What exactly are the restrictions on purchasing Masterwork Tools?


Pathfinder Society


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I've been asking around my local gaming store where I play PFS about this, but I've been getting a wide range of opinions. I've had some people claim you can just buy them as long as you are reasonable and don't go overboard with buying a tool for every skill. I've had others say you can buy them whenever, but you must justify what the tool is and how you would use it, then get a PFS-registered DM to sign off on it. Then I've had some people say you can only buy them if they appear on one of your chronicle sheets. With the wide array of answers, I'm not sure what rules actually govern these, so I thought I would ask here:

What rules, if any, govern the purchasing and use of masterwork tools for non-defined items(such as, say, getting specially made soft leather boots to make stealth easier and get that +2 circumstance bonus). It doesn't appear in a rulebook outside of the masterwork tool entry, so is this legal in PFS? If so, what restrictions would be on purchasing it?

The Exchange 5/5

watching this closely ... I also want to know the rules on this.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

You can, technically buy a "masterwork tool" for any skill. However, it's generally considered a dick move to get one for a skill that already has a (usually more expensive) tool associated with it (like mwk thieves' tools for Disable Device).

You don't need anyone to sign off on it.

You can't use a masterwork tool "reactively" - it must be pulled out and actively used and then put away. Nothing "static".

You don't have to pick a "flavor" for it (i.e., physical description), but a lot of people prefer if you do.

Grand Lodge

RndmNumGenerator wrote:
I've had others say you can buy them whenever, but you must justify what the tool is and how you would use it, then get a PFS-registered DM to sign off on it.

This is how I understand it, though I could be wrong. The problem in this case being not so much the acquiring of the tools, but how you justify getting the bonus for it or what you are saying it is. Basically, expect table variation.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain aka TwilightKnight

The rules on masterwork tools are somewhat unclear. There have been some comments from Jason Bulmahn on the subject, but as some like to remind us, forum comments are just recommendations, not hard and fast rules.

I've seen just as many GM's who don't care and let you use any/all tools as I've seen ones that require you to justify what the toll is and how it aids the skill check. Some custom tools would suggest they are always active, others would require you to equip and actively use them. Again, adjudication will vary from GM to GM.

If this is an important topic to you or if your character's skills are heavily influenced by custom tools, the best thing to do is ask the GM's opinion prior to the session.


RndmNumGenerator wrote:

I've been asking around my local gaming store where I play PFS about this, but I've been getting a wide range of opinions. I've had some people claim you can just buy them as long as you are reasonable and don't go overboard with buying a tool for every skill. I've had others say you can buy them whenever, but you must justify what the tool is and how you would use it, then get a PFS-registered DM to sign off on it. Then I've had some people say you can only buy them if they appear on one of your chronicle sheets. With the wide array of answers, I'm not sure what rules actually govern these, so I thought I would ask here:

What rules, if any, govern the purchasing and use of masterwork tools for non-defined items(such as, say, getting specially made soft leather boots to make stealth easier and get that +2 circumstance bonus). It doesn't appear in a rulebook outside of the masterwork tool entry, so is this legal in PFS? If so, what restrictions would be on purchasing it?

On masterwork tools in general, as other have said, there is a lot of variation on how they are applied and for what skills you can get them. So I do not know if you will get a firm reply on that, other than being told to ask in the regular rules forums, as it is a PRPG question and not a PFS-specific question.

But the one PFS-specific question that can be answered is that masterwork tools are mundane items, so they would be on the "always available" list and have no restrictions on buying them.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

BTW everyone, this topic has come up here before (and not even that long ago).

Here's what Mark Moreland has to say:

Mark Moreland wrote:
Yes, you need to actively use any tool. So passive checks wouldn't benefit from the use of a masterwork tool. Using an example for existing equipment, if you use a climber's kit to scale a wall, you need to take it out of your pack and put on the grip gloves and shoe spikes and such. If you get bull rushed down a steep slope and need to make a climb check to keep from sliding down it, that would generally need to be made without the kit's bonus. Likewise, a magnifying glass would help you on active Perception checks, but not passive ones to notice someone about to ambush you.

That thread contains a fair bit of how M&M would like things handled in PFS.

Shadow Lodge

Is this still current? Are masterwork tools legal in PFS?

There was another thread talking about them being "custom items" and therefore illegal in PFS, but that wasn't official and doesn't sound right to me using proper rule terminology (which usually refers to custom magic items, I believe).

