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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    TSARs
    Tiny Servant Actuated Robots

    "Gee," you might say, looking over the artificer released earlier this year as playtest content. "I sure like the look of this class, but do I really get to invent anything? I want to solve my problems with engineering!" Well good news! The interaction of certain Artificer spells and class features allow you to do exactly that, by automating mechanical marvels using Tiny Servants. These creations, dubbed TSARs here in this document, allow an artificer to use his spell slots in highly creative ways. Most of these creations also make use of the Artificer's Spell Storing Item, a feature they get at level 18, so while some of these devices might seem rather powerful, remember that at this level of play other spellcasters get spells like wish and meteor swarm, so try to keep that in perspective.

    What is a Tiny Servant?
    A Tiny Servant, or "TS" is a construct created by the spell Tiny Servant, found in Xanathar's Guide to Everything. The minion it creates is weak and fragile, but it lasts 8 hours and does not require concentration. You can have multiple Tiny Servants, limited only by your spell slots: you get one servant for a level 3 slot, three servants for a level 4 slot, and 5 servants for a level 5 slot. They have arms and legs and can be given orders mentally as a bonus action (ether one at a time or all together), though they can be given "standing orders" a task they will repeat until they can't do it anymore. They have blindsight in a 60 foot radius and are blind beyond that distance. You create the TS from an existing object, similar to the spell Animate Objects, and there's no indication the object in question loses its original properties. For example, it's likely a TS created from a Potion of Healing could still be drunk, and could even feed itself to a fallen comrade. Created from a tiny object, a TS can be as large as a terrier or as small as an insect, but it's up to you what to create it from.

    What is a Spell Storing Item?
    A class ability gained by the Artificer at level 18, the Spell Storing Item or "SSI" functions similarly to a Ring of Spell Storing, but there are a few important differences.
    • The SSI stores just one artificer spell of first or second level, but that spell can be used a number of times equal to twice the Artificer's Intelligence modifier daily (so usually 10 times)
    • The SSI does not require attunement: any creature can use it by spending their action while the SSI is "in hand" (which implies hands are required to use it, unfortunately excluding most familiars by a strict reading).
    • The SSI does not cast the spell in question: the SSI produces the effect of that spell. There are a few important implications of that, including the apparent removal of concentration requirements and components, and immunity to Counterspell.
    • This one is important: related to above, the SSI does not use the "cast a spell" action, its action is either its own special action or a variant of the "use an item" action. Either way, an interesting side effect of this is that you can ready an action to use the SSI and not use one of its charges unless the triggering condition is met. Many TSARs will operate by the Tiny Servants being ordered to ready an action to use the SSI, awaiting a certain triggering event.
    • The SSI can only store a spell that costs 1 action to cast. This makes spells like Magic Weapon unfortunately off limits.
    • The SSI can be any simple or martial weapon or anything the Artificer could use as a spellcasting focus. The list of potential spellcasting focuses for Artificers is extremely broad: this could be a hammer, a glass bottle, or even a sewing needle.
    • An Artificer can make a new SSI every long rest, and the old one wears out at the same time.


    So if any creature with hands can use a Spell Storing Item, and Artificers can create Tiny Servants...
    Exactly correct, my clever friend. Artificers can create minions who can cast their spells for them. The implications of this are complex to say the least, and the 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons has taken pains to control a player's ability to break the "action economy", so an ability like this is sure to make some of us salivate at the prospects. So what, exactly, did I have in mind?


    Basic TSAR
    Most TSARs are 1-10 Tiny Servants clustered around a Spell Storing Item they share, encased in a durable casing adapted for whatever the function of the TSAR is. A TSAR that serves no purpose besides buffing or healing the user needs no line of sight or effect to anything but the user (who they will often be required to touch). A TSAR meant to blast or debuff enemies, however, will need a casing that allows line-of-effect between the Tiny Servants and the targets of the spell. Whenever possible the casing should be articulated, with slits that can close whenever the Servants are not actively attacking. A simple spring-loaded mechanism operable by the Servants themselves should suffice. This sealing is important: without it, your investment would be utterly fried the first time you were exposed to any sort of Area Effect damage. The purpose of the casing is to provide your Tiny Servants with full cover as much as possible. Whenever possible, build the casing out of a material like adamantine to make sure your TSAR being targeted directly doesn't wreck your day.

