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It's unclear when/how often an affected creature picks a new target during the spell enemies abound

...On a failed save, the target loses the ability to distinguish friend from foe, regarding all creatures it can see as enemies until the spell ends. Each time the target takes damage, it can repeat the saving throw, ending the effect on itself on a success. Whenever the affected creature chooses another creature as a target, it must choose the target at random from among the creatures it can see within range of the attack, spell, or other ability it’s using. (XGE, p 155)

So, let's say I cast this spell on an enemy and they fail their save. The DM rolls randomly for a target in range. If the caster ends up attacking and killing one of their previous allies, they must roll randomly again to determine their next target. Awesome!

  • But, what if they randomly end up attacking me/a member of the party? Will they just keep going until the target is dead (if so, seems like the variance for this spell's outcome is really high!)?
  • What happens if they can no longer "see" their target (like the enemy chosen becomes obscured in a fog cloud or Shroud of Moil, or just hides)?
  • What happens if they can no longer "see" any targets (the affected creature ends up inside Hunger of Hadar or a Darkness spell)?

Ideally I want to try and figure out the best way to cast this spell and then, once it's cast, to try and make it's effects as helpful/not harmful to the party as possible.

For example, if I hit a creature with Enemies Abound but then it picks a party member as it's target, I could tell the other character "Just hide and he'll attack someone else!!"

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Additional random thought: If a ranger/druid/mounted character is forced to attack their animal companion/mount, that could make for some interesting role-playing after the combat. How do you win back the trust of the mountain lion you just tried to kill? \$\endgroup\$ – Max F Jun 3 at 18:00
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There may be a misconception in the way you are parsing the spell

The spell makes sense, including that sentence, if you read it as meaning that whenever the affected creature uses an attack, spell, or other ability, it must always choose the target at random from the creatures within range.

To explain this, note that each time any creature uses an attack, spell, or other ability that is able to target another creature, they must choose which one to target. When affected by Enemies Abound, this is changed so the target must instead be picked at random.

Further, my reading of "another target" in that sentence is not "a target different than the previous target" as you were reading but instead "a target that is not itself"

This also means that being hidden/out of range of a creature affected by Enemies Abound when they use such an action will exclude you from the list of possible targets and it is therefore a perfectly valid strategy.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @MaxF Indeed, that is my interpretation of the wording of the spell \$\endgroup\$ – Sdjz Jun 3 at 17:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ The word "another" in the spell text is tricky. MaxF's interpretation (leading to the question) was that it referred to "different than your previous target", while Sdjz's interpretation is that it means "other than yourself". \$\endgroup\$ – Blckknght Jun 3 at 17:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Blckknght Exactly was I was editing in, thanks :) \$\endgroup\$ – Sdjz Jun 3 at 17:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ What about spells or abilities with multiple targets such as Magic Missile? \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan Thompson Jun 3 at 17:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MaxF It doesn't really make sense to decide based on what makes logical or strategic sense. Even if you're surrounded by enemies, attacking enemies at random is not strategically sound, but that's what the spell forces you to do. \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan Thompson Jun 3 at 19:50

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