Do characters start with the tools their background says they are proficient in?

I find it odd that some backgrounds give the character proficiency with tools but then do not list those tools under equipment.

For example, the Urchin:

Tool Proficiencies: Disguise kit, thieves’ tools

Equipment: A small knife, a map of the city you grew up in, a pet mouse, a token to remember your parents by, a set of common clothes, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp

Does the fact the Urchin is proficient with the disguise kit and thieves tools imply she starts with them? Or is she somehow proficient with tools she does not own?

What happens when you wear armor you’re not proficient in?

What penalties or restrictions does a creature have when they don armor they’re non proficient in?

For example, picture a newly adventurous (level 1) Dwarf Barbarian (18 Strength, 10 Dexterity) who has inherited a set of Full Plate armor. He’s only Trained up to Medium Armor, but he feels obligated to don it. What are the results? What if he still wears this armor at level 10 (assuming he never takes the Armor Proficiency Feat)?

This is generally a question to clarify related rules, but it has the possibility to come up. For instance, said Barbarian may invest in Feats that give benefits when hit or critically hit. Additionally, you could ‘equip’ the enemy Wizard you’ve captured to add to your restraints.

Are Shadow Assassins proficient with Sawtooth Sabre?

Are Shadow Assassins proficient with Sawtooth Sabre?

In RAW, how proficient is the shadow assassin with the sawtooth sabre?

Weapon and Armor Proficiency
A shadow assassin is proficient in all simple weapons, all light weapons, as well as bolas, net, repeating crossbow (light only), shuriken, spiked chain, and whip. The shadow assassin is proficient with light armor and small shields, but not heavy shields or tower shields.

Sabre, Sawtoothed Category: [light] Proficiency: [exotic]
A sawtooth sabre may be used as a Martial Weapon (in which case it functions identically to a longsword).
If you have the Exotic Weapon Proficiency (sawtooth sabre) feat, for the purpose of two-weapon fighting you can treat it as a light melee weapon; for all other purposes, it is a one-handed melee weapon.

Here’s scenarios we’ve been discussing:

  1. SA can not wield SS proficiently, since the SS is an [exotic] weapon.
  2. SA can wield SS proficiently, but cannot use it as a [light] weapon due to lacking the Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat.
  3. SA can wield SS proficiently and as a light weapon, since the SS is a [light] weapon and SA have proficiency in "all light weapons".

Why are Ghouls not proficient with their bite attack?

Looking at the Ghoul and the Ghast from the MM, we see that they both have a bite and a claw attack. The claw attack has two points more for the attack modifier which seems to indicate that the proficiency bonus is not added to the bite attack.

Now, bite has slightly higher damage, but claw has an additional paralysis effect. Given the attack modifiers and the paralysis effect, it seems like the claw attack will almost always be superior, even against undead or paralysis immunity, since 2 points on the attack modifier are usually better than two points of damage.

Ghouls and Ghast do not have a multiattack using both attacks which might make it necessary to balance the total damage of that multiattack. I am also pretty sure these two monsters are the only ones having an attack without proficiency bonus.

Is there any conceivable reason why Ghouls and Ghasts are not proficient with their bite? I am looking, for example, for potential balance considerations that I might have overlooked, or published lore to explain this.

If a feature gives proficiency in a skill you are proficient with, can you always choose any skill to replace that proficiency?

Page 125 of the PHB has this statement:

If a character would gain the same proficiency from two different sources, he or she can choose a different proficiency of the same kind (skill or tool) instead.

This statement is given in the context of character creation, and specifically skill proficiencies given by backgrounds.

Does this rule apply to any feature gained at any level that gives proficiencies, or only at first level?

Do you add your proficiency bonus when attacking with the Sun Blade if you’re proficient with shortswords only?

The Sun Blade mentions proficiency twice in its description.

The first one is about being proficient with shortswords or longswords:

If you are proficient with shortswords or longswords, you are proficient with the sun blade.

The second one is about proficiency with a longsword:

Proficiency with a longsword allows you to add your proficiency bonus to the attack roll for any attack you make with it.

So what happens if you are proficient with shortswords but not longswords? Do you add your proficiency bonus to the attack roll or not? The first one assumes “yes” since you “are proficient with the sun blade”, but the second one is about longsword specifically. Is the second one just redundant?

Can a bard use a musical instrument as a spellcasting focus if they aren’t proficient with it?

The bard’s spellcasting class features (PHB, pg. 53) includes the following:

Spellcasting Focus

You can use a musical instrument (found in chapter 5) as a spellcasting focus for your bard spells.

In chapter 5, it says this about musical instruments (PHB, pg. 154):

Musical Instrument. Several of the most common types of musical instruments are shown on the table as examples. If you have proficiency with a given musical instrument, you can add your proficiency bonus to any ability checks you make to play music with the instrument. A bard can use a musical instrument as a spellcasting focus. Each type of musical instrument requires a separate proficiency.

Typically, a bard will have at least one musical instrument proficiency (3 from start, 4 if they get another via background, or as few as 1 if they multiclass into bard from something else).

However, at the end of the chapter 5 quote, it says “Each type of musical instrument requires a separate proficiency”, meaning that a bard could lose their musical instrument but find or buy one that they aren’t proficient in.

The chapter 5 quote also says “If you have proficiency with a given musical instrument, you can add your proficiency bonus to any ability checks you make to play music with the instrument”, but that’s about playing it, not necessarily using it for spellcasting (and there doesn’t at time of writing seem to be a definitive answer on whether you need to play it to cast spells with it; that’s not the purpose of my question, anyway).

Finally, the chapter 5 quote also says “A bard can use a musical instrument as a spellcasting focus”, but it says it in a separate sentence to the one about proficiency, so the two sentences don’t necessarily relate to one another.

If a bard only has a musical instrument that they aren’t specifically proficient in, can they still use it to cast spells?

Does proficiency in both simple and martial weapons mean my character is proficient in all weapons?

So I am building my first D&D character, it’s a Barbarian Mountain Dwarf, and I’m trying to figure out what weapons he is proficient with, but in the Barbarian section it says that he his proficient with Simple and Martial weapons. Does that mean he is proficient with all weapons? And if not, then what weapons does it mean?

Are mounts proficient in armour (barding)?

Mounts can be given barding to duplicate the effect of armour at 4x the cost. However, barding makes no statement about armour proficiency, nor does the stat block for some of the more obvious mounts (Riding Horse, Warhorse, etc.).

If a mount is given barding, is it proficient in it? If not, how is it possible for them to gain proficiency?

The penalties for wearing armour without proficiency are no spellcasting and disadvantage on ability checks, saving throws, and attacks that use Strength or Dexterity.

Assuming they are not proficient, do mounts with barding have disadvantage on Strength and Dexterity -based ability checks and saving throws?

And finally, non-humanoid creatures are not explicitly stated to use either Strength or Dexterity in their attacks, but I would assume physical attacks have to use one of these two, so:

Assuming they are not proficient, do mounts with barding have disadvantage on attacks?