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Longbow archers can attack targets (that are not in fog cloud) up to 600 feet away, but would do so at disadvantage for targets greater than 150 feet away.

However, if the archer first walks into a fog cloud and then shoots, they would roll normally because advantage and disadvantage cancel out, according to this question:
Since advantage and disadvantage caused in a heavy obscured area cancel out, what effect does it have in combat?

It seems weird that one could quadruple the standard range of archers by casting fog cloud on them. Is that really RAW?

(Next round, the archers would probably have to walk out of the fog cloud to reacquire their target and walk back into it with their movement, otherwise they may be targeting the wrong square.)

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Yes, that is the rules-as-written.

It's worth noting, additionally, that there's actually no need for the archer to step out of the fog cloud in most circumstances: despite being effectively blinded, per the rules of the game, a creature would still know the location of another creature they cannot see, so long as that creature does not take the Hide action and roll a Dexterity (Stealth) check high enough to beat the archer's passive Wisdom (Perception) score (subtracted by 5, due to disadvantage conferring a -5 penalty on passive checks). Once the targeted creature hides, it would only then become necessary for the Archer to step out of the fog cloud to find their target again—or they could simply take the Search action to make a Wisdom (Perception) check (with Disadvantage) to try to locate the creature from within the Fog Cloud.

But so long as the Archer knows the location of their target, then from Disadvantage (from not seeing the target and attacking at long range) and Advantage (from the target being unable to see the archer) the Archer would get normal attack rolls up to their maximum long-range distance.

"But that seems kind of dumb."

Yes, which is why at my table, I use a houseruled "fix" to this specific issue, that in order for being "unseen" to confer advantage on your attack rolls, you must also be able to see the target. The general consequence of this change is that it causes attack rolls inside Fog Clouds, Darkness, etc., to generally all have Disadvantage, as opposed to the RAW circumstances which would instead cause attacks to be made normally. To me, this seems like an appropriate fix because it properly causes blinded combat to diegetically feel clumsy and confusing.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you make that larger? \$\endgroup\$ – Wyrmwood Dec 3 '19 at 4:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ How has this house-rule worked in your experience? It seems to me that it effectively just drags out a fight, even if it might seem more realistic or "proper". \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Dec 3 '19 at 9:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ Well, that just depends on whether the DM wants Fog Cloud into a party wide buff. To each their own I guess. \$\endgroup\$ – Nelson Dec 3 '19 at 10:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast My experience has been that it usually only drags out a round or two, before the players take action to avoid or change encounters that are conferring Disadvantage on them, especially on their attacks. \$\endgroup\$ – Xirema Dec 3 '19 at 16:08
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Yes, it works like this RAW

As you've quoted, this does work that way. Yes, it's also gaming the RAW to get an advantage. But it's legitimate as a method going purely by the rules.

Technically, it would actually be:

  • Disadvantage for distance
  • Advantage for being unseen (in fog cloud)
  • Disadvantage for not seeing their target (once they're in the fog cloud, they can't see either.)

You don't need to be able to 'see' to know a target's location, so they wouldn't need to step in/out.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ the target could move between turns, so I think they need to step in out to see where it is this turn \$\endgroup\$ – findusl Dec 2 '19 at 19:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ @findusl Nope, all creatures that aren't hidden are technically location-known. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Dec 2 '19 at 19:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok. So assuming the creature would hide, would it work with stepping out and in? \$\endgroup\$ – findusl Dec 2 '19 at 19:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Dec 2 '19 at 19:25
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It is not the Fog Cloud that increases the range

From all the PHB martial weapons, the Longbow has the largest range, allowing its shooter to fire at range up to 600 feet.

It is not the spell that "increases" the range, the Longbow already has that incredible 600ft range. Yes, you attack with disadvantage, but there are plenty of methods to get rid of it. Firing from the hiding spot is one of them.

The Fog Cloud description states:

its area is heavily obscured

A "heavily obscured" area means Blinded condition:

A heavily obscured area — such as darkness, opaque fog, or dense foliage — blocks vision entirely. A creature effectively suffers from the blinded condition when trying to see something in that area.

One can rationalize, that the target can't see archers in the fog, hence, archers have advantage:

When a creature can't see you, you have advantage on attack rolls against it.

But you still should ask your DM. D&D 5th edition empowers the DM in ways that 3rd, 3.5, and 4th did not. While rule zero has always applied, 5th edition chooses not to explicitly codify many things. If your DM says "attack with disadvantage", so be it.

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What I plan to use is this as a Homebrew Rule to fix an issue in the game that makes no sense. It's simple and should make some spells actually useful.Btw, in the errata, they stated the heavily obscured doesn't truly make the creature blind but effectively acts like it. Taking that into consideration, I personally think the following is what they intended but failed to convey.

Ruling: When fighting in areas like Fog, Sleet Storm, etc...areas that obscure vision but do not actually Blind a character, I will use the following rules below. When referring to 'obscured area', I mean areas like those listed above.

1) Attacking into the obscured area from an area outside of the effect. Attacks are made with Disadvantage. The target inside the obscured area is not technically blind (as mentioned in the errata) although it suffers vision issues. Therefore, I will not give the attacker Advantage vs a 'Blind' target.

2) Attacking from within the obscured area at a target outside the effected area. The attacker gets Disadvantage. (This does not apply to natural Darkness.) If the obscuring effect is tangible, i.e. Fog, Sleet, Snow, Rain, etc..the Disadvantage will apply.

3) If the attacker and the target are both within the obscured area. The attacker will have Disadvantage is the target is 10 ft or more away from the attacker. If the attacker and the target are adjacent to each other, NO disadvantage or advantage will apply. The attacks proceed as normal as if there were no obscured area.

The Darkness Spell functions differently as this spell makes everything inky black completely obscuring all vision to a degree of actual blindness.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi, we ask that each answer answers the question independantly, so it would be great if you more clearly address the rules outcome of the answer, before you propose your solution to the problem. \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Mar 15 at 21:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already and see the help center or ask us here in the comments (use @ to ping someone) if you need more guidance. Good Luck and Happy Gaming! \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Mar 15 at 21:17

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