Faerûnian Prestige Class : Gnome Artificer

Gnome artificers dabble in technology to create fantastic devices, delving into shadow magic when their mundane equipment is insufficient for the task. Their weapons, armor, and tools require frequent maintenance and repair but produce nonmagical effects that rival some arcane spells.

Most gnome artificers are skilled artisans and craftsmen, usually rogues, bards, or wizards (illusionists in particular) make good artificers because of their access to shadow magic). A few rangers and clerics explore this field, but it is very rare for other classes to become artificers because of the breadth and depth of skills needed.

Gnome artificer NPCs enjoy trading information and share a healthy competition for invention and attention. Sometimes they work together in teams, while others prefer isolation and private study. Some artificers who retire from active invention study magic or become advisors on large engineering projects such as bridges and castles.

While this prestige class is called the gnome artificer, a few humans are known for their artificer skills, all of them from the island nation of Lantan. They refer to themselves as "Lantanese artificers" but otherwise have the powers of this prestige class.


To qualify to become a Gnome Artificer, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:

Class Skills

The gnome artificer's class skills are Appraise, Concentration, Craft, Disable Device, Knowledge (architecture and engineering), Listen, Profession, Search, and Use Rope.

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Class Features

All the following are class features of the gnome artificer prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Gnome artificers are proficient with all simple weapons, light armor, medium armor, and shields. Armor check penalties for armor heavier than leather apply to the skills Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, Ride, Jump, Move Silently, Pick Pocket, and Tumble.

Artificer Item: A gnome artificer has the ability to craft nonmagical devices that duplicate the effects of certain spells. Rather than using magic to accomplish this, he uses his knowledge of pistons, gears, lenses, and other simple mechanical inventions. As a result, an artificer item usually appears unwieldy and complex, with many attachments, lenses, protrusions, wires, and hoses. By default, all artificer devices use two item spaces: any one space plus either the "belt" or "cloak" space. It is possible to build devices that take up only one space, but they cost twice as much.

An artificer can only craft artificer devices that duplicate the effects of the artificer device powers he knows (see below). All artificer devices have charges, representing fuel and other substances needed to provide the effect. After a certain number of uses, the device ceases to function until the artificer expends more time and money to rebuild it. For example, an artificer creates a bracer-like device that gives its wearer the equivalent of a bull's strength spell; the device has 10 charges, and when those charges are used, the device's power no longer functions until an artificer rebuilds it. Rebuilding a device costs half as much as it would cost to make it from scratch.

Making artificer devices requires time and expenditure of resources as if the artificer were creating a magic item (1 day per 1,000 gp of the base price). However, unlike crafting a magic item, the artificer does not spend XP as a part of this process. He merely spends the appropriate time and gold to create the item, using the table below to determine the base price of the device:

EffectBase Price
50 charges*, use-activatedPower level** x artificer level*** x 1,000 gp
Uses only one spaceMultiply entire cost by 2

*An artificer can create a device with as few as 5 charges, with the cost reduced proportionally.

**A 0-level device power is half the value of a 1st-level device power for determining price.

***An artificer can create a device with an effective artificer level lower than his own, as long as it is the minimum artificer level necessary to learn that device power.

For example, a 3rd-level artificer wishes to make a bull's strength device (as described above). Bull's strength is a 2nd-level device power (see below), so creating this device with 50 charges at the minimum level costs 2 x 3 x 1,000 gp, or 6,000 gp, and 6 days of work. Once these charges are used, the device becomes useless.

Artificer devices follow the rules for determining costs of items with multiple abilities. Artificer devices use the same space limitations as magic items (bracer, helmet, cloak, and so on), so a character cannot wear a device that uses a bracer space at the same time she wears a pair of gauntlets of ogre power.

Artificer devices are large and bulky. Multiply the level of the device power (with 0-level device powers counting as 1/2 level) by 1 cubic foot and 5 pounds to get the total volume and weight of the device (add together the weights and volumes of devices with multiple powers). They are large enough to be considered a separate object for the purposes of the strike an object action. A device has 5 hit points per cubic foot of volume and hardness 10. A device can be made out of special materials (such as adamantine or mithral) to increase its hardness or hit points; treat each cubic foot of the device as a longsword for the purpose of determining the modifier to the initial base price (the special materials do not affect the rebuilding price of the item).

