Puppeteer (5A)

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This is an Artificer Specialization.

Dolls and puppets hold a never-ending fascination for some people, but the puppeteer goes beyond fascination into the realm of magic. Animating puppets to a lifelike state, the puppeteer artificer uses dolls to fascinate, amuse, and as weapons. Less militant than other artificers, puppeteers usually work on the stage and personal scene, or as adventurers. But there are rumors of underground fighting rings where puppets fight for their creator's amusement, as well as other rumors of puppets that gained their freedom and form circuses for strange purposes.

Tool Proficiency

When you adopt this specialization at 3rd level, you gain proficiency with weaver's tools. If you already have this proficiency, you gain proficiency with one other type of artisan's tools of your choice.

Puppeteer Spells

Starting at 3rd level, you always have certain spells prepared after you reach particular levels in this class, as shown in the Puppeteer Spells table. These spells count as artificer spells for you, but they don’t count against the number of artificer spells you prepare.

Puppeteer Spells
1 Shield,
Tasha's Hideous Laughter
3 Cloud of Daggers,
Mirror Image
5 Enemies Abound,
Spirit Guardians
7 Guardian of Faith,
Evard's Black Tentacles
9 Animate Objects,
Hold Monster

Circus of Puppets

At 3rd level you learn to animate puppets of your own creation. At third level, you can animate one puppet. At level 5 you can animate two puppets, at level 9 you can animate three, and at level 15 you can animate four puppets. You can give orders to all of your puppets as a bonus action. If a puppet died within the last hour, you can use your weaver's tools as an action to revive it, provided you are within 5 feet of it and you expend a spell slot of 1st level or higher. The puppet returns to life after 1 minute with all its hit points restored.

When you cast a spell on one puppet, it affects all puppets within 30 ft. of you. This allows you to heal or enhance the abilities of all your puppets at once.

In most aspects this is like the Homunculus Servant infusion, with the changes noted here. A puppet does not need a gem for a heart and does not count against your limit on infused items. Instead it needs to remain within 30 ft. of you in order to take actions. A puppet that begins its turn more than 30 ft. away from you is incapacitated until it is again within range but can move towards you.

A puppet adds your proficiency bonus to its Armor Class. Each puppet has a number of d4 Hit Dice equal to your level and gains a bonus to its Hit Points each level equal to your Intelligence modifier. Due to its 12 Constitution this results in Hit Points equal to (3.5 + your Intelligence modifier) times your level (rounded down, minimum 10 Hit Points). A puppet can use its Force Strike as a melee attack.

Circus Spellcasting

At 5th level your puppets can form a circus to cast a spell that you have prepared. One or more puppets can use the Help action to help another puppet that uses the Cast a Spell Action to can cast a spell of a level up to the number of puppet that did Help. (This special Help action has no effect other than to enable spellcasting). The spell has effect as if you had cast it yourself and uses your spell slots. A puppet that does not get the Help of another puppet can cast a cantrip you know this way. This works as above, except that the puppet is considered to be 1st level to determine the effect of the cantrip.

Puppet Sacrifice

At 9th level, as an action, you can order a puppet to sacrifice itself. The puppet moves and either explodes, doing 6d6 fire damage to creatures within 5 ft. (Dexterity saving throw for half damage), or it can ram a single creature for 6d10 force damage on a hit. At level 15 the damage increases to 9 dice. At the end of the action, the puppet is killed.

Puppet Shield

At 15th level when you are attacked or within the area of an area attack, you can use a reaction to have a puppet interpose itself between you and the attack. Move the puppet adjacent to you. The attack now targets the puppet instead of you. Against an area attack, both you and the puppet must save and risks damage, but you gain the advantage of the puppet's Evasion ability.

Designer's Notes

Most artificer subclasses are all about pets, and the puppeteer takes this to an extreme, having 4 pets. To streamline this, the pets are identical. These pets can cast spells instead of the artificer themselves, making 2 spells per round possible and some concentration shenenigans. I may have to look into the control issue, but overall I feel this can work.

See Also