Often flavored as steampunk inventors with a knack for all tools, Artificers are robust in skill and surprisingly not pigeonholed into a specific playtype. Where the description typically makes a reader think of someone who works with their hands, how would the class look if we were to reflavor the archetype into a more mystical magic-user who employs the skills-as-written in a witchy way?
What is a White Witch?
Altruistic by nature, opposed to being devious and sinister, a White Witch uses their magic for good while still enjoying the tropes of the cauldron and broom flying, or whatever suits a player’s fancy.
White Witches often hold important positions of guardian, seer, advisor, steward of nature, and so forth. While she may still prefer to work alone or within a coven, she follows codes of conduct that prevent evil powers from influencing her intentions and darkening her deeds.
Artificer Alchemist Abilities
Connecting to the Weave in unique ways, Artificer Alchemists unlock the magic within objects, cast spells channeled by their tools, and mix a variety of potions. With an understanding of arcana, medicine, nature, and perception, an Artificer possesses the keen skills required of a witch.
Artificers utilize wands and potions and spellcasting superbly. By reflavoring what “tools” the Artificer uses, this character may easily slip into a witchy role without any modification.
Reflavoring the Alchemist’s Abilities
Starting from the top of the chart, I’ll go through a few Artificer Alchemist’s abilities and explain how to reflavor them to work with the tropes of the White Witch.
Privy to all secrets to better hatch their plans, witches would acquire tools that allow them to enter wherever they wish, so long as they are able to crack the secret. Rather than a metal rake and pick as is typical in these tools, a witch may reflavor “Thieves’ Tools” as a small lockpicking spider, a matter-altering crystal shard, or wish-granting raven bones that undo a lock. These would still require a skill check, as magic can be finicky at times, but this flavor errs on the side of mystical mechanisms to fulfill the witch’s intentions.
By enchanting small mundane objects magically, a witch is able to create a small light-shedding, message-transmitting, or perception-altering item. This is, by the book, done by magic. All a White Witch has to do is incant a simple spell to imbue the object with magic.
Possibly the Artificer feature that aligns most with the witch flavor, spellcasting needs little to no reflavoring. However, note that an Artificer focuses their arcane energy via their tools, so reflavoring the Thieves Tools to be objects of mystical origin is of the utmost importance here.
A witch may wish to weave a spell for those with verbal components, which is an aspect of gameplay that is often neglected. Here are a few examples of quick verbal spells a White Witch Artificer may exclaim while casting spells:
- Acid Splash (cantrip): “Fire caustic, water placid, hurl this splash of bubbling acid!”
- Fire Bolt (cantrip): “Shadow awry, firebolt fly!”
- Mage Hand (cantrip): “Magic thus at my command, do my will with thy mage hand.”
- Spare the Dying (cantrip): “By tongue and eyes, stabilize!”
- Detect Magic (1st level): “Presence sense, lest malevolent, expose thyself in refulgence.”
- Faerie Fire (1st level): “By my desire, Faerie Fire.”
- Tasha’s Caustic Brew (1st level): “Nettle, nightshade, hemlock, rue; mother Tasha’s caustic brew!”
- Blur (2nd level): “Dazzle, blind, shift, obscure. Make my mortal frame a blur.”
- Invisibility (2nd level): “Conceal and seal ‘til I reveal.”
- Spider Climb (2nd level): “Spin the Weave, Spider Climb achieved.”
By enchanting nonmagical objects into usable items via magic, a witch can create infused items with specific magical abilities for an extended period of time. Whether the process to create an infusion requires dipping the object in a potion brewed within your travel-sized cauldron or weaving rogue threads of magic specifically to transform an item, the flavor of infusing items can become very mystical.
Who’s to say Alchemist’s Supplies can’t be a mini cauldron over an open flame? Spells are stored in small glass vials, mortar and pestles are used in witchcraft already, and alchemical ingredients could be anything from potion components to living tiny creatures in cages. A White Witch can use these supplies to gather additional components and brew small potions, in the form of Experimental Elixirs and more.
For guidance on crafting potions, see our Crafting Magic Items article and understand that consumable items like potions require half the gold and time requirements.
The crowning feature of the Alchemist archetype is the ability to create Experimental Elixirs, or potions that may extend a number of effects. It is not unlike a busy witch to forget to label her potions at times, but none of the effects are harmful to the drinker, so why go through all of the fuss?
With potions enabling their drinker to heal, speed walk, become emboldened in armor class, gain a bonus to attack rolls, fly, or transform their appearance, this ability is possibly the most witchlike of all Artificer features.
The remainder of the Artificer or Alchemist features available to a player feed off of the features we’ve covered: your character either gets better at what they can do or grows stronger in the Weave.
Reflavoring the Artificer Alchemist to fit a good White Witch character trope requires neither toil nor trouble, nor does it require any bending of the rules. Using the rules as written, a White Witch may easily cast spells, brew potions, weave magic into items, and more. For more witch builds, check out our article How to Play a Witch: D&D 5e Character Concepts. Comment below with your ideas of how to extend the witchy vibe to the Artificer Alchemist build.
You can find more ideas to re-flavor your Artificer from the Cleric Corner.