TL;DR: is there a way to force equip a cursed belt onto another character

One of the players I'm playing with is trying to seek revenge on another player for exploding his pet dead koi(long story). He has a girdle of opposite gender and is a rogue, so he's thinking of sneaking it on him while he's asleep.

Is there any rules that explain or might help the GM arbitrate?

  • \$\begingroup\$ If one is going to force a cursed item onto someone, the Girdle is the least sensible. It would make more sense to use something that actually causes them problems or penalties. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 9, 2014 at 0:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's not meant to be an actual hindrance. More of a gag expressing displeasure at the death of the dead koi \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 9, 2014 at 1:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Probably irrelevant given the power level and only plants the item on the target instead of actually equipping the item, but the 1st-tier trickster mythic path ability faster than the eye specifically allows planting objects on creatures. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 3:45

4 Answers 4


I know it sounds like I'm not any fun, but

I Wouldn't Allow It

Getting close to the sleeping koi killer is easy: The koi avenger makes an opposed skill check (the koi avenger's Stealth skill versus the koi killer's Perception skill). The koi killer takes a -10 penalty to his Perception skill check because he's sleeping. If the koi killer wins, he awakens. If the koi avenger wins, the koi killer's asleep.

But then nothing I can find short of mind control--be it with the skill Sleight of Hand or otherwise--permits the koi avenger to make the koi killer--awake, asleep, or unconscious1--take something from him, be it something beneficial (e.g. ioun stones), malicious (e.g. pariapt of foul rotting), neither (e.g. girdle of opposite gender), or some combination (e.g. bag of devouring). The game just doesn't allow forced-equipping. The koi avenger could drop the girdle on the koi killer from a great height for possible damage. The koi avenger could lie to the koi killer about the girdle's provenance and give him it... or sell him it. The koi avenger could even stash it among the koi killer's unattended goods.

But, according to the rules, the koi avenger can't strap the girdle onto the koi killer without the koi killer's permission.

A DM can house rule this, of course. It could be this simple: The DM allows the koi avenger to take a full-round action to make an opposed skill check (the koi avenger's Sleight of Hand skill versus the koi killer's Perception skill). The koi killer takes a -10 penalty to his Perception skill check because he's sleeping. If the koi killer wins, he notices the attempt and the koi avenger provokes an attack of opportunity from the koi killer. If the koi avenger wins, the koi killer doesn't notice the item among his possessions. If the koi avenger beats the koi killer's Perception check result by X or more, it's also as though the koi avenger used the item normally.

But even if X is outrageously high, that's an incredibly dangerous precedent. That's partially because of what's going on in the question ("How can I force foes to wear the clothes I want them to wear?" to which the answer should be, "Use magic to make them"), but also because of one ancient legacy spell, the 8th-level Sor/Wiz spell trap the soul, which reads, "As soon as the subject picks up or accepts the trigger object [for the spell trap the soul], its life force is automatically transferred to the gem without the benefit of spell resistance or a save." Emphasis mine. (Also possibly a concern is the host of spells involving scraps of paper that can then be deposited on foes or by foes (e.g. explosive runes, illusory script).)

You think adventurers are paranoid now, wait until they're surrounded by admirers in the town square yet must burn their clothes afterward--without touching them, maybe while in them--for fear of accidentally touching a triggering object for the spell trap the soul that anyone could've placed in their pockets. Expect careful inventories of every single item every single morning--by scent so as to avoid accidental contact. Expect lots of wasted time. Expect naked adventurers.

Cursed Items and Vengeance

Cursed items are funniest when users suffer because they are careless, greedy, reckless, or whatever. A cocky adventurer is supposed to find the girdle, foolishly assume it's a girdle of giant strength eminently suitable for his massive form, bully the party into letting him have it, flex a little, strap it on, and--bam!--he's a lady. A good laugh is had by all, and everything's back to normal after the adventurer's the target of an effect like the spell remove curse et al. The adventurer will know better (or not) next time to run some tests on a found magic item or have a magic item identified before he uses it. There's a point to that.

