All-Purpose Tool 5e

Published on November 28, 2022, Last modified on December 8th, 2023

When you need the right tool for the job, reach for the all-purpose tool! A magical items for artificers that can bolster spells, provide new cantrips, and magically transform into any tool you need!

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What is an All-Purpose Tool?

The all-purpose tool is a magic item in D&D fifth edition (5e) that appears in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. This tool is meant to be an aid for artificers, who can use it to get a bonus on spell attack rolls and saving throw DCs for their artificer spells and learn an extra cantrip, all while serving as a useful tool for their tinkering pastime.  The all-purpose tool is said to appear as a simple screwdriver but can magically transform into any artisan’s tool in the Player’s Handbook, making it more of a magical swiss army knife than mundane screwdriver.

What Does the All-Purpose Tool Do?

When attuned, you can use an action to transform the all-purpose tool into any artisan’s tool found in the Player’s Handbook, this includes:

  • Alchemist’s supplies
  • Brewer’s supplies
  • Calligrapher’s supplies
  • Carpenter’s tools
  • Cartographer’s tools
  • Cobbler’s tools
  • Cook’s utensils
  • Glassblower’s tools
  • Jeweler’s tools
  • Leatherworker’s tools
  • Mason’s tools
  • Painter’s supplies
  • Potter’s tools
  • Smith’s tools
  • Tinker’s tools
  • Weaver’s tools
  • Woodcarver’s tools

Regardless of which tool you make it, the all-purpose tool provides a bonus to spell attack rolls and spell saving throw DCs for your artificer spells. The tool comes in 3 rarities, which provide an increasing bonus tied to how hard the item is to find:

  • Uncommon: +1
  • Rare: +2
  • Very Rare: +3

You can also use the tool to learn a cantrip from any class list for 8 hours, which is a secondary, yet incredibly useful ability.

It’s worth it to mention that this item can only be attuned by an artificer, which makes sense because it focuses solely on artificer class features.

Is the All-Purpose Tool a Good Magic Item?

For a class that’s specifically focused on magic items, the all-purpose tool is one of the best out there for artificers. The flat bonus to spellcasting is hard to come by and a useful permanent bonus to one of your core class features and the extra cantrip can serve a large number of rolls. Need extra damage? Grab eldritch blast. Fighting undead? Chill touch. Want to debuff your enemies? Vicious mockery. You can only learn the cantrip for 8 hours at a time, and can only pick a new cantrip after a long rest, so it could make sense to hold off and see what your day has in store before choosing using this ability. That said, it does take an action to use, so you’ll need to pop this before combat or risk wasting a turn.

Unfortunately, while being the primary function of the all-purpose tool, its ability to change between tools is relatively underpowered in 5e. Beyond thieves’ tools, which fall outside of what the all-purpose tool can transform into, tools aren’t particularly important, and being able to switch between them won’t matter much in your day-to-day. That said, if you’re playing in a campaign with lots of downtime, you might want to read up on the Tool Proficiencies section of Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, as it provides plenty of ways to use your tools.

In terms of transforming into any artisan’s tool, there really is no “best” tool to always have your all-purpose tool set as. Because the most costly tool is the alchemist’s supplies at 50 gp, it stands to reason that you can go buy any tool you need for your particular task. You can also magically summon an artisan’s tool using The Right Tool For the Job ability at 3rd level which will give you the tool you need for your subclass.

What Builds Want an All-Purpose Tool?

The bonus to spellcasting and extra cantrip is useful and effective for any artificer build, but will certainly favor spellcaster builds over martial builds. As it’s specified that you must be holding the tool to benefit from the spellcasting boost, builds that want to wield a weapon and a shield will find it difficult to juggle the all-purpose tool when it comes time to cast a spell. Fortunately, even artificer builds that are meant to use a weapon, like Battle Smiths, are most of the time better off just using cantrips for damage. The all-purpose tool can not only help outpace a weapon but can also boost damage further by providing access to potent combat cantrips listed in the previous section.

Typically, players have to be choosy about what magic items they will attune to maximize their build’s performance. This isn’t the case for artificers, who can attune up to six magic items by the time they reach 18th level.

All-Purpose Tool Price

All-purpose tools come in 3 different rarities, which means this item is a suitable reward at just about any tier of play. Going by the table in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, the different rarities should be awarded at certain levels and, if they are being purchased, should have an increasing cost accordingly:

  • Uncommon (+1): 1st level or higher – 101-500 gp
  • Rare (+2): 5th level or higher – 501-5,000 gp
  • Very Rare (+3): 11th level or higher – 5,001-50,000 gp

These guidelines are incredibly vague, but are somewhat improved by the Magic Item Pricing found in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, which would price the rarities as follows:

  • Uncommon (+1): 1d6 × 100 gp
  • Rare (+2): 2d10 × 1,000 gp
  • Very Rare (+3): (1d4 + 1) × 10,000 gp

If the player has the necessary tools (such as proficiency in Arcana) and is looking to craft their own all-purpose tool, they can do so by spending the following amount of time and gold:

  • Uncommon (+1): 2 workweeks + 200 gp
  • Rare (+2): 10 workweeks + 2,000 gp
  • Very Rare (+3): 25 workweeks + 20,000 gp

Luckily for artificers looking to craft the uncommon version of an all-purpose tool, at 10th level they get Magic Item Adept which allows them to craft uncommon items in a quarter of the time and costs half as much gold. This means artificers can be walking away with a bonus to their spellcasting and cantrip of their choice from any spell list for as little as 100gp and half a working week. Talk about a bargain!

It’s worth it to note that you cannot replicate an all-purpose tool with the artificer’s Replicate Magic Item infusion, but that wouldn’t matter much unless you had two artificers in the party as the magic item’s bonuses can’t stack. 

In Published 5e Adventures

Being a relatively new tool, compounded by the fact that this magic item is only listed in a supplementary book, means that the all-purpose tool cannot be found in any published adventures at time of writing.

All-Purpose Tool 5e FAQs

Can the all-purpose tool be used as a spellcasting focus?

Yes, but the all-purpose tool cannot be in its simple screwdriver form if you want to use it as a spellcasting focus. Artificers must have either thieves' tools or an artisan's tool in hand when casting spells and, seeing as the all-purpose tool can transform into any artisan's tools by using an action, you can use it once transformed.

Mike Bernier

Mike Bernier is the lead content writer and founder of Arcane Eye. He is a Adamantine best-selling author of Strixhaven: A Syllabus of Sorcery on DMs Guild and is a contributing author at D&D Beyond. Follow Mike on Twitter.

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