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Unearthed Arcana: The Artificer Class (5e)
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Unearthed Arcana: The Artificer Class (5e)


Unearthed Arcana Update

Over the past few months, we’ve delivered a stream of new content via the Unearthed Arcana column. Some of that content will show up in future products. Other pieces, having been found lacking by the open playtest process, will drop from our development plans. A few things will follow a third path.

The subclasses we’ve created have fallen into two categories. Some have proven to have mechanics or story concepts that players have embraced. These subclasses have moved on to deeper design and editing passes and further playtesting. We’ll have news soon about where they might turn up next.

Other subclasses were not embraced. Some had mechanics that were dull or confusing. Others’ concepts were too niche, stepped on the toes of other classes, or just didn’t resonate. Our plan is to either redesign these subclasses from the ground up in a future design cycle or push them aside in favor of new concepts.

We have already rereleased a few subclasses for further comment. You’ll see a few more revised subclasses in the June installment of Unearthed Arcana.

We feel confident that the Unearthed Arcana process gives us the feedback needed to develop a subclass into something worthy of publication and official status. Complete new character classes are a different story.

We debuted two new classes via Unearthed Arcana, the mystic and the artificer. Both have received positive feedback, to the point that we are going to commit more time and energy to refining them for official publication. However, the process for completing a new class requires more resources than a subclass. Here is our plan for completing these classes.

Starting today, we are adding both the mystic and artificer to the DM’s Guild. They are both resources you can use to create your own material to share and sell on the Guild. We are also going to release additional surveys to delve deeper into the classes and identify headaches. Between watching the design work done on the DM’s Guild and monitoring feedback data, we’ll continue to revise these two classes.

Once the classes have robust sets of features and options that are hitting the approval levels we aim for, we will make those classes available for playtesting in the D&D Adventurers League. This step indicates that the new class is slated for official release as part of a D&D product. This step’s goal is to put the classes through the same rigorous testing and DM feedback that the core fifth edition classes received during their open playtests.

Once that step is complete, we’ll add these classes to a future D&D product. We can’t predict how long each step will take, so we don’t have dates to share. We remain committed to releasing material only when it is ready.

Thanks for taking part in the Unearthed Arcana playtests and helping us to make 5e the best game it can be. Your efforts have helped D&D reach heights of popularity and success it has not seen in decades. We’re committed to building on that success by including you in the game’s evolution. Thanks for coming along on this journey with us!

Unearthed Arcana: The Artificer Class

This version of the artificer character class was originally released as part of the Unearthed Arcana web series. This download is the latest version of the character class. The artificer is in playtest. It has been made available so that you can use it in your games and provide feedback on its design.

The artificer masters the ability to create magical trinkets and objects to deliver powerful effects. This class can also wield a limited selection of spells and produce an impressive masterwork, such as a powerful firearm or a satchel that can create alchemical items in the blink of an eye.

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Reviews (24)
Discussions (42)
Customer avatar
دريم ? March 07, 2020 9:54 am UTC
I find that at low levels the alchemists abilities are lackluster as they aren't likely to hit,
they come into there own and become fairly useful, but late game they become lackluster again as while your likely to hit the items themselves just don't do a lot.
Customer avatar
Christian L July 28, 2018 1:51 am UTC
A separate subclass for a mechanical servant as well as a reworking of the shot types for the gunsmith and more options for potions for the alchemist I feel are needed. At are table we like to use this revision of the artificer, as it fills in a lot of dead levels and makes some of the subclasses more versatile.
Customer avatar
Greg O June 03, 2018 3:21 am UTC
I think constructs should largely go with a special subclass of Artificer: Clockwork Mage (originally seen in 2e Shi'ir Book) that gets to start off with a small construct and be able to upgrade mechanicals and eventually build automitons such as iron cobras and clockwork golems at high levels.

Another possibility for an artificer is a version the magewaver (also from the Shi'ir handbook). An artificer specializing in weaving enchantments into clothing, he begins with a Spellcoat (an enchanted robe) that he can place slots into such as AC, Damage Resistance, Deep-pockets (magical storage space), or stitched in low level spells (cast as a scroll but recharges after a long rest). Maximum of two of any type of upgrade to the coat. Wonderious items that he can produce are mostly clothing items such as Boots of the North (Resist vs Cold) or Cloak of the Manta (etc.). At later levels instead of a construct he can make a Wonderous Carpet (which is a flying carpet that he can command to turn into a rug...See more
Customer avatar
Darek S April 02, 2018 8:11 pm UTC
I feel like a way to keep your mechanical servant relevant is the ability to upgrade him: giving him more armor, speed, damage etc. Making the a.o.e. attacks accessible earlier to give the player a slightly more varied gameplay. And some fine tuning here and there which other people before me have already said
Customer avatar
Tom W February 06, 2018 6:33 am UTC
Any news on an update for the class?
Customer avatar
Adnan R October 11, 2017 4:40 am UTC
Here is my breakdown of the basic class:

Magic Item Analysis - the ritual caster feat is stronger. You can gain the same two spells, but also have the option to add more to your book. The only way this is better is that you aren't required to read from said book.

