Toolkits - 1 for each skill, or could you amalgate?

Hopefully a quick question.

We’re just setting up our new game, and I wanted to check something.

One character has Apothecary, Surgery and Bloodletting, each of which requires a toolkit, two of which are expendable.

Would you require 3 separate toolkits (at 8rps each), or would you see this as 1 or 2 toolkits?

My initial reaction is that, in line with BWG p253, 3 separate toolkits are required, but I wondered if you’d allow 1 toolkit for, say Surgery + Bloodletting and 1 for Apothecary?


I’d say it’s up to the GM. I think a surgery toolkit would probably do just fine for bloodletting.

On the other hand, in a age where even the shape of surgical instruments was considered a trade secret, I could imagine that a bloodletting toolkit might be quite different, consisting of stuff like a special jar for the leeches, “leech food” (?), a knife with stays to limit the cutting depth (just making this up), a curved bowl for catching the blood, napkins, etc.

(No rulebook handy, but I’m of the impression that surgery is just a hands down better skill than bloodletting, no? Why even carry a bloodletting toolkit?)

I’d spend the money on a Surgery Workshop, then outsource other stuff until you can afford other stuff.

Each skill needs their own separate toolkit. Not only are the individual pieces widely different, there’s the game mechanics to consider. Toolkits are supposed to be costly and rare and are a significant choice during character burning. Starting with or without a proper toolkit will make all the difference during those early sessions and can lead to some exciting play.

Thanks, guys. The help is much appreciated!

And Kublai’s point about these choices informing / driving play is well taken. Time to give the PC in question some choices to make…

I’m notorious for being lenient, but I generally allow really close skills to share toolkits. Herbalism, Apothecary, and Poisons for example, I’d be fine with. Bear in mind, though, that rolling that “1” on the DoF means you now lack tools for all those skills—so my way isn’t necessarily nicer. It doesn’t come up in play that often, to be honest.

Now Luke is going to be mean to me on an Internet forum.


I’m not a big fan of toolkits, so I’d probably allow closely related skills to share kits like Deliverator. I wish the toolkit-using kits were labelled at the lifepath stage; in my experience a player gets to the resource spending part of character burning and realises they can’t use half of the interesting skills they wanted to try, but doesn’t want to make the character over from scratch.

I think it’s also worth noting that owning a skill toolkit gives you a free pass to use the skill, but not owning one doesn’t totally block you. For one thing, certain skill uses don’t require the toolkit (Herbalism to identify a medicine, for example). Other uses may require only specific tools (some Carpentry tasks might be perfectly doable with a hammer, pegs, and a drill.) For another, you can borrow or gain access to a toolkit or workshop. For a third, you can acquire them in play.

(I don’t advocate spending a lot of time working out exactly what you can do without a kit/shop. That’s more of a desperation move, or something you do when you’ve written a belief about proving yourself as a carpenter and putting together a workshop, so you have some tools but haven’t completed the belief yet.)

Yeah not having the tools you need to use all your skills is a deliberate design feature, not a bug. And early quests to get the shit you need are great! The real reason I allow some amalgamation isn’t just because I’m nice; it’s because it breaks my suspension of disbelief not to allow it.


If it ruins your suspension of disbelief, but still want to encourage people to quest for appropriate tools, you could have them use analogous tools at increased ob…

I’ve allowed amalgamation of kits for skills with similar tools - the RP cost isn’t lowered, but the combo-kit the character carries is smaller and removes overlaps.

In the case of the combined surgery and bloodletting kits, it’s going to have about 50% overlap - the knives, fleams and sutures - so it weighs 1.5 kits worth, and includes saws, leaches, and catchbasins…

No toolkit - double ob
Similar tools - advantage dice

This is typically how I run it.