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Is it possible to upgrade the UA Artificer's mechanical servant (page 4 in the linked document)? The description of the servant doesn't mention this possibility in its description. For convenience purposes, the relevant text passage is presented here:

At 6th level, your research and mastery of your craft allow you to produce a mechanical servant. The servant is a construct that obeys your commands without hesitation and functions in combat to protect you. Though magic fuels its creation, the servant is not magical itself. You are assumed to have been working on the servant for quite some time, finally finishing it during a short or long rest after you reach 6th level.

Select a Large beast with a challenge rating of 2 or less. The servant uses that beast's game statistics, but it can look however you like, as long as its form is appropriate for its statistics. It has the following modifications:

  • It is a construct instead of a beast.
  • It can't be charmed.
  • It is immune to poison damage and the poisoned condition.
  • It gains darkvision with a range of 60 feet if it doesn't have it already.
  • It understands the languages you can speak when you create it, butit can't speak.
  • If you are the target of a melee attack and the servant is within 5 feet of the attacker, you can use your reaction to command the
    servant to respond, using its reaction to make a melee attack against the attacker.

The servant obeys your orders to the best of its ability. In combat, it rolls its own initiative and acts on its own.

If the servant is killed, it can be returned to life via normal means, such as with the revivify spell. In addition, over the course of a long rest, you can repair a slain servant if you have access to its body. It returns to life with 1 hit point at the end of the rest. If the servant is beyond recovery, you can build a new one with one week of work (eight hours each day) and 1,000 gp of raw materials.

As you can see it nowhere states that you can or can't upgrade it to improve the statistics you first picked. I personally think it is up to the GM's digression to allow it or not.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi there! This may be a bit too broad. Instead of discussing the feature, perhaps try editing the feature yourself and balance checking. Bear in mind that this is UA content and therefore not technically vetted for the game. \$\endgroup\$ – Jason_c_o May 26 '18 at 13:17
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No, it cannot be upgraded.

Features in 5e only do what they say. The description doesn't say that you can → you cannot upgrade it.


What you could maybe do at the DM's discretion, even though it's not explicitly stated, is changing its stats to that of another beast.
Note that this isn't possible as per RAW, but balancing-wise, I don't think it would be an issue. I would apply the same rules that apply when you build a new one - i.e. one week of work (8h/day) and 1000gp of raw materials.

That way, you can't, for example, just quickly change your servant from a tanky land-based creature to a stat-wise weaker creature with swimming speed on the go. But since you could have chosen the other form in the first place, spending 1 week and 1000gp on changing it shouldn't unbalance anything.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Please bear in mind that I have not tested whether there are still balancing issues that I missed out on. However, this is more of a straightforward DM ruling than a homebrew, so I believe it doesn't violate this Stack Exchange's rules (guidelines?) on testing homebrew before posting it as an answer. \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster May 26 '18 at 12:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ yeah was thinking that that as well that the DM should decide but i think there is as i have noticed already that ny character being at lvl 10 that the servant can't keep up and nearly always reaches near death (between 1-15HP) \$\endgroup\$ – delfiler May 28 '18 at 10:15
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You technically can't change it but you have upgrades within the flexibility of roleplaying. It's a large beast under your complete control, no reason you can't pop a saddle on it and ride it into combat. AC too low; have you looked at barding the creature to give it some armor and upgrading its AC. You can technically have it made before the creature is even made - after all you're creating it and you just need to give the NPC making it the "Specs".

Where you would need to talk to your DM is if you start collecting items for modification. We're playing Curse of Strahd and I collected silver candlesticks. I could possibly smelt these down and use them to give my mechanical creature silver claws or fangs. Possibly...

The possibilities are limitless: think about what's allowed and if you start stretching the rules ask your DM.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi and welcome to rpg.stackexchange! Take the tour - you'll earn a badge! What do you mean by "barding" the creature? Was that a typo? \$\endgroup\$ – Isaac Reefman Jul 26 '18 at 1:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @IsaacReefman: From here: "Barding. Barding is armor designed to protect an animal’s head, neck, chest, and body. Any type of armor shown on the Armor table can be purchased as barding. The cost is four times the equivalent armor made for humanoids, and it weighs twice as much." I assume this is what Scott's referring to. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jul 26 '18 at 1:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @IsaacReefman Barding is armor for your mount. I agree that the term is uncommon enough that a parenthetical clarification could be warranted. \$\endgroup\$ – DuckTapeAl Jul 26 '18 at 1:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @scott leturno must agree with DuckTapeAl here on the term being uncommon but i got what you meant and yeah i agree with your answer but it all comes down to the dm and what he allows, one of my games has a pretty (often times a bit too much) easy going dm allowing a lot but still keeping it in the realm of possibility (no transforming in to a Howitzer yet, i am kidding of course cause that would be madness in a nutshell) like i can't just increase AC or improving stats with in an hour that would be crazy but having the materiaals and time to improve and make modifications that is okay \$\endgroup\$ – delfiler Jul 26 '18 at 11:39

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