Sleight Of Hand (Dex; Trained Only; Armor Check Penalty)

Your training allows you to pick pockets, draw hidden weapons, and take a variety of actions without being noticed.

Table: Sleight of Hand Skill DCs
DC Task
10 Palm a coin-sized object, make a coin disappear
20 Lift a small object from a person

Common Uses

Draw Hidden Weapon

Drawing a hidden weapon is a standard action and doesn’t provoke an attack of opportunity.


You can also use Sleight of Hand to entertain an audience as though you were using the Perform skill. In such a case, your “act” encompasses elements of legerdemain, juggling, and the like.

Hide Object

A DC 10 Sleight of Hand check lets you palm a coin-sized, unattended object. Performing a minor feat of legerdemain, such as making a coin disappear, also has a DC of 10 unless an observer is determined to note where the item went.

When you use this skill under close observation, your skill check is opposed by the observer’s Perception check. The observer’s success doesn’t prevent you from performing the action, just from doing it unnoticed.

You can hide a small object (including a light weapon or an easily concealed ranged weapon, such as a dart, sling, or hand crossbow) on your body. Your Sleight of Hand check is opposed by the Perception check of anyone observing you or of anyone frisking you. In the latter case, the searcher gains a +4 bonus on the Perception check, since it’s generally easier to find such an object than to hide it. A dagger is easier to hide than most light weapons, and grants you a +2 bonus on your Sleight of Hand check to conceal it. An extraordinarily small object, such as a coin, shuriken, or ring, grants you a +4 bonus on your Sleight of Hand check to conceal it, and heavy or baggy clothing (such as a cloak) grants you a +2 bonus on the check.

Palm Weapon

Source PPC:SpyHB

You can draw a light weapon without anyone noticing.

Check: A successful DC 20 Sleight of Hand check allows you to unobtrusively draw a weapon or other object no larger or longer than a light weapon (which includes potions, but not wands or alchemist bombs). Observers can notice you drawing the item as normal with opposed Perception checks. Creatures carefully observing you gain a +4 bonus on this Perception check.

Take Something Unnoticed

If you try to take something from a creature, you must make a DC 20 Sleight of Hand check. The opponent makes a Perception check to detect the attempt, opposed by the Sleight of Hand check result you achieved when you tried to grab the item. An opponent who succeeds on this check notices the attempt, regardless of whether you got the item. You cannot use this skill to take an object from another creature during combat if the creature is aware of your presence.


Any Sleight of Hand check is normally a standard action. However, you may perform a Sleight of Hand check as a move action by taking a –20 penalty on the check.

Retry? Yes, but after an initial failure, a second Sleight of Hand attempt against the same target (or while you are being watched by the same observer who noticed your previous attempt) increases the DC for the task by 10.


An untrained Sleight of Hand check is simply a Dexterity check. Without actual training, you can’t succeed on any Sleight of Hand check with a DC higher than 10, except for hiding an object on your body.


  • Feats If you have the Deft Hands feat, you get a +2 bonus on Sleight of Hand skill checks. If you have 10 or more ranks in Sleight of Hand, the bonus increases to +4.

Sleight of Hand Unchained

Source PFU

About This Section Optionally, a character who reaches 5, 10, 15, or 20 ranks in a skill unlocks various bonuses and abilities unique to that skill. The unchained rogue uses these rules extensively, but others can gain access to them with a new feat.

In this system, characters unlock additional abilities when they attain 5, 10, 15, and 20 ranks in a skill. The skill unlocks system interfaces with the unchained rogue to make the rogue the true master of skills.

Skill unlocks give characters new abilities and ways to use their skills upon reaching 5, 10, 15, and 20 ranks in a skill. Any character with the Signature Skill feat can earn skill unlocks for a single skill, and they are a prime feature of the revised version of the rogue who uses her rogue’s edge ability to gain skill unlocks for several of her most iconic skills. Alternatively, you might make skill unlocks a universal part of the game, but you should be aware they add significant power and flexibility to skills, so giving them for free to all classes would grant power boosts to other highly skilled classes such as the investigator and bard, particularly in comparison to the rogue. Another alternative is to eliminate access to the Signature Skill feat, limiting skill unlocks to rogues and rogues alone.

With sufficient ranks in Sleight of Hand, you earn the following.

5 Ranks: When attempting a disarm or steal maneuver, a successful Sleight of Hand check against your target’s CMD grants a +2 circumstance bonus on your combat maneuver check.

10 Ranks: The penalty for attempting a Sleight of Hand check (including drawing a hidden weapon) as a move action is reduced to –10.

15 Ranks: You can attempt a Sleight of Hand check (including drawing a hidden weapon) as a swift action at a –20 penalty.

20 Ranks: You take no penalty for using Sleight of Hand as a move action, and take only a –10 penalty when using it as a swift action.

Unofficial Extras!

The following rules ideas are from publishers other than Paizo. Use at your discretion!

Below are several additional ways to use Sleight of Hand.

Conceal Held Item: You can conceal a drawn weapon or another item held in hand using a Sleight of Hand check. Any onlooker must succeed on a Perception check to notice a drawn weapon or other item you carry in your other hand, opposed by your Sleight of Hand check. Light weapons that are too bulky to conceal on your body, light crossbows, rods, and similarly sized items impose a –4 penalty on this Sleight of Hand check; one-handed weapons, heavy crossbows, shortbows, and similarly sized items impose a –8 penalty; and two-handed weapons, javelins, longbows, staffs, and similarly large items (held in one hand) impose a –12 penalty. You can only attempt the check if you have a piece of clothing, another held item, or body part large enough to hide the item behind, such as a cloak. Foes that do not realize you are armed may move to provoke attacks of opportunity from you without realizing they are taking a risk,(although they are not denied their Dexterity bonus to AC against such unexpected attacks).

Lift Large Item: You can steal objects normally too large to grab with a standard Sleight of Hand check.

Against a foe unaware of you (or not attempting to prevent you from touching them), you can loosen a secured item such as a shield or backpack with one DC 20 Sleight of Hand check for each strap or other fastener holding the item in place. Once the item has been loosened, it can be removed with a DC 30 Sleight of Hand check as a full-round action. As normal, you cannot attempt such a Sleight of Hand check against a foe aware of you during combat and a foe can notice your work with a Perception check opposing your Sleight of Hand check (though a successful Perception check doesn’t prevent you from completing that action).

A foe that fails to notice you removing an item from his arms gets a new Perception check to realize his item is gone at the start of each of his turns thereafter.

The DC for this Perception check is equal to your Sleight of Hand result – 10.

Secret Storage: You can make a Sleight of Hand check opposed by onlookers’ Perception checks to store an item or retrieve a stored item from a bag, sheath, or other container without being noticed. Doing so requires at least a standard action, or longer if the action would normally require a standard action or longer.

You can store or retrieve an item in the normal amount of time (usually a move action) by taking a –10 penalty on your Sleight of Hand check. If you have the ability to draw a weapon as a free action or as part of a move, you can conceal the attempt with a Sleight of Hand check made as a swift action with a –20 penalty.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook. Copyright 2009, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: Jason Bulmahn, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.

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