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Thread: Artificer Magic Guide
- Join Date
- Mar 2015
Artificer Magic Guide
So I've been working on an Artificer guide, but I've been trying to approach it creatively rather than mechanically. One of the things I had worked out was how to flavour your magic. This is the updated version.
So you want to play an artificer, eh? There's no shortage of mad geniuses to serve as role models for your tinkering and experiments: Dr. Frankenstein. M16's Q. Inspector Gadget. Doctor Robotnic. Tony Stark. Dr Who and his Sonic Screwdriver. Stewie Griffon. Belle's father. Professor Farnsworth. Jimmy Neutron. Edna Mode. MacGyver. Batman.
The problem, however, is that most mad geniuses are based (admittedly loosely) on scientific achievements. The artificer is a magic-user. Is there any doubt that the Golden Army in Hellboy II was magical, not scientific? How, then, do we flavour our magic?
Other classes don't have that problem. Their source of magic is inherent to the class. Druids use nature, clerics use gods. Paladins have faith in their goals and sorcerers are born with it. Wizards meddle with the weave and warlocks bargain with the supernaturally gifted. No one asks a ranger how they got their magic; it's assumed 'nature something something' and that is it. Easy... and boring.
All of those classes can be reflavoured no problem, but artificers don't have a source of magic inherent to their class. The way they *use* magic is outlined; they use tools, and tinker and make things, imbue them with magic, and they're done. And you could just leave it there; the Weave is, after all, ever-present. But you're a mad genius. What's the fun in stopping there?
Flavouring your magic is as easy as answering three simple questions: what's the source you draw your power from, how do you channel it or shape it, and what form does the result take?
First Question: Source
More than any other class, the source of your power can come from anywhere. Drawn from nature? Done. Bargaining with a powerful being? Absolutely. Here is a sample list of sources:
1. Psychic energy, gathered at sites of great disaster or emotion
2. Planar energy, stored in gems
3. Elemental spirits, possessing your creations
4. Spiritual energy drawn from slain enemies
5. Your voice summons small creatures
6. You harvest body parts of powerful creatures
7. You harvest plants to make magical inks or paints
8. You have a well of magic in you, but you can't use it like a sorcerer
9. Pain: every point of damage you take powers your abilities
10. Balance forces, like Shadow
Second Question: Shaping
You need to shape your magic, and for artificers, that involves your tools. You're not actually limited to your tools though: for instance, if you choose Infernal Runes, you can use woodcarving tools to carve them or calligrapher's tools to paint them on paper. Here are some ideas, including ways to use your tools.
1. Language of Power (or Runes): any language will do, but Draconic, Celestial, or Infernal are probably the most potent; Sylvan, Primordial, or Druidic are also great especially if your source is nature-based.
2. Gems as batteries
3. You stitch together different parts
4. You weave knots, and when a knot is untied the spell is released
5. You paint a spell
6. You put a drop of blood onto an object you've made
7. You use gears, like a gnome or dwarf.
8. You assemble trophies from your enemies
9. You carve/paint/draw/forge lines of power that direct energy
10. Your gestures direct your magic, like a puppet.
Question 3: Final Form
This is probably the most important part of deciding how your magic works. What do you want it to *look* like?
1. Origami animals
2. Actual animals
3. Mechanical servants
4. Moveable wooden carvings
5. Puppets or dolls
6. Solid shadowy shapes
7. Fleshy golems made from creature parts
8. Weapons and armor
9. Glass baubles filled with potions
10. Illusions come to life
If you wanted, you could simply roll 3d10 and use that to flesh out your magic. If the result is 5, 1, and 2, you can be a Disney Princess, speaking to small creatures in Druidic to do your bidding. If the result is 6, 3, and 7, you are a modern Frankenstein, with a Dagger of Venom made from a manticore sting and a Belt of Giant Strength made from giant's heartstring. With 3, 6, and 1, you fold origami creatures, shove in an elemental spirit, and bind it with a single drop of blood. With 4, 4 and 4, you take teeth, baubles, or ears from your enemy; bind the enemy's spirit with a knot, then attach it to a wooden carving to do your bidding.
Don't forget to incorporate your tools somehow. You might paint eyes on your origami creatures so they can 'see', or carve runes into the wooden puppet holding your enemy's soul, or forge delicate jewelled inlays that act like circuits for your mechanical toys.
Hopefully, this will help anyone brainstorm some great ideas on how to flavour their artificer. And naturally, you can use this system for any class; imagine being a druid, making wooden poppets with the blood of her enemies; or a cleric, animating shadows infused with celestial power. Feel free to share more to add to the list!Avatar by the awesome Linklele!
- Join Date
- Jan 2018
Re: Artificer Magic Guide
Neat idea, and it definitely highlights one of the fun things about the Artificer: that their magic is expressed via Things, but the nature of those Things is totally up to you.
One of my favorite concepts for an Articicer is the Warforged Artificer, whose spells come from gadgets embedded or hidden in his mechanical body, and pop out when cast, Inspector Gadget-style. Longstrider comes from roller skates that appear on his feat. Feather Fall is a hatch in his back that pops out a parachute. Mage Hand is literally a mechanical hand on a telescoping arm that comes out of the top of his hat. It's silly, but I love it.
You've got the note that Artificer spells require the use of some kind of tool proficiency. One thing you might want to consider doing here is connecting some of these alternative casting methods to some relevant tools. Like, you can use a Calligraphy set to shape your spells with runes or lines of power, tinkers tools to use clockwork gears, etc. You could put these recommendations in with your lists, so they're an intrinsic part of the table, maybe?
Last edited by Monster Manuel; 2020-04-08 at 08:26 AM.
- Join Date
- Jun 2019
Re: Artificer Magic Guide
Cool idea, would like to see even more options and ideas.
I was considering a Fire Genasi Battlesmith who uses the animating spirit of flame to allow his creations to move on their own - e.g. the Steel Defender, or his weapon guiding his attacks to put some flavor behind the mechanic of using intelligence as an attack stat.