The Complete Artificer 5E Handbook | Artificer 5E Guide

artificer 5E

In a game dominated by swords and spellslingers, it only makes sense that the steampunk setting has a class that mixes magic and technology. The artificer is not new to D&D, but it is the newest class available in the 5th Edition. To learn more about it, check out our Artificer 5E Guide!

Artificer 5E Guide

In Eberron, the artificer has taken the wizard’s pursuit of arcane power through study and harnessed it into the form of scientific advancement. While artificers are spellcasters, their magical ability is focused on infusing items with arcane power.

It is the drive to learn and innovate that pushes artificers into adventuring. They seek yet-undiscovered powers and new frontiers. This class offers a lot of options and is not pigeonholed into a single party role.

Artificer Table

1st+2Magical Tinkering, Spellcasting22
2nd+2Infuse Item4222
3rd+2Artificer Specialist, The Right Tool for the Job4223
4th+2Ability Score Improvement4223
5th+3Artificer Specialist feature42242
6th+3Tool Expertise63242
7th+3Flash of Genius63243
8th+3Ability Score Improvement63243
9th+4Artificer Specialist feature632432
10th+4Magic Item Adept843432
11th+4Spell-Storing Item843433
12th+4Ability Score Improvement843433
14th+5Magic Item Savant10544331
15th+5Artificer Specialist feature10544332
16th+5Ability Score Improvement10544332
18th+6Magic Item Master126443331
19th+6Ability Score Improvement126443332
20th+6Soul of Artifice126443332

Artificer Class Features

Each artificer has the following class features:

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per artificer level
HP at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
HP at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per artificer level after 1st


Armor: Light armor, medium armor, shields
Weapons: Simple weapons, hand crossbows, heavy crossbows
Tools: Thieves’ tools, tinker’s tools, one type of artisan’s tools of your choice
Saving Throws: Constitution, Intelligence
Skills: Choose two from Arcana, History, Investigation, Medicine, Nature, Perception, Sleight of Hand


You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • any two simple weapons
  • a light crossbow and 20 bolts
  • (a) studded leather armor or (b) scale mail
  • thieves’ tools and a dungeoneer’s pack

Most of the time, the hand crossbow is going to be the artificer’s best friend. Battlesmiths are the exception as they can wield shields and focus on melee combat with the right build.

Optional Rule: Firearm Proficiency

If your Dungeon Master uses the rules on firearms in chapter 9 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide and your artificer has been exposed to the operations of such weapons, your artificer is proficient with them. If you adopt the optional firearms rules, these will play a huge part in most artificer builds.

Magical Tinkering (Level 1)

Magical tinkering is one of the many aspects of the artificer that sets it apart. This feature lets you infuse mundane objects with sparks of magic. When using tinker’s tools, you can use an action to give a mundane object one of the following magical properties:

  • The object sheds bright light in a 5-foot radius and dim light for an additional 5 feet.
  • Whenever tapped by a creature, the object emits a recorded message that can be heard up to 10 feet away. You utter the message when you bestow this property on the object, and the recording can be no more than 6 seconds long.
  • The object continuously emits your choice of an odor or a nonverbal sound (wind, waves, chirping, or the like). The chosen phenomenon is perceivable up to 10 feet away.
  • A static visual effect appears on one of the object’s surfaces. This effect can be a picture, up to 25 words of text, lines and shapes, or a mixture of these elements, as you like.

This effect lasts forever, or until you decide to remove it. You can maintain magical tinkering on multiple devices at once, but that object may only have one property at a time. The maximum number of magical items you can maintain is capped at your intelligence modifier.

For creative players, the sky is the limit with this feature. Warn allies of traps, leave messages behind for NPCs, or convince gullible merchants that an item is much valuable than it seems are only some of the options available.

Spellcasting (Level 1)

At level 1, you gain the ability to cast spells. At this level you gain two artificer cantrips and two artificer spells. You will pick up more of each as you level up. We discuss the spellcasting mechanics of the artificer below.

