D&D Rules: Are Tool Proficiencies Worthless

D&D Rules: Are Tool Proficiencies Worthless

D&D Rules: Are Tool Proficiencies Worthless
Nerdarchy examines D&D tools proficiency in 5th Edition. Do that add to the game? Who’s job is it to make tools matter? The Dungeons and Dragons player, the Dungeon Master, or maybe both?

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  1. Sean Wisniewski on March 29, 2022 at 6:20 pm

    The look on the DMs face when I took down an iron door then turned it into a set of plate armor

  2. Sean Wisniewski on March 29, 2022 at 6:20 pm

    So I had a character get plate armor at 2nd level because he got everything he needed to make plate armor and just paid the blacksmith 100 gold to use his forge

  3. freakyskull516 on March 29, 2022 at 6:21 pm

    WotC has a tendency to "balance" tools and crafting rules to take amounts of time and money that make zero sense according to the rest of the world’s economy or logic. the end result is that shiny plate armor that only takes a month or two to make in real life and not much money in materials suddenly take many months and obscene amounts of money to craft and gods help you if you want a potion! getting a giant’s fingernails isnt enough hassle you still have to spend a few hundred gold and like a month brewing the potion cuz you know… that makes it fun and worth investing worldspace into. "yo! dalserek the vermin lord! put your cataclysmic plans on hold! i need to spend the next 30 days brewing a single potion of hill giant’s strength because WotC is afraid i might get one of them without buying it or finding it in a 1,000 year old rotten chest in the bottom of a pit somewhere guarded by a nest of drakes!." not like getting herbalism kit proficiency makes sense in the first place… "oh whats that? you want to brew potions? well you better either start talking to trees or live alone in the woods for a few years because those are your options! what? lore about wizards and shopkeeps brewing potions as their livelihoods? **sweats** i have no idea what you are talking about, only the trees have those secrets…"

  4. CrazyDeadPerson on March 29, 2022 at 6:23 pm

    Been playing dnd for about 3 years now and tools have never even been used in a game I’ve been a part of not even thieves tools

  5. VC on March 29, 2022 at 6:25 pm

    You nerds are so much fun to watch and listen to! Thank you for all the work you put into these.

  6. Sean Hannan on March 29, 2022 at 6:25 pm

    My thoughts for tool usage, first you have tools to craft an item like smith tools to make a sword.

    Next is knowledge of what the tools can do like using weaver’s tools to perform a medicine check by literally stitching up a wound.

    Then knowledge that comes with the trade such as using an investigation check on a parchment with illegible handwriting and using your knowledge of calligraphy tools to figure out what it says.

    Then using knowledge of one proficiency with tools of another such as calligraphy knowledge with smith tools to etch a design into the blade of the sword to increase it’s selling value, or being able to make a flute from woodcarvers tools because your character can play a flute and knows how big the wholes need to be and where for it to be tuned correctly.

    Combat is mostly attack and spells though readying traps can be a thing just hard since not all tools are used for the attack. Disguise kit you can attack disguised yes but you aren’t using your disguise kit to attack, though while they are unconscious you could use disguise kit to hide the cause of their injuries or investigate an injured person using knowledge of disguise kit find if any thing is a red herring.

  7. onyxgrnr666 on March 29, 2022 at 6:26 pm

    Lol its the players fault not wizard of the coast for not making the tools make any sense

  8. Robert Silvermyst on March 29, 2022 at 6:26 pm

    In the last game I played in, we were warned of harpies. Using my jeweler’s tools and a candle, I was able to fashion the wax into earplugs for the group.

  9. bouncerblake on March 29, 2022 at 6:26 pm

    You guys make incredibly informative and entertaining videos. My party wants to go into World of Darkness, and I’m looking for a feed like yours in that category to up my game as a storyteller for Hunter and Promethean. Any suggestions?

  10. Sean Wisniewski on March 29, 2022 at 6:27 pm

    So for alchemy supplies obviously you can make potions of varying kinds

  11. AEB1066 on March 29, 2022 at 6:31 pm

    Really late to this.

    As a DM I look at my party’s character skills including tool skills and try to imagine ways to include them in the planned adventures.

    Proficient with a musical instrument? Then you get inside that lords manor by being hired as an entertainer.
    Got a gaming set? Use it to interact with a NPC by challenging them to a game allowing the use of other skills like persuasion.
    Got alchemist supplies, cooking utensils and a poisoners kit? Make meals that are tasty yet only poison those that you want to poison.
    Got Carpenters and Blacksmithing tools? Build a siege engine from scratch.
    Got Jewelers tools? Modify stolen jewelry to allow save resale.

