Armor check penalties reduce your strength and dex skills by X amount depending on your penalty amount, yes?

But what happens when you use a spell like Pilfering Hand which doesn't use your own hand?

More specifically, I am making a bloatmage, and the bloatmage initiate feat makes my mage permanently at his medium load, incurring an armor check penalty...

If I use Pilfering hand to disable a device or pick pocket someone, is my skill check for either associated ability further debilitated by -3?


1 Answer 1


The Armor Check penalty still applies

The CRB has this to say about Armor Check Penalty:

An armor check penalty applies to all Dex– and Strength-based skill checks. A character’s encumbrance may also incur an armor check penalty.

The Pilfering Hand spell doesn't explicitly state that the armor check penalty doesn't apply, nor does it change disable device or sleight of hand to use ability modifiers other than Dex. This means that the skill checks attempted this way are still "Dex and Str based skill checks" and fall under the category above. Relevant text from the spell below.

You attempt a Disable Device check or a Sleight of Hand check to pick-pocket a target within range. This spell lasts as long as you need to accomplish the task, requiring your full concentration for that duration. Once you resolve the skill check, the spell ends. If you are successful on your Sleight of Hand check, you pull the target object to you as with an abrupt maneuver. The target gains a +2 bonus on its Perception check to notice the successful attempt.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think you're right, but I also think it's worth mentioning that applying the armor check penalty, in this case, is kind of silly. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 14, 2018 at 13:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I was thinking about saying that, but then realized that as a somatic-only spell, you could argue that the spell's motions influence how effective the skill check is (or at least that that might be the intended flavor). \$\endgroup\$
    – Cellion
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 14:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's neat, and that'll teach me to look up the spell first! Maybe the answer could bring in both? \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 14, 2018 at 14:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Would that mean if I used the "Still Spell" metamagic feat, it would remove the penalty? In addition, I think that's bunk seeing as my armor check penalty doesn't affect my somatic components anyways since that doesn't incur an arcane spell failure chance (The rationale being arcane failure chance is the sole and pure correlation between somatic component failure and armor/load capacity) \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 18, 2018 at 7:07

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