Dungeons & Dragons: 8 Best Feats For An Artificer
Artificers are the least-played class in Dungeons & Dragons, which has led to a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy of fewer players gaining interest in the class. Many veteran D&D enthusiasts were super excited when Wizards of the Coast decided to add another Intelligence-based class to the game, but it seems that the Artificer's odd pairing with a fantastical setting has resulted in many players overlooking this incredible class.
Whatever the reason for their position at the bottom of the D&D popularity totem pole, Artificers have access to a number of skills and abilities that pair quite well with many feats offered to player characters. In case you're gearing up to take part in the inevitable Artificer revolution, here's a look at some of the most thematically and mechanically appropriate feats you can select for your tinker.
8/8 Ritual Caster
Heading off the list is a feat that's great for any spellcaster who is unable to cast rituals. Ritual Caster has a prerequisite that your character possess a Wisdom or Intelligence score of at least 13. Thanks to Artificers being Intelligence-based casters, we pass this prerequisite easily in character creation. Ritual Caster allows you to select two first-level spells from the spell list of a spellcasting class of your choice.
You can then cast those spells as rituals. This means you can cast them without expending a spell slot, but it takes an additional ten minutes on top of the normal casting time to do so. As a result, your half caster gains access to some really great additional spells, including Find Familiar, Detect Magic, Alarm, Comprehend Languages, and many more. Furthermore, ritual spells found in spell scrolls and spellbooks can be copied into your own ritual book at later levels, allowing you access to even more rituals.
Observant is a half feat, meaning it gives a +1 ability score bump on top of providing an additional benefit. Half feats are best taken whenever your character ends up with an odd-numbered ability score in one of the relevant statistics. In this case, Observant boosts either Intelligence or Wisdom by one.
On top of rounding out our casting ability score, Observant also gives your character the ability to read lips and provides you with a +5 bonus to your passive Perception and Investigation scores. While this might seem great at first glance, it's important to clarify with your DM (Dungeon Master) whether they ever put passive scores to use and how they apply them. Tables vary on the usage of passive scores, so it's best to be sure that this is a useful feature before picking it up.
6/8 Keen Mind
Fans of Critical Role ought to be very familiar with this feat thanks to Wizard Caleb Widogast of the Mighty Nein. Keen Mind is yet another half feat, but this time the bonus only applies to Intelligence. Besides the Intelligence bump, Keen Mind also gives your character the ability to always know which direction is north, as well as how many hours are left before sunset or sunrise. These are interesting details to be sure, but nothing too notable.
The real kicker here is that Keen Mind allows your character to accurately recall anything they have seen or heard in the past month. If you happen to have a DM who's strict about note-taking and refuses to share NPC names, locations, and plot points at will, Keen Mind is pretty much your best friend. Sit back and enjoy the show as you force your DM to recite all of the information you couldn't be bothered to takes notes about.
Here's a feat that you won't often see mentioned when it comes to other classes. Thanks to the Artificer's sixth-level class feature Tool Expertise, the usefulness of this feat is literally doubled. Skilled allows you to take three skill or tool proficiencies that you don't already have. While extra skills are nice, we're really interested in the tool proficiencies here.
Tool Expertise makes it so that any time your Artificer makes an ability check involving a tool with which you are proficient, your proficiency bonus is doubled. In other words, Skilled now gives your Artificer access to three more tool proficiences with which they have expertise. Tools that might give you the most bang for your buck include cook's utensils, cartographer's tools, alchemist's supplies, smith's tools, and mason's tools. However, there are a ton more to choose from that could easily lead to character development during downtime, or otherwise aid the party during your adventures.
4/8 Heavily Armored
The coolest thing about playing an Artificer is that they have access to all kinds of great magic items: a number of which can't even be found in the game. However, some of these magic items and magical item enhancements are best used on a suit of heavy armor. Unfortunately for Artificers, you don't gain proficiency with heavy armor in your class kit.
Thankfully, this omission can be amended by picking up the Heavily Armored feat, which gives your character proficiency in heavy armor so that you can fully benefit from your defensive Artificer infusions. Additionally, it's also a half feat that increases your Strength score by one, so aim for an odd Strength score during character creation if you plan on picking this up.
3/8 Shadow Touched
One of the great downfalls of half casters is that they have access to a very small number of spells in comparison to full spellcasting classes like Clerics, Druids, Wizards, and Sorcerers. You can shore up this spellcasting difference though by taking the Shadow Touched feat. This is yet another half feat with a +1 that can be applied to your Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma.
What we're really interested in here though is the two additonal first-level spells to which we gain access. One of the spells has to be Invisibility, arguably one of the best spells in the game, and the other must be chosen from the Necromancy or Illusion schools of magic. Your Artificer can cast each spell once without expending a spell slot, but can also expend spell slots as normal to cast them as well. It goes without saying that a cloaking device is the perfect flavor for Artificers of all kinds, making Shadow Touched one of the best feats you could select.
2/8 Fey Touched
In the same vein as Shadow Touched, Fey Touched is another half feat that can be applied to the same three ability scores. It also provides your Artificer with access to two more spells, but this time it's the second-level spell Misty Step and one other spell of your choice from the Divination or Enchantments schools of magic.
While Invisibility is an amazing spell, the usefulness of Misty Step outweighs it as far as getting your character out of danger is concerned. Consequently, Fey Touched ends up being slightly better from a mechanics standpoint, but Shadow Touched definitely wins out on flavor. At the end of the day, feat selection should really be more about roleplay than anything else. That being said, Fey Touched is arguably the best feat in the game.
Of course, any self-respecting Artificer ought to be knowledgeable on how to handle firearms. Gunner is yet another half feat that gives you a +1 to Dexterity. In addition, you also gain proficiency with all firearms, you ignore the loading property of firearms, and being within five feet of a hostile creature doesn't cause your ranged attacks to be made with disadvantage.
Thematically speaking, there's no arguing the fact that Gunner is the feat that makes the most sense for a character obsessed with inventing things. Even so, many D&D campaigns have no place for firearms in their world, making this feat entirely obsolete. As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, the Artificer's place in fantasy is oftentimes a strained one. Nonetheless, don't let this disincentivize you from experiencing one of the coolest additions to the D&D classes of all time.
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