Q: Dear Guest Sage,
Can a factotum (Dungeonscape p14) use his "cunning insight" to boost his save outside of combat, for example against a poison trap?
A: Yes, you can use such abilities outside of combat.
An "encounter" is more than a combat, but also includes any other significant event in the game such as stopping to bash down a door, navigating a rickety bridge, or dealing with a trap. If the characters have a minute or two to catch their breath and rest, assume that the last encounter has ended and all per encounter abilities refresh.
About the Author
Guest Sage this week: Mike Mearls, lead developer of Dungeonscape, Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords, and Player’s Handbook II.