House Rules: Skills - Disable Device

< House Rules: Skills

You are skilled at disarming traps and opening locks. In addition, this skill lets you sabotage simple mechanical devices, such as catapults, wagon wheels, and doors.


Disarm Trap or Device (Skilled)

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.

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.

Special: 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.

Magic Traps
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.

Sabotage Mechanical Item: 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 device. Simple devices require 3 acts. Complex or intricate devices require 1d4 or 2d4 rounds.

Retry? You can retry checks made to disable traps if you miss the check by 4 or less, though you must be aware that you fail in order to try again.


  • Expert: You can perform a quick disarm on a trap by taking a –5 penalty on your Disable Device check for each step by which you reduce the time required: 2d4 rounds, 1d4 rounds, 3 acts, 2 acts, a simple action.
  • Master: You can disarm magical traps at a –10 penalty even if you lack the trapfinding ability. If you possess the trapfinding ability, when attempting to disable magic traps, you never trigger them, even if you perform the trigger action (such as looking at a symbol). If you fail the check, you can still trigger the trap, and you can’t use this ability to bypass it. When attacked by a trap, you can attempt a Disable Device check as a reaction (adding your trap sense bonus, if any) opposed by the trap’s attack roll or its save DC. If you succeed, you take half damage (or no damage if you exceed the DC by at least 10).
  • Legendary: You halve the penalties for performing a quick disarm. If you possess the trapfinding ability and accept a –20 penalty while disabling a trap as a reaction, all nearby allies gain the benefit, and you disable the trap before it can trigger if you exceed the DC by at least 10.

Open a Lock (Skilled)

The DC to open a lock depends on the lock’s quality: simple (DC 20), average (DC 25), good (DC 30), or superior (DC 40).

Modifiers: If you do not have a set of thieves’ tools, these DCs increase by 10.

Action: Attempting to open a lock requires 3 acts.

Retry? Yes. You can retry checks made to open locks.


  • Expert: You can perform a quick lockpick on a lock by taking a –5 penalty on your Disable Device check for each step by which you reduce the time required: 2d4 rounds, 1d4 rounds, 3 acts, 2 acts, a simple action.
  • Master: The lock DC does not increase when you attempt to open a lock without a set of thieves' tools.
  • Legendary: You halve the penalties for performing a quick lockpick.

Table: Disable Device DCs to Open Locks

Lock Quality DC
Simple 20
Average 25
Good 30
Amazing 40

Explosives (Skilled)

With the Technologist feat, you can use Disable Device to interact safely with explosive devices and disable technological devices and traps.

Arm Explosive: If you possess a detonator, you can arm an explosive weapon as a trap. Connecting a detonator to an explosive requires a successful DC 10 Disable Device check. Failure means that the attempt fails, but you can attempt to arm the explosive again. Failure by 5 or more means the explosive is triggered as the detonator is installed. You can attempt to make an explosive difficult to disarm. To do so, choose a target disarm DC of 15 or higher, with a DC increment of 5. This becomes your target DC to set the explosive as well as the DC to disarm the explosive.

Disable Electronic Device or Trigger: Disabling an electronic lock on a door or an electronic trigger for a trap (not the trap itself ) is easier if you use an e-pick—without an e-pick, you take a –5 penalty on such checks.

Disarm Explosive: Disarming an explosive requires the character to succeed at a Disable Device check as if disarming a trap. The DC is usually 10, unless the person who set the explosive successfully did so with a higher disarm DC. A failure to disarm an explosive by 5 or more immediately triggers the explosive.

Special: A character can take 10 when using Disable Device to arm or disarm explosives, but cannot take 20.

Action: Arming an explosive device takes 1 minute or more, depending on the scope of the job. Disarming an explosive is treated as if the explosive were a complex trap, and takes 2d4 rounds to attempt.


  • Feats—If you have the Deft Hands feat, you get a +2 bonus on Disable Device skill checks. If you have 10 or more ranks in Disable Device, the bonus increases to +4.

< House Rules: Skills

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