D&D 5e - Questionable Arcana - Crafting: Carpenter's Tools

D&D 5e - Questionable Arcana - Crafting: Carpenter's Tools

The Carpenter's Tools At A Glance

RAW Cost: 8 GP
RAW Weight: 6 lbs
*Items: Ruler, Framing Square, Nails, Clamp, Chisel, Knife, Framing Hammer, Level, Saw
Crafting Restrictions: Requires a workshop.
Mundane Item Crafting: Shields, Laminar Armor**(wooden ring mail), Bucket, Chest, Ladder, Portable Ram, and Vehicles.
Magic Item Crafting: None
Artwork Creation: Can create high quality furnishings such as tables and desks.
QA Artwork Bonus: Time to find a buyer is cut in half.
Structure Building: One of the core toolkits used when creating structures.
Adventuring Utility: Can be granted bonuses when interacting with objects created via carpentry.

* These items are specific to the Questionable Arcana system. Other similar crafting systems may utilitize a different list of items.
** Laminar armor is a home-brewed ring mail variant.

Not too long ago we went through the finer details of the incredibly practical art of woodcarving. We stepped away from the workings of wood for a bit, but now it is time to use our knowledge of woodworking as a building block towards the process of well... building with blocks! The Carpenter's Tools is next on the list for this slightly silly crafting compendium, and like its predecessor I think you might be surprised how useful one of the oldest trades in existence can be in your campaign.

As usual the first step in the Questionably Arcana process is to establish what carpenters did/do in the historic and modern world. The answer to that question is quite a lot! It turns out that there is a wide range of carpenter archetypes that specialize in everything from creating cabinets in houses to creating scenery for theaters and movie sets. However instead of digging into each and every archetype, I want to focus on what I believe are the three most important archetypes; the framer, the finish carpenter(or joiner), and the ship's carpenter.

Structures made of wood typically require at least one framer to build. These are the guys you bring in to set up the "frame" of a building. They are responsible for setting up the the scaffolding and supplemental construction required to stand a building up.

Finish carpenters or "joiners" work on objects that require exact joins and minimal margins of error. These tend to be smaller objects such as cabinetry, instrument making, and wooden dolls. This knowledge can also be applied to large-scale construction that requires precise measurements. In short, if you are working on an object that leaves little margin for error to be assembled properly, you are a joiner/finish carpenter.

I would generally consider the ship's carpenter to be a combination of a framer and a joiner with an emphasis on working with nautical vessels. However, what really separates a ship's carpenter from the pack is their ability to practice their craft under pressure. Most warships house at least one ship's carpenter on-board to manage emergency repairs during an attack or a storm. Although ship's carpenters are more than capable of building nautical structures when things are calm, their archetype really starts to shine when the heat is on.

And Three Became One

At this point it might be tempting to force your players to choose one specialization, but I strongly recommend against it. In practice most artisan's tools not associated with making you better at killing things are rarely used through out a campaign. Since carpenters are focused on construction as opposed to destruction I think that artificially limiting what a carpenter can do would be a disservice to the campaign.

It is unlikely that more than one character in a party will be a carpenter, and denying them the opportunity to take creative action because they guessed the wrong archetype at character creation will destroy some potentially amazing moments. Instead of making a carpenter choose between being able to save the party's ship during a fight with a kraken, or constructing a Trojan horse to infiltrate a religious cult, let them do both.

The Takeaway: Don't split the carpenter into archetypes. If you have proficiency in the Carpenter's Tools you are able to do everything each of the discussed archetypes can do.

So What Can I Make For You?

As always you can apply any crafting system you wish to your campaign, but I am going to approach the rest of this guide under the assumption that you are either using base 5e rules or The Questionable Arcana Crafting System.

