Port of Entry – Tool Proficiencies

One of the fun things about creating a new character in Dungeons and Dragons is picking tool proficiencies, but it can be daunting when you’re new to the game. For my first character I chose proficiency with Tinkers Tools, and I’m not sure I ever used them. Aside from their typical usage, tool proficiencies can help you gain insight on investigation and perception checks when it comes to items you have deep familiarity with (For example: Proficiency in Mason’s Tools could allow a player insight into who may have built a castle).  Let’s take a closer look into some Tool Proficiencies available to a player in Dungeons and Dragons 5e from the Player’s Handbook on page 154.

Potters Tools Image

Tool Kits to Choose From

  • Alchemist’s Supplies
    • Need help creating acids, potions, or bombs? Alchemist supplies are going to be your friend!
  • Brewer’s Supplies
    • Obvious uses for this tool kit include crafting ale and beer, but we have also used this proficiency in game to make cheese! (Actual mileage may vary …)
  • Calligrapher’s Supplies
    • Who wants to make a convincing forgery? That’s right, you do! 
  • Carpenter’s Tools
    • Fortify a structure, build a construct, or secure a temporary shelter with your Handy Manny Tools. 
  • Cartographer’s Tools
    • How can you explore without a good map? Take Cartographer’s Tools to chart your course as you discover new terrain! 
  • Cobbler’s Tools
    • Lots of walking means a lot of worn out shoes! Help yourself (and your friends) with some much needed shoe repair. 
  • Cook’s Utensils
    • Want to eat more than simple rations on your adventure? I recommend taking Cook’s Utensils. If nothing else, you’ll have a frying pan for a backup weapon like Samwise. 
  • Glassblower’s Tools
    • Can be used to make beads, instruments, glasses, bottles, etc. Those containers can be especially important when researching chemicals and biology. 
  • Jeweler’s Tools 
    • Help gain favor with some locals with your wares or help pull of a major heist like Mindy Kalin in the film Ocean’s 8! 
  • Leatherworker’s Tools
    • Need belts? A scabbard? Studded armor? Save yourself some money and take proficiency in Leatherworker’s Tools. 
  • Mason’s Tools
    • Need walls, cisterns, anything with stone or brick? Mason’s tools will come to the rescue. They can be especially helpful to aid farmers and city folk alike! 
  • Painter’s Supplies
    • Well, you don’t have a camera to mark a special occasion out adventuring, but with a great painter in the party, you can help remember those special moments. These tools can also be helpful if you are looking to make some side coin as a caricature artist or to alter your likeness on a wanted poster. 
  • Potter’s Tools
    • Create ceramic objects, such as pots. Help people in town, make a container for your water, etc. 
  • Smith’s Tools
    • Is it time to sharpen a sword, forge a weapon, rework some metal? It must be time for Smith’s Tools! 
  • Thieves’ Tools
    • Need help opening a lock? Breaking in a secure location? Opening a chest? Thieves’ tools just may be the tool for the job! 
  • Tinker’s Tools
    • These are kind of like the adventurer’s junk drawer. Needle and thread to mend some clothes? Chainmaille patch? Whetstone to sharpen a sword? Tinker’s Tools to the rescue!
  • Weaver’s Tools
    • Make some cloth, craft some clothing, or repair your gear. Weaver’s Tools will literally have you covered. 
  • Woodcarver’s Tools
    • Whittle a whistle, fletch an arrow, repair small wooden objects or other components.
Wooden cobbler's tools

I am also going to separately outline three tool kits that commonly have overlap: A Healer’s Kit, Herbalism Kit and Poisoner’s Kit. Given that these all deal with hit points in some way, it is not surprising to find out there is confusion over how they can work.

  • A Healer’s Kit (pg 151) is a leather pouch containing bandages, salves and splits. As an action, you can spend one use of the kit to stabilize a creature that has 0 hit points, without needing to make a Wisdom (Medicine) check. A kit has 10 uses before it is used up.
    • Additional info on Healing can be found on page 197
  • A Herbalism Kit (page 154) contains clippers, motor and pestle, pouches and vials used by herbalists to help create remedies and potions. 
  • A Poisoner’s Kit (page 154) contains vials, chemicals and other equipment necessary for the creation of poisons. 

The distinctions between the kits does have some overlap, but typically are used as: A Healer’s Kit helps to stabilize an unconscious creature, a Herbalism Kit helps create items that heal or give a creature hit points and a Poisoner’s Kit helps create items that damage, or take away hit points. As with all things Dungeons and Dragons, make sure to review how kits will be used for your specific game. 

The good news is that with Tool Proficiencies, it can be less about what you have and more about how creative you can be with it. Every tool can be clutch under the right circumstance, so you really can’t go wrong. 

Metal Working Tools

What are some creative ways your party has used their tool proficiencies? 

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