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Gnome Artificer 5e D&D Guide

Gnome Artificer 5e D&D Guide

Gnome Artificers are tiny, bearded inventors, tinkering away in their workshops filled with strange contraptions and bubbling vials.

Their nimble fingers deftly manipulate metal and magic to create fantastical gadgets and weapons that would make even the most seasoned adventurer swoon.

Just don’t underestimate their diminutive stature – as these guys pack a punch!

With their trusty crossbow, a vast arsenal of explosive grenades, and alchemical concoctions, Gnome Artificers can take on foes many times their size.

Suppose you’re lucky enough to gain the favor of a Gnome Artificer.

In that case, he may even craft you a personalized item – a magical item so powerful that it could mean the difference between life and death in your next adventure.

Just be sure to handle it carefully, as it’s likely to be as unpredictable as the Gnome Artificer himself!

Creating a Gnome Artificer


Gnomes often live in bustling, close-knit communities, and one can constantly hear the clatter of machinery, loud laughter, shouts of delight, or minor explosions.

Gnomes love life, enjoying their creations, explorations, inventions, and playful games.

Below is a table showing some available Gnomish features:

SkinTan, Brown, or Gray (Deep Gnomes)
Hair (Including their Beard)Fair hair, yet sticking out in every direction 

Beards are well-kept, trimmed, and often styled in neat points or forks

EyesGray, turquoise, blue, or green, but not without a bright shine
NoseAnnoyingly large nose
MouthOften bearing a broad smile with smaller human-like teeth

Note: These features can be changed to your liking or added if some variations don’t fit your character.

Gnome Subraces

Gnomes have 4 distinct subraces to choose from, some more common than others or only found in certain areas.

Forest Gnome – Forest Gnomes are secretive, rare creatures who often commune in sylvan forests, using their illusions to conceal their presence from outsiders.

These gnomes are often friendly to good-hearted woodland creatures, allying with elves and good fey. They also enjoy befriending smaller forest critters, relying on them for information.

Rock Gnome – Rock Gnomes are natural inventors, forming the bulk of the Gnomish population. They’re known to be hardy creatures – never eager to back off from a challenge.

Deep Gnome (Svirfneblin) – Deep Gnomes are found in the Underdark, in small communities scattered throughout its dark landscape.

Deep Gnomes are different than most creatures in the Underdark yet remain as kind as their surface-dwelling relatives.

Their oppressive environment has, unfortunately, dampened their humor and enthusiasm.

Mark of Scribing Gnome – The Mark of Scribing Gnomes deals with communication – written and spoken.

They easily translate languages, speak to others at distances, and are gifted with communication spells.

Note: If you want to optimize your character, pick the subrace that best complements the Artificer class.

Artificer Class Features

Hit Points

Hit Dice1d8 per Artificer level
HP at level 18 + Constitution modifier
HP at Higher levels1d8 (or 5) + Constitution modifier per Artificer level after level 1


ArmorLight armor, Medium armor, Shields
WeaponsSimple weapons
ToolsOne type of Artisan’s tools you choose, Tinker’s tools and Thieves’ tools
Saving ThrowsConstitution, Intelligence
SkillsChoose two – Arcana, History, Investigation, Medicine, Nature, Perception, Sleight of Hand

Artificer Specialties

Reaching level 3 means you can choose from the 4 main specialties Artificers have, each excelling in different ways – but in the end, all that matters is what relates most with your character.

Alchemist – Combine reagents using alchemy to produce powerful mystical effects, using your creations to provide life or leech it away.

Armorer – Magically alter your armor, being enhanced to match the Artificer’s magic, unleashing devastating attacks and generating menacing defense.

Artillerist – Hurl explosions, energy, and projectiles using magic – wield destructive power enough to turn the tides of war.

Battle Smith – A combination of protection and medicine used to defend others or repair materials and personnel. You are also joined by a steel defender, a construct of your own design.

Combining Artificer With Gnome

Determining Your Artificer Subclass

Choosing a subclass is subjective, but you’ll need to remember what your character wants to do and what stats fit best with their subclass if you want the most out of them.