As far as your basic adventuring gear goes there are actually only a handful of items a carpenter could realistically create from scratch. It is reasonable to assume that a carpenter could work on the following items:

Weapon Crafting List
WeaponCostWeightCrafting Capability
Greatclub2 SP10ASSIST
Handaxe5 GP2ASSIST
Javelin5 SP2ASSIST
Light Hammer2 GP2ASSIST
Quarterstaff2 SP4ASSIST
Crossbow, light25 GP5ASSIST
Dart5 CP0.25ASSIST
Shortbow25 GP2ASSIST
Halberd20 GP6ASSIST
Morningstar15 GP4ASSIST
Trident5 GP4ASSIST
War pick5 GP2ASSIST
Warhammer15 GP2ASSIST
Blowgun10 GP1ASSIST
Crossbow, hand75 GP3ASSIST
Crossbow, heavy50 GP18ASSIST
Longbow50 GP2ASSIST

Armor Crafting List
ArmorCostWeightCrafting Capability
Shield10 GP6LEAD
Ring Mail30 GP40OPTIONAL

Adventuring Gear Crafting List
ItemCostWeightCrafting Capability
Abacus2 gp2 lb.LEAD
Arrows (20)1 GP1 lb.ASSIST
Blowgun Needles (50)1 GP1 lb.ASSIST
Crossbow Bolts (20)1 GP1.5 lb.ASSIST
Arcane Focus, Rod10 gp2 lb.ASSIST
Arcane Focus, Staff5 gp4 lb.ASSIST
Arcane Focus, Wand10 gp1 lb.ASSIST
Barrel2 gp70 lb.LEAD
Block and Tackle1 gp5 lb.LEAD
Bottle, Glass2 gp2 lb.OPTIONAL
Bucket5 cp2 lb.LEAD
Candle1 cpOPTIONAL
Case, Crossbow Bolt1 gp1 lb.LEAD
Case, Map or Scroll1 gp1 lb.OPTIONAL
Chest5 gp25 lb.LEAD
Fishing Tackle1 gp4 lb.ASSIST
Flask or Tankard2 cp1 lb.ASSIST
Hammer1 gp3 lb.OPTIONAL
Hammer, Sledge2 gp10 lb.OPTIONAL
Healer's Kit5 gp3 lb.ASSIST
Ink Pen2 cpLEAD
Jug or Pitcher2 cp4 lb.ASSIST
Ladder (10-foot)1 sp25 lb.LEAD
Manacles2 gp6 lb.OPTIONAL
Mirror, Steel5 gp½ lb.OPTIONAL
Paper (one sheet)2 spASSIST
Pole (10-foot)5 cp7 lb.LEAD
Ram, Portable4 gp35 lb.LEAD
Scale, Merchant's5 gp3 lb.ASSIST
Shovel2 gp5 lb.LEAD
Signal Whistle5 cpASSIST
Spikes, Iron (10)1 gp5 lb.OPTIONAL
Spyglass1,000 gp1 lb.ASSIST
Tent, two-person2 gp20 lb.LEAD
Tinderbox5 sp1 lb.LEAD
Torch1 cp1 lb.LEAD

On the magic item front the Carpenter's Tools can lead the construction of a handful of interesting items, and assist in the construction of a wide array of items as well.

