The Battle Smith Artificer is one of the four Artificer subclasses officially available. Players who become Battle Smiths are responsible for creating impregnable defenses and lending a helping hand when things get a bit out of hand.
Battle Smiths use spells to bolster the defenses of their party or heal them when they’ve gone through some tough encounters. No army is complete without a loyal Battle Smith to reinforce them, and when paired with a character with high AC (Paladin), that player will most likely never die.
It is said that it was the Battle Smiths who created the Warforged for House Cannith, a force that dominated the Last War. Some of these Battle Smiths even aided the weak after the horrific war.
Battle Smith Artificer 5e – Features
Battle Smiths have quite a simple name, as they are in constant battles, using all kinds of defenses they smithed using magic to aid their comrades.
It isn’t uncommon for Battle Smiths to become gifter healers along with supports that buff their entire party.
In most situations, a Battle Smith will act with the Paladins and Rangers, trying their best to be the Defender/Healer/Support they were meant to be, even though they are quite weapon-focused as well.
Adopting the Battle Smith specialization at level 3 means you gain proficiency with Smith’s Tools.
Note: If you already have proficiency with Smith’s Tools, you can choose one other artisan’s tools to gain proficiency in.
Battle Smith Spells
When you reach level 3, you’ll always have certain spells prepared and continuously unlock more as you level up.
All the spells in the Battle Smith Spell List count as Artificer Spells. However, these spells don’t count against the Artificer Spells you have prepared, giving you more spells to choose from.
|Battle Smith Spells
|Battle Smith Spells
|Branding Smite, Warding Bond
|Aura of Vitality, Conjure Barrage
|Aura of Purity, Fire Shield
|Banishing Smite, Mass Cure Wounds
Upon reaching level 3, the experiments you’ve done with magic and your combat training have paid off in two ways:
- Gain proficiency with Martial Weapons
- Attacking with a magic weapon means you can use your Intelligence modifier, instead of using a Dexterity or Strength modifier, for the damage and attack rolls.
Continuing to tinker and reaching level 3 awards you with a faithful steel defender. The companion the friendly towards you and your party members, and it obeys your orders.
When in combat, your Steel Defender shares your initiative, taking its turn immediately after yours.
On its own, it can move and even use its reaction, but the only action it can take on its turn is the Dodge action unless you perform a bonus action and command it to take a different action.
Note: If you are incapacitated, then the Steel Defender may take any action it chooses, not only the Dodge action.
Healing and Death
Casting the Mending spell on your Steel Defender has it regain 2d6 HP.
If your Steel Defender has died within an hour, Smith’s Tools can be used as an action in order to revive it, provided you are at least 5 feet from it, and you expend a 1st-level spell slot or higher.
Doing this has the Steel Defender returns to life after 1 minute with all its HP restored.
Finishing a long rest allows you to create a new Steel Defender considering you have Smith’s Tools on you. If you currently have a Steel Defender from using this feature, it will perish immediately.
Note: The defender will also perish if you die.
Below is the Steel Defender stat block, which puts your Proficiency Bonus to use in many ways:
Note: You may determine the Steel Defender’s appearance and whether it’ll have two or four legs (your choices have no effect on the Steel Defender’s gameplay statistics.
|Armor Class: 15 (Natural Armor)
|Hit Points: 2 + your Int modifier + 5 times your Artificer level (the Defender’s Hit Dice [d8s] will be equal to your Artificer level).
|Speed: 40 feet
|Saving Throws: Con +2 plus Proficiency Bonus, Dex +1 plus Proficiency Bonus
|Skills: Athletics +2 plus Proficiency Bonus, Perception +0 plus Proficiency Bonus x 2
|Damage Immunities: Poison
|Condition Immunities: Charmed, Exhaustion, Poisoned
|Senses: Darkvision 60 feet, passive Perception 10 + (Proficiency Bonus x 2)
|Languages: Understands the languages you can speak
|Proficiency Bonus: Equals your character’s bonus
|Vigilant – The Defender cannot be surprised
|Force-Empowered Rend – Melee Weapon Attack, to hit with spell attack, reach 5 feet to one target you can see. Hit, 1d8 + Proficiency Bonus Force damage.
|Repair (3/Day) – The Defender’s magical mechanisms restore 2d8 + Proficiency Bonus HP to itself or one object or construct within 5 feet of it.
|Deflect Attack – The Defender imposes disadvantage on one creature’s attack roll that it can see within 5 feet of it.
The Delfect Attack only works if the attack roll is done against a creature other than the Defender.
Reaching level 5 means you can attack twice, not once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.
Becoming level 9 means you’ve learned new ways to channel your arcane energy to heal or harm.
When you hit a target using a magic weapon attack or your Steel Defender hits a target, you may channel magical energy through the attack and create one of the following effects:
- Target takes extra 2d6 Force damage.
- Choose one object or creature you see within 30 feet of your target. The chosen creature receives healing energy, restoring 2d6 of its HP.
