I'm a new DM and I'm helping two members of my party create their first characters. One wants to be a tortle druid.

Their chosen background is Far Traveler but they also want to be proficient with thieves' tools. From what I understand, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything would permit a tool substitution.

I was initially skeptical because tortles have large fingers and long claws; can they pinch objects like a small file or lock picks? I'm now inclined to allow it for two reasons:

  • many of the other tools' descriptions sound like they have similarly sized or delicate components; and
  • the player pitched the 'Donatello Defence', i.e., Donatello is never shown having any trouble with small tools.

Is there anything else I should consider?

  • 8
    \$\begingroup\$ @Michael The reason you never see half-orc rogues is because they're just that good at hiding. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 3, 2022 at 19:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Michael: Please avoid answering in comments. If you want to answer the question, you should post an answer instead. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Mar 3, 2022 at 23:59

2 Answers 2


Mechanically, there's nothing stopping them

Remember that Dexterity is the ability which governs how proficient you are with not just agility but also your hands. A tortle with high Dexterity is good at manual dexterity regardless of their hands or claws.

I would suspect that the lockpicks they use perhaps have larger handles than the lockpicks a halfling would use, allowing them to use them more comfortably. However, I have not found any information on race-specific lockpicking kit sizes.

  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ Their hands are large but they move slowly, deliberately, and precisely! \$\endgroup\$
    – Turbo
    Mar 3, 2022 at 15:31
  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ Mechanically, they shouldn't be penalized. Story-wise, I would love to have the player narrate what it looks like to use those skills. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 3, 2022 at 22:47

You're the DM; it is your game, and you hold the final call. The rules, however, do not body-shame PC races.

It is assumed every PC race can wield any tool any PC race can, unless it is specifically stated in their stat block and race description that they don't.

It isn't even a matter of specialized tools. A Tortle can take the Halfling's thieves' tools and fiddle with a lock just the same and vice versa.

If you want to have equipment be sized differently for each character, you can apply this equipment sizes variant rule:

In most campaigns, you can use or wear any equipment that you find on your adventures, within the bounds of common sense. For example, a burly half-orc won't fit in a halfling’s leather armor, and a gnome would be swallowed up in a cloud giant’s elegant robe.

The DM can impose more realism. For example, a suit of plate armor made for one human might not fit another one without significant alterations, and a guard’s uniform might be visibly ill-fitting when an adventurer tries to wear it as a disguise.

  • \$\begingroup\$ If the DM (and players) wanted to adopt something like the optional size rule could implement the issues of using radically different tool sets by increasing the difficulty rather than banning it. You could even do this in a race agnostic way with a ruling that a thief has some appropriate penalty for using any tools that they are “not familiar with”; I’d allow for a character to become “familiar with” a set of tools they have unrestricted access to very easy — a long rest or even less. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave
    Mar 4, 2022 at 22:38

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