Complete List of Tools and How to Use Them in D&D 5e

Player Characters (PCs) have proficiency in tools based on their background, race, class, or certain feats. Players, most often, have a choice in the kind of tools they take, but their choices are limited based on their character. After character creation is done and the tools are listed on the character sheet, their tool proficiencies are seldom mentioned again. What is the point of having tools and proficiency in those tools if you never use them? Players and DMs lack an understanding of how to use tools in Dungeons & Dragons 5e. They are often ignored, misunderstood, or poorly utilized. But, if used correctly, tools can add an interesting and fun element to your game, as well as make PCs more rounded and believable! How do you use tools in Dungeons & Dragons 5e? Having proficiency in a tool means more than just being allowed to carry around a hammer and chisel. Tools should allow players to:
  • Add their proficiency modifier to skill check rolls that are related to their professional knowledge
  • Create items themselves instead of having to buy them
  • Find creative solutions to problems
  • Play their character in a more believable way knowing they have training in a certain field

Tools in Dungeons & Dragons 5e

There are a variety of tools to choose from in D&D 5e. Players can choose a number of these tools based on their background, class, race and chosen feats. Some tool proficiencies only come from certain backgrounds, such as proficiency in poising or thieve’s tools. If a player has proficiency in a tool, then they can add their proficiency bonus to all dice rolls which use that tool. This can be a great advantage to players and a reason why they should find ways to use their tools and training whenever possible. Below you will find every tool in D&D 5e. Each section is set up in the same way and includes:
  • A list of what items are in the toolset
  • An explanation of the profession in a fantasy setting
  • An excerpt from Xanathar Guide to Everything that gives a list of skills and special uses for the tool
  • An explanation of the knowledge that comes with the tool proficiency and how to use it
  • A list of examples of when to ask for a skill check for each tool
Although each section will begin with a quote from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, if you don’t have a copy of this book yet, I highly recommend stopping by your local game store and picking one up! This incredible resource is a DM must have! If you can’t get to a store, you can purchase one from our partner, Noble Knight Games, for $10 off retail price! (whoot!) Another great resource to keep in your back pocket is my eBook, NPCs for RPGs! This resource alone can cut down your prep-time and make you feel more confident in your session. Each NPC has his/her own side quest, so you will never feel unprepared for an NPC interaction again! Check it out below!

NPCs for RPGs by Halfling Hannah

Artisan Tools

All the tools listed below are considered “Artisan Tools,” that is, supplies a person would need to make a living at a trade. The trades traditionally used in D&D are listed below, but you can always create some of your own! In order to better utilize these tools, it is important to remember their purpose and possible extensions of them. Players proficient with one of these tools will, by natural extension, be proficient in aspects directly related to the trade. This mentality will help you provide situations in which the players can shine!

Tools List for D&D 5e

Because this post is so long, I have included links that will take you directly to whichever section of the post you want to go! Simply click the links below for the information you are looking for or keep scrolling to browse all the tools in alphabetical order!

Alchemist’s Tools

Calligrapher’s Tools

Cartographer’s Tools

Cook’s Utensils

Forgery Kit

Herbalism Kit

Leatherworker’s Tools

Navigator’s Tools

Poisoner’s Kit

Smith’s Tools

Tinker’s Tools

Woodcarver’s Tools

Brewer’s Tools

Carpenter’s Tools

Cobbler’s Tools

Disguise Kit

Glassblower’s Tools

Jeweler’s Tools

Mason’s Tool

Painter’s Tools

Potter’s Tools

Thieve’s Tools

Weaver’s Tools

Are Tools Useful?

Alchemist’s Tools

Cost: 50 gp Includes: two glass beakers, a metal frame to hold a beaker in place over an open flame, a glass stirring rod, a small mortar and pestle, and a pouch of common alchemical ingredients, including salt, powdered iron, and purified water. This tool set is one of the most expensive in the game and for good reason. An alchemist deals with potions and chemical concoctions. Alchemists make their living by studying the arcane through the natural world. They are known for their potions, balms, and, perhaps, more interesting concoctions. With the right materials and their tools, alchemists can make potions of healing, alchemist’s fire, smoke bombs, real bombs, and much more.

Alchemist’s Tools Skills and Special Uses

Arcana. Proficiency with alchemist’s supplies allows you to unlock more information on Arcana checks involving potions and similar materials. Investigation. When you inspect an area for clues, proficiency with alchemist’s supplies grants additional insight into any chemicals or other substances that might have been used in the area. Alchemical Crafting. You can use this tool proficiency to create alchemical items. A character can spend money to collect raw materials, which weigh 1 pound for every 50 gp spent. The DM can allow a character to make a check using the indicated skill with advantage. As part of a long rest, you can use alchemist’s supplies to make one dose of acid, alchemist’s fire, antitoxin, oil, perfume, or soap. Subtract half the value of the created item from the total gp worth of raw materials you are carrying. Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 79

Alchemist Knowledge

By extension of their trade, Alchemists will be very knowledgeable in the following:
  • Chemicals and their various uses
  • Detecting chemicals by their smell or taste
  • Weighing and measuring by sight
  • Knowing possible cures for diseases based on symptoms
  • Knowing what chemicals should NOT be mixed together (big boom)
  • Making deductions based on factual evidence
Alchemists are usually very curious. They want to know what everything is and what it does. They love to run experiments and collect nearly everything to study. Research, questioning, and studying are an alchemist’s bread and butter. If your alchemist is trying to do any of those things, I would let them add their proficiency modifier to the skill check roll.

When to ask for an Alchemist Tool’s check

Often times, if a situation arises in which the alchemist of the group is investigating a chemical, as long as it is a basic chemical, I tell them what it is. No rolls necessary. Chemicals are an alchemist’s livelihood and making a mistake could mean missing fingers, so I assume they know their stuff. For more rare chemicals, I might give them advantage, or ask them to make a roll an intelligence check and add their proficiency modifier to the roll. This is a great way to use tools and proficiencies to improve gameplay and make your players feel like specialists! Ask for an alchemist tool’s skill check when your players are trying to create a helpful potion or balm out of herbs or chemicals. Remember, alchemists focus on helpful potions (or big booms). They do not have knowledge of poisons except for what to avoid putting in potions. Additionally, you can ask for alchemist’s tools check or if PCs are wanting to:
  • Collect “evidence” or “samples” of any kind
  • Identify a substance, potion or spell components
  • Discover the properties of a substance or plant
  • Research of any kind, including quickly skimming books
  • Understanding theories or other alchemists notes
Although some of these don’t have to do with the alchemist’s tool directly, they are still linked to the knowledge a proficient alchemist would have. The tools are a symbol of the player’s knowledge. I always allow players to roll with their proficiency bonus if they are working on something that relates to the field of alchemy. Back to Tools List

Brewer’s Tools

Cost: 20 gp Includes: a large glass jug , a quantity of hops, a siphon, and several feet of tubing. Brewer’s make their living brewing beer, wine or other spirits. If your player chooses this tools option, I highly suggest you ask them to come up with a signature drink. Not only can you use this drink during the campaign, but it allows their character something to be proud of and brag about. It is up to you and the player to decide how good the drink actually is. You can roll percentile dice or just decide for yourselves, it’s up to you!

