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Artificer 5e DnD Class Guide

Magical items have always been highly sought after in any DnD campaign. Kingdoms rise and fall with the discovery of some magical McGuffin, but what if you could cut out the middle man and simply make your own? Let’s find out how with one of the most interesting classes with our detailed guide of the DnD Artificer 5e.


An interesting day today. 

The watch was called in after reports of a workshop making odd noises at all hours of the day. Odd noises are no stranger to this city, so it must have been pretty bad. 

I went with a new Lance Constable to check it out. It sounded as if there was en entire war happening behind the door. Before we even had a chance to knock on the door a gnome comes running out screaming. “I DID IT!” 

Sounded like an admission of guilt to me, and we went to make an arrest. The gnome was holidng onto what looked like a metal pipe. The poor Lance Constable went in and before I knew it he was frozen solid. The pipe did something weird and shot out a beam of ice. It looked like a Dragon’s Breath. I called for backup and sent for the mages to defrost the Lance Constable.

When we checked the gnomes workshop it was filled with magical bobs and ends. A floating kettle tried to offer me tea. I smashed it before it could pour me a cup or explode. It’s going to be a rough day tomorrow trying to sort through the confiscated evidence. 

From the journal of Captain Vyes 3rd precinct, city watch, 27th of Storm, 1384.

Read our detailed class guide to DnD Artificer 5e below.

MORE CLASS GUIDES: ARTIFICER | BARBARIAN | BARD | CLERIC | DRUID | FIGHTER | MONK | PALADIN | RANGER | ROGUE | SORCERER | WARLOCK | WIZARD

Overview of 5e Artificer

DnD 5e Artificer Class

The Artificer was originally introduced in the Eberron campaign setting and later became part of the official DnD ruleset in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. The Artificer is a master of magical items and has the ability to turn the mundane into extraordinary items of power. 

Notable Artificers in D&D

Lord of Blades

In the Eberron setting, the Lord of Blades is a mythical figure. Some question that they are simply rumors, but the Warforged have been creating their own army gathering strength in the Mournlands. 

5e Artificer Class Features

Hit Dice: d8 

  • Proficiencies: Light armor, medium armor, shields, simple weapons
  • Ability Score: Intelligence

GameCows Ranking System

There are a lot of abilities and class features, and it can get rather confusing. Here at GameCows, we’re going to use a simple ranking system. 

  • GameCows Ranking: 1  
    • This ability or feature is extremely useful and a must-have ability. 
  • GameCows Ranking: 2
    • This ability is ok and generally useful in most situations.
  • GameCows Ranking: 3
    • This ability is only going to be useful in certain situations. You’d only get it or use it if you personally think it’s cool. 

Optional Rule: Firearm Proficiency

Firearms are an optional rule within the DnD world. It’s up to the Dungeon Master whether or not they want to add it into their game. If they are part of your campaign and approved by your DM, then the Artificer starts proficient with Firearms. 

Magical Tinkering

GameCows Ranking: 2

Level 1 – This is the Artificer’s first step into creating magical objects. Like all great heroes, they start out small. The Artificer can touch a tiny object and give it 1 of 4 different abilities. 

  • The object creates light in a 5ft radius.
  • Plays a recorded message.
  • Continuously emits an odor or sound.
  • An image appears as either a picture or 25 words of text.

The Artificer must have thieves’ tools or artisan’s tools in order to perform magical tinkering. This can be done equal to their intelligence modifier. 

Spellcasting

DnD 5e Artificer Class

The Artificer has studied magical items and their tools of the trade long enough that they can create and cast their own spells. Instead of saying magical words and shooting a fireball, an Artificer is more likely to pull a device out of their bag that shoots a fireball. 

The Artificer uses their Intelligence as their spellcasting modifier. Because their magic is so intertwined with their tinkering, the Artificer needs to have equipment to act as their spellcasting focus to use magic. They must have some kind of tool like thieves’ tools, artisans’ tools, or something else deemed appropriate by the DM. Check out the Artificer Spell list.

Infuse Item

GameCows Ranking: 1

Level 2 – The artificer’s ability to enchant and infuse magic into everyday items grows. The artificer can now infuse certain items and give them magical properties.

At each level, they can choose infusions up to their level as long as they meet the prerequisites. They can change what infusions they know at each level. Some are simple that give weapons or armor a little magical boost, and when the Artificer gets to higher levels they can make magically infused armor that would make Iron Man green with envy.

You’ll have to check Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything (page 20.) for a full list of infusions. 

