn’t read it in the feats section, Exceptional Artisan reduces the crafting time by 25%, which reduces the number of days required to craft the item 25%. That means you will have 25% fewer chances to make your UMD check to successfully create the item, which generally makes taking this feat a handicap to your crafting abilities.And now that you know how to make the items once you know their costs, lets spend a moment on how to correctly determine the price for custom made items.

The first step in making any custom magic item is to talk it over with your DM. Actually, talking it over with your DM should be the first step in making any magical item with your Artificer. (S)He may have an adventure ready for you that your new item idea could ruin, might not allow that particular item in their game, or have suggestions on how to modify the item to be a better fit with the existing game. Magic items as a whole are the domain of your DM, not you as a Player, even if you are playing an Artificer (which comes with certain assumed rights to being able to make magical items). Assuming you get the go ahead, somebody is going to have to stat this item up. Many times, this will happen one of two ways. One, the DM will let the player requesting to make the item stat it up, and then either okay or reject the finished item once you hand it to them. The other option is that the DM may ask you to describe everything you want the item to do to him (or her), and then they will create the item themselves, and give you the specifics on it when they are done. Either way, expect there to be some haggling back and forth over a custom magic item as you both try to make it into what you want it to be.

And remember, the guidelines in the DMG about how to price a magical item are just that, guidelines. They are not set in stone, and if a price sounds too low or too high when you use those rules, then chances are it is too high/low, and you’ve found another example of where the guidelines don’t work very well. That said, lets do an example of making a very simple little custom item that you would likely find in any affluent city dweller’s pocket.

Custom Magical Item: Magic Zippo. First step, come up with what we want the magic item to do. In this case, we want to make a nifty little item for a character that smokes cigars, or maybe they just want a fast and easy way to light their torches, either way, we need a magical version of a real life modern day lighter.

So, what does the item need to do? It needs to make fire, obviously enough, but stating out EXACTLY what you want it to do will make it easier to choose the right spell to base it off of. Do we want it to explode in a huge radius and kill people? No, that would be a grenade, not a lighter, so we probably don’t want to base it off of the Fireball spell. Thumbing through the spells, we find that Prestidigitation can produce a finger sized jet of flame capable of lighting a torch, that’s perfect, so lets use that.

Spell: Prestidigitation
Level: 0

We look in the DMG at the magical item making guidelines, and choose the one we think is the closest fit to what we want. We want an item that you flick open, it makes fire, and goes off when you close it. The closest thing to that is a Command Word Activation item. Now, you might think that its silly to have to tell a lighter “Flame On!” to make it work, but remember that “command word” also covers “command action”, like pushing a button, or in this case, flipping a lid.

Looking at the formula, we see that it is:
Spell Level x Caster Level x 1,800 gp

We want this to be as simple and cheap as possible, so we’ll use the absolute minimum caster level for it, 1. Plug this in to the equation, and we get:
0 x 1 x 1,800 gp = 0 gp.

What, its free? No, we forgot to read the rest of the guidelines where it says that 0th lvl spells count as lvl ½ when used in these equations. So, lets fix it and try again.

.5 x 1 x 1,800 gp = 900 gp.

So, we have a magical zippo to light our cigars/torches with, but it costs 900 gold? Sounds a bit high, doesn’t it? Well, it is. This item would be able to replication ALL of the functions of Prestidigitation, not just the single use we want, and that’s entirely too much. We’re using a much reduced functionality of the spell, so why pay for a bunch of stuff we don’t want? But there aren’t any really good guidelines on how to do this, because the exact value of any given part of a spell will be vastly different depending on how useful it is. Even if we give it 50% off for being limited, that’s still 450 gp for a lighter, you could buy a masterwork sword for less than that, and get a lot more for your money’s worth. So, it seems we have found an area where the guidelines have failed us, so lets look at one of the other pricing techniques. Compare what you want your item to do to other existing items, and if you find something similar, odds are that the prices will be similar as well.

The closest thing we find after a quick look around is a Tindertwig, a one use alchemical item that does exactly what we want, that costs 1 gp per use. If we look at our guidelines again, we notice where it says that if you are making an infinite use item of something that requires a costly component, you add the price of that component x50.

Now we’ve got two different prices, 450 gp on the high end, and 50 gp on the low end. What should the actual final price of our item fall, within this range? This is where magic item making becomes less of a science, and more of an art, as the correct price isn’t one that can be determined entirely by formulas and comparisons, there is a very real aspect of personal experience that has to enter into the equation as well.

So, lets also look at what level character we would think would be okay to have this item. Level 1 is probably too low for magical goodies, even one as simple as this. They can barely afford their gear, much less a luxury like a magical fire starter, so 50 gp is probably too low. But, this item isn’t really powerful enough to be a threat to anything, since all it does is light things on fire. They have to be normally flammable, and it doesn’t do any straight hitpoint damage (who ever heard of someone being zippo’ed to death?), although they could conceivably die from being set on fire as their clothes catch alight, but then, they could do the same thing with a regular torch, and that’s cheap enough to buy by the dozen at lvl 1. Either way, 450 gp is so expensive it would be lvl 3 or 4 before they got enough money to be able to consider spending that much in one lump sum for anything other than masterwork weapons and armor, so that’s out.

So we have at least narrowed the price range down quite a bit. Its somewhere higher than 50, but less than 450. Lets try doubling the minimum, halving the maximum, and see how we feel. 100 to 275 gp. Much more narrow range, so its easier to get a grip on. Would I pay 100 gp for this item? Yeah, I probably would. Would I pay 275 for it? Probably not, so lets reduce that maximum price. Would I pay 200 for it? Maybe, but not likely, I could buy so many tindertwigs with that much that it wouldn’t be worth spending xp/craft points to make it.

And perhaps that is the key we need after all. That original 50 gp for 50 tindertwigs. Its too low for the item, but we’re looking at crafting the item ourselves. You craft for half the final market price, so the same amount of money plus some xp/cr would get us an infinite use item, with a market price of 100 gp. Already said that 100 gp is a price I would pay for the item, so maybe that is a good price overall for it. Just to be on the safe side though, lets increase the price a bit (its always better to slightly overprice an item than to slightly underprice it), call it 150 gp. That’s still in the 100 to 200 gp price range, its right in the middle actually. Would I pay that for the item? Maybe, but I’d have to think about it first.

And that’s how you know you’ve got a good price for any custom item. When you hit the point where you can say “maybe”, odds are that you either have the right price, or are very close to it. If its so cheap you immediately say yes, its underpriced. If you immediately say no, its overpriced. If it’s a maybe, then just like Goldie Locks, its just right.

So, we’ve got everything we need to stat up our new magical zippo.
Its based on Prestidigitation, the minimum caster level is 1, minimum crafter level is 3 (since that’s the minimum you need to be to even make wondrous items in the first place), and the price is 150 gp. To have your artificer make one, it would cost him 75 gp in materials and the like, 3 xp/cr points, and the minimum of 1 day to craft it. Since he’s having to emulate Prestidigitation, he would need to make a UMD check, DC 21 (since lvl 1 is the minimum level you can cast Prestidigitation at).While it does get harder and harder to price items the more powerful they become, the above process is still essentially what you follow. Try to price it up as best you can with the guidelines, and see if that works to your satisfaction. If not, find other similar items and see if you can use their price for a guideline. If you still can’t get a good solid price, its time to start playing the “Would I pay this?” game until you get a maybe.

Since there will be two of you involved in this process, don’t be afraid to ask each other for input if you get suck. Use each other as a sounding board for ideas and prices. When you both find a price you can agree on, congratulations, you’ve got your finished price.
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dark_samuari
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« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2009, 08:57:33 PM »

Class Abilities Continued

Craft Homunculus
The Artificer’s Homunculus is something similar to a Wizard/Sorcerer’s Familiar, or a Ranger’s Animal Companion. It is a small (size category Tiny to Small) construct that shares a telepathic link with it’s master. Unlike most constructs, the homunculus has both an Intelligence and Charisma score, as well as Wisdom, meaning that it is an intelligent being. However, like the Familiar, it is not actually it’s own separate creature, but an extension of it’s master’s will. When the master says go, it will go. Perhaps not unquestioningly, but it will go non-the-less. Unlike the Familiar, the Artificer is in direct physical danger when their homunculus dies.

Making a Homunculus is essentially the same as making any other magical item, and follows the same steps. First you must obtain the body you want to animate. This can be done either by buying a suitable construct body that someone else has made, or by making the body yourself as you go. If you plan on having homunculi (especially if you are going to be a Hordeficer), then you would do well to invest a few skillpoints in the various crafting skills needed to construct the body. As mentioned in the Skills section, this typically will not amount to more than one or two ranks, and will allow you to customize the appearance of your homunculi. For example, the Iron Defender is describe, by default, as being very much like a guard dog in it’s appearance. If you were the one who crafted the body with the proper metalcrafting checks, you could just as easily make it look feline, or even reptilian (particularly suited for a Talenta plains artificer, to have a miniature metal T-Rex Iron Defender). Once you have a suitable body, you enchant it like a magical item, and if you succeed, you have a new helper. If you fail, you still lose the gold and xp, but the body is not lost, and you can always try it again. And while not explicitly spelled out in the mechanical rules, it would be advised that you not make more than one homunculi per month, especially if you are a Small character, as the process requires a pint of your own blood. Note, warforged are still capable of making Homunculi. The substance they use instead of blood could be alchemical fluids from their body is the default answer, or a mixture of water and the ash from bits of their wooden components mixed together has also been put forward as another possible explanation. Whatever the explanation, there is nothing that says they cannot create homunculi, so they are not prevented from doing so.

Which homunculus you make (or which homunculi, as you are not restricted to only having one) will depend greatly on your own personal preference and play style. Some are made for front line melee combat, others for stealth, and still others for support.

a. Expedititious Messenger
Of the homunculi in the ECS, arguably the most versatile and useful is the Expedititious Messenger. This small flying homunculus is easy to build, relatively inexpensive, and is designed for the purposes of sending messages back and forth over distances of up to a mile via it’s perfect telepathic bond with it’s master. Everything it sees and hears it can send back to it’s master, allowing the Artificer to converse with someone through the messenger. However, it has a much more useful function, as a spy satellite. It has a wonderful bonus to Hide due to it’s small size so it is difficult to spot, even when flying out in the open sky, and can instantly report back to you with what it sees. This means it can fly ahead to scout the area without too much fear of being spotted and shot down (if an opponent would have any reason to want to do so in the first place), or it can be put in a room hiding on a shelf to spy on conversations that others thought private.

b. Dedicated Wright
The next most useful is the Dedicated Wright. As an Artificer, your job is to build magical goodies, both for yourself and for your party. However, this means you would spend incredible amounts of down time crafting, which holds up everyone. To remedy this, create a Dedicated Wright. It will come with fairly high ranks in several crafting skills, and unlike the other homunculi prefers not to go out adventuring with you, preferring to stay home and work. While its nice to have him working on mundane gear for you, his real power comes from his ability to take over the process of crafting magical items for you. Once you have set the process in motion by gathering the needed materials and making a successful UMD to emulate the spells, you are then free to turn the creation over to your Dedicated Wright, and it will happily finish crafting the item, leaving you to go out to the tavern with friends, or go on an adventure with your party while it diligently works away. Of importance to note, however, is that the Dedicated Wright does *NOT* allow you to circumvent the normal magical item creation rules about making more than one magical item at a time. While it is true that it can free you up to work on other projects, the wright is still only an extension of you that is going through the necessary motions to finish the item. The link between you and the item remains the same, however, and trying to invest that energy in another magical item breaks the link to the first one. A small army of wrights could be turned into a mundane item factory if you so desired, but not a magical item factory.

c. Iron Defender
Next is the Iron Defender, the front line melee machine homunculus. This one, while appearing to be a good choice, is one that you need to think about before building (although the bulk of the Hordeficer build is based around these). As a melee combatant, this homunculus will be on the front lines, taking hits and dealing damage. However, if you do not invest fairly large amounts of gold to ensure that it’s hitdice stay as high as possible, you may find it to be quite the liability when something manages to kill it, and you unexpectedly take 2d10 points of damage because of it. Like the other homunculi though, it has a telepathic bond with you, so you will know when it is near destruction, and can have it retreat to safety. With the addition of the Improved Homunculus feat from magic of Eberron, however, the power of the Iron Defender ramps up considerably. Where they would tend to become a liability at higher levels due to their low hitpoints and damage backlash, Improved Homunculus allows you to add a wide array of buffs and improvements to your Iron Defender (or any homunculi) for free, based on hitdice. You could increase it’s hitpoints, make it stronger, give it the ability to make Sneak Attacks, even give it’s natural attacks +1 equivalent enchantments (like Flaming or better yet, Bane), even the ability to fly. Since you would be keeping it’s hitdice as high as possible anyway, all of this can turn a mediocre pet into a rather fearsome foe.

d. Ethereal Filcher
The Ethereal Filcher is almost the polar opposite of the Iron Defender. It isn’t very good in combat, but is exceedingly stealthy, and quite capable of stealing anything it can get it’s shadowy little hands on. While not as maneuverable as the Messenger due to it being grounded and unable to fly, it’s high ranks in stealth skills makes it even better at hiding. It is quite capable of literally climbing up your opponent’s leg and stealing things out of his belt or pack without him even noticing its there. In adventures where you have to retrieve items being guarded by monsters, its invaluable in it’s ability to sneak past the guards to grab the item while you and your party provide the distraction. Use Improved Homunculus to give him wings, and watch a Kender turn green with envy at how many things wind up in your pockets thanks to this homunculi.

e. Arbalester
Magic of Eberron also introduces several new homunculi for you to craft as well. The Arbalester, despite its rather horrendous illustration, is an animated crossbow capable of loading and firing itself independently of you. It has a fairly high Balance check, meaning it can easily perch itself on your shoulder or sit on the back of your pack as you wander around, always ready to let loose a crossbow bolt at the first sign of trouble. If you’ve picked up Improved Homunculi, the natural weapon upgrade will apply to it’s arrows, meaning it will be able to shoot flaming/frosting/shocking/bane arrows at will.

f. Persistent Harrier
The Persistent Harrier is serves as a suitable flanking buddy, and is capable of making Sneak Attacks, however it is rendered obsolete by Improved Homunculus, as you can give that same Sneak Attack ability to the much more combat capable Iron Defender, or the stealthier Furtive Filcher. Why have an obvious ball of spikes in combat that the enemy knows is a threat, when your filcher can silently climb up their legs and Sneak Attack them in… “a vulnerable area that does not often see the light of day”? Yeah, ouch. Check please.

g. Packmate
The Packmate is a small walking treasure chest that can carry small objects like potions around for you. While not that great as a storage device (you’re better off with a Haversack for that), this homunculi earns it’s keep in a way no other can, it can heal you. Along with throwing grenade like weapons (like alchemists fire and acid) that it carries along, it is capable of administering potions to downed allies as well. If your Artificer has become the defacto healer of the party, you may not always have time to use a wand of Cure X Wounds on someone in the middle of combat, due to your own problems. Instead, you simply have your Packmate run over to the downed party member, uncork a healing potion, and pour it down the guy’s throat, restoring them to fighting condition without you having to waste an action that could better be spent plunking off a round from your Bane’ed crossbow.[/indent]

Retain Essence
In any game where the DM does not specifically tailor the treasure specifically to your party, you will eventually get a magical item or three that you either can’t use, or do not want to use. Traditionally, your only option for these items was to sell them for half price and hope for something better in the next batch. While you could still do that, should you need the gold for something else, the better answer is to let the Artificer use Retain Essence on the item.