    Part of the issue is that many players really don’t understand what their tools can be used for. Give them some ideas as a DM and soon they’ll start coming up with ideas themselves.

  12. Ethan B on March 29, 2022 at 6:31 pm

    Yeah, these are good points. If I’m going to utilize tool proficiencies, then I’m going to do it in maintenance and material gathering. If you want gems or metal for items, then stone mason’s tools will be paramount in extracting that ore, smithing or gem cutting tools to turn that into a valuable item, even cartographers tools for more easily find a way around the wild.

  13. Kugrox on March 29, 2022 at 6:35 pm

    11:40 Being able to analyze a dead creature to discover a weak point, this is actually an ability in the homebrew Witcher class, it’s a Beastiery, you spend 5 minutes analyzing a living or dead creature, and if you do, you add pretty much, all that information to your beastiery, which you then, have special beastiery dice, sort of like superiority dice, which can only be used against creatures in your beastiery, to either increase or a decrease a roll, depending on which homebrew version of the class you use, or how you want to nerf the class at the table.

    I think the Witcher homebrew class is worth looking at, as it specifically uses a lot of different tools, in ways you guys are talking about. Alchemic tools, poisoners kit, observing animals, the witcher in the games was also capable of blacksmithing, leatherworking, even able to smith himself special silver blades. Bombs which would be tinkers tools or something similar like artificers use. A very tool based class, that is currently, only homebrewed, and will never be official. But, you could make a character based on that class, to try out different ways to make tools work in dnd 5e in more impactful ways.

  14. Sean Wisniewski on March 29, 2022 at 6:35 pm

    Smith tools are good for reducing equipment costs as your character can make them him/her self and you can turn raw materials into useable ones to make said equipment

  15. Sean Wisniewski on March 29, 2022 at 6:35 pm

    Musical instruments can be used to put on a show to make money and gain recognition

  16. Earthwalker228 on March 29, 2022 at 6:39 pm

    Don’t forget that a character’s proficiency in a given tool set can apply to roleplaying situations outside of actual tool use. For example, I’m playing an assassin in a game involving clandestine political conflicts. Members of certain guilds were being drugged and kidnapped, and my character used his proficiency with the poisoner’s kit (and by extension experience and knowledge) in conjunction with the reported symptoms from some rescued NPCs to deduce what type of drug was used, and he is currently using that knowledge to track down various apothecaries to try and trace buyers and find leads as to who’s behind this particular intrigue.

  17. Seb Scho on March 29, 2022 at 6:40 pm

    I like th rides of skinning/leather working highlighting a weak point. Though maybe the outcome could be you crit On 19 and 20 o that type of creature, can be active on one type at a time

  18. Toxic Masculinity on March 29, 2022 at 6:43 pm

    In my current campaign, all magic weapons can only attune to one person, and it has to happen at creation. All enchanted weapons require gems to hold the enchantment. When one of my players chose the folk hero background she asked me what to choose for her tool proficiency. I advised her to choose the jewler’s kit. Now she can identify gems for their worth and also retrieve them so they can be used in other magic weapons.

  19. Joe Cinocca on March 29, 2022 at 6:43 pm

    I’m playing an agriculture-themed Druid and wish there were "Farming Tools" that I could have as a proficiency. Character could work with players that had Cooking Utensils or wanted specific ingredients. Either way, I’m always trying to figure out how to incorporate the proficiency skill into the game, especially in the down (non-combat) times. Gear costs money, so finding a side hustle is important for me.

  20. Destroyer Inazuma on March 29, 2022 at 6:44 pm

    We have a urban fantasy campaign coming up. Would a character proficient with medicine be auto proficient with surgical instruments or do certain medicine students never touch one?

  21. Sean Wisniewski on March 29, 2022 at 6:46 pm

    Carpenter tools let you turn a tree into a wagon with enough time

  22. Starslayer83 on March 29, 2022 at 6:46 pm

    16:24 The f@&king bass is F@&KING RAW!

  23. Martin Hearn on March 29, 2022 at 6:50 pm

    My current character is proficient with cooking. it has been used to great effect during down time to get the local guards on side. But we have also assumed that my character has a good sense of smell which is useful for perception checks.

  24. Isaac Karr on March 29, 2022 at 6:52 pm

    New shoes buff 5 ft of movement or +1 to evation… Pelts rot overnight and cooks tend to cure food.Please quit sprinkling silver and gold some medieval traders didn’t even recognise gold.Trade skill product’s are more valuable in towns with a shortage or advanced need. Got barter? A 15 mile mountain hike in bare feet should damage a level of fatigue 30 in shoes.A gritty game should have travel as an investment with 250 miles of durability with movement,stealth and melee damage penalties.Do tattered clothes affect persuasion checks? Fact in life they do. If you want to keep track of ware and tare on garments you will probably want to make some paper abacuses.To do this draw 11 dots and place a marker over the fifth one; to represent a four this is also nice for HP as it’s easy to adjust

  25. Jay Champagne on March 29, 2022 at 6:52 pm

    The problem is that tools aren’t supported very well by the rules. You can sometimes craft items, but it takes so much time to do it that you can only craft the items during downtime, when you could also buy the item in a store.