Brewer’s Tools Skills and Special Uses

History. Proficiency with brewer’s supplies gives you additional insight on Intelligence (History) checks concerning events that involve alcohol as a significant element. Medicine. This tool proficiency grants additional insight when you treat anyone suffering from alcohol poisoning or when you can use alcohol to dull pain. Persuasion. A stiff drink can help soften the hardest heart. Your proficiency with brewer’s supplies can help you ply someone with drink, giving them just enough alcohol to mellow their mood. Potable Water. Your knowledge of brewing enables you to purify water that would otherwise be undrinkable. As part of a long rest, you can purify up to 6 gallons of water, or 1 gallon as part of a short rest. Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 79

Brewer’s Knowledge

Brewing is actually a very precise science. In order to get the right amount of alcohol to sweetness ratio and/or to get each bottle to come out with a consistent flavor, the brewer must have a lot of practice and knowledge. Because of their trade, brewers have natural knowledge of:
  • Buying and selling goods
  • Weighing and measuring
  • Purity/quality of ingredients
  • Flavor profiles
  • Business practices (I like to give brewer’s a shortlist of “business contacts.” These are NPC they know and can reach out to if need be)
  • People– alcohol is often social and brewers know how to get to the heart of an issue

When to ask for a Brewer’s Tools check

Obviously, if the PC is attempting to brew, they should roll using their tools (most often I will have players roll either an intelligence, wisdom, or performance based on their character). However, there are other situations which could warrant a “brewer’s tools check.” Such as:
  • Attempting to judge the purity of water
  • Investigating a crop blight
  • Mixing drinks
  • Identifying the quality of a drink
  • Using that roll of tubing for…whatever the heck you player might think of
Back to Tools List

Calligrapher’s Tools

Cost: 10 gp Includes: ink, a dozen sheets of parchment, and three quills. Calligraphy is the art of “fancy writing.” It requires patience, skill and an eye for detail. A skilled calligrapher would be in high demand for tasks, such as:
  • Writing invitations for the rich and powerful
  • Commissioned commemorative documents
  • Official legal documents
  • Creating pieces of art
  • Adding decorative elements to books, maps, and other documents

Calligrapher’s Tools Skills and Special Uses

Arcana. Although calligraphy is of little help in deciphering the content of magical writings, proficiency with these supplies can aid in identifying who wrote a script of a magical nature. History. This tool proficiency can augment the benefit of successful checks made to analyze or investigate ancient writings, scrolls, or other texts, including runes etched in stone or messages in frescoes or other displays. Decipher Treasure Map. This tool proficiency grants you expertise in examining maps. You can make an Intelligence check to determine a map’s age, whether a map includes any hidden messages, or similar facts. Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 80

Calligrapher’s Knowledge

It is likely a skilled Calligrapher would know the rich and powerful of whatever town/city in which they grew up. Perhaps not on a first name level, but they would differentially know who is who. Because of their trade, a calligrapher would have a natural knowledge of:
  • Fine papers and inks
  • The subtle language differences between the rich and middle class
  • Where to find buyers for expensive items
  • How to spot hidden messages and nuances in writing and maps
  • Basic understanding of ancient ruins and texts as part of their study

When to ask for a Calligrapher’s Tools check

When PCs asks to use calligraphy, I have them make a dexterity or intelligence check, based on the character, then add their proficiency modifier to the roll. Some other times you could ask the player to make a check using calligrapher’s tools could be:
  • Spotting a hidden idea or symbol in a letter or document
  • Understanding the message of a legal document
  • Creating a piece of calligraphy art as a gift or to sell
  • Embellishing a letter or document to look more official
Back to Tools List

Carpenter’s Tools

Cost: 8 gp Includes: a saw, a hammer, nails, a hatchet, a square, a ruler, an adze, a plane, and a chisel. A carpenter works with wood to create furniture, structures, or tools. A carpenter’s skills are in high demand no matter the size of a city or village, and having one in your group just might save your party! Most carpenters specialize in one area, so you might ask your player what area of carpentry their character specializes: fine furniture, cabinetry, structures (read support beams and decorations for buildings), tools, or small items.

Carpenter’s Tools Skills and Special Uses

History. This tool proficiency aids you in identifying the use and the origin of wooden buildings and other large wooden objects. Investigation. You gain additional insight when inspecting areas within wooden structures, because you know tricks of construction that can conceal areas from discovery. Perception. You can spot irregularities in wooden walls or floors, making it easier to find trap doors and secret passages. Stealth. You can quickly assess the weak spots in a wooden floor, making it easier to avoid the places that creak and groan when they’re stepped on. Fortify. With 1 minute of work and raw materials, you can make a door or window harder to force open. Increase the DC needed to open it by 5. Temporary Shelter. As part of a long rest, you can construct a lean-to or a similar shelter to keep your group dry and in the shade for the duration of the rest. Because it was fashioned quickly from whatever wood was available , the shelter collapses 1d3 days after being assembled. Xanthar’s Guide to Everything page 80

Carpenter’s Knowledge

Because of their training and apprenticeship, carpenter’s have a natural knowledge of:
  • Wood types and their uses. A skilled carpenter can identify nearly every variety of trees used for lumber.
  • Well built vs. cheap furniture and items
  • The structural integrity of buildings as well as the ability to read blueprints (which is harder than you might think!)
  • Identify false bottoms in drawers, as well as find hidden buttons, drawers or mechanisms and even traps!

When to ask for a Carpenter’s Tools check

If you player is attempting to create or carve something into wood, have them make a dexterity/strength check, depending on the situation, then add their proficiency modifier to the roll. Here are some other situations that could call for a carpenter’s tools check:
  • Fixing a wooden object, (e.g. wagon wheel)
  • Attempting to open a wooden box without opening the lock
  • Rigging a door/window or box with a booby-trap or to make harder to open (add 5 to the door/window’s AC)
  • Checking a piece of furniture for false backs or hidden drawers or while looking for traps on a door, chest, or other wooden object
  • Building a temporary structure for the group while traveling
Back to Tools List

Cartographer’s Tools

Costs: 15 gp Includes: A quill, ink, parchment, a pair of compasses, calipers, and a ruler. A cartographer makes maps. They can scout out unmapped areas, create detailed maps of known areas, or simply mass-produce maps for purchase. A skilled cartographer is often found in a large city where there are abundant adventurer’s to purchase their maps. You will likely also find them at Universities and accompanying official missions for kingdoms to new or little known locations.

