Let's say a thief wants to use a wand stealthily. Is there any way of using a wand without being noticed? Is a stealth check sufficient? Can he activate the wand under his clothes without being seen?

I haven't seen a rule covering this.

  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie No, it is not a duplicate since casting a spell and using a magic device are 2 different actions with different rules. \$\endgroup\$ – thermz Dec 28 '14 at 20:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not a duplicate, but it is a related question, so having the link here is still useful. \$\endgroup\$ – Matthew Najmon Dec 28 '14 at 22:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ Is that an activated wand under your clothes or are you just happy to see me? \$\endgroup\$ – Tack Dec 30 '14 at 17:50

According to the description of wands they use a Spell Trigger method.

Wands use the spell trigger activation method, so casting a spell from a wand is usually a standard action that doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity... To activate a wand, a character must hold it in hand (or whatever passes for a hand, for non-humanoid creatures) and point it in the general direction of the target or area.

Spell Trigger

No gestures or spell finishing is needed, just a special knowledge of spellcasting that an appropriate character would know, and a single word that must be spoken.

So to be able to use the wand you need to

  1. Point in the direction of the target.
  2. Utter a single word. (note: not a full verbal component, just one word)

I don't know of an explicit ruling here, but that sounds like it would be a Sleight of Hand check and possibly a Stealth check to utter a word without being detected. Obviously this would be a DM call, but it seems pretty simple.

I think the more complicated question is about the targets noticing.

If you cast a Magic Missile, it will be obvious that it came from somewhere. But if you cast something like Charm Person, it becomes a question of "do they know?". Are they aware that they had to make a Charm Person save? Even if you're very stealthy, there's a chance that the target of your spell figures out that something is not right.

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    \$\begingroup\$ In the case of charm person, those who make their saving throw are aware of "a hostile force," and that they overcame it. If they fail, and didn't see anything, then they know nothing. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Dec 29 '14 at 6:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ I like this answer, but I think as a DM, it would be opposed skill checks at the least (sleight of hand vs perception or similarly appropriate check) \$\endgroup\$ – BBlake Dec 30 '14 at 17:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think "observer's Perception check" is implied by Sleight of Hand as it is in all of the descriptions. You would absolutely be subject to a Perception check and if you failed, likely subject to a Bluff vs. Sense Motive check to cover it up. \$\endgroup\$ – Gates VP Dec 30 '14 at 18:02

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