  26. hACHOUken on March 29, 2022 at 6:53 pm

    Double proficiency to me sounds great, but then I think about bard with expertise with performance, then uses an instrument with that skill check.
    Also, why do rogues only specify being able to add expertise to thieves tools? Is it cause this is the only tool kit that on face value a check unique in itself?

  27. Nerdarchy on March 29, 2022 at 6:53 pm

    Links from Video
    A complete Guide to Nautical Campaigns – http://bit.ly/GreatGM

  28. Andrew Blair on March 29, 2022 at 6:55 pm

    Tools in 5e are awesome broken. I like em, love em, want more of em.

  29. Sean Wisniewski on March 29, 2022 at 6:56 pm

    Herbalism kits allows you to make herbal remedies and also make some herbal concoctions that can have there own effects beneficial or negative

  30. Claude-Alexandre Trudeau on March 29, 2022 at 6:57 pm

    With crafting taking so much time it’s only done during downtime, most of the time, I handwave it away as such: Do you have proficiency in X tools? Yes? Then you succeed in your crafting attempt. No? Then you have to hire someone who does and pay him X amount of gold per day.

  31. Nick M on March 29, 2022 at 6:58 pm

    I blame AL for my lack of tool use. Artificer will help a bit but thieves tools fpr traps Smith’s tools if I want to make weapons as a Forge cleric or a wizard and cartographers tools because I one time had a DM say I couldn’t make a good map otherwise. Now with Artificer I try to have at least thieves, smiths,tinkers, leather working, cartography, and Masons tools. Now I need to make an artificer woth all the tools. Or maybe a MacGyver subclass Artificer (proficient with improvised tools).

  32. BW022 on March 29, 2022 at 6:58 pm

    Why to help incorporate them.
    * Have the DM write down or remember players have these along with their backgrounds.
    * Give players with these knowledge, checks, or advantage on "knowledge type" checks. If a group enters a one old room with broken stone tombs containing skeletons in armor… immediately give the stonemason the fact that the stone was broken only a few weeks ago, the smith that the armor is some 300-400 years old and probably functional, etc. and then give history rolls.
    * Allow using the tools for minor repairs (or destruction) on items. Bars, locks, stone walls, etc. if they have the appropriate tools and skills.
    * Put in the occasional skill check which is specifically going to use it. There is a large climb coming up and the PCs find some broken harnesses (leather working) and rusty pitons (smithing). Maybe the find a body next to a cart with a symbol of a ale maker guild and get a reward for returning it.
    * Discounts or some type of advantage when buying items. Maybe the find a vendor selling cheap weapons (which break on a 1).
    * Try putting the PCs in a lower-level situation where they don’t have equipment. Escaped prisoners, ship sinks with their equipment, etc. Suddenly savaging equipment, making crude weapons, etc. matters. Even if temporarily — a teleport room which doesn’t bring their equipment with them.

  33. Psion on March 29, 2022 at 7:00 pm

    Ultimately, it depends on your GM doesn’t it. Though from the look of some of the comments, I’m glad I gave up on D&D after the debacle that was 4th Edition.

  34. Mike Sands on March 29, 2022 at 7:00 pm

    There is not a lot of mechanical benefit to making pretty or beautiful items, outside of raised costs. Unless players are hyper into art.

  35. Kelly Parish on March 29, 2022 at 7:00 pm

    Weaver tools – dressmaker with the adventurers as the models. Then becoming a supplier to the high society in a city. But it takes a GM who wants to work with the player to work on social/political system. Could do the same with a lot of the artisan tools.

  36. Ghastly_Grinner on March 29, 2022 at 7:02 pm

    only if you as the dm make them useless

  37. Noah Bass on March 29, 2022 at 7:02 pm

    I made a dwarf artificer battle smith with clan crafter background and later multi-classed into battle master. After all that I have like 7 tool proficiencies. I make EVERYTHING for my party now.