Cartographer’s Tools Skills and Special Uses

Arcana, History, Religion. You can use your knowledge of maps and locations to unearth more detailed information when you use these skills. For instance, you might spot hidden messages in a map, identify when the map was made to determine if geographical features have changed since then, and so forth. Nature. Your familiarity with physical geography makes it easier for you to answer questions or solve issues relating to the terrain around you. Survival. Your understanding of geography makes it easier to find paths to civilization, to predict areas where villages or towns might be found, and to avoid becoming lost. You have studied so many maps that common patterns, such as how trade routes evolve and where settlements a rise in relation to geographic locations, are familiar to you. Craft a Map. While traveling, you can draw a map as you go in addition to engaging in other activity. Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 80

Cartographer’s Knowledge

Due to their occupation, a cartographer has a large knowledge base of locations, as well as distances and measurements. You can expect your cartographer to know:
  • Where all the major cities, mountain ranges and bodies of water are
  • A rough estimate of how long it will take to travel pretty much anywhere
  • A helpful list of nearby cities and towns
  • Where to find information on landmarks and history
  • How to NOT get lost

When to ask for a Cartographer’s Tools skill check

If the player is consulting one of his/her many maps, have him/her make an intelligence roll plus their proficiency modifier for their cartography tools. You can also have them make a cartographer’s tools check when the player wants to:
  • Record the location of a new discovery on a current map
  • Create a new map (real or fake) of an area or specific location
  • Attempt to understand hidden messages on a map or follow a coded map (e.g. treasure map)
  • Calculate exact travel distance or time
Back to Tools List

Cobbler’s Tools

Cost: 5 gp Includes: a hammer, an awl, a knife, a shoe stand, a cutter, spare leather, and thread. (Xanthar’s Guide to Everything, page 80) Some of you might be surprised to learn that a cobbler is someone who makes shoes. Cobblers are similar to leatherworkers, but they specialize in hard, tough leather fit for making shoes. Cobbler’s are found in every city and town, but their level varies greatly. Some cobbler’s focus on making rough, working shoes for the common folks, while others are really artists, crafting only the finest of shoes for Lords and Ladies.

Cobbler’s Tools Skills and Special Uses

Arcana, History. Your knowledge of shoes aids you in identifying the magical properties of enchanted boots or the history of such items. Investigation. Footwear holds a surprising number of secrets. You can learn where someone has recently visited by examining the wear and the dirt that has accumulated on their shoes. Your experience in repairing shoes makes it easier for you to identify where damage might come from. Maintain Shoes. As part of a long rest, you can repair your companions’ shoes. For the next 24 hours, up to six creatures of your choice who wear shoes you worked on can travel up to 10 hours a day without making saving throws to avoid exhaustion. Craft Hidden Compartment. With 8 hours of work, you can add a hidden compartment to a pair of shoes. The compartment can hold an object up to 3 inches long and 1 inch wide and deep. You make an Intelligence check using your tool proficiency to determine the Intelligence (Investigation) check DC needed to find the compartment. Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 80

Cobbler’s Knowledge

Few things are as essential for all walks of life as shoes. Because of this, cobblers have special knowledge not just of shoes, but of the people who wear them too. You can expect a cobbler to know:
  • Quality leather items from junk
  • A person’s social status based on their shoes
  • Several people in their home community (rank depends on the quality of shoes sold)
  • Where to find quality shops for clothing and leather goods
  • The size and height of a person based on their footprints
  • Where the person is likely to have traveled recently/what profession they practice

When to ask for a Cobbler’s Tools check

Because cobbler’s tools consist of leather, glue, an awl or leather punch, tough sewing materials, and molding materials (for making models of feet to work off of), they are actually quite useful for a variety of things that don’t include making shoes. Ask your player to roll a dexterity/intelligence check and add their proficiency bonus to the roll when using their cobbler’s tools. Below are some possible situation in which your players might want to use their cobbler’s tools:
  • Fixing broken or damaged leather items (specifically shoes, but you could roll with disadvantage on fixing other leather items)
  • Making a new pair of shoes or repairing current ones
  • Measuring an object
  • Punching holes in soft materials or binding material together with laces
  • Making molds or casts, especially of footprints
  • Sewing
  • Stitching up another player’s wounds to keep them from bleeding out (Disadvantage? yes Freaking Awesome? Also yes.)
Back to Tools List

Cook’s Utensils

Vegetables wiht Black Pan
Cost: 1 gp Includes: a metal pot, knives, forks, a stirring spoon, and a ladle. One of the cheapest and perhaps humblest of the tools is the cook’s utensils. But don’t let it fool you into thinking it is useless. It might be the most practical of the toolsets! Whether the character was a professional chef, or just a gifted amateur, having a dedicated cook in the party is a benefit to everyone!

Cook Utensils Skills and Special Uses

History. Your knowledge of cooking techniques allows you to assess the social patterns involved in a culture’s eating habits. Medicine. When administering treatment, you can transform medicine that is bitter or sour into a pleasing concoction. Survival. When foraging for food, you can make do with ingredients you scavenge that others would be unable to transform into nourishing meals. Prepare Meals. As part of a short rest, you can prepare a tasty meal that helps your companions regain their strength. You and up to five creatures of your choice regain 1 extra hit point per Hit Die spent during a short rest, provided you have access to your cook’s utensils and sufficient food. Xanathar Guide to Everything page 81

A Cook’s Knowledge

A cook who is used to forging in the woods for food and making due with what they have will definitely know the following:
  • Eatable vs. poisonous plants and berries
  • A variety of snares, traps, and baits for catching game
  • How to tell if an animal is sick or healthy
  • How to tell if plants are healthy or blighted
  • Healthy/immune-boosting herbs and plants

When to ask for a Cook’s Utensil’s check

When players use cook’s utensil’s for a skill check, I will most often have them roll an intelligence or wisdom check based on the character. They then add their proficiency modifier to the roll. Some situations in which you could have player’s roll using cook’s utensils include:
  • Finding and preparing meals while traveling
  • Spotting poison or impurities in food
  • Preparing a gourmet meal for a troll so it won’t eat your friends (was that too specific?)
Back to Tools List

Disguise Kit

Cost: 25 gp Includes: cosmetics, hair dye, small props, and a few pieces of clothing. If you don’t have a the magical ability to disguise yourself, then a disguise kit is practically a necessity. While it isn’t flawless, it gets the job done in a pinch. Containing make-up and other ways to disguise one’s appearance, disguise kits are a basic staple of D&D. Usually only those with a more…shall we say “colorful” background are given the option to take the disguise kit, but they should be widely available in larger cities where theaters are more common. Unlike thieves tools, which might raise suspicion if you go looking for them, most shop owners won’t question someone trying to find a disguise kit. Making them readily available to character who might not otherwise have them. Remember, having a disguise kit and being proficient with a disguise kit are two very different things!