  • Level 2-5: 4 Infusions
  • Level 6-9: 5 Infusions
  • Level 10-13: 8 Infusions
  • Level 14-17: 10 Infusions
  • Level 18-20: 12 Infusions

The Artificer can infuse items at the end of a long rest, and the infusion remains until the Artificer removes it or until the Artificer themselves die. 

The Right Tool for the Job

GameCows Ranking: 3

Level 3 – The Artificer can use their chosen tools, thief or artisan, to magically create a tool kit of their choosing. The kit itself is not magical, does not offer any bonuses other than being a tool kit, and takes 1 hour of uninterrupted work. 

I personally think this skill is underwhelming at best. It seems like a missed opportunity and not super useful as the rules are written. I would house rules that the Artificer can do it without having an initial toolkit and adjust the timing. The Artificer is the toolbox of the party and to have them sit there for an hour to produce a set of tools is a really underwhelming ability. 

Ability Score Improvement

Like most other classes, the Artificer gets 2 new ability scores on the 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th levels. They can distribute them as they want as long as they don’t go above 20. 

Tool Expertise

Game Cows Ranking: 1

Level 6 – The Artificer’s proficiency bonus is doubled when making a check that requires tools.

Flash of Genius

GameCows Ranking: 2

Level 7 – This is a useful support ability. When the Artificer or another ally the Artificer can see are making an ability check or saving throw, the Artificer can add their intelligence modifier to the roll as a bonus. This can be used equal to the Artificer’s Intelligence Modifier before they’ll need to recharge the ability with a long rest. 

Magic Item Adept

GameCows Ranking: 1

Level 10 – The Artificer by level 10 becomes much more familiar with creating magical items. 

This comes with several bonuses. They can attune 4 magical items at once. When creating a common or uncommon magic item it takes 1/4 of the time and 1/2 the cost in gold. 

Spell-Storing Item

GameCows Ranking: 1

Level 11 – The Artificer can now store spells within an item. After a long rest, the Artificer can touch a simple or martial weapon or a generic item that can be used as a spell focus. They then store a 1st or 2nd level Artificer spell within the object. 

The object then can be used to cast the spell and has charges equal to 2x the Artificer’s Intelligence modifier. 

Magic Item Savant

GameCows Ranking: 2

Level 14 – Artificers can now attune up to 5 magical items at a time. They also ignore class, race, spell, and level attunement requirements when using a magical item. 

Magic Item Master

GameCows Ranking: 3

Level 18 – The Artificer can Attune up to 6 magical items at a time. 

Soul of Artifice

GameCows Ranking: 1

Level 20 – The Artificer gets a +1 bonus to all saving throws per attuned item. If they are ever reduced to 0 hit points and don’t immediately die, they can use their reaction to end one of their Infusions to drop to 1 hit point instead. 

Artificer 5e Subclasses

DnD 5e Artificer Class

All of the official Artificer Subclasses can be found in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. The Artificers are powerful tinkerers, creating bombs, clockwork constructions, or even firearms and the subclasses all specialize in different aspects that are incredibly useful and quite damaging. 

Alchemist

  • Tool Proficiency
  • Alchemist Spells
  • Experimental Elixir
  • Alchemical Savant
  • Restorative Reagents
  • Chemical Mastery

Armorer

  • Tools of the Trade
  • Armorer Spells
  • Arcane Armor
  • Armor Model
  • Extra Attack
  • Armor Modifications
  • Perfected Armor

Artillerist

  • Tool Proficiency
  • Artillerist Spells
  • Eldritch Cannon
  • Eldritch Cannon
  • Arcane Firearm
  • Explosive Cannon
  • Fortified Position

Battle Smith

  • Tool Proficiency
  • Battle Smith Spells
  • Battle Ready
  • Steel Defender
  • Arcane Jolt
  • Improved Defender

Playing as an Artificer in 5e

DnD 5e Artificer Class

It’s all about the Artificer Infusions and your subclass specializations to be successful as an Artificer. They are a support class, but if you play intelligently and out of the box you can do some serious damage as an artificer. 

Smart use of the Infusions will always be useful, and although they won’t have as many spell slots as other spell casters, their ability to turn mundane items into magical ones is incredibly helpful for the party. There are also the different magical constructs the Artificer can create. The ability to create useful machines that can move and act on their own can turn the tide of battle in a fight when combined with magical items. 

Create a magical bomb or a real bomb and have a construct sneakily climb into the baddies’ lair or create a false image that runs off to distract the guards. There are plenty of creative ways to use their ability set. 

If your DM uses the optional firearms rules, their damage capacity also goes way up. 

We hope you liked this Artificer 5e guide, why not check out some of the others including Best Bard Spells, Witch Bolt 5e, and Wizard 5e?

SHARING IS CARING

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