  38. Sean Wisniewski on March 29, 2022 at 7:03 pm

    I actually added a first level conjuration spell which can be cast as a ritual, and has the ability to summon tools for 24 hour, and require proficiency to use. So the key difference between this spell, and the ones you can carry with you is that this spell summons an entire tool array meaning when you want smiths tools you summon the standard of hammers and other instruments, but you also a strait forge and smelter meaning you can melt down none magical ore or metal and do more than pound a blade into shape or make basic repairs. I tend to let my players have a lot of fun crafting non-magical items with special effects for them to use. For example one of my players wanted to turn a Basalisk’s hide into a cloak to get advantage on saving throws against being paralysed, stunned, or petrified which I let him do.

  39. NANCOK on March 29, 2022 at 7:03 pm

    in my case i just got weaving prof to get my goliath paladin to get a hobby kniting, even got some golden thread for it, mostly useless, but i’m not the only one that got entertained by the idea of a beefy paladin spending his free time kniting and making mats or sweaters

  40. thancrow on March 29, 2022 at 7:04 pm

    Maybe with musical instruments tool proficiencies you could get advantage on your performance check to show how well you could play the instrument.

  41. Longtimber on March 29, 2022 at 7:06 pm

    You guys are nerdy, but you’re not total nerds.if you were total nerds, you’d be welcoming us to Ted’s Mother’s Basement every week. lol

  42. Sean Wisniewski on March 29, 2022 at 7:07 pm

    Generally speaking it works best when the players take initiative to use their tool proficiency

  43. Ben Battersby on March 29, 2022 at 7:08 pm

    I made a 40 page word doc for what you can make and what the prices and DCs are for alchemist/herbal/poisoner/jeweler/carpentry/smith/tinkerer tools

  44. DisThoughts on March 29, 2022 at 7:09 pm

    Anyone have any ideas for fun or useful non-magical things my character can make with alchemist’s supplies proficiency? I mean, obviously magical potions, but those are limited to having to know spells as per RAW, so I was wondering about things like glue and carbonation for drinks or other such things the dm might allow.

  45. Aetrion on March 29, 2022 at 7:10 pm

    Try picking a lock without tools and proficiency…

  46. Pam Arnold on March 29, 2022 at 7:10 pm

    Cooking tools are useful unless you don’t have to keep track of your food. Check out prices for rations versus trade goods.

  47. Peter Whitcomb on March 29, 2022 at 7:11 pm

    I put this video off because of the topic. Big mistake on my part. Great job and has given me ideas on incorporating them into future adventures.

  48. Nihility on March 29, 2022 at 7:14 pm

    I enjoy incorporating tool proficiency in related skill checks, for example if you have masonry you have advantage on search checks (find traps/secret doors) in stonework structures and carpentry affects wooden structure search checks. and for crafting potions and the like using "ingredient levels" once a character has identified the effects of a component he knows the item level of that ingredient so say someone makes a basic alchemists fire the ingredient list is basic vial (level 1 "container") methanol (level 1 "catalyst") raw sulfur (level 1 "active ingredient" [combustible]) will make a vial of alchemist fire, however it’l expire after 12 hours, a higher level vial increases the "shelf life" a higher level catalyst will affect how the effect works, affect a larger area or have a longer duration and a higher level active ingredient will deal more damage so obviously a leveled acid creates a acid grenade etc.

    I rule for crafting something like that, crafting takes 1 hour and provided you have the materials and quality tools you can create batches, a basic alchemists kit you might be able to make a batch of 2, an intermediate set might make 3 an advanced set make a batch of 3 but only requiring the materials for 2 (except container) an expert set makes a batch of 4 requiring the materials for 3 an master set will make a batch of 4 with the ingredients of 2.

    I love tool proficiencies and I have to admit I’m rather disappointed in the base rules handling/usefulness of crafting. having said that it is DnD so if u don’t like something, house rule that shiz.

  49. Nick Tongret on March 29, 2022 at 7:15 pm

    It’s WotC fault for failing to fully explain the use of the tools beyond just background flavor. Even their published adventures fail to bring up using tools with the exception of theives tools.

  50. Trippy Martian on March 29, 2022 at 7:19 pm

    Playing a Fighter Gunslinger, my tinkers tools are arguably my characters defining trait. He creates all his own guns and ammo (the DM decides the prices and I keep track of everything I could craft, the DM retcons prices as needs be) and my DM has allowed me to create entirely new items if my character int is high enough, high enough proficiency, enough resources, enough time, ect. He even crafts specialized items for each of the party members that compliments them in small ways. He trained the rouge (After a year in game time, probably 6 months in real time) in proficiency with firearms then created him a sniper. All of this of course depends on our DM being open to HB his own mechanics and having a extremely deep understanding of the rules so as not to break the balance. Super fun though and that is what our DM prioritizes when we’re playing DND so he’s not scared to mess up and retcon himself a moment later in the name of adventure.