An Iron Defender, Iron Defender Homunculus, or informally artificer dog, is an iron defender pet that can be summoned by any character with at least 1 Level of Artificer. They can act independently, although similar to hirelings they can be somewhat controlled by the player character.
An Iron Defender has its own "Pet Character Sheet". To access this, first, the pet must be summoned. This is a Feat, "Unleash Iron Defender", that must be activated. This feat is found under the Feats tab on the character sheet, in "Artificer Feats". That link can be dragged and dropped to a hotbar from that location. Once summoned, the "Pet" link in the upper-right of the Character Sheet (default c) will highlight. Clicking that link will then open the Pet Character Sheet, where you can view the pet's various stats, gear and currently selected enhancements.
Improving your Iron Defender
Your Iron Defender gains levels as you gain Artificer levels, not your total character levels. For example, a Level 12 (Warlock 10/Artificer 2) has an Iron Defender of Level 2, not Level 12.
As your Iron Defender gains levels (via the character increasing Artificer Levels), it will gain Action Points that can be used to "train" your pet. This is done at any Artificer class trainer. Currently selected enhancements can be viewed on the Pet Character Sheet, "Enhancement" tab. If the enhancement requires activation (i.e. Trip, Bluff, Intimidate, and/or Sunder) that enhancement must be dragged/dropped to one of the slots on that page. It will then appear in the pet's command bar for use once the pet is summoned.
The minimum level for gear of your dog is equal to the sum of your Artificer levels and Epic levels. To equip gear, the Iron Defender must be summoned so as to access the Pet Character Sheet. On the bottom-left of that page are 2 gear slots - one for collars, one for docents. Drag and drop the desired item from your Inventory to the slot.
Iron Defenders can equip:
If you select a usable item (right-click, or cycle w/ q), such as a door, lever, gear or rest/resurrection shrine, then hit the "gear" icon on the Iron Defender's command hotbar, your pet will attempt to "use" that item. This can be handy for opening doors or pulling levers, etc.
Iron Defenders start with a Strength 15, and each Artificer level adds +1 (up to Str 34 @ Lvl 20). This gives them Str 18 @ pet Lvl 3, and Str 20 @ pet level 5, so they may be used in the above manner to open doors and turn valves that have a Strength Check higher than your character's Strength. Additionally, this Strength can be increased by +2/4 at pet level 6 and 10 via enhancements.
If you select a Soul Stone and do the same, the pet will "pick up" that soul stone (which then disappears from view). This includes your own stone, if you have died, and/or others'. There is no limit, any number of soulstones can be carried in this manner. The pet can then be directed to follow you (or your ghost), opening doors along the way to a shrine, other party member, or any available destination. If you run into a dangerous area - a trap or enemy creatures - you can order your pet to "Hold Ground", run through the hazard, then summon your pet to your current location. A pet cannot be ordered to "drop" a soulstone. (Drop it! Drooop it... drop it... bad dog!)
- Drakos's excellent
Minor bug: Some effects (from gear or training) don't take effect until the pet has been dismissed and recreated, for example, Vitality.
Bug: Pets and quests that are in Wilderness areas do not always interact well. If a pet is "parked" (ordered to "stand ground", i.e. hold position) in a quest, and that quest exits into a Wilderness area, you must order your pet to teleport to you before entering another quest or exiting the wilderness area. Failure to do so will result in losing the pet's command bar, but not being able to re-summon/revive/call the iron defender. Quickly logging out and back in will allow you to summon the pet and continue as normal. Once the pet is not parked, they should follow you as normal.