Disguise Kit Skills and Special Uses

Deception. In certain cases, a disguise can improve your ability to weave convincing lies. Intimidation. The right disguise can make you look more fearsome, whether you want to scare someone away by posing as a plague victim or intimidate a gang of thugs by taking the appearance of a bully. Performance. A cunning disguise can enhance an audience’s enjoyment of a performance, provided the disguise is properly designed to evoke the desired reaction. Persuasion. Folk tend to trust a person in uniform. If you disguise yourself as an authority figure, your efforts to persuade others are often more effective. Create Disguise. As part of a long rest, you can create a disguise. It takes you 1 minute to don such a disguise once you have created it. You can carry only one such disguise on you at a time without drawing undue attention, unless you have a bag of holding or a similar method to keep them hidden. Each disguise weighs 1 pound. At other times, it takes 10 minutes to craft a disguise that involves moderate changes to your appearance, and 30 minutes for one that requires more extensive changes. Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 81

Disguise Kit Knowledge

For those players who are accustomed to disguising themselves, life has given them a particular knowledge others likely don’t possess. Those proficient with disguise kits likely also:
  • Know how to blend into a crowd
  • Know how to be/cause a distraction when needed
  • Understand how people from different walks of life dress and act
  • Knows when and how to hide

When to ask for a Disguise Kit skill check

Likely, this will be one of the easiest tools to ask for a skill check. Your players will let you know when they want to use their disguise kit, and you will ask them to make either a dexterity or performance check (based on their character) and add their proficiency modifier to the roll. Some examples of when to use a disguise kit and ask for a check are:
  • Covering bruises or scratches
  • Attempting to look like another humanoid
  • Spotting a disguise worn by someone else
Back to Tools List

Forgery Kit

Cost: 15 gp Includes: several different types of ink, a variety of parchments and papers, several quills, seals and sealing wax, gold and silver leaf, and small tools to sculpt melted wax to mimic a seal. Another staple of D&D, forgery kits allow players to make copies of documents or forge someone’s seal or signature. While calligraphy tools focus on making new documents that look and sound official, forgery kits are for copying existing documents.

Forgery Kits Skills and Special Uses

Arcana. A forgery kit can be used in conjunction with the Arcana skill to determine if a magic item is real or fake. Deception. A well-crafted forgery, such as papers proclaiming you to be a noble or a writ that grants you safe passage, can lend credence to a lie. History. A forgery kit combined with your knowledge of history improves your ability to create fake historical documents or to tell if an old document is authentic. Investigation. When you examine objects, proficiency with a forgery kit is useful for determining how an object was made and whether it is genuine. Other Tools. Knowledge of other tools makes your forgeries that much more believable. For example, you could combine proficiency with a forgery kit and proficiency with cartographer’s tools to make a fake map. Quick Fake. As part of a short rest, you can produce a forged document no more than one page in length. As part of a long rest, you can produce a document that is up to four pages long. Your Intelligence check using a forgery kit determines the DC for someone else’s Intelligence (Investigation) check to spot the fake. Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 81

Forgery Kit Knowledge

If your player has proficiency in forgery, you can bet they also have knowledge of other shady practices. Forgery is not something anyone knows how to do. Sure, we all forged mom or dad’s signature on a field trip slip or a sick note once… or twice, but that is far different from true forgery. If your player has proficiency with a forgery kit, they almost certainly also know:
  • At least one black market or underground contact
  • How to identify authentic vs. falsified documents
  • How to obtain handwriting or official documents “off the books”
  • A dealer or handler of fake art, documents or other items

When to ask for a Forgery Kit skill check

The neat part about forgery kits is that they can be used in conjunction with other tools to make a more convincing copy of an item. For example, using a forgery kit with calligraphy tools creates a more convincing “legal document” or “writ.” A forgery kit and cartographer’s tools pair together to make a fake map look real! If a player wants to use a forgery kit in conjunction with another tool, have them roll for each separately, both times adding their proficiency modifier to the roll (provided they have proficiency with the tool). If one player has proficiency in a toolset and another has proficiency with the forgery kit, and they want to work together to create a forged item, you have two options:
  1. Have both players roll for their respective parts, adding their own proficiency to the roll. In this option, one player is creating the item (e.g. a map or document) and the other player is adding special touches to the end product to make it look more real (e.g. a seal or a signature). I would suggest adding to the DC of spotting the document is a fake based on how high the forgery roll is for this option.
  2. Have one player roll with advantage and add proficiency ONCE. In this case, both players are working together on the item to add authentic touches throughout. Remember, only add one proficiency bonus to the highest of the two rolls.
Some other times you could ask for a forgery kit skill check include:
  • Spotting a fake item or document
  • Attempting to copy seals or handwriting as samples to keep for later
  • Identifying family seals or crests
  • Adding gold or silver leaf to something (and trust me, it isn’t ever what you think it will be.)
Back to Tools List

Glassblower’s Tools

Cost: 30 gp Includes: a blowpipe, a small marver, blocks, and tweezers. You need a source of heat to work glass. Glassblowing is the process of taking a molten piece of glass and shaping it into a useable object or work of art. Traditionally, this was the way in which glass objects were made. If you have never seen this process before, it is amazing to watch! Check out the YouTube video by the Chrysler Museum of Art below to learn more about this process.

Glassblowing Tools Skill and Special Uses

Arcana, History. Your knowledge of glassmaking techniques aids you when you examine glass objects, such as potion bottles or glass items found in a treasure hoard. For instance, you can study how a glass potion bottle has been changed by its contents to help determine a potion’s effects. (A potion might leave behind a residue, deform the glass, or stain it.) Investigation. When you study an area, your knowledge can aid you if the clues include broken glass or glass objects. Identify Weakness. With 1 minute of study, you can identify the weak points in a glass object. Any damage dealt to the object by striking a weak spot is doubled. Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 82

Glassblower’s Knowledge

At this point you may be thinking, how could this toolset possibly be useful? Yes, you do need a fire that gets up to 2300 degrees F in our world to melt glass, but remember, this is a fantasy world we are talking about! Imagine a wizard/sorcerer who comes from a family of elite glassblowers. He/she could use any number of fire spells to melt the glass and infuse it with magic to make it nearly impossible to break! Or glow a certain color if poison or tainted water is poured into it. All I am saying is there is a whole fantasy realm of possibilities here that you should keep open for your players! That being said, even in normal circumstances, there is a large body of knowledge a glassblower would know in addition to their trade, such as:
  • Glass in a fantasy world is restricted to the wealthy, you can believe a glassblower would know the rich and famous of the city in which they work
  • Quality glass items vs. cheaply made
  • The purpose of a custom glass container
  • Magic infused glass items
  • Potentially what potion is in a glass vial based on how the glass reacts to it (this would be a high DC though, I would suggest 20)

When to ask for a Glassblower’s skill check

Most often you will ask for a glassblower’s skill check when the player is attempting to make a complicated glass object. If they want to make simple vials or potion bottles, I let the player make 1d4 of such items per hour. Some other events that might call for a glassblower’s skill check might be:
  • Analyzing the glass pieces in a damaged room to determine how it was broken (e.g. explosion vs. punched)
  • Cutting glass to open a window/door without alerting anyone
  • Appraising the value of a glass item
  • Identifying the contents of a glass jar/vial
Back to Tools List

Herbalism Kit

Cost: 5gp Includes: pouches to store herbs, clippers and leather gloves for collecting plants, a mortar and pestle, and several glass jars. An herbalism kit is different from an alchemist’s tools or a poisoner’s kit. Herbs are the main ingredient used in potions, while chemicals are the base of alchemist kits. The two are very different. Herbalist focus on finding/growing herbs necessary to create healing potions and antitoxins. Herbalists know plants and how to use them. They can create balms and salves that can be used to treat diseases. Proficiency in this kit is required to create antitoxins and potions of healing.