    Basic Designs
    I'm going to start with a few designs that do not require a Spell Storing Item: these are potentially available as soon as you get the Tiny Servant spell at level 9.

    The Missile Commander
    1 Tiny Servant+Wand of Magic Missiles
    A simple design, all you need is a Wand of Magic Missiles and a single Tiny Servant, and bam, you can fire those suckers with a bonus action command. Neat! An armored casing keeps the TS safe. This is especially relevant for an Artillerist, who can craft wands cheaply and quickly. You could conceivably build multiple Wands of Magic Missiles and have a Tiny Servant manning each one.

    The Peashooter
    1-3 Tiny Servants+Magic Stones Cantrip
    The only "at-will" option here, this one is a little more complex. Your Tiny Servants are given the standing order "Get ready to throw rocks at enemies when I give you rocks". Then you simply use your bonus action each turn to cast Magic Stone on three pebbles and insert them into the TSAR, which should trigger the Servants' readied actions and you've got three attacks for a bonus action, very efficient. This won't make a Sorlock jealous, but it's better than using your bonus action to order your pet to attack.

    The Spiker
    1-8 Tiny Servants+Caltrops (Optional: Bag of Holding)
    Cheap battlefield control, build this TSAR so that the servants within have free access to every square adjacent to you, and orders to scatter caltrops under the feet of any enemy that attempts to enter that square. This forces the enemy to attempt a 15 DC dex save, potentially multiple, to get by you unless they voluntarily lower their speed by half (but they have to be expecting it) Variant: Ball Bearings instead of Caltrops. This is great for an artificer that finds himself on the front lines of combat, trying to keep his allies safe. The Bag of Holding would come into play if you find yourself unable to carry the weight of all the caltrops this machine could demand.

    Bonus Points: For a Battlesmith or an Alchemist, there's no reason you couldn't build a TSAR onto your Iron Defender or Homunculus. Having one of these on both you and your pet would allow you to control twice as much space in this way.

    The Gravitational Anchor
    1-3 Tiny Servants+Immovable Rod
    Never worry about falling again. With a single Tiny Servant assigned to an Immovable Rod built into your armor, ordered to press the button on the rod if you ever fall at least 5 feet. The two-servant version of the device would make you nigh immune to forced movement and even being to being knocked prone: one tiny servant activates the device at the end of your turn, while the other deactivates it at the start of your turn*. This way you are free to move during your own turn, but when other creatures are acting you are immovable apart from godlike strength checks and weights in excess of 8000 pounds (a midsize elephant). With three servants you can have both effects, immunity to falling during your turn (to keep you safe from things like trapdoors, falling off of ledges, things like that) AND totally stationary during anyone else's turn.
    Spoiler: *
    Show
    The beginning and end of your turn is not an observable event and isn't a viable trigger for a readied action. But as always there are easy ways around this limitation if you get pushback: you can say "stop" and "go" and have the servants take their actions at the sound of your voice. If your DM rules the servants cannot understand speech (and strictly speaking, he's right, they can't) you can instead give the "order" with a tone emitted from a magic mouth or some other means of conveying a signal.

    Buffs and Healing
    Many buffing and healing TSARs use the same design, and it's basically just a single Tiny Servant with an SSI who stays inside a Many Handed Pouch with standing orders to ready the SSI action on whoever sticks their hand into the pouch. This allows you and your teammates to buff or heal yourselves whenever you like using only your item interaction: insert hand, receive magic. You can use this for Lesser Restoration, invisibility, Cure Wounds, False Life, Enhance Ability, whatever you like. A limitation of this: it can only do this once per turn.

    A more advanced version of this TSAR requires each team-member to be assigned their own Tiny Servant, who lives in a secure casing along with the Many Handed Pouch. The SSI is in the pouch, so all the Servants can reach it regardless of their distance from each other. This means you have to dedicate more of your spell slots to making Tiny Servants, but it also lets you get buffs and heals to your party extremely efficiently.

