Similar to this question, I am curious about what tinker's tools can do, and how it interacts specifically with thieves' tools.

In Xanathar's Guide to Everything (p. 84), there is this image, of which I think of a tinker's tool:

Wind up Dragon art from *Xanathar's Guide to Everything*.

However, in the description of tinker's tools on the same page, it says (emphasis not my own):

A set of tinker's tools is designed to enable you to repair many mundane objects. Though you can't manufacture much with tinker's tools, you can mend torn clothes, sharpen a worn sword, and patch a tattered suit of chain mail.

Components. Tinker's tools include a variety of hand tools, thread, needles, a whetstone, scraps of cloth and leather, and a small pot of glue.


Repair. You can restore 10 hit points to a damaged object for each hour of work. For any object, you need access to the raw materials required to repair it. For metal objects, you need access to an open flame hot enough to make the metal pliable.

The table below it lists sample DCs for activities the tinker's tools could be used to perform, including "Temporarily repair a disabled device", "Repair an item in half the time", and "Improvise a temporary item using scraps".

So with that, I am confused on two aspects:

  1. Is the tinkerer someone who can make wind-up dragons? or someone who is a jack-of-all-trades on a small scale? (a smith and weaver who can only do minor repairs) Or both?

    • If not, who would make the dragon in the picture?
  2. How does this interact with the ability to disarm traps? Given that the tinkerer SHOULD be able to figure out how to repair things (and they can Investigate how something was broken), then shouldn't they be able to figure out how to disarm a trap?

    • If so, do they also have mastery over thieves' tools, which are for disarming the traps?

I realize this might seem like a whole bunch of questions at once, but I think they are all closely connected, as they are all based on my not understanding why the definition of tinker's tools doesn't allow you to make the dragon.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I tried to edit the 1.2. so that it was lined up with the other numbered bullets, but it didn't quite turn out right. If you preferred how it was before, you can edit out the space before the 1.2. \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Commented Feb 1, 2020 at 12:40

1 Answer 1


You can make simple repairs and craft temporary items, not much more

RAW Tinker tools allow you to make small repairs, jury-rig a temporary replacement for stuff and do some archeology and damage investigations. Nothing else. There is nothing to suggest (aside from DM fiat) that it is capable of doing anything else.

The wind-up dragon in the image was probably made by a Rock Gnome utilising their Tinker trait:

You have proficiency with artisan’s tools (tinker’s tools). Using those tools, you can spend 1 hour and 10 gp worth of materials to construct a Tiny clockwork device (AC 5, 1 hp). The device ceases to function after 24 hours (unless you spend 1 hour repairing it to keep the device functioning), or when you use your action to dismantle it; at that time, you can reclaim the materials used to create it. You can have up to three such devices active at a time.

When you create a device, choose one of the following options:

Clockwork Toy. This toy is a clockwork animal, monster, or person, such as a frog, mouse, bird, dragon, or soldier. When placed on the ground, the toy moves 5 feet across the ground on each of your turns in a random direction. It makes noises as appropriate to the creature it represents.

I believe, that this racial trait's existence is an argument that normal proficiency in tinker's tools should not allow you to create such a clockwork toy, because it would make this trait irrelevant.

Another argument is existence of the Quicksmithing feat in the Plane Shift: Kaladesh PDF, one of the benefits of which is identical to the Rock Gnome's Tinker trait, including the ability to craft a clockwork toy dragon.

As for traps, there is a great difference between being able to disarm traps and being able to disarm traps without triggering it and being caught in it. The best trap defuser I've seen was a hasted raging barbarian with a warhammer. Few things could put a dent in him, and few things could continue to work after being bashed with a heavy slab of metal repeatedly.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I agree, tinker's tools would probably only allow you to disarm a trap if you already had safe access to the trap's inner workings. They're not designed to safely access those inner workings from the business end of the trap. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 1, 2020 at 13:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ I know that gnomes have wonderful innovation that can make wonderful toys (including a music box), but couldn't they teach other races to do the same? Perhaps not so detailed, but a simple wind-up motor? or would that be a DM rule? \$\endgroup\$
    – Victor B
    Commented Feb 1, 2020 at 21:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, thank you for answering the traps. Though I was considering that, if one could tell HOW a device was damaged (investigation) and fix a deactivated device (Repair), then why wouldn't you be able to do the opposite and deactivate it as well? \$\endgroup\$
    – Victor B
    Commented Feb 1, 2020 at 21:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @VictorB Sure, you can deactivate a trap with tinker's tools. But can you do it without setting off the trap? Probably not. The tools certainly aren't designed for that. That's what thieves' tools are designed for. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 1, 2020 at 22:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @VictorB this would be under DM rule. Quicksmithing feat is a good example for how someone could aqure needed skills. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 7:10

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .