Puppeteer (5A)

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This is an Artificer Specialization for 5A.

Dolls and puppets hold a never-ending fascination for many 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 stage, or as adventurers. But there are rumors of underground fighting circuses where puppets fight for their creators' amusement, as well as rumors of puppets that gained their freedom and form circuses for their own purposes.

Greyhawk: In the cosmopolitan cities of the Common culture, puppetry is a popular form of entertainment and certain puppeteers have discovered magical means of performance. Spreading over the continent, puppeteer troupes travel to spread their art. Practiced by humans, gnomes, and halflings, puppeteers are often below the notice of the high and mighty, which halfling abolitionists have used to advantage.

Subclass Features

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
Artificer Level Spells
3 Shield, Tasha's Hideous Laughter
5 Cloud of Daggers, Mirror Image
9 Enemies Abound, Spirit Guardians
13 Guardian of Faith, Evard's Black Tentacles
17 Dominate Person, 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.

Animated Puppet

Tiny construct

  • Armor Class: 13 + PB (natural armor)
  • Hit Points: 4 hit points x your level (d4 hit dice equal to your level)
  • Speed: 10 ft., fly 30 ft. Can hover.

STR 4 (-3) DEX 15 (+2) CON 12 (+1) INT 10 (+0) WIS 10 (+0) CHA 7 (−2)

  • Saving Throws: Dex +2 plus PB
  • Skills: Perception +0 plus PB x 2, Stealth +2 plus PB
  • Damage Immunities: poison
  • Condition Immunities: exhaustion, poisoned
  • Senses: darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10 + (PB x 2)
  • Languages: understands the languages you speak
  • Challenge:
  • Proficiency Bonus (PB): equals your bonus

Special Traits

  • Evasion. If the puppet is subjected to an effect that allows it to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, it instead takes no damage if it succeeds on the saving throw, and only half damage if it fails. It can't use this trait if it's incapacitated.
  • Strings. Each doll needs to remain within 30 ft. of you in order to take actions. A puppet that starts or ends its turn more than 30 ft. away from you is teleported to the closest legal space within 30 feet of you. This is not an action.
  • Circus: When you cast a spell on one of your puppets, it affects all your puppets within 30 ft. of you. This allows you to heal or enhance the abilities of all your puppets at once.


  • Force Strike. Ranged or Melee Weapon Attack: your spell attack modifier to hit, range 30 ft., one target you can see. Hit: 1d4 + PB force damage.


  • Channel Magic. The puppet delivers a spell you cast that has a range of touch. The puppet must be within 30 feet of you.

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 other puppets that did the Help action. (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. If the spell requires concentration, you must be the one to concentrate. 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 9d6 fire damage to creatures within 5 ft. (Dexterity saving throw for half damage), or it can ram a single creature for 9d10 force damage on a hit. At level 15 the damage increases to 12 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, a puppet can use its reaction to 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 on the saving throw and can use 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 but costly.

See Also