    The Forcefield Generator
    1-10 Tiny Servants+Warding Bond (Battlesmith Only)
    I'm making a special section for this one. The big winner for personal defenses, this both boosts your (probably already respectable) AC and saves by +1, but also gives you resistance to all damage with the caveat that the caster of the spell (in this case, a Tiny Servant) will take the same amount of damage that you do, and with its whopping 10 hitpoints is likely to fold as soon you get sneezed at (or at least when your AC/Saves don't stop the sneeze). And when it dies your defenses fall. Or rather, they would fall, if another Tiny Servant sitting right next to it hadn't been readying his action, waiting to use the SSI to produce Warding Bond on you as soon as the TS to its left dies.

    Effectively, this TSAR gives you a neat little bank of extra hitpoints along with a comfortable boost to AC and saves. Interesting note: if you want your Servants to last a bit longer in their capacity as your hitpoint batteries, you could give them extra hitpoints with Aid and Temporary Hitpoints with something like Inspiring Leader.

    Damage
    You're not going to be able to do Meteor Swarm levels of damage here, but some of these are going to get you pretty damn close. Maximum burst damage here is achieved by ordering all your TSs to use the SSI at once, up to 10 spells cast over the course of the round. Each TS will have its own initiative, so the damage won't typically be dealt instantly, but rather spread out over the round of combat.

    The Potato Gun
    1-10 Tiny Servants+Catapult
    The only generally applicable damage-dealing spell all artificers will have access to, catapult is also one of the few spells here which can effect creatures outside its 60 foot blindsight radius without penalty because the spell works by launching the item in a direction, not at a target location. In addition to the servants and SSI, for this weapon you will also need to supply ammunition, items weighing between one and five pounds. Depending on your DM, this spell gets quite a bit better if you can use the spell to toss vials of acid for added damage. Adding the acid damage, the spell instead deals 3d8+2d6 damage. A round of Full Auto, with 10 Tiny Servants all launching vials of acid, deals 30d8+20d6

    Fire Arrow Simulator
    1-10 Tiny Servants+Heat Metal
    This one might be controversial: I posted a thread about the concept previously and found mixed opinions as to whether it does, or should, work. It's based on the assumption that when you hit something with an arrow, that arrow sticks in the target. This is not explicit by RAW, and so this will not always work depending on how your table handles things. You build this TSAR into a quiver with as many Tiny Servants as you like (up to 10, but that's likely excessive) each of the servants has one hand on the SSI and another on the head of an arrow. At the start of combat, each TS is instructed to spend its actions Readying an Action to use the SSI on the arrowhead, triggered when the arrow is being drawn. From there you simply draw the arrow (do not touch the metal tip!) and fire it at the target. You'll likely have to spend a bonus action to order each TS that's already heated an arrow to begin spending their bonus actions dealing the extra fire damage, but once you issue this new order to a TS you shouldn't have to do it again. This might not seem particularly potent: an extra 2d8 damage each round isn't that impressive at level 18+. But here's the kicker: each arrowhead is a separate object with a separate instance of Heat Metal, and heat metal is not cast on the creature at all. This means (by RAW: your DM might rule otherwise) that a creature will take 2d8 damage each round from each arrowhead you stick them with, neatly skirting the limitation on spells stacking. So if you head into a fight loaded for bear, with 10 Tiny Servants each with an arrow, and you go up against something so nasty it's still alive by the time you put all 10 arrows in it (and assuming all 10 arrows hit) that monster is going to be taking 20d8 damage every round. That is absolutely monstrous damage.

    Bonus points: as a cunning engineer, your artificer should be entirely capable of designing arrows that will reliably stay in their target: barbs that both prevent overpenetration and keep the arrow from being pulled out easily, and shafts that come apart when pulled on, leaving the head of the arrow stuck inside the target, cooking them from the inside with no way to retrieve it but surgery. Ouch!