Infuse Item (Level 2)

See Our Complete Guide to Artificer Infusions

Infusions are another central part of the Artificer class. These infusions are more powerful than the tinkered items you can create at Level 1, but are generally less powerful than fully enchanted magical items. At Level two, you can pick four artificer infusion to learn from the 10 options available. These infusions include:

  • Boots of the Winding Path: Creates boots that allow teleporting up to 15 feet.
  • Enhance Arcane Focus: Gives arcane focus +1 to spell attack rolls and ignores half cover.
  • Enhanced Defense: Creates a suit of armor or shield with +1 AC bonus.
  • Enhanced Weapon: Creates a simple or martial weapon with +1 to attack and damage rolls.
  • Homonculus Servant: Creates a Homonculus that serves as your companion.
  • Radiant Weapon: Creates a weapon with bonuses to attack and damage, plus can give off blinding light.
  • Replicate Magic Item: You can use this infusion to learn how to recreate a specific magical item. At higher levels you get access to more powerful items.
  • Repulsion Shield: You can enchant a shield that gains +1 AC and that can push attacks 15 feet away.
  • Resistant Armor: Infuses armor that gains resistance to your choice of acid, cold, fire, force, lightning, necrotic, poison, psychic, radiant, or thunder.
  • Returning Weapon: Infuse a weapon with the Thrown property to return to the wielder’s hand after it is thrown. Also gains+1 to attack and damage rolls.

Each time you finish a long rest you can touch an item and infuse it, turning it into a magical item. Each infusion has limitations on the items you may use for it. These items must be attuned to be used, and stay magical until shortly after your death or when you decide to end the infusion. You can have multiple infused items going at once depending on your level, but you can only use a specific infusion once at a time.

Artificer Specialist (Level 3)

The Artificer Specialist is the subclass option for the artificer. We discuss these subclasses in detail in a separate section below. Or, you can visit our Artificer Subclasses rankings here.

The Right Tool for the Job (Level 3)

Right Tool for the Job allows you to create any form of artisan’s tools using only your set of tinker tools. This is pretty situational, although it can save you a decent amount of gold in the early game if you plan on using tools a lot. Other than thief’s tools, your mileage will vary on how helpful this is.

Tool Expertise (Level 6)

You become an expert with the tools you have proficiency with. In other words, you double your proficiency bonus for any ability check using your proficiency with a tool. Again, how often tool checks occur in your campaign will determine how helpful this is.

Flash of Genius (Level 7)

At Level 7, Flash of Genius lets you add your Intelligence modifier to the roll for an ability check or a saving throw. This can be your roll or any creature you see within 30 feet of you. This can be used the number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier and is replenished after a long rest. The ability to tip the scales on up to five rolls per day is pretty powerful.

Magic Item Adept (Level 10)

Magic Item Adept gives you two buffs; one will come in handy more than the other. The highlight here is your ability to attune to four magic items at once. This is obviously useful in many ways. The second use is that crafting a common or uncommon magical item takes a quarter of the time and half the gold to do so. Most campaigns are light on crafting magical items to begin with, so your mileage may vary.

Spell-Storing Item (Level 11)

Spell-Strong Item, as the name implies, allows you to store spells in items or weapons. You may use any simple weapon, martial weapon, or spellcasting focus. Within this item you may store one spell from the Artificer’s spell list that is 1st or 2nd level. You do not have to have this spell prepared. Any creature can use this item, and doing so gives them your spellcasting ability modifier if a roll is necessary. The item can be used a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier before it becomes mundane again. That said, you can store spells in the same item again and again.

Magic Item Savant (Level 14)

This gives you another attuned magical item, which is nice. In addition to your fifth attuned magical item, you can ignore all class, race, spell, and level requirements attached to using or attuning a magical item. There aren’t a lot of items with these requirements, but they are often powerful.

Magic Item Master (Level 18)

Magic Item Master brings the total number of magical items you can attune at once to six.

Soul of Artifice (Level 20)

By level 20, you have the ability to attune to 6 magical items and you should be taking advantage of it. Soul of Artifice stacks bonuses based on the number of attuned items. It gives you +1 bonus to all saving throws per magical item you have attuned. This stacks with Flash of Genius, giving you serious boosts for most of your saves.

Additionally, Soul of Artifice can save you from facing death saving throws. When you hit zero HP you can end one of your infusions, which then boosts you to 1 HP. It’s always nice to have a way to avoid incapacitation, right?


Like with the wizard, the artificer’s arcane ability stems from their study of magic. However, this study primarily focuses on how magic flows through specific magical items. Also like the wizard, an artificer uses Intelligence as their spellcasting ability.

Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier

Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier

Artificers start with two cantrips which they can select from the artificer cantrips list. At level 1, they also get two artificer spells. Artificer spell slots max out at Level 5.

Preparing and Casting Spells

The artificer’s approach to casting spells is similar to the wizard’s, in that you must prepare a list of spells each day. the total number of spells you can have prepared is equal to your intelligence modifier plus half your artificer level, rounded up. This list can include any spell on the artificer’s list that you have at least one spell slot for. Casting a spell does not remove it from your prepared spell list. You can rearrange this list after a long rest.

Required Tools

For most casters, a spellcasting focus is a nice option that lets you avoid the need for a component pouch. For artificers, a spellcasting focus is mandatory to cast spells. This focus must be some form of tools – frequently tinker’s tools. After level 2, an artificer may instead use an infused item as their focus.

Ritual Spells

Artificers can also ritual spells. Certain artificer spells have the Ritual tag, which means you can cast them even if you do not have them prepared. You can learn more about ritual casting with our guide to Ritual Spells.

Artificer Specialist – Subclasses

Sitting at three subclass options, the artificer by far has the fewest archetype options of any other class in 5E. Given that it is the most recent addition to 5E, it is not hard to understand why. Thankfully, all three subclasses are nice options with interesting themes.


See Our Complete Alchemist 5E Guide

The alchemist is the closest an artificer can get to serving as the party’s healer. The archetype can’t match a cleric’s healing abilities, but it is still a strong option that maintains some offensive prowess.

  • Tool Proficiency (Level 3). At level 3 you gain proficiency with alchemist’s supplies. You can pick an alternative proficiency if you already have it.
  • Artificer Spells (Level 3). The good news is that you get access to many spells that are not on the artificer list. You get some nice healing spells, particularly Healing Word and Mass Healing Ward. The options only get better at higher levels with Blight, Death Ward, and Gaseous Form.
  • Experimental Elixer (Level 3). The system for creating elixirs is central to the Alchemist subclass. You can create an experimental elixir by touching an empty flask following a long rest. This elixir lasts until it is used or until the end of the next long rest. At level 6, you can create two elixirs and at level 15 you can create three. You can also expend spell slots to create more. See our Alchemist guide fo a breakdown of these elixirs.
  • Alchemical Savant (Level 5). Using your alchemist supplies as a spellcasting focus gives you bonus to a spell roll equal to your intelligence modifier. This roll must either be to restore HP or cause acid or poison damage.
  • Restorative Agents (Level 9). You can cast Lesser Restoration without expending a slot using your alchemist’s supplies. Your elixirs also give temporary HP.
  • Chemical Mastery (Level 15). You gain resistance to acid or poison damage. You also are immune to the poisoned condition. Finally, you can also cast Greater Restoration or Heal without expending a spell slot a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier.


See Our Armorer 5E Guide

The Armorer is the newest addition to the class. The theme involves turning mundane armor into Arcane Armor. This armor gains power as you level.

  • Tools of the Trade (Level 3). You gain proficiency with heavy armor and smith’s tools. Both come in handy here.
  • Armorer Spells (Level 3). The armorer spell is very useful. It comes with damage options like Magic Missile and Lightning Bolt, utility spells like Greater Invisibility, and defense/crowd control in Wall of Force.
  • Arcane Armor (Level 3). The bread and butter of the archetype. You can ignore strength requirements for this armor. It will even replace your missing limbs.
  • Armor Model (Level 3). You can choose one of two armor models: Guardian and Infiltrator. Guardian come with melee weapon gauntlets and a defensive shield. Infiltrator offers a ranged lightning weapon and advantage on stealth checks.
  • Extra Attack (Level 5). You gain another attack when you make the attack action.
  • Armor Modifications (Level 9). You can now use your infusions with your armor. You can infuse the armor four times: in the boots, helmet, body, and weapon. Also, you also gain two extra max infused items.
  • Perfect Armor (Level 15). Guardian models can pull huge sized creatures or small up to 30 feet. This uses a reaction, but you can also make a melee attack. Pretty great. The infiltrator gets additional damage and gives advantage against creatures it hits with the magical weapon.


See Our Artillerist 5E Guide

The artillerist excels in hurling explosives and energy projectiles in a fight. For obvious reasons, this is a fun subclass.

