I'm confused about Rogues and Use Magic Device. I've searched the core book and the Internet for the past 4 hours and can't find the answer to my simple question.

Since a Rogue doesn't have any spells, a spell list or caster level, do you have to emulate a class feature in addition to all other necessary checks to use items like scrolls and wands?


5 Answers 5



The relevant parts of Use Magic Device are as follows, from the PFSRD (emphasis mine):

You can use this skill to read a spell or to activate a magic item. Use Magic Device lets you use a magic item as if you had the spell ability or class features of another class, as if you were a different race, or as if you were of a different alignment. You make a Use Magic Device check each time you activate a device such as a wand. If you are using the check to emulate an alignment or some other quality in an ongoing manner, you need to make the relevant Use Magic Device check once per hour.


Use a scroll- 20 + caster level; Use a wand - 20

Wands and scrolls care about spell ability, which, while it can be a class feature, is not always a class feature. As a result, activating wands and scrolls has the static DCs described above and does not require an additional or more difficult check. However, as Colin D pointed out in comments scrolls have an additional requirement of a minimum ability score (a requirement wands lack) for use; therefore if the Rogue in question does not have the minimum required ability score he has to emulate the score in addition to activating the scroll.


Wands = No.
Scrolls = Maybe.

For wands, only a single UMD check (DC 20) is needed:

Use a Wand, Staff, or Other Spell Trigger Item: Normally, to use a wand, you must have the wand's spell on your class spell list. This use of the skill allows you to use a wand as if you had a particular spell on your class spell list. Failing the roll does not expend a charge.

For scrolls:

If you do not meet the ability score requirement (int for wizard spells, wis for divine spells, or cha for sorcerer and bard spells) of the spell (10 + spell level) you will need to also make a UMD check to 'emulate an ability score' in addition to the UMD check required to activate the scroll.

Use a Scroll: Normally, to cast a spell from a scroll, you must have the scroll's spell on your class spell list. Use Magic Device allows you to use a scroll as if you had a particular spell on your class spell list. The DC is equal to 20 + the caster level of the spell you are trying to cast from the scroll. In addition, casting a spell from a scroll requires a minimum score (10 + spell level) in the appropriate ability. If you don't have a sufficient score in that ability, you must emulate the ability score with a separate Use Magic Device check.


  • \$\begingroup\$ My confusion is rouges do not have a class spell list Thus is it necessary for a rogue to emulate the class feature of a wizard to use a wizards scroll or wand. I get emulating races, ability scores and alignments and just about all other bases of the skill. \$\endgroup\$
    – Draon777
    Commented Jul 5, 2013 at 21:01
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @Draon777: Just picture it in your head as if everyone has a class spell list for each class they have, but only spellcasting classes have any entries on it. The rogue uses UMD to add a spell to their currently-empty spell list for a round. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jeff
    Commented Jul 6, 2013 at 5:03

In addition when activating a scroll without a caster level or a caster level lower than the one used to create the scroll you have to make a caster level check against a DC = scroll's caster level+1.

Core rule book under scrolls found in the magic items section (emphasis mine)

If the user meets all the requirements noted above, and her caster level is at least equal to the spell's caster level, she can automatically activate the spell without a check. If she meets all three requirements but her own caster level is lower than the scroll spell's caster level, then she has to make a caster level check (DC = scroll's caster level + 1) to cast the spell successfully. If she fails, she must make a DC 5 Wisdom check to avoid a mishap (see Scroll Mishaps). A natural roll of 1 always fails, whatever the modifiers. Activating a scroll is a standard action (or the spell's casting time, whichever is longer) and it provokes attacks of opportunity exactly as casting a spell does.

A scrolls caster level is typically the lowest possible CL that can be used to create it, so find the level at which that level of spell can be cast from the class list and that is the caster level.

  • \$\begingroup\$ That's actually a very good catch. Use a Scroll only emulates the spell onto your class list, it does not give you a high enough caster level to cast it. This can only be done via Emulate a Class Feature, giving you a CL equal to the result of that second check - 20. Afterwards, a CL check may or may not still be needed. \$\endgroup\$
    – MrLemon
    Commented May 8, 2015 at 10:11

The truth is, Use Scroll is an emulate class feature check. You are in fact emulating the class feature of spellcasting ability, at a caster level of your UMD roll minus 20. The description for use scroll is just an easy way to do the math quickly. Result is the same either way.

The other thing that it matters for is a check to use a staff. This is also an emulate class feature check. If your effective caster level is above that of the staff, you get to boost it's power to your effective caster level.

Use wand is an emulate class feature check as well. A caster level of zero is sufficient to cast from a wand or staff, IF you emulating the class feature. The only way to have a caster level of zero and the class feature is a UMD check, since the other way to get the class feature gives you a caster level of 1.

You only need one roll to use a scroll, and two if your ability score isn't high enough. No third roll is ever needed.


basicly using Use Magic Device lets you use a magic item as if you had the spell ability or class features of another class, as if you were a different race, or as if you were of a different alignment.

It implies that you have that spell list of a wizard, sorcerer or whatever class


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