Optimized Artificer

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Okay, here's my first attempt at an optimized Artificer build.

Human

STR: 8 DEX: 10 CON: 14 INT: 16 WIS: 8 CHA: 16

1. Artificer 1: Artificer Knowledge, artisan bonus, disable trap, item creation, Scribe Scroll, Skill Focus (UMD,) Heroic Spirit
2. Artificer 2: Brew Potion
3. Artificer 3: Craft Wondrous Item, Extend Spell
4. Artificer 4: Craft Homonculus, Legendary Artisan
5. Artificer 5: Craft Magic Arms and Armor, retain essence
6. Artificer 6: Metamagic spell trigger
7. Artificer 7: Craft Wand
8. Artificer 8: Wand Mastery
9. Artificer 9: Craft Rod, Persistent Spell
10. Artificer 10:
11. Artificer 11: Metamagic Spell Completion
12. Artificer 12: Quicken Spell, Craft Staff, Extra Rings
13. Heir of Siberys 1: Additional action points, Action Surge
14. Heir of Siberys 2: Siberys Mark of Making
15. Artificer 13: Skill Mastery, Twin Spell
16. Artificer 14: Forge Ring
17. Artificer 15:
18. Artificer 16: Craft Construct, Feat
19. Artificer 17:
20. Artificer 18:


I thought long and hard about giving up two levels of artificer (and 9,000 experience points worth of craft reserve,) but I thought that the Siberys Mark of Making was worth it. As a spell-like ability, it has no experience cost; ergo, I'm never going to need to pay money to make items again, as I can just call the materials I need into being. The extra action points and Action Surge help to soothe the loss of the craft reserve; I'll just have to quietly purchase magic items with some of my now-infinite wealth and reclaim their essence to make up the difference.

I'd like to work Energy Substitution into this build at an early level, and possibly Energy Admixture at 18th, but I'm running short on feats, and there are none I want to give up. I'd also like to work in Quicken Spell and Twin Spell slightly earlier in the build, but can't see an opportune spot.

I'm a bit concerned about UMD rolls at low levels, but there are ways to work around that (items and Skill Enhancement.) I just couldn't see Magical Aptitude as being a big enough must-have to justify giving up any of the later build feats.

Comments/critiques/suggestions?

Should I postpone Persistent Spell until level 12, perhaps?
I was just trying to do the same thing--got my hands on Eberron yesterday!

What I was thinking of was a Warforged Artificer, althought it isn't neccisarily the power choice. Making your own spare parts is pretty cool though, and it has a wonderful (if steriotypical) aesthetic.

Fir feats I was thinking
Feats~ 1(Art: Scribe scroll, Level: Legendary asrtisan)<br /> 2(Art: Brew potion)<br /> 3(Art: Craft wonderous item, Level: Magical artisan [PGtF] (Craft wonderous item))<br /> 4(Art: Extraordinary artisan)<br /> 5(Art: Craft magical arms and armor), <br /> 6(Level: Exceptional artisan)<br /> 7(Art: Craft wand)<br /> 8(Art: Chain spell)<br /> 9(Art: Craft rod, Level: Extend spell)<br /> 12(Art: Craft staff &amp; Craft construct, Level: Persistant spell)<br /> 14(Art: Forge ring)<br /> 15(Level: Extra rings)

I know that Legendary artisan + Magical artisan is just cheesy, what can I say?

The Siberys mark thing is a excellent idea, although unfortunately one that dosen't work with Warforged.
According to the table, Legendary artisan can only be taken at first level. However, as it dosen't say that in the text...

I woulden't postpone Persistant, considering the low level you can use it at.

Oh and a must have item for any Artificer: Ring of greater counterspells [A&E, 16,000 gp] with Mordie's DJ stored in it.
It would also be pretty phenomenally useless to list Legendary Artisan as a bonus feat for the Artificer if it can only be taken at first level, since the Artificer doesn't get his first bonus feat until fourth. All things considered, I believe it's safe to conclude that the table's in error on this matter.

Warforged Artificer is indeed a cool concept...oh, heck, I admit it, I'm a Warforged mark. I love the concept. I would've even been willing to work around the Charisma penalty, but it just came down to needing every feat I could muster for this build.

Low-level Persistent is VERY nice, but so is low-level Quicken or low-level Twin. I guess you could go either way: Persistent Divine Power, Persistent Polymorph to up your combat ability at level 9, or Twin and Quicken Spell and hang back and blast the enemy.