If the Artificer knows how to make an item, and is high enough level to have Retain Essence, then he can essentially take the item apart and salvage xp from it. Although it destroys the item in the process (as you just took it apart), the Artificer is capable of transferring the xp that went into making the item into his or her craft reserve for later use as they see fit. This can be used to “transfer” an enchantment from one item to another (by salvaging the xp from the original, and then using that same xp to enchant another item with the same properties), with the only expense being gold, or they could salvage numerous smaller magical items in order to get enough points in their craft reserve to make the one large item they have been wanting. A bit of a warning though. You can retain more points than you normally get in your Craft Reserve for your level, but when you level up, the reserve always resets to the listed amount, even if you had more than that amount before. In these cases, you should either delay leveling up until you have time to use those points, or simply not use Retain Essence when you are close to leveling, and instead saving those items until after you level up.

An interesting side note to Retain Essence is that the way it is worded in the ECS, it allows you to use RE on *ANY* item that you have the proper crafting feat for. Magical traps are created using Craft Wondrous Items. So, while it still takes 24 hours to do (and there is no telling what monstrosities may attack you in that time), you could technically use Retain Essence to disable and cannibalize a magic trap that you could not otherwise disable. In effect, you turn a trap into treasure, as well as an encounter. Not only would you get xp for overcoming the trap, you would get the xp used to make it dumped into your Craft Reserve for later use.

Metamagic Spell Trigger/Completion
Normally, once a spell trigger or spell completion item (aka a wand or scroll) is made, it cannot be changed. A fireball scroll is a fireball scroll, and nothing you do will ever make it be anything but a fireball scroll. Or a wand of lightning is always going to have a set number of damage dice (like 9d6), and there is nothing you can do to change that. Unless you are an Artificer. These two abilities are the core of the Blastificer build, and allow you to apply any metamagic feat you know to any wand or scroll you have. If you have a fireball wand and are going up against a fire elemental, the wand would be useless to you. If you had Metamagic Spell Trigger, the Energy Substitution (Cold) feat, and that wand, you could apply the metamagic you know to the wand, letting you fire off Coldballs at the elemental instead of Fireballs. The drawback to this is that if the metamagic has a level adjustment to the spell (which they almost all do), each extra level uses up an extra charge from the wand when you use it. Maximize is a +4 SLA to do maximum damage, and you could apply that to a fireball wand to maximize it’s damage, but doing so would cost you 5 charges per shot, one for the spell, 4 for the spell level adjustment from the metamagic.

There has been some debate over the nature of these abilities, namely on whether or not you could apply more than one metamagic to a single item at a time. This is the core of many of the claims that the Artificer is overpowered, because a sufficiently determined Blastificer could potentially do damage numbering in the thousands of points by piling on metamagic feats like Empower, Maximize, Twin, Chain, Repeating, Energy Admixture, etc onto one single shot. Of course, the drawback to this is that the level adjustment on that kind of metamagic stacking is so high that it can potentially drain a fully charged wand in a single blast, but oh what a blast it would be.

The official word is that the intention of this ability is that it can only apply one metamagic trigger at a time, although the wording in the books do leave it open for interpretation. Many DMs limit to only one use for the sake of balance, precisely to eliminate pouring an entire wand into one massive shot as previously mentioned, as almost nothing in the game can withstand that kind of brute force damage from a single hit.
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dark_samuari
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« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2009, 08:57:50 PM »

Equipment
"Now don't fucking destroy this, it costs a lot of my god damn reserve!"

The Artificer has, at the same time, both the easiest and the worst time with equipment.  With the ability to craft and enchant literally anything in the game, whatever equipment a player could ever desire is only a matter of gold and time before he gets it.  At the same time, that very selection can make the matter of trying to pick equipment a staggering problem simply because of the overwhelming amount of choices to pick from.  However, there are some good guidelines to keep in mind when picking your gear, so lets go over the basics first.

Weapons
For the low level Artificer, the light crossbow is without question your best choice in weaponry.  It’s natural range and firepower will keep you off the front line while still letting you do respectable damage.  Combine that with a Bane infusion (see Tricks of the Trade), and you will be tearing through opponents like they were tissue paper without putting yourself at risk.  But do not rely entirely on the crossbow, make sure to carry backup weapons.  A pair of daggers should be mandatory for every character, both as tools and emergency weapons.  Simply buy a pair and say you’re keeping them in your boots, and forget about them.  When you need them though, you’ll be glad they’re there.  A mace is most likely your best choice for a melee weapon.  Not only is it useful against things like undead, but at later levels you can enchant it into a Disrupting Mace.  At higher levels, you need to find a way to get access to better weapons (see the Magical Gear section below on an easy way to do this), preferably the longbow if you want to stay as a ranged combatant, or a sword/axe if you plan on going the Meleeficer route.  Another good option for the Artificer at all levels is the Spear, which is exceedingly powerful for a Simple weapon, although it does mean giving up your shield, and as I’ll cover in a moment, that’s not a good idea if you’re going to do melee.

Armor
To start with, none of your class skills are effected by armor check penalties in any way, so do not even worry about that aspect of armor.  Everything it applies to will be so poorly developed that you won’t be relying on those skill checks in the first place (likely using magical items to overcome that weakness), so you should try to get the heaviest armor you are proficient in, and stay in it.  However, anything more than Light armor will restrict your movement (unless you’re a dwarf), and your low hitdice and propensity to use ranged weapons usually means you are going to want to keep moving.  As such, for the lower levels, you are going to be best off in either studded leather or a chain shirt (depending on how important the ASF is to you).  The first chance you get though, you should move up to a Mithril Breastplate for the best balance of armor and dexterity bonuses.  If your DM allows the Arms & Equipment book (from 3.0) in the game, it has a suit of magical armor called Tessellated Armor that is essentially mithril full plate, that only counts as medium armor, that is made up of lots of little shards of metal that you can essentially dismiss into a little pouch on your belt.  Walk around in no armor until combat, say the command word, and all these little metal bits pour out of your pouch and form a suit of mithril full plate around you, going from easy target to an unhittable tank in a single round.  If you plan on going the Meleeficer route, you will want to get into Heavy armor as soon as humanly possible, which means you will need to get proficiency in it, either by spending a feat or by multiclassing into Fighter.

Shields
To be absolutely blunt about shields, the only time you should  ever use anything but the biggest, heaviest, most durable shield you can find is if you are using a two handed weapon like a spear.  Even if you are using a ranged weapon like your crossbow, keep a buckler strapped to your arm.  As long as you have a free hand, it needs to be holding the biggest shield you can find.  You need that extra boost to your armor class, in desperation it can make a serviceable weapon in it’s own right, and if you can add improvements to it (Races of Stone has several you can look at), all the better.

Assorted Mundane Gear
There are a number of mundane pieces of gear, and improvements to your existing gear that the Artificer can put to good use.  The Bandoleer from Faerun is meant to hold knives, and gives the wearer a kind of virtual Quick Draw feat when retrieving those knives.  However, wands work in it just as well, allowing you to quick draw a wand on a moment’s notice, without having to spend a feat on it.  Dungeonscape offers the Wand Chamber to be placed in weapons that allows you to store a wand inside the modified weapon, letting it count as being readied for use along with the weapon.  Put one of these in your crossbow so you can switch back and forth between attacks without having to change weapons.  Put one of these chambers in your melee weapon along with a self protection buffing wand so that if something gets up close and personal, you can pull your mace, threaten AoO with it, and still be able to use the stored wand at the same time.  If you aren’t a warforged, put a Wand Chamber in a gauntlet for a poor man’s Wand Sheath.

And never forget a Spell Component Pouch.  All of your infusions have to be placed in an item of some kind, no matter how insignificant, and a spell component pouch means you will always have ready access to something to put your infusion into.

Magical Gear
As an Artificer, the shear amount of STUFF that you will be carrying is going to be mind boggling, from scrolls, to potions, wands, bottles of oils for your infusions, to various weapons and wondrous items, to raw materials and tools for crafting.  The need to carry that much stuff, and to be able to quickly find what you want in it all at a moment’s notice means only one thing, Heward’s Handy Haversack.  This should be one of if not the first “major” magical item you obtain, either by buying one, making one, or stealing one.  Whatever you do, get a Haversack.

An important item for a ranged combat Artificer (a default Artificer or an Archerficer) will be Bracers of Archery.  These will give the default Artificer proficiency in real bows, which they should begin using immediantly, and give the Archerficer free weapon focus.  No need to get Rapid Reload, or spend a feat, or to multiclass to get get your ranged weapon for higher levels, simply craft this magic item and get it almost for free.

At later levels, you should look into making yourself a Portable Hole.  These create a fair sized room whenever you open it up on a surface that can hold an incredible amount of stuff.  More importantly than that though is that the space remains undamaged even when you fold it up and tuck it away in you pocket.  While closing the mouth of the hole cuts off the air supply, meaning anyone trapped inside would suffocate, the Dedicated Wright does not need to breath, and there is enough room in a Portable Hole to set up an entire magical laboratory.  Equip it as such, put your Dedicated Wright in the hole, and carry it all around with you.  The wright will be able to work on finishing your magical items for you while you adventure, and when it’s done it just sends you a mental alert, you open the hole up, and pull out your finished item right there in the middle of nowhere.  You can then start the process of making a new magical item, put him back to work, fold the hole back up, stick it in your pocket, and keep going, and never have to worry about not being able to use all of your craft reserve because you were in the field again.

This last one is rather controversial, so be sure to talk to your DM about if he will allow it in his game or not before you get your heart set on making one.  A Use Magic Device boosting item.  If your DM allows it, make yourself one as soon as you can.  A +5 UMD item will be a big help, is fairly cheap to make, and will remove any need to take Skill Focus (UMD).  If your DM will not allow you to make a dedicated UMD booster, there are still several items in the official books (including the DMG) that will boost your UMD checks, as well as other things.  A Circlet of Command will boost all of your charisma based skills, including Use Magic Device, for example.

Beyond these stand out items, you are an Artificer.  If you can think of anything you could ever need, simply make it, that’s the entire point of being an Artificer.  With so many different options for how you can make an Artificer, there are just as many sets of gear you would need to make them work.
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dark_samuari
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« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2009, 08:58:08 PM »

Multiclassing
*Sometimes Artificer/Clerics Can Come Out All Right*

Base Classes
The Artificer as a generic build is perfectly suited for taking the full 20 levels in the base class, primarily for bonus feats and the refill of the craft reserve at every level. However, different builds can benefit greatly from some limited multiclassing, as the actual pre-set crafting feat abilities end at level 14, giving you 6 levels that are either blank, or offer only a bonus feat for you to work with, without seriously degrading your abilities as an Artificer. Each level you spend as anything but an Artificer will be a level you don’t get your craft reserve refilled, so it is generally advised that you wait until after you get Retain Essence to multiclass if possible, or at the very least to stagger your multiclassing with Artificer levels, so that you can at least refill the reserve every other level. That said, there are two specific classes that you can take one level dips into to greatly expand your Artificer abilities, and only losing a single bonus feat in the process.

Sorcerer/Wizard
A single level dip into either Sorcerer or Wizard will give your Artificer full access to the Arcane spell list. With this access to an actual spell list, your Artificer will no longer need to make UMD checks to activate arcane wands, although higher level scrolls will still be a problem. Seeing as how the bulk of the best attack wands and staves are Arcane, this removes the bulk of the combat UMD checks you will have to make, greatly increasing your reliability in combat. Which arcane class you choose will depend on what you want to do with your minor casting powers. If you go Wizard, you will be able to eventually fill your book with all of the first level spells in the game, and scribe them to scrolls to sell without making UMD checks. However, by going Wizard, you will add a level of complexity to an already complex character by adding spell memorization to your routine, and only have a few castings per day. You’ll also double up on Scribe Scroll, but that isn’t important. If you go Sorcerer, you’ll have few spells known, but more spells per day out of them, and not have to hassle with which spells you memorize, giving you the same level of flexibility as your infusions. If you go for the Sorcerer, make sure that you pick utility magic and/or spells that don’t depend on caster level (like True Strike)

Cleric
Much the same as the one level dip into an arcane class, a one level dip into a divine class will give you access to a divine spell list, ideal for if your artificer is going to be serving as the party’s primary healer. The less combat centric spell list is offset by the fact that Cleric will also grant you access to heavy armor proficiency, and the Turn Undead attempts it grants, while of little to no use by themselves, can in turn be used to fuel Divine feats, which can be of use (see Complete Divine for Divine feats).

