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Drizzledusk's Smoke Shroud 1st level

Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range/Area: 20ft./10ft sphere.
Components: S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

Magical smoke spreads from a point you choose within range to fill a 10-foot-radius sphere. The area is heavily obscured and remains until the spell ends or is dispersed by a strong wind (at least 20 miles per hour). The smoke spreads around corners. If the point you choose is centered on yourself the smoke moves with you for the duration or until you move more than 30 feet in a turn.

This is a spell for one character and the only consideration is whether or not it is under or overpowered for her specifically. She is at 4th level with 2 levels in ranger and 2 in hexblade warlock.

The spell is pretty simple, but the weird bit comes with the particular character build:

  • She has blindsight so this spell works exactly like a batman smoke bomb situation. But while in the smoke she will mostly only be making one basic attack, no extra damage no maneuvers, unless she has hexblade's curse. She also uses booming blade, so this would be done in conjunction with this spell.

The spell also presents some utility:

  • she can cast it at a group of enemies then hide as an action, it's silent so she can cast it from stealth and that adds something. As well as the same things as darkness and fog cloud but slightly worse.

Using up my concentration remains a concern, especially since most of my attack spells are concentration (all but 1!), but I'm wondering about balance and whether it's generally better to use wraithful smiting or dealing a lot more damage. My critical chance does increase by a lot so maybe the damage shakes out?

Is this balanced for the use of my character? My progression plan is to get to 5/5 and then progress in Warlock. Party composition is armorer artificer, druid, cleric, dex based barbarian, hexblade ranger.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ To reitterate my criticism: As written that smoke does nothing but be there. It does not block Line of sight, because that is not stated. Spells only do exactly what they are written as. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Apr 25, 2022 at 16:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Trish the heavily obscured effect reads as follows: "A heavily obscured area—such as Darkness, opaque fog, or dense foliage—blocks vision entirely. A creature effectively suffers from the Blinded condition (see Conditions ) when trying to see something in that area." \$\endgroup\$ Apr 25, 2022 at 17:09

1 Answer 1

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This is not particularly different than Fog Cloud in effect, only with a reduced area, reduced range, reduced duration, improved wind resistance, improved components, and significantly reduced action cost. Indeed, as a Ranger Fog Cloud is on your list. So from a high level design perspective, it kind of doesn't feel necessary to exist.

As a DM, I'd read this as an attempt to min/max the spell. You're looking to get Fog Cloud as a bonus action and without verbal components, and cutting everything else to the bone to do it. That's not inherently wrong or bad, it's just clear that's what you're doing. Expect the DM to see through it.

As DM, I'm also not particularly a fan of ye olde Devil's Sight + Darkness tricks. I think it can monopolize encounter design, which isn't very fun as a DM. It's not like the DM has to design encounters to make the abilities useless for every encounter (nor should they), but it is something they have to consider. It may be a poor fit for your campaign.

If I were your DM, I would probably make you choose between:

Level: 1st
Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Components: V, S, M (a pinch of sugar, potash, and bicarbonate of soda wrapped in clay with a bit of string attached)

Or:

Level: 1st
Casting Time: 1 action
Components: S, M

Or:

Level: 2nd
Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Components: S, M

I just don't think you should be able to get everything from a level 1 spell. It should feel like you're making a genuine compromise with Fog Cloud or Darkness, and as presented it feels like it's just better in most cases.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The main reason that the area is reduced is so I don't take over the entire combat arena. And screw over the entire party. Also material components are not really focused on in this campaign and there is some story based situations with her magic that make components weird. Her focus is also the source of her magic so if we lost our equipment she probably just wouldn't have access to her spells. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 25, 2022 at 17:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also I think there should be some more conditions to end it early if it is centered because that can be a problem. Such as being shoved out of it or oving more than 15 or 20ft. Because it's kinda ridiculous to just be a walking cloud, and doesn't capture the intent. And that might balance things a little. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 25, 2022 at 17:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ If your campaign is using alternate rules for spell components or foci and they don't make sense that's fine. This is just how I'd balance it to the base game. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bacon Bits
    Apr 25, 2022 at 17:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MadamStormcrow I'm confused. I didn't mention anything about centering or ending the spell early. I didn't change anything from how your spell works except what I noted, and Fog Cloud and Darkness both work the same way as your spell, excepting that darkness can be carried in an object. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bacon Bits
    Apr 25, 2022 at 17:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ So me and my dm have decided that this may or may not be completely balanced but we are going to use it anyway and if it needs revision we'll fix it after playtesting \$\endgroup\$ Apr 25, 2022 at 21:31

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