Magic Item Crafting List
Magic ItemRarityCategoryCrafting Capability
Ammunition, +1 - ArrowsUncommonWeaponLEAD
Ammunition, +2 - ArrowsRareWeaponLEAD
Ammunition, +3 - ArrowsVery RareWeaponLEAD
Ammunition, +1 - Blowgun NeedlesUncommonWeaponLEAD
Ammunition, +2 - Blowgun NeedlesRareWeaponLEAD
Ammunition, +3 - Blowgun NeedlesVery RareWeaponLEAD
Ammunition, +1 - Crossbow BoltsUncommonWeaponLEAD
Ammunition, +2 - Crossbow BoltsRareWeaponLEAD
Ammunition, +3 - Crossbow BoltsVery RareWeaponLEAD
Animated ShieldVery RareArmorLEAD
Armor +1 - Ring MailRareArmorOPTIONAL
Armor +2 - Ring MailVery RareArmorOPTIONAL
Armor +3 - Ring MailLegendaryArmorOPTIONAL
Armor of Resistance - Ring MailRareArmorOPTIONAL
Arrow-Catching ShieldRareArmorLEAD
Arrow of SlayingVery RareWeaponASSIST
Berserker Axe - HandaxeRareWeaponASSIST
Berserker Axe - BattleaxeRareWeaponASSIST
Berserker Axe - GreataxeRareWeaponASSIST
Berserker Axe - HalberdRareWeaponASSIST
Bowl of Commanding Water ElementalsRareWondrous ItemASSIST
Broom of FlyingUncommonWondrous ItemASSIST
Candle of InvocationVery RareWondrous ItemOPTIONAL
Decanter of Endless WaterUncommonWondrous ItemASSIST
Dimensional ShacklesRareWondrous ItemOPTIONAL
Dwarven ThrowerVery RareWeaponASSIST
Feather Token - Swan BoatRareWondrous ItemASSIST
Folding BoatLEAD
Giant Slayer - HandaxeRareWeaponASSIST
Giant Slayer - BattleaxeRareWeaponASSIST
Giant Slayer - GreataxeRareWeaponASSIST
Giant Slayer - HalberdRareWeaponASSIST
Hammer of ThunderboltsLegendaryWeaponASSIST
Instant FortressRareWondrous ItemLEAD
Javelin of LightningUncommonWeaponASSIST
Mace of DisruptionRareWeaponASSIST
Mace of SmitingRareWeaponASSIST
Mace of TerrorRareWeaponASSIST
Pipes of HauntingUncommonWondrous ItemASSIST
Pipes of the SewersUncommonWondrous ItemASSIST
Shield +1UncommonArmorLEAD
Shield +2RareArmorLEAD
Shield +3Very RareArmorLEAD
Shield of Missile AttractionRareArmorLEAD
Spellguard ShieldVery RareArmorLEAD
Staff of CharmingRareStaffASSIST
Staff of FireVery RareStaffASSIST
Staff of FrostVery RareStaffASSIST
Staff of HealingRareStaffASSIST
Staff of PowerVery RareStaffASSIST
Staff of StrikingVery RareStaffASSIST
Staff of Swarming InsectsRareStaffASSIST
Staff of the MagiLegendaryStaffASSIST
Staff of the PythonUncommonStaffASSIST
Staff of the WoodlandsRareStaffASSIST
Staff of Thunder and LightningVery RareStaffASSIST
Staff of WitheringRareStaffASSIST
Trident of Fish CommandUncommonWeaponASSIST
Vicious Weapon - ClubRareWeaponASSIST
Vicious Weapon - GreatclubRareWeaponASSIST
Vicious Weapon - HandaxeRareWeaponASSIST
Vicious Weapon - JavelinRareWeaponASSIST
Vicious Weapon - Light HammerRareWeaponASSIST
Vicious Weapon - MaceRareWeaponASSIST
Vicious Weapon - QuarterstaffRareWeaponASSIST
Vicious Weapon - SickleRareWeaponASSIST
Vicious Weapon - SpearRareWeaponASSIST
Vicious Weapon - Crossbow, lightRareWeaponASSIST
Vicious Weapon - DartRareWeaponASSIST
Vicious Weapon - ShortbowRareWeaponASSIST
Vicious Weapon - SlingRareWeaponASSIST
Vicious Weapon - FlailRareWeaponASSIST
Vicious Weapon - HalberdRareWeaponASSIST
Vicious Weapon - LanceRareWeaponASSIST
Vicious Weapon - MaulRareWeaponASSIST
Vicious Weapon - MorningstarRareWeaponASSIST
Vicious Weapon - PikeRareWeaponASSIST
Vicious Weapon - TridentRareWeaponASSIST
Vicious Weapon - War pickRareWeaponASSIST
Vicious Weapon - WarhammerRareWeaponASSIST
Vicious Weapon - BlowgunRareWeaponASSIST
Vicious Weapon - Crossbow, handRareWeaponASSIST
Vicious Weapon - Crossbow, heavyRareWeaponASSIST
Vicious Weapon - LongbowRareWeaponASSIST
Wand of BindingRareWandASSIST
Wand of Enemy DetectionRareWandASSIST
Wand of FearRareWandASSIST
Wand of FireballsRareWandASSIST
Wand of Lightning BoltsRareWandASSIST
Wand of Magic DetectionUncommonWandASSIST
Wand of Magic MissilesRareWandASSIST
Wand of ParalysisVery RareWandASSIST
Wand of PolymorphVery RareWandASSIST
Wand of SecretsUncommonWandASSIST
Wand of the War Mage, +1, +2, or +3UncommonWandASSIST
Wand of WebUncommonWandASSIST
Wand of WonderRareWandASSIST
Weapon +1 - ClubUncommonWeaponASSIST
Weapon +1 - GreatclubUncommonWeaponASSIST
Weapon +1 - HandaxeUncommonWeaponASSIST
Weapon +1 - JavelinUncommonWeaponASSIST
Weapon +1 - Light HammerUncommonWeaponASSIST
Weapon +1 - MaceUncommonWeaponASSIST
Weapon +1 - QuarterstaffUncommonWeaponASSIST
Weapon +1 - SickleUncommonWeaponASSIST
Weapon +1 - SpearUncommonWeaponASSIST
Weapon +1 - Crossbow, lightUncommonWeaponASSIST