    Sonic Repulsion Field
    1-10 Tiny Servants+Dissonant Whispers (Archivist Only)
    You can use this as a way to damage and repel enemies proactively like some of the other TSAR options, but I think the real winner here is to use it as a reactive device. Every turn you order your Tiny Servant to ready his action, triggered when an enemy gets within a certain distance of you, to which it immediately responds by producing the spell effect, forcing the creature to use its own movement speed away from you. With just one Tiny Servant, you can only defend against one enemy per round in this way, but by loading this device with multiple Tiny Servants, you can create a barrier that will defend against multiple assailants at once.

    Artillery Barrage
    1-10 Tiny Servants+Shatter (Artillerist Only)
    The best AoE TSAR available, this is fairly straightforward. Being able to cast Shatter as a bonus action is fine and good, but being able to cast it TEN TIMES as a bonus action is even better. 30d8 damage dealt in a 10-foot radius sphere is no Meteor Swarm, but it's a better nuke than you'd have access to otherwise.

    Plasma Cannon
    1-10 Tiny Servants+Scorching Ray (Artillerist Only)
    However appealing casting 10x shatter on a tightly packed cluster of foes might be, casting 10x Scorching Rays on one big bad guy is pretty great too. That's thirty attacks, for a total of 60d6 damage, an average of 210 points of damage. As a point of comparison, Disintegrate cast at level 9 deals 19d6+40, an average of 106.5 damage.

    Mobility
    This one is weird, but hilarious.

    Portal Gun
    2 Tiny Servants+Enlarge/Reduce+Many Handed Pouch
    Create (at least) two Tiny Servants, both of which should be created from Arrows. The servants are given their instructions first, then fired from a longbow up to 600 feet away to two different locations (The artificer can make two attacks with a single attack action) The servants each carry with them one of your Many Handed Pouches, and upon reaching its destination, it reaches inside the pouch to take hold of the SSI, which has Enlarge/Reduce stored inside it, and it uses that spell to enlarge the pouch itself. The pouch turns from a tiny item into a small item, which should be large enough for a medium PC to squeeze through (if this is a sticking point for your DM, you can always use another charge of Enlarge/Reduce on yourself to make yourself small, if you weren't small already) and freely pass from one pouch to the other. These "Portals" last up to a minute, after which time they will collapse back into tiny pouches. You can attempt recover them if you like, giving your Servants instructions to bring them back to you, but based on the nature of this TSAR (used to traverse difficult or dangerous areas) it seems unlikely this would work very well. Thankfully, all you need is a long rest and a large supply of arrows and leather pouches to build yourself a whole new system for the next day.

    Debuffs and Control
    Perhaps not as intuitively effective as direct damage, the ability to use certain debuff or control spells as a bonus action, without concentration, and with multiple attempts in a single round, can be more powerful in the right situation. I'm not going to go much into detail here, because these are all fairly simple, but consider spells like Faerie Fire, Levitate, or Web cast this way.

    Conclusion
    Thanks for reading this, I hope that you can come up with some TSARs of your own. Are there spells I missed? A spell with some hidden potential I overlooked? Let me know!
    Last edited by Damon_Tor; 2019-08-16 at 04:57 PM.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    If the SSI's spell originates from the object instead of being cast by the user, Fire Arrow Simulator doesn't work. Sure, the target object is affected by Heat Metal, but the TSARs haven't cast the spell and thus can't control the bonus action effect. Same would go for Forcefield Generator.
    Last edited by JackPhoenix; 2019-08-09 at 05:22 PM.

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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    Quote Originally Posted by JackPhoenix View Post
    If the SSI's spell originates from the object instead of being cast by the user, Fire Arrow Simulator doesn't work. Sure, the target object is affected by Heat Metal, but the TSARs haven't cast the spell and thus can't control the bonus action effect. Same would go for Forcefield Generator.
    The SSI doesn't work with any spell if we don't assume that the creature producing the effect is the "you" referenced by the spell text because every spell uses that word in some way, usually describing the act of casting the spell or targeting in some way ("A creature you can see" or "You touch a willing creature"). If there is no "you" no spell will function.