Changing the sleeping koi killer's gender is not revenge. That's a prank, what with it being "generally lighthearted, reversible and non-permanent," and aiming "to make the victim feel foolish or victimised." In fact, I'd even argue it "involve[s] cruelty verging on bullying" as it's being "performed without appropriate finesse." If the koi killer really wants revenge he needs to make it appropriate, do it with impunity, and make sure the koi killer knows that the koi avenger did it and why the koi avenger did it.

I'd advise the potential koi avenger to reconsider and instead just haul off and sock the koi killer, saying, "That's for my fish!" Unless, of course, that fish needs avenging, in which case such avenging should be done correctly and with style.

  1. Okay, there's this: "A character can carefully administer a potion to an unconscious creature as a full-round action, trickling the liquid down the creature's throat. Likewise, it takes a full-round action to apply an oil to an unconscious creature." But that's more like casting a spell on someone than making them accept an item.
  • \$\begingroup\$ I see your point. One of the things i think you should caution is using this type of play too much. With GM oversight, it can be unexpected and humorous without crippling the characters. I do like your caution however. I also like the part on the intent of cursed items. Speaking of trap the soul, it has a material cost of at least 15,000 so i don't see many people blowing that. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 9, 2014 at 12:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Gilbrilthor Even if it's just a one-off goof, there's usually at least one person who'll see it as serious business, and he's the dude who'll take the DM's calls and--perhaps even unwittingly--employ them in different contexts, not seeing the difference between goof and Death to tyrants! or whatever. (Also, 15,000 gp is nothing to a high-level wizard who wants someone dead.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 9, 2014 at 15:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ true that. I think the player is going to try another way. The GM's not that comfortable this far out of the rules \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 9, 2014 at 15:35

This can be resolved by a couple of skill checks. First you need to roll a Stealth check to approach the player. The player gets an opposed Perception check with +10 DC because they're asleep. If they beat you they will wake up and see you approaching.

To place the belt on the player you would make a Sleight of Hand check to reverse pickpocket an item. You must make a DC 20 check. If you succeed on this check the belt will be on the other player. If you fail you can try again, but each subsequent check increases the DC by +10.

The sleeping character gets Perception opposed by your Sleight of Hand check to detect you doing it, still at a +10 DC since they're asleep. If they beat your roll they will wake up and see that you placed the belt on them.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1, but I'd rather expect the GM to insist on some kind of a circumstance penalty on that Sleight of Hand check, because you're trying to wrap a belt around the other character's waist without waking them, rather than just trying to drop something in their pocket. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 22:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ No hes right, you would use sleight of hand. The skill means quick fingered or light of hand. Your ability to accomplish things with your hands quickly and delicately so that others do not notice. \$\endgroup\$
    – DanceSC
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 23:59

There is in fact at least one way to 'force' a PC/NPC to accept and use an item. It is the spell Beguiling Gift. It is a level 1 bard/witch spell from the Advanced Player's Guide.

Now whether or not it is a good idea to try on another party member is another issue.


In any case the most credible solution that approaches this issue by the rules that I can think of is an opposed stealth versus your opponent's "passive perception" check.

I'm not sure if passive perception is a concept that exists in Pathfinder but it's really simple:

The value your opponent would get if he takes 10.

Now, this seems a bit unfair for you since the opponent is sleeping and he isn't actively expecting something (as far as you know).

@Edit: Sleeping is a -20 to perception so this would be a Take 10 (-20) Thanks Cthos. Your opponent should get -10 penalty to his perception value. Then if he has a total in perception of 15, you should be trying to overcome a 5 DC.

However he could also determine that you get penalties depending on how you declare/role-play you are doing this.

Remember, the last decision is the GM's, so define this with him, you shouldn't hide this form him. The GM is your friend whether you want it or not =P

  • \$\begingroup\$ iirc, sleeping is a -20 to perception checks, so.... \$\endgroup\$
    – Cthos
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 21:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ SideNote: I would houserule a passive Take 5 but that's not the answer since that's an opinion. \$\endgroup\$
    – apacay
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 21:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Actually sleeping is a -10 to perception checks in Pathfinder \$\endgroup\$
    – briddums
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 21:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you source that-10 to sleeping? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 9, 2014 at 12:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ The -10 modifier can be found at d20pfsrd.com/skills/perception, search for the word "asleep" \$\endgroup\$
    – briddums
    Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 19:50

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