Oh and a must have item for any Artificer: Ring of greater counterspells [A&E, 16,000 gp] with Mordie's DJ stored in it.




You kidding? I want at least THREE of those puppies. That's what Extra Rings is for. ;)
Originally posted by Caelic
Low-level Persistent is VERY nice, but so is low-level Quicken or low-level Twin. I guess you could go either way: Persistent Divine Power, Persistent Polymorph to up your combat ability at level 9, or Twin and Quicken Spell and hang back and blast the enemy.

It just seems like Artificers are better buffers then blasters. Once you get Craft staff, that changes, but I'll take Persistant wand buffs any day over quickened wand blasts. You also end up using fewer charges.

And I would take Chain over Twin is possible. Think along the lines of Chaining a greater magic weapon staff UMD'ed up to 20th level =P
Originally posted by catharz
It just seems like Artificers are better buffers then blasters. Once you get Craft staff, that changes, but I'll take Persistant wand buffs any day over quickened wand blasts. You also end up using fewer charges.

And I would take Chain over Twin is possible. Think along the lines of Chaining a greater magic weapon staff UMD'ed up to 20th level =P

Chain might well be that eighteenth level Feat. Consider, though, the joys of a humble Scorching Ray wand at, let us say, eighth level. Wand Mastery increases that to tenth, and incorporating a 5,000 GP ruby increases it to twelfth. Three shots for 4d6 each. Now add in Twin Spell via Metamagic Item, and you're pumping out 24d6 worth of fire damage at eighth level, no save, for one charge. Add in Quicken Spell (since there's nothing stopping you from using Metamagic Item twice on the same spell trigger item,) and you're sending 48d6 downrange for two charges.


That ain't bad...and the rapid-fire effect wins points for coolness.
You know, the more I think about this, the more I think it's scary.

Going back to our ninth level artificer, if we reconfigure him slightly, he can have the following feats:

Level 1: Energy Substitution (sonic,) Skill Focus (UMD)
Level 3: Twin Spell
Level 6: Energy Admixture (sonic)
Level 9: Quicken Spell


Packing his Wand of Scorching Ray, our man can, given a couple of rounds of prep time, squeeze off 96d6 damage, no save--12 4d6 firebolts, and 12 4d6 sonic bolts. In a dire emergency, he can do this without prep time, but he's going to be burning up a lot of extra charges--12 of 'em, to be exact. ("Set phasers to overload, Mr. Sulu!")

That's an average of 336 damage, assuming all of the bolts hit...probably a good bit less than that in reality, since SOME of the bolts will miss, but some will also crit. Any way you slice it, a substantial amount of damage for a ninth level character.

Who SAYS Artificers don't make good blasters?
I think I have a (subjective) solution to your feat crunch:

FLAWS
Good point. If I can incinerate the enemy with massive amounts of magical firepower, it really doesn't matter if I'm a Noncombatant.

Still, I have yet to meet a DM who actually allows Flaws into a game.
I've noticed a number of threads that featured players asking for advice on characters using the flaws system. None of them headlining threads, but they're out there.

Besides, aren't you the DM?
A simple question: whats your 6th level feat?
Aha! I knew I was forgetting something. So: Energy Substitution for level 6, and Energy Admixture at 18...just for the base build. Obviously, there are other possibilities, but we'll stick with that for now.
Do you really think you need energy subs at 6th?

Wouldn't it be better to take persistent or quicken first (supposed that quicken can be used in wands, what i'm not sure about), and take ES later on the build, when it will be a lot more useful?
Originally posted by Caelic
Chain might well be that eighteenth level Feat. Consider, though, the joys of a humble Scorching Ray wand at, let us say, eighth level. Wand Mastery increases that to tenth, and incorporating a 5,000 GP ruby increases it to twelfth. Three shots for 4d6 each. Now add in Twin Spell via Metamagic Item, and you're pumping out 24d6 worth of fire damage at eighth level, no save, for one charge. Add in Quicken Spell (since there's nothing stopping you from using Metamagic Item twice on the same spell trigger item,) and you're sending 48d6 downrange for two charges.


That ain't bad...and the rapid-fire effect wins points for coolness.

