Nano's Build Guide: Clockwork Enforcer

Written by IyeNano

Header art by Matthew Ku

-> Join Living Erenel

“Sometimes you have to change yourself before you can change others.”

Born on the streets of Krov, she had to learn to get tough fast. Curious, inventive, but a little clumsy, she was taken under by Gnomish tinkerers who saw potential in this less-than-pint-sized pupil. Eventually, this curious rebel looked for purpose in her life and quickly joined the ranks of the Creed. However, rebels who dedicate themselves to a cause are driven by desperate determination. She looked to the clockwork creations of the PRIMUS for augmentation, and now seeks to enhance herself beyond the limitations of flesh to enforce the Creed’s will.

Goals

Living Erenel recently introduced steampunk-style magitech with the clockwork theme (thank you to the one who changed their vote last minute to swing the tie; my heart goes out to you). With it, we are introduced to subclasses that look to reject or embrace the will of the PRIMUS: a sentient ball of metal that thinks we’re all dumb for using the Bond. The Divine Engine Warlock patron introduced a very interesting mechanic that allows a warlock that reaches level 6 with that patron to change their spellcasting ability from Charisma to Intelligence. While some people were disappointed to see that it wasn’t a level 1 feature for that patron, this opens up a lot of multiclassing opportunities with classes that otherwise wouldn’t mesh well with Warlock. So, let’s abuse that feature, shall we?

  • Brains and Brawn

While this build will have a wide array of spells from both the Artificer and Warlock spell lists, we also want to be able to push our weight around in the frontlines should we need it. With that, we want to start with a decently strong Strength score that we can utilize it when we take Pact of the Blade as you are given proficiency with the summoned pact weapon for as long as you hold it. Good for getting our hands on martial weapons without investing into getting those proficiencies.

  • Dressed for the Occasion

With access to heavy armor proficiency from our choice of Artificer specialization, this gives us a very respectable amount of defense. In addition, we will be taking Artificer infusions that focus mainly on buffing our abilities and providing utility that should prove useful in any context. Additionally, the Armorer Artificer allows us to eventually infuse separate parts of our Arcane Armor so that we can really make us a walking tank merely pretending to be humanoid.

  • Eldritch Enhancements

In addition to item infusions, we want to lean on Eldritch Invocations to buff up our attacks and save spell slots. Eldritch Sight is very useful in that regard as it allows us to cast Detect Magic at will which is a very useful tool for any Creed enforcer worth their salt. Otherwise, it’s about enhancing our martial skills in ways that prevents us from relying too much on item infusions. Some might argue that Improved Pact Weapon is a waste if you can just take the enhanced weapon infusion, but that’s one more infusion you’re using that could be used to replicate a magic item or strength your defenses.

Starting Stats and Proficiencies

Starting Race: Human

Starting Faction: Creed

Alignment: Any Lawful

STR: 15
DEX: 8
CON: 12 + 2
INT: 14
WIS: 10
CHA: 13 + 1

Armor: Light Armor, Medium Armor, Shields

Weapons: Simple weapons

Tools: Cook’s Utensils, Jeweler’s Tools, Thieves’ Tools, Tinker’s Tools

Saving Throws: Constitution, Intelligence

Languages: Common, Gnomish, Dwarvish

Skills: Arcana, Intimidation, Investigation, Perception, Religion

Starting Equipment

  • Two Simple Weapons: Greatclub, Light Hammer
  • A Light Crossbow and 20 Bolts
  • Scale Mail
  • Thieves’ Tools
  • A Dungeoneer’s Pack
  • Traveler’s Clothes, Cook’s Utensils, Manacles, 1-slot satchel, and a Pouch with 10 gold

Note: Replace Scale Mail with Plate armor and acquire Smith’s Tools when you take the Armorer specialization. Get a shield as well if you want higher AC.

Level Progression

Level 1: Artificer 1

  • Magical Tinkering
  • Spellcasting (Access to 1st Level Artificer Spells)

Level 2: Artificer 2

  • Infuse Item
    • Armor of Magical Strength
    • Enhanced Defense
    • Replicate Magic Item: Goggles of Night
    • Replicate Magic Item: Cap of Water Breathing

Level 3: Artificer 3

  • Artificer Specialist: Armorer
    • Tools of the Trade (Heavy Armor, Smith’s Tools)
    • Armorer Spells (Magic Missile, Thunderwave)
    • Arcane Armor: Guardian Armor Model
  • The Right Tool for the Job

Level 4: Artificer 4

  • Feat: War Caster

Level 5: Artificer 5

  • Artificer Specialist Feature (Extra Attack)
  • Spellcasting (Access to 2nd level Artificer Spells)
  • Armorer Spells (Mirror Image, Shatter)

