The Enemies Abound spell specifies (emphasis mine):

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.

Does this mean if the affected target was currently wielding a longsword when affected by the spell and has a 5 ft. reach with it, any potential "enemies" would have to be within 5 ft. in order to be considered for the attack? Or would the affected target also have to move to try and get within striking distance?


2 Answers 2


No, it does not.

The relevant rules specify that the affected creature must randomly choose the new target among the creatures that they can see and within range of the current attack. The spell description does not say that the affected creature can select a target among the creatures they can see, move towards them and then attack them: the specification about the range of the current attack prevents this movement.

In the example provided in the question, if the affected creature is using a longsword then they the new targets must be at 5 ft. If the affected creature is a Bugbear, then the suitable targets can be at 10 ft.

Another example is a Wizard attacking with Scorching Ray: the range of this spell is 120 ft., hence any creature within 120 feet and that can be seen is a suitable target.

What does "[...] the attack, spell, or other ability it's using" mean?

When a creature has only one option for attacking, is indeed an easy choice, but when there are multiple options there is some room for interpretation.

The main one, or at least the first one that I would apply as a DM, it's reading "it's using" as the last one that the creature used.

If there are more than one option, the DM could decide which one use, depending also on the situation. For example, a drow has two possible attacks, one melee and one ranged: under the effect of Enemies Abound, if there are no suitable targets within 5 ft. but there are within 30 ft, as a DM I would select the Hand Crossbow option.

If a player is affected by this spell and it is forced to attack one of their companion, there are two options: the DM decides (and I would not run this way) or the player decide. In the latter case, as a DM I would pay attention that the player will not deliberately select the less harmful option, for being coherent with Enemies Abound.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Good answer, although maybe the header could be clarified. It can be confusing because the body's main question is opposite to the title's question, so "no" may appear at first glance as "no, you do not have to be within 5' in order to be considered for the attack". Then again, maybe the issue is the question's body itself. Or maybe I should read the question's title again before reading the answers, and I'm just being confused for no reason. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matthieu
    Jan 23, 2023 at 7:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Matthieu You're right: the question's title and body are asking on the opposite of the other. Usually, I try to answer in the header to the question body, and then develop the reasoning in the body. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Jan 23, 2023 at 7:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ It doesn't help that the body ends with opposite questions as well; "Does it mean...? Or would...?" I recommend not having a "yes/no" in the header and just give a decisive statement, like, "Enemies Abound does not force movement" so there is no confusion. Groody did the same for their answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    Jan 23, 2023 at 17:12

The spell does not force the target to move

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.

There is nothing in the spell text that states the creature must move somewhere to be able to attack a target, if there currently is no target within its reach or range, so it does not need to.

Only if it tries to target someone with one of its abilities, then, instead of being able to select a specific target, it must randomly choose one of the legal targets that it could hit with that ability.

If there is only one legal target, say, they have a melee weapon with reach 5 feet, and only one creature is standing next to them, then Enemies Abound effectively does nothing, as they will then be able to attack that creature.

Dealing with gaming the spell

Since they can choose what ability to attack with, and they can freely move, this enables gamey tactics where they move to a position and select an attack mode where they only can attack a single creature, possibly an opponent.

As a DM I'd keep in mind that

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.

So my NPCs and monsters who would not know who really is an enemy probably would pick the ones nearest to them to attack, or randomly attack someone with their strongest attack form. And I likely would move them to be able to attack if there is nobody in reach, even though the spell does not force them to, as that would be natural.

If a player would run it differently and always "happen to" move themselves next to an enemy to exploit short reach limitations, I would ask them to explain what their characters is thinking in game to motivate their behavior.


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