|System Reference Document v3.5|
DECIPHER SCRIPT (INT; TRAINED ONLY)
Check: You can decipher writing in an unfamiliar language or a message written in an incomplete or archaic form. The base DC is 20 for the simplest messages, 25 for standard texts, and 30 or higher for intricate, exotic, or very old writing.
If the check succeeds, you understand the general content of a piece of writing about one page long (or the equivalent). If the check fails, make a DC 5 Wisdom check to see if you avoid drawing a false conclusion about the text. (Success means that you do not draw a false conclusion; failure means that you do.)
Both the Decipher Script check and (if necessary) the Wisdom check are made secretly, so that you can’t tell whether the conclusion you draw is true or false.
Action: Deciphering the equivalent of a single page of script takes 1 minute (ten consecutive full-round actions).
Try Again: No.
Special: A character with the Diligent feat gets a +2 bonus on Decipher Script checks.
Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Decipher Script, you get a +2 bonus on Use Magic Device checks involving scrolls.
DISABLE DEVICE (INT; TRAINED ONLY)
Check: The Disable Device check is made secretly, so that you don’t necessarily know whether you’ve succeeded. The DC depends on how tricky the device is. Disabling (or rigging or jamming) a fairly simple device has a DC of 10; more intricate and complex devices have higher DCs.
If the check succeeds, you disable the device. If it fails by 4 or less, you have failed but can try again. If you fail by 5 or more, something goes wrong. If the device is a trap, you spring it. If you’re attempting some sort of sabotage, you think the device is disabled, but it still works normally.
You also can rig simple devices such as saddles or wagon wheels to work normally for a while and then fail or fall off some time later (usually after 1d4 rounds or minutes of use).
Action: The amount of time needed to make a Disable Device check depends on the task, as noted above. Disabling a simple device takes 1 round and is a full-round action. An intricate or complex device requires 1d4 or 2d4 rounds.
Try Again: Varies. You can retry if you have missed the check by 4 or less, though you must be aware that you have failed in order to try again.
Special: If you have the Nimble Fingers feat, you get a +2 bonus on Disable Device checks.
A rogue who beats a trap’s DC by 10 or more can study the trap, figure out how it works, and bypass it (along with her companions) without disarming it.
Restriction: Rogues (and other characters with the trapfinding class feature) can disarm magic traps. A magic trap generally has a DC of 25 + the spell level of the magic used to create it.
The spells fire trap, glyph of warding, symbol, and teleportation circle also create traps that a rogue can disarm with a successful Disable Device check. Spike growth and spike stones, however, create magic traps against which Disable Device checks do not succeed. See the individual spell descriptions for details.
Other Ways to Beat a Trap
It’s possible to ruin many traps without making a Disable Device check.
Ranged Attack Traps: Once a trap’s location is known, the obvious way to ruin it is to smash the mechanism—assuming the mechanism can be accessed. Failing that, it’s possible to plug up the holes from which the projectiles emerge. Doing this prevents the trap from firing unless its ammunition does enough damage to break through the plugs.
Melee Attack Traps: These devices can be thwarted by smashing the mechanism or blocking the weapons, as noted above. Alternatively, if a character studies the trap as it triggers, he might be able to time his dodges just right to avoid damage. A character who is doing nothing but studying a trap when it first goes off gains a +4 dodge bonus against its attacks if it is triggered again within the next minute.
Pits: Disabling a pit trap generally ruins only the trapdoor, making it an uncovered pit. Filling in the pit or building a makeshift bridge across it is an application of manual labor, not the Disable Device skill. Characters could neutralize any spikes at the bottom of a pit by attacking them—they break just as daggers do.
Magic Traps: Dispel magic helps here. Someone who succeeds on a caster level check against the level of the trap’s creator suppresses the trap for 1d4 rounds. This works only with a targeted dispel magic, not the area version (see the spell description).
HANDLE ANIMAL (CHA; TRAINED ONLY)
Check: The DC depends on what you are trying to do.
