Disable Device (INT; Trained only)

(Player's Handbook v.3.5 variant, p. 72)


Use this skill to disarm a trap, jam a lock (in either the open or closed position), or rig a wagon wheel to fall off. You can examine a fairly simple or fairly small mechanical device and disable it. The effort requires at least a simple tool of the appropriate sort (a pick, pry bar, saw, file, etc.). Attempting a Disable Device check without a set of thieves’ tools (page 130) carries a –2 circumstance penalty, even if a simple tool is employed. The use of masterwork thieves’ tools enables you to make the check with a +2 circumstance bonus.


Your DM makes the Disable Device check for you 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).

Device Time Disable Device DC 1 Example
Simple 1 round 10 Jam a lock
Tricky 1d4 rounds 15 Sabotage a wagon wheel
Difficult 2d4 rounds 20 Disarm a trap, reset a trap
Wicked 2d4 rounds 25 Disarm a complex trap,cleverly sabotage a clockwork device

1 If you attempt to leave behind no trace of your tampering, add 5 to the DC.


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.


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.


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. For instance, disarming a trap set by the casting of explosive runes has a AC of 28 because explosive runes is a 3rd-level spell.

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 in Chapter 11: Spells for details.

Required for feats

Feat name
Clever Improviser

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