The beauty of Dungeons and Dragons is the sheer flexibility to do anything your heart desires as long as it’s within the rules. I like to think of it as an open-world video game with terrible graphics (the graphics being a person’s imagination). That being said, the possibilities and outcomes that can be created through Carpenter’s Tools are only limited by the rules of the game and the player’s imagination. As the name suggests, Carpenter’s Tools would give a character access to carpentry- so crafting bigger objects made of wood whereas a Woodcarver’s Tools is more for crafting small wooden objects.
Introduced in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, Carpenter’s Tools consist of the following items: a saw, a hammer, nails, a hatchet, a square, a ruler, an adze, a plane, and a chisel. Like most tools, they require some sort of Intelligence along with a few other aspects in order to be really good at using them. However, if the character is already proficient at them, it shouldn’t pose much of a problem.
When to Have Carpenter tools
It is highly recommended to only take the Carpenter’s Tools if the game is not going at a quick-rate and the players are able to take their time such as a long-term campaign or a one-shot that lets the players explore at their own pace. This is due to the fact that the Temporary Shelter needs to be put on hold for one long rest in order for its user to be able to learn to construct it.
In one-shots, players would most likely only need to use this once during the entire adventure since it remains for 1d3 days (a one-shot is usually in a span of 1-2 in-game days) while in campaigns, they would have in-game years to constantly sleep outside in a the temporary shelter in which they can always have handy.
Skills That Come With using these tools
The skills that the Carpenter’s Tools use are History (Intelligence), Investigation (Intelligence), Perception (Wisdom), and Stealth (Dexterity). Most of the tools do ask for decent Intelligence, but best ones to focus on would be the Perception and arguably the Stealth checks. Why?
Perception will allow the player to spot traps and secret passages better than a normal eye would and Stealth checks will allow the player to move on wood a lot quieter. If a person were to have proficiency with these items, the player will be able to add their proficiency bonus to the roll and increase their chances of success (and they don’t even have to be a rogue!). That being said, I’d only recommend taking these tools if the player is proficient with it rather than simply have it on the person.
Who Should Have Carpenter tools
The classes that are proficient in Artisan’s Tools, and therefore Carpenter’s Tools, only are Artificers and Monks, strangely enough. If the player wishes their character to train for 250 days with 1 gold per day, they can also learn to be proficient with the tools, but oftentimes, players will not opt for that choice.
I have seen Artificers take Carpenter’s Tools a few times, but most would prefer the Alchemist Set due to them already having Tinker’s Tools and they are able to do more overall with the latter. Meaning, the only other optimal class option to have the Carpenter’s Tools would have to go to the Monk.
It works out anyway since they have saving throws on Dexterity and use quite a bit of Wisdom for their Ki. If the Monk were to add their skill in Perception (Wisdom) and acquire these tools, they’d be able to roll high with advantage. The chances of failing with those odds would be possibly the worst luck and therefore is extremely unlikely.
Woodcarver vs. Carpenter
Oftentimes, the DM will blur the line between what a Wood Carver and what a Carpenter can do. Personally, if the person using the Carpenter’s Tools has honed their craft long enough, I’d simply let my player be able to do similar and simple tasks that a Woodcarver would usually do if they had the tools for it.
However, if the DM is stricter with their rules (which is completely okay. Always respect your DMs), a Woodcarver focuses more on intricate and smaller structures requiring details while a Carpenter makes bigger structures. This is mainly due to the equipment that comes with each of the tools. Since a Carpenter’s Tools has a saw and a chisel, it would be extremely difficult for them to do intricate details on smaller things like arrows and bolts.
Alternatively, a Woodcarver’s Tools has a knife and a small saw so it would be difficult and extremely time consuming for them to make an entire structure by themselves. Here’s a good example: A Woodcarver is able to make arrows and bolts which need a steady hand and good detail in order to make one good enough for a battle.