Level 6: Artificer 5/Warlock 1

  • Otherworldly Patron: The Divine Engine
    • Expanded Spell List (1st Level)
    • Surgical Implant
  • Pact Magic (Access to 1st Level Warlock spells)

Level 7: Artificer 5/Warlock 2

  • Eldritch Invocations
    • Agonizing Blast
    • Eldritch Sight

Level 8: Artificer 5/Warlock 3

  • Pact Boon
    • Pact of the Blade
  • Eldritch Invocation Replacement (Agonizing Blast to Improved Pact Weapon)
  • Spellcasting (Access to 2nd Level Warlock spells)
  • Expanded Spell List (2nd Level)

Level 9: Artificer 5/Warlock 4

  • Ability Score Improvement: +2 CON to 16

Level 10: Artificer 5/Warlock 5

  • Eldritch Invocations
    • Eldritch Smite
  • Spellcasting (Access to 3rd Level Warlock spells)
  • Expanded Spell List (3rd Level)

Level 11: Artificer 5/Warlock 6

  • Otherworldly Patron Feature (True Cyborg)

Note: Swap your Intelligence and Charisma ability scores to choose augmented intelligence. This will allow you to use Intelligence as your spellcasting ability score for Warlock spells and features.

Level 12: Artificer 6/Warlock 6

  • Tool Expertise
  • Infuse Item
    • Replicate Magic Item: Bag of Holding
    • Replicate Magic Item: Ring of Water Walking

Level 13: Artificer 7/Warlock 6

  • Flash of Genius

Level 14: Artificer 8/Warlock 6

  • Ability Score Improvement: +2 INT to 16

Level 15: Artificer 9/Warlock 6

  • Armorer Specialist Feature (Armor Modifications)
  • Spellcasting (Access to 3rd level Artificer Spells)
  • Armorer Spells (Hypnotic Pattern, Lightning Bolt)

Level 16: Artificer 10/Warlock 6

  • Magic Item Adept
  • Infuse Item
    • Enhanced Arcane Focus
    • Replicate Magic Item: Gauntlets of Ogre Power

Level 17: Artificer 11/Warlock 6

  • Spell Storing Item

Level 18: Artificer 12/Warlock 6

  • Ability Score Improvement: +2 INT to 18

Level 19: Artificer 13/Warlock 6

  • Spellcasting (Access to 4th level Artificer Spells)
  • Armorer Spells (Fire Shield, Greater Invisibility)

Level 20: Artificer 14/Warlock 6

  • Magic Item Savant
  • Infuse Item Replacement (Gauntlets of Ogre Power to Belt of Hill Giant Strength)
  • Infuse Item
    • Replicate Magic Item: Amulet of Health
    • Replicate Magic Item: Lantern of Revealing

Finalized Spell List

Artificer

Cantrips: Guidance, Light, Mending, Shocking Grasp

1st Level: Adrenaline, Cure Wounds, Feather Fall, Jump, Magic Missile, Thunderwave

2nd Level: Aid, Enhance Ability, Heat Metal, Lesser Restoration, Mirror Image, Shatter

3rd Level: Fly, Hypnotic Pattern, Lightning Bolt, Revivify

4th Level: Fabricate, Fire Shield, Greater Invisibility

Note: Artificers are preparation-based spellcasters and can change their leveled spell lists at the end of a long rest. Feel free to change any of the leveled spells not provided by your Specialist Archetype in accordance to need or want.

Warlock

Cantrips: Eldritch Blast, Minor Illusion, Prestidigitation

1st Level: Comprehend Languages, Expeditious Retreat, Hex

2nd Level: Blur, Umbra Armor

3rd Level: Gaseous Form, Remove Curse

Note: Warlocks only cast spells at the highest level they can cast at. This list is for the purposes of showing what the level of the spell itself is, not what level you will be casting it at.

Final Thoughts

Pros: Incredibly versatile as both a front liner and a spellcaster, not as reliant on purchasing/crafting items, mostly single ability dependent in the late game

Cons: A fairly weak Tier 2 experience, mixing a half caster with pact magic isn’t ideal, low DEX and WIS leaves you vulnerable to bunker-buster spells

This build does well to demonstrate how one clever idea for a class feature can open up a wide array build options that otherwise would not be viable unless you were willing to sacrifice mechanics purely for flavor. Not that there is anything wrong with that. However, there are scores of players who enjoy seeing their character do well in not just roleplay but in combat, and that’s who these builds are for. It’s about building around a theme in a way that lends itself to success. That said, there isn’t a lot of Artificer/Warlock multiclass characters out in the wild as even from a roleplay standpoint, their themes don’t quite mix as well as some other common multiclass builds. Divine Engine Warlock (and Clockwork overall) does a stellar job in mixing not only their mechanics but also their themes so put on your armor, summon that magic warhammer, and dispense some justice.

Just make sure you’re having fun.