This energy can be used a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier (minimum of one), but you can only do so once a turn.
Note: All expended uses will be regained after finishing a long rest.
Becoming level 15 means you Arcane Jolt and Steel Defender have their power increased:
- Extra healing and damage to your Arcane Jolt (both increasing to 4d6).
- Steel Defender gains a +2 to AC.
- When your Steel Defender uses Deflect Attack, the one attacking takes Force damage equal to 1d4 + your Intelligence modifier.
Building a Battle Smith Artificer
Building a Battle Smith Artificer, much like any other subclass, means you’ll have to keep everything your character needs to be a powerful Artificer in mind.
You’ll also need to keep in mind how well everything flows, as certain ability scores, races, skills, feats, weapons, armor, and multiclassing, works best with the Battle Smith.
I know this might seem a bit daunting, but depending on your knowledge of D&D, you can always use the Player’s Handbook to guide you through these decisions or get some tips.
You can even ask an experienced player for help, as they usually know a lot about D&D (sometimes more than the book itself).
After all, you’re making your own character, so you can add anything. It doesn’t necessarily have to be meta or OP to be an option, just go with the flow and try to have as much fun with your character as possible.
Battle Smith Ability Scores
Battle Smiths mainly use martial weapons in combination with certain defensive and healing spells.
Since you infuse your weapons, you make use of a lot of spells as well as spell foci to become the ultimate warmonger.
- Intelligence – Intelligence can be described as our “Do or Die” ability score. You can choose to ignore it, but then you die, so you should, without a doubt, raise this ability score as high as you can (in moderation, of course).
Remember, you’re still an Artificer, and Artificers have Intelligence as their spellcasting ability modifier, and without it, your spells won’t be effective.
You should also keep things like your skills, Tool Proficiency, and Battle Ready features in mind, as they have quite a bit to do with Intelligence.
- Constitution – It’s never a bad idea to have more HP, and it’s definitely not a bad idea to have better Saving Throws, so don’t skip over Constitution as your second to third pick when needing to raise your ability scores.
- Dexterity – Dexterity is quite important, but don’t bother raising it above 14, as you’ll be wearing medium armor.
Note: If you’re rolling for your stats, you can get a 3rd 16 ability score after raising Intelligence and Constitution, then you should aim for Medium Armor Master.
- Wisdom – Wisdom comes as an afterthought if you happen to have any points left over after raising your scores.
To be fair, Wisdom saves are quite important, so if you’ve already exhausted your other options, try to get rid of the -1 penalty, as it’ll help a ton with your Perception throws (even though your party will probably have someone to roll for Perception anyway).
- Strength – You don’t need to pay attention to Strength, even if you’re aiming to use something like a Greatsword, because you can just use Intelligence instead.
- Charisma – Charisma is, without a doubt, your most useless score, so just leave it alone. There will be someone in your party with high Charisma or at least tolerable Charisma, so leave it to them.
Ideal Battle Smith Races
To be honest, you can choose to play any race with any class (even if it doesn’t make sense) and still be able to play through a campaign.
The only job an ideal race fills is that it makes things easier for you, giving you better ability scores, skills, or features that work well with your class.
There are many options, but since you’ll mainly be martial weapons in combination with spells, certain options stand out:
The Autognomes, Deep Gnomes, and Hexblood are among some of the most popular and best-performing Artillerist races.
Note: Even though Autognomes are considered to be far superior!
The Mending Cantrip gained by the Autognomes works great with your Steel Defender; the Autognomes also have other great synergies with the Steel Defender.
The Hexblood, on the other hand, have a racial trait that allows a Battle Smith to increase their weapon damage, which can come in handy if you’re using a lot of martial weapons.
Battle Smith Background and Skills
When creating your Battle Smith, you’ll want to keep their background and skills in mind, as these play quite a big role in what your character will be able to do in the campaign as well as the bonuses they start with.
There are a ton of backgrounds out there, but a few examples that’ll work well for an Artillerist are Sage, Clan Crafter, and Investigator.
Sage is similar to Cloistered Scholar, allowing you to choose two languages while unlocking the Arcana (allowing the scribing of scrolls) and History skills. You’ll receive a specialty, opening even more doors for character customization!
Clan Crafter is quite similar to Guild Artisan, only better as it gives you proficiency with Artisan’s tools while unlocking the History and Insight skill for your character.
Investigator is a great background to choose from, as you’ll be able to take the Insight and Arcana (allows the scribing of scrolls) skills.
It also grants two tool proficiencies (Disguise Kit and Thieves’ Tools), one of which (Thieves’ Tools) you already have because you’re an Artificer, meaning you can choose one other proficiency (the best being the Carpenter’s Tools).
As a Battle Smith Artificer, you’ll have access to seven skills; Arcana, History, Investigation, Medicine, Nature, Perception, and Sleight of Hand.