Handle an Animal: This task involves commanding an animal to perform a task or trick that it knows. If the animal is wounded or has taken any nonlethal damage or ability score damage, the DC increases by 2. If your check succeeds, the animal performs the task or trick on its next action.
“Push” an Animal: To push an animal means to get it to perform a task or trick that it doesn’t know but is physically capable of performing. This category also covers making an animal perform a forced march or forcing it to hustle for more than 1 hour between sleep cycles. If the animal is wounded or has taken any nonlethal damage or ability score damage, the DC increases by 2. If your check succeeds, the animal performs the task or trick on its next action.
Teach an Animal a Trick: You can teach an animal a specific trick with one week of work and a successful Handle Animal check against the indicated DC. An animal with an Intelligence score of 1 can learn a maximum of three tricks, while an animal with an Intelligence score of 2 can learn a maximum of six tricks. Possible tricks (and their associated DCs) include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following.
Attack (DC 20): The animal attacks apparent enemies. You may point to a particular creature that you wish the animal to attack, and it will comply if able. Normally, an animal will attack only humanoids, monstrous humanoids, giants, or other animals. Teaching an animal to attack all creatures (including such unnatural creatures as undead and aberrations) counts as two tricks.
Come (DC 15): The animal comes to you, even if it normally would not do so.
Defend (DC 20): The animal defends you (or is ready to defend you if no threat is present), even without any command being given. Alternatively, you can command the animal to defend a specific other character.
Down (DC 15): The animal breaks off from combat or otherwise backs down. An animal that doesn’t know this trick continues to fight until it must flee (due to injury, a fear effect, or the like) or its opponent is defeated.
Fetch (DC 15): The animal goes and gets something. If you do not point out a specific item, the animal fetches some random object.
Guard (DC 20): The animal stays in place and prevents others from approaching.
Heel (DC 15): The animal follows you closely, even to places where it normally wouldn’t go.
Perform (DC 15): The animal performs a variety of simple tricks, such as sitting up, rolling over, roaring or barking, and so on.
Seek (DC 15): The animal moves into an area and looks around for anything that is obviously alive or animate.
Stay (DC 15): The animal stays in place, waiting for you to return. It does not challenge other creatures that come by,
though it still defends itself if it needs to.
Track (DC 20): The animal tracks the scent presented to it. (This requires the animal to have the scent ability)
Work (DC 15): The animal pulls or pushes a medium or heavy load.
Train an Animal for a Purpose: Rather than teaching an animal individual tricks, you can simply train it for a general purpose. Essentially, an animal’s purpose represents a preselected set of known tricks that fit into a common scheme, such as guarding or heavy labor. The animal must meet all the normal prerequisites for all tricks included in the training package. If the package includes more than three tricks, the animal must have an Intelligence score of 2.
An animal can be trained for only one general purpose, though if the creature is capable of learning additional tricks (above and beyond those included in its general purpose), it may do so. Training an animal for a purpose requires fewer checks than teaching individual tricks does, but no less time.
Combat Riding (DC 20): An animal trained to bear a rider into combat knows the tricks attack, come, defend, down, guard, and heel. Training an animal for combat riding takes six weeks. You may also “upgrade” an animal trained for riding to one trained for combat riding by spending three weeks and making a successful DC 20 Handle Animal check. The new general purpose and tricks completely replace the animal’s previous purpose and any tricks it once knew. Warhorses and riding dogs are already trained to bear riders into combat, and they don’t require any additional training for this purpose.
Fighting (DC 20): An animal trained to engage in combat knows the tricks attack, down, and stay. Training an animal for fighting takes three weeks.
Guarding (DC 20): An animal trained to guard knows the tricks attack, defend, down, and guard. Training an animal for guarding takes four weeks.
Heavy Labor (DC 15): An animal trained for heavy labor knows the tricks come and work. Training an animal for heavy labor takes two weeks.
