Know Your Skills – Disable Device

How well do you know the skills in Pathfinder?

‘Not too well’?  That’s fine, that’s what this is for!  After all, why would you put points in a skill when you don’t understand what it actually does in the context of the game?

There is more information available in the Pathfinder Core Rulebook (now in A5 paperback too!) and Paizo’s Online Reference Document; plus I found a great app for phones/tablets that provides full offline access to every rule that Paizo have, and will, ever release (iOS / Android).

So, Disable Device…  Sounds obvious?  Ok, but what could it be used for in the context of the game?


Pathfinder’s description of Disable Device is this.

This is one of the key skills of the Rogue class – and Rogue sub-classes.  Note that it is not called, Disarm Traps, there is more to it than that.  This skill enables those trained in it to be able to disarm traps, pick locks, or sabotage simple items.


Know that this roll is made by the GM, NOT by the Player.

Check: When disarming a trap or other device, the Disable Device check is made secretly, so that you don’t necessarily know whether you’ve succeeded.

There is a chance while attempting this Check, that you set the trap off, break the lock etc.  Essentially if you fail by 5 or more something goes awry.


Note that Picking Locks is not easy either.  A Simple Lock has a DC of 20, and that’s not an easy Check to make!  Without Thieves Tools, the Check is at a +10 to the difficulty.

If you are attempting to disarm a trap and beat the DC by 10+, you can bypass it without disarming.

There are a few traps that are created by spells that can also be disarmed with this skill, those are: Fire Trap, Glyph of Warding, Symbol of… (Symbol of Death, Symbol of Stunning etc) and Teleportation Circle.  Other spell traps cannot be disarmed with this skill.

Action: The amount of time needed to make a Disable Device check depends on the task. Disabling a simple device takes 1 round and is a full-round action. A tricky or difficult device requires 1d4 or 2d4 rounds. Attempting to open a lock is a full-round action.

Try Again: Varies. You can retry checks made to disable traps if you miss the check by 4 or less. You can retry checks made to open locks.

Special: If you have the Deft Hands feat, you get a bonus on Disable Device checks (see Feats).

Be careful out there!!



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