D&D 5e Thieves Tools Guide

D&D 5e Thieves Tools Guide

In D&D 5e, it is normal to come across places that are obstructed or maybe come across traps that can be deadly. At times like this, people, especially newcomers, are stumped at what to do. Nothing is more frustrating than detecting a trap, yet being unable to disarm it. Also, imagine being aware of something essential being locked behind doors, but you have no way to go through.

This is where the Thieves Tools come into play. You can disarm traps or pick locks with the tools provided. However, before that, we need to understand what the Thieves Tools are.

What is Thieves Tools in DnD 5e?

Here’s what the Thieves Tools in DnD 5e are. These are a few items that are useful in a variety of non-magical situations. These specific items include a pair of pliers, a set of scissors, a mirror with a metal handle, a set of lock picks, and a small file.

Different scenarios require the use of these specific items, and proficiency with these tools allows the player to add a proficiency bonus to their intended use. Among all the tools, the most useful and commonly used would probably be the lockpicks, as they are sufficient for most of the locks.

Players can use this toolset to disarm traps or open locks without magic, making this tool extremely useful. The tools work even better when you gain proficiency and can use the proficiency bonus. Now the question arises, how to gain proficiency?

Gaining Proficiency With Thieves Tools 5e

If you pay attention to the Player’s Handbook(One of the D&D 5e Books), you’ll realize that to gain proficiency, you need to spend 250 days and 1 GP every day at training. However, that is only if your Dungeon Master allows it. When the training period ends, you gain proficiency in a tool, and you can continue to do this repeatedly to gain more proficiency in the Thieves Tools DnD 5e. Unfortunately, you cannot do this alone as you will require a trainer willing to teach you a new proficiency.

Your trainer must be proficient in Thieves Tools to teach you a new proficiency. However, depending on your Dungeon Master, it might be difficult to find one. But, as you might have noticed, the above-mentioned method might take some time, so there is a faster way too. After finding a trainer, you can spend 10 workweeks and 25 GP every week to gain proficiency in Thieves tools. This method is according to Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.

Make no mistake thinking that training is the only way to gain proficiency in Thieves Tools. As there are a few other ways:

  • Since the Artificer and Rogue class gain proficiency in the Thieves Tools by default, you can start with proficiency in the Thieves tools via these classes.
  • Character Backgrounds are another way to gain proficiency in the tools. If you select one of the backgrounds from The Criminal, Urchin, or Urban Bounty Hunter background, you will gain proficiency from them.
  • Next, on selecting the Skilled feat, you gain a feat and will be able to gain proficiency with the Thieves Tools. This is quite a useful tip to prevent you from missing out on chances of gaining proficiency with the tools.

Even though there are all these ways to gain proficiency, don’t misunderstand about them being stacked. Using multiple sources to gain proficiency does not grant any sort of special bonus. Therefore make sure there is a balance between the different methods like picking a background for an alternative proficiency if you gain proficiency from your class so that they do not stack.

How To Use Thieves Tools

1. The File

The small tool File is an extremely useful tool in the collection. It can be used to sabotage things or disarm traps without any change being detected as the changes are too subtle. You can use it for simple things like giving someone a manicure or something more sinister like cutting a piece of jewelry, filing through ropes, or even ruining a machine by making a slight change. As long as you target the weak spot, the file can even make mountains crumble.

The best way to use the file is to weaken certain objects that can be ruined under pressure by targeting their weak spots. Like weakened jail bars, staircases, hinges of a door or trap door, or maybe axles of carts. Even though it might take longer, it would not draw attention like using brute force or magic spells. Essential changes without detection make the file a true tool for thieves.

2. The Mirror

Using a big mirror is a lot of trouble. That is why the Thieves mirror tool is excellent, thanks to its small size. Additionally, the limits of its uses are your imagination. Imagine fighting against a Medusa; in a scenario like this, a mirror is the most useful weapon, and that is precisely why the mirror is an amazing Thieves Tool. You can even use it to reflect light onto a vampire. However, that is very situational as it needs to be during the day, and there should be a window there as well.

However, there are more ways to use it like to signal over long distances, possibly in Morse code. It can also turn out to be a great way to check for uncertainties. Imagine entering an unknown room. You can slide the mirror under the door or through a crack to gain knowledge of the environment inside.

3. The Scissor

The best part of scissors is that they are an extremely versatile tool. They can either be a useful tool or a dangerous weapon due to their sharpness. Of course, you can use them for simple tasks such as trim cuticles or nose hairs, cut pieces of cloth or ropes. They can even be used to disarm simple traps. However, at desperate times, it can be the weapon you need.

You can use the scissors to stab someone or escape from being garroted. You can use the scissors in every way possible. However, maybe at times, you might need it to disarm rather complex traps. At times like this, you can only use it if you are an Arcane Trickster since they can use the specialized Mage Hand that allows them to use the Thieves Tools to their full potential to either pick complex locks or disarm traps.

4. The Lockpicks

Unlike the scissors and the mirror, lockpicks are not all that versatile. They can only be used to pick locks. However, If you are creative enough, you can pull off a few different things. For example, if you break the pick while it is inside the lock, you can jam the lock. If it is a room that holds something important, doing this will make it hard for others to open. Also, when they end up forcing their way through, the noise will immediately alert you.

However, to break it, you will probably need a metal file if your Dungeon Master rules out using brute force. So if you think about it, you can not only get inside locked rooms or go through locked doors; you can even sabotage other players from getting access to these places. This way, you can use the lockpick to your strengths and strategize based on that.

5. The Pliers

The plier is the last tool in the Thieves Tool, and this tool is one whose only limit is your imagination. Getting through tough spots is its specialty. You can use it to bend or cut wires to get through restricted places undetected, maybe even use it to remove a gemstone from its spot or do something as simple as cracking nuts. Whenever you need amplified power to solve an issue, the pliers will no doubt help out greatly.

Now, as mentioned earlier, the number of uses depends on your imagination. This means that it can also be used as a weapon. To be more accurate, maybe more like a torture device. If you have a sinister play style, imagine capturing an enemy, and you want them to spill important information. However, they have tight lips and won’t let anything slip out. Well, now the pliers can turn out to be their worst nightmare.


The D&D 5e Thieves tools are quite the useful established tools that have a simple idea of use. The uses are of course limited, but in suitable situations, using the Thieves tools turns out to be the best course of action. Now you know how to use Thieves Tools 5e.

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One Comment

  1. The Official description of thieves’ Tools is: “This set of tools includes a small file, a set of lock picks, a small mirror mounted on a metal handle, a set of narrow-bladed scissors, and a pair of pliers. Proficiency with these tools lets you add your proficiency bonus to any ability checks you make to disarm traps or open locks.”

    “…add your proficiency bonus to any ability checks”: Ok, what does pick locks and disarm traps fall under in the Available skills on the character sheet since Thieves’ tools is not listed, if it were added what would it start at and ever four levels how much does it increase (+4)? This is not defined anywhere I can find.

    Way back in 1st ed, there were percentages for all of the thief’s abilities made it real simple rolling two D10