  • Tool Proficiency (Level 3). You gain proficiency with woodcarver’s tools. Not the most useful proficiency normally, but you need these tools to make the most of this subclass.
  • Artillerist Spells (Level 3). This spell list is excellent, and includes some strong offensive spells not available to artificers in general. These include great options like Fireball, Ice Storm, and Scorching Ray. Strong spell list overall.
  • Eldritch Cannon (Level 3). The focal point of the artillerist is the ability to create an Eldritch Cannon. There are multiple options for this cannon, which we cover in our Artillerist guide. These cannons are more than a weapon as they can move and even tank for you.
  • Arcane Firearm (Level 5). Another highlight of this subclass is the ability to turn a wand, staff, or rod into a magical firearm. When casting an artificer spell using the firearm that damages a target, you add 1d8 bonus damage from the firearm.
  • Explosive Cannon (Level 9). This boosts your cannon damage by 1d8 and even allows you to destroy your cannon, dealing AOE damage within 20 feet.
  • Fortified Position (Level 15). At Level 15, you and any allies gain half cover when within 10 feet of your eldritch cannon. You can also have two cannons active at once. The half cover alone is an excellent buff.

Battle Smith

See Our Battle Smith 5E Guide

The Battle Smith is an interesting option akin to the beast master ranger in some ways. While the Steel Defender is an important part of the archetype, there are other interesting aspects at play for the battle smith.

  • Tool Proficiency (Level 3). You gain proficiency with smith’s supplies. These tools come into play for the battle smith’s other abilities.
  • Battle Smith Spells (Level 3). Battle smith has access to some nice spells primarily drawn from the Paladin spell list. In addition to useful smites, you also pick some healing and defense options.
  • Steel Defender (Level 3). At the core of the battle smith is the Steel Defender. This magical construct can take any medium-sized shape you like and can have two or four legs. The Defender is useful in combat or as a scout, and the cost of repairing or replacing it is minimal.
  • Extra Attack (Level 5). At level 5 you get two attacks when you take your attack action.
  • Arcane Jolt (Level 9). Each time you land a blow with a magic weapon or your Steel Defender, you can deal extra damage or even heal an ally. You can do this once per turn, up to a maximum equal to your Intelligence modifier. While extra damage is nice, 2d6 healing is usually harder to come by.
  • Improved Defender (Level 15). Your Steel Defender gets a buff! The defender gets +2 AC and deals more damage when it deflects an attack. Your Arcane Jolt bonus also doubles. Not a huge boost for a level 15 feature, but not bad.

Artificer 5E Optimizing Tips

The value of optimizing your artificer is entirely up to you. If you are focused on roleplaying, this section might not be of interest to you. If you like a well-optimized character, though, this guide has what you need.

Ability Selection

Just like with the wizard, the artificer lives and dies based on their intelligence score. That does not mean every other stat can be dumped. Constitution is always important, and many artificers excel with some dexterity as well. Most builds do not need the other three skills, although shoring up wisdom, charisma, and strength for saving throws is never a bad thing. Your priority as an artificer is as follows.

More ImportantConstitution, Dexterity
Less ImportantCharisma, Wisdom


Largely a dump stat. Most artificer builds do not rely on strength in combat, and you already have proficiency with medium armor. Unless you plan on picking up heavy armor proficiency using a feat, strength isn’t important to you.


Dexterity should be your second or third priority, but you don’t need to dump a ton here. For the most part you need enough to boost your AC and handle dexterity saves. Whether or not you invest in this compared to constitution will depend largely on your build. Typically, you slot this below constitution.


Typically your second priority. This is essential, given your d8 hit points per level is on the low side. Improving your constitution saving throws isn’t a bad thing, either, but survivability is the priority here.


Get this to 20 as fast as possible. This powers your spells, which in turn impacts virtually all aspects of your character. As a Battlesmith, you can also use Intelligence to power your weapon attack rolls. This should always be your top priority.


Largely a dump stat, but you can boost it some for wisdom saving throws or skill checks. Another possible consideration – although hardly optimal – is if you choose to multiclass into a class with a minimum wisdom requirement.


Charisma is in the same boat as Wisdom. You’re really just putting points here to boost your saving throws. Like your wisdom score, you might need this if you intend to multiclass – but why bother?

Best Races for Artificer 5E

There are certain races and lineages that are better than others when it comes to each class. That is the case with the artificer. However, there has been a notable shift in recent years for the races and lineages developed by Wizards of the Coast. The trend with more recent options like the plasmoid race involve moving away from set ability score modifiers. Instead, each of these characters has the option of giving a +2 bonus to one ability, and +1 bonus to another.

For that reason, the question “what is the best race for an artificer” does not have the same answer it once did. Given that there are a growing number of options you can choose without settling for suboptimal ASI options, it is easier than ever to build a character that fits your vision without giving up on optimization.

There are currently dozens of races, subraces, and lineages available in official WOTC releases. Instead of going through each of these options individually, we have selected a number of races that are especially strong for artificer characters. In the end, the most important thing is to build your character in a way that is fun for you.

Strong Options

Astral Elf

In a spelljamming campaign, the astral elf is a perfect option. As a newer race, it has the custom ASI option which means you can focus on intelligence without giving up anything. Our choice of astral elf goes beyond just the ASI bonuses, given that optimal ability scores are hardly difficult to come by anymore. The astral elf race gains some interesting proficiencies, including a skill and weapon of your choice. This can give you a single martial weapon option plus another skill – in addition to proficiency in perception that astral elves also gain. You get darkvision and only need for hours of rest to get a long rest. However, your best option is here that you get a teleport option that can’t be counterspelled and can be used a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus.

Earth Genasi

Thanks to recent updates, The Earth Genasi is one of many races that gets variable ability score increases upon character creation. Thanks to this addition, you can always build an Earth Genasi character with an optimal ability score spread. Earth genasi also get a couple of spells that are a good fit for this class. Artificers are already surprisingly sneaky, and Pass Without a Trace only amplifies this. You also get the cantrip blade ward and can cast as a bonus action a few times, too.


This goes without saying, but the variant human is arguably the best racial option available in D&D 5E. You get flexibility when it comes to ASI, which is always nice. You do give up a point in one ability, but the trade-off is that you start the campaign with a feat. This is one of the only ways to get a feat early on in D&D, and there are lots of good feats for artificers! Some recommendations include Warcaster and Metamagic Adept.


The original version of the hobgoblin was ideal for an artificer due to the spread of ability score bonuses. Now, the hobgoblin gets the custom lineage treatment. That means you can get optimal ASI while still picking up the other fun aspects of this race. Those fun aspects are quite good for artificers as well! You have darkvision and advantage against the charmed effect, which is always nice. Fey Gift also gives you some cool options when you take the help action, including giving yourself and an ally temporary hit points. Given your relatively low hit dice, any extra survivability is useful. You also get Fortune of the Many, which gives you the chance to add up to +3 to failed attack rolls, ability checks, or saving throws. This is especially useful for artificers that fail concentration checks when casting spells.

Rock Gnome

When it comes to races that don’t involve a custom lineage or stat spread, it is hard to beat the rock gnome. The rock gnome gets +2 to your intelligence and +1 to constitution.  Thematically, this subrace is perfect as you also pick up Artificer’s Lore. This gives you the ability to double your proficiency when learning the history of magical items or alchemical objects. The major downside with this selection is the Tinker trait. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it doesn’t provide you with much you can’t already do as an artificer. See our Gnome 5E Guide to learn more about this racial option.


If you are concerned about survivability with your artificer character, one way to get sturdy fast is by playing a Warforged. First, let’s look at the ability score improvements. Constitution is important here, and you can put your flexible increase toward Intelligence. More importantly, you can really beef up survivability with this origin. You get a boost to your AC, which immediately makes playing front-line combat roles more viable. This improvement also synergizes with your infusions, which could boost your armor class even more. Throw in some useful resistances and you make quite the tough build. See our Warforged Race Guide for more tips on this Eberror classic.

Yuan-Ti Pureblood

This is one of the more fantastical races, but it is a perfect fit for an artificer if your DM will allow it. For starters, the pureblood has ability score increases that are ideal for the artificer. The boost to intelligence is welcome, and this only scratches the surface of why this race stands out. One of the downsides of the artificer is the limited spell list. For that reason, I always like to pick up additional spell options through races or feats when I can. Not only do you get some innate spellcasting, you also grab magic resistance, poison immunity, and dark vision. That’s a lot!

