Wizards just recently released the update to the artificer class on Unearthed Arcana. So I thought I would do an update of my own. When the first iteration of the class came out, I devised a guide to flavoring the artificer spells. A large focus of the artificer is flavoring your spells to fit with the multitude of tools you can cast them through. This guide offers inspiration for each spell granted through a subclass of the artificer. These flavor texts use the material components where applicable as a jumping off point. Hopefully you can use this as a source of inspiration when playing your own artificer!
Purify Food and Drink-
You pull out a caged homunculus. This creature, spawned from trash, loves eating impurities from your food.
Ray of Sickness-
You pull out a vial of green sludge with a smell so putrid that almost makes you gag as you throw it at your enemy.
Melf’s Acid Arrow-
You pull out a wine skin. Further inspection reveals that this is actually an adder’s stomach. You open it, and the leaf inside glows, shooting forward into an acidic arrow.
You pull out what appears to be a small cotton candy machine. As you insert a bit of spider web it is pulled larger and larger until you fling it at your target.
Create Food and Water-
You pull out small rationed bags from your backpack. These bags of processed food are not unlike astronaut meals, but they get the job done.
You grind a rotten egg in a pestle, wafting the fumes to your target location where it lingers in a nasty cloud.
You wind up a mechanical mosquito, and throw it at your enemy. It flies to it, sucking the target’s blood before inertly falling to the ground.
You administer a potion to your ally. This concoction is distilled from half-orc blood, and carries that tiny spark of Gruumsh with it, saving your ally from the brink of death.
You pull a skull shaped vial filled with yellow-green liquid from your belt. You hold your breath as you uncork it, hurling it at your target, where it explodes into a choking fog.
You take a clawed, glowing metal disc and attach it to the deceased’s chest. The device pumps electrical current through its body, jumpstarting all functions. The process takes some days before the device can be safely removed.
You rub a pinch of soot and salt between your fingers, and use the mixture to mark an arcane rune on the inside of an earmuff. When placed over your ear, this device allows you to understand any language you hear. It can even be used to read written language by running the earmuff over it.
You pull from your pack a small windup music box. When you wind it the gears move, but no one but your target hears the music it produces. This is lucky, because it is excruciating.
You place a copper piece into a piggy bank, holding it up to your ear like a seashell. The big difference being instead of the ocean, you can hear one’s thoughts.
As you cast this spell the twig comes to life, spinning in your palm before stopping in the direction of your chosen location.
You pull out a crystal vial filled with a material that glows when you shake it. You twirl the vial between your fingers, creating a dance of colored light that entrances all who see it.
You hand the small ziggurat to your ally. As its mind awakens, a variety of small voices speak to your ally, translating words for them.
The bloodhound fur’s mind awakens at your command, as it takes the shape of a hound. The hound homunculus points you towards the creature you wish to find.
You awaken the part of your enemy’s mind that holds their darkest fear. This causes them to see it as real, causing terror.
You light your incense and lay out four ivory strips. As you meditate over them, the minds of the strips are awakened, telling you the lore of what you’re meditating over.
You use your knowledge of inanimate minds to influence sapient ones. You know how to direct the conversation, ask the right questions, say the right things, and subtly alter what your target knows.
Shield- You pull up your arm to bock an incoming attack, and the bracer temporarily unfolds into a large tower shield to block an attack before converting to normal.
You pull out a box. At the center of this box lies a mini thunderstorm. When you open the box there is a clap of thunder that sends a shock wave of force outwards.
You produce a hand held black ball. As you light it, it glows bright read and spins, flinging three fiery rays.
You pull out a sheet of mica that has been fashioned to resemble a bell. When it rings, it erupts into painfully cacophonous noise.
You take a pellet of smashed bat guano and sulfur and throw it on the ground toward your target, like a snapper firework. Instead of a startling pop, this pellet creates a damaging explosion.
You drip a few drops of water into a round container of dust. You throw it into the air towards your target, where the container’s helicopter blades lift it into the clouds above, dispersing the mix and transforming the cloud into a small hailstorm.
Wall of Fire-
You pull out a piece of phosphorous that has been fashioned into chalk. It sparks as you draw a line along the ground, erupting into a wall of flame.
Cone of Cold-
You pull out a device resembling a handheld snow blower. The small crystal at its core grows impossibly cold as it powers the device, shooting out a small localized blizzard.
Wall of Force-
You produce a small metal cube with glowing blue lines etched in. As you toss it the lines glow brighter, expanding into an impenetrable force field.
Battle Smith Spells
You take a rune etched onto a metal plate and slap it onto an ally’s chest. It starts to glow, giving your ally a super hero-like confidence.
You coat your weapon in alchemist fire, which erupts into flame upon contact, setting your opponent ablaze.
You pull out two platinum rings, giving one to your ally. These strings are attached by a thin ethereal silver strand that pulses with light any time either of you are hurt, splitting the damage.
Aura of Vitality-
You remove a vial of neon pink liquid from your belt, pointing the nozzle into the air and spritzing out a cloud that covers your allies in healing mist.
You coat your weapon in nitrocellulose (used in flash paper). As you hit your enemy, your weapon ignites into a blaze that blinds them.
Aura of Purity-
You pull out a small cylinder with a mesh cover. As you pull a cord, the fan inside springs to life, pulling in toxins and putting out clean air.
You activate a device on your weapon which triggers a guiding mechanism. Once activated, your weapon is guided towards the victim’s head, dealing a disorienting blow.
Part of your weapon unfolds, transforming the weapon into to masses of metal. As your hit connects, the second part of your weapon slams into the other, creating a thunderous shockwave with the force to send your target to another dimension.
Mass Cure Wounds-
You pull out a miniature golden anvil. As you strike it, it rings out, producing a golden wave of energy that washes over your allies, healing them.
And there you have it! The updated list of flavors for spells from the artificer subclasses. Which artificer subclass is your favorite? What do you think of the class so far? Let me know down below!
Charlie Flohr says
Just a quick note, I play an Alchemist in my local campaign and have loved seeing these ideas. They inspired me to try some of my own, and name my spells, so thank you. The Artificer is a great class to tinker and play with.
Drew Latham says
Glad to hear this was helpful! The artificer has been a lot of fun to play around with, sparking inspirations left and right. The focus on flavoring abilities also puts it squarely in my wheelhouse. I’d love to hear some of the spell names you’ve created!
Any idea for faerie fire?
Drew Latham says
For faerie fire, I’m thinking some sort of hooded lantern with a fairy in it. When activated, the lantern spreads the light in a wide net-like array of lasers. Each creature that fails their throw is now illuminated by this grid of light.
I have ben casting faerie fire as a large globe of faerie glitter that I throw/shoot with my crossbow and it then explodes in glittery colors