Battle Smiths should focus primarily on the Arcana and Investigation skills, as they allow you to craft and scribe scrolls.
Having Investigation along with Insight and Perception allows you to be vigilant at all times, especially if characters want to fight against subterfuge.
The rest of the skills aren’t really useful, as Medicine is horrible and better left to spells, while Sleight of Hand and Nature just doesn’t suit a Battle Smith’s playstyle (but the final call is up to you, of course).
Battle Smith Feats
While Backgrounds can be thought of as character customization, Feats are important elements of a character’s gameplay.
Even though there is an abundance of Feats to choose from, not all Feats are good, and sometimes it’s better to opt into increasing your Ability Score rather than choosing a new Feat.
Below are two examples of Feats that work well for a Battle Smith:
Skill Expert – You can increase one of your ability scores by 1, but only to a maximum of 20, and you’ll gain proficiency with one skill you choose.
Then, you may choose one skill you have proficiency with, gaining expertise with that skill and doubling any ability checks made with it.
The chosen skill must be one that isn’t currently benefiting from a feature (like Expertise), which can double your proficiency bonus.
Mounted Combatant – While mounted and not incapacitated, you have advantage on your melee attack rolls against unmounted creatures smaller than your mount.
You can also force an attack targeted at your mount instead of you.
If your mount is subject to an effect that forces it to make a Dexterity saving throw to only take half damage, it will instead take no damage if it is successful on the saving throw, and it’ll only take half damage if it fails.
Note: After acquiring these two Feats, it would be wise to increase your Ability Score and put the +2 your receive from it into your Intelligence, capping it at 20. You will then do the same with Constitution two more times, which should cap it at 20 as well.
Battle Smith Weapons and Armor
Since Battle Smiths are a subclass of the Artificer, they’ll get the same equipment they do.
The only difference between Battle Smiths compared to other Artificers is that they’ll incorporate spells (for defense and healing) and martial weapons (for offense) into their play style.
Note: Melee weapons are more expendable than spells, as they still remain Artificers, but without them, your character will have a massive disadvantage.
Remember, the Battle Smith has Martial Weapon Proficiency, so they’ll most likely outperform some classes that solely focus on using martial weapons, which is crazy!
Below are three options that work well with almost any playstyle a Battle Smith goes:
Crossbows and Firearms – Since you’ll be turning your weapons into magic weapons anyway by using infusions, going with Repeating Shot removes its Loading property.
The infusion will also allow you to use a Hand Crossbow or Pistol using only one hand, leaving your other hand ready to hold a shield.
Lance – If you’re able to mount your Steel Defender (by having a size of Small), a Lance and Shield combination will be quite deadly.
The Lance is also the largest damage die a Small creature can use without being hit by the Heavy property, making it even more effective.
Thrown Weapons – By infusing your weapon with Returning Weapon, you can engage in both melee and ranged combat using the same weapon without needing extra feats.
As I’ve previously mentioned, wearing Medium armor, having a Dex score of 14, carrying a shield, and infusing your items to get to a +2 is more than enough to get you through late game.
Battle Smith Multiclassing
When choosing to multiclass, we have to keep in mind that Battle Smiths are defensive/supportive characters who use melee as the primary offensive weapon.
Even though they’ll be using both melee and spellcasting, their Intelligence is the skill that needs to be focused on the most.
There are a few options to look at, like the Bladesinger Fighter (just be careful, with this one, it’ll limit your AC), Arcane Archer Fighter, Arcane Trickster Rogue, and Eldritch Knight Fighter (just be aware of its excessive Cantrip usage).
There are definitely other multiclassing options as well, but these are a few that can work if you want to multiclass as a Battle Smith.
Battle Smith Artificer 5e FAQs
What Weapon Should a Battle Smith Artificer Use in D&D 5e?
Since Battle Smiths have Martial Weapon Proficiency, Crossbows and Firearms are one of their best options, as they’ll infuse them and wield them singlehandedly while having their shield up.
What Is the Role of the Battle Smith Artificer in D&D 5e?
Honestly, Battle Smiths are the Artificers who are most interested in war. Even though Artillerists do more damage, they’re only there to aid in with their excessive AoE damage.
Battle Smiths, on the other hand, want to get close and personal with their allies and enemies. This puts them as Support/Defenders, as some Defenders love dealing heaps of damage while protecting their allies from the enemy’s attacks.
The Battle Smith Artificer is a great class for players who want to be both a spellcaster and martial fighter, as it combines the best of both worlds and even gives you a companion.
They don’t deal the most damage, but their damage is certainly not lacking, and the same can be said about their healing and defensive effects.
While they are portrayed as a mixed class (since they can fight close-range, heal and support allies), you have a lot of choices to make regarding what you’ll want to focus on, giving you a lot of character customization.
Well, even if the Battle Smith doesn’t deal the most damage, nobody will ever complain when they see one facing the dangers with them, as they know they’ll die to protect their party, as that is their duty.
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