Of the two choices, arcane or divine, and even one form of divine vs another (clerical vs druid, for example), the Cleric has an extra ace up it’s sleeve if you take the Magic domain. The magic domain lets you use scrolls, wands, etc as if you were a wizard of ½ your cleric level, minimum of 1. Did we catch that? A one level dip into Cleric with the Magic domain (Aureon grants this domain) will give you access to the spell lists of both the wizard and cleric, which is easily 90% of the spells in the game between them, meaning you will almost never have to make a UMD to activate a wand ever again. Cheesy and boarderline abusive? Yup. Effective beyond all believe? Oh yeah.

Other
Other than multiclassing for spell lists, several builds would multiclass for other class abilities they couldn’t access otherwise. In particular, the Meleeficer and it’s ranged equivalent the Archerficer would both benefit greatly from taking 4 levels in Fighter for the extra hitpoints, better Fort save, and more importantly, Weapon Specialization. Others could benefit from starting life as a Rogue for the larger skillpoint selection (which includes UMD as a class skill) and staying in it long enough to get an extra d6 to their Sneak Attack, which they could then deliver through any wand with an attack roll. A full 6 levels in Bard would allow the Artificer to keep full UMD progression, gain Bardic Knowledge to help augment their Artificer Knowledge, and would gain the Suggestion ability along with a number of second level bardic spells.

As Secondary
While this guide is aimed squarely at the Artificer as the primary class, any class could benefit greatly from dipping into Artificer as a secondary class. Any class that takes Artificer at least long enough to get Craft Wondrous Items will find no end to the number of goodies they can craft to enhance their own primary class, while the Fighter/Artificer makes a superior gish to the Fighter/Wizard or Fighter/Sorcerer due to the Artificer’s innate bent towards augmenting weapons and armor. A Fighter with even a single level dip into Artificer gains the ability to Bane his weapon to whatever he is fighting, and any Warforged benefits greatly from the Repair X Damage infusions they would be able to cast on themselves. Primary spellcasters should avoid the Artificer, as they should avoid all multiclassing that does not raise their caster level, as nothing the Artificer has to offer at lower levels outweighs the loss of 8th and 9th level spells a primary caster would suffer.

PrC
While there is an increasing number of “Artificer Friendly” PrC being published, there are a number of drawbacks to taking any of them currently published. The primary drawback is your Craft Reserve, which no existing PrC currently refills, meaning you must take Artificer until you pick up Retain Essence to even remain capable of crafting efficiently, although it will require cannibalization of ever increasing amounts of magical items just to stay competitive. This effect can be minimized, however, in much the same ways as lessening the impact of multiclassing. Stagger your PrC levels with straight Artificer levels in order to refill the craft reserve as frequently as possible. The other drawback is less of an issue in normal games, but if you feel that your game will last long enough to let you get there, you will need the full 20 levels of Artificer before you can take Epic Artificer levels. And honestly, if the thought of the Epic Artificer whipping out Artifacts like they were candy doesn’t make you tingle, you might be in the wrong class.

That said:

Cannith Wand Adept
Found in Sharn: City of Towers, this three level PrC is practically required for laying down optimal levels of smack with the Blastificer. Aside from the fact that it is only 3 levels long, and hence leaving maximum straight artificer goodness, this PrC has two major draws. The most obvious one is the ability to wield and activate two wands at the same time, meaning you double your damage output per round with wands. While there is a generic line feat that replicates this, many DMs disallow that feat because it is the Cannith Wand Adept’s signature ability, meaning this is the only way to get it in many Eberron games. The second major draw, is the ability to burn wand charges as virtual action points. While it does not actually grant you extra action points, it lets you improve rolls and saves and all of the other things an action point can normally do, but not fuel class abilities or feats that require AP to function.

The entry requirements are rather stiff, and amongst them is the need to have either the Mark of Making or Favored in House for House Cannith, making this one primarily a human PrC, although other races could potentially enter. The stiff flavor prereqs on Favored in House make it very unlikely, however.

Alchemist Savant
Found in Magic of Eberron, this 5 level PrC focuses on the production of alchemical goods and potions, making it particularly good for gnomes with their racial alchemy bonuses (although being that it is a Cannith PrC requiring Favored in House, it is unlikely that a gnome could meet the flavor requirements for it, but it is possible). The first major draw for this PrC is fast crafting times. Where the normal Artificer is restricted to only making one potion a day, due to the general restrictions on magical items of any kind requiring 1 day minimum to make, the Alchemist Savant can make 3 per day. It also reduces the time required to make alchemical substances by one step (so that items that normally take days to craft now only take hours, and the powerful alchemical items that would take weeks now only take days to craft), making them veritable potion and alchemical factories. The second and more important draw is that the Alchemical Savant is capable of making “vanilla” potions. These potions are essentially blanks that do not store any spell effect, and can then have a spell cast into them at a later date and have it function normally from there on out. The biggest draw to this is that these vanilla potions are capable of storing infusions as well as more traditional spells, making it the only way to produce a potion of Weapon Augmentation or a potion of Iron Construct which can be downed and activated as a standard action, by anyone, which is exceedingly useful.

Renegade Mastermaker
Also from Magic of Eberron, the Renegade Mastermaker is a 10 lvl transitive PrC that changes the character into a Warforged. It starts by giving you a free battlefist which you can infuse, that over time gains free magical plusses, and then proceeds to give you things like damage reduction, the ability to install WF components, and more as you slowly turn into a Warforged. At level 10, your type changes to Living Construct, and you gain a bonus WF feat, which can include any of the body feats normally restricted to first level. Many people see this PrC as mechanically questionable, as it is basically a 10 level PrC to turn you into an LA +0 creature (as opposed to other transitive classes that turn you into half dragons or elementals). There is also debate on if the capstone ability that changes your type and makes you count as a Warforged would mean you no longer meet the racial prereqs for a dragonmark or not.

Unbound Scroll
Coming from Dragonmarked, the Unbound Scroll is a rather powerful 5 lvl PrC for dragonmarked Sivis gnomes that gives a number of advantages when using scrolls. The most obvious of these advantages comes from it’s Master Scribe ability, that reduces the amount of gp and xp required to scribe scrolls by a whopping 5% per Unbound Scroll level, which stacks with the various Artisan feats, meaning an Unbound Scroll with said Artisan feats can scribe scrolls for HALF the normal cost! Also, by expending uses of your dragonmark, this PrC allows you to increase the power of spells cast from scrolls, such as increased caster level, increased DCs, to even applying metamagic to them. The capstone ability even lets you cast from scrolls without using the scroll up (although of course the level of scroll is limited based on the power of the dragonmark you expend to activate this ability). For an Artificer that wants to focus on the use of scrolls, this is easily one of the best PrC options available to you.

Other
Other than these PrC that were specifically designed with the Artificer in mind, the Artificer can take a good number of older PrC, with some limitations. Any PrC requiring a generic spellcasting level is fair game for the Artificer to take, with their Artificer level counting as their spellcasting level, however if the PrC specifically states that it requires arcane spellcasting levels or divine spellcasting levels, the Artificer will not qualify. In a similar vein, if a PrC grants “+1 spellcasting level”, it will increase the Artificer’s caster level, and grants new infusions per day and infusion levels, but none of the other Artificer abilities (such as refilling the craft reserve). If the PrC specifically says that it grants “+1 arcane/divine spellcaster level”, it does not advance the Artificer abilities, as the Artificer abilities are neither arcane nor divine.
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dark_samuari
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« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2009, 08:58:35 PM »

The Dragonmarked Houses
*House Cannith gettin' down to business.*

Artificers and Magewrights can be found in every corner of Eberron, in every nation, in every race, and every religion. From the ancient goblinoid empires, to the present day royal families, the every day nature of magic and the level to which it has been integrated with day to day living has made the Artificer as common in Eberron as scientists and engineers are common in the modern world, and for the same reasons. Sometimes these reasons are self evident, while at other times it can make you stop and think “How in the world could these people have Artificers?”

While this guide could not hope to even begin to cover every way the Artificer has embedded itself into the tapestry of Khovaire and Eberron as a whole, it can at least touch upon how they fit into the biggest and most visible organizations in the setting, the Dragonmarked Houses. If you’re looking for mechanical effects to making your character a better officer, you may safely skip this section, as it will have little to offer in the way of mechanics. Instead, it will show one or two possible ways each of the great houses could/would make use of an Artificer. These are by no means the only way an Artificer could fit into a given house, but should serve as a good example, as well as hopefully providing inspiration for all kinds of Artificers, dragonmarked or not.

House Cannith
Your house, and by extension you yourself, are the undisputed masters of artifice. Your house has a near monopoly on finely crafted goods across Khovaire, giving you and your house incredible power and sway, and you know it. As a Cannith Artificer, you have had access to the finest of facilities, the best of teachers, and (at least in your own mind) hold a position that commands respect. After all, by default as a Cannith and by fact as an Artificer, you are one of the greatest craftsmen alive, the lesser people should defer to your expertise in matters of crafting and magical items, simply because there is no one better equipped to make such decisions.

However, some people will tend to see you as being dismissive, self absorbed, or simply too full of yourself, but they don’t understand the impossible pressure that you live up to every day. Being the best means that only the best is acceptable. You have to constantly prove yourself worthy of your airs, by crafting the most exquisite items, reclaiming powerful items for your House, and maintaining the image of strength your house projects. What you can’t let people know is how much of that power is true, and how much of it is purely illusion. Everyone knows the seat of power for your House was in Cyre, and the blow to the house was as great as that the rest of the continent suffered, if not greater, but the public can only be allowed to see how you are pulling yourselves back to your feet and moving on from the tragedy, they can never be allowed to know how close your House is to an outright civil war for control. Three separate factions, three strong leaders, all vying for control over House Cannith as a whole.

As a member of Cannith South, based out of Sharn, you support Lord Merrix d’Cannith, primarily due to his devotion to the craft moreso than to politics. He doesn’t want power for power’s sake, he wants power so that he can get back to work, so that you can all do away with petty squabbles and become the economic and technological powerhouse you once were. As an adventuring Artificer, you are just as likely to see the jungles of Xen’Drik as you dig for lost magical treasures to aid your house, or to brave the fearsome expanses of the Mournlands trying to reclaim a bit of your heritage and lost power as you are to simply sit in an enclave hammering out a breastplate for a wealthy patron.

As a character, you can be overconfident in your own abilities, a bit on the boastful side, and always ready to give your advice on how a situation should be handled. This can come off grating on some people, but its not entirely your fault, as you were raised to believe that you were one of the best, and that you were destined for great things. Although, when sleeping under a bush in the middle of nowhere, those boastful promises can ring a little hollow as you wonder if your mighty house will ever be the same again.

House Deneith
You are a member of the oldest of the Dragonmarked Houses, who served the great kingdom of Galifer with honor and nobility. Today, your house, and by extension you are known for your neutrality between warring factions, your level headedness, and the strength of your word. When a Deneith makes even a simple promise, he keeps it as if it were a sworn oath. As a Deneith, you value the letter of the law, and will fulfill your end of any contract, or die trying.

As a Deneith Artificer, it is your charge to ensure that the members of your house have access to the best weapons and armor available. You don’t do this out of the goodness of your heart though, and are well paid for your services as new soldiers come to you looking to buy what they need, and experienced soldiers to upgrade their existing implements. You focus almost entirely upon crafting armor and weapons, the tools of your house’s trade, although the occasional wondrous item has been known to pass over your counter from time to time, particularly to those members who have a more stealthy nature to them.

Your magical items are not very ornate, nor are they typically covered in precious metals or gemstones, instead you value clean lines and a form that follows function. You build the tools of war, even in times of peace, and no matter how pretty a tool may be, if it breaks during use, it is of little value. When you do adorn a piece with an extra flourish, you try to make the rest of the item more plain, to draw the eye to that one feature, to make it stand out all the more clearly. Canniths may be known for their high quality steel, but they make their weapons and armor almost by rote, many having never even used a sword in battle. How can someone claim to make a quality sword if they have never even used one before?

You, however, do not suffer from that drawback. Military training and combat practice keep your skills to a well honed edge, giving you an innate feel for the balance of a weapon, and the fit of armor. Sure, those hours spent doing drills could have been used at the forge, but there is more to life than simply hammering out metal and hiding indoors where its safe. Often times, you will volunteer to go on missions, simply to keep your wits sharp, and if it means that you will get the chance to put your latest masterpiece to the test, so much the better.

House Ghallanda
Members of House Ghallanda typically do not have the disposition to adventure into the unknown lands, to fight fearsome beasts, and steal away in the night with a sack full of ancient gold. No, you leave that to your patrons. A warm fire, a hot meal, a cool drink, and a soft bed are your treasures, the comforts of a civilized life. And in Eberron, a comfortable and civilized life means that the use of magic is not far away.

As a Ghallandran Artificer, you make extensive use of Craft Wondrous Item to make all of the little trinkets and magical gadgets that make a civilized life civilized. Wash basins enchanted with cleaning magics that take out even the most stubborn of spots, mugs and goblets enchanted to gentle warm or cool a drink to just the right temperature, and not to mention numerous everbright lanterns and torches to provide that warm cheery flickering glow that only a fire can produce, without the risk of burning down the inn when a customer with a bit too much tal in his system stumbles into one.

