Third Edition D&D doesn't get a lot of love amongst those that self-identify with being "old school", and I understand why that is. It and following editions have become emblematic of the bloat, power-creep, rigid-thinking, spoon-feeding, etc... that the OSR has seemingly declared itself against. That said, some good and rather ballsy ideas did come out of WoTC and chief amongst them has got to be Keith Baker's Eberron campaign setting.
I'm probably never going to run Eberron, but it's undeniably inspired and it accomplished something akin to what I'm setting out to do (i.e. punting the Tolkien, high-fantasy feel for something pulpier and just different). I think a great and/ or unique campaign setting becomes so through successfully introducing new or unique mechanics. Eberron re-interpreted or turned over many of the existing tropes and assumptions and added a few of its own: New races? Check. New classes? Check. New rules with which to interact with the world? Check. I won't get into all of it here and now, but one of the more interesting new features put forward was the artificer class.
Artificers had been around in D&D in one manner or another through different supplements as far back as 2nd edition, if I remember correctly, but that's not really important. Eberron was the first time that I noted the class being written into the fabric of the game. The golem-like warforged race and the magic-as-technology infrastructure of the campaign setting might have been its most visible and iconic aspects, but underlying the existence of both of these was the artificer.
There is a lot that is different between Eberron and the world beneath the broken moon, but what the two settings will share is the idea that magic is or has been applied as a world-spanning technology. Where my proposed setting differs is that the civilization which supported and benefited from that world spanning technology is long, long gone. But the bits and pieces remain.
Magic users will still learn, memorize and release spells I have decided. But alongside these spell-slingers walk the artificer, rooting about the ruins of far, far future earth to collect and breathe life back into the artifacts of the past. Tinkering with and repairing wands, creating runes that carry and release spells, brewing potions and someday manufacturing magic items, the artificer is one part wizard, one part scavenger and all parts tinkerer. Time spent rummaging around ruins for cast-off magic and components has made the artificer heartier and maybe a tad bit more resourceful than your typical laboratory-bound mage, but this is still very much a magic-using class.
Below is a somewhat modified version of the Eberron class meant to be run in BFRPG. My artificers can't cast spells (or infusions as they are renamed for
the class in the official book) but they can manipulate magic via
devices that they either repair or create themselves. The class abilities open up magic to players in a way that probably differs from most campaigns, but you're free to use the below provided that you don't try to make any money off of it. Think of my artificers as a sort of post-apocalyptic D&D version of the Spark ,without the implied insanity.
Requirements: Int 9
Hit Die: 1d6
Save As: Cleric
To Hit As: Cleric
Weapon Proficiencies: All small weapons plus crossbows, club, mace and spear
Non-Proficiency Penalty: -4
Level Experience Points Class Abilities
1 0 create rune, repair magic item, scavenge, tinker
3 3,000 brew potion
5 12,000 improved rune
7 48,000 craft magic arms & armor
9 180,000 craft misc. magic item
11 360,000 craft wand, staff, rod
13 540,000 craft ring
15 720,000 create homunculus
17 900,000 create golem
19 1,080,000 create hybrids
20 1,170,000 craft artifact
Create Rune: Replacing scrolls in the world beneath the broken moon are runes. They cost as much to make as a scroll (using the rules in BFRPG) but are made from sophisticated ceramics requiring strange and rare components (hence, the cost) rather than ink and vellum or parchment. Most runes are flat, ceramic disks or tiles approximately 4 to 8 inches in diameter and up to a 1/4 inch thick. The actual rune is a raised/ embossed arcane character upon the tile that releases the spell stored within it when broken or crushed. Like scrolls, runes are a single-use item. Unlike scrolls, magic users may not learn the spells stored within under any circumstance. Only artificers and magic users may use these runes and using one requires one full round. Once used, the spell may be released as per the normal rules of the spell.
