Here's the homebrew Artificer archetype I have created. It is a subclass for the artificer class from Unearthed Arcana: Artificer. (Note: The link contains the most recent iteration. The archetype displayed in this thread is kept to avoid invalidating previous answers.)

Basically, the short answer for why I made this subclass/archetype is because I like the idea of having a mech war machine.

This started as a sort of support archetype in the way that artillery is support, but I decided to instead go for a more balanced melee/ranged archetype as a sort of alternative to the standard fighters and barbarians.

I made the melee be more versatile than the ranged attacks so that they don't just rely on ranged attacks and can actually just get in there if they want to.

Keeping in mind both the Artificer's features and skills itself and those of this subclass, is this archetype balanced compared to the other archetypes for this version of the Artificer?


Combining machinery and magecraft, you forge a war-machine capable of taking down the toughest warriors.

Mechanical Specializtion

When you choose this specialization at 1st level, you gain proficiency with smith's tools and have proficiency with your War-Body.

When you gain the means, you are able to create a mechanical servant but it cannot attack and can only be Small sized.


At 1st level, you forge a war-machine construct that can be donned and operated. A powerful contraption called a War-Body. The War-Body is the heart of your arsenal, upgrading the fierce construct as you progress.

The War-Body is a special weapon that you can don and doff as a piece of armor. The machine deals 1d10 + your Intelligence modifier bludgeoning damage and has a range of 10 feet. While inside your War-Body, you gain resistance to piercing and slashing damage.

The War-Body has a movement speed of 30 eet and a jump height of 5 feet.

Your War-Body has 1d6 + 8 hit points and has a base AC of 10 + your Dexterity modifier. Your War-Body does not gain benefits from shields. You may don armor on your person, but you will not gain additional benefits while inside your War-Body.

You do not take damage until your War-Body is destroyed. If your War-Body is destroyed with excess damage, the difference is subtracted from your own hit points.

If your War-Body is damaged, you must spend 5gp worth of materials and 1 hour to repair it. It regains 1d4 hit points + your Intelligence modifier. During repairs, this is not considered a Short Rest for you.

Your War-Body cannot be healed by spells and potions. Mend can also be used to repair an additional 1d4 hit point per short rest.

If the War-Body is destroyed, you must spend 25gp worth of materials and 8 hours to reconstruct it.


At 1st level, when inside your War-Body, you know the Thunderclap cantrip.


At 3rd level, you can cast self and touch range spells on your War-Body.

Elemental Resistance

At 3rd level, you can upgrade your War-Body to be resistant either acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder damage.

At 6th level, you can add resistance to either necrotic or radiant damage.


At 6th level, you can upgrade your War-Body with a crossbow-like attachment that deals 2d6 + your Intelligence modifier piercing damage and has a range of 50 feet and a maximum range of 150 feet. The ammunition this takes is crossbow bolts.

Enchanted Machina

At 9th level, you can upgrade your War-Body and make it a magical weapon for the purposes of bypassing immunities and resistances to non-magical weapons. Your War-Body also gains +5 AC.

Rapid Mechanisms

At 14th level, you can use your melee weapon attack with the War-Body as a bonus action and as a reaction when a creature in range makes an attack against you.

Deus Machina

At 17th level, you can take the Dash, and Disengage, actions as bonus actions. When you make a melee weapon attack against a creature with the War-Body, instead of rolling for an attack, it must make a Dexterity saving throw against a DC of 8 + your proficiency + your Dexterity modifier.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Why is this on hold, but other questions on homebrew classes are not? \$\endgroup\$ – qazwsx Oct 10 '18 at 1:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ Voted to reopen because I can't see a reason for it to be closed. I guess it was closed to iterating in post, but that has since been corrected and clarified. \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Dec 2 '19 at 21:16

This subclass is extremely weak, and in need of further Iterating

The biggest issue I see right now is that the War Body, which the entire archetype seems to be built around, does not appear to scale with level. It start with 11 hitpoints, 22 if you assume all damage will be resisted (and that's not a safe assumption), and never gains significant durability beyond the +5AC provided at level 9, which will cap the mech's AC at 20. Given that even a CR2 creature can often deal at least that much damage in a single round, you've created a class feature, around which the entire feature set of your archetype revolves, that will only remain active for, at most, 2-3 rounds, depending on how well you avoid attacks and whether or not your DM directs any creatures to attack you or not, and since the archetype appears to deal most of its damage through melee combat, that's pretty likely. The armor's resistance (if I'm parsing the description correctly) will give it some survivability, but 22 "effective" hitpoints is not much to bring down; a single leveled spell has a high chance to strip off the armor, even if you get elemental resistance, even if you pass the saving throw.

The cost of repairs is non trivial, too. 25gp isn't so bad, but 8 hours essentially makes this feature a 1/per day use. So once per day, you get to don 11 hitpoints worth of armor and so long as those hitpoints remain active, you gain a few extra features for dealing damage, neither of which hit much harder than a standard attack does. The 6th level base-Artificer feature Mechanical Servant (which your archetype prevents from being able to attack) has far more capable combat features than your War Body will have even at level 20.

So in essence, you've created a subclass whose whole identity revolves around a feature that

  • They will only have for a few rounds per day,
  • Confers very minor combat bonuses that won't compare favorably to any other method of dealing damage (Cantrips, Martials with weapons, spellcasting, etc.),
  • Negates a very powerful base feature (Mechanical Servant), further limiting capabilities

What you need to do next

You need to spend some time thinking about how you intend this archetype to play. To me, it seems like this feature is most similar to the Druid's Wild Shape feature, because of the commonalities between them:

  • when used, gives the character some bonus hitpoints
  • when used, gives the character some alternate methods for dealing damage, some of which may very well surpass their normal abilities
  • leveling up this class gives bonuses to their alternate form

But the difference is that Druids can do their transformation (which is more powerful than donning your War Body) twice per short rest, averaging up to 4-8 times per day, depending on how their adventure is structured.

So in iterating on this design, it may be wise to use the Druid (especially the Circle of Moon Druid) as a model for working out how powerful this mech should be.

A few other things you'll want to bear in mind:

  • Automatic damage resistance needs to be handed out carefully. I could see this suit offering resistance to certain types of damage (Poison and Necrotic, especially) but extending that benefit to physical damage as well is probably too much. Even Barbarians have to be Raging (which is a limited resource for them) in order to gain physical damage resistance, and said resistance is a lot more reasonable when you're dealing with a class that is only especially effective when tanking damage for the rest of the team.
  • Devise a scaling chart for HP/damage. A good first-pass at devising this chart is to use the Cantrip scaling chart (1-4: 1dX, 5-10: 2dX, 11-16: 3dX, 17+: 4dX), or consider using the scaling charts that the Gunsmith and Alchemist devised for their main attack features.

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