Welcome back to the weekly D&D and Tabletop Gaming thread! Here’s a place where we can talk about Dungeons & Dragons or any other tabletop games that you nerds might be into. Tell us about the games you’re playing, speculate about future expansions, recruit your fellow Avocados into new groups, whatever you want.
The Artificer is the first new character class officially released for D&D 5e since the original publication of the 5e Player’s Handbook. The class, and its three subclasses, are found in the Eberron: Rising from the Last War sourcebook. Today, I’m just going to look at the Battle Smith subclass, a combination combat medic and equipment repair specialist.
A lot of the Artificer’s abilities come online as soon as you choose the Battle Smith subclass at level 3. You gain proficiency with smith’s tools (or another type of tools if you already happen to have smith’s tool proficiency) and martial weapons. You’re also Battle Ready, which means that you can add your INT modifier, instead of STR or DEX, to your attack and damage rolls. You do need to be using a magic weapon to use this ability, but all Artificers have the ability to just make their mundane weapons magical starting at level 2.
Finally, at level 3, the Battle Smith also creates a Steel Defender, a mechanical pet that can have any appearance you choose. It can attack on your turn, as long as you use a bonus action to command it, and it can also use a reaction to impose disadvantage on an attack targeting another creature within 5 feet of it. The Steel Defender can also use an action to repair itself or another construct or object, and its attack and damage rolls, skill and saving throw bonuses, and the amount of hit points it can restore with the Repair ability all increase with your proficiency bonus.
At 5th level, the Battle Smith gets the Extra Attack feature, much like other martial classes, such as the Fighter or Ranger, allowing them to make two attacks per turn instead of just one.
At level 9, your magical weapon attacks, or the attacks of your Steel Defender, can also deliver an Arcane Jolt. Once per turn, when you hit a creature with an attack, you can choose deal an extra 2d6 force damage to the target, or direct healing energy to a creature or object within 30 feet of the target, restoring 2d6 hit points to that creature. You can only use this ability a number of time equal to your INT modifier before you’ll need a long rest to recharge.
Finally, at level 15, the Improved Defender ability increases the power of your Steel Defender and Arcane Jolt. The Steel Defender gets a +2 bonus to its armor class, and when it uses its Deflect reaction to impose disadvantage on an enemy’s attack roll, it also deals a small amount of force damage to the attacker, equal to 1d4 plus your INT modifier. In addition, the damage or healing energy from your Arcane Jolt increases from 2d6 to 4d6.
We’re taking a break from D&D to try a new game this week, Kids on Bikes! The Wasp is acting as the GM, while the rest of us take on the roll of everyday teenagers living in Springfield, OR in the early 1990s:
- The Hayes Code, as Monica McCoy, the Laid-Back Slacker
- Wafflicious, as Mindy Drake, the Brilliant Mathlete
- Otto, as Tiffany McCoy, the Plastic Beauty
- TheCleverGuy, as Artie Gillespie, the Brutish Jock
- Josephus Brown, as Dino Kass, the Weird Loner
Today started off just like any other day. I’d had a tough football practice the night before, so I was tired… I sorta dozed off in history class. I woke up when I heard this weird screeching sound outside, and I looked out the window to try and see what it was. All I could really see was the trees shaking like there was a real strong wind, but I could also see the flag outside and it wasn’t moving. I nudged my buddy next to me to point it out, but when I looked again the trees had stopped. No one else seemed to have heard the sound either, so I just figured I must have been having a weird dream.
I didn’t really think about it again until lunch. Tiffany came in and sat by me as usual, and she’s heard a weird noise during gym class. One of the other guys, Ricky I think, said he’d heard something too, but I had to get away from Tiffany for a bit. I don’t know why she’s latched on to me, but I wish she’d take the hint sometimes. I saw my math tutor Mindy across the cafeteria, talking with another girl, Monica I think, and that weird kid, Dino. I don’t really know those two, but Mindy’s pretty cool. I told Tiffany and the other guys that I had to ask her something about my math homework and went over to Mindy’s table.
Mindy was telling Monica and Dino about something she had overheard in the hall. Something about Mr. Gellman (that’s the guy in charge of the logging station) talking to Principal Scuggins about something. I didn’t really catch it. I just wanted to say hi, but Mindy asked about my car. It’s kind of a piece of junk, but she asked if we could go for a ride. I was a little surprised she’d want to duck out of school, but I didn’t mind. Monica and Dino came along, too. Then Tiffany saw us while she was smoking behind the bleachers with that loser Jeff–he graduated like 3 years ago, but still hangs out at the high school. Anyway, Tiffany came over and started arguing with Monica about something. Long story short, it ended up being all five of us in the car. I made sure Mindy got shotgun, while the others crowded into the back seat. Mindy asked me to drive out to the Mystery Spot.
I hadn’t been there since Initiation Night for the freshmen players a few weeks ago. There was some major roadkill on the way that I had to swerve to avoid, and Tiffany kept going about there being so many strange people around, in between arguing with Monica. Turns out the two of them are sisters, twins! I didn’t even know Tiffany had a sister! Anyway, the parking lot at the Mystery Spot was empty. Everyone got out of the car, and we were headed toward the entrance when we heard another of those weird screeching sounds, coming from inside. Monica and Mindy were both really freaked out, but I guess Tiffany wanted to show off or something, ’cause she went and pulled open the door. And I saw something really weird. It was like a gorilla or something, furry, and sorta hunched over, y’know? But not, like, a normal gorilla. I don’t know what it was, but it was weird. Someone slammed the door shut and we all ran back to the car. I just started driving. I wasn’t sure where to go, though, until someone mentioned the Diner.