Detecting a Trap. Traps can be detected with an active search, certain spells, or in passing. A trap’s description specifies the checks and DCs needed to detect it, disable it, or both.

Mundane Traps. The most common way to detect a trap is by actively seeking evidence of it; you make a Wisdom (Perception) check against the trap’s DC.

  • Proficiency with certain tools can help your search of particular types of traps.  

Less frequently, the GM may ask for an Intelligence (Investigation) check instead of, or in addition to, a Wisdom (Perception) check.

Magic Traps. Magic traps are usually more difficult to detect than non-magic traps. 

Any character can make an Intelligence (Arcana) check to try detect a magic trap, in addition to any other checks noted in the trap’s description. The DCs are the same regardless of the check used.

Some magical device traps can be detected with a Wisdom (Perception) check. See examples.

Spell traps usually require an Intelligence (Investigation) check to be found. See examples

Other Ways to Detect a Trap

  • Even if there is no active search, the GM can compare the DC to detect a trap with each character’s passive Wisdom (Perception) score to determine if anyone notices the trap in passing.