Gnome Artificer Device Powers: While mages wield arcane power and clerics manipulate divine energy, the artificer uses mundane tools and strange reagents to produce impressive results. Like a neophyte wizard with a small repertoire of spells, an artificer starts with a few technological tricks that he has mastered. As he gains levels, the artificer learns new device powers automatically as shown in the table below. The artificer can also purchase information on other device powers from other artificers or find them in books of crafting, with the prices and value of such objects equal to a scroll of the equivalent spell level. For example, Hendark Steelwire is a 1st-level gnome artificer. During his travels he encounters Waywocket Gemcracker, another gnome artificer, and he pays her 25 gp for the secret to one of the 1st-level device powers he doesn't know.

To learn a device power or create an item with it, an artificer must have an Intelligence score of at least 10 + the power's level. The Difficulty Class for saving, throws is 10 + the level of the device power + the ability bonus of the minimum ability score needed to learn that device power.

Activating a device is a standard action that does not draw an attack of opportunity. Most device powers rely upon completely nonmagical methods. Devices that use these powers function normally in an antimagic field and cannot be counter-spelled or disrupted.

A few device powers push the boundaries of mundane technology and actually dip into the powers of the school of Illusion (shadow). Such powers are marked in the list below with double asterisks and are treated as supernatural abilities - they do not function within an antimagic field, but cannot be counterspelled or disrupted. The gnome artificer must be at least 9th level to incorporate these powers in one of his devices.

Because the device powers duplicate the abilities of the appropriate spells exactly, their effects overlap (do not stack) with the effects of the spell they duplicate. Therefore, a device that grants cat's grace does not stack with the arcane spell cat's grace.

Gnome Artificer Device Powers List

*Requires the shadow effect ability.

Bonus Item: At 2nd level, the gnome artificer gains a single-function 50-charge device of any device power he knows. The item functions at his artificer level. The artificer is assumed to have been Working on this item in his spare time, and does not need to spend any money or time to acquire the item. The gnome artificer gains another bonus item every even-numbered level thereafter.

Skill Focus: At 3rd level, the gnome artificer gains the Skill Focus (Disable Device) feat.

Salvage: An artificer of at least 5th level can dismantle a device (whether built by him or by another artificer) and use its pieces as parts for another device. This reduces the base price of the new device by 1/2 the market price of the device being dismantled. A device without full charges is worth only a percentage of its original market price equal to the percentage of charges remaining.

Prototype: Beginning at 7th level, an artificer can make a device that has a device power that he doesn't know. These prototype items cost double the normal amount and are unreliable. Every time an artificer uses a prototype ability, he must make an artificer level check (DC = device power's artificer level +1) to activate the device successfully. Any other creature trying to activate the prototype device power has a -5 penalty on this check. Failure indicates a mishap (see the Artificer Prototype Mishaps below). If a mishap occurs, the charge for that attempted use is expended, regardless of the mishap's outcome.

The device power used in a prototype must be on the device power list, and the artificer can't build a prototype that incorporates powers requiring the shadow effect ability until he reaches 9th level.

Shadow Effect (Su): Starting at 9th level, the artificer can make devices that draw upon the power of shadow to produce supernatural effects. He may now incorporate powers on the list marked with double asterisks.

Gnome ArtificerHit Dice: d6
1st+0+0+2+0Artificer item42---
2nd+1+0+3+0Bonus item52---
3rd+2+1+3+1Skill Focus531--
4th+3+1+4+1Bonus item632--
6th+4+2+5+2Bonus item7432-
8th+6+2+6+2Bonus item85432
9th+6+3+6+3Shadow effect85432
10th+7+3+7+3Bonus item95543

Artificer Prototype Mishaps

A device malfunctions when a mishap occurs, usually in a reversed or harmful manner. The DM determines what sort of mishap occurs, with the malfunction causing 1d6 points of damage per device power level as a default.

Source: Magic of Faerûn

Realms Prestige Classes