[RPG] the difference between an Artificer and an Enchanter


I'm working on a homebrew tabletop RPG, based off of D&D since that's what I'm familiar with, and I am having trouble seeing the difference between an Enchanter and an Artificer. So here's my question: Across the various versions of D&D out there, what is the difference between an Artificer and an Enchanter?

Best Answer

The first use of “enchanter” as a primary character option in D&D came in The Complete Wizard’s Handbook (TSR, 1990) for 2e AD&D. That included the wizard kit, introduced the notion of spell schools as having mechanical significance, and included a school of “Enchantment/Charm” that covered both mind-affecting spells (charm spells) and object-enhancing spells (enchantments). Enchanters were the mages who focused on this school.

Player’s Option: Spells & Magic (TSR, 1996), also for 2e AD&D, created a new specialty for “artificers” that consisted solely of the effects from the Enchantment/Charm school that affected non-living objects. This was still a specialization of the wizard kit. At this point, enchanters and artificers were quite related: there was heavy overlap between the artificer spells and the enchantment side of the enchanter’s spells. The distinction was that the artificer was entirely specialized on these effects, while the enchanter also devoted half his emphasis to effects that were very much about living creatures rather than items.

With Player’s Handbook (WotC, 2000) for 3e, “Enchantment” came to replace “Enchantment/Charm” and focused solely on mind-affecting magic (which was originally the province of the Charm half of Enchantment/Charm). Temporarily enhancing magic items through spells was done mostly through the school of Transmutation, and Enchantment had basically nothing to do with it. Magic items were consistently said to be enhanced rather than enchanted, since enchantment referred to charms and compulsions. An enchanter is a type of specialist wizard, focusing on these spells.

And then when Eberron Campaign Setting (WotC, 2004) for 3.5e came out, we got the artificer class, this time wholly independent of wizards. The artificer class had unique and powerful talent when it came to the crafting of magic items, and their magic came in “infusions” rather than “spells”—and the primary difference between the two is that an infusion can only be cast on an item, and cannot affect creatures at all (except for constructs).

In both 4e1 and 5e, the 3(.5)e definitions of these terms persisted: the enchanter was someone who focused on mind-affecting magic, and the artificer was a master of magical items.

  1. This is despite the fact that 4e made the confusing choice to name the magic effects of magic items “enchantments” and the ritual that created magic items “Enchant Magic Item;” aside from those, though, it continued to use enchanter to refer to someone focusing on mind-affecting magic and artificer was again an Eberron class focusing on magic items.