Mar 062012

The Spell Tinker build is designed to be a party support character that provides buffs, nuking DPS, and short-burst CC while adding strong heals and remedies, supplemented with ranged DPS capabilities and even throwing in some decent (only decent, not outstanding) trapsmithery. This is a 34-point build with lots of tomes. Not because I want to be exclusionary or hard on new players but because I created this build as a True Reincarnation target for my existing Wiz20 Sparksy. The purpose of this character build, in priority order:

  1. Top shelf spell caster at end game. DPS and CC both, or at least as much CC as the Artificer spell list seems to support
  2. Wand and scroll use. Both to supplement caster role but also to step in as party healer when necessary
  3. Ranged DPS. Got to have something to do when conserving spell points
  4. Trap-smith

While the Artificer spell list is light on CC spells, the CC that exists appears to have the unique attribute of all being Evocation spells rather than the more common Enchantment. This is synergistic with the desire to blow things up and is something I intend to double-down on in the build. Before the crunchy parts, the design constraints:

  • Must be halfling (I am in a halfling-only guild)
  • Must perform adequately at end game
  • Does not expect to melee
  • Character already has 3-point tomes on most attributes and 2-pointers on the others
Abilities         Starting      Ending      Geared
Strength              8           10          16
Dexterity            11           14          20
Constitution         16           19          28
Intelligence         18           29          39
Wisdom                8           10          16
Charisma             13           16          22

+2 Tome of Strength used at level 7
+2 Tome of Wisdom used at level 7
+3 Tome of Charisma used at level 11
+3 Tome of Constitution used at level 11
+3 Tome of Dexterity used at level 11
+3 Tome of Intelligence used at level 11

Even with +3 Exceptional INT and a +7 INT item I am going to need a +4 tome or Litany to get to 40 INT. I am dumping DEX for the most part. I’d like to be able to hit with the crossbow without Insightful Strikes but I just can’t find the points.

Fortitude  20:  7 (art20) + 5 (item) +  8 (con)
Reflex     26:  7 (art20) + 5 (item) + 14 (int)
Will       21: 13 (art20) + 5 (item) +  3 (wis)


Hit Points                        Spell Points
 120 artificer 20                  845 artificer 20
  20 heroic vitality                80 magic training
  10 draconic vitality             140 INT (29 + 3 exc + 7 item)
 180 CON (19 + 3 exc + 6 item)     200 archmage
  30 GFL                           300 greensteel
  45 greensteel
  42 tough + racial tough
  10 battle engineer
 ===                              ====
 457                              1565

Both seem quite adequate. Good actually. But I am concerned about the spell DCs.

Evocation DC
10 + 6 (spell level) + 18 (INT) + 5 (two feats + ship buff + Focus item) = 39

39 still won’t hit anything on epic. At least, not in my previous wizardly experience. However, according to this thread here, Arti’s don’t really need extreme DCs and 39 is more than adequate. We’ll see.

Skills             Starting      Ending        Geared
Balance               0            15            19
Concentration         5            28            48
Disable Device        8            33            54
Jump                  1            14            18
Open Lock             4            26            45
Search                8            33            54
Spot                  3            24            43
Use Magic Device      5            34            45
  • UMD gear: +6 CHA item + seven fingered gloves + head of good fortune + elite spider cult mask
  • Other gear: +6 STR, DEX and WIS items, +10 INT items, +9 CON items, + elite spider cult mask, +15 skill boost items where applicable
  • I will have +2 additional available in bursts from skill boost enhancement
Level  1 Point Blank Shot
Level  3 Spell Focus: Evocation
Level  4 Precise Shot (Artificer Bonus)
Level  6 Insightful Reflexes
Level  8 Empower Spell (Artificer Bonus)
Level  9 Toughness
Level 12 Improved Critical: Ranged Weapons (Artificer Bonus)
Level 12 Greater Spell Focus: Evocation
Level 15 Maximize Spell
Level 16 Skill Focus: Use Magic Device (Artificer Bonus)
Level 18 Past Life: Arcane Initiate
Level 20 Heighten Spell (Artificer Bonus)

No room for Improved Precise Shot, but really I’m not that concerned about it. Ranging is Job 3, I still have the other ranged buffs, plus I have the Rune Arm.