Hunting (DC 20): An animal trained for hunting knows the tricks attack, down, fetch, heel, seek, and track. Training an animal for hunting takes six weeks.
Performance (DC 15): An animal trained for performance knows the tricks come, fetch, heel, perform, and stay. Training an animal for performance takes five weeks.
Riding (DC 15): An animal trained to bear a rider knows the tricks come, heel, and stay. Training an animal for riding takes three weeks.
Rear a Wild Animal: To rear an animal means to raise a wild creature from infancy so that it becomes domesticated. A handler can rear as many as three creatures of the same kind at once. A successfully domesticated animal can be taught tricks at the same time it’s being raised, or it can be taught as a domesticated animal later.
Action: Varies. Handling an animal is a move action, while pushing an animal is a full-round action. (A druid or ranger can handle her animal companion as a free action or push it as a move action.) For tasks with specific time frames noted above, you must spend half this time (at the rate of 3 hours per day per animal being handled) working toward completion of the task before you attempt the Handle Animal check. If the check fails, your attempt to teach, rear, or train the animal fails and you need not complete the teaching, rearing, or training time. If the check succeeds, you must invest the remainder of the time to complete the teaching, rearing, or training. If the time is interrupted or the task is not followed through to completion, the attempt to teach, rear, or train the animal automatically fails.
Try Again: Yes, except for rearing an animal.
Special: You can use this skill on a creature with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2 that is not an animal, but the DC of any such check increases by 5. Such creatures have the same limit on tricks known as animals do.
A druid or ranger gains a +4 circumstance bonus on Handle Animal checks involving her animal companion. In addition, a druid’s or ranger’s animal companion knows one or more bonus tricks, which don’t count against the normal limit on tricks known and don’t require any training time or Handle Animal checks to teach.
If you have the Animal Affinity feat, you get a +2 bonus on Handle Animal checks.
Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Handle Animal, you get a +2 bonus on Ride checks and wild empathy checks.
Untrained: If you have no ranks in Handle Animal, you can use a Charisma check to handle and push domestic animals, but you can’t teach, rear, or train animals. A druid or ranger with no ranks in Handle Animal can use a Charisma check to handle and push her animal companion, but she can’t teach, rear, or train other nondomestic animals.
KNOWLEDGE (INT; TRAINED ONLY)
Like the Craft and Profession skills, Knowledge actually encompasses a number of unrelated skills. Knowledge represents a study of some body of lore, possibly an academic or even scientific discipline.
Below are listed typical fields of study.
Check: Answering a question within your field of study has a DC of 10 (for really easy questions), 15 (for basic questions), or 20 to 30 (for really tough questions).
In many cases, you can use this skill to identify monsters and their special powers or vulnerabilities. In general, the DC of such a check equals 10 + the monster’s HD. A successful check allows you to remember a bit of useful information about that monster. For every 5 points by which your check result exceeds the DC, you recall another piece of useful information.
Action: Usually none. In most cases, making a Knowledge check doesn’t take an action—you simply know the answer or you don’t.
Try Again: No. The check represents what you know, and thinking about a topic a second time doesn’t let you know something that you never learned in the first place.
Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Knowledge (arcana), you get a +2 bonus on Spellcraft checks.
If you have 5 or more ranks in Knowledge (architecture and engineering), you get a +2 bonus on Search checks made to find secret doors or hidden compartments.
If you have 5 or more ranks in Knowledge (geography), you get a +2 bonus on Survival checks made to keep from getting lost or to avoid natural hazards.
If you have 5 or more ranks in Knowledge (history), you get a +2 bonus on bardic knowledge checks.
If you have 5 or more ranks in Knowledge (local), you get a +2 bonus on Gather Information checks.
If you have 5 or more ranks in Knowledge (nature), you get a +2 bonus on Survival checks made in aboveground natural environments (aquatic, desert, forest, hill, marsh, mountains, or plains).
