Author Topic: Artificer Progression  (Read 1020 times)

Offline studderingdave

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Artificer Progression
« on: July 26, 2017, 03:05:47 PM »
So we have a long standing 3.5 campaign going and i might have damned my current character to eventual NPCship by my DM. I am currently having fun abusing the Factotum class and Iaijutsu Master PrC. I am getting pretty ridiculous with damage output and skill Monkeying everything. I have opted to build an artificer at 13th level. I am versed in item creation, running a lower level Artificer in the same campaign a few years ago but losing him quickly. I would like to hang somewhere between maximizing wands and having a few homunculi hanging around to handle combat in my stead. I have read over the handbooks for Artificer, and I get the gist of it. Just looking for some round pointers on the build from those who have run it, or DM's who have banned them from their campaigns :) thanks

Offline Nytemare3701

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Re: Artificer Progression
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2017, 05:22:53 PM »
You Break it, You Buy it is for Theoretical Optimization generally. Stuff that won't fly in normal games. That said, I can still give you some advice.

Since it's bound to come up eventually, I'd like to point you to a troubling line near the beginning of the Artificer's crafting section:

Quote
"Costs are always determined using the item's minimum caster level or the artificer's actual level (if it is higher)."

This makes the artificer as a class dead in the water.

If you can get past that, there's also the argument that some make that WBL is an absolute, and to craft items means a character gets less loot as a result. I don't buy it, but your DM might and that kills crafting as a whole.

If you have access to pathfinder content, get the Armor modification for a construct. It lets you wear a construct as a breastplate, and it takes damage before you do. Make the construct out of magically hardened materials. Enjoy ridiculous DR and health pool.

If your group is "All RAW, all the time" then a (silly) reading of the artificer's bonus feats nets you every crafting feat in the game.
Quote
An artificer gains every item creation feat as a bonus feat at or near the level at which it becomes available to spellcasters.
It then goes on to give a list of them, but that list still serves a purpose even if it's not all-inclusive. It defines the "at or near" part, since some of those feats are gained at odd levels. The rest can be inferred as gained at the earliest level they are available). This can lead to something as harmless as dipping into random esoteric crafting styles, or something as abusive as using Dark Chaos Feat Swap to get 20 Font of Inspiration feats and shatter action economy by multiclassing as factotum.
(side note, strict reading of FoI also says you gain the points, not the capacity to regenerate an increased number of them. Make sure your DM is using the sane reading...yes I realize the hypocrisy in saying this right after talking about 20+ free feats)

Dragon magazine has some Truename crafting content, which allows you to make a Truespeak check when activating items in order to use your full CL instead of the item CL. It's dangerous to do in public, so I suggest only doing it for a morning buff routine, so you can make low CL schemas with hour/level buffs in them, then activate them with your CL of 13 for effective Persisted spells.

The Thunderlance spell gives you a very powerful weapon, which you can modify with Holy Sword and attack large groups by casting Whirling Blade (which lets you attack using your INT). Flavor the Whirling Blade spell as the wand laser if you like. You are shooting a lance of force 60ft and hitting everything in the way.

For more info on doing stupid things with item crafting, check out My handbook on the subject


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Offline studderingdave

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Re: Artificer Progression
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2017, 05:45:53 PM »
many thanks for the advice. theoretical optimization is what i am after. My current character is fairly optimized, and my friend int he campaign and i bounce ideas off each other that we often gather from the MM board or BG. The third and 4th players are new and just hit things with axes and catch arrows. I would describe my DM as very hard but rewarding. We tend to lack:

Downtime
Access to magic shops/trade
Refuel sites for mundane gear
Positive NPC interaction

So basically we need to be able to produce what we need out of thin air or be very self reliant. As it stands the party contains:

Fighter2/Factotum8/IM3 as the face, glass cannon melee and skill monkey
Cleric12 of Mystra melee house and adhoc arcane assit
Barbarian10 new player, beatstick
Bard10 new player, buffer and mediocre ranged support

So the artificer would be replacing the Factotum, most likely maintaining the face of the party role and some of the monkey skills. Obviously i feel i cannot match my current character in DPS but we have that area more or less covered.

I am largely interested in correct loadouts. Should I double wand? in the long term am I better off focusing on making minions or maxing out wands? I already plan to have a workshop in a portable hole and a Wright making items as I adventure.

Offline Nytemare3701

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Re: Artificer Progression
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2017, 06:04:24 PM »
If all bets are off, then you can blow the ENTIRE party out of the water at the same time, limited only by action economy.

With a good stack of cost reducers, schemas of 9th level spells barely break 1000gp. Here's an example of the stack of schemas I kept around on my last "anything goes" artificer.


