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Are there any hard and fast examples or rules for 5th ed D&D that govern how you use tool sets? I know they have some minor info about Thieves tools and Herbalism kits... but I am specifically looking for the Artisan's tool sets.

I have looked in the PHB and the DMG about how to use things like the Alchemists and Tinker tools and havent found anything. The section about tools uses carptenter/woodworking tools and said things like Dex check to make a wood flute, Int to make a wood secret door, and Str to make a ballista/war machine. That seems to indicate, if you can think of something to build, and the tools apply you can build it. But how do i know what the DC should be, how much it would cost and how long it takes to complete a project?

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It works as any other ability check

When a character tries to craft something using tools, he/she must have the respective proficiency in order to succeed:

You must be proficient with tools related to the object you are trying to create (PHB p.187)

This is related not only to crafting:

trying to open a lock requires proficiency with thieves’ tools (PHB, p.175)

DM asks the player to make an ability check. All the attributes - ability modifier, time, DC, possible negative results - are set by the DM.

Possible use cases depend on the tool. For Artisan's tools they might be:

  • crafting an item
  • repairing an item
  • modifying an item (i.e. tweak armor size, if you use "Variant: Equipment sizes" rule)
  • helping with craft
  • appraising other's work

As a DM, normally you choose DC according to the following list:

Trivial (DC 0) A task that is so easy that isn't worth a check. An adventurer can almost always succeed automatically.
Very Easy (DC 5) Requires a minimum level of competence or a bit of luck to accomplish.
Easy (DC 10) Requires a minimum level of competence or a bit of luck to accomplish.
Moderate (DC 15) Requires a bit more competence to accomplish. Can be completed more often than not by a character with both natural aptitude and specialized training.
Hard (DC 20) Include anything beyond the capabilities of the average person without aid or exceptional talent. Even with a bit of training and skill you still need some luck to pull it off (or maybe some specialized training).
Very Hard (DC 25) Achievable only by especially talented individuals. Nobody else should even bother trying.
Formidable (DC 30) Achievable only by the most trained, experienced, and talented individuals, and they probably still need help to pull it off.

Speaking of crafting time, normally it takes days

From the PHB, p. 187:

For every day of downtime you spend crafting, you can craft one or more items with a total market value not exceeding 5 gp, and you must expend raw materials worth half the total market value. If something you want to craft has a market value greater than 5 gp, you make progress every day in 5-gp increments until you reach the market value of the item. For example, a suit of plate arm or (market value 1,500 gp) takes 300 days to craft by yourself.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Just curious, but where does it say in the material that you can't use tools at all with no proficiency? \$\endgroup\$ – Eidolon108 Dec 13 '16 at 9:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Eidolon108 PhB, p.152 - "Without the key, a creature proficient with thieves’ tools can pick this lock"; p.175 - "trying to open a lock requires proficiency with thieves’ tools"; p.187 - "You must be proficient with tools related to the object you are trying to create (typically artisan’s tools)" \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Dec 13 '16 at 9:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ You might want to clarify that it works "like" an ability check because it is an ability check. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 13 '16 at 15:59

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