Weapon +1 - DartUncommonWeaponASSIST
Weapon +1 - ShortbowUncommonWeaponASSIST
Weapon +1 - SlingUncommonWeaponASSIST
Weapon +1 - FlailUncommonWeaponASSIST
Weapon +1 - HalberdUncommonWeaponASSIST
Weapon +1 - LanceUncommonWeaponASSIST
Weapon +1 - MaulUncommonWeaponASSIST
Weapon +1 - MorningstarUncommonWeaponASSIST
Weapon +1 - PikeUncommonWeaponASSIST
Weapon +1 - TridentUncommonWeaponASSIST
Weapon +1 - War pickUncommonWeaponASSIST
Weapon +1 - WarhammerUncommonWeaponASSIST
Weapon +1 - BlowgunUncommonWeaponASSIST
Weapon +1 - Crossbow, handUncommonWeaponASSIST
Weapon +1 - Crossbow, heavyUncommonWeaponASSIST
Weapon +1 - LongbowUncommonWeaponASSIST
Weapon +2 - ClubRareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +2 - GreatclubRareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +2 - HandaxeRareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +2 - JavelinRareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +2 - Light HammerRareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +2 - MaceRareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +2 - QuarterstaffRareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +2 - SickleRareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +2 - SpearRareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +2 - Crossbow, lightRareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +2 - DartRareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +2 - ShortbowRareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +2 - SlingRareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +2 - FlailRareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +2 - HalberdRareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +2 - LanceRareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +2 - MaulRareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +2 - MorningstarRareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +2 - PikeRareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +2 - TridentRareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +2 - War pickRareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +2 - WarhammerRareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +2 - BlowgunRareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +2 - Crossbow, handRareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +2 - Crossbow, heavyRareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +2 - LongbowRareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +3 - ClubVery RareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +3 - GreatclubVery RareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +3 - HandaxeVery RareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +3 - JavelinVery RareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +3 - Light HammerVery RareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +3 - MaceVery RareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +3 - QuarterstaffVery RareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +3 - SickleVery RareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +3 - SpearVery RareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +3 - Crossbow, lightVery RareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +3 - DartVery RareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +3 - ShortbowVery RareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +3 - SlingVery RareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +3 - FlailVery RareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +3 - HalberdVery RareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +3 - LanceVery RareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +3 - MaulVery RareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +3 - MorningstarVery RareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +3 - PikeVery RareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +3 - TridentVery RareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +3 - War pickVery RareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +3 - WarhammerVery RareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +3 - BlowgunVery RareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +3 - Crossbow, handVery RareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +3 - Crossbow, heavyVery RareWeaponASSIST
Weapon +3 - LongbowVery RareWeaponASSIST