Tool Expertise - seems just as strong as the rogue's expertise feature, yet is extremely subjective in its use, since the use of tools in general is ill defined.

Wondrous Invention (2nd) - compared to the second level features of other classes, the glory of getting a magic item does little to distract from the fact that the options are weak. The cap of water breathing and goggles of night are basically racial features. The driftglobe is only slightly better than the light cantrip. Sending Stones let one send 25 words 1/day. And though the Bag of Holding is one of the most iconic magic items, at the end of the day, its a cool way to increase carrying capacity. While other classes gain Action Surge, Wild Shape, Ki/Sorcery...See more
Customer avatar
Carl M August 04, 2018 5:21 pm UTC
Good breakdown!
Customer avatar
Joseph C October 04, 2017 7:31 pm UTC
Can't open PDF? Is this file broken? I could open Mystic just fine.
Customer avatar
Jacob W September 29, 2017 5:45 pm UTC
I love the idea of an artificier in my campaign as I quite like magic items. However, I feel like it needs some work, for starters, the nearly unlimited ammo/vials would be way too overpowered, I think they should have to spend so much time and money per day to make their ammo, and that the alchemist should have a certain number of potions that they can prepare per day, but that it can be any mix. I also think Gunsmith should get an extra attack but that firearms should have the reload property of Matthew Mercer's Gunslinger subclass. The last note I have is just something I thought should be dealt with, that being that the artificier, as it is, would not be able to create a golem using the golem manuel. I thought that would be a missed opportunity as an artificier creating a golem just seems right to me.
Customer avatar
Robert M September 14, 2017 2:56 am UTC
File wont work on windows or google drive :/ Please fix
Customer avatar
John B September 12, 2017 7:44 am UTC
Cannot open the pdf file!
Customer avatar
Brian S September 08, 2017 8:09 pm UTC
I can't open the PDF with Acrobat, the included windows reader, or on Apple's included reader either. Could you update the file please?
Customer avatar
Mitchel J August 18, 2017 3:52 pm UTC
I find that at low levels the alchemists abilities are lackluster as they aren't likely to hit, midgame they come into there own and become fairly useful, but late game they become lackluster again as while your likely to hit the items themselves just don't do a lot.
Customer avatar
Adam F October 12, 2017 12:23 am UTC
"into there own"


"while your likely"

Customer avatar
Joe M August 17, 2017 3:13 pm UTC
I played a short campaign with the Artificer Alchemist, and have spent a good time thinking about it in the context of 5e (which I am in love with, and an avid consumer of).

Frankly, I think there are just too many independent archetypes for "the person that plays with chemicals and potions" in the world of fantasy to limit it to a subclass. There is the classic poisoner, dealing in damage and debuffs, the healer/apothecary, who could replace a cleric for greater variety, the (plague knight-esque) mad bomber, dishing out various forms of AOE, and the lead-to-gold transmutationist, with many roleplaying and support options, just to name a few that come to mind immediately. The tradition of the Alchemist is an interesting one on Western and Eastern fantasy, and it has evolved in many fun ways over time. Sadly, when I played the Artificer Alchemist, I didn't feel like I was a part of any of these traditions. I felt more like a subpar Felix the Cat, reaching into my limited bag of tricks to...See more
Customer avatar
Nate S August 17, 2017 3:31 am UTC
Any updates to this thing?
Customer avatar
Daniel S August 16, 2017 9:44 pm UTC
Whenever I attempt to download this document it is "not a PDF or corrupted" somehow?
Customer avatar
Mitchell J August 03, 2017 8:16 pm UTC
I think the Gunsmith's Thunder Cannon needs to be nerfed and replaced with more options as I feel that that path has very little options for combat
Customer avatar
Tyler B August 10, 2017 6:46 pm UTC
Why? Would you nerf the he rogues sneak attack? It has 4 different attacks for combat plus spells and a mechanical creature. That's more then a fighter.
Customer avatar
Adnan R October 10, 2017 11:20 pm UTC
All of the options for the gunsmith are already very lackluster to begin with. For one, all the damage it deals is of the elemental type, yet is not through a spell, so the Elemental Adept feat does not apply. The specific types are thunder, force, lightning, and fire, with lightning and fire being acquired at level 14 and 17 respectively. At that level, many opponents will either have resistance to those rather common damage types innately, or could easily get it through spells, or even magic items. This hamartia frankly makes the gunsmith unplayable at higher levels. In fact, all of the 'options' are really just damage, damage, or more damage, with the exception of a weak knockback. There are very few of the interesting choices that other classes seem to have. Every turn, the action is used to fire, the bonus to reload, and the reaction to have the mechanical servant punish attackers. It's kind of ironic to find that the artificer is the 5e class that lacks variety.
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Product Information
Rules Edition(s)
File Size:
0.19 MB
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File Last Updated:
October 25, 2017
This title was added to our catalog on May 31, 2014.