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I'm playing D&D 5e.

I'm trying to figure out which artisan's tools - and respective proficiency - would be used in making Restorative Ointment (also known as Keoghtom's Ointment; DMG, p. 179).

I would assume Alchemist's Supplies would be the most relevant here, but the SRD has it listed as a "Wondrous Item" (whatever that actually means here) instead of "Potion", so I'm a little confused.

Is Restorative Ointment something that could be created by Alchemist's Supplies, or would some other tool be needed?

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Ask your DM

But an Alchemist's Kit does make sense here.

First and foremost, the crafting of magic items is entirely the DM's purview. The rules for how it works are few and far between apart from time taken and cost required.

If your DM allows magic item crafting, the DMG has this to say...

To start, a character must have a formula that describes the construction of the item. The character must also be a spellcaster with spell slots and must be able to cast any spells that the item can produce. Moreover, the character must meet a level minimum determined by the item’s rarity, as shown in the Crafting Magic Items table.

[...]

You can decide that certain items also require special materials or locations to be created. For example, a character might need alchemist’s supplies to brew a particular potion, or the formula for a flame tongue might require that the weapon be forged with lava.

Where 'You' is the DM (Chapter 9)

This is further expanded on in the optional rules for crafting a magic item found in Xanathar's Guide to Everything:

To complete a magic item, a character also needs whatever tool proficiency is appropriate, as for crafting a nonmagical object, or proficiency in the Arcana skill.

XGTE Chapter 2

Thus...the DM is encouraged to require a tool proficiency appropriate for creating a similar non-magical item (you can substitute Arcana). So, for the Restorative (Keightom's) Ointment, you are making an ointment. A DM could reasonably assume that to produce a mundane ointment, you would either need to use an Herbalism Kit or an Alchemist's Kit.

So, in your case, with your DM's approval, an Alchemist's Kit makes sense as a tool you may need to create this magic item. But it is entirely up to your DM if you're even allowed to try in the first place, and if you have to go collect some bizarre exotic ingredients to use as a base for it.

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Alchemist tools make sense, but...

First and foremost, the Ointment is considered a magical item. This would mean that in order for it to even be possible to craft, your DM needs to approve Magical Item crafting. A related answer on Magic Item crafting can be found here and in the DMG on pp 128-9 under the downtime rules in Chapter 6 ("Crafting a Magic Item"):

... To start, a character must have a formula that describes the construction of the item. Their character must also be a spellcaster with spell slots and must be able to cast any spells that the item can produce. Moreover, the character must meet a level minimum determined by the item's rarity...

This will give you and your DM some thoughts as to what's required and how to do it and provide direction.

Alchemist's Supplies are specialized for crafting other items

The alchemist tool kit isn't for crafting magical items (see above for that). For each tool proficiency, Xanathar's Guide to Everything has a list of included components, relevant skills it might give advantage on, special uses, and sample DCs for some common uses. The special use for Alchemist's Supplies is listed on page 79:

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.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay, but any idea what would be the logical tools to be used to make it? Also, from the item's description, "This glass jar, 3 inches in diameter, contains 1d4 + 1 doses of a thick mixture that smells faintly of aloe", so it MIGHT make sense for Alchemist's Tools. \$\endgroup\$ – Dan K Sep 15 '18 at 20:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DanK Alchemist tools are logical - they definitely make sense but note the time, abilities, and cost associated/suggested as well. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Sep 17 '18 at 2:31
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The Herbalism kit is a viable alternative

To me a thick mixture that smells faintly of aloe sounds like an herbal ointment (Aloe sap is maple-syrup thick to start with and would make a great base for a lot of ointments once some herbs are added and it's reduced a little more), suggesting Herbalism kit as the Artisan's tool and Medicine skill proficiency is at least a possible answer, if not better. Alchemist supplies with Arcana is certainly possible too. The ointment is listed as a "Wonderous item" rather than a potion because you slather it on like a cream, instead of drinking it as you would a potion.

From the Basic Rules description of Sight Rot: "Sight rot can be cured using a rare flower called Eyebright, which grows in some swamps. Given an hour, a character who has proficiency with an herbalism kit can turn the flower into one dose of ointment." If herbalists can make at least one sort of ointment, making another ointment isn't a big stretch.

Looking at what the Restorative Ointment does: "The creature that receives it regains 2d8 + 2 hit points, ceases to be poisoned, and is cured of any disease." According to the discussion of the Herbalism kit on XGtE pg 82: "Your mastery of herbalism improves your ability to treat illnesses and wounds by augmenting your methods of care with medicinal plants." The description of the Herbalism kit in the PHB says "proficiency with this kit is required to create antitoxin and potions of healing."

Herbalists can make stuff that regains hit points (Potions of Healing), helps with poison (Antitoxin gives advantage to the saving throw), and supposedly can help treat disease (combined with the Medicine skill). Herbalism/Medicine is applicable and relevant for all three effects of the ointment.

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