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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Damon_Tor View Post
    The SSI doesn't work with any spell if we don't assume that the creature producing the effect is the "you" referenced by the spell text because every spell uses that word in some way, usually describing the act of casting the spell or targeting in some way ("A creature you can see" or "You touch a willing creature"). If there is no "you" no spell will function.
    Not necessarily. If the spell is produced by the item, the "you" in this case could be the SSI itself. Yes, objects can't normally do anything, but there's already a precedent for spells being cast and targetted without creature being involved in the process: Glyph of Warding. Due to targetting restrictions of GoW, you can't load Heat Metal into it, but you can set it up with similar "spend some kind of action to get effect later": Witch Bolt is a valid spell for GoW, and if someone for some strange reason created GoW with it, the triggering creature would take the initial damage, but the glyph would be unable to use actions (which it doesn't have) to keep the damage up in subsequent turns, even if it maintains concentration on the spell. Same with creatures summoned through GoW: the glyph's creator can't command them, even if the spell normally allows it.

    Other option is that SSI works just like any other magic item that allows spellcasting, which means you skip components and thus have immunity to, but not concentration requirements unless it specifically say so.

    Or the ability is simply badly written, and the developers will change it before the final release.

    BTW, another way to use SSI (with no need for TSAR) under that assumption is free casting of Continual Flame. 50gp a pop matters little at level 18, but it could still be useful.
    Last edited by JackPhoenix; 2019-08-09 at 09:34 PM.

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    Griffon

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    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    These are great ideas, although I think the use of magic items over the Spell Storing affect should definitely be emphasized as the capabilities of the Tiny Servants to create effects through them is not to be underestimated here is one of the ones I want to try out when I hit 9th level with my artificer.

    Kraken Defense System:
    1 Tiny Servant+Tentacle Rod (page 207 DMG)
    -This would be a small orb or tube on the chest, about the length of a rod. On command or perhaps even spontaneously tentacles grow out of it to smash enemies into paste or grapple with them..
    -This is a simple design all it requires is a Tentacle Rod, and a single Tiny Servant and bam, now your getting 3 attacks at +9 to hit, that do only 1d6 damage per tentacle but the sheer number of attacks that multiple of these can provide is rather terrifying, especially if the target starts failing their saving throws.

    With a 4th level slot and 600 gold for three rods, (depending on ST) you can have 9 attacks for 9d6 on any target for as long as you need. This is less damage than the Missile Commander but the battlefield control & debuff from targets losing actions, and dexterity disadvantage is rather nasty. It also provides a hell no for any melee character that wants to close with you, as they will literately slapped down.

    Requires some spell addition by an ST.
    Hell Emitter: (This one requires membership in the Rakdos guild or a Dungeon Master who allows some spell adding to the Artificer list.)
    10 Tiny Servants and a Spell Storing Item with Flaming Sphere.
    -Creating 10 flaming spheres simultaneously is just ridiculous in its ability to close down an area and cause insane fire damage. 20d6 damage on your turn without an action, and likely another 20d6 at the end of every turn.

    Hell Blaster: (Impossible to get on your spell list, without DM. Potion of Fire Breath works if you can't get the spell storing item)
    A 10 Tiny Servants using a Spell Storing Item with Dragons breath in a gauntlet shaped like a dragon's muzzle.
    -30d6 elemental damage of your choice as an bonus action every turn for a minute. Just point and shoot...

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Damon_Tor View Post
    You create the TS from an existing object, similar to the spell Animate Objects, and there's no indication the object in question loses its original properties. For example, it's likely a TS created from a Potion of Healing could still be drunk, and could even feed itself to a fallen comrade.
    Potion of Healing is magical (explicitly called out under its PHB description, and also classified under Magic iItems in the DMG). It does not qualify for Animate Objects or Tiny Servant.
    Quote Originally Posted by kardar233 View Post
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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Citadel97501 View Post
    These are great ideas, although I think the use of magic items over the Spell Storing affect should definitely be emphasized as the capabilities of the Tiny Servants to create effects through them is not to be underestimated here is one of the ones I want to try out when I hit 9th level with my artificer.