Although not as well known, but perhaps of greater importance, you also make small items that keep your innkeepers safe from harm, or that can help charm a reluctant man to talk more freely. You have no desire to horde knowledge to use against anyone the way a gnome would, but your house does have a reputation for being able to find the right person to contact for any occasion, and where your natural good will and charming personality fail, a little extra push from that magic trinket in your pocket just might make you a new friend, and a valuable new contact.

House Jorasco
The house of healing tends to the medical needs of the five nations and more, from simple binding of wounds to magical healing, to providing care for those whom even magic isn’t enough to save. As such, House Jorasco has a constant, insatiable demand for healing products of all kinds. From simple alchemical and herbal salves to fight infection, to wands and potions that heal injuries and cure diseases, right up to the most powerful of biers that, under the proper circumstances, can even raise the dead (although, finding a Jorasco powerful enough to use such items can prove exceedingly difficult).

As a Jorasco Artificer, you will be responsible for the production of the potions that are used daily by your house, both in the care of patients and for sale through their various outlets, as well as the more powerful wands. While rare, you will also often be required to make larger items, such as wondrous item beds that accelerate natural healing, and even music stones that provide the calm soothing background music often heard in the healing houses.

As an adventuring Artificer for your house, you may be sent on missions to deliver your goods to distant healing houses as a normal resupply run, or you could be in the hire of a wealthy patron to make house calls. In emergencies, you could likely be called to the front lines of a disaster in order to tend the wounded directly, or at least be there to provide needed supplies to those that do. You could also adventure in order to gain insight into new healing techniques, or simply because you have been hired by the party (in exchange for a cut of the treasure) to keep everyone alive through their adventures.

Some may call you cut throat and draconian for your refusal to use your talents to heal the sick and injured for free, but House Jorasco is large and provides services all across the continent, it can’t be expected to shoulder that financial burden alone. The money you make helps ensure that there will always be a Jorasco healer nearby in the days to come. While you may do an occasional healing pro bono, you try to keep those times to a minimum, least you set a precedence for your house healing for free. Your business may be vital, but it is still a business, after all.

House Kundarak
The amount of trade between the various nations and dragonmarked houses is so great, merely shipping gold coins back and forth between all of the involved parties at any given time would require more ships than even House Lyrander could provide, and would slow the Lightning Rail to a crawl from the weight of treasure they would have to carry. Enter House Kundarak, who’s trustworthy name and impartiality at running the largest banking system Eberron has ever known. Through it’s issuance of letters of credit, and its ability to honor such letters of almost any size on demand has made modern living possible, and has made you quite rich in the process.

As an Artificer of House Kundarak, you are an expert at building security devices, from simple alarms that can be placed on doors, to the vast impenetrable vaults surrounded by the most lethal traps imaginable that hold hordes of gold, silver, and platinum beyond the dreams of even the most greedy of dragons. Most think of House Kundarak’s business as being money, but it isn’t true. Money is simply the focus of your business, providing protection for whatever valuables need securing. Whenever someone needs a large sum of cash, a powerful magic item, or even a lock of their loved one’s hair, your house and your wards make an impassable wall of protection that will keep those items safe.

As an adventuring Artificer, you are more likely than most to actively seek out trap filled dungeons and places that are said to be impossible to enter, and do your best to enter them. You aren’t motivated so much by the gold or treasures that can be found in those dungeons, or the secret knowledge held behind those high walls, for you, the treasure is in discovering new defensive means, and how to circumvent old ones. By knowing first hand how to bypass a trap, you are more likely to be able to build around those flaws in your own. While you know that no defense is ever perfect, getting as close as possible is your goal.

House Lyrandar
As a member of House Lyrander, you are truly blessed. The true child of Khovaire, and one of the greatest spokesmen of your race. The offspring of immigrants and refugees, you stand tall, master of wind and water, you and your kind are destined to one day rule the land, the sea, and the air. The gods themselves have blessed you with the proof of this destiny, the Mark of Storms, granting you control over the very forces of nature itself. The Mourning itself must have been sent by the gods, for the sundering of House Orien’s trade routes has merely opened the door for House Lyrander to become even stronger. If others see your pride and dignity as arrogance, they simply do not understand the true nature of the blessings that only the Khoravar can know.

As a Lyrander Artificer, the odds are that you are among those actively seeking to break the iron grip that the gnomes hold on elemental binding, either by discovering the secret for yourself, or by finding another, better way to power the mighty ships controlled by your House. In the mean time, you work to keep those same ships in tip top condition, making sure they perform as majestically as they look. If not that, there is always room in the Raincaller’s Guild for your services, using your magical items to extend their control of the weather even farther.

As an adventuring Lyrander Artificer, you are virtually encouraged to go out and see the world in your youth. Leave the administration of the house to the older members, you should go out and see the world, meet new and interesting people, and act as a good will ambassador to all those whom you meet on behalf of your race. One day, when you are ready, you will return to the house to settle down and begin the real work of crafting the future of your race. For now though, enjoy your youth and time in the sun, it is as much your birthright as the power of the storms that courses through your very veins.

House Medani
When secrets and plots are as much the coin of the realm as the galifar, the value of the counter-spy cannot be undervalued. From the inquisitive sleuths that simply observe the scene of a crime and gain seemingly unnaturally canny insights as to what happened, to the risk taking playboy lifestyle of an agent tasked with discovering what nefarious plot is being devised and putting a stop to it before it has time to come to fruition, you are a Medani. While your character may never have heard of Sherlock Holmes or James Bond, they would doubtlessly see both men as brothers, cut from the same cloth as himself.

As an Medani Artificer, your job is to make all of those wonderful toys used by the house agents in their efforts to uncover which rumors are false, which are true, and how to stop the true ones before they can start. If a normal Medani is James Bond, you are Q, creating devilishly inventive, and utterly necessary tools of the trade. Your tools are not used in the trading of secrets, that is a job better suited to other houses, but instead in discovering who is keeping secrets, why, and what they plan to do with them. Goggles of Minute Seeing for the Inquisitive who scours a crime scene for clues, or a Wand of Rope cleverly disguised as a walking stick, to a stylish Vest of Resistance, each has their own special uses, and you have likely made them all.

As an adventuring Medani Artificer, you are likely scouting for the latest rumors as to what is going on in the world, if not already actively tracking down the source of such rumors. The Five W’s (Who, What, When, Where, and Why) are not just words, they are a way of life, and knowing all five puts you in a position to know what will happen next, and how best to react to it. Unlike your Lyrander “brothers”, you are not boisterous, outgoing, or prone to making yourself obvious. Instead, you prefer to stay in the background, gather your information, and move on to complete your mission.

House Orien
While the Lightning Rail is the most grandiose of House Orien’s accomplishments, it is by no means the most well known, or even the most useful. Orien caravans and coaches criss-cross the continent, which while not as fast or luxurious as the Lightning Rail, is much cheaper and more reliable. Orien couriers carry letters and packages quickly, securely, and without question. And although the house was nearly crippled by the Last War and the destruction of Cyre, and with the competition that House Lyrander has brought to bear with it’s new airships, the name Orien is still synonymous with travel, at least over the land anyway.

As an Artificer of House Orien, there are many things that you could find yourself doing. The most likely charge for a full fledged Artificer is to help with the design and construction of newer and better lightning rail cars. However, with the rail being but one of many prosperous enterprises for your house, you are just as likely to find yourself working on coaches and caravan wagons as the Lightning Rail. Magically cooled cargo wagons that transport food don’t simply make themselves, nor do the Orien guards that protect the caravans have to make do with inferior weapons and armor. As an Orien Artificer, you would be expected to work on all of these, as well as researching new ways to make the process of transporting people, cargo, and information faster and easier, as well as safer.

As an adventuring Orien Artificer, you are likely to find yourself as the field expert in groups that have to deal with things related to the Lightning Rail, from the mundane task of maintaining the conductor stone paths, to recovering a prototype lightning rail engine from it’s testing facility at Metrol, deep inside the Mournlands. You may also be along for the ride in a caravan while you keep the guards stocked with freshly made alchemical items used to disrupt ambushes, such as tanglefoot bags and thunderstones.

House Phiarlan
The flashy costumes, fearsome beasts (properly caged, of course), and the ever present festive music and sweet aroma of confections being baked are the stuff of dreams for every child in Khovaire, it means the Shadow Circus has come to town! Beyond this, the greatest of artists in Khovaire are members of your house, or have been expertly trained at one of the demesnes dedicated to the arts. From the highest king to the lowliest begger, all know the beauty that comes from word and music, motion and emotion that can only be truly conveyed by a Phiarlan. And while some whisper of the Phiarlan shadow, such things are hushed as being utter nonsense by most. But not all.

As a Phiarlan Artificer, you are most likely to be a great artist, combining skilled craftsmanship with a touch of magic that turns even the most wondrous of statues into a marvel as it begins to move and speak, entertaining those who pass by as if it were flesh and blood. The finest of musical instruments come from your shops, capable of providing their own ghostly accompaniments to the musician’s own playing. The stage comes alive as it is draped in the illusions of the deepest forests, or the mightiest of castles, and the voices of the actors reach even the furthest of ears, for even the most gentle of whispers thanks to your devices and tricks. To you, nothing is more rewarding then the smile on a child’s face, or the tear in the theater goer’s eye, each placed with equal ease by your skill in both the art of entertainment, and the art of artifice.

Well, almost nothing. Perhaps you are no more than what people see, the garish entertainer, always tinkering with the next great prop that will wow and astound the audiences. Or perhaps you are something more. Do your finely wrought items carry hidden secondary purposes? Does the magically animated marble bust that you just sold to the wealthy patron merely look pretty and bat it’s eyelashes at passers by, or does it remember what it sees, only waiting for your next visit to reveal the secrets it has amassed?

As an adventuring Phiarlan Artificer, you likely accompany a traveling troupe of entertainers, perhaps with the Shadow Circus itself. Your best work is on stage, or might even be the stage itself, while you make minor trinkets to sell as souvineers to the patrons, tiny crystals with the image of a dancer forever going through her steps, or wooden cards with lifelike carvings of fearsome beasts that appear to move and roar as you watch. Or perhaps you are a member of the darker side of the House, the eyes and ears of an information network that spans the continent as well as the centuries. Is your Furtive Filcher homunculi simply for the entertainment of the townsfolk, from whom it snitches small belongings from so that you can “magically” pull them out of your hat, or is it very much an active spy, crouching in the corners of dark rooms, listening in on conversations thought secure? Who knows, as a Phiarlan, it could be both!

House Sivis
The gnomes of House Sivis are known for their impartiality, which is essential to their position as message senders. While House Orien handles day to day mail needs, anyone needing assurance of the delivery of an important message, and absolute assurance that no one but the intended recipient hears the message knows that there is only one option, House Sivis.

As a Sivis Artificer, you are most likely a part of the Tasker’s Dream group, the branch of House Sivis that researches new means of communication, in both mundane and magical means. Your skills would be needed to create the Sending Stones that form the backbone of the Sivis long distance communication network, while your alchemical skills could be required in making invisible inks that can only be seen, much less read, by someone who knows the secret of how to activate them.

As an adventuring Sivis Artificer, odds are that you have been charged with recovering lost knowledge, either something in particular (such as a tome in a particular dungeon) or in general, scouring the world to see what you can learn. You are less likely to be as crafting focused as other Artificers, instead investing large amounts of skillpoints in Speak Language, Decipher Script, and other language related skills, although crafting items capable of granting you spell effects such as Tongues or Comprehend Languages would be absolutely invaluable to you. Of all items, you are more likely to use scrolls than any other Artificer, to the point of having an entire PrC devoted to such.

House Tharashk
Strengthened by the power of the Mark of Finding, House Tharashk produces some of the finest bounty hunters in Khovaire, and has recently taken to providing monstrous soldiers and guards from Droaam that have put House Deneith on edge, unused to competition, especially as strong of competition as this. For brute strength, indomitable spirit, and the ability to find anyone or anything, look no further than House Tharashk.

As a Tharashk Artificer, you are in a minority. Very few of your house take the path of the Artificer, instead preferring more direct routes to combat prowess, but for whatever reason, you have become an Artificer. If you are human, you likely use your skills in a more traditional manner, crafting items (particularly weapons and armor) to aid in battle, but also wondrous items to aid monstrous characters better fit in with the rest of the world that has grown up around them. As a half-orc Artificer, you are almost assuredly a Meleeficer. You do not see yourself so much as an Artificer, but as a hunter and warrior who uses magic to enhance his capabilities. Although not as tough in a straight fight as your more traditionally trained brothers in combat, you more than make up for that with the devistating magics you can infuse into your weapons, and the hardest of armors that are all but inpenetrable to attack. You see opponents as prey, taking the time to stalk them and prepare, which melds perfectly with the time required to set up your various infusions. When you attack, it is an ambush of ferocious intensity, with strength of arm and steel reinforced with deadly spells and enchantments. It is rare that your targets survive long enough to even wonder who is attacking them.

As an adventuring Tharashk Artificer, it is likely that you are out making a name for yourself. Promotion in your house is done primarily through skill and strength, with the mightiest and most successful rising through the ranks, and what better way to make a name for yourself than to adventure, taking on all comers? You may also be on a bounty, hired to track and recover a particular person or item. Whatever your reason for adventuring, you are sure to make a name for yourself. With so few Artificers in your house, novelty will be your foot in the door, at least until your heavily buffed axe has time to carve another entrance for you.

House Thuranni
Having only recently split from House Phiarlan, House Thuranni shares much in common with it’s progenitor, but takes a very differant path. Where the Phiarlans are primarily entertainers that also serve as eyes and ears, the Thurannis are almost the polar opposite, a dedicated house of spies and assassins who also maintain their status as sculptors, painters, and architects as a cover and a way to ingratiate themselves into the ranks of the noble elite. Where the Phiarlan are agents of balance and neutrality, the Thuranni are active participants in the world, doing whatever is needed to advance themselves, often through “less than reputable” means.

