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Starting an Artificer

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[edit] Races

  • Warforged is an attractive choice, with a bonus to Constitution and easy self-healing via repair infusions. Warforged (or Construct Essence) allows the use of the Weapon Attachment Tier 5 Battle Engineer attachment (or the Warforged racial enhancement of the same name).
  • Half-elves have access to their unique dilettante feats. Rogue dilettante with 3d6 sneak attack is particularly popular. Both half-elves and humans have access to the Human Versatility enhancement that can grant up to 25 % damage boost. Humans also have access to the Cannith dragonmark, making them the best crafters in DDO.
  • Races with bonuses to Dexterity (halflings, elves, drow) have an easier time qualifying for the feat Improved Precise Shot (requires 19 dexterity). Drow can start with 20 int. For non-melee artificer builds, halflings add an additional +1 to hit, additional saves, and the potential for non-SP, metamagic affected healing abilities.
  • Dwarves may not be an intuitive choice, but they don't have any disadvantages and can make very sturdy artificers. Half-orcs are a rare choice, except for builds that maximize strength.
  • Counter-intuitively, races not requiring a large racial enhancement investment for a build can be an advantage for generalist builds given the lack of duplication or conflict between the enhancements in both Artificer enhancement trees. Heavily investing in both trees improves casting, ranged/melee combat, skills, the iron defender's abilities, and attributes.

[edit] Abilities

  • Strength: Most artificers don't put too much emphasis on Strength. Many rely on crossbows and spells (e.g. Flame Turret or Blade Barrier) for damage. Even those artificers that favor one handed melee weapons and runearms often have only average strength (relying on Insightful Attack or Insightful Damage to improve their melee performance). Few artificers maximize strength or use level-up points to increase it. However, neglecting Strength completely is not recommended, carrying several heavy crossbows on a 6 strength halfling can be problematic.
  • Dexterity: An important ability for many artificers. Most artificers start with at least an average score so they have an easier time hitting with their crossbows. Many start at 16, read a +2 tome and spend one level-up point to achieve 19 dexterity, needed for Improved Precise Shot. This ability also allows you to add your intelligence modifier to damage longer with the infusion Insightful Damage because your base attack is higher. Somewhat rare melee only builds can dump dexterity completely.
  • Constitution: Put at least 6 points here. Given the fact that most artificers rely on ranged attacks, infusions, can self-heal, and come with an iron defender; artificers might survive with less constitution than other classes; however, this is not recommended.
  • Intelligence: The most important ability for artificers. The difficulty class (DC) of spells depends on which particular spell is cast (e.g., Blade Barrier or Tactical Detonation). Also, artificers can add their Intelligence modifier to some attack rolls or damage rolls. Most artificers want to start with 18 (if they can afford to) and put level up points here.
  • Wisdom: Artificers rarely put points into wisdom.
  • Charisma: Artificers are avid users of the Use Magic Device skill, which is controlled by this ability. However, they have enough bonuses to this skill that they can perform successfully without putting ability points into charisma.

32 point ranged: 10 strength, 14 dexterity, 15 constitution, 18 intelligence, 8 wisdom, 8 charisma (all level-up points into intelligence)

32 point ranged with Improved Precise Shot: 8 strength, 16 dexterity, 14 constitution, 18 intelligence, 8 wisdom, 8 charisma (one level-up point into dexterity, rest go to intelligence)

32 point melee: 15 strength, 8 dexterity, 15 constitution, 18 intelligence, 8 wisdom, 8 charisma

32 point strength-based: 18 strength, 8 dexterity, 16 constitution, 14 intelligence, 8 wisdom, 8 charisma

[edit] Feats

Artificers start with a free Rapid Reload feat and benefit from a bonus feat every four levels, up to a total of five bonus feats, selectable from a wide list. This allows them to cover their main role and perhaps dabble into other roles.

Still, artificers should choose their focus early:

  • Construct Essence - Non-Warforged races should consider this feat as it allows you to be very self-sufficient and allows selection of the Tier 5 Battle Engineer enhancement Weapon Attachment for an additional .5[W] bonus to weapon damage. Selecting this feat at lower levels and replacing it later may be a good strategy as well. High level artificers can use heal scrolls more effectively than anyone and the 25% healing deamplification (attenuation) will always hurt.
  • Augment Summoning works just as well on your pet and flame turret as it does on hirelings, summoned monsters, and charmed creatures.
  • Artificer Knowledge - This feat grants you benefits based on your artificer level including +2 UMD for scrolls, potions, wands, and clickies on weapons, armor, staves, clothing, jewelry, and trinkets.
  • Dragonmarks of Making - Additional 10 levels to Cannith Crafting. Provides great synergy with the inherent Artificer benefit.
  • Dragonmarks of Healing (halfling) may be useful for caster-based, non-warforged artificers as they are affected by metamagics and allow both a limited number of uses of the Heal spell and a means to reduce negative levels without trying to UMD restoration scrolls. If selected, consider taking the Heal skill as well.