If you have 5 or more ranks in Knowledge (nobility and royalty), you get a +2 bonus on Diplomacy checks.
If you have 5 or more ranks in Knowledge (religion), you get a +2 bonus on turning checks against undead.
If you have 5 or more ranks in Knowledge (the planes), you get a +2 bonus on Survival checks made while on other planes.
If you have 5 or more ranks in Knowledge (dungeoneering), you get a +2 bonus on Survival checks made while underground.
If you have 5 or more ranks in Survival, you get a +2 bonus on Knowledge (nature) checks.
Untrained: An untrained Knowledge check is simply an Intelligence check. Without actual training, you know only common knowledge (DC 10 or lower).
OPEN LOCK (DEX; TRAINED ONLY)
Attempting an Open Lock check without a set of thieves’ tools imposes a –2 circumstance penalty on the check, even if a simple tool is employed. If you use masterwork thieves’ tools, you gain a +2 circumstance bonus on the check.
Check: The DC for opening a lock varies from 20 to 40, depending on the quality of the lock, as given on the table below.
Action: Opening a lock is a full-round action.
Special: If you have the Nimble Fingers feat, you get a +2 bonus on Open Lock checks.
Untrained: You cannot pick locks untrained, but you might successfully force them open.
PROFESSION (WIS; TRAINED ONLY)
Like Craft, Knowledge, and Perform, Profession is actually a number of separate skills. You could have several Profession skills, each with its own ranks, each purchased as a separate skill. While a Craft skill represents ability in creating or making an item, a Profession skill represents an aptitude in a vocation requiring a broader range of less specific knowledge.
Check: You can practice your trade and make a decent living, earning about half your Profession check result in gold pieces per week of dedicated work. You know how to use the tools of your trade, how to perform the profession’s daily tasks, how to supervise helpers, and how to handle common problems.
Action: Not applicable. A single check generally represents a week of work.
Try Again: Varies. An attempt to use a Profession skill to earn an income cannot be retried. You are stuck with whatever weekly wage your check result brought you. Another check may be made after a week to determine a new income for the next period of time. An attempt to accomplish some specific task can usually be retried.
Untrained: Untrained laborers and assistants (that is, characters without any ranks in Profession) earn an average of 1 silver piece per day.
SLEIGHT OF HAND (DEX; TRAINED ONLY; ARMOR CHECK PENALTY)
Check: A DC 10 Sleight of Hand check lets you palm a coin-sized, unattended object. Performing a minor feat of legerdemain, such as making a coin disappear, also has a DC of 10 unless an observer is determined to note where the item went.
When you use this skill under close observation, your skill check is opposed by the observer’s Spot check. The observer’s success doesn’t prevent you from performing the action, just from doing it unnoticed.
You can hide a small object (including a light weapon or an easily concealed ranged weapon, such as a dart, sling, or hand crossbow) on your body. Your Sleight of Hand check is opposed by the Spot check of anyone observing you or the Search check of anyone frisking you. In the latter case, the searcher gains a +4 bonus on the Search check, since it’s generally easier to find such an object than to hide it. A dagger is easier to hide than most light weapons, and grants you a +2 bonus on your Sleight of Hand check to conceal it. An extraordinarily small object, such as a coin, shuriken, or ring, grants you a +4 bonus on your Sleight of Hand check to conceal it, and heavy or baggy clothing (such as a cloak) grants you a +2 bonus on the check. Drawing a hidden weapon is a standard action and doesn’t provoke an attack of opportunity.
If you try to take something from another creature, you must make a DC 20 Sleight of Hand check to obtain it. The opponent makes a Spot check to detect the attempt, opposed by the same Sleight of Hand check result you achieved when you tried to grab the item. An opponent who succeeds on this check notices the attempt, regardless of whether you got the item.
You can also use Sleight of Hand to entertain an audience as though you were using the Perform skill. In such a case, your “act” encompasses elements of legerdemain, juggling, and the like.