Wow. That is a *lot* of damage. This may be one of the few effective direct damage casters.
It seems to me like the optimized artificer is either a great buffer or a great direct damage machine. Now just make the wand of scorching ray look like a minigun and we have a cool character. ;)
Nah. A pistol. All of his wands have pistol grips, and he carries them in a trenchcoat that has the same abilities as a Quiver of Ehlonna.
It really does seem like, by 10th level, an Artificer can either be a devastating blaster (Twin, Energy Substitution, Energy Admixture,) or a brilliant buffer (Extend, Persistent, Chain.) Quicken Spell and Wand Mastery are useful to either type; with flaws, the character can fulfill both roles.

I thought a list of highly-useful wands might be useful, so here's a start. These are built with the 2-level boost from Wand Mastery in mind:

Wand of Lesser Acid Orb: CL7, Cost 1312.5 GP, 105 XP. 5d8 damage, no save, no spell resistance, ranged touch. Scales up to 30d8 with Twinned Admixed Quickened boost.

Wand of Scorching Ray: CL9, Cost 3375 GP, 270 XP. 12d6, no save, ranged touch. Scales up to 72d6 with TAQ boost, but requires more hit rolls and is subject to spell resistance.

Wand of Divine Power: CL7, Cost 5250 GP, 420 XP. Bare minimum caster level; intended for use with Metamagic Item and Persistent Spell.

Wand of Polymorph Self: CL7, Cost 5250 GP, 420 XP. Same idea as the Wand of Divine Power.

Wand of Divine Favor: CL7, Cost 1312.5 GP, 105 XP. Effective Caster Level of 9 makes the luck bonus +3.

Wand of Flame Blade: CL3, Cost 1125 GP, 90 XP. 1d8+2 damage, melee touch attack. The Artificer's "lightsaber" for when he's forced into melee combat. Can be Admixed for a more-formidable 2d8+4.
I really like the concept of warforged artificers. And I don't think the class gets nearly enough credit. They can make incredible blasters and great melee buffers.

Have two wand sheathes installed, scorching ray in one and repair critical damage in the other. Use metamagic item to put twin spell and quicken on scorching ray, and quicken and maximize on repair before wading into battle. Of course, at the start of the day you used metamagic completion to cast the persistent clerical buff suite making you a juggernaut in melee and at range.

The ability to imbue your weapons and armor with specific enhancements on the fly gives you incredible adapibility, although the minute-long casting time and gold components do limit its use to a degree.

Also, don't ignore power surge. Once you hit level 15, it becomes more cost efficient to recharge wands than to wear them out and craft new ones.

If you've got the cash, pick up a bracer of wands. It's 60k, and the bracers can hold up to six wands total. Like wand sheathes you can't 'eject' wands until they're used up, and putting in a wand takes a charge. But it's a far better option than blowing a feat on quick draw.

The biggest downside to artificers is that they're burning gold and/or exp to do all this, but you should be able to keep up with the rest of the party, most of whom will have to buy items at the market price, or from you(and don't tell you're not charging them for it!)

Another neat artificer trick is using item alternation along with the artificer stat buffs. According to the wording of how infusions work, you don't cast, say, fox's cunning on the wizard, you cast it on his robes or belt or cloak, which then provides a +4 bonus to int. Then you can use item alteration to switch that to, say, a circumstance or luck or racial bonus so any other enhancement items stack.
In what book is this wand of bracers located?

MiscDebris
isn't Persistent Spell out of reach for eberron-characters?

it was published in dotf (3.0) and in 3.5 it was only published in FR.
i don't know about complete arcane, maybe it will be in there..

but in standard eberron with all core rulebooks and accessories, Persistent Spell does not exist.
Eberron Campaign Setting., Page 8, Section "Ten Things You Need to Know", Number 1: If it exists in D&D, then it has a place in Eberron.

Actually, if you're not using FR, the one from Tome and Blood would exist in Eberron. Only +4 levels until it's updated.

Of course, this is always a DM call. It's only really good for self buffers, anyway. Well, that and those that would like Shapechange active for 24 hours at a time. Staff of Shapechange + Persistent Spell + Metamagic Item Infusion = Persistent Shapechange.

MiscDebris

Edit: Quoted Persistent Spell from wrong source (DotF).
Originally posted by MiscDebris
Eberron Campaign Setting., Page 8, Section "Ten Things You Need to Know", Number 1: If it exists in D&D, then it has a place in Eberron.

D&D means Core D&D- i.e. the PHB, DMG and MM.

