Specific vs. General in Spell Trap detection?


Rules Questions

The Exchange

15 people marked this as FAQ candidate. Answered in the FAQ. 2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

focusing from a conundrum that came up in another thread

Here is a list of spell traps in the CRB that require Trapfinding:
Fire Trap, Glyph of Warding, Snare, Spike Growth, Spike Stones, and Symbol spells.

is this a case of specific trumping general? or is it a misprint in the format of the addendum of the spells?

the magical spells that create disableable traps have

Quote:
Magic traps such as fire trap are hard to detect and disable. A character with trapfinding can use the Perception skill to find a fire trap and Disable Device to thwart it. The DC in each case is 25 + spell level

ones that create hazards have

Quote:
Magic traps such as spike stones are hard to detect. A rogue (only) can use the Perception skill to find spike stones. The DC is 25 + spell level, or DC 29 for spike stones. Spike stones is a magic trap that can't be disabled with the Disable Device skill.

but the environment > traps section

Quote:
Magic Trap: The DC for both Perception and Disable Device checks is equal to 25 + the spell level of the highest-level spell used. Only characters with the trapfinding class feature can attempt a Disable Device check involving a magic trap.

environment >traps:
Magic: Many spells can be used to create dangerous traps. Unless the spell or item description states otherwise, assume the following to be true.


  • A successful Perception check (DC 25 + spell level) detects a magic trap before it goes off.
  • Magic traps permit a saving throw in order to avoid the effect (DC 10 + spell level × 1.5).
  • Magic traps may be disarmed by a character with the trapfinding class feature with a successful Disable Device skill check (DC 25 + spell level). Other characters have no chance to disarm a magic trap with a Disable Device check.

Magic traps are further divided into spell traps and magic device traps. Magic device traps initiate spell effects when activated, just as wands, rods, rings, and other magic items do. Creating a magic device trap requires the Craft Wondrous Item feat.

Spell traps are simply spells that themselves function as traps. Creating a spell trap requires the services of a character who can cast the needed spell or spells, who is usually either the character creating the trap or an NPC spellcaster hired for that purpose.

never requiring Trapfinding to detect the traps. Indeed the rogue section for trapfinding states "A rogue can use Disable Device to disarm magic traps." with no mention of needing trapfinding to use Perception to detect magic traps.

the only place where perception is called out in conjuction with requiring Trapfinding is a few specific spells. So is that an error? or a case of specific spells requiring Trapfinding to trump the general rule that trapfinding is not required to detect traps, just to disable them?

it seems like its a rules bleed from 3.5
where fire trap stated:

Quote:

Note: Magic traps such as fire trap are hard to detect and disable. A rogue (only) can use the Search skill to find a fire trap and Disable Device to thwart it. The DC in each case is 25 + spell level (DC 27 for a druid’s fire trap or DC 29 for the arcane version).

and likewise in 3.5 only rogues could detect traps with a DC higher than 20

rogue - trapfinding in 3.5:
Trapfinding
Rogues (and only rogues) can use the Search skill to locate traps when the task has a Difficulty Class higher than 20.

Finding a nonmagical trap has a DC of at least 20, or higher if it is well hidden. Finding a magic trap has a DC of 25 + the level of the spell used to create it.

Rogues (and only rogues) can use the Disable Device skill to disarm magic traps. A magic trap generally has a DC of 25 + the level of the spell used to create it.

A rogue who beats a trap’s DC by 10 or more with a Disable Device check can study a trap, figure out how it works, and bypass it (with her party) without disarming it.

so in 3.5 the text only a rogue can detect and disable the traps was 100% correct.
with the change to Trapfinding as a class ability, and traps in general, the difference between keeping Fire Trap for example, in line without changing much of the wording

Quote:
A character with trapfinding can use the Perception skill to find a fire trap and Disable Device to thwart it.

derived from

Quote:
A rogue (only) can use the Search skill to find a fire trap and Disable Device to thwart it.

with the unintended effect of opposing the changes to the Trapfinding ability and traps in the environment section of the book.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Hm. Looks like something got missed, in one direction or another. Was a restriction on Perception supposed to be added to everything but got missed in places, or was it supposed to be removed from everything but got left in place?

Intriguing indeed. I'll click the FAQ button for you.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

FAQ'd.


I also FAQed it.

personally I think the error probably lies in the spell descriptions, because the way perception works in finding traps is an obvious change from 3.5 to pathfinder, making me think it is intentional, where as in the spells it looks like they just edited a few words and cut and pasted.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Bumping in hopes of more FAQ clicks. I don't like contradictions.


from the symbol of death spell:

Quote:
A symbol of death can be removed by a successful dispel magic targeted solely on the rune. An erase spell has no effect on a symbol of death. Destruction of the surface where a symbol of death is inscribed destroys the symbol but also triggers it.

also:

Quote:
Read magic allows you to identify a symbol with a Spellcraft check (DC 10 + the symbol's spell level). Of course, if the symbol is set to be triggered by reading it, this will trigger the symbol.

finally:

Quote:


Until it is triggered, the symbol of death is inactive (though visible and legible at a distance of 60 feet). To be effective, a symbol of death must always be placed in plain sight and in a prominent location. Covering or hiding the rune renders the symbol of death ineffective, unless a creature removes the covering, in which case the symbol of death works normally.

But of course it's hard to detect and the only way to get rid of it is to disable it as a rogue (and only a rogue since other classes with trapfinding can't do it!), even though it clearly states dispel magic can do so too.

Quote:
A rogue (only) can use the Perception skill to find a symbol of death and Disable Device to thwart it. The DC in each case is 25 + spell level, or 33 for symbol of death.

Seems to me there are more problems with this spell than just that one line.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

you're pulling the quotes from the PRD, i've flagged the spell in the PRD as not matching the 5th printing of the core rule books already.

in the rulebooks, your last quote that starts A rogue (only) is replaced with a character with trapfinding can use the perception skill to find a symbol of death and disable device to thwart it.

the purpose of the thread isn't to figure how hard to detect or remove a symbol of death ( so i'm confused by your first couple of quotes without any preface ), but whether that wording was updated improperly from 3.5 to Pathfinder, since it contradicts the wording on magical traps and the Trapfinding ability.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

I think part of the problem is that when the rules were written, Trapfinding was a feature of the Rogue that no one else had access too, and all Rogue's had trapfinding. There probably should be a little cleaning up of the verbage in a couple spots there.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

that's exactly what we're trying to FAQ, so that it can get some attention. the more people that hit FAQ, the more Devs will realize that there's a typo in the book.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Seraphimpunk wrote:
that's exactly what we're trying to FAQ, so that it can get some attention. the more people that hit FAQ, the more Devs will realize that there's a typo in the book.

Yep, that's why I FAQ'd it for you :)


I thought we were covering the complete awkwardness of the spell in regards of how to find it and how to deal with it at all when you do find it.

To me it's rather odd you have to find it at all considering it's plainly visible from a distance of 60 feet, and in order to be effective must be in plain sight and in a prominent location. This isn't the wording one uses when something is hidden or concealed.

Also if the only way to find it is through the trapfinding perception then there isn't really a reason for the dispel magic part of the text either.

All in all I think it's a spell that needs complete revisiting.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder RPG / Rules Questions / Specific vs. General in Spell Trap detection? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.