Action: Any Sleight of Hand check normally is a standard action. However, you may perform a Sleight of Hand check as a free action by taking a –20 penalty on the check.
Try Again: Yes, but after an initial failure, a second Sleight of Hand attempt against the same target (or while you are being watched by the same observer who noticed your previous attempt) increases the DC for the task by 10.
Special: If you have the Deft Hands feat, you get a +2 bonus on Sleight of Hand checks.
Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Bluff, you get a +2 bonus on Sleight of Hand checks.
Untrained: An untrained Sleight of Hand check is simply a Dexterity check. Without actual training, you can’t succeed on any Sleight of Hand check with a DC higher than 10, except for hiding an object on your body.
SPEAK LANGUAGE (NONE; TRAINED ONLY)
Table: Common Languages and Their Alphabets
Action: Not applicable.
Try Again: Not applicable. There are no Speak Language checks to fail.
The Speak Language skill doesn’t work like other skills. Languages work as follows.
SPELLCRAFT (INT; TRAINED ONLY)
Use this skill to identify spells as they are cast or spells already in place.
Check: You can identify spells and magic effects. The DCs for Spellcraft checks relating to various tasks are summarized on the table above.
Action: Varies, as noted above.
Try Again: See above.
Special: If you are a specialist wizard, you get a +2 bonus on Spellcraft checks when dealing with a spell or effect from your specialty school. You take a –5 penalty when dealing with a spell or effect from a prohibited school (and some tasks, such as learning a prohibited spell, are just impossible).
If you have the Magical Aptitude feat, you get a +2 bonus on Spellcraft checks.
Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Knowledge (arcana), you get a +2 bonus on Spellcraft checks.
If you have 5 or more ranks in Use Magic Device, you get a +2 bonus on Spellcraft checks to decipher spells on scrolls.
If you have 5 or more ranks in Spellcraft, you get a +2 bonus on Use Magic Device checks related to scrolls.
Additionally, certain spells allow you to gain information about magic, provided that you make a successful Spellcraft check as detailed in the spell description.
TUMBLE (DEX; TRAINED ONLY; ARMOR CHECK PENALTY)
You can’t use this skill if your speed has been reduced by armor, excess equipment, or loot.
Check: You can land softly when you fall or tumble past opponents. You can also tumble to entertain an audience (as though using the Perform skill). The DCs for various tasks involving the Tumble skill are given on the table below.
Obstructed or otherwise treacherous surfaces, such as natural cavern floors or undergrowth, are tough to tumble through. The DC for any Tumble check made to tumble into such a square is modified as indicated below.
Accelerated Tumbling: You try to tumble past or through enemies more quickly than normal. By accepting a –10 penalty on your Tumble checks, you can move at your full speed instead of one-half your speed.
Action: Not applicable. Tumbling is part of movement, so a Tumble check is part of a move action.
Try Again: Usually no. An audience, once it has judged a tumbler as an uninteresting performer, is not receptive to repeat performances. You can try to reduce damage from a fall as an instant reaction only once per fall.
Special: If you have 5 or more ranks in Tumble, you gain a +3 dodge bonus to AC when fighting defensively instead of the usual +2 dodge bonus to AC.
If you have 5 or more ranks in Tumble, you gain a +6 dodge bonus to AC when executing the total defense standard action instead of the usual +4 dodge bonus to AC.
If you have the Acrobatic feat, you get a +2 bonus on Tumble checks.
If you have 5 or more ranks in Jump, you get a +2 bonus on Tumble checks.
USE MAGIC DEVICE (CHA; TRAINED ONLY)
Use this skill to activate magic
Check: You can use this skill to read a spell or to activate a magic item. Use Magic Device lets you use a magic item as if you had the spell ability or class features of another class, as if you were a different race, or as if you were of a different alignment.
You make a Use Magic Device check each time you activate a device such as a wand. If you are using the check to emulate an alignment or some other quality in an ongoing manner, you need to make the relevant Use Magic Device check once per hour.
