When designing a Battle Smith artificer's Steel Defender (E:RftLW, p. 61), the feature description states:

You determine the creature's appearance and whether it has two legs or four; your choice has no effect on its game statistics.

If I were to create it to resemble a Medium-sized Ape, could it throw the pebbles imbued with magic that I create using the magic stone spell?

I can imbue 3 stones as a bonus action, and then drop them beside the Ape before attacking. The next turn, the Steel Defender could pick them up and throw.

Obviously, this is a level 3 mid-game question. 1d6+5 just seeing do much at higher levels.


No, it can only use the actions in its statblock

The text for the steel defender feature reads:

It can move and use its reaction on its own, but the only action it takes on its turn is the Dodge action, unless you take a bonus action on your turn to command it to take one of the actions in its stat block or the Dash, Disengage, or Help action.

The feature specifies that the action must be from it's stat-block. Magic Stone reads:

You or someone else can make a ranged spell attack with one of the pebbles ...

It allows someone other than the caster to use the stone but it still requires you to take the Attack Action to do so. The rule that allows someone else to use the stone is general because it refers to everyone who is not the caster. The rule regarding the Steel Defender is specific because it only applies to the Artificer's use of a feature as a bonus action. A general rule allowing other creatures to use the stone cannot overrule the specific rule defining the Artificer's use of a feature.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Why is the rule for the steel defender more specific than the rule on magic stone? \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    May 8 '20 at 9:04
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Throwing a magic stone does not require an Action, you just make an attack with it. Thus with the Extra Attack feature you can throw more than 1 stone with one Action. You should write ".. but you must still take the Attack Action to do so.". \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    May 8 '20 at 9:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ As a PC, I too am given Actions. My Attack action initially consists of just my starting equipment weapons. It is then an Attack action where I can choose which attack to use. \$\endgroup\$
    – Wartowel
    May 8 '20 at 10:57
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Wartowel The Attack action always lets you choose whether to use any weapon you are wielding, make an unarmed strike, shove, or grapple. However, the steel defender does not have access to the Attack action. \$\endgroup\$ May 8 '20 at 13:28
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Not sure if it'll be helpful, but the fact that it doesn't actuallhy have "arms". Yes, it can take the shape of a creature with 'arms', but it's statistics and abilities don't actually change by form. \$\endgroup\$
    – NautArch
    May 8 '20 at 13:58

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