I'm fairly proficient in English, but struggle to figure out what the intended tool proficiency selection is in the "Urban Bounty Hunter" background out of the Sword Coast Adventure's Guide (page 153). My gut instinct says it's B, but I remain uncertain.

The Tool Proficiencies entry reads:

"Choose two from among one type of gaming set, one musical instrument, and thieves' tools"

I take it to mean either one of the following:

  • A) Choose 2 proficiencies: one game and one instrument + you get Thieves' Tools.

  • B) Choose 2 options from: "one game proficiency", "one instrument proficiency", and "Thieves' Tools".

In any case, RAW, you cannot select two instruments?

I think it's the "and" that trips me. Wouldn't it make more sense if this was an "or"?

  • \$\begingroup\$ It's 'and', not 'or' -- You choose two from a list consisting of A, B, and C. That said, this is a strangely constructed phrase in my opinion. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 5 at 18:31

1 Answer 1


“Choose two from among these two options” doesn’t make any sense. “Choose two from among” only makes sense if there are three or more options to choose from. So you choose two options from among these three options:

  • one gaming set
  • one musical instrument
  • thieves’ tools
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1, this is just a list of options to chose from, even with the Oxford comma. Might be useful to add that since you have to chose two, you cannot chose the same twice, so no double instrument pick. (Apart from that backgrounds are pretty malleable; I don't see any DM say no to two instruments) \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 4 at 14:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NobodytheHobgoblin I’d hope it would be obvious enough that choosing two instruments violates the very clear instruction to choose one instrument. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 4 at 15:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ “Choose two from among these two options” would make sense if you read it as if you are allowed to select multiple from the same list (ie. two instruments), which you (is becoming quite clear now) cannot, RAW. I keep mentioning RAW, because in real life, most DM, including me, would indeed not mind someone doing this. Most important for me was to understand if the Thieves's tools was "free" or not (it's not). \$\endgroup\$
    – svenema
    Commented May 4 at 15:55

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