Mystra does NOT exist in Eberron, nor does other Realms specific stuff.
True enough, though Persistent Spell is not FR specific (It is in Tome and Blood). It's up to the DM, As always. Even Core is up to the DM, really.

Going by the core books, most of the things that make an Artificer such a damage monger just doesn't exist. No Energy Admixture, No Twin Spell, No Persistent Spell, and No Chain Spell. Not one of those is Core, and not one of those is FR specific. Just the normal metamagic feats in the PHB or SRD. Dispite all that, an Artificer can turn out 24d6 fire damage per round costing only two charges per round at 9th level with two feats and a single infusion.

Anything extra is always the DM's disgression.

MiscDebris

P.S. Let's get back on topic, shall we?
As I am playing an Artificer right now, I figured I would chime in on the build.

Let me say, from firsthand experience, and just knowing the law of averages... and assuming you are playing from lvl 1... you would really be well advised to spend your first lvl feat on Skill Focus: Use Magic Device. If you are a Human, spend the second on Magic Affinity.

All you can do at level 1 are scrolls, then potions at lvl 2... those are cheap to make by all counts, so you don't need the artisan feats for a bit.

To make a lvl 1 scroll at lvl 1, you need to roll 21 or better (2 times, 1 crafting, 2 casting). The best skill you are looking at is 4 + 2 w/ scrolls lvl 1, so you have +6 to successfully make and/or scribe a scroll. If you took those two feats, you would have +11. You get Synergy at lvl 2, so could do somewhat better on scrolls.

You are just burning your reserve pool and gp if you don't have the skills to back it up.

Load the Artificer up w/ Skills early on, you will want the skill points later anyway, but that way it is a viable character from the get go. (Sure wish I had.)
Do you suppose infusions cound for the Master Arcane Artisan ?
The Craft Contingency feat from UE is potentially very useful for the Artificer, as it basicaly allows it to cast any spell in the game as an immediate action.
Originally posted by Ranthanas
D&D means Core D&D- i.e. the PHB, DMG and MM.

Mystra does NOT exist in Eberron, nor does other Realms specific stuff.

That's silly. Extending your logic, we see that all the Greyhawk gods listed in the PHB do exist in Eberron.

If you want to define D&D as meaning "core D&D" in your game, that's fine. But don't tell the rest of us that we're breaking the rules if we use Persistent Spell in an Eberron game, when that's not what "If it has a place in D&D, it has a place in Eberron" means to many people who are not you.

On-topic: The artificer can be crazy-powerful if the DM and player don't work closely together and discuss how the class will impact the game. House-ruling out certain feats (Persistent spell has always been a problem feat, for example) is certainly one way to do this. But in terms of pure optimization, I think either the blaster or buffer route can be a major contributor to a party. What's really silly is how easy it is for this guy to make items that further enhance his UMD skill. I'd suggest favoring one of two body slots for such a device: gloves, or goggles.

~Harsk
A ring probably wouldn't be the best slot. You know, it just dawned on me exactly how powerful "Extra Rings" is. Essentially, this is a non-Epic feat which not only equals an Epic feat (Extra Magic Item Slot)--it DOUBLES it for power.

Either way, though, UMD items are almost inevitable for an artificer. Consider some of the DCs he needs to make. Just to use a first-level infusion (Spell Storing Item) to fullest ability, he needs to be able to reliably make a DC 32 check...and he needs to be able to make it by level eight or thereabouts.

I'm seriously wondering whether a level of Marshal for Motivate Charisma might not be a wise investment for the Artificer.
I'm seriously wondering whether a level of Marshal for Motivate Charisma might not be a wise investment for the Artificer.

I definitely don't think so.

Marshall is a base class: 2x charisma on UMD is no way worth 20% XP penalty.
Originally posted by Elhalyn
I definitely don't think so.

Marshall is a base class: 2x charisma on UMD is no way worth 20% XP penalty.

Or, if you're a human, then there's no penalty.
solution: be human or half-elf.
no xp penalty.
marshal has also a wide selection of skills, but unfortunately no use magic device.

concerning core/not core:

i think a sensible approach would be to take all rulebooks with 3.5
rulings wich are not part of a campaign setting and define them as "core".