Would be a shame to remove them considering flavour potential (even if they're there for crunch potential too).

Sczarni

Opinionated as- ahem, posters aside, yes masterwork tools are PFS legal and always available. If you have one particularly obnoxious rules lawyer giving you a headache, you can always purchase the Traveler's Any-Tool when you have 5 Fame and 250 gold.

Then, if you're feeling particularly saucy, reconfigure the Any-Tool into something resembling a bird and wave it merrily at the naysayer.

Sczarni 4/5

As much as I know, masterwork tools are legal to buy for every skill just like everyone said. There is a single limit tho, that if there is already a masterwork tool of given skill, for example masterwork thieve's tools, climber's kit, etc., then you cannot invent your own tool and have to buy those that already exist.

The same tools are often only able to be used if you have enough time on your hands to use them, altho this falls under table variation. The tools can be good but limiting also. I bought myself for example a masterwork tool for Survival skill, but in reality, it's a kit that contains skinning knives and other useful thingies for a hunter.

Adam


I want to buy a masterwork tool for demolarize as a skull and just carry it around. Yorick style

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jiggy wrote:

You can, technically buy a "masterwork tool" for any skill. However, it's generally considered a dick move to get one for a skill that already has a (usually more expensive) tool associated with it (like mwk thieves' tools for Disable Device).

You don't need anyone to sign off on it.

You can't use a masterwork tool "reactively" - it must be pulled out and actively used and then put away. Nothing "static".

You don't have to pick a "flavor" for it (i.e., physical description), but a lot of people prefer if you do.

Not every skill has an omnipurpose tool for it. Ususaly this comes up when people try to further cheese an already obscene Diplomacy modifier. I've yet to hear a suitable "tool" for diplomacy. and no, if a courtier's outfit doesnt' cut it, the 50 gp shirt won't either.

If the tool isn't valid, I don't care who's signed off on it.

Sczarni 4/5

@LazarX
Perfume or a tabard are good choices for Diplomacy which are present always on you, but limited in interactions. Some noble might be impressed by the perfume of your female character, but a thug on street couldn't care less.

Liberty's Edge

LazarX wrote:

I've yet to hear a suitable "tool" for diplomacy.

I can think of quite a few. Most of them are shiny, kinda yellowish, and jingle when I walk around with them in my pocket.

5/5 5/55/55/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.
LazarX wrote:
. I've yet to hear a suitable "tool" for diplomacy. and no, if a courtier's outfit doesnt' cut it, the 50 gp shirt won't either.

How about a mighty fine hat?

Shadow Lodge 4/5

This seems relevant:

I spoke with Sean Reynolds and he advised that any skill is allowed to receive the +2 bonus per the Core Rulebook. These will be more clearly defined when the Ultimate Equipment Guide comes out.

Let me add one caveat. If people start trying to game the system and abusing this by carrying around 10 or 15 or 20 or 25 different tools, I will put a PFS rule into place limiting it to one masterwork tool per character. Please do not make me take this step. I am trusting the playerbase to use this ruling responsibly.

So, are we limited to only masterwork tools spelled out in UE, or does the Core ruling stand?

5/5 5/55/55/5

The thing is that ultimate equipment chucked masterwork tools back into the "damned if i know" territory.

Ultimate Equipment:
This tool is perfect for its
intended job. It grants a +2
circumstance bonus on a
related skill check (if any).
The bonuses provided by
multiple masterwork items
do not stack.
Several common items already count as masterwork
tools for particular skills. These are the alchemist’s lab,
climber’s kit, disguise kit, healer’s kit, masterwork musical
instrument, and masterwork thieves’ tools. Therefore, there
is no masterwork climber’s kit, masterwork healer’s kit, and
so on—those items are already the best available for general
checks with the relevant skill.
Some skills have no appropriate tool or masterwork tool—
no nonmagical item exists that grants a bonus for all uses
of that skill. For example, just because a certain perfume is
favored by local nobles (granting a +2 circumstance bonus
on Diplomacy checks to influence them) doesn’t mean that
perfume has the same effect on a member of the thieves’
guild, a foreign berserker, or a medusa. Likewise, just because
a fake beard woven by dwarves out of the beards of famous
dwarves may grant a +2 circumstance bonus on Use Magic
Device checks to emulate the dwarven race doesn’t mean the
beard has any effect on using that skill to activate elven items
or paladin items, or to decipher a written spell.
Individual GMs may want to allow masterwork tools for
other skills at the listed cost. The circumstance bonus for
such a tool should never be more than +2. The tool should
either have a limited number of uses (such as the disguise
and healer’s kits) or only apply to certain aspects of the skill
(such as the balancing pole’s bonus on Acrobatics checks to
traverse a narrow surface or the magnifying glass’s bonus on
Appraise checks for detailed items).

