Tool, 5 gp, 3 lb
Components. An herbalism kit includes pouches to store herbs, clippers and leather gloves for collecting plants, a mortar and pestle, and several glass jars.
Arcana. Your knowledge of the nature and uses of herbs can add insight to your magical studies that deal with plants and your attempts to identify potions.
Investigation. When you inspect an area overgrown with plants, your proficiency can help you pick out details and clues that others might miss.
Medicine. Your mastery of herbalism improves your ability to treat illnesses and wounds by augmenting your methods of care with medicinal plants.
Nature and Survival. When you travel in the wild, your skill in herbalism makes it easier to identify plants and spot sources of food that others might overlook.
Identify Plants. You can identify most plants with a quick inspection of their appearance and smell.
Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, pg. 82
Herbalism Kit 5e
An herbalism kit is a tool used primarily to craft potions and identify plants and poisons in the world of DnD 5e. However, the rules for how exactly it works (along with all the other tools in 5e) are not described well by the game’s source materials.
This article will touch on how herbalism kits can be used, both rules as written and some commonly homebrewed options.
How Does an Herbalism Kit Work in 5e?
Having an herbalism kit and proficiency with it allows you to create antitoxins and any potion of healing — no character can do these things otherwise.
You can also find any plant with a DC 15 skill check or identify a poison with a DC 20 skill check (adding your proficiency bonus to the roll in both cases). The rules don’t say what skill to use, so it’s up to the DM in the given scenario (but finding plants would typically fall under nature or survival, while identifying a poison might fall under investigation, medicine, arcana, or perception).
Additionally, proficiency with an herbalism kit allows you to add your proficiency bonus to certain skill checks that involve plants and potions. For example, you can add your proficiency bonus to any of the following skill checks when plants, potions, or poisons are involved:
Arcana (being able to identify potions with this allows you to know what a potion is without taking a sip, saving you from risking sipping a poison instead – DMG 136)
What if your character is already proficient in one of these skills?
Well, now we’re entering into homebrew territory, but I’d rule one of two things:
Expertise (double proficiency bonus)
Advantage on the check (roll 2d20 and use the highest)
Who is Proficient With an Herbalism Kit in 5e?
The following character options will give you proficiency with an herbalism kit in DnD 5e:
Way of Mercy Monk (Subclass)
You can also customize any background to make it better fit your character. Doing so gives you the freedom to select any tool proficiency of your choice (including an herbalism kit), so you don’t have to be a hermit to learn herblore in DnD 5e (PHB 125).
How Do I Make Potions With an Herbalism Kit in 5e?
To make potions with an herbalism kit in DnD 5e, you use the rules for brewing potions of healing in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything:
|Healing||1 day||25 gp||2d4 + 2|
|Greater healing||1 workweek||100 gp||4d4 + 4|
|Superior healing||3 workweeks||1,000 gp||8d4 + 8|
|Supreme healing||4 workweeks||10,000 gp||10d4 + 20|
Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, pg. 130
You can also brew an Antitoxin in 1 day for 25 gp, which gives the drinker advantage on saving throws against being poisoned for 1 hour.
What if you want to make a different type of potion? In that case, you’d use the rules for crafting magic items in Xanathar’s (pg. 129):
|Very rare||12.5||10,000 gp|
Note that I cut the normal values and time frames for crafting magic items in half, since potions are consumable items.
Okay, great — so you’re basically turning gold into potions? Well, at its core, yes, that’s as far as the rules go. However, I feel that’s pretty lame (and many players and DMs agree).
It’s more fun to go on the hunt for rare materials — heck, it can even be the source of a whole adventure (get the bark from a rare tree, facing off against vine blights who try to stop you, or slay a basilisk for the rare venom in its fangs…although, that might be more the poison route, but you get the idea). Or, you know, they can go to an herbalist in a big city and buy the raw materials.
In any case, I feel that these prices and time frames are WAY too high. I mean, a potion of flying is very rare, and 1 hour of flight doesn’t seem worth 10k gold and 3.5 months of adventuring time (that’s several sessions at the very least).
I suggest knocking these prices down further, or allowing the players to gather a hoard of herbs (which no vendor will buy for 10k, because then they’ll just sell them instead, and who could blame them?) and make a few potions at once.
Additionally, I’d recommend Dump Stat Adventures’ extended herbalism kit uses — it’s got some great ideas, and the framework for homebrewing more of your own.