Tools come in a wide range of uses, from fixing things to setting traps. Each tool has its own set of mechanical uses and special capabilities that become accessible once you become proficient with it.
Proficiency with a tool also grants you the opportunity to add your proficiency bonus to Ability Checks conducted using that same tool, providing endless possibilities in your campaign!
Tool proficiency is a useful bonus that grants characters the ability to add their proficiency modifier to skill checks when using certain tools. This may be acquired during character creation or as part of a class advancement reward, or it could simply be due to player initiative.
Tool proficiency in 5e may not be as powerful as it once was, but it still adds some additional layers of depth that provide some welcome variety to your game. There are numerous ways to use this ability if you’re willing to explore all its possibilities.
A cartographer’s tools proficiency can give you some understanding of nearby landmarks, which is invaluable when spotting hidden paths or false maps or exploring dungeons.
Another tool proficiency that may seem uncommon but could be very helpful is mason’s tools. This proficiency enables you to make History, Investigation or Perception checks on stone structures – an increasingly common type of building – as well as deal double damage to brick walls with weapon attacks – an advantage which may prove especially helpful in some circumstances.
A poisoner’s kit is an invaluable investment for any weapon user, as it allows them to increase their DPR by half or more simply by learning how to craft poisonous weapons. Plus, it can be combined with familiars and summons for a more reliable method of acquiring additional poisons without needing to put in extra effort or risk.
Some tool proficiencies may not be as popular or practical, but they can still be fun to pick up if you play in an environment where they are more common. Leatherworker’s tools and mason’s tools may both be niche items, but they could still prove beneficial if played within an environment where these vehicles are more prevalent.
5e adds some flair to tools by providing special capabilities. These are basically bonus abilities that can be applied to checks when you possess proficiency in a given tool, providing more details than what would be provided through basic skill checks alone.
Proficiency with potter’s tools can assist you with History, Investigation or Perception checks involving ceramics. It provides the unique capability of determining an object’s original form and purpose by examining its broken pieces. While this skill set won’t provide game-changing advantages, it may prove useful in certain circumstances such as determining whether something has been fired or used to craft a pot or axe.
Another tool with limited special capabilities is proficiency in smith’s tools, which can be beneficial when conducting History or Investigation checks involving metalwork and history. While these skills aren’t particularly powerful, they may come into play occasionally when repairing armor or weapons.
Your weaver’s tools grant two special capabilities; the ability to repair cloth objects during a short rest and create an entire outfit if you possess enough thread. While these aren’t game-changers, they make sense in the context of your character’s background as weavers, providing useful options when fixing or crafting cloth items.
Similarly, proficiency with woodcarver’s tools can assist you with Arcana, History or Nature checks involving wooden objects. While this feature is not especially valuable, it could prove more advantageous in a campaign requiring arrow-making or fixing wooden tokens.
Other tool proficiency, such as brewer’s tools and leatherworker’s tools are not particularly important in general but can be extremely useful if playing in a campaign that involves vehicles. For instance, being able to craft signature drinks is great for social events or when needing to bribe people to do things for you.
Variant rules offer players the chance to explore new possibilities without altering the game rules themselves. There is a wide selection of variant rules available, and it’s up to each Dungeon Master to decide which ones work best for their particular scenario.
The first type of variant rule involves tools. This one permits characters to roll a Dexterity check instead of their normal skill check when using an object.
This straightforward but effective change makes tracking tool proficiency much simpler, while also aiding in the balance between different skillsets and tool proficiencies.
Tool proficiencies differ from skill proficiencies, which tend to be tied to an ability score. They can be employed for a range of tasks from creating music to painting a portrait of a murderer.
Therefore, selecting the appropriate tools for your campaign is critical. Some are more powerful than others while some might not even appear in your game.
For instance, Carpenter’s Tools is ideal for forestry campaigns but may not be as useful in combat-heavy games. On the other hand, Cartographer’s Tools make great choices when it comes to maps-centric campaigns.
Another variant rule related to tools is the one that grants you an additional bonus when using a certain tool. This feature can be especially handy when trying to pick locks or set up traps.
It’s worth noting that this rule only applies to certain types of tools. For instance, the cleric cannot add their Emboldening Feature to tool or ability checks made with a thief’s tool, but they may do so when using an arcanist’s tool or any other tool they possess proficiency in.
Other tool-related rules are more intricate. Some require class features or backgrounds in order to achieve; for instance, the Halfling has a Lucky trait which can be used to improve their average roll when making tool or ability checks.
Tools have a range of uses and should be utilized as an opportunity to add personality to your character. Tools are often composed of skills which work in combination with other abilities or skillsets; 5e has given many tools special abilities that make them useful throughout the campaign.
Woodcarvers specialize in adding intricate designs to wooden objects like walking sticks or wands, as well as creating other things from it such as musical instruments, tools and weapons.
Another use is being able to repair or patch items quickly without sacrificing the quality of your work. Tool proficiency is ideal if you want the ability to do a bit of everything, especially if you’re in construction or another profession that requires frequent changes between jobs.
It’s essential to remember that tool proficiencies aren’t tied to an ability score, making them much more flexible. Dexterity could be used for crafting intricate crafts or Intelligence could help sight read a piece of music.
Carpenter’s tools offer a multitude of uses and are an invaluable asset in the game. Gaining this proficiency will allow you to do History or Perception checks on any wooden object or building (which are common in the game), as well as easily spot traps.
If you’re a rogue or assassin, thieves’ tools is an invaluable skill to have in your arsenal. Not everyone will benefit from this proficiency, but those with contacts in criminal circles and shady backgrounds should find it beneficial to add this one to their arsenal.
Leatherworkers possess a special skill to craft leather items such as armor or boots. Additionally, they possess the ability to identify the source of hides or leather products and craft numerous other objects from it such as gloves or belts.