[edit] Infusions

Artificers have access to several infusions that enchant their weapon and improve their combat performance. All artificers can scribe repair infusions into bonus slots. Flame Turret, Blade Barrier, Blast Rod, Prismatic Strike, and Tactical Detonation are the main direct damage spells.

Artificers are the masters of UMD and often carry a wide repertoire of wands, scrolls, and clickies to complement their spell list. With improved caster level and +75 % wand mastery, artificers are the best scroll healers in the game. Combined with their Admixture spells, they can act as solid secondary healers.

[edit] Multiclassing

Artificers have attractive Tier 5 Core abilities and they have access to bonus feats from a wide list. Therefore, most artificers stay pure. Those who decide to multiclass often choose rogue or monk levels for evasion, to complement their trap finding ability. Additional feats (monk/fighter) and haste boost (rogue/fighter) may be worth losing the capstone for some builds.

Some artificers take advantage of 6 levels of rogue for the mechanic I prestige enhancement - Intelligence to damage with crossbows.

Downside is that for a ranged Artificer scaling on your conjured bolts is calculated from your artificer levels. So +6 at a pure level 20, which allows for a nice selection of cannith crafted weapons, similar to arcane archer.

[edit] Dipping Artificer

Artificers are a rather front loaded class, they gain several attractive abilities early. In spite of that, there are not many builds that benefit from taking only a few levels of artificer. Combining artificer 6 with 14 levels of bard warchanter or 11 levels of ranger could make interesting experimental builds.

  • artificer 6/bard 14 crossbow specialist (dexterity, intelligence, and constitution)
  • artificer 6/bard 14 one handed fighter (strength, and constitution)
  • artificer 6/ranger 11 - collects lots of abilities and feats without much synergy, lacking focus; significant ranged burst DPS with fusillade and manyshot; traps and evasion, full two weapon fighting feat line.
  • rogue 18/artificer 2 - Generally taken rogue 1/artificer 1/rogue 5/artificer 1/rogue 12. The first artificer level rectifies the logistics of bolts for a rogue mechanic and gives all repeating crossbow proficiencies and Rapid Reload. The second artificer level--taken after Targeting Sights at 6th rogue level--adds the rune arm damage. A 3rd artificer level can be useful to add a +1 to weapon enhancement bonuses and critical hit damage as well as level 2 artificer spells (primarily Insightful strikes or elemental weapons). This is done at the expense of some sneak attack damage (offset by rune arm damage), the loss of a Rogue Special Ability (somewhat offset by the Rapid Reload feat), and the capstone (potentially offset by various enhancements in the artificer trees).

[edit] Useful Past Life Feats to Consider

  • Ranger Passive: +2 damage to ranged attacks, +2 to all elemental resistances
  • Artificer Passive: +1 to int skills (disable device, search), +1 to UMD
  • Fighter Passive: +1 to attack rolls (more attack means longer use of Insightful Damage), +1 tactical feat DC
  • Rogue Passive: +1 sneak damage, +2 trap save
  • Monk Passive: +1 to damage rolls
  • Barbarian past life feats: are always handy no matter what class, because of the passive +10 HP and the active feat being a non-scaling +20, minor loss of 10 HP (at cap) compared to toughness.
  • Druid passive: Summoned creatures, charmed minions, and hirelings gain +2 ability scores. Stacks with Augment Summon. 3 of these and Augment Summon give your dog +10 to all ability scores

Less useful: Mostly because of short-duration buffs

  • Paladin passive: +5% healamp (although normally useful, will have no effect when self-healing with repair spells)
  • Paladin Active: 3 Divine Favor clickies. (+1 luck bonus on weapon attack and damage. +1 for every 3 caster levels beyond level 3, maximum +3 luck bonus. About 2 minutes per use.) Has its uses, but it's a short benefit
  • Fighter Active: is better then Tenser's because it allows you to cast and get a +4 attack bonus on top of making your base attack equal to your level, but the duration is a lot shorter.
  • Rogue Active: +1 all skills, 3 skulk-type clickies (+(level) hide & move silent, +(level/2) sneak damage, +(level/4) sneak to-hit. rounding down) Note: 1 Minute per use.
  • And there are of course the caster past lives, that are probably less important for just giving small bonuses to sp and spell penetration