(click to show/hide)

And here's an (incomplete, but still overkill) buffstack from that character (with a few things specific to his build that won't work outside that particular campaign):
(click to show/hide)


And here's an out of date but still informative example of cost reduction:


(click to show/hide)

For pure TO bullshit, I suggest a Schema of Shapechange and a Ring of Continuation from PF, so that you can remain in the form of a Zodar whenever possible because of this:
Quote
- Invulnerability: A zodar is impervious to all attacks except those made from bludgeoning weapons, and the enhancement bonus (if any) of such a weapon is disregarded when determining the result of the attack.


TO artifice is basically making crafting costs so low and expanding your options so far, that you can reproduce almost any ability you want. Just watch out for disjunctions.

To directly answer your question about loadouts, you can change your entire loadout for any given day because you can afford THAT MUCH overkill. The character described above would air-drop controllable golems to join the party, carrying specialized gear for the mission, instead of actually bothering to leave his airship.

No matter what loadout you choose though, I highly suggest a Belt of Many Pockets, Gloves of the Strategist, Dragonskin Bag, a Handy Haversack, and liberal usage of the Hoard Gullet spell.

EDIT: I have example items for the skillmonkey/support role as well, listed with the pre-reduction prices.

(click to show/hide)

« Last Edit: July 26, 2017, 06:21:18 PM by Nytemare3701 »
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Offline studderingdave

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Re: Artificer Progression
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2017, 08:39:24 PM »
ok, can we dial is back a bit? your charts and figures are very good, but i need to build up to it to understand it.

We work on a 85 point stat buy, nothing below 3 and above 18. 13th level gives me 3 additional points. i was opting into human, im guessing the feat will help. Given the level, i am looking at:

Str 12
Dex 14
Con 14
Int 18
Wis 12
Cha 18

initial feat string looks like this:

Scribe Scroll - Bonus
Brew Potion - Bonus
Craft Wonderous - Bonus
Craft Arms and Equipment - Bonus
Craft Rod - Bonus
Craft Want - Bonus
Craft Staff - Bonus
Attune Weapon - 4st
Craft Construct - 8th
Exp Artisan - 12th
Legendary Artisan - lvl
Wand Mastery - lvl
Improved Homunculus - lvl

3 feats open

suggestions on mundane weaponry? Do I buy the Bracers of archery to get into the long bow or am i just going to run wands? Does my feat tree change to comp for this? I can see I am going  be subpar in melee, would liek to optimize ranged attacks and defense.

lets get this going one step at a time.


Offline Nytemare3701

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Re: Artificer Progression
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2017, 09:51:39 PM »
I was afraid this might happen. When I said "Theoretical Optimization" it didn't mean "tossing ideas around" it meant "stuff that a reasonable DM would throw a book at you for, that is usually used to break world records or do impossible things"

This thread could probably be bumped to the normal Character Optimization section when an admin gets a chance.

ok, can we dial is back a bit? your charts and figures are very good, but i need to build up to it to understand it.

We work on a 85 point stat buy, nothing below 3 and above 18. 13th level gives me 3 additional points. i was opting into human, im guessing the feat will help. Given the level, i am looking at:


Str 12
Dex 14
Con 14
Int 18
Wis 12
Cha 18

Unless you plan on becoming a construct or undead, Switch CON and CHA, or bone a fae (Faerie Mysteries Initiate) to use INT for HP. Charisma isn't actually as important as the class description makes it out to be, and CON is also a save stat.

On that note, starting off as a Warforged comes with a whole host of abilities (namely an entirely different list of things you can Alter Self into, being able to infuse yourself, not sleeping, and skipping quite a few of the things that living beings need to keep up with) If you really need the feat though, human works.



initial feat string looks like this:

Scribe Scroll - Bonus
Brew Potion - Bonus
Craft Wonderous - Bonus
Craft Arms and Equipment - Bonus
Craft Rod - Bonus
Craft Want - Bonus
Craft Staff - Bonus
Attune Weapon - 4st
Craft Construct - 8th
Exp Artisan - 12th
Legendary Artisan - lvl
Wand Mastery - lvl
Improved Homunculus - lvl

3 feats open

Truename makes Wand Mastery irrelevant unless you are explicitly using your wands out in the open vs people who can make ludicrously high checks to learn your truename (which cannot be learned by any means BUT that check. Truenames are unlearneable by magical or deific means). I assume it's there though because you needed to burn one of the bonus feats.

Improved Homunculus is thematic, but you can replicate most of it with normal buff spells instead of setting a feat on fire for it. Cardinal rule of artifice: Reduce your base costs as far as possible. Once you do that, then the other stuff becomes trivial.