As a Thuranni Artificer, you would be well trained in the subtle arts of information gathering and subterfuge. Your house expects you to be ready to undertake a mission at any time, and you had best be ready when they call for you. That call may never come, but that is no excuse for letting your edge dull. In the mean time, your public face is likely that of a sculptor or architect, putting your various crafting and knowledge skills to good use. The man who designs and builds the house of a noble will often find himself in that noble’s good favor, and as such be privy to information that others would not be able to come by as easily. On the flip side of the coin, you would be exceptionally skilled at making magical items that increase stealth, such as Cloaks of Elevenkind, Rings of Invisibility, and Shadowed armors. Differant vials of poison are as likely to spring from your alchemical efforts as anything else, although the odds of a thunderstone or flash pellet being made are substantially lower, as such items only serve to call attention to your presence, when you would prefer to remain hidden.

As an adventuring Thuranni Artificer, you are probably on a mission to recover secrets, either from ages past buried in ancient crypts, or from more conventional sources, the noble families and even the other dragonmarked houses. Given the generally good aligned nature of many games, it is unlikely that you would be on a mission of assissination, however it is always possible that an evil and/or dangerous individual has been singled out, and you have been tasked with his disposal. Whatever the case, you are most likely to remain hidden in the shadows, quitely preparing your infusions and magical aids while you wait for exactly the right moment. A fair fight is not in the cards, you strike swiftly, decisively, and then dissappear. None of the fancy showboating of your Phiarlan brothers, just get the job done and make sure no one sees you while you’re doing it.

House Vadalis
Beastmasters one and all, Vadalis is a small house that feels more like an extended family than a great dragonmarked house, and to some extent, thats because it is. Members know their lineage back numerous generations, and will almost always be able to find a common ancestor with any living Vadalis heir. This makes your fellow members more than just house members, but makes them family. Tied inexorably to the land, House Vadalis has a slow patience that only farmers can truely understand. It is that very patience and tie to the land that has allowed them, and you, to breed the mightiest beasts to ever wear a bit and bridle.

As a Vadalis Artificer, you bear little resemblance to other Artificers. Arcane magics and wands hold little interest for you, instead you focus on nature and the world around you. You do not produce wands encrusted in precious metals and gemstones to tend the wounds of the high and mighty, but craft simple utilitarian tools to heal your livestock and protect the land. You have little reason to make weapons, although you would be skilled enough in armorsmithing to craft any type of barding required to equip your beasts for the dangers they will face as the mounts of warriors. The bulk of your wondrous items would also be similarly aimed at animals, such as horseshoes of the zephyr or amulets of natural armor. If you did spend time making weapons, they too would likely be for animals, steel reinforced claws that strap to magebred bears, armor with razor sharp spikes, or metal fangs. The one thing you would likely never make is a construct, or at least nothing substantial. You focus on the living world, and are far more likely to breed the perfect beast in the flesh than you are to try and copy it in metal and stone. What point is there in wasting resources building and enchanting an Iron Defender, when you could raise a living, breathing magebred mastiff to serve the same purpose? However, you would see the benefits of having tireless helpers and assistants, which means the Dedicated Wright would be the most common construct you would build. Much more rarely, you may also craft larger, stronger constructs for manual labor as opposed to combat. Much like the modern tractor, these would be little more than mechanical tools used to prepare the way for the life you are about to bring into being.

As an adventurer, you would roam the lands of Khovaire not for money or power, but to find new bloodlines for existing creature lines, or to discover entirely new stock that could be added to the house’s already extensive holdings. With your understanding of animals and nature, you may also be called upon whenever something particularly dangerous gets out of control, either to tame the beast, or to kill it. When you are forced into combat, you strike hard and fast. You have seen time and time again how nature handles conflict, and know that the only truly beaten opponent is a dead opponent. Rarely will you start a fight, but when you finish one, it is truly finished.
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dark_samuari
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« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2009, 08:58:58 PM »

Archetype Examples
"I choose you Iron Defender!" screams this Hordeficer

The Artificer is a very flexible, very versatile class, once you get used to it’s idiosyncrasies. And while the number of things you can do with it are nearly endless, most of them fall into certain broad categories. These categories are not exclusive, any generic Artificer is actually likely to mimic the general feel of each type at once point or another during the game, but the builds take these general inclinations and take them to the extreme, basing the entire character around that one aspect. This doesn’t mean that a Blastificer can’t also be a Buffificer, they can do so quite easily if they so choose, but instead it is the overall way in which the character works that makes them classify as one or another type. The guide as a whole covers primarily what is known as the generic Artificer, one that tries to keep as many different options available to him as possible, much like a Wizard who does not Specialize wants to keep all of his options open. The following builds, while not as firmly restricted as a specialized Wizard follow the same basic idea, they give up versatility for increased power and ability in their chose area.

Blastificer
One of, if not the earliest of builds to surface on the boards after the Artificer’s introduction, the Blastificer is a hardcore wand (and later staff) user that focuses in one thing, and one thing only, pouring out massive damage per round from their wands. The primary ability for the Blastificer is the Metamagic Spell Trigger ability, which allows them to add known metamagic abilities to any wand at the cost of burning more charges for that added power. Early in the lifecycle of Eberron, there was some confusion on whether or not a Blastificer could add multiple metamagics to a single trigger or not, as the wording is vague. If you could, it meant that the Blastificer could load massive amounts of metamagic damage enhancers (such as Empower, Maximize, Chain, Repeat, Energy Admixture, Twin, etc) to a single shot, allowing it to do hundreds of points of damage in one blow (some builds have been known to do over a thousand points of damage per hit this way). The primary drawback to this though was that it was incredibly expensive. Each spell level increase from metamagic uses an extra charge from the wand upon activation, which means while it was possible to stack so many triggers onto the wand that it’s effective spell level was well over 9, it had a bad habit of completely draining the charges from a wand after only a small handful of charges. This guide won’t go into the details of all of this, but it was once calculated on the boards that one particularly powerful Blastificer all out attack was actually costing the character (in terms of charges spent) a whopping 30,000 gold per shot.

It has since been officially clarified that the intent of Metamagic Spell Trigger was to only allow a single metamagic per trigger, which drastically curtails much of the abusiveness of this build, but the wording of the ability itself is still vague and could be taken either way. Even with this restriction, the build is still usably strong, while still having ways to get around the trigger limitation. The best way for this is the Metamagic Item infusion, which allows you to temporarily grant any spell trigger item a metamagic ability, without it using more charges. You then proceed to use your Metamagic Trigger ability to add another metamagic to the same item, letting you get two metamagics on a single item, plus whatever metamagic may already be in said item. While most generic Artificers will be minor Blastificers due to their reliance on wands for the bulk of their damage at later levels, they generally will not invest the feats necessary to make the most of this ability. As a full fledged Blastificer, you will.

a. Recommended Ability Scores
The Blastificer differs from the generic Artificer in their stat needs only slightly. In truth, the Blastificer can use the default recommended stats with little problem, although you may desire to increase both Dexterity and Charisma for this build. Almost exclusive reliance on ranged attacks means that you will need to be able to hit your targets at range, which will mean a good Dexterity score. A higher Charisma will give you a higher UMD check, which will mean you are more likely to activate your wands in a tight spot. To make room for these points, you can get away with reducing your Intelligence score, as you are less likely to be as heavy into crafting as the default Artificer, although you may feel a bit of a pinch from the reduced number of bonus infusions. If necessary, you can also lower your Strength a bit, since you will not be wearing very heavy armor nor making much use of melee weapons, just don’t let it fall so low that encumbrance becomes an issue.

b. Recommended Feats

Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot: Attack wands come in two flavors, area attacks, and ranged touch attacks. With ranged touch attack wands (such as rays and energy missiles), you will have to contend with firing into melee the majority of the time, which means you will suffer penalties. These feats remove those penalties, allowing you to hit more often.

Sculpt Spell: In addition to ranged touch attacks, you will use a great deal of area attacks, such as Fireball. Normally, the use of these wands will be restricted by the battlefield, positions of the enemy, and the positions of your friends. A tightly packed group of enemies is ideal for a Fireball, but not when your party members are going toe to toe with them in melee, putting them in the area of effect as well. To overcome this limitation and bring your full arsenal to bear, Sculpt Spell will let you tailor your area attacks to hit only the combat squares you want it to, meaning your fireballs can become meandering snakes of flame that twist in and out to incinerate your enemies, while leaving your friends unharmed.

Empower Spell, Maximize Spell, Quicken Spell, Energy Substitution, Energy Admixture:
These are your primary sources of power and flexibility as a Blastificer. Empower and Maximize allow you to get more raw damage per round out of your wands, while Energy Substitution gives you a good deal of flexibility. Pick an uncommon energy type for your substitution, and should the opponent you face be resistant or even immune to the energy type of your wand, you can change it for free to something they are far less likely to resist (for example, if you primarly use fire based wands, like Fireball and Scorching Ray, take Energy Substitution (Cold) to throw those fire based creatures for a loop). Energy Admixture has the same benefits of Energy Substitution (and has Substitution for a prereq), but also allows you to add on extra damage of another type, letting you hit for two kinds of damage in one attack, giving you the best of both worlds, extra flexibility and extra damage in a single trigger. With the restriction on the number of metamagics per trigger, the value of Admixture has risen greatly. The most powerful of the metamagic feats for the Blastificer however is Quicken Spell, which officially allows you to reduce the time it takes to activate the wand to a swift action. You can only do this once per round, but it will let you double your damage output by simply allowing you to fire your wand twice as many times per round.

Skill Focus (Use Magic Device): You will rely exclusively upon your wands as your primary source of damage, which means that you will be relying a great deal on your UMD checks to activate those wands. Ask any Wizard or Sorcerer player that wears armor with ASF, and they can tell you that you will always lose your spell when you need it most, and the same usually applies to Blastificers. Until your UMD check is so high that you can pass the check even on a natural 1, you will always run the risk of failing the roll, which means you will lose an entire round of combat in the process. Skill Focus will up your chances of success by 15%, making it much more likely that you will be able to reliably hit your target. Even at higher levels, you will be able to get some use out of this feat when crafting high powered staves, although the odds are that it will have ceased to be a useful combat feat somewhere around level 12 (where you will likely have that total +19 to UMD).

Wand Surge: A key ability for the Blastificer, especially at later levels when you are using particularly expensive wands. The ability to use an Action Point in place of a charge could equate to hundreds or even thousands of gold saved per use. And since you will not be burning through AP to quicken a Bane infusion like the weapon based Artificers, you should have plenty to spare.

c. Recommended Gear
Obviously, a Blastificer will need a great deal of wands, particularly attack oriented wands. Magic Missile is an ideal attack wand at lower levels, along with Scorching Ray. At higher levels, look into investing in a Wand of Acid Orb (or any of the Elemental Orb spells). These provide good flexibility in their ability to split into multiple smaller orbs for taking out crowds, as well as being able to combine all of the orbs into one massive damage dealing attack. Area of Effect wands, such as Fireball and Lightning Bolt will also prove highly useful, although unless you also take the Sculpt Spell metamagic feat, you may find yourself restricted in when you can safely use these.

For armor, you should aim for no heavier than a Mithril Breastplate. Your high Dexterity coupled with your need to stay on the move to get a clear shot means you cannot afford to be weighed down by any armor that reduces your movement rate. At lower levels, stick to Light armor, such as a chain shirt or studded leather. Unless you have taken levels in Cannith Wand Adept, you will also want the largest shield you can find to help augment your AC. Even though you will not be in the front row, few opponents are stupid enough not to realize the threat you pose after the first couple of lightning bolts, and will be sure to respond, so keep your shield handy.

For your assorted gear, look into a Bandoleer from the Faerun books, these will allow you to Quickdraw your wands without needing the feat. Otherwise, the Wand Bracer or a Bracelet of Wands are also good investments. You will have a large number of wands, and unlike the standard Artificer, you won’t need to worry about spending your first round infusing your weapon, and you will want to stay on the move, so getting your wands into action on a moment’s notice will be useful. Not enough to spend a feat on it, but useful enough to try to replicate through items. Also, since you will need mobility, look into Boots of Striding and Springing to allow you to reach almost any tactical advantageous location on the battlefield.

Meleeficer
The Meleeficer, much like its name implies, is an Artificer that focuses primarily on melee combat, using their infusions to augment both blade and armor alike in order to become a veritable juggernaught on the battlefield. The biggest initial hurdles to a Meleeficer is that the Artificer class in general isn’t designed as a front line combat class, and only really becomes capable of such action by use of their infusions, and generally a bit of multiclassing. Lacking both the access to Heavy Armor and Martial Weapon Proficiencies, the baseline Artificer is hampered in their efforts to enter melee. They are capable of doing so, while wearing medium armor and carrying maces, but they will be limited in their effectiveness. So, the main hurdles the Meleeficer must overcome is getting his hands on heavier armor, and better weapons. It is possible to spend feats on armor and weapon proficiencies, but this is a sub-optimal answer to the problem. Instead, the Meleeficer typically multiclasses into Fighter for four levels, getting higher hitpoints, a better fort save, a number of fighter bonus feats, and Weapon Specialization, along with the weapon and armor proficiencies almost as an afterthought.

Now that the Meleeficer has their heavy armor and their choice of weapons, a decision has to be made. On one hand, the heavy armor will give them an excellent base AC, which will allow them to forgo a shield and move up to the classic powerhouse weapons, such as a greatsword. On the other hand, the Artificer is exceptionally adept at giving himself the highest ACs around via their infusions (covered shortly), and the additional stackable AC from a shield can be the difference between your Meleeficer being simply hard to hit, and being outright unhittable. A common compromise between the two extremes of AC and damage is the Bastard Sword. The Meleeficer that dips into Fighter will have exactly enough feats for taking the Bastard Sword and Specializing in it, while retaining versatility. You can start a battle with sword and shield, and should you decide that you don’t need that extra AC, or that you do need the extra damage, you can drop the shield and go two handed with the sword.

