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This question already has an answer here:

So, I was thinking simply fog cloud.. to obscure vision then fireball.

Input?

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marked as duplicate by NautArch dnd-5e Sep 6 '18 at 13:24

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you asking for justification/confirmation of the current rules or making a suggestion for a home-brewed rule? \$\endgroup\$ – PJRZ Sep 6 '18 at 13:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps it's apparent from the very fact that I posted an answer, but I'd read the question as proposing a house rule and thus as not a duplicate. \$\endgroup\$ – screamline Sep 6 '18 at 14:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Some guidelines to follow which would make this question clearer if you'd like it reopened: Ask your actual question in the body, explain your situation and your problem. Request something specific of us that solves your problem. Use the title only to summarise the body of your question, not to ask the question itself. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Sep 6 '18 at 14:14
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Fog cloud, as written, doesn't impose disadvantage on spell saves, and ruling that it does is a bad idea.

First things first: remember that spells do only what they say they do, and anything more is up to the DM. The description of fog cloud doesn't say it imposes disadvantage on saves versus other spells.

Likewise, the visibility rules (see PHB p. 183) don't explicitly say a character suffers disadvantage on saves versus effects she can't see. Fog cloud does create an area of heavy obscurement, which effectively causes the blinded condition, but even that condition doesn't impose disadvantage on saves. (See PHB p. 290.)

That said, the rules are an abstraction. Rolling a Dex save is precisely what determines whether you see -- or hear, feel, or otherwise detect -- a fireball coming. And the rules give the DM latitude to decide whether prevailing circumstances might affect a PC's chances of success. That's what advantage/disadvantage (PHB p. 7) is for.

However, I would urge caution before ruling that all spell saves are made with disadvantage whenever vision is obscured. Poor visibility is very common, even at low levels -- or especially at low levels, considering that higher-level PCs often have spells, magic items, or other measures at their disposal to mitigate visibility problems. Besides, such a ruling would steal some thunder from the Arcane Trickster's 9th-level Magical Ambush ability, which imposes disadvantage on spell saves whenever the Arcane Trickster is hidden from her target. (See PHB p. 98.) Think about that: the Arcane Trickster actually has to be hidden -- not merely targeting a creature whose vision is obscured -- to force a save with disadvantage, and must be at least 9th level to do so. That's a useful yardstick for evaluating how big a deal disadvantage is. Fog cloud, meanwhile, is available to a 1st-level caster.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for using class abilities to establish precedent. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Sep 7 '18 at 12:57

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