Try this progression instead:

Art1: Scribe Scroll
Lvl1: Faerie Mysteries Initiate
Hum: Keen Intellect
Art2: Brew Potion
Art3: Craft Wondrous
Lvl3: Item Familiar (Gives you bonus XP for crafting, as well as a bonus to UMD/Truespeech)
Art4: Extraordinary Artisan
Art5: Craft Arms & Armor
Lvl6: Craft Construct
Art6: Craft Wand
Art8: Legendary Artisan
Art9: Craft Rod
Lvl9: Truename (Doubles spell DCs, makes dispelling harder on you AND your items, lets you use items with your own CL) 
Art12: Craft Staff
Lvl12: Etch Schema

If you can, use the Dark Chaos Feat Shuffle to replace (Rod, Staff, Potion, Scroll, Wand Mastery) with as many copies of Magical Artisan as you can get away with. Extraordinary Artisan and Legendary Artisan are technically Item Creation feats, so you can apply Magical Artisan to both of them as well.
If possible, take flaws to get 2 more bonus feats.
If possible, take Antifeats from Kingdoms of Kalamar to get another 6 bonus feats. Almost nothing that Antifeats can do to you will actually inhibit a dedicated artificer.

Again, I direct you to the cost reduction table:
(click to show/hide)



suggestions on mundane weaponry? Do I buy the Bracers of archery to get into the long bow or am i just going to run wands? Does my feat tree change to comp for this? I can see I am going  be subpar in melee, would liek to optimize ranged attacks and defense.

At level 13, the entire concept of mundane weaponry is laughable. You are a mage, who can field constructs that make fighters cry. (Fun fact, if your construct is intelligent, it gets feats. You can probably figure out what to do with that). I don't know where the idea that you are bad at melee comes from. Your chassis as a "skillmonkey caster" is overriden by the ludicrous amount of buffs you can use.  If you are dead set on being backline though, you can just CRAFT something that makes you good at it. A Starmantle Cloak makes you utterly immune to all mundane weaponry, and lets you take half damage from magic weaponry. Between that and traditional defensive items (cloak of resistance, remember you can combine the effects of items in the same slot for a premium)

Here's an example piece of armor, that you can just cast Magic Vestment on if you need raw numeric bonuses:
(click to show/hide)

When you get a chance, get Mantle of the Fiery Spirit cast on you. It permanently gives you the fire subtype (aka immunity to fire), and it's the most common element in the game.


As for constructs, I keep a short list of basic ones, then make custom ones for battle.
(click to show/hide)
For an example combat construct, check out the Battle Horror. It hits the mark in every way that matters, and it is intelligent.

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Offline studderingdave

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Re: Artificer Progression
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2017, 02:35:39 AM »
Awesome. Sorry for posting this in the wrong place, but your last response was immensely helpful.

Offline OblivionSmurf83

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Re: Artificer Progression
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2018, 08:41:54 AM »
I appreciate that this thread was last active almost a year ago but, Nytemare3701, how did you manage to get minor schemas above 6th level?  Is there some feat that I've missed that allows you to scribe schemas of 7th to 9th level spells?

Offline Nytemare3701

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Re: Artificer Progression
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2018, 09:39:07 PM »
afb right now, but there isn't really a NEED for any of the spells over 6th level. If I find out what I was doing, I'll update this.
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Offline OblivionSmurf83

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Re: Artificer Progression
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2018, 03:30:14 AM »
Cheers. 

When you get a chance, you also had Limited Wish listed, so (if you can remember) it'd also be good to know how you had schemas with XP or expensive material components listed

Offline SorO_Lost

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Re: Artificer Progression
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2018, 11:47:35 AM »
Also you forgot to mention how Wizard can easily reduce the cost of crafting to nothing by ritualistically killing his opponents. Which also makes the +10% fee to completely skip needing any crafting Feats to begin with pretty trivial.

Also I probably wouldn't recommend a Battle Horror. It's pretty much a terrible Fighter without any Bonus feats, no actual Magic Immunity, and it has one of the most expensive price tags attached to Constructs (150k+5k/hd). If you want a tank, use an Animated Object (Core, optimize it's hardness) or Runic Guardian (MM2, absorbs 75% of damage dealt to you). If you want mundane offense use an Arbalester (Eb:MoE?) or customized Arcane Ballista (EB:FoW) to combine your favorite WSAs like Splitting & Starburst into the Creature it's self. If you want a Golem capable of casting Spells consider a Grisgol (MM3). And if you want to try breaking the crap out of Construct slaves dip Cleric to pick up the Death Domain and use the Sacred Guardian (DL:BoK) & Effigy (CA) Templates on your favorite Creatures so they can Command their own army of Undead or something. :)
« Last Edit: May 06, 2018, 12:21:52 PM by SorO_Lost »
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