Herbalism Kit Skills and Special Uses

Arcana. Your knowledge of the nature and uses of herbs can add insight to your magical studies that deal with plants and your attempts to identify potions. Investigation. When you inspect an area overgrown with plants, your proficiency can help you pick out details and clues that others might miss. Medicine. Your mastery of herbalism improves your ability to treat illnesses and wounds by augmenting your methods of care with medicinal plants. Nature and Survival. When you travel in the wild, your skill in herbalism makes it easier to identify plants and spot sources of food that others might overlook. Identify Plants. You can identify most plants with a quick inspection of their appearance and smell. Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 82

Herbalist’s Knowledge

Herbalist’s know pretty everything there is to know about plants. Which at eatable, which are rare and, therefore, expensive, and which plants to avoid. Beyond that, herbalist also might know:
  • Potion sellers! Always helpful.
  • How to barter/trade for the best prices on potions
  • How to brew an exceptional pot of tea
  • How to forage for tasty and nutritional food
  • Identify a variety of diseases based on their symptoms

When to ask for a Herbalism Kit skill check

When a player wants to create a potion, healing balm or salve, have them roll an intelligence/wisdom check and add their proficiency to the roll. Some other situation that might call for a herbalism kit skill check are:
  • Identifying a poison and creating an antitoxin
  • Identifying a disease and knowing a cure
  • Foraging for herbs or food
  • Identifying plants or berries
  • Analyzing the contents of a potion to know its effects
Back to Tools List

Jeweler’s Tools

Cost: 25 gp Includes: a small saw and hammer, files, pliers, and tweezers. A Jeweler is a person who works with precious stones and metals or other, more common materials. In a fantasy setting, this can include creating simple jewelry for common folks, cultural pieces, ceremonial items, enchanted items, or extremely fancy jewelry for the rich. If one of your players has proficiency in jeweler’s tools, you might want to ask exactly what kind of jewelry they make. This will give you greater insight into who/what the player might know.

Jeweler’s Tools Skill and Special Uses

Arcana. Proficiency with jeweler’s tools grants you knowledge about the reputed mystical uses of gems. This insight proves handy when you make Arcana checks related to gems or gem-encrusted items. Investigation. When you inspect jeweled objects, your proficiency with jeweler’s tools aids you in picking out clues they might hold. Identify Gems. You can identify gems and determine their value at a glance. Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 82

Jeweler’s Knowledge

Understanding gemstones is actually a pretty useful skill in D&D. A lot of enchanted items are created using the natural magic found in gemstones. This means that jeweler’s know a lot more than you might think at first glance. You can expect a jeweler in D&D to know:
  • The suppliers of gems and rare metals in most major cities
  • How to spot a fake gem or item from a mile away
  • The common uses of specific gems in enchanting
  • The value of nearly any gem or piece of jewelry

When to ask for a Jeweler’s Tool skill check

When I ask for a jeweler’s tools skill check, I always back the skill check on what the player is trying to do. For example, if they are trying to determine whether or not an item is the original or a knock-off, I would tell them to roll an investigation check and add their proficiency. However, if they are trying to craft an item, I would ask them to roll a dexterity skill check and add their proficiency. Here are some situations for a jeweler’s tools skill check:
  • Crafting a piece of jewelry
  • Examining a jewel-encrusted item to determine its possible purpose
  • Authenticating or dating a piece of jewelry
  • Appraising the value of gems or jewelry
*Note* If a player wants to grind a gem to create gem dust to use as a spell component, I let them do this without rolling a check. Back to Tools List

Leatherworker’s Tools

Cost: 5gp Includes: a knife, a small mallet, an edger, a hole punch, thread, and leather scraps. “Leatherworker” is an extremely broad term for anyone who works with leather. In a fantasy setting, this could mean a lot of things, and you will want to clarify with your player exactly what area of leatherworking they are trained in. A leatherworker could include making: saddles, leather armor, gloves, chaps, backpacks or saddlebags, book bindings, belts, component pouches, furniture, clothing, and engraved leather items.

Leatherworker’s Tools Skills and Special Uses

Arcana. Your expertise in working with leather grants you added insight when you inspect magic items crafted from leather, such as boots and some cloaks. Investigation. You gain added insight when studying leather items or clues related to them, as you draw on your knowledge of leather to pick out details that others would overlook. Identify Hides. When looking at a hide or a leather item, you can determine the source of the leather and any special techniques used to treat it. For example, you can spot the difference between leather crafted using dwarven methods and leather crafted using halfling methods. Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 82

Leatherworker’s Knowledge

Because the techniques used in creating leather items are roughly the same, leatherworkers have a large base of knowledge in their field. If an item is made of leather, any leatherworker should know quite a bit about it, even if they have never made the item themselves. You can expect leatherworkers to have a knowledge of:
  • Leather tanning methods, as often times tanning and leatherworking go hand-in-hand
  • A contact list of hunters and farmers who would’ve provided them with animal skins
  • Ability to spot leather craftsmanship from other cultures
  • How to judge the quality of a leather item
  • At least a small well of knowledge of arcane ruins that can engraved on leather and what they do

When to ask for Leatherworker’s Tools skill check

Much like the jeweler’s tools above, the skill check I ask player’s to make when using leatherworker’s tools is based on their actions. If they are trying to craft or repair a leather item, I have them roll a dexterity skill check and add their proficiency modifier to the roll. If, however, the player is wanting to determine the age or quality of a leather item, I would ask them to roll an investigation or perception check (their choice) and add their proficiency modifier to the roll. Here are some more examples of times you could ask for a leatherworker’s tools skill check:
  • Appraising the value of leather items
  • Crafting leather items or tanning leather while out on the road
  • Investigating leather items for clues
  • Determining the origins of leather goods
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Mason’s Tools

Cost: 10 gp Includes: a trowel, a hammer, a chisel, brushes, and a square. Mason’s work with brick and stone to create buildings and structures. Masons can be found in any village or city and should be considered the “working class.” Don’t ignore this toolset just yet, it has just as many benefits as more “upper-class” professions.