For augmenting their capabilities, the Meleeficer relies primarily on the Magic Weapon, Personal Weapon Augmentation, and Magic Vestment infusions, with Armor Enhancement also seeing use. The proper way to use most of these should be fairly self evident. Magic Vestment both grant straight plus values to armor, and shields, and forms the core of your defenses, while Magic Weapon grants a similar bonus to your weapons, and Personal Weapon Augmentation brings the omnipresent Bane enhancement to the table. As may have already been guessed, the Meleeficer takes multiple rounds to fully “power up”, as well as multiple action points to speed those infusions along. Armor and shield must each be buffed, Bane must be infused, and possibly buffing the base plusses on the weapon as well. However, in most standard combats, only the Bane infusion is really used, due to the limited amount of time available to prepare for most combats. When capable of fully powering up though, a Meleeficer quickly becomes capable of tearing through opponents with ease that would stop even a full fledged fighter dead in their tracks.

a. Recommended Ability Scores
The Meleeficer is almost the exact opposite from the generic Artificer where ability scores are concerned. The Meleeficer relies on having a high Strength and at least middling Constitution scores in order to survive on the front lines, while Dexterity needs be no higher than a 12 (due to the +1 dex modifier limit on Full Plate). Charisma can also be lowered, due to the lack of “on the spot” UMD checks they will need to make. The bulk of this build’s prowess comes from well enchanted weapons and armor backed up by strong infusions. It is relatively rare that a Meleeficer will ever need to worry about activating a wand in the middle of combat, and outside of combat he can simply keep rolling his checks until the wand activates. The same goes for item creation, the number of days to craft even rudimentary magical arms and armor are high enough to give them multiple checks, meaning an extra measly +1 or +2 they would normally gain from high Charisma are not really an issue. Intelligence you may wish to keep high, both for the skillpoints to craft your own equipment with, and for the bonus infusions per day it grants you.

b. Recommended Feats

Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Bastard Sword), Weapon Focus (Bastard Sword), Weapon Specialization (Bastard Sword): You gain the greatest degree of flexibility in terms of AC and Damage by picking up the Bastard Sword as a one handed weapon, and Weapon Focus/Specialization are a default choice for every Fighter for a reason, they work. As with the Fighter, the name of the Meleeficer’s game is maximum damage in minimum time, and higher attack bonuses and greater damage output is the way to accomplish that goal.

Power Attack and Cleave: Another staple pair of the melee based Fighter that serves the Meleeficer well. It is best to pick these feats up only if you select a weapon that can be used two handed (such as the bastard sword, or a greatsword), so that you can get maximum effect from your Power Attacks and follow up Cleaves. Remember that with a Bane weapon you are getting an effective +2 to your hit and damage, meaning you can routinely Power Attack for 2 points (assuming you have a BAB of +2 or higher) without taking any penalties (as the bonus to hit from Bane will cancel them out). With a two handed weapon, this lets you turn out +6 damage per swing at your normal BAB, and still add another +2d6 on top of that.

Attune Magic Weapon: Getting a free +1 equivalent from any magic item you use is nothing to scoff at, although you can only really use this on a naturally magical weapon (meaning you typically can’t use a Magic Weapon infusion to get the extra bonus), but as an Artificer first, and a Meleeficer second, you should have no problems crafting any magic weapon you want or need, so this should not be a problem. That’s an extra +1 to attack and damage, or another point of fuel for Power Attack.

Improved Toughness: While the Toughness feat is going to be worthless for virtually any character above second level or so, the Improved Toughness feat is quite useful. +1 hp per level is extremely useful for any Meleeficer, as it means you will have hitpoints that rival that of a straight up Fighter. A +1 to any die roll is the equivolent, mathematically, as increasing the size of the die one step. Hence, Improved Toughness would give the Artificer 1d6+1 hp per level, which has the same average total as a d8 hitdice. Your Fighter hitdice would also increase from a d10 to the equivolent of a d12. On the front lines, every hitpoint counts, and Improved Toughness delivers.

Other than this, look for feats with the same eye you would use when playing a Fighter.

c. Recommended Gear
Heavy armor, preferably Full Plate, a high damage weapon, and a large shield form the base of your equipment needs. Keep a Fighter-like mindset when it comes to picking out enhancements, and there should be little trouble here. For example, a non-Warforged Meleeficer would do well with Light Fortification, while adding Silent Moves will help keep you from being too obvious while walking about. If you desire to be more descrete about your intentions, consider adding Glamored to your Silent Moves Full Plate, letting it look like you are wearing weaker armor while the Silent Moves prevents you from sounding like a walking tin can, which would quickly give your ruse away.

In addition, look into anything that will let you use Tensor’s Transformation, Divine Might, or other across the board combat buffs. They are more efficient than trying to buff yourself one stat at a time, while your pure hack ‘n slash combat style means you will find little drawback in Tensor’s Transformation. For a bit of humor, you could always craft a magical Bastard Sword of Tensor’s Transformation that activates on the command phrase “By the power of Greyskull!”

Buffificer
With essentially universal access to wands and scrolls of every type, the Artificer is in a unique position to be able to provide support services and buffing spells for their party, and for themselves. From casting Mass Haste on the party before combat, to buffing each character individually, the Buffificer is the ultimate support character. They do not focus their efforts on directly attacking the enemy, but instead focus on making the party as a whole more capable of fighting, by increasing their physical and mental abilities, to making them more resistant to damage, to providing magical support in the form of items and spells as needed.

The Buffificer is one of the lesser (if not least) played builds, simply because so few players enjoy playing a support character (you can reference the constant power ramping in the Cleric for evidence of this). PC Buffificers are very frequently Buffificers second, and one of the other builds as a primary. The Hordeficer is almost always a secondary Buffificer, as they use their abilities to buff their hordes, instead of their normal team mates. Instead, it is far more common to see the Buffificer as a cohort, or NPC assisting the main villain. In this roll, the player gets to keep their primary character as an attack oriented action class, while getting the benefit of having someone always being ready to buff you as needed.

The strategy behind playing a Buffificer (or playing one as a cohort) is fairly simple and straight forward. Buff the party, or it’s members before battle using wands and scrolls containing spells such as Bull’s Strength, Fox’s Cunning, Cat’s Grace, etc. At higher levels, look into spells such as Divine Might, and the Mass versions of the normal buff spells so that you can buff the entire team in one casting. The idea is that you are a secondary character, who is there to make the primary characters as competent as possible, serving much the same role as the Bard that uses Inspire Courage for his party every fight. While you are always capable of defending yourself, you only really enter combat directly when there are no further useful buffs you could be casting on the party, and they are doing well enough in the fight to not need other forms of support (such as healing). Then, your combat techniques will be essentially the same as a generic Artificer, infuse Bane into your crossbow or other ranged weapon, and pick enemies off until one of your team members needs help.

While not an action packed, exciting build (which is why it seldom sees play as a primary PC), the assistance to the rest of the party can easily turn a tough fight into an easy win.

a. Recommended Ability Scores
The Buffificer can use the generic Artificer ability scores without modification.

b. Recommended Feats

Reach Spell: Reprinted in Complete Divine, this feat turns any touch ranged spell into a ray, allowing you to administer your buffs from the sidelines without directly endangering yourself. The party is counting on you to keep them at their best, and you are no use to them if you run into combat only to get yourself killed, especially if it was your support that made the fights winnable in the first place.

Etch Schema: With the number of times you will be using the buffing spells, the ability to simply make a Minor Schema containing them will take a lot of burden off of you, and your resources. Craft a few Schema for Mass versions of buffing spells so that in an emergency, you are always prepared to raise the party’s defenses quickly and efficiently.

c. Recommended Gear
You will not be in a great deal of actual combat, preferring to stay on the sidelines as much as possible. When you do start attacking, it will often be with your crossbow or other ranged weapon, meaning that you share some of the same armor and gear needs as the Archerficer (see below). In general, stick to Light armor at the lower levels, and aim for a Mithril Breastplate at the first opportunity. Anything that lowers your movement rate reduces your capacity to get within range to buff your team mates, and thus lowers your ability to do your job. Look for items that increase your movement and mobility, such as Boots of Striding and Springing to allow you to keep a safe distance between yourself and the opponents. You may also be interested in investing in items like the Ring of Invisibility, as casting buffing spells does not qualify as an attack, even the lesser ring will allow you to remove yourself from harm’s way without leaving the battlefield.

Archerficer
The Archerficer is essentially the ranged weapon equivolent to the Meleeficer, and the two share several factors in common while remaining substantially different. At the most basic level, the Archerficer shares the Meleeficer’s need to get maximum damage out of every round’s worth of attacks. They also share the Meleeficer’s need for a high base attack bonus and weapon proficiencies, although they are less dependant on hitpoints and armor. And unlike the Meleeficer, the Archerficer build can be successfully done without multiclassing, although there is more to be gained by doing so. Of primary concern for the Archerficer is being able to gain proficiency in a powerful ranged weapon, which typically equates to the longbow. While there are items that allow the generic Artificer to gain this proficiency, and hence negate the need to multiclass or spend a feat on it, the Archerficer gains more through multiclassing than it loses. Like the Meleeficer, you gain access to Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization with your bow through bonus feats, as well as giving you a spare feat to spend as you see fit.

Unlike the Meleeficer however, the Archerficer cannot afford to be slowed down by heavy armor and weapons. Much like the Blastificer, the ability to move freely around the battlefield in order to set up a clean shot is paramount. Which weapon infusions are placed into also becomes a concern. Always remember that while infusing properties into the bow will usually transfer those abilities to the arrows, only arrows themselves are capable of bypassing damage reduction. Place your Bane infusion on the bow, while saving Magic Weapon infusions for the arrows themselves. The ability to affect an entire quiver as a single “weapon” when using these sorts of abilities means that you will save a great deal of gold by carrying primarily mundane (but masterwork) arrows, and then using Magic Weapon to give them all straight plusses in order to bypass DR X/magic.

a. Recommended Ability Scores
Much like the Meleeficer, the Archerficer can afford to lower their Charisma, as they will not be required to make the near constant UMD checks of other Artificer builds. Keep Dexterity as your highest stat, and while Strength is not absolutely vital to the build, a high strength combined with a composite bow will go a long ways to increasing your overall damage output. Never let Strength go negative, however, as those negatives will apply to your damage rolls. Constitution does not have to be nearly as high as the Meleeficer, but more in range with the generic Artificer. Intelligence is not strictly needed, but like the Meleeficer, you may feel the pinch from losing out on bonus infusions per day.

b. Recommended Feats

Weapon Focus (Longbow) & Weapon Specialization (Longbow): Without the ability to Power Attack with a ranged weapon, every point of damage you can eek out of your bow is important. As with any weapons based character, Weapon Specialization is a must.

Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot: Much like Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization, these feats are the basis for almost every archer build, regardless of class, although you will not likely get much use out of Point Blank Shot if played properly, as you will rarely be within 30 feet of your target. However, as the prereq to all of the other archery feats, it is required.

Attune Weapon: Although it is not the intended use of the feat, the wording for Attune Weapon only says that you must have had the “item” in your possession for 24 hours, and that it gives an extra +1 when using a magic item. Nowhere does it actually say that the item has to be +1 that entire time, meaning you can, technically, keep a quiver with you for 24 hours, and then use Magic Weapon to make them +1, and your Attune Weapon feat will kick in for an additional +1. However, many DMs will likely houserule that the weapon must be +1 the entire 24 hours, which will shut this trick down cold. It still remains valuable for actual magic arrows you craft, and for your bow, for the same reason it is useful for the Meleeficer.

Other than these, select feats as you would for any other archery based character. The number of archery feats and how they interact with each other is too large of a subject for this guide to cover, and would make for a useful guide in it’s own right.

c. Recommended Gear
For armor, you should stick to Light Armor at lower levels, eventually aiming for a Mithril Breastplate. Your AC isn’t as important to you as some, and the lack of obvious flashy spells offers you some extra measure of protection over the Blastificer, but you should still try to carry a Buckler, just in case someone does manage to close in on you. For weapons, a longbow is the most efficient damage dealing ranged weapon you will likely find, although if you will want it to be composite or not will depend on your strength. Be aware that if you do use a compound bow, you will take penalties should your Strength be less than what the bow was built for. Generally, this means that if you do use a composite bow, you should get one rated for your unenhanced strength score. You could get one that is rated higher, to take advantage of strength buffs, but then you would only be able to use it effectively when you aren’t buffed. Bracers of Archery, lesser or greater are also required equipment. For the straight Artificer Archerficer, this gives you the proficiency you need. For the multiclassed Archerficer, the bonuses to attack and damage are a welcome extra.

A Quiver of Anurial to hold your bow and arrows is good, while on a more mundane level, you should carry as many different types of arrows as possible. Cold Iron, Silvered, and all the rest. Unlike most other characters, you can easily carry around weapons of every type to bypass every kind of damage reduction because of the fact that it is the arrows that count for overcoming DR, and arrows on an individual level are cheap. Top things off with Boots of Striding and Springing, or possibly an item that grants flight (such as Wings or Boots of Flying) to allow you to reach any tactically advantageous spot on the battlefield, and your enemies will fight in the shade.

Hordeficer
The Hordeficer (sometimes called a Golemficer) is a lesser known, lesser used build primarily due to the costs and risks associated with it. As with the other builds, the basic premise of the Hordeficer is simple and straight forward. You build a pack of Iron Defenders, possibly Persistant Harriers and/or Arbalesters, and one or two large golems, and use this miniature construct army to fight for you. Anyone who has played the game Diablo II will recognize this build as being essentially the same as the Necromancer and his undead army, complete with golem, and will immediantly know the most effective way to play it.