    Kraken Defense System:
    1 Tiny Servant+Tentacle Rod (page 207 DMG)
    -This would be a small orb or tube on the chest, about the length of a rod. On command or perhaps even spontaneously tentacles grow out of it to smash enemies into paste or grapple with them..
    -This is a simple design all it requires is a Tentacle Rod, and a single Tiny Servant and bam, now your getting 3 attacks at +9 to hit, that do only 1d6 damage per tentacle but the sheer number of attacks that multiple of these can provide is rather terrifying, especially if the target starts failing their saving throws.

    With a 4th level slot and 600 gold for three rods, (depending on ST) you can have 9 attacks for 9d6 on any target for as long as you need. This is less damage than the Missile Commander but the battlefield control & debuff from targets losing actions, and dexterity disadvantage is rather nasty. It also provides a hell no for any melee character that wants to close with you, as they will literately slapped down.
    That's a really good point, and a great example of how a magic item can be used in this way.

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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    Another good item to assign Tiny Servants to man is a Mizzium Mortar from the Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica.

    In general I'm not liking items that require attunement for this: that eats 1/8 of your Tiny Servants' lifespan waiting for them to get the items figured out (and it means you can't put more than one TS on the same item.)

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    Doesn't the requirement of Tiny Servant that the object be non-magical nullify this?

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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    Quote Originally Posted by NNescio View Post
    Potion of Healing is magical (explicitly called out under its PHB description, and also classified under Magic iItems in the DMG). It does not qualify for Animate Objects or Tiny Servant.
    The content certainly is. The container, though? You don't need to animate the liquid, the flask is sufficient.... and even if there are objections to that, you can always animate another flask, and simply pour the content of the potion into it.

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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Reevh View Post
    Doesn't the requirement of Tiny Servant that the object be non-magical nullify this?
    No. The SSI is not being made into a Tiny Servant itself, we're animating another object, likely one you've created yourself to fit the exact dimensions of your TSAR, and might even be affixed to the device in a semi-permanent way.

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    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Damon_Tor View Post
    No. The SSI is not being made into a Tiny Servant itself, we're animating another object, likely one you've created yourself to fit the exact dimensions of your TSAR, and might even be affixed to the device in a semi-permanent way.
    Hmmmm, I guess if you find a DM willing to let your Tiny Servants activate magic items, go nuts.
    Last edited by Reevh; 2019-08-12 at 10:43 PM.

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    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Reevh View Post
    Hmmmm, I guess if you find a DM willing to let your Tiny Servants activate magic items, go nuts.
    Why couldn't they?
    What is it that prevents them from doing so?

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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    Quote Originally Posted by 8wGremlin View Post
    Why couldn't they?
    What is it that prevents them from doing so?
    Possible attunement and the fact the servants have Int 2. It is doubtful the servants are capable of the meditation or different form of focusing activity required to attune to a magic item.

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    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    The Spell-Storing Item, which is what this is focusing on, doesn't require Attunement to use. You just push the metaphorical button, and it does the fancy magic thing no boring meditation required! The sheer simplicity is what allows the TSARs (and local Barbarians) to function in the first place.

    That, and OP already expressed their disdain for using Attunement in this operation in general.

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    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mana Opal View Post
    The Spell-Storing Item, which is what this is focusing on, doesn't require Attunement to use. You just push the metaphorical button, and it does the fancy magic thing no boring meditation required! The sheer simplicity is what allows the TSARs (and local Barbarians) to function in the first place.

    That, and OP already expressed their disdain for using Attunement in this operation in general.
    Tentacle Rod was mentioned, and that one does require attunement. Technically, SSI isn't magic item. That also means it can be animated on its own. Of course, that runs into question if the servant can use *itself*....
    Last edited by JackPhoenix; 2019-08-13 at 09:34 AM.

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    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    Use Pyrotechnics for target blinding and/or massive smokescreen.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Aug 2013

    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    So last night I got a friend of mine to help me with a one-shot 1v1 test of the Forcefield Generator (and some other TSARs concepts) in a high level tanking capacity.

    The setup was my 20th level Battlesmith Artificer vs an Ancient Red Dragon. I was permitted an amount of starting equipment equal to the high-magic starting gear for level 20 (3 uncommon, 2 rare, 1 very rare) in addition to whatever infusions I had created.

