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Basic Information

Broadly put, a tool is an device that is used to perform a task or modify your environment.

All but the simplest tools can be counted as a form of technology. Many animal species are known to use simple, naturally-occurring tools, such as sticks, rocks or even sometimes bones. Humans can use more complicated or sophisticated tools, obviously, and also sometimes use tools to create better tools. That last bit is pretty important, and seems to be the second level of abstraction that other animals generally haven't figured out.

Tools often fall into other categories or sub-types:

  • Clothing is a wearable tool that protects us from the elements or modifies our appearance.
  • Lighting is a tool used to illuminate and hold back the darkness.
  • A hand tool is one that can be carried by a single person and used with one or both hands. This term is often used to refer to man-portable crafting or construction tools.
  • A navigational aid is also a tool for traveling that helps you chart a course or avoid getting lost.
  • A power tool is one that uses electricity or a motor to increase speed or efficiency.
  • A ritual tool is used for magic or religious practices.
  • A vehicle is a tool for traveling at increased speed or reduced fatigue.
  • A weapon is a tool used for killing or hunting.

A list of Hand-Tools:

Miscellaneous tools (includes things that might be larger than is convenient to carry, or whose use doesn't involve directly manipulating with your hands)



Game and Story Use

  • Many tools can be employed as improvised weapons. A lot of the weirder martial arts weaponry started off as non-weaponized tools. Sometimes this is because a local law restricts the use or ownership of weapons, so people who had need of a weapon had to get creative and train with household implements.
  • A profession is likely to have specific tools associated with it. This can be literal tools that are used to perform tasks, as well as metaphorical tools used as a symbol on their signage. For example, a silhouette of a hammer and anvil conveys "blacksmith" regardless of your language and literacy.
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