Shadow Lodge 5/5 5/55/5 Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka thistledown

For intimidate my musketeer added a cocking lever to her musket. Doesn't do anything, but it makes the shotgun noise. And everyone runs.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

In that case, it looks like we're into "The GM may" territory, and it would be better just to use the ones that already exist. I'd be okay if one of my players had a Masterwork tool in accordance with Mike's post, however.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

If someone wants to bust out a masterwork tool at my table, and it:
A) Is for a skill that doesn't already have an associated item that I'm aware of, and
B) either has limited "charges" or only applies to certain uses of the skill,
Then I'll happily let them use it.

Sovereign Court Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Finlanderboy wrote:
I want to buy a masterwork tool for demolarize as a skull and just carry it around. Yorick style

This, and things like BigNorseWolf's hat, exist. They've even been put into chronicles.

Masterwork Tool From a Chronicle Sheet:

Mask of the Tiger's Eye
This mundane item is worn by students, veterans, and teachers of the Tiger’s Eye form of martial arts in Jalmeray. The mask uses up the “head” slot for magical items when worn by a PC and provides the wearer with a +2 circumstance bonus to Intimidate checks. Cost: 55 gp

I think that lends credence to "a tool exists for any purpose." But, like Mark said, you need to have it active. There is no bonus for that item if you don't have it in use.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

LazarX wrote:
Jiggy wrote:

You can, technically buy a "masterwork tool" for any skill. However, it's generally considered a dick move to get one for a skill that already has a (usually more expensive) tool associated with it (like mwk thieves' tools for Disable Device).

You don't need anyone to sign off on it.

You can't use a masterwork tool "reactively" - it must be pulled out and actively used and then put away. Nothing "static".

You don't have to pick a "flavor" for it (i.e., physical description), but a lot of people prefer if you do.

Not every skill has an omnipurpose tool for it. Ususaly this comes up when people try to further cheese an already obscene Diplomacy modifier. I've yet to hear a suitable "tool" for diplomacy. and no, if a courtier's outfit doesnt' cut it, the 50 gp shirt won't either.

If the tool isn't valid, I don't care who's signed off on it.

For Diplomacy, how about a book on local etiquette?

Sovereign Court

trollbill wrote:
For Diplomacy, how about a book on local etiquette?

For hitting those that refuse to comply. ALL MUST COMPLY!

P.S. I would use something heavier, but C'est la vie.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

Todd Lower wrote:
trollbill wrote:
For Diplomacy, how about a book on local etiquette?

For hitting those that refuse to comply. ALL MUST COMPLY!

P.S. I would use something heavier, but C'est la vie.

Umm...I think that qualifies more as a bonus to Intimidate.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

Todd Lower wrote:
trollbill wrote:
For Diplomacy, how about a book on local etiquette?

For hitting those that refuse to comply. ALL MUST COMPLY!

P.S. I would use something heavier, but C'est la vie.

I thought that was traditionally a ruler.

Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.
FLite wrote:
Todd Lower wrote:
trollbill wrote:
For Diplomacy, how about a book on local etiquette?

For hitting those that refuse to comply. ALL MUST COMPLY!

P.S. I would use something heavier, but C'est la vie.

I thought that was traditionally a ruler.

True, kings and princes are often heavier, but I've found them to be uncooperative and unwieldy to swing.


Drogon wrote:
Finlanderboy wrote:
I want to buy a masterwork tool for demolarize as a skull and just carry it around. Yorick style

This, and things like BigNorseWolf's hat, exist. They've even been put into chronicles.

Mask of the Tiger's Eye
This mundane item is worn by students, veterans, and teachers of the Tiger’s Eye form of martial arts in Jalmeray. The mask uses up the “head” slot for magical items when worn by a PC and provides the wearer with a +2 circumstance bonus to Intimidate checks. Cost: 55 gp

I think that lends credence to "a tool exists for any purpose." But, like Mark said, you need to have it active. There is no bonus for that item if you don't have it in use.