You must consciously choose which requirement to emulate. That is, you must know what you are trying to emulate when you make a Use Magic Device check for that purpose. The DCs for various tasks involving Use Magic Device checks are summarized on the table below.
Activate Blindly: Some magic items are activated by special words, thoughts, or actions. You can activate such an item as if you were using the activation word, thought, or action, even when you’re not and even if you don’t know it. You do have to perform some equivalent activity in order to make the check. That is, you must speak, wave the item around, or otherwise attempt to get it to activate. You get a special +2 bonus on your Use Magic Device check if you’ve activated the item in question at least once before. If you fail by 9 or less, you can’t activate the device. If you fail by 10 or more, you suffer a mishap. A mishap means that magical energy gets released but it doesn’t do what you wanted it to do. The default mishaps are that the item affects the wrong target or that uncontrolled magical energy is released, dealing 2d6 points of damage to you. This mishap is in addition to the chance for a mishap that you normally run when you cast a spell from a scroll that you could not otherwise cast yourself.
Decipher a Written Spell: This usage works just like deciphering a written spell with the Spellcraft skill, except that the DC is 5 points higher. Deciphering a written spell requires 1 minute of concentration.
Emulate an Ability Score: To cast a spell from a scroll, you need a high score in the appropriate ability (Intelligence for wizard spells, Wisdom for divine spells, or Charisma for sorcerer or bard spells). Your effective ability score (appropriate to the class you’re emulating when you try to cast the spell from the scroll) is your Use Magic Device check result minus 15. If you already have a high enough score in the appropriate ability, you don’t need to make this check.
Emulate an Alignment: Some magic items have positive or negative effects based on the user’s alignment. Use Magic Device lets you use these items as if you were of an alignment of your choice. You can emulate only one alignment at a time.
Emulate a Class Feature: Sometimes you need to use a class feature to activate a magic item. In this case, your effective level in the emulated class equals your Use Magic Device check result minus 20. This skill does not let you actually use the class feature of another class. It just lets you activate items as if you had that class feature. If the class whose feature you are emulating has an alignment requirement, you must meet it, either honestly or by emulating an appropriate alignment with a separate Use Magic Device check (see above).
Emulate a Race: Some magic items work only for members of certain races, or work better for members of those races. You can use such an item as if you were a race of your choice. You can emulate only one race at a time.
Use a Scroll: If you are casting a spell from a scroll, you have to decipher it first. Normally, to cast a spell from a scroll, you must have the scroll’s spell on your class spell list. Use Magic Device allows you to use a scroll as if you had a particular spell on your class spell list. The DC is equal to 20 + the caster level of the spell you are trying to cast from the scroll. In addition, casting a spell from a scroll requires a minimum score (10 + spell level) in the appropriate ability. If you don’t have a sufficient score in that ability, you must emulate the ability score with a separate Use Magic Device check (see above).
This use of the skill also applies to other spell completion magic items.
Use a Wand: Normally, to use a wand, you must have the wand’s spell on your class spell list. This use of the skill allows you to use a wand as if you had a particular spell on your class spell list. This use of the skill also applies to other spell trigger magic items, such as staffs.
Action: None. The Use Magic Device check is made as part of the action (if any) required to activate the magic item.
Try Again: Yes, but if you ever roll a natural 1 while attempting to activate an item and you fail, then you can’t try to activate that item again for 24 hours.
Special: You cannot take 10 with this skill.
You can’t aid another on Use Magic Device checks. Only the user of the item may attempt such a check.
If you have the Magical Aptitude feat, you get a +2 bonus on Use Magic Device checks.
Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Spellcraft, you get a +2 bonus on Use Magic Device checks related to scrolls.
If you have 5 or more ranks in Decipher Script, you get a +2 bonus on Use Magic Device checks related to scrolls.
If you have 5 or more ranks in Use Magic Device, you get a +2 bonus to Spellcraft checks made to decipher spells on scrolls.