Artificers may create any rune that they have appropriate plans for or which they have successfully studied and reverse-engineered. Studying plans and gathering ingredients takes one week plus 2d8 days. Reverse engineering an existing rune will destroy it and takes 1 month plus 2d8 weeks. In either case an Intelligence check must be made to successfully craft the rune (see scroll making in BFRPG). Successfully reverse engineering a rune means that the artificer has produced a set of viable plans for future use. Up to 5 runes of the same kind may be created within the times given above, but each one's cost in gold must be paid for in full.
Repair Magic Item: All magic items beneath the broken moon are considered, in part, engineered technology. One half of all magic items found/ looted will be non-functional, and the % of
repairs required to make them whole determined by the DM at the time of finding (I'm going
to roll straight percentile here until I have a better idea). Since each magic item has an associated cost to create from scratch (see item creation rules in BFRPG), the percent of damage to a non-functional magic item will relate directly to this cost. An item must be returned to 100% condition by spending the prescribed cost in gold and time to be considered "repaired". (ex: Edyson the artificer finds a broken wand of magic missiles. The DM rolls and determines that the item is at 62% condition, meaning that it requires the expenditure of 38% of the cost and time needed to create the wand to repair it.)
Successfully repairing a magic item will require at least one Intelligence check. A critical failure of this roll will result in a mishap with consequences commensurate to the power of the item requiring repair. Particularly rare or powerful items may require special, specific regents or materials in addition to the abstracted "gold" to be repaired. Items with multiple functions may need multiple rolls. Magical items empty of all of their charges may be re-charged at 75% of the item's creation cost in time and gold. Only completely empty items may be so repaired.
Scavenge: This is a passive skill. When exploring ruins, dumps or raiding a rival artificer's workshop, the artificer can identify parts and regents useful to future repair or creations. These parts are not rolled for, they either exist as "treasure" or they do not. Noticing or finding them may require special actions to be taken, however. These parts will be assigned a gold piece value and this may be spent on item creation (ex: Edyson the artificer is rummaging through a ruin of the Ancients. He discovers an old cache of special alloys and charged magical crystals worth 250 g.p. He can apply this 250 g.p. to his next repair or item creation). Only artificers may successfully scavenge.
Tinker: The tinker skill requires an Int check to successfully use and may be applied to accomplish actions such as operating, disabling or repairing mechanical devices (including traps, if applicable), opening locks, and other related activities left up to the player's imagination and the DM's discretion.
Improved Rune: At 5th level an artificer's runes may be used by classes other than magic users or artificers. Upon breaking a rune the character in question must make a successful Intelligence check. Failure indicates that the spell simply fizzled, there is no chance of a mishap.
Item Creation: Brewing potions, crafting arms, armor, miscellaneous items, rings, wands staffs and rods are all accomplished mostly under the guidelines and costs in time and money presented under Item Creation in BFRPG. The differences are that an artificer need not cast any spells (nor have them cast by another) to accomplish these feats. Like runes, an artificer must either have a set of viable plans/ recipe with which to construct an item (each potion, weapon, wand etc... has its own, unique plan/ recipe) or reverse engineer it from an existing item. The time and cost required to work from a plan is the same as that given in BFRPG. Reverse engineering takes 2-3 times as long, costs double and will destroy the item in question. Destroyed items other than potions may be partially scavenged, however, reducing the total cost in gold by 13-40% (roll 10+3d10). As with repairing, particularly rare or powerful items may require special, specific
regents or materials in addition to the abstracted "gold".
Create Homunculus, Golems & Hybrids: By 15th level the artificer's knowledge is such that he may begin creating the higher-order of magical devices, being sentient creatures such as homunculi, golems and even hybridized races of creatures. Each creature has specific costs and requirements associated with it based on the desired abilities and nature of the sentience created (i.e. Your DM has not yet written these rules.)
Craft Artifact: An artifact is subjectively defined as a singularly unique and powerful magic item. A 20th level artificer is capable of crafting such an item, but the way is arduous, expensive and fraught with peril (i.e. see "Create" above).