For those who are not familiar with this game, the general tactics are as follows.
First, build several front line melee homunculi, namely Iron Defenders. At the low levels, this will likely be all that you can afford, so you will need to actively participate in battles, allowing your defenders to soften the opponents up as you take opportunistic shots with your crossbow, preferably in conjunction with a Bane infusion. By early-mid to mid levels, you should have several Iron Defenders, and likely an Arbalester or two to provide ranged support. Keep everyone’s hitdice as high as you can afford, and use the Improved Homunculus feat to give them added abilities to improve their durability and damage dealing capability. Hitpoint and Strength boosters for the Iron Defenders are always good choices, while giving them each Sneak Attack will allow them to use each other as flanking buddies to quickly rip almost any normal opponent to shreds within rounds. For your Arbalesters, increase their attacks with the Weapon Ability function, and possibly giving them the ability to fly so that they can stay out of harm’s way. As soon as you are a high enough level to take Craft Construct, and can afford to build a Shield Guardian, do so. Use the Shield Guardian as the primary offensive power when possible, with your horde of homunculi to assist him and provide backup. In tougher fights where it appears that your homunculi are threatened, allow the Shield Guardian to boost their AC with his ability. When available, upgrade the Shield Guardian to a Runic Guardian for even greater power. By the time you have your horde built up, you should no longer focus on trying to hurt opponents directly with your abilities (aka, no more burning AP for Bane), but instead keeping your constructs buffed and healed so that they can do their job.

As mentioned before, the main downsides of this type of this kind of Artificer are money, and vulnerability. The money aspect is obvious, having to constantly keep your homunculi with high hitdice will be expensive, as is crafting the golems you will use, which will typically mean that your own equipment suffers. However, a successful Hordeficer does not require strong weapons or sturdy armor, his horde is all the power and defense he needs. The other drawback, and the most dangerous one of all, is that having a homunculi die deals 2d10 damage to it’s master. Normally, an Artificer wouldn’t be expected to have more than one, maybe two homunculi in harm’s way at any given time, meaning their destruction, while painful, is rarely life threatening. The Hordeficer, however, could have as many as a dozen homunculi in any given fight at higher levels, meaning he stands to take truly massive damage should the enemy get in a lucky Fireball that takes half of his pack out in one hit.

While there is little to do to get around the money crunch, there are some things you can do to ease the burden on your wallet. Extraordinary Artisan will lower the cost of crafting (and this includes adding hitdice to) your homunculi, and you can reap more savings by being strategic about which homunculi gets full hitdice, and which do not. Your Iron Defenders need high hitdice, as they are on the front line, but an Arbalester will be safely behind the defenders, meaning you can afford to skimp on their hitdice. The vulnerability issue can also be addressed. You have a telepathic link to your homunculi which should allow you to assess their general condition quite easily (as in, you will know when they are low on hitpoints), and will be able to mentally command those units to fall back, out of harm’s way. You can also protect them from area of effect spells by giving them energy resistances or immunities to the most common area of effect damage types (fire, cold, and electricity), thereby reducing the chance that an opponent could take down a large portion of them with a single attack, giving you time to use a healing wand on yourself to recover from the damage you take from losing one or two of your horde. Also consider building a Packmate or two, and loading them up with potions/oils of Repaire X Damage. That way, when one of the horde is seriously injured, it can fall back, have the packmate administer the repair potion, and then return to combat without you having to lift a finger.

a. Recommended Ability Scores
The Hordeficer can use the default Artificer stats with no changes.

b. Recommended Feats

Improved Homunculi: This feat is key to building a successful horde of battle ready homunculi. As you will naturally be keeping the hitdice of most of your homunculi at or near maximum in order to make sure they remain viable, you will have multiple slots open for special abilities granted by this feat. Increased hitpoints, weapon ability, sneak attacks, and increased strength are all very good choices, as is flight. Spell Storing is one that you may think you can overlook, but this is ideal for being able to store the spells in your horde to make them resistant or immune to different energy types. The charge lasts all day, so you can load everyone up with energy resistances to the most likely threat (or give different ones different resistances), and then let them activate the spell when needed. Repair X Damage as a stored spell works quite nicely as well, allowing the homunculi to heal itself without your intervention. Probably the most efficient use for this, however, is going to be to let them store their own buff spells, like Bull’s Strength, so that in a single round your entire horde can power up, without you needing to individually buff them.

Craft Construct: Another important feat, although not quite on the same level of Improved Homunculi. Your horde is impressive enough with only your homunculi, but it becomes downright awe inspiring when it is lead by a massive Shield/Runic Guardian or Iron Golem, and much more capable of dealing with even the most potent of threats. It will also give you the option of making lower powered constructs to take the place of the Shield Guardian at lower levels, namely Effigies.

Reach Spell: I’m not entirely sure if this feat has been reprinted in 3.5 yet or not, but it’s original printing can be found in Defenders of the Faith. This metamagic feat allows you to turn any touch ranged spell into a ray. Considering how many buff and repair spells have a range of touch, this will allow you to perform these vital functions at range, keeping yourself well outside of the combat zone, and thus out of immediant danger.

Etch Schema: A Hordeficer will be using the same infusions over, and over, and over again, to the point he will likely drain his infusions per day before he has fully buffed out his entire horde, especially if he has to go full out more than once per day. Minor Schema act much like a scroll form of Eternal Wands. With Etch Schema, you will be able to make one schema for each member of your horde to hold things like energy resistance spells, repair spells, general buffs, or whatever else you need.

c. Recommended Gear
The Hordeficer has the most minimalistic needs of any Artificer build, primarily because of their reliance on their horde to provide combat prowess and defensive abilities, but also because the bulk of their character wealth should be going into their hordes in order to keep up their hitdice. What gear you do keep your yourself should still be used primarily for your constructs, such as eternal wands and schema for your daily effects, buffing and repair wands and potions. However, if you find yourself with extra wealth to spend, look into stealth related items. A ring of invisibility will be incredibly valuable. Being invisible would allow you to remain on the battlefield, relatively safe from harm, while giving you a clear vantage point to direct combat from. And since you are not the one attacking, even the lesser ring serves you well. Failing that, Elvenkind gear to allow you to hide the old fashioned way will do. The idea is to remove yourself as a target entirely, while still letting you see whats going on. While you could rely on your telepathic link to your homunculi to try and fight through, there is no substitute for actually being able to see whats going on.
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« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2009, 08:59:23 PM »

Houserules & Variants

Some people attach a negative connotation to the word “houserule”, and will go to any length imaginable to convince people that how they changed or deviated from what’s in the books isn’t a houserule. But any time you do anything except what is expressly written out in the books is a house rule. Aka, it is a rule that you use in your house that is different from the default rules of the game. There is nothing wrong with this, and there is no good DM out there that does not have some kind of houserule in place, be it as small as maximum starting gold at level 1, or as big as incorporating giant mecha into the game.

Following are some relatively minor houserules that many DMs either use or have considered using with Artificers in their games. As house rules, they will not be appropriate for every DM, or even for every game run by the same DM.

Scrolls
The main mechanical reason why Artificer scrolls are neither arcane nor divine is to prevent the abuse of having the wizard learn every spell in the game due to being able to get a scroll of every spell in the game from the Artificer, who does not need to worry about spells known. While this is a very wise decision from a purely mechanical point of view, it presents several flavor problems within the setting itself. Magewrights and Artificers are supposed to be the cornerstone of Khoviare’s magic item economy. If its magical, and you can buy it, then odds are it was made by an Artificer (or a Magewright, but we’ll just use Artificer here to cover both classes). The most obvious problem with this is that scrolls would have to be an exception out of necessity, because no wizard or cleric could cast from an Artificer scroll due to the restrictions, so where are all of the scrolls coming from? There should be a surprising lack of scrolls beyond first or second level, and relatively few of the low level ones due to the xp cost, but there isn’t, a scroll is just as easy to pick up as a potion or anything else.

So, one good houserule to consider is to say that Artificer scrolls are either Arcane or Divine based on the spell they store, and just flat out say that they cannot be used to scribe spells into spellbooks from. It’s a little heavy handed, and quite obviously a patch for the problem, but it all depends on if you want a seamless fix on the small scale that flaws the big picture, or a fix that smoothes out the big picture but creates a snag at the personal level. If you go this route, you could even claim that the inability to scribe off the scrolls is a “protection device”. You can buy a scroll of the spell, and then come buy another one after you use the first. Not unlike modern software licensing. You aren’t actually buying the program, you are just buying the right to use it. Same here, you aren’t buying the spell to copy into your book so you never have to buy another one, you are just buying the right to cast from the scroll the Artificer made. That still has some issues in that the Artificer still couldn’t make a “normal”, copyable scroll even if they wanted to, but it does smooth off some of the rough edges of the snag.

PrC
Even though we now are beginning to get a fair number of Artificer friendly PrC, there are still quite a few existing PrC out there that would be ideal for the Artificer (the Effigy Master comes to mind) that the Artificer cannot technically take due to the entry requirements, which were written long before the Artificer was officially written up. If you find a PrC that you think will fit your Artificer well, consider asking your DM to allow you to modify it. If it has arcane/divine spellcaster level prereqs, simply allow the Artificer’s Artificer level to substitute. Change bonus arcane/divine spellcasting levels to generic spellcasting boosts, and you should have a perfectly playable Artificer PrC. If the PrC requires the ability to cast a particular spell, it may not be as suited to being modified to an Artificer PrC, but if you think it would still work, simply replace the spell prereq with a hard level prereq, being the lowest level a normal wizard/cleric would gain that spell (such as if the prereq is the ability to cast Fireball, then replace the Fireball req with a plain Caster Level 5 prereq).

The only real pitfall to watch out for is the urge to add more to the class to make it good for Artificers. Never add, only modify to direct equivalents. You will notice, for example, that none of the official Artificer PrCs grant refills on the Craft Reserve, and for good reason. Do not be tempted to add this ability to a PrC, as it will cause problems. Simply change the minimum number of things to allow the Artificer into the class, but no more. If it requires a knowledge check that the Artificer doesn’t get as a class skill, do not change it to a skill they do have, leave it alone. Remember, the idea is to make it possible to take the PrC as an Artificer, making it easy doesn’t enter into the equation.

Magic Item Crafting
The pros and cons of allowing custom magic item creation is covered in more detail in the DM section of the guide, but here we will touch more on the generic idea, as opposed to the implementation. By the default rules, an Artificer can only build what items have been published in the books, solely because there are no player accessible rules for creating new magic items, and what rules there are on the subject are only DM guidelines, not something that is in a player usable format.

Making the houserule to allow Artificers to create custom magic items will go a long way towards making the class more enjoyable to play, allow for more unique characters, and as long as its monitored, should not disrupt game balance. However, exactly how you would allow this as a DM needs to be taken into account (as is covered in the DM section of the guide), and any custom item creation needs to be closely watched.

Psionic Artificer
The Psionic Artificer from Magic of Eberron started life as a houserule, and was eventually published in the books as a variant class for the Artificer. Being a variant class, a single character is not allowed to take levels in both normal Artificer and Psionic Artificer (although allowing this as a houserule in it’s own right is perfectly viable, just make it so that each class is independent, so that you would have an Artificer 7/Psionic Artificer 3, for example).

The majority of the Psionic Artificer is very straight forward. As a psionic equivalent to the magical Artificer, it simply trades in Use Magic Device for Use Psionic Device, and trades it’s magical item crafting feats in for psionic item crafting feats, such as losing Scribe Scroll and gaining Encode Power Stone. Again, fairly straight forward, except for one small snag. It still gains Craft Homunculus the same as the normal Artificer, with the same choices available for crafting. The problem is that all of these homunculi require magic spells in their creation, which the Psionic Artificer is incapable of faking.

If allowing the Psionic Artificer in your game (such as if you are running a Kalashtar/Dreaming Dark heavy game), you will need to go through and make psionic variants of all of the various homunculi as well. While this may seem like a large task, it is actually very easy. Look at the magic spells required for each homunculi, and simply find it’s nearest Psionic equivalent. Failing that, simply have the Psionic Artificer make a UPD check at the same DC a regular Artificer would have to make their UMD check to craft the homunculi, and don’t worry about what amounts to little more than flavor text for the prereqs.

Decipher Script
As written, the Artificer does not gain Decipher Script as a class skill. However, there is ample flavor based reasons for why they should. For a class that treats magic as being something more akin to a science than an art, and the ability of Lesser Schema to hold infusions, there is room for the Artificer to be proficient with figuring out lines of scrawling arcane formulas and the languages found on ancient ruins. From a mechanical aspect, the Artificer has scroll use as an integral part of the class, yet without resorting to a Spell Storing Infusion to get Read Magic, he has no way of identifying a discovered scroll. As such, a growing number of DMs are beginning to give the Artificer Decipher Script as a class skill. As a balancing factor, it would likely be advisable to remove a class skill to even things out. Arguably, the most inappropriate skill the Artificer has on their list is Knowledge (The Planes), as it is rather odd that knowing how to make magical items would also let them know about the planes of existence, especially considering that only the gnomes are proficient in binding elementals.

Material Components
All Infusions must be infused either into an item, or a construct. There are no exceptions to this rule, so it seems redundant to require infusions to have non-costly material components. While it can be quite flavorful to carry about a spell component pouch in order to have ready access to baubles to infuse, the idea of actually requiring a tuft of rabbit fur in order to infuse your weapon seems fairly silly. There would be no harm in the slightest done to simply remove non-costly material components from Infusions, or to give the Artificer Eschew Material Components as a bonus class ability at level 1.
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dark_samuari
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« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2009, 08:59:54 PM »

Tricks of the Trade

With all of the different ways to play an Artificer, and all of the subtle nuances about the class (both in the game and out of it), a few pointers on what works, what works really well, and some general advice.