At this point you might notice that carpenters and woodcarvers have a lot of similarities. This is definitely true when it comes to many of the basic tasks around cutting and shaping material, but woodcarvers have the edge in the creation of smaller hand-held items such as weapons. The real strength of the carpenter's tools lies in its ability to contribute to larger projects.

One such example of these larger items is vehicles. I would argue that a carpenter would be required to construct all of the following vehicles:

  • Galley
  • Keelboat
  • Longship
  • Rowboat
  • Sailing Ship
  • Warship

Beyond vehicles a carpenter can also lead the construction of wooden structures. A carpenter can also contribute to the construction of stone structures, but a mason is required to lead those construction projects.

If you go beyond the items available in SRD and Official Books the list of items that a player with carpenter's tools proficiency can make is potentially massive. Rather than itemize all possibilities I will leave the valuation of these items to the DM. My only recommendation is that you use the existing objects in the Dungeon Master's Guide for reference when creating custom vehicles(PHB-157, DMG-119) and structures(DMG-128).

When constructing well defined objects such as a functional table from an existing blueprint use the RAW crafting system or the Questionable Arcana base crafting rules.However, should a player try to cut and assemble their own custom designed mahogany table for a nobleman, then using rules for crafting artwork would be more appropriate.

A good rule of thumb is that if there are very few instructions provided on how to assemble something, then you should probably use the artwork system.

While carpenters have no real advantages in the artwork creation process, the people of all walks of life desire the goods they create. As a result they typically have an easier time finding a buyers than most other artisans. If you are using the Questionable Arcana Artwork System, a carpenter can cut the "time to find a buyer" roll in half when rolling against the Salable (Magic) Items table.

The Takeaway: Carpenter's can create a handful of adventuring items, but can lead or contribute in the construction of nearly all vehicles and structures. Use the basic crafting systems when creating known items from blueprints, and the artwork crafting system when creating custom goods.

When One Door Closes, Disassemble It and Carry On

The last item to discuss is the adventuring implications being proficient in the carpenter's tools. A carpenter's knowledge of building assembly, furniture creation, and general construction acumen allows them view and manipulate the environment differently than non-carpenters.

For example, if the party is walking up to a dilapidated structure a normal adventurer might notice that it looks like the building will collapse soon. However, a carpenter would be able to correctly identify the load bearing columns holding the building up. With that knowledge they can then use their tools to fortify the structure once it has been cleared, or use the information to collapse the building on the unsuspecting thieves inside.

A carpenter could also apply their knowledge when searching through furnished goods. For example when the party is searching the room a carpenter might be familiar with the design of a desk or bureau. This would likely give him a significant edge in location any hidden compartments inside of the furniture.

The potential applications of these tools are virtually endless, but as a rule of thumb I would recommend adding the carpenter's tools proficiency to any skill checks that involve observing or manipulating wooden framed structures and finished goods.

The Takeaway: A player with proficiency in the carpenter's tools should add their proficiency bonus to any checks that involve observing or manipulating wooden framed structures and finished goods.


Players with carpenter's tools proficiency are extremely desirable to any party that is interested in building vehicles and structures. Their ability to assess structures and furnishings could also prove to be a game changer in the right situation. Although the goods created with the carpenter's tools will rarely help slay the beast at the end of the dungeon, they will likely be instrumental in your ability to get there.

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