Based on the description, the Tiger's Eye is worn and then continually provides a benefit. So when you say "actively" used, I'm assuming that if it's an item that has to be worn, then wearing it is actively using it.

Ironically, I purchased a MW headband for +2 bonus on Intimidate a long time ago, before even seeing that.


trollbill wrote:
For Diplomacy, how about a book on local etiquette?

How about a tiara? My Fighter is truly a prince.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I don't think the Mask of the Tiger's Eye is a good example, since it uses up a magic item slot. The extra cost justifies being able to wear it constantly.

Sovereign Court Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

N N 959 wrote:
Drogon wrote:
Finlanderboy wrote:
I want to buy a masterwork tool for demolarize as a skull and just carry it around. Yorick style

This, and things like BigNorseWolf's hat, exist. They've even been put into chronicles.

Mask of the Tiger's Eye
This mundane item is worn by students, veterans, and teachers of the Tiger’s Eye form of martial arts in Jalmeray. The mask uses up the “head” slot for magical items when worn by a PC and provides the wearer with a +2 circumstance bonus to Intimidate checks. Cost: 55 gp

I think that lends credence to "a tool exists for any purpose." But, like Mark said, you need to have it active. There is no bonus for that item if you don't have it in use.

Based on the description, the Tiger's Eye is worn and then continually provides a benefit. So when you say "actively" used, I'm assuming that if it's an item that has to be worn, then wearing it is actively using it.

Ironically, I purchased a MW headband for +2 bonus on Intimidate a long time ago, before even seeing that.

Active was a poor choice of words, I suppose. You're wearing it, so that would make it "active." It's not in your backpack giving you a static bonus, as Mark alluded to.

PS - It is specifically called out in the GM discussion thread by the author as a masterwork tool. Just like you would have to wear masterwork boots to give you a +2 circ bonus to stealth, taking up your "magic item slot" so does wearing a mask take up your head slot. Makes sense to me.

Edit: Also, if we're looking for examples of not-tool masterwork tools, this is the kind of thinking you need to adopt. That's all this example illustrates. It is certainly not the be-all, end-all.

Dark Archive 4/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Upper Midwest aka Silbeg

Jiggy wrote:

If someone wants to bust out a masterwork tool at my table, and it:

A) Is for a skill that doesn't already have an associated item that I'm aware of, and
B) either has limited "charges" or only applies to certain uses of the skill,
Then I'll happily let them use it.

So, the only time I've really tried this is with my rogue, who went through The Disappeared.

The Disappeared:

So, his MW Diplomacy tool is diplomatic notes on Inner Sea notables stolen/copied from the espionage library on the Chelish Embassy. Based on that, I would understand if a GM disallowed it, unless dealing with notables that might have been documented.


I was all ready to crack wise about the absurdity of the PC breaking out their "masterwork visitor's pamphlet" for a Know (local) check, before I remembered a scenario that awards a similar item.

Relevant, non-spoilery details: the item provides a +2 circumstance bonus on a particular field of Knowledge check to identify a particular subtype of creature. It costs 100 gp, has no 'charge' limit, and each use requires a full minute of consultation.

Season 0 spoiler:
"The Inward Facing Circle" from Silent Tide. The bonus applies only to Know (planes) checks concerning devils.

Whether this is actually a useful precedent is another matter. On the one hand, it's from a chronicle sheet, which implies such items are not considered always available. On the other hand, it's from a chronicle sheet, so a given player or GMs wouldn't be expected to know that in the first place.

As a GM, I'd probably restrict players to a +1 bonus from any tool for which they couldn't cite a written source, in addition to the recommended restrictions. On the whole, this question seems very much in the realm of "expect table variation."

5/5 5/55/55/5

There's also the generic pathfinder chronicles, which are 50 gp, provide a +2 circumstance bonus on the knowledge skill they're keyed for, but take 1d4 rounds to use.

As of the latest clarification (which is ultimate equipment) masterwork tools that aren't spelled out are functionally custom items.

You have to decide how specific the use is (to activate wands, to activate healing wands, to activate wands of cure light wounds)

Whether the item uses up charges or not.

How long it takes to use

Whether it uses up a magic item slot or not.

Shadow Lodge

Basically when I was asking about whether the masterwork tools are legal, I meant in a reasonable sense that follows the usual limitation rules in UE.

I got the impression from a few people that there was a blanket rule that any kind of masterwork tool except for the pre-written ones (like thieves tools etc) aren't PFS legal - obviously not the case.