Decent Options

  • Elf (High Elf). Most elven subclasses are a poor fit, but the High Elf gets a free cantrip and an intelligence boost.
  • Half-Elf. Half-elves are generally good at everything, and they work here. There are better options, though.
  • Tiefling. While many of these options have bad ability point spreads, you get a lot of value for an Asmodeus or Mephistopheles variant.

Limited Value

  • Aarakocra
  • Aasimar
  • Bugbear
  • Changeling
  • Dragonborn
  • Dwarf
  • Gith
  • Goblin
  • Goliath
  • Halfling
  • Kenku
  • Kobold
  • Kalasthar
  • Lizardfolk
  • Orc
  • Shifter
  • Tabaxi
  • Tortle
  • Triton
  • Verdan

Best Artificer Background

Backgrounds are more important to some classes than others. the right background can be great for characters that like to stack up skills or serve as the face of the party. the artificer doesn’t really need to be either of those. While your artificer background is important, you will start with most proficiencies you really need. Your choice of background for artificer is probably optimized by either netting some new languages or filling out intelligence skill proficiencies you don’t have.

  • Clan Crafter. One language is nice and you also get history. A free set of artisan’s tools is also handy.
  • Cloistered Scholar. Two new languages, plus proficiency in history and another intelligence skill? Not bad at all.
  • Sage. Basically the cloistered scholar with fewer intelligence skill options. You do start with a letter from a dead colleague, which is something I guess?

Suggested Feats for Artificers

Feats are more important for some classes than others. There aren’t must-have feats for the artificer. While they are nice to have, you ultimately are better off getting your Intelligence to 20 before worrying about a feat. There are, however, some good options depending on what you have in mind for your build. The following are some stronger options.

See Our Guide to the Best Artificer Feats

Fey Touched

The fey touched feat is one of my favorites. It’s a nice fit for an artificer as it shores up a weakness – the lack of spells. When you take this feat, you get misty step plus a 1-st level spell of your choice. That spell must be from the divination or enchantment schools. Misty step is a great spell, and you cast both of these options one with using a spell slot. There are several good options, like hex, bane, or silvery barbs. What’s more, you also get your choice of +1 ASI to intelligence, charisma, or wisdom. This means you essentially get a feat with only giving up half of the normal ASI.


Healer is a niche option, but it’s a good fit in some situations. Specifically, your artificer can stand in as a capable healer if your party lacks a better option, like a cleric. You already get access to some low-level healing spells. With this feat, you can use healer’s kits to return downed allies and even heal them directly.

Metamagic Adept

With metamagic adept,  you get the adaptability of metamagic without the need to multiclass into sorcerer. This is a good option for any caster, and the artificer is no different. Twinning spells, changing damage types, and subtly casting are all good options.

War Caster

Artificers have the ability to cast spells in the thick of combat. While dealing with concentration checks is annoying in a fight, you already have proficiency in those saves. With war caster, you also get to make those checks with advantage. This greatly increases the odds that you can hold a spell even when you come under attack. As a bonus, you can also use attacks of opportunity with spells instead of weapons.

Multiclassing Options

There are only a few good options for multiclassing when it comes to the artificer. The need for high intelligence cancels out a lot of options, especially for spellcasting classes.

Good Multiclassing Options for Artificer


Fighter can be a useful option for a few reasons. First, gaining proficiency with heavy armor can let you ignore dexterity entirely and bulk up constitution instead. Two levels can get you the defensive fighting style, action surge, and second wind which are all good fits.


My favorite multiclassing option is the wizard. While a level of wizard won’t open a lot of doors to spells you don’t already have, two levels gets all of the great benefits that come with a wizard school.

Bad Options

  • Barbarian. Raging without armor isn’t a great fit for an artificer.
  • Bard. Stat spread makes this multiclass a bad fit.
  • Cleric. Although this is a way to get some armor, wisdom-based spells make this a bad option.
  • Druid. Bad stat spread.
  • Monk. Bad stat spread.
  • Paladin. You can get smites as a battle master, so why bother?
  • Ranger. Nothing about this is worth a dip.
  • Sorcerer. Not a good fit.
  • Warlock.Not a good fit.

Roleplaying an Artificer

The way you roleplay your artificer will largely depend on your subclass and your general concept. Unlike many other classes, the archetypes for artificers are very different. Alchemists are potion makers, armorers are effectively Iron Man, and Battlesmiths get a robot dog.

