According to Obscuring Mist

cloud spreads in 20-ft. radius from you, 20 ft. high

According to Fog Cloud

fog spreads in 20-ft. radius

Further reading on Fog Cloud's Mythic version is a telltale sign that the non-mythic version has no height. Obscuring Mist's 20 ft. height suggest that the description rules hold-up to Large Creatures but gets iffy when larger creatures come into equation (e.g. Legendary Proportions and Huge-sized Creatures).

So, here comes my question for Non-mythic Fog Cloud: Are Large or bigger creatures concealed or obscured from other Large or bigger creatures?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is the question tacitly wondering if the fog cloud spell is dysfunctional? That is, what are you imagining is the fog cloud spell's effect if the effect "has no height"? \$\endgroup\$ Apr 10, 2022 at 19:07

1 Answer 1


Effects given with a radius have the shape of a sphere, not a circle, unless it says otherwise in the description. Thus, there is a height component to "20-ft. radius":

Cone, Cylinder, Line, or Sphere

Most spells that affect an area have a particular shape.

A cone-shaped spell shoots away from you in a quarter-circle in the direction you designate. It starts from any corner of your square and widens out as it goes. Most cones are either bursts or emanations (see above), and thus won’t go around corners.

When casting a cylinder-shaped spell, you select the spell’s point of origin. This point is the center of a horizontal circle, and the spell shoots down from the circle, filling a cylinder. A cylinder-shaped spell ignores any obstructions within its area.

A line-shaped spell shoots away from you in a line in the direction you designate. It starts from any corner of your square and extends to the limit of its range or until it strikes a barrier that blocks line of effect. A line-shaped spell affects all creatures in squares through which the line passes.

A sphere-shaped spell expands from its point of origin to fill a spherical area. Spheres may be bursts, emanations, or spreads.

These 4 types of shapes are the ones spells use, unless the description gives us another one. And one can see that "circles" are not part of the shapes given. That's why spells don't need to state which shape they use if it's implied in the effect description – for example, Fireball simply says "20 ft radius" and everyone should know it's a spherical explosion, not a circle sparing anyone who readied an action to jump 5 ft above the circle.

While that applies to Fog Cloud, the Obscuring Mist spell describes a cylinder, with a base radius of 20 ft and a height of 20 ft.

The given Range 20 ft for Obscuring Mist allows positioning the point of origin of the cylinder 20 ft above you, so that the caster is the base of the cylinder, from which the mist spreads. Cylinder shapes in the rules have their point of origin at the top of the cylinder [see above]. That makes the range a necessary component here, for otherwise area of effect spells which spread or emanate from you (including lines or cones) don't really need a range description.

This means that Obscuring Mist usually does not affect the area underneath you – e.g. if you are flying – but only the 20 ft above you. Since you can locate the point of origin anywhere within the 20 ft range, you can create the Obscuring Mist cylinder also with you in the middle or near the top or bottom. Basically you're free to create the cylinder around you, as long as it has a height of 20 ft & a radius of 20 ft & you are on the height line (connecting the centers of the base and top).

Fog Cloud creates a perfect sphere though, with 20 ft of fog in all directions from the point of origin, just like Fireball.

If a creature is tall enough to see above the mist/fog, then its vision is not obstructed on other creatures or objects above the mist/fog.

But smaller creatures, i.e. those within the mist/fog, enjoy all the benefits the spells provide – concealment within 5 ft or total concealment beyond 5 ft – even towards an enemy who is tall enough to see above the mist/fog, because such an enemy's vision is still impaired when trying to see them.

  • \$\begingroup\$ It’s not at all clear to me that obscuring mist creates a cylinder per se—it doesn’t use the word “cylinder” which the rules instruct us to expect if it did—and it’s very unclear indeed that “around you” would be only the 20 feet above you and not, say, centered with 10 feet above and 10 feet below, even if it is a 20-foot-high cylinder. Mostly, the wording on the spell’s area was poorly-written in D&D 3.5e, and Paizo missed the problem and didn’t update it when adapting that material into the Core Rulebook (obscuring mist is unchanged from 3.5e). \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Apr 10, 2022 at 19:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Practically speaking, it seems extremely clear to me that obscuring mist and fog cloud are meant to be the same spell, except that fog cloud can be positioned as you like while obscuring mist is forced to surround your own space. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Apr 10, 2022 at 19:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ By your explanation, Mythic Fog Cloud intentionally changes shape and specifically no longer affects the area underneath? \$\endgroup\$ Apr 10, 2022 at 20:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ RE: "Effects given with a radius have the shape of a sphere, not a circle, unless it says otherwise in the description." Citation needed? That is, I know that one former Pathfinder dev says so, but does a book, erratum, or FAQ? (Are they all former Pathfinder devs?) \$\endgroup\$ Apr 10, 2022 at 20:13
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I mean, in a three-dimensional space, a sphere is what you get by enclosing the space around a point up to some radius. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Apr 10, 2022 at 20:42

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