D&D 5E Bard Expertise and Tools


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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Does Bard's Expertise apply to tools as well or just to skills? I cannot find a clarification anywhere.
It says what is says.

Bard Expertise: At 3rd level, choose two of your skill proficiencies.
Rogue Expertise: At 1st level, choose two of your skill proficiencies, or one of your skill proficiencies and your proficiency with thieves’ tools.

Is there something about the Bard listing that would make you think it applies to tools? We don't normally look for clarifications for things that aren't written in the rules at all.
 

Unfortunately, as a general rule, you can't get expertise with a tool proficiency. Rogues have a special carve-out for it, and it only applies to Thieves' tools.

It's pretty clear at this point that if they wanted expertise with tools to be a thing, there would be a way to do it. To the best of my knowledge, there isn't one (other than the aforementioned Rogue exception.) That doesn't mean you can't do it, but it's definitely something they're keeping tightly controlled.
 


Unfortunately, as a general rule, you can't get expertise with a tool proficiency. Rogues have a special carve-out for it, and it only applies to Thieves' tools.

It's pretty clear at this point that if they wanted expertise with tools to be a thing, there would be a way to do it. To the best of my knowledge, there isn't one (other than the aforementioned Rogue exception.) That doesn't mean you can't do it, but it's definitely something they're keeping tightly controlled.
Artificers get tool expertise with all tools at level 6.
 



DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I might object to Thieves Tools, only because it steps on the Rogue. Otherwise, I completely agree.
True. Although if there's no Rogue in the party, then there's no worry. Or if the game is one involving lots of traps-- like a dungeoncrawl-- and the expectation is the group might be split up for whatever reason... having a second PC skilled in Thieves' Tools would not necessarily be a bad thing.

Basically check with the game and group and see if an Expertise in TTools would be useful. Otherwise, Expertise in an instrument, as @Umbran mentioned above, would possibly be a good way to go.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
And it only steps on the Rogue if a given Rogue would actually want to use their Expertise on Thieves' Tools. Given that playing a Rogue (or any class, for that matter) is supposed to not be necessary to play the game (you want a party of four Druids? Sure, go for it!), it doesn't really make sense to make something a "Rogue-only" option.
 

ph0rk

Friendship is Magic, and Magic is Heresy.
If there is a rogue at the table I'd say no. If there is no rogue (or plans for one) at the table.... meh?
 





DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
Does Bard's Expertise apply to tools as well or just to skills? I cannot find a clarification anywhere.
Mike Mearls said it was likely an oversight and agreed it wouldn't break anything to allow expertise in a tool proficiency.

FWIW, I've always allowed it and it hasn't ever been an issue since you don't often roll for tool proficiencies...
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Say, something I've wondered; as of Xanathar's, if you have an appropriate Tool and a Skill that would apply to a task, you gain advantage on certain checks. What would happen if you have Expertise in both Tool and Skill?
 


Stormonu

Legend
Say, something I've wondered; as of Xanathar's, if you have an appropriate Tool and a Skill that would apply to a task, you gain advantage on certain checks. What would happen if you have Expertise in both Tool and Skill?
Normally, it'd just be your Expertise bonus with advantage. Personally, I wouldn't be against allowing Expertise bonus + advantage, take 10 minimum (as if you had the Reliable Talent).
 

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