The best advice is to lean heavily into whatever concept you come up with. Playing an alchemist? Theme everything you do around brewing potions and performing alchemy experiments. This includes flavoring the way you cast healing spells by using makeshift concoctions or focusing on your brews during downtime.

Playing a battle smith? Your steel defender will likely become an important part of your identity. Is it a loyal friend that reminds you of a pet from your childhood? Is it an obstinant machine you have a love-hate relationship with? There are plenty of ways to play it.

Another key aspect of roleplaying as an artificer is thinking bout your background. How did you learn to mix magic and technology? Did these gifts come from the gods, or did you apprentice under a fellow inventor? Your origin story can power the way you play your character throughout the campaign.

Is Artificer a Hard Class to Play?

The artificer has a ton of options and is great at supporting other members of the party. However, this can be a more challenging class to play for beginners compared to some other options. You make a lot of decisions as an artificer. What’s more, you not only are picking spells but you are managing your infusions as well. You get access to spellcasting right away, and you have plenty of good options thanks to your use of the wizard spell list. Of course, you have so many useful support spells at your fingertips that it can be difficult to know what to select.

One of the challenging things for new players in this situation is that they don’t know what they don’t know. It can take time thinking about and playing with certain spells to know when the right time to use them has arrived. This can be a lot to manage when it comes to the support role.

When you are focused on dealing damage, your big questions are “who do I attack” and “who do I attack next?” There are of course resources to manage like Rage or requirements to meet for sneak attack, but this approach is straightforward. Support roles are not so simple.

I would never discourage anyone from trying out the class that they are most interested in. As a new player, you can focus on the basics of the class and always ask for help at the table. While I would not recommend the artificer to first-time players, I wouldn’t discourage them from playing what they want either.

Is an Artificer Fun to Play?

Whether or not a class is fun is really in the eye of the beholder. However, the artificer has a lot of options that are not really available with many other classes. This class has a wide range of strengths, plenty of utility options, and fun things to tinker with in and out of combat.

It helps to remember the limitations of the artificer. You will never be the absolute death dealer of the party, at least not on the level of something like a paladin. However, you are useful in combat both for utility and dealing damage. In fact, one of the most fun things about the artificer is all of the ways you can choose to build your character. As an artillerist, you can focus on blasting away and dealing serious damage. However, other builds might be focused on utility spellcasting. You can even play a serviceable healer, in a pinch. If you care about flexibility, this is a fun option for you.

Let’s not forget the roleplay aspect of it, either. Unlike most classes, the artificer is not the typical armor wearing, sword-and-board swinging adventurer. You have the chance to play a mad scientist, a thoughtful alchemist, a cutting-edge inventor, or a hapless tinker. There are roleplaying options here that will never really make sense with the other classes.

Artificer 5E FAQ

Are Artificers Overpowered in 5E?

Some people believer that artificers are overpowered. However, this often boils down to specific points: certain subclasses are extremely strong, and it is possible to multiclass into artificer without losing spell progression as a full caster. This is because unlike other classes, you round up the level of your spells when you take a level of artificer.

How Many Artificer Subclasses Are There?

Currently, there are four official subclasses for the artificer released by Wizards of the Coast. Three of them can be found in Eberron: Rising From the Last War, while the fourth is located in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.

What is the Most Important Stat for an Artificer?

As an artificer, you are largely going to focus on spellcasting. For that reason, you will want to focus on intelligence with most builds.

Can an Artificer Make a Tattoo?

Artificers can replicate magic items as part of their infusion options. According to the rules as written, this extends to magical items like spellwrought tattoos. Most of these tattoos come in the form of a needle, which is the item that is actually replicated.

Can an Artificer Infuse Magic Armor?

An artificer cannot infuse magic armor, or any magical item for that matter. This is because the Infuse Item feature only allows the artificer to imbue mundane items with magical infusions. Magical items do not count as mundane. There are infusions that will work on non-magical armor, however.

Concluding Our Artificer 5E Handbook

The Artificer is a fun option that has been floating around prior versions of D&D for years. Despite that, it is a somewhat new addition to the world of 5E. While it has its quirks, it is a nice fit thematically for Eberron and can be expanded to many other settings as well.

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