Use Device

(Cha, Trained Only)

This skill allows you to activate devices of all kinds, including scrolls, gizmos, psi-stones, ray guns, wands, and dorjes, even though you don’t actually have the feats, powers, or other pertinent abilities that would normally allow you to do so.

Check: You make a Use Device check each time you activate an item with an Origin. To use a continuous effect, you must make a skill check once per hour or when the GM decides it’s dramatically appropriate.

You must consciously choose which requirement to emulate. That is, you must know what you are trying to emulate (e.g., spell-casting, a high Charisma score, the Powercraft skill, etc.) when you roll a Use Device check. The DCs for various tasks involving Use Device checks are summarised on the table to the right.

Emulate a Class Feature: Sometimes you need to use a class feature to activate an item. Your effective level in the emulated class equals your check result minus 20. This skill does not let you use the class feature of another class. It just lets you activate items as if you had the class feature.


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 if you don’t know it. You do have to perform some equivalent activity in order to make the check. This might simply involve waving the item around while screaming “WORK DAMN YOU!!!” You get a +2 bonus on your Use Device check if you’ve activated the item in question at least once before. If you fail your check, the item doesn’t activate. If you fail by 10 or more, you suffer a mishap. A mishap means that the item or device does release some energy, but it doesn’t do what it was supposed to. The item can, for example, strike the wrong target, inflict 1d4 points of damage per level of spell or psi-power upon the user, or cause the user 1 point of damage per CP cost of a power (including enhancements, not including limitations or discounts, etc.). GMs can feel free to get creative with mishaps, but they can also just stick with basic damage.

Decipher a Written Spell: This 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 Wisdom: To cast a spell from a scroll, you need a high Wisdom score in the appropriate ability. Your effective ability score (appropriate to the class you’re emulating when you try to cast the spell from the scroll) is your Use 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.

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 Device allows you to avoid this prerequisite. Casting a spell from a scroll requires a minimum Wisdom score (10 + spell level). If you don’t have a sufficient score, you must emulate it with a separate Use Device check (see above). This skill also applies to other spell-completion magic items.

Use a Spell-Trigger Item: Normally, to use a  wand, staff, or other spell-trigger device, you must be have that spell on your caster list, but this skill allows you to activate such a device as if you had that spell, even if you can’t cast spells at all.


Address a Power Stone: Successfully addressing a power stone allows you to find out what power or powers it contains. Doing this requires 1 minute of concentration.

Use a Power Stone: Normally, to manifest a psi-power from a power stone, you must have the power stone’s psi-power on your class power list. This skill allows you to use a power stone without this prerequisite.

Before you use a power stone, you must first address it to determine what powers it contains (see above). In addition, manifesting a psi-power from a power stone requires a minimum Charisma score (10 + the psi-power’s level). If you don’t have a high enough score, you must emulate the ability score with a separate check (see above). This use of the skill applies to other power completion psionic items.

Use a Psi-Power Trigger Item: Normally, to use a dorje, psicrown, or other psi-power-triggered device, you must be have that psi-power on your manifester list, but this skill allows you to activate such a device as if you had that psi-power, even if you can’t manifest psi-powers at all.


Fiddle With The Knobs: To determine the power of a Supertech Invention (Superchemical, Doohicky, Ray Gun, or Gizmo), you need to study it for a full minute. The DC to determine the power is 10 plus the cost of the most expensive base power in the device (i.e., 5 points higher than normal).

Make it Go (Boom!): Once you have successfully Fiddled With The Knobs, you can activate the item by rolling a Use Device check, the DC equalling the base cost of the most expensive power in the item.

Action: Use-Activated. You roll a Use Device check as part of the action (if any) required to activate the 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.

Task Use Device DC
Activate Blindly 25
Decipher Written Spell 25 + spell level
Address Power Stone 25 + psi-power level
Activate Gizmo 15 + CP cost of power
Activate Dorje or Psicrown 20
Activate Power Stone 20 + effective caster level
Activate Ray Gun 20
Activate Scroll 20 + caster level
Activate Wand or Staff 20
Emulate Ability Score see text
Emulate Class Feature 20


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