Artificer Damage Boost II
Artificer Crossbow Attack I
Artificer Crossbow Damage II
Artificer Improved Rune Arm Use II
Artificer Rune Arm Overcharge I
Artificer Battle Engineer I
Artificer Skill Boost I
Arcane Empowerment
Halfling Dexterity I
Racial Toughness II
Improved Use Magic Device IV
Charged Spellcasting II
Kinetic Spellcasting II
Deadly Shocks I
Deadly Kinetics I
Storm Manipulation V
Force Manipulation V
Artificer Energy of Creation III
Artificer Intelligence III
Artificer Wand and Scroll Mastery IV
Artificer Wand Heightening III

This build created with DDO Character Planner Version 03.12.01 Thanks to Ron and the Character Planner team!

I am looking forward to playing her!

๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ™‚

  12 Responses to “Spell Tinker – Halfling Castery Artificer (build)”

Comments (12)
  1. I haven’t yet bought or unlocked arti (heck, I don’t have time to play most of the toons I have now, let alone a new one), but this looks really cool. I have kind of a test toon on Thelanis that I’m vaguely hoping to eventually go the completionist route on – I’d definitely give this a try.

  2. Hi, I’m betraying my ignorance here but I read a while back that artificers wouldn’t benefit much from Heighten. At least Blade Barrier is a level 6 spell so presumably as high a caster level as possible. Is there any substance to this?

  3. Okay a bit of honest feedback here…

    Rune arm is not reliable/great DPS with the amount of enhancements you have taken. I’m not sure if you plan to do raids or just epic quests.

    1. Epic Questing:
    – I don’t have SF: Evo. I do have a GSF:Evo item. I have 38 INT: 18+3(tome)+4(lvl)+3(enhancements as helf)+10(7+exc3). This is before ship +2, or yugo or store pots or abishai.
    My tactical detonation will land usually at least 2 out of a pack of 5+ on their asses. In epics. Even the new epics. This works best on melees, it’s a reflex save so it won’t work on rogue-ish types and seems to not do so reliably with casters.
    My prismatic strike will often incapacitate casters (sleepy times). On epics. No, not reliably, but I don’t have the Evo feats nor max INT nor Supreme Evo Focus (alchemical or using Abishai set – too much of a sacrifice gear-wise).
    HOWEVER. I don’t think anyone would take my CC over wizard in all epics except the new content. In the new content my spells have no SR check so they will put drow priestesses to sleep. This is a useful role, don’t get me wrong, but there’s a problem if this is all you can do.
    Epics will have a healer. I have scroll healed through epic BOB, with a strong enough group I probably could do most house P epics but Small Problem. But it’s not the most reliable or the best. A divine is still a better choice, faster completions and less likelihood of deaths.
    Epics are also more reliably CCed by a wizard. In the new content you want a strong wizard and a strong artificer – wizard takes care of non-drow (oh reavers), artificer takes care of drow priestess.
    Here is the kicker. Timer on prismatic with quicken is very fast so you can spam it until it lands. It’s best if it lands on first go, obviously. But if the party can’t survive it going off on the third go (there’s usually only 1 max 2 priestesses at one time), end fight in part 2 of U13 epics is going to be a fail anyway.
    Now the problem is that your build has terrible DPS. You do not have rune arm strong enough to do proper damage – Force 7/1/1 helps but you need faster reload times, if you’re only going to use rune arm you need max enhancements on it. Your xbow will not land. And if you use insightful strikes your dmg will be hilarious, as in pretty bad (use epic calomel to compensate slightly).