ArmorerDefender or Scout
Battle SmithDefender/Healer/Striker

Optimal Gnome Subrace

Since Gnomes receive a bonus Intelligence score (2) and have an advantage on Intelligence saves against magic, they already make great Artificer candidates.

Rock Gnome makes the most sense for a Gnome Artificer, as you receive benefits linked to the Artificer class – you’ll also get a neat toy to play with to calm your inventive mind.


Artificer’s Lore – Making an Intelligence (History) check related to alchemical, magical, or technological items lets you add twice your proficiency bonus instead of other proficiency bonuses that could apply.

Tinker – Gain proficiency with artisan tools (tinker’s tools). You can construct a clockwork device in 1 hour, costing 10 GP and functioning for 24 hours (if you don’t spend 1 hour repairing it). When created, you then choose from 4 options.

  • Clockwork Toy – Immitates quite a few creatures, like monsters and dragons.
  • Fire Starter – Produces a miniature flame that can light a campfire.
  • Music Box – Plays a single song at moderate volume.
  • If the DM approves, you can create objects with similar effects to the Prestidigitation Cantrip.

Your Gnome Artificer Background

You need to think of a background that embraces the core values of a Gnome yet leads you down the path of becoming an Artificer.

Now ask yourself some basic questions: Where were they born, and where did they come from? Do they have any goals, bonds, or ideals, and what are their flaws? Where do they belong in social circles and society as a whole? What inspires them?

Place of Birth

Think of the environment your Gnome Artificer grew up in – how it affected them physically and emotionally and shaped their view of the world. In some cases, this would include why they became an Artificer in the first place.

Try to make your place of birth and upbringing correspond with your personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws – this will truly bring your character alive.

Note: The birthplaces of races are usually mentioned in the Player’s Handbook or some of its expansion books.

Characteristics and Personality Traits

Every Gnome Artificer has different personality traits that make them unique, and yours should be no different.

Gnome Artificer Examples:

  • I am easily distracted by never-before-seen machines, often becoming sidetracked even on essential missions.
  • If someone is in trouble, my creations can assist them.
  • I always want to know what makes people tick and how things work.

Rare Traits

Characters can also have rare traits, but in most cases, a positive one will either be followed by at least one negative trait or won’t give the character any advantage.

I was born with the ability to see the spirits of those who passed – even those who never became flesh.

Ideals, Bonds, and Flaws

Ideals – Express one ideal that is a driving force in a Gnome Artificer’s life – their conviction, ethical principle, and moral standing. 

Innovation is crucial for communities to function – without it, they will fall behind.

Bonds – Think of a single bond that your Gnome Artificer has to an event, person, or place. Bonds will tie them to their background and can inspire bravery or stimulate memories driving them against their ideals.

The tinkering workshop where I grew up is the most important place in the entire world to me.

Flaws – Choose a single flaw for your Gnome Artificer – their unhealthy compulsion, greatest fear/weakness, or most vile vice.

I bear guilt for my mother passing quickly after my birth – breaking down in tears when she is mentioned.


The DM can use inspiration to reward you for playing according to your bond, personality traits, ideals, and flaws.

As a Gnome Artificer, you might have a soft heart for new inventors, wanting to help them when possible.

Note: The Player’s Handbook can help you choose from various well-thought-out backgrounds. It can also give tips or helpful examples to incorporate into your character.

Supplies and Gear For Gnome Artificers

Artificers start with the following equipment, in addition to equipment obtained through your background.

Choosing equipment based on your situation and your character’s proficiencies is the easiest way to go about things.

  • Any 2 simple weapons
  • Light crossbow with 20 bolts
  • (a) Studded leather armor (b) Scale Mail
  • Dungeoneer’s pack and thieves’ tools

You can decide how your character came about these goods – whether they stole them, inherited them, or purchased them some time back – adding to your character’s background.

Note: Alternatively, your character can buy equipment using their starting wealth (4d4 x 10 GP for Artificers).

Final Thoughts

While not the tallest nor strongest, Gnome Artificers can be invaluable to a party looking for a good Support or Blaster.

So if you ever meet one while traveling, ask them about their machines, and treat them to some nice food.

They’ll be sure never to forget your kindness and might even go on an adventure with you if you ask!

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