Mason’s Tools Skills and Special Uses

History. Your expertise aids you in identifying a stone building’s date of construction and purpose, a long with insight into who might have built it. Investigation. You gain additional insight when inspecting areas within stone structures. Perception. You can spot irregularities in stone walls or floors, making it easier to find trap doors and secret passages. Demolition. Your knowledge of masonry allows you to spot weak points in brick walls. You deal double damage to such structures with your weapon attacks. Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 83

Mason’s Knowledge

A mason is more of a people-profession than a lot of other more “upper-class” trades. A mason builds and repairs homes, businesses and even places of worship. They are seen as “down-to-earth” and people often trust a mason right away. There is more to masonry than just laying one brick on to of another. Masons have special skills and knowledge such as:
  • An understanding of materials and which are the strongest or weakest
  • A network of clients and businesses who would be willing to help them in a pinch
  • The ability to determine how old a structure is and what culture created it
  • Knowledge of where different types of stone are located in the earth and what forces create them

When to ask for Mason’s tools skill checks

Although at first glance, you may think you would never ask for a Manson’s tools skill check, there are a surprising amount of scenarios where this is useful. Turns out, adventurers do a lot of exploring in ancient dungeons and ruins, making a mason a surprisingly useful trade to have on the team! Ask your player to make a skill check based on what they are trying to accomplish and add their proficiency modifier to the roll. Some examples of when you might ask for a mason’s tools skill check are when a player wants to:
  • Determine the age/culture of origin/purpose of a building or structure
  • Find the weak point in a building in order to collapse it
  • Investigate the type of rock found in an area to determine what geological features might be in the area (e.g. If traveling underground, the party might start to see a lot of obsidian, the mason would know they are getting close to volcanic activity)
  • Find traps or hidden doors in a stone structure
Back to Tools List
Cost: 25 gp Includes: a sextant, a compass, calipers, a ruler, parchment, ink, and a quill. Often taken with the “sailor” background, navigators are responsible for tracking a ship’s course at sea. Back before GPS, this was a very important job and required a lot of skill and knowledge in several areas.

Navigator’s Tools Skills and Special Uses

Survival. Knowledge of navigator’s tools helps you avoid becoming lost and also grants you insight into the most likely location for roads and settlements. Sighting. By taking careful measurements, you can determine your position on a nautical chart and the time of day. Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 83

Navigator’s Knowledge

A navigator’s one job it to keep the ship or group from becoming lost. They are trained to know where they are at all times. This can come in very handy when adventuring through the wilderness! Because of their training, you can expect a navigator will know:
  • More advanced mathematics and astronomy
  • The time of day based on the sun’s position in the sky
  • Good & bad weather signs
  • Everything about certain areas they navigate often
  • At least a few Captains whom they have worked for

When to ask for Navigator’s Tools skill check

A naviagor’s tool skill check is pretty straightforward. Most often you will have the player roll an intelligence/wisdom skill check (their choice) and add their proficiency bonus to the roll. It is likely these are the two skill checks you will be asking for most often because most often players will be adventuring and relying on the navigator to find the way. There are some other times you could ask for a navigator’s skill check, such as when a player wants to:
  • Look at a map and determine the quickest/safest way to get to their destination
  • Find an alternate route
  • Determine the month based on the constellations
  • Remember a path they have taken before
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Painter’s Supplies

Cost: 10 gp Includes: an easel, canvas, paints, brushes, charcoal sticks, and a palette. For some, adventuring means seeking gold and riches. To others, it means finding new and exciting subjects for their art! Painters are artists seeking to capture the most exciting and beautiful landscapes and subject matter to bring a new perspective to their art! Taking this proficiency means your player has interpreted the phrase “suffer for art” very literally. However, this proficiency isn’t without its more practical uses as well!

Painter’s Supplies Skills and Special Uses

Arcana, History, Religion. Your expertise aids you in uncovering lore of any sort that is attached to a work of art, such as the magical properties of a painting or the origins of a strange mural found in a dungeon. Investigation, Perception. When you inspect a painting or a similar work of visual art, your knowledge of the practices behind creating it can grant you additional insight. Painting and Drawing. As part of a short or long rest, you can produce a simple work of art. Although your work might lack precision, you can capture an image or a scene, or make a quick copy of a piece of art you saw. Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 83

Painter’s Knowledge

To become an artist takes more than just talent. A proficient painter has studied for years to understand all the history and techniques of his/her profession. This makes artist walking history books when it comes to art and art subject matter. A very useful skill when your party is search for clues about an ancient being! Because of their studious nature, you can expect your painter to know:
  • A brief history of most of the gods (they are a big subject in art, after all), wars, and legendary items or people
  • A wide variety of interesting people (artists are known for being eccentric!)
  • How to spot a fake painting from an original
  • The value of ancient art pieces the party might find

When to ask for a Painter’s Supplies skill check

Artists should be able to quickly paint a copy of what they see, provided they take a long or short rest, no roll required. However, I would have a player roll either an intelligence or wisdom skill check and add their proficiency bonus for any of the following:
  • Spotting an original piece among a bunch of copies
  • Determining the age/value/origins of a work of art
  • Interpreting the message in a work of art
  • Remembering the lore behind a piece of art
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Poisoner’s Tools

Cost: 50 gp Includes: glass vials, a mortar and pestle, chemicals, and a glass stirring rod. A poisoner is the black sheep of the herbalist family. You aren’t likely to see a player with proficiency in poisoning outside of ex-criminals and assassins. Poisoners specialize in creating lethal and toxic concoctions to kill or incapacitate their enemies. This specialized training gives poisoners unique skills and knowledge no other profession gains.

Poisoner’s Kit Skills and Special Uses

History. Your training with poisons can help you when you try to recall facts about infamous poisonings. Investigation, Perception. Your knowledge of poisons has taught you to handle those substances carefully, giving you an edge when you inspect poisoned objects or try to extract clues from events that involve poison. Medicine. When you treat the victim of a poison, your knowledge grants you added insight into how to provide the best care to your patient. Nature, Survival. Working with poisons enables you to acquire lore about which plants and animals are poisonous. Handle Poison. Your proficiency allows you to handle and apply a poison without risk of exposing yourself to its effects. Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 83

Poisoner’s Knowledge

Poisoners know their poisons, be they natural or man-made. They are very knowledgeable on how poisons affect the body and where to find them. A proficient poisoner’s knowledge will include:
  • Where to find poisons, be they chemicals, herbs, or animal parts as well as who sells them
  • Identify poisons based on their effects on the human body and how to counteract them
  • How to handle poisons without harming self or others
  • How to disguise the taste of poison

When to ask for a Poisoner’s Kit skill check

Poisoning is a specific skill set, but it does have some far-reaching implications. If the player is working with a poison, ask for a dexterity skill check. If they are attempting to research or understand a poison, ask for either an intelligence or wisdom skill check, based on the character’s strengths. Make sure to have the player add their proficiency if they don’t already have proficiency in the skill. Some situations in which your player might want to make a poisoner’s kit check are:
  • Identifying a poison based on it’s effects
  • Collecting poison from an unusual source (e.g. the fangs of an unknown creature)
  • Testing a food or water source for poison
  • Creating a new poison
*Note* Much like with other tools, if a poisoner wants to make a simple poison from common materials, I let them do without requiring a roll. I only make the player roll to create a new poison or collect poison from an unfamiliar source. Back to Tools List

Potter’s Tools

Cost: 10 gp Includes: potter’s needles, ribs, scrapers, a knife, and calipers. A potter uses his/her hands and some tools to mold clay into useable items, such as pots, jars, or pieces of art. The clay is then fired in a kiln to harden it. Much like the glassblower and the painter, a proficiency in pottery is often overlooked by players and DMs. However, being a potter in a fantasy world would have been a very practical profession! While the wealthy might order glass or precious metal items, common folks would have turned to a potter to provide them with everyday items. The world of D&D is practically littered with pottery, making a knowledge of it extremely practical!