    With some different gear and taking SF:Evo and GSF:Evo (by giving up Augment Summoning), I can achieve no fail UMD for heal scrolls (and max healing from it), deliver devastating Force rune arm damage, deliver good DPS when aggro-ed and great DPS when non-aggro-ed, and my prismatic strike is likely to hit almost as much as your build. All it takes is the right gear, especially +5 or +4 CHA skills GS item, Greater Heroism on all the time, etc. Oh and I can do epic traps with no issue.
    This isn’t to say how uber my build is… at all. The point I’m trying to make is that you cannot make such a niche build as you made here. You WILL be wanted for DPS – you do not have the SP to deliver only spell DPS, trust me – rune arm and xbow dmg will not be up to par to epic quests. People will still want wizard CC and divine healz unless they are so amazing they pretty much don’t need either (I’ve run with such groups too, and that’s when scroll healing is enough in almost all epics). So you CAN CC but people will want you in epics for DPS, buffs, CC in the new content. DPS/buffs first and foremost and that can be done better without sacrificing DEX so much for CHA.
    My starting CHA is 8. +3 tome, +6 item. No Skill Focus UMD. Only scroll IV enhancements. When my GS is finished, I won’t even need GH for no fail heal scrolls. Put those CHA points back into DEX.

    Wand Heightening – need past lives to make this viable and it’s all in or “forget about it”. Once you have the right past lives, you can PK from a wand like there’s no tomorrow and own several epic quests.

    2. Raids
    You might get taken along as scroll healer of tank in any raid with serious tanking portions – LOB for example. Most of the time, there’s divines and they can scroll heal the tank. If you have divines AND you scroll healing – that’s a loss of a DPS spot. You should be able to scroll heal and deliver boss DPS at serious rates from rune-arm, can even do:
    A. endless+rune-arm
    B. heal tank
    C. rune-arm/heal tank until endless off timer than back to A.

    Lastly. Heighten is kind of useless… is that to give +1 to prismatic strike? Not really worth the feat. Better work on full abishai epic set and get Superior Evo Focus than to waste a feat like that.

    If you can afford to LR or TR an artificer, run them to cap so you can see yourself. But I can tell you that the plan you laid out will make for painful leveling (which is sad, artificers are insane at how easy it is to level if not cut at the knees this way)… and very disappointing epics, let alone raids.
    If you want PK from wands for epics, you need past lives and all in, and pretty much pick only one elemental line – force or electrical. PK is awesome and all but a built made specifically for offensive wand usage, while ignoring xbow dmg and not maxing out rune arms, will be a piker in raids.

  4. @Stoerm: Yes and no. Blade Barrier would not benefit at all since it is already cast at the maximum spell level available. But Static Shock would gain +5 to the DC. Heighten can be toggled on and off for individual spells; I intend to try it and see if it helps or really just wastes spell points.

  5. @deahamlet: honest feedback is what I want! Thanks! What you are describing is pretty much every Artificer build available on the forums. I get that there is usually a reason when everyone does everything the same way, but I want to try something different.

    Besides, continuing in the honest frame, no one ever sees an Artificer join their epic group and goes “oh yay, DPS!”. I have rarely (never?) seen an Artificer in the top half of the kill count. I have rarely (never?) seen one take agro from any melee type. Their DPS is second tier, at best, even when maxed for it. So I am bailing on it and focusing on the things that they really can do better than anyone (infusions and UMD). Min/maxing at the meta level.

    This will only be Sparksy’s second life; she will level quickly. If she is as useless as you suggest it will become obvious and I will be able to introduce changes.

    Do you have any ideas that would help make her more effective at her stated goals?

  6. I know artificers who pull aggro :). They’re usually WF. The squishies of us pace ourselves to not pull aggro from bosses… but even I have tanked when I trust the healer. I do not go full out DPS if I’m in a pug and do not trust the tank. I got sloppy a few times after getting comfortable with our guild tank and ended up pulling aggro and causing all sorts of mayhem (tank pulled shadows in ToD when he intim-ed boss back as an example of mayhem). I also like to spare my SP and play conservative. Once in a while I’ll go into quests and epics and be a bit of an ass and top the kill count ๐Ÿ˜› competing with the instakill wizard for kills. Melees growl when we do that though so… many artificers either choose to pace themselves to not pull aggro or simply do not have the gear.

    I’m not surprised nobody cries “YAY DPS” at artificer joining. But a few people who have taken the time to actually see arti damage when done right have stopped allowing me to scroll heal in raids because they don’t want to lose that nice damage to a scroll healing healbot.