    I died, but I lasted 18 rounds against it and got it down to 129 hitpoints. But there are definitely things I would do differently a second time around. And things I forgot to use.

    Spoiler: My Build
    Show
    Class: Level 20 Artificer (Battlesmith)
    Race: Deep Gnome
    ASI:
    +2 Int
    +2 Int
    Resilient (+1 Dex)
    Medium Armor Master
    Shield Master

    Infusions:
    Amulet of Health
    Ring of Protection
    Cloak of Protection
    Half-Plate of Enhanced Defense
    Enhanced Longsword

    Other Gear:
    Luckstone
    Shield +3
    Immovable Rod
    Ioun Stone of Protection
    Ring of Spell Storing
    Winged Boots

    TSARs:
    Pea Shooter (3 TS)
    Forcefield Generator (6 TS)
    Gravitational Anchor (1 TS)
    Ring of Spell Storing (Sanctuary, 1 TS)


    I used both my level 5 spell slots to cast Aid on the six Servants I had manning my Forcefield Generator, and as a result I had the benefit of Warding Bond all the way until the last round. This is much better performance than I expected.

    My concentration was used on Haste (which I had to recast mid-fight) and I nearly exclusively used that bonus action for dodging.

    The Peashooter performed extremely well, though at one point the dragon used a readied action to hit them with fire breath when they opened their portholes, and took out all three of them at once. I ordered three of the Servants from the FFG to man the Peashooter with orders to "throw enchanted rocks at the dragon" not "get ready to throw rocks at an enemy when I enchant them" when kept them staggered rather than all attacking and becoming vulnerable at the same time. This meant I had to waste bonus actions periodically during the fight to reorder Servants from the Peashooter back to the FFG when I needed another one there to get ready to take over as my hitpoint battery.

    The first few rounds I had one of my Servants using the Ring to cast Sanctuary on me when my turn ended, which wound up lasting me 6 rounds because my first round I didn't get an attack in myself (shaking off the fear effect) but interestingly the Servants attacking using Magic Stone didn't effect sanctuary at all, which was neat. That said, I feel like Sanctuary was mostly wasted here just because the first few rounds were alot of probing with my artificer and the dragon trying to figure out each others' fighting style and weaknesses, so there weren't as many rounds where the dragon used 6 attacks on me (and Sanctuary does nothing to stop an AoE attack like the Breath Weapon or the Wing Attack). If I had saved the rounds of Sanctuary until the end when it became a slugfest it might have performed better.

    Eventually the dragon stopped trying to use Wing Attack and the Breath Weapon on me (My dex save was too strong, especially with the dodge action giving me constant advantage, and Shield Mastery negating damage on a miss) and the last half of the battle was just a slugfest.

    I never wound up needing to use the Gravitational Anchor (The Immovable Rod with a Tiny Servant constantly readying an action to activate it if we fall) because the dragon didn't manage to land a Wing Attack, and stopped trying after a while.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    Quote Originally Posted by JackPhoenix View Post
    Possible attunement and the fact the servants have Int 2. It is doubtful the servants are capable of the meditation or different form of focusing activity required to attune to a magic item.
    It's worth noting that the SSI had an int requirement of 5 in the previous iteration of the Artificer. It was deliberately removed.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2015

    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Damon_Tor View Post
    My concentration was used on Haste (which I had to recast mid-fight) and I nearly exclusively used that bonus action for dodging.
    Unfortunately, you can't actually do that. (Note that it wouldn't matter for the breath weapon because Haste just flat gives you advantage on all Dex saves)

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

    Join Date
    Feb 2016

    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    Quote Originally Posted by solidork View Post
    Unfortunately, you can't actually do that. (Note that it wouldn't matter for the breath weapon because Haste just flat gives you advantage on all Dex saves)
    Can't actually do what? I assume you mean you can't Dodge with the extra action from Haste. Depending on what his other action was, he could use his main action for dodging, and the haste action for using iems or what not.

    I'm also betting that they forgot that Haste ending, even from broken concentration, stuns its target for a round.