Potter’s Tools Skills and Special Uses

History. Your expertise aids you in identifying ceramic objects, including when they were created and their likely place or culture of origin. Investigation, Perception. You gain additional insight when inspecting ceramics, uncovering clues others would overlook by spotting minor irregularities. Reconstruction. By examining pottery shards, you can determine an object’s original, intact form and its likely purpose. Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 84

Potter’s Knowledge

Potters are unique in that they have both practical and artistic knowledge which they use in their work. A potter must have an artist’s eye to create beautiful pieces people want to buy, but they also much know the benefits and limitations of the materials they are working with. The combination of art and practically in this profession should be fun to explore! Some areas a potter would be especial knowledgable of include:
  • Geographic areas to find different types of clay and how to use them
  • History of pottery styles and techniques in different cultures
  • A wide and eclectic client base
  • The purpose of items, especially if they were for common use, decorative, or ceremonial

When to ask for a Potter’s Tools skill check

If a player wants to make simply objects using their pottery tools, I do not make them roll a skill check. I allow players to make 1d4 small pieces of pottery per hour they work which much then be fired (heated in a kiln) over a long rest to be ready to use. If a player is attempting to make a more intricate piece, I have them roll a dexterity skill check and add their proficiency modifier to the roll. If they are investigating a piece of pottery, I let them choose between an intelligence or wisdom skill check plus their proficiency modifier. You could have you player roll a potter’s tools skill check if they are:
  • Attempting to date, appraise, or otherwise understand a piece of pottery or investigate broken pottery
  • Determining if a piece is authentic or fake
  • Find clay or understand a geological area based on the dirt found there
  • Use their tools for a purpose other than creating pottery, such as removing a small object or delicately placing one
Back to Tools List

Smith’s Tools

Cost: 20 gp Includes: hammers, tongs, charcoal, rags, and a whetstone. Smiths forge iron in useful items using a furnace and tools. Any item made of metal had to go through the hands of a smith, from a mighty sword to the simple horseshoe. In a fantasy setting, blacksmiths are an important part of the economy. When you players find a village or city, their first stop is likely a blacksmith. Repairing and upgrading weapons and armor are essential in D&D, and blacksmiths make that possible. Because of their essential nature, having a player with proficiency in smithing can be quite useful. While they cannot make items while on the road (unless they have the magical or alchemical means to create a very hot fire) but they do have skills and knowledge the group needs.

Smith’s Tools Skills and Special Uses

Arcana and History. Your expertise lends you additional insight when examining metal objects, such as weapons. Investigation. You can spot clues and make deductions that others might overlook when an investigation involves armor, weapons, or other metalwork. Repair. With access to your tools and an open flame hot enough to make metal pliable, you can restore 10 hit points to a damaged metal object for each hour of work. Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 85

Smith’s Knowledge

A smith’s knowledge goes beyond their trade. To become a proficient blacksmith, a player must have connections to materials, rich knowledge of those materials, and a skillful hand. If your player is proficient with smith’s tool, then you can expect that PC to know:
  • The properties and uses of various metals
  • Mining connections
  • How to manipulate and utilize fire
  • How to spot quality items from inferior ones
When trying to decide if a player should add their proficiency to a skill check roll because of their proficiency with a tool, it is important to remember that each profession has additional skills that are necessary to be proficient in that profession. This knowledge comes from years of apprenticeship and practice. Make sure to take this into consideration when asking for skill checks!

When to ask for a Smith’s Tools skill check

If a player wants to forge a simple object or make a basic repair, I do not have the player roll a skill check. I assume that these tasks are elementary for a proficient blacksmith, given they have the right tools and access to a forge. However, if a player would like to forge an item or weapon that is more difficult or repair something that has been shattered, have the player roll a strength or dexterity skill check and add their proficiency modifier. Alternatively, if the player is examining a metal object to learn about it, have the player roll an intelligence or wisdom skill check and add their proficiency modifier. Some situations that might require a skill check are when the player wants to:
  • Open a metal object or door without unlocking it
  • Determine the value of weapons or armor
  • Understand how a metal object was used based on the wear and damage the item received
  • Repurpose a metal object to fit their needs in a pinch
Back to Tools List

Thieve’s Tools

Cost: 25 gp Includes: a small file, a set of lock picks, a small mirror mounted on a metal handle, a set of narrow-bladed scissors, and a pair of pliers. Perhaps the most used tools in D&D, thieve’s tools are used to pick locks, see around corners, disarm traps and stealthy commit crimes. Those with proficiency in thieve’s tools are ex-criminals, assassins, and rogues. These tools are not for common, law-abiding citizens. Players with proficiency in thieve’s tools will also have contacts in the criminal world and will likely have other nefarious knowledge as well.

Thieve’s Tools Skills and Special Uses

History. Your knowledge of traps grants you insight when answering questions about locations that are renowned for their traps. Investigation and Perception. You gain additional insight when looking for traps, because you have learned a variety of common signs that betray their presence. Set a Trap. Just as you can disable traps, you can also set them. As part of a short rest, you can create a trap using items you have on hand. The total of your check becomes the DC for someone else’s attempt to discover or disable the trap. The trap deals damage appropriate to the materials used in crafting it (such as poison or a weapon) or damage equal to half the total of your check, whichever the DM deems appropriate. Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 84

Thieve’s Knowledge

Thieves are experts at finding valuables and disarming the traps that often guard said valuables. Such a skill might have been learned in order to survive the streets of a city or during a particularly rebellious phase of life. However the skill were learned, they come with knowledge few others will have. A proficient thief will know
  • Contacts in the criminal world, including a fence (someone who buys stolen items)
  • How to gain information on a target through bribes, tailing, or deceit
  • How to find hidden valuables
  • Where to look for traps
  • How to spot a rich target
When a player who is proficient with thieve’s tools is attempting any action that involves the knowledge above, I always let them add their proficiency modifier to their skill check. I do this to extend the usefulness of the tool and account for the knowledge a proficient thief would have. It is a great way to make tools a more important part of the game, and I highly recommend it!

When to ask for a Thieve’s Tools skill check

There are many situations in which you might allow players to add their thieves’ tool proficiency to a skill check roll. If the player is doing any criminal activity or attempting to learn about a target through sneaky means, it is likely they should be adding their proficiency. Some examples of when I might ask for a thieve’s tools skill check are when a player:
  • Attempts to stealthily open a locked door or window
  • Disarms or sets a trap
  • Attempts to gain information using questionable means
  • Investigates a room for a hidden safe or stash
Even though a few of these do not directly include the use of thieve’s tools (such as the gathering of information) I take into account what a proficient thieve would know. Tools imply knowledge, make sure to take that knowledge into consideration. Back to Tools List

Tinker’s Tools

Cost: 50 gp Includes: a variety of hand tools, thread, needles, a whetstone, scraps of cloth and leather, and a small pot of glue. Tinkers are creative inventors who use a variety of tools and materials to craft…well…anything they can think of! Tinkers are even able to invent something out of random spare parts. They are mechanically-minded and have a keen eye for engineering. Perhaps more than the other professions, tinkers have a broad knowledge of mechanics and principals of movement, as well as mathematics, physics, and even magic! Although, this knowledge could be limited to what they needed to know for specific projects. A proficient tinker will have a lot of random knowledge. I think it is fun to have players make a short list of random knowledge, which they can call upon in times of trouble.

