A gnome grins ruefully as she hastily assembles a contraption on the floor of a besieged cabin. As her teammates hold the door shut against the mass of zombies trying to break it down, the gnome picks up her invention, a wand-like mishmash of parts with a glowing ember at one end. It isn’t pretty, but it might just save their lives.

Glancing at his archaeology notebook, a rugged dwarf in stained adventurer’s gear arranges the runes on an ancient vault door with great care, having used a trick of magical wiring to disable the arcane trap in the ceiling above him. He found the bones of many tomb robbers, and has no intention of joining them.

As his squad stops to prepare their weapons and storm the hobgoblin bunker, a moderately armored human pulls out a number of small gadgets with arcane sigils and attaches them to the weapons of his fellow soldiers. Within moments, their blades and arrows are crackling with elemental energy. He nods to their sergeant, sword blazing, and they kick in the door.

When one considers their specialization, it comes as no surprise that, in many ways, artificers keep magical societies running.Their expertise with manipulating the flow of magic through items – from small magical toys to massive engines of war – places them on the leading edge of technological progress.