[edit] Gear to look for

One thing to remember on items with clickies: Due to Artificer Knowledge feats, even lower level items can be very useful as your effective casting level for it increases. At level 20, with the Tier 5 Archanotechnician core abiliy, almost every device has a casting level as if it was level 20. (i.e. 20 minute expeditious retreat spell from a minimum level 1 item.)

Ascension Chamber (Necro 4)

Blockade Buster (Attack on Stormreach)

Cannith Challenges (Challenge pack, or daily free tokens)

  • Ring of Master Artifice
    • Whole range of levels available, listing general description
      • Repair spell clicky, wizardy effect for extra spellpoints, reconstruction spellamp, repair lore, %chance to cast repair on self when hit
  • Spare Hand
    • Whole range of levels available, listing general description
      • Riposte, exceptional combat mastery (bonus DC to tactical feats), Staggering Blow lv12 and up, disable device, open lock, and on epic tier2&3 UMD+3

Treasure of Crystal Cove (Seasonal event)

  • Treasure Hunter's Spyglass
    • Whole range of levels available, listing general description
      • spot, search, detect secret doors clicky up to lvl 12, true seeing from lvl 16, UMD from lvl 8, exceptional intelligence from lvl 16 tier 3

Plane of Night (Vault of Night (story arc))

Chronoscope (Devil Assault)

Zawabi's Revenge (Sands of Mechantarum)

The Last Stand & Into the Deep (The Red Fens)

With a credible UMD score and the buffs to caster level on gear as you level up, consider the following eternal wands and purchasable scrolls as well:

  • Cacophonic Verge - While appearing underwhelming, this is a fast recharging wand that splashes damage through walls, doors, and magical barriers. As a utility, it's excellent for breaking concentrations of breakables. When the last monster you need to kill spawns inside a rock or a wall, it's the go-to weapon. It's found in its Dampened form in the Red Fens quest The Claw of Vulkoor.
  • Eternal Wand of Cure Minor Wounds - 1d2 HP per cast doesn't sound like much, but if you have time--between battles--it's a free 50-100+ points of healing without healing amplification that casts fast and recharges fast. Use it for topping off other people's HP as well without spending spell points. It's found in the end rewards of the Catacombs chain.
  • Raise Dead scrolls - With a dumped Charisma, full UMD levels, and a little gear (Charisma + Persuasion and/or Good Luck), you should have at least a 50% chance to succeed with these at level 8. Buy them at the guild vendor.
  • Heal Scrolls - One level behind Raise Dead scrolls. Useful at any level you can cast them.
  • Summon Monster - Conditionally useful, especially Summon Monster V with the teleporting Bearded Devil, just remember your Flame Turret counts as a summon. Using one of these scrolls or a clicky will discharge your Flame Turret and vice versa.
  • Teleport - Very useful way to get around, additionally, takes you to the Portable Hole where you can buy most arcane scrolls, spell components, and potions.
  • Stoneskin - The scroll is cheaper than the spell components. With added caster levels, you get almost as much protection and the same Damage Reduction.
  • Greater Heroism - If you don't have a clicky for it, an additional +4 to skills and saves is useful for both UMD and trapping. Can also be obtained as a potion from Verisgante.
  • Fire Shield - Although short duration, 50% reduction in fire (or cold) damage is situationally useful.
  • Reconstruct - For your iron defender and/or yourself (depending on build).

One tip for higher level characters for scroll use is to get Flameward from Servants of the Overlord and make a weapon set with it in your off-hand and your most used scroll in your right. Put the set on your hotbar. Then put any scrolls you want to use on the same hotbar. Flameward--assuming you have no other Charisma item--will add +6 (+3 from Charisma and +3 UMD) to your UMD skill or about 30% improved chance to use UMD. Click the weaponset, click the scroll you want to use twice (once to select, once to cast), then click back to your regular weapon set. Quick, easy UMD use and back to your day job. At lower levels, A good Charisma item and an item with Persuasion on it will also help as will any item with Good Luck.

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