Tinker’s Tools Skills and Special Uses

History. You can determine the age and origin of objects, even if you have only a few pieces remaining from the original. Investigation. When you inspect a damaged object, you gain knowledge of how it was damaged and how long ago. Repair. You can restore 10 hit points to a damaged object for each hour of work. For any object, you need access to the raw materials required to repair it. For metal objects, you need access to an open flame hot enough to make the metal pliable. Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 85

Tinker’s Knowledge

In order for their experiments and inventions to work, tinkers must study many subjects. They likely are not experts in any one field, but rather do the research they need for a project and then move on. *DM Idea* Have you tinker player jot down a list of inventions, both successful and failed. This will give you a better idea of what knowledge they might have! This jumbled and eclectic collection of knowledge means a tinker should be allowed to use his/her proficiency outside of constructing new items. It is likely a tinker will know a little in each of the following fields:
  • Steam or arcane power systems (depending on your style of game)
  • Joints, gears, and the physics of motion
  • Astronomy (moving calendars and constellation trackers)
  • Various fields of mathematics
When a player is attempting to do/understand anything within a field they have likely studied, I allowed them to add their tinker’s tool proficiency to the roll.

When to ask for a Tinker Tools skill check

It is important to remember that proficiency in tinker tools doesn’t just mean the player knows how to use hand tools. Proficiency also means they know how to be a successful tinker. Taking this into consideration, so situations in which I could call for a skill check and allow my player to add their tinker tool proficiency would include:
  • Understanding the function of an invention, including how to turn it on/off and what its weaknesses might be
  • Gaining insight into a clue which has mathematical, theoretical, or physics roots
  • Building something useful out of scraps or random materials under pressure
  • Recalling random, but useful, information from previous studies
All of these actions should have proficiency added to their skill check roll for a proficient tinker. It pays to have a nerd on the team! Back to Tools List

Weaver’s Tools

Cost: 1 gp Includes: thread, needles, and scraps of cloth. You know how to work a loom, but such equipment is too large to transport. Weavers use a loom to weave together materials to create fabrics for clothing and other uses. This fabric can be anything from fine silk to coarse wool. Much like real life, a weaver could create fine clothing for the rich or cheap cloth for peasants. You should ask your player what type of fabric/clothing they specialize in making to get a better idea of what they might know as a weaver.

Weaver’s Tools Skills and Special Uses

Arcana, History. Your expertise lends you additional insight when examining cloth objects, including cloaks and robes. Investigation. Using your knowledge of the process of creating cloth objects, you can spot clues and make deductions that others would overlook when you examine tapestries, upholstery, clothing, and other woven items. Repair. As part of a short rest, you can repair a single damaged cloth object. Craft Clothing. Assuming you have access to sufficient cloth and thread, you can create an outfit for a creature as part of a long rest. Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 85

Weaver’s Knowledge

Weavers need to know a lot of people to keep their business viable. Not only do they need raw materials to create fabrics, but they also need to sell those fabrics to seamstress’ or merchants. This means that weavers will know not only everything about their craft but often everything about the business world too! You can expect a weaver to know:
  • Who to contact for materials (silk, wool, cotton, etc.) and who to contact to sell woven fabrics
  • At least one contact in the black market (even if they have never used it themselves)
  • How to spot a rich person in a crowd based on what they are wearing
  • How to dress for every occasion

When to ask for a Weaver’s Tool skill check

Depending on the character, this could be a really fun proficiency to have! A flamboyant bard or a snobby noble might constantly ask to judge people based on what they are wearing. In such cases, I would suggest having the player roll an insight skill check and add their proficiency bonus because of their weaver’s knowledge. Some other examples of when I would ask players to roll a skill check for weaver’s tools might be when a player:
  • Looks for clues based on tapestries, fabric found at the scene, or damaged clothing on a suspect
  • Wants to gain insights based on what the NPC is wearing (social status, where they have traveled, etc.)
  • Determines the enchantment placed on a cloak based on the symbols embroidered on it
  • Spot the richest person in the room, you know, to “talk” to them
Back to Tools List

Woodcarver’s Tools

Cost: 1 gp Includes: a knife, a gouge, and a small saw. A woodcarver is skilled at adding intricate designs to wooden objects. This can be as simple as a adding decorative touches to a walking stick or as complex as carving ruins into a wand. Woodcarvers make their living using their patience and skillful hands to make any mundane wooden object extraordinary.

Woodcarver’s Tools Skills and Special Uses

Arcana, History. Your expertise lends you additional insight when you examine wooden objects, such as figurines or arrows. Nature. Your knowledge of wooden objects gives you some added insight when you examine trees. Repair. As part of a short rest, you can repair a single damaged wooden object. Craft Arrows. As part of a short rest, you can craft up to five arrows. As part of a long rest, you can craft up to twenty. You must have enough wood on hand to produce them. Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 85

Woodcarver’s Knowledge

Woodcarvers know a lot of information regarding wood varieties. They are accustomed to working with different woods depending on the purpose of the item they are making. They also know how to make useful items, and can do so quickly. Beyond knowing how to carve wood, you can expect a woodcarver to know:
  • How to identify trees as well as how to know if a tree is healthy or not
  • Quality lumber and wooden items from inferior ones
  • Basic ruins for enchantments
  • Styles and techniques of carving that are unique to other cultures

When to ask for a Woodcarver’s Tool skill check

Like with many other tool sets, if a player with proficiency in woodcarving wants to make a simple wooden object, I let them do so without rolling a skill check. In order to create more complex objects or carve intricate details, have the player make a dexterity skill check and add their proficiency modifier to the roll. If the player is attempting to learn about a wooden object, ask them to make an intelligence or wisdom skill check, depending on their character’s strengths, and add their proficiency modifier. Some specific examples of when to ask for a woodcarver’s tools skill check could include when a player:
  • Investigates the purpose or iconography on a wooden object
  • Examining an object’s carvings to determine what enchantment has been placed on it
  • Discovering clues based on the features or style of a wooden item
  • Attempting to repair a delicate wooden object, such as a wand
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D&D 5e Tools: Useful or Not?

Many DMs and players have complained about the uselessness of tool proficiencies in 5th edition. The problem, however, does not lie in the tools themselves, but in player and DM inability to look outside the toolbox. Tool proficiency in D&D is meant to act as a representation of past PC experiences and knowledge. To have a proficiency in a tool means the character has been trained in its use, gaining knowledge and contacts related to that profession. Tools are as useful as you want to make them. They are open-ended. Xanathar’s Guide to Everything does a great job of filling in some missing pieces, but only you can make them useful depending on how you treat them. If you haven’t given tool even a passing glance in the past, I encourage you to rethink how you use them in your campaign. Start asking your players what their proficiencies are and create scenarios tailored to them. Everything about your players should count for something, even their tools. Until next time, May your game have advantage, my friends! -Halfling Hannah

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