On the other hand, the Carpenter can make the chest or storage space that would hold those arrows and bolts since no detail is needed other than the blueprints for the structure themselves. To put things even more simply, a Carpenter would build a door and a Woodcarver would put the engravings onto the door to make it look nice.
How To Use Carpenter Tools and Examples
An All-Out War
As stated previously, the creations with Carpenter’s Tools are only limited by the rules (via your DM) and the player’s imagination. The most common thing to make with Carpenter’s Tools would have to be a chest, mundane vehicles, tables, desks, shields or structures.
I find that the most fun my players have when using these tools is building a small fort to prepare for an incoming raid of monsters. The person who possesses the Carpenter’s Tools would build shields for everyone, make high structures for cover for everyone in the party, including the archers. Players found those moments extremely memorable as it was something they worked on for days on end, and they kept rolling high so I wasn’t able to stop the progress at all.
Then, at the end of the battle, they all decided to make the fort their homebase. If anything was damaged afterwards, the player with the tools would use their Fortify use to make sure no hostile would be able to infiltrate.
As the campaign ended, the homebase grew into an entire town where the party made sure to protect them from any sort of attack, and it eventually grew into an extremely rich and populated city with the party standing at its head.
There was once an adventure I ran where each of the players wanted to save as much money as possible so they could one day become nobles (they were VERY sparing with their money).
When it became apparent that one of the players had Carpenter’s Tools, they decided to have that player work overtime each day. The player made them their shields, their armor, their wooden transportation (a carriage), and even a boat to cross a lake (they absolutely refused to pay for a ferry). They also refused to buy anything for storage so they had the player build everyone chests in their homebase (in which they also had the player create).
At the end of the campaign, the player with the Carpenter’s Tools married a person with the Woodcarver’s Tools and they created a wooden empire to get rich. They did eventually become the main antagonists in the next adventure since they were killing all the trees, though!
Conclusion and overview
Tools within Dungeons and Dragons are considered extremely glossed over and used almost as a last case scenario. Players and DMs alike are too caught up in their own situation to manually look through their inventory unless the player themselves like to be intricate and efficient with things.
Most of the time, though, players often like to rush through things and try to get the easiest and fastest solution possible (I am also guilty of this). When players do actually look into their inventory to find Artisan tools though, most usually come short of Thieves’ Tools and the Alchemist’s Supplies due to the amount of time and in-game effort that needs to be invested into it.
This is especially so when it comes to shorter and quick-paced adventures. Regardless, the other tools do have their uses, mostly for supporting the rest of the team.
While the Carpenter’s Tools may not be the first choice for the Monk or the Artificer, it’s a solid choice nonetheless even if a player isn’t proficient in it. Again, though, I do suggest becoming proficient with the tools eventually simply so the player can reap all of its benefits.
Apart from the Poisoner’s Kit, which is not considered Artisan’s Tools, the Carpenter’s Tools provide the most for a player and their party as long as it’s used wisely. Since the player will most likely not be the only one carrying tools, they can have a lot of fun experimenting the synergies between different Tools and Kits that other players may be proficient in. Once again, the possibilities are endless. Happy crafting!
|When to Have Carpenter Tools||Recommended for long-term campaigns or one-shots that allow players to explore at their own pace.|
|Skills That Come With Using These Tools||Carpenter’s Tools use History, Investigation, Perception, and Stealth. Perception and Stealth checks are essential, while Intelligence is also important.|
|Who Should Have Carpenter Tools||Carpenter’s Tools are only proficiently available to Artificers and Monks. However, anyone can train to become proficient with the tools for 250 days at 1 gold per day.|
|Woodcarver vs. Carpenter||A Woodcarver focuses on intricate structures, while a Carpenter makes bigger structures due to equipment differences.|
|How To Use Carpenter Tools and Examples||Carpenter’s Tools can be used to create structures, mundane vehicles, and furniture. They are only limited by rules and the player’s imagination.|