PHB 3.5
DMG 3.5
MM 1 3.5
BoED
CD
CW
Draconomicon
XPsiHB
MiniHB
PlanarHB

i use these rulebooks with care (not that i ever needed them in a min/max), since they are mentioned in the 3.0 to 3.5 update booklet:
ELH
FF
MM 2
D&D
(Manual of the Planes) - special case, since i feel that the Planar Handbook supersedes it.


i exclude the following rulebooks, since they are 3.0 and superseded by other rulebooks:
DoTF
MotW
S&S
S&F
T&B
A&EG
E&A
PsiHB
SavSpec
Stronghold Builder's Guidebook


does anyone agree with me? disagree?
Right. I tend to play human characters, and Artificers rely on their feats more than many classes, so I was just sort of taking a human build for granted. Mea culpa.

I also wouldn't take Marshal as the first level of the build, but rather the second. A one-level delay in UMD is quickly made up at third level (or through the expenditure of two skill points at second.) That level of Marshal also lets you get some levels of social skills like Bluff and Diplomacy. While you won't be a social god, your doubled Charisma bonus should allow you to make effective use of said skills.

Ultimately giving up 5,000 experience points in craft reserve hurts, but that's almost all you'd be giving up--and you can always build up your craft reserve by recycling unwanted items.
Originally posted by catharz

According to the table, Legendary artisan can only be taken at first level. However, as it dosen't say that in the text...

Now, I could be completely blind (or this could be a fuzzy scan - still waiting for my FLGS to get me a real copy ), but that looks like a "2", for which the corresponding footnote is "You can gain this feat multiple times. Its effects stack." In fact, it says that for Extraordinary Artisan as well. Can anyone confirm? If that were true, and not errata'd (hah!), then by my reckoning an 8th level human artificer with flaws could have four shots of each, effectively gaining the ability to craft items for nothing but the time investment.

--Impeesa--
The problem with that is the actual text of the feat doesn't say that the feat stacks with itself. Thus, you can't concentrate and get the item that you want. While a nifty thought, it's not allowed. I figured a build like that, then got pointed to the actual feat text. Magical artisan would be a valid feat to stack with it, but you'd need it for each item creation feat, and it would still be crazy.
But the table says so, and the feat text doesn't contradict it. Tables are our friends. Obey the table!

--Impeesa--
The errata in the Ask Keith Baker thread on the Eberron boards states that the footnote on the Artisan feats are in error and should not be there.

OAM
Darn.

It would help if the search function wasn't disabled at the moment...

--Impeesa--
Any suggestions on which spells to put in wands for a blaster artificer?

Scorching ray is the obvious one, but as a ray it requires a roll to hit, and you suffer penalties for firing into cover and into combat, unless you burn feats on standard ranged combat feats, which is tough for an artificer.

There's also fireball and lightning bolt, although they're slightly less effective they don't need a ranged touch. Any ideas?
Lesser Acid Orb is a good one. So is Magic Missile, just in case. ;)
I am also working on an artificer, and you all have given great ideals. What do you think of these feats? I dont have my book, so I may be off on the names.

Human Artifiecer 20

1: Skill focus(UMD), Magical aptitude
3: Ledgeary artisan (the one that gives -25% xp)
4: Exceptional artisan (the one that gives -25% gp)
6: extended spell
8: quicken spell
9: master wand
12: energy substitution(sonic), twin spell
15: extra rings
16: energy admixture(sonic)
18: persistant spell
20: chain spell

I think that looks pretty good, but I was hoping to get empower in there somewhere. Is it worth it? Is chain spell worth it? I know you can use it for greater magic weapon, but what else?
Of the Orb spells, the Lesser Sonic Orb (MHB version) is the best spell for Wand use. But if you are also using the Scorching Ray angle and have the feat Energy Sub: Sonic, the LSO becomes less synergetic with your feat array.

Nonetheless, Lesser Sonic Orb with Quicken/Twin/Maximize can net you 80 sonic damage per blast (assuming the ranged touch attacks hits) as a free action. And not much in the Monster Manuals has sonic energy protection...

XO,
Snow
Lesser Orb X is the spell of choice for a low-level wand. I prefer Lesser Acid Orb, assuming the Energy Substitution route--which is a very good route to take for an Artificer, as it costs you absolutely nothing to use Energy Substitution with Metamagic Spell Trigger. A seventh-level wand of Lesser Acid Orb, coupled with Wand Mastery, nets you the best possible effect at the lowest possible cost. An Admixed Twinned Quickened shot from the wand will net you 30d8--mix sonic and acid to suit.

Legion's Snake's Swiftness also works nicely in a wand, especially when coupled with Repeat Spell--give 'em a free action this round AND next round.
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