If the DMG states you cannot use Fast Hands with any item that requires an action to activate, but this Errata states you can use Healers Kit with fast hands WHICH requires an action, who am I supposed to listen to?

Also, What is defined as Use an Object?

Activating some magic items requires a user to do something special, such as holding the item and uttering a command word. The description of each item category or individual item details how an item is activated. Certain items use one or more of the following rules for their activation.

If an item requires an action to activate, that action isn't a function of the Use an Item action, so a feature such as the rogue's Fast Hands can't be used to activate the item. (DMG PG 141 "ACTIVATING AN ITEM")

Can a thief use the Fast Hands feature to activate a magic item? No. One of the benefits of Fast Hands is being able to take the Use an Object action as a bonus action, but using a magic item doesn’t fall under Use an Object, as explained in the Dungeon Master’s Guide (p. 141). In contrast, using a nonmagical item, such as a healer’s kit, is in the domain of Use an Object. (Sage Advice Compendium v1.03)


1 Answer 1


They are both correct. The rules for activating Magic Items are an exception to the general Use an Object action.

D&D 5e operates on the principle of Specific Beats General:

If a specific rules contradicts a general rule, the specific rules wins (PHB > How to Play)

In this case the general rule is the Use an Item/Object rule, which the Healers kit falls under (as a non magical item).

The specific rule is the Activating an Item rule from the DMG, which covers activating magic items. In this case the DMG rule specifically excludes activating magic items from the Use an Item/Object rule, thus excluding Fast Hands from working on it.

So by the principle of specific beats general, the specific exception from the DMG "wins" for the case of using magic items.

It should be noted that the Sage Advice Compendium is not the same thing as an Errata to the rules.

  • The Sage Advice Compendium is a collection of rulings by the game developers which should act as a guide to interpreting the rules. They do not change the Rules as Written.
  • The Errata are official changes to the rules, that are incorporated into later printings of the published materials. These do change the Rules as Written.
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    \$\begingroup\$ What about in comparison to other nonmagical items like alchemist fire, or caltrops which also require an action but are mundane like the healers kit? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 11:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ColtATStiles all items which are nonmagical fall under the regular "Use an Object" action, unless the specific item has an exception to it saying it is not usable under "Use an Object". \$\endgroup\$
    – illustro
    Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 15:06

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