5/5 5/55/55/5

Avatar-1 wrote:

Basically when I was asking about whether the masterwork tools are legal, I meant in a reasonable sense that follows the usual limitation rules in UE.

I got the impression from a few people that there was a blanket rule that any kind of masterwork tool except for the pre-written ones (like thieves tools etc) aren't PFS legal - obviously not the case.

There's nothing preventing a DM from allowing them but there's nothing making a DM allow any particular non printed masterwork tool either. I could definitely see the "its a custom item its not allowed" argument.

Bad news: expect table variation

Good news: its only 50gp and a +2 bonus, your character shouldn't be built around either.

Shadow Lodge 5/5 5/55/5 Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka thistledown

stealth is an odd one. There is an item that acts as a masterwork tool for it (Shinobi Shinzuku) but it's in Jade Regent, and not in the additional resources. So, functionaly there isn't an extant item, and you're free to make your own.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Avatar-1 wrote:

Basically when I was asking about whether the masterwork tools are legal, I meant in a reasonable sense that follows the usual limitation rules in UE.

I got the impression from a few people that there was a blanket rule that any kind of masterwork tool except for the pre-written ones (like thieves tools etc) aren't PFS legal - obviously not the case.

There's nothing preventing a DM from allowing them but there's nothing making a DM allow any particular non printed masterwork tool either. I could definitely see the "its a custom item its not allowed" argument.

The PFS rules allow Masterwork Tools. So effectively disallowing them in the game because one considers them to be a "custom item" is being rather disingenuous and violating RAI. Obviously the GM has the right to disallow a particular tool base on reasons of logic, or modify how it may function compared to how the player thinks it functions, but he should not simply disallow it because he can slap the "custom item" label on it.

5/5 5/55/55/5

Quote:
The PFS rules allow Masterwork Tools. So effectively disallowing them in the game because one considers them to be a "custom item" is being rather disingenuous and violating RAI. Obviously the GM has the right to disallow a particular tool base on reasons of logic, or modify how it may function compared to how the player thinks it functions, but he should not simply disallow it because he can slap the "custom item" label on it.

The PFS rules kicked it over to ultimate equipment for clarification. The clarification in ultimate equipment doesn't mesh well with PFS's no customization rules. Any item you make with the guidelines IS custom. While I disagree that should disallow most items I can't call it disingenuous because PFS is very conservative about the make your own item thing.

I would, personally, be happy with "pay your 50 gp here's your +2". While no one item covers all uses of a skill, 50 gp should be able to cover a kit for the different uses, like a lucky rabits foot for activating an item blindly and a phrase book for activating a wand and a maple insert for emulating paladin features.

Liberty's Edge 1/5

I would say that you should expect table variation. The more reasonable and clever you make the description of your MW Tool, the more likely GMs are to OK it.

For example, if I just have +2 MW tool written down on my sheet for Spellcraft, GMs might well say no. If I pull out 'Aram Zey's Catalog of Magical Auras and Emanations' and skim through it for 1d4 rounds for a +2 circumstance bonus when trying to identify an item, the GM is much more likely to approve.

One of my characters who was, for a fascinating week, a Razmiran initiate, possesses 'A Razmiran's Guide to Activating the Tools of the False Gods' that she uses in a similar way for UMD checks on divine items.

Diplomacy MW Tools, to be honest, seem very, very shifty. How exactly is one tool going to give you bonuses when speaking to the King, his war-crazed son, his aged pious grandmother, his chambermaid, and the kobold currently imprisoned in his dungeon? If you can think of one, or buy new ones for each type of encounter, more power to you!

Grand Lodge 4/5

thistledown wrote:
For intimidate my musketeer added a cocking lever to her musket. Doesn't do anything, but it makes the shotgun noise. And everyone runs.

I find after you shoot someone, just pulling back the hammer works. ;)

5/5 5/55/55/5

keerawa wrote:
How exactly is one tool going to give you bonuses when speaking to the King, his war-crazed son, his aged pious grandmother, his chambermaid, and the kobold currently imprisoned in his dungeon?

Barry white music + golarions liberal orientation views + players willing to do anything for a +2 bonus? :)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
LazarX wrote:
. I've yet to hear a suitable "tool" for diplomacy. and no, if a courtier's outfit doesnt' cut it, the 50 gp shirt won't either.

How about a mighty fine hat?

Only if it's a fez.

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