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

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    Jul 2013
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    Somewhere
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    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Damon_Tor View Post
    It's worth noting that the SSI had an int requirement of 5 in the previous iteration of the Artificer. It was deliberately removed.
    It only affects items that require attunement, like the Tentacle Rod mentioned earlier. SSI doesn't have any such requirement.

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Aug 2013

    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    Quote Originally Posted by solidork View Post
    Unfortunately, you can't actually do that. (Note that it wouldn't matter for the breath weapon because Haste just flat gives you advantage on all Dex saves)
    Ah, you're right, haste can't be used to dodge. My mistake. Not sure how I missed that. That means I would have to cut the damage from my attacks by half, but that represented a minority of my damage anyway, with most of it coming from magic stones.

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Aug 2013

    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    Quote Originally Posted by lperkins2 View Post
    I'm also betting that they forgot that Haste ending, even from broken concentration, stuns its target for a round.
    No, we handled that. It's not a stun though.

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Feb 2016

    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Damon_Tor View Post
    No, we handled that. It's not a stun though.
    Right, doesn't actually impose a condition, just lose your actions and movement for a turn.

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Aug 2013

    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    Quote Originally Posted by lperkins2 View Post
    Right, doesn't actually impose a condition, just lose your actions and movement for a turn.
    It's also worth noting that with resistance to all damage and a very high con save modifier (~20 IIRC) I never had to roll for concentration because I never took enough damage from any one attack to put me in danger of failing.

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Aug 2013

    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    I fixed the image in the OP and added two more TSAR designs, one that uses an Immovable Rod to automatically prevent falls and forced movement (I had equipped this in the dragon fight but it was never actually used) and one I thought of in another thread for dropping caltrops whenever an enemy tries to rush past you.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

    Join Date
    May 2019
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    Huarahi

    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    This entire build has me very interested in playing a high-level Artificer. It's a shame it doesn't come online until 18th level. Perhaps that's why SSIs are so far delayed.
    "There are truly only 2 sources of conflict: Miscommunication, and Intolerance. Of the two, only one is acceptable."

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Aug 2013

    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nagog View Post
    This entire build has me very interested in playing a high-level Artificer. It's a shame it doesn't come online until 18th level. Perhaps that's why SSIs are so far delayed.
    There are a few ways to use this before level 18, and several listed in the OP. The Peashooter is actually really impressive from a damage perspective, giving you three attacks with one bonus action. Compare casting Tiny Servants with a level 4 slot (netting 3 servants) to Swift Quiver, and it compares extremely favorably:
    • 8 hour duration, no concentration
    • 3 attacks per bonus action instead of two
    • No weapon type limitations: you can use this while sword-and-boarding if you want.
    • 1 spell level lower
    • It's not actually you attacking, it's the servants using your stats. As such this neatly bypasses a number of potential debuffs and control effects which might otherwise make your attacks less effective. You can also use this without losing the effect of Sanctuary.

    The only real drawback is that the servants can be targeted and killed, but you can mitigate this by keeping them under full cover until the moment they attack (and 3/4 cover even when they do) by the design of the TSAR. This can still be overcome by enemies using readied actions to take them out when they open their hatches, but that's generally a waste of an enemy's time.

    I also really enjoy the caltrops-dropper TSAR as a way to make the artificer stickier, acting as a sort of pseudo-sentinel.
    Last edited by Damon_Tor; 2019-08-16 at 05:05 PM.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Nov 2017

    Default Re: The TSAR: Tiny Servant Actuated Robot, a Revolution in Artificer Combat.

    Hello all, I was reading over a different thread about mounted combat, and it got me to thinking about how some of the same strategies could apply to using Tiny Servants? I also was thinking about a lower level trick, that I will also include below.

    Buffing Tiny Servants?
    1) Basically Aid, should be able to be applied but is it worth it?
    2) Inspiring Leader doesn't seem to be functional though as it seems to be a mind affecting thing and Tiny Servants are immune to that type of effect?

    Blindsight and Obscuring Tiny Servants?
    1) Fog Cloud & Darkness both will provide very powerful defenses to the Tiny Servants as their blindsight will ignore the drawback while giving them a safe place to hide, and blast, or throw rocks at targets.

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