Team Play
Remember that first and foremost, you are playing your Artificer as part of a team. There are other people, probably your friends, that are also playing in the game with you, and they need to be able to have just as much fun as you are. They also need to be able to trust that you are there to help the party survive, not to make yourself rich and powerful at their expense. The fighter does not charge the party for losing hitpoints, the wizard does not charge for casting spells, and you should not charge for crafting magical items for your party. This is greedy, selfish, and it disrupts the fun, both in game and out.

This does not mean that you should be expected to make things for free for the party though, as being a team player works both ways, you help your party, your party helps you. As an Artificer, you alone are superbly suited for making magical gear for everyone in the party thanks to your Craft Reserve. You do not have to spend hard won xp to craft with, you have a free pool you can draw from whenever you like, that will always refill at the next level. The only things making magical items for your party costs you is gold and time, and with a Dedicated Wright, you don’t even really have to spend time.

When another player asks you if you can make an item for them, do not charge them any more for it than it costs you to make it in the first place. Ask that player (or character, if done in character) to provide all of the crafting costs, and as long as you have craft reserve to spare, make the item for them. These are your party members, they are the ones that have kept you alive through all of these dangerous situations that allowed you to reach a high enough level to make good items in the first place, you owe them, and they owe you. Every item you make for them, they will put to use defending you, never forget that.

No one is asking you to put your character out by taking on the burden of making free things for anyone that asks, but it is simply greedy and rude to try and milk your party members for gold by overcharging them when you are doing the job for the party that the class was designed to do.

Handy Infusions
Of all the various infusions, two stand head and shoulders above the rest, and both are available to you at level 1. Personal Weapon Augmentation and Spell Storing Infusion. Between them, there is little you won’t be able to do, if you use your imagination.

a. Personal Weapon Augmentation
The ability to grant any weapon you hold a temporary +1 equivalent enchantment may not sound like much from a cursory glance. That is generally enough to only get you +1d6 damage of various forms of energy, like fire or cold. However, it becomes boarderline broken (in the overpowered sense) when you realize that Bane is a +1 equivalent enchantment. Normally, the fact that you are normally so severely restricted in how often you will fight an opponent of a given type, Bane was given a low value. For an Artificer using it as an Infusion, they are capable of giving any weapon they wield an extra +2 (that stacks with everything) as well as an additional +2d6 damage on top of that, and since it can be done on the fly, the Artificer is capable of making a Bane weapon that affects anything they happen to be fighting at the time. That’s the equivalent of a +2 greatsword hit, on top of whatever other weapon you happen to be using at the time. Available at level 1, there are very few “appropriate” challenges that can stand up to that kind of firepower. The downside, you will almost always have to spend an action point at the start of combat to get this kind of power, and you have fewer action points than you will have encounters per level, meaning that if you routinely spam this infusion, odds are you won’t have it later on when you really need it.

b. Spell Storing Infusion
This is perhaps the single most overlooked and under appreciated ability in the class, but is also the most flavorful and the most useful. The ECS presents the Spell Storing Infusion in a less than optimal light, making it sound like you are simply making a temporary wand, and that has a habit of restricting how people think about the infusion. Instead, come at it from another angle, it allows you to have any spell in the game literally at your fingertips that blends perfectly into your other abilities. Being descriptive is the key. Take a locked chest that neither your Artificer nor the party Rogue can open, a major roadblock if there is something you need hidden inside. The Artificer can simply use Spell Storing Infusion to cast Knock. Mechanically, you store a charge for Knock in the chest as the object, and then activate that charge, and direct it at the chest. But flavor wise, you describe it as looking into the very essence of the lock, finding the proper strand to pull, and the lock simply popping open. If you need to convince a difficult NPC to help you, slip them a gold coin that you’ve infused with a Charm Person spell. Need to know if someone is telling the truth? Reach into your component pouch for some sand and sprinkle it around them as you infuse Zone of Truth into it. Go even further, a corpse is an object, infuse it directly with a Speak With Dead spell. They’re not dead yet? Infuse Cure Moderate Wounds into a bandage as you wrap up their injuries. Literally any spell you can imagine (within the limits of the ability, of course) is yours to cast, all you have to do is find a fun and flavorful way of describing the medium you choose to cast it through.

Behind the Screen, DM Information

While it may be confusing to play an Artificer, it can be even worse to be the DM that has to constantly stay one step ahead of an Artificer player, especially if they are capable of thinking on their feet, or are unusually creative, as they can literally pull anything out of their hats almost on a moment’s notice. However, there are ways to limit the Artificer’s power if you find that it is becoming too much to handle. In addition to covering some of that below, we’ll also discuss some of the decisions you will need to make before allowing an Artificer into your game.

Use Magic Device Boosters
There is a great deal of controversy over whether or not a UMD booster (an item that grants bonuses to UMD checks) should be allowed into the hands of an Artificer. In one camp, there are those that see little or no problem with the item, citing that a Cloak of Elvenkind doesn’t make the Rogue overpowered, for example, and that at the worst it simply makes the artificer more reliable in combat as they are less likely to flub activating a wand. The other side is quick to point out the lack of UMD in the game as a whole, while those that do boost the skill are almost always packaged in with many other abilities, greatly increasing the price of the item and making it less specifically useful. They cite the generally fixed DCs the Artificer faces when making UMD checks, whereas the Rogue with his elvenkind gear faces actual opposed checks, with the monsters typically having huge bonuses to spot and listen at higher levels that make such items necessary just to remain useful.

Which side you fall on as a DM is going to be up to you. While it is true that UMD do allow the Artificer to skip feats such as Skill Focus (UMD) by crafting a minimal UMD booster early on (such as gloves or a vest that grant +5 to the checks), it should also be pointed out that the price for such items scales up so quickly that anything more than a token boost quickly becomes so expensive that maintaining such a device becomes a serious investment in character wealth that would otherwise have gone towards offensive firepower like Fireball wands.

Custom Item Creation
Another major point of contention between Artificer players and their DMs. Given that the character can potentially make anything they imagine, almost all players will eventually request to make an item that they themselves have designed, that can’t be found in any published book. This custom magic item may be good, it may be bad, it could be the most broken thing the game has ever seen, all depending on the skill and maturity of the player who designs it.

One option is to limit the Artificer to only being able to craft items that have been published in official WotC books. This takes away most of the fears of giving your player something unbalanced, but it also stifles the player’s enjoyment of the character. Safer for your game, less work for you, but less happy players.

Another option is to allow custom item creation handing the player the magical item making guidelines, and letting them go at it. When they’re done, you approve or disallow whatever it is they have made. This gives the player much more freedom and flexibility, but it can tend to put you on the spot as you have to then either say okay, or say no.

A third option puts more work on you as a DM, but tries to be a bridge between disallowing custom items and simply letting the player go hog wild. In this approach, you have the player describe what they want the magical item to do, and then you build the item for them. This gives you complete control over how powerful the item is, how much it will cost to build, and every other aspect involved. The downside is that it requires you to set aside time to do what could amount to a good deal of work on a single item for one character that you could have put into making something that the entire party could enjoy, like a new encounter or NPC.

Keeping an Artificer in Check
With the nearly unlimited versatility the Artificer can bring to the table, the potential for near unlimited game breaking power comes not far behind. As such, it is probably not a good idea to let an inexperienced or immature player get their hands on the Artificer class, as it will almost assuredly cause you nothing but headaches. But, assuming you do have one in the party and you need a way to keep them in line, there are some basics that will go a long way to curtailing their activities.

a. Knowledge Checks
Obviously, an Artificer can’t do something that they know nothing about, and determining what a character does and does not know generally means making a Knowledge check of some sort. The two main areas where you may want to bring these checks into your game are for Bane infusions and what items the Artificer can make. For Bane, you could make the player roll knowledge checks to see if they can identify what kind of monster they are fighting, or at least identify it’s type. After all, if the character doesn’t know the difference between an abberation and an outsider, they couldn’t very well infuse the proper Bane into their crossbow, now could they? The wide array of skills needed to successfully identify all monsters is sure to suck up a good deal of the Artificer’s skillpoints, which will either limit their effectiveness outside of combat (such as crafting and warforged repair), or make it so that they are much less likely to get to use a Bane infusion, allowing you an easier time of balancing an encounter for the party without worrying about the Artificer ripping through it.

The other major area is less easy to pin down with skill checks, but an Artificer can’t make an item that uses a spell they have never heard of. If you deem a spell to be rare, unusual, or otherwise just plain unlikely that the Artificer would have heard of it, make them roll a knowledge check (Arcana for arcane magic, Religion or Nature for divine) to see if they know it. Be aware though that this will likely just result in a lot of extra paperwork as the Artificer player starts writing down every spell they are exposed to as proof that their character knows about it.

b. Resources
Like any crafter, the Artifice requires three things to be effective when it comes to making magical gear. Time, money, and a place to work. Depriving them of any of these three resources will bring their crafting to a screeching hault, which could be just what you are looking for if the number of magical goodies they have created is beginning to get out of hand. Of course, the preferable way to handle this is out of character by talking to the player in question, but if that isn’t an option, an in character answer can do the trick. You can easily deprive them of a place to work, especially at lower levels, by simply putting them somewhere they don’t have access to an arcane laboratory. Most small villages, inns, even some fair sized cities will lack these specialized locations, and even the bigger cities that do have them likely won’t let just anyone walk in and use them. If the character buys the materials to set up their own lab, they still have to put it somewhere, and all you need do is make sure they don’t get regular access to it to bring things back into control.

Not as easy to control as where the Artificer is, is how much free time they have. This can be as easy as simply starting one adventure after the current one is finished with no downtime at all, but this unfairly punishes the other characters who may also have things they want to accomplish between adventures. It will also become readily apparent what you are doing, and can lead to some hard feelings. However, if you limit yourself as to how often you use this technique, you may find it an effective way to stall the Artificer when necessary.

The hardest resource to limit will be gold. While this may seem to be the easiest to control, you simply don’t give them much treasure. The problem with this approach is two fold. One, any determined Artificer is going to be able to make money hand over fist on the complete up and up. They can craft whatever they can afford, sell it, and make money. They use that money to craft more, and soon they’re going to have all the money they want, unless you specifically go out of your way to stop them, which again just makes it obvious that you are trying to hamper them. The other possibility, and the much more damaging option, is that they will start charging the other characters to craft items for them, meaning you will have to limit ALL of the characters in the game to near poverty, simply because they will invariably go to the Artificer for new gear, and pay anything he asks (as long as what he asks is cheaper than what the NPCs will sell for).

Another possible option is more flavorful, and out of all of the above could be the best answer to cutting back on an Artificer’s crafting, limiting access to dragonshards. Although not specifically spelled out, the assumption is that most if not all permanent magic items in Eberron are powered by dragonshards. Without them, crafting magical items would be either much more difficult, if not impossible. If you find yourself needing to limit the Artificer’s crafting, this is quite possibly the best way to do it. Not only does it put their crafting more under your control (as you have to be the one to give them the shards to craft with), but it can form the basis for all manner of adventures as they quest to obtain those dragonshards.
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dark_samuari
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« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2009, 09:00:32 PM »

*Reserved*
For builds, items, spells and anything else the community at large feels would be a fair addition to the handbook.
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Endarire
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« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2009, 11:44:13 AM »

"boarderline" should be borderline.

I also request that you color the archetypes blue for easy scanning.
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Hood - My first answer to all your build questions; past, present, and future.

Speaking of which:
Don't even need TO for this.  Any decent Hood build, especially one with Celerity, one-rounds [Azathoth, the most powerful greater deity from d20 Cthulu].
Does it bug anyone else that we've reached the point where characters who can obliterate a greater deity in one round are considered "decent?"
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« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2009, 02:29:06 AM »

Dragonborn Artificer 13/Sentinel of Bharrai 7... so you can be a fire breathing bear with laser beams!
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Some Handy Links for CO Work (WotC 339 version) - a compilation of links for base/prestige class handbooks, tactics, spellcasting, character builds, D&D databases, etc.
Archived version of the above with working links

The Mango Index - a giant index for all things D&D and where to find them
The Mango List Reborn! - rehosted by KellKheraptis

Lists of Stuff - listing of class features etc and how to get them, etc. sort of like above but a little more specific and sorted by category
Polymorph, Wildshape and Shapechange, oh my! (comparison charts) - side-by-side comparison of all the various form altering abilities
Alternative Class Features
alternative ways to get class skills
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« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2009, 03:50:17 PM »

There were several threads about the Artificer on 339, but none of them looked like the later build guides.
I don't remember any Quick-Start type thread either, but some discussion has occurred.

iirc - All the cheap crafting feats, is the CO-baseline version.
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The_Mad_Linguist
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« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2009, 04:35:58 PM »

No mention of the landlord feat?  I am appalled.
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Emy
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« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2009, 05:19:01 PM »

The Bandoleer from Faerun is meant to hold knives, and gives the wearer a kind of virtual Quick Draw feat when retrieving those knives.  However, wands work in it just as well, allowing you to quick draw a wand on a moment’s notice, without having to spend a feat on it. 

Nope. The Potion Belt lets you draw one potion from it per round as a free action, but that's the only one of those 3 containers in FRCS that has that ability.

If you prove me wrong, I'll be very pleased.

No mention of the landlord feat?  I am appalled.

Perfect for building your Borg Cube or Überairship!
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Dusk Eclipse
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« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2009, 01:11:57 PM »

Not sure if it is optimal since I don't know if it is possible but I recall reading somewere that a warforged artificer could craft himself as a component a bag of holding type III I think inside its chest and use it as a working space for its dedicated wrights
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