Artificer (Dungeons & Dragons)

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A Dungeons & Dragons character class
Publication history
First appearanceEberron Campaign Setting
Editions3.5, 4th
(as an alternate class)3.5, 4th

The artificer is a playable character class in the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) fantasy role-playing game. This fictional class of characters first appeared in the 3.5 edition of D&D and was introduced in the Eberron campaign setting. The artificer is a unique base class that reflects many of the core themes of Eberron.

Campaign setting[edit]

Though introduced as a prestige class for gnome arcane spellcasters in the Magic of Faerûn, artificers are a standalone class in the Eberron campaign setting. Artificers are heavily written into the Eberron world with their own Dragonmarked house, House Cannith. The common people in the metropolis of Sharn and other Eberron cities rely heavily on artificers to maintain the magical infrastructure. Artificers represent many of the high-magic elements of Eberron as a campaign setting.

Publication history[edit]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989-1999)[edit]

The first appearance of an artificer as a wizard specialist introduced in the 2nd edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) supplement Player's Option: Spells & Magic. Therein, the Artifice was a newly added specialty within the School of Thaumaturgy. This artificer channels magic into or through non-living items for their own personal use - thus any spells in the Enchantment/Charm school which happen to affect living things, and the entire school of Necromancy are opposed to the Artifice specialty and off limits to the Artificer of the AD&D 2nd edition.

Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition (2000-2007)[edit]

In D&D 3rd edition, the artificer is a complex class, requiring extensive bookkeeping if a player fully utilizes its item creation abilities. Through a combination of infusions and item creation abilities artificers can add a great deal of flexibility to a party.

No published race has artificer as a favored class, though being a warforged artificer gives the player the advantage of being able to use his infusions on himself.

There is also a variant psionic artificer.


The artificer's abilities act primarily on items and constructs. The artificer uses Intelligence-based Infusions instead of typical magics and psionics. Infusions work similarly to spells but must be implanted in a specific object, giving it a temporary magic effect. Rather than casting bull's strength directly on a character, an artificer might infuse a similar strength enhancing effect into a belt the intended recipient is wearing.

Rogue abilities[edit]

Artificers gain a wide variety of the tinkerer class features that are usually reserved for Rogues:

  • The ability to find and disable traps with a DC >20.
  • Skill Mastery at 13th level.
  • Class skills such as Open Lock, Disable device, Use magic device, etc.

Adding an artificer to a party can offset the lack of trap-finding abilities and mechanical know-how when no rogue is present. However Stealth is not generally something they are very proficient with.

Item creation[edit]

An artificer can create magic items for which he or she does not have access to the prerequisite spells. In place of the missing spells, a series of Use Magic Device checks are made, which emulate each needed spell. These checks can also be used as substitutes for race or alignment requirements. And, in addition, the artificer receives a bonus to caster level when attempting to create an item.

Artificers receive every item creation feat as a bonus at or near the level where it becomes available to spellcasters.

  • Scribe Scroll- 1st
  • Brew Potion - 2nd
  • Craft Wondrous Item - 3rd
  • Craft Magic Arms and Armor - 5th
  • Craft Wand - 7th
  • Craft Rod - 9th
  • Craft Staff - 12th
  • Forge Ring - 14th

At 5th level Artificers gain the ability to salvage XP from one magic item to use in another using a supernatural ability named Retain Essence.

Craft reserve[edit]

Artificers receive a number of craft reserve points every level. These points can be used instead of XP in the creation of new magic items. Thus Artificers are able to make use of item creation feats such as forge ring and craft wondrous item without the experience penalty that other spell casters must take.


Constructs, mechanical beasts, and particularly Warforged fall under the Artificer's area of influence. Specific infusions can be cast to Repair or inflict damage to any creature with a construct subtype. The feat 'craft construct' and the spell 'construct lock' are also good examples of this.


At fourth level Artificers may craft a homunculus companion. A homunculus is similar to a Wizard's familiar but more intelligent and generally better equipped to a single task. Magic of Eberron Provided expanded options for homunculus companions. Warforged artificers can also choose to forge an intelligent weapon in place of a homunculus (see Races of Eberron)

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008-)[edit]

The artificer appeared in Dragon magazine #365 (July 2008), in a 4th edition playtest article. The class then appeared in the Eberron Player's Guide (July 2009). Artificers are arcane leaders, sharing a role with bards, clerics, shamans, and warlords. Artificers are proficient with cloth and leather armor and simple weapons. They can use rods, staves, and wands as implements.[1]

Class features[edit]

Arcane Replenishment allows an artificer to recharge a magic item's daily power, each day it can be used once plus one additional use per milestone reached, and cannot be used more than once per day on the same item. Components allows artificers to use mundane materials create the reagents and devices which some of their powers require, due to this feature, artificers are always assumed to have the necessary components on hand when using their powers. Healing Infusion allows artificers to use the two Healing Infusion powers two or three times per encounter depending on level. Healing Infusion: Curative Admixture is similar to the Cleric's Healing Word power and the Warlord's Inspiring Word power, allowing the artificer or an ally within range to regain hit points equal to his or her healing surge value as well as providing additional healing. Healing Infusion: Resistive Formula allows the artificer or one ally within range to gain temporary hit points instead. Ritual Caster gives artificers Ritual Caster as a bonus feat and a free ritual book with bonus rituals related to item creation.

Powers and builds[edit]

Artificers use arcane spells called infusions to imbue objects with magical power. One artificer build, the battlesmith artificer, is presented in the Playtest: Artificer article in Dragon magazine #365. Battlesmiths focus on buffing, healing and protecting allies. Many of their powers relate to weapons or armor. Battlesmiths' attack powers generally use implements or ranged weapons. Battlesmith powers generally rely on intelligence for accuracy and damage, and many also gain additional benefits from high constitution.

Relevant Accessories[edit]

  • Sharn: City of Towers (November 2004, ISBN 0-7869-3434-4) Includes the Cannith Wand Adept prestige class for Artificers
  • Races of Eberron (April 2005, ISBN 0-7869-3658-4) Details racial substitution levels for warforged artificers along with other extended options for the class.
  • Magic of Eberron (October 2005, ISBN 0-7869-3696-7) Contains new infusions, homunculus types, and artificer-specific magical items. Also contains the Alchemist Savant prestige class.
  • Player's Guide to Eberron (January 2006, ISBN 0-7869-3912-5) Contains a number of useful references for creating NPC artificers, a typical workshop map and a number of other relevant tidbits.

Other media[edit]

The artificer appears as a class in Dungeons & Dragons Online (DDO). DDO community manager Amanda Grove said she enjoyed playing the class in the game, although she said using two hands to shoot rather than one was difficult.[2]


  1. ^ Bonner, Logan; Mike Mearls; David Noonan (July 2008). "Playtest: Artificer" (PDF). Dragon Magazine. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
  2. ^ Olivetti, Justin (August 24, 2012). "A song of trees and fire: A deeper look at DDO's Update 15". Joystiq. Retrieved September 20, 2012.

External links[edit]