    Anyway. Infusions? Seriously? Okay… other than the one to give a tank HP – which pretty much just requires you to have very nice HP and not be too squishie – I do not see the usefulness of our infusions. People who have tried using them have complained about the timers on those things etc. You’re better off scroll healing.

    So I’m not entirely sure what are you trying to be? A buffbot healer? I don’t see how that is viable in epics except for either: great party that probably could just use SF pots and still be fine (you’re pretty much piking there) or a few chosen epics with an okay tank.

    What I CAN see you doing that nobody has pulled off yet (to my knowledge) is make use of that capstone for offensive wand spells. As I said, requires past lives to add to DCs of wands, etc.
    If you want to go more into CCing… work on past lives for more evocation DCs (sorcerer), but my point was that even if your CCs land every time, they either handle melees in group (tactical) or are single target (less awesome than a wizard or even a bard) –> because of this you must have another main role outside just CCing. You do not have the SP to use your spells alone to kill and slow charging rune arm is also not very effective.

    Sure, nobody cries “yay dps”, but they don’t cry that at sorcerers… even though they can completely anihilate in epics (same with a very well geared instakill wizard). People don’t know any better. You can manage to CC and scroll heal without sacrificing so much. Going so much into lightning and force dmg without maxing rune arm makes no sense. Fine, give up xbow damage if you have to… if you want wand dmg, you’ll have to work on past lives so that PK and such wand spells will hit. It will be just like the bard using the Treason or whatever that PK sword is called.

    But being another bot in epic quests? Bards will outclass you, especially with the new “improved” deadly.

  7. @Deahamlet I completely get that you think my vision is hopelessly flawed. Okay, not going to argue because (1) haven’t tried it yet so have no evidence and (2) you are out-wording me about 50-1. I surrender!

    I’m going to try it anyway and find out. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Any ideas on how I could increase my casting capabilities?

  8. For casting sadly it’s all in the gear really. 18 is the max you can go on INT, +5 level ups. Get rahkir ring from ToD and with +2 exc INT added you can get +10 INT on one item alone.
    Get GS SP item with conc opp, you can regain SP by letting archers got at you. Plus the 300 SP is very handy.
    Napkin adds +1 to your spells, magewright set is very very very nice for a caster artificer. If we go into epics… abishai set gives +3 evo DCs, this can help BBs not save so more 100% dmg and lses 50% dmg when they save.
    Bracelet of madness is a good item as well. You can use clickies for 50% dmg boost to your spells (you cannot use specific elemental clickies for 75% cause those do not work on BBs untyped dmg).

    Pretty much once you maxed out Force line in enhancements, put all level ups in INT, nothing to do but get gear to increase dmg or decrease cost or regain SP.

  9. So I am on the right track then, at least so far as building a caster artificer.

    Fortunately Sparksy has some decent caster gear already from her previous life as a wizard.

    No abishai set though. Does that give a profane bonus? That stacks with Greater Evocation Focus items? If yes, that would get me to a 44 DC and that is starting to be seriously usable.

  10. No, it’s just Superior Evocation Focus. Does not stack so +3 to evo DCs is as good as it’s going to get from gear.

  11. I may be reading it wrong, but it appears that Epic Might of the Abishai grants +3 to Evocation caster level, not to DC. I don’t see any items that are actually +3 Evocation focus.


  12. I like your idea. Planning my third arty life now and going to try caster focus. It still seems like most people aren’t quite sure what to expect from us. They certainly seem to enjoy plentiful buffs, healing, BB, tactical det and prismatic. And Lucid Dreams. Frankly I’m a little tired of the pew-pew-pew and plan to do rune arms and wands for third arty life. It’s actually somewhat relieving that it’s mostly gear dependent because that means it’s not difficult to fit in useful feats and enhancements. Full force and elec, wand/scroll mastery, and rune arm, leave out all the xbow stuff…should be rather easy to do i think.
    My arty is also a halfling and i love it. First life i tried the marks: surprisingly easy to fit in. I will likely do that for the caster life as well.

What do you think?

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