Faerie Fire:

A pale glow surrounds and outlines the subjects. Outlined subjects shed light as candles. Outlined creatures do not benefit from the concealment normally provided by darkness (though a 2nd-level or higher magical darkness effect functions normally), blur, displacement, invisibility, or similar effects.

Obscuring Mist:

A misty vapor arises around you. It is stationary once created. The vapor obscures all sight, including darkvision, beyond 5 feet. A creature 5 feet away has concealment (attacks have a 20% miss chance). Creatures farther away have total concealment (50% miss chance, and the attacker cannot use sight to locate the target).

If my enemy is 5ft away in Obscuring Mist, and is outlined by Faerie Fire, does my attack have a miss chance due to concealment?

This question might be answered by "Is Obscuring Mist a similar effect to [non-magical or less-than-2nd-level] darkness, blur, displacement, or invisibility?" thanks to Faerie Fire's lovely wording: it clearly trumps certain kinds of concealment, not all, but does not give an exhaustive list of effects.


3 Answers 3


This DM is inclined to rule that a creature suffers no miss chance when attacking a foe 5 ft. away that's under the effect of faerie fire yet that's within the effect of an obscuring mist

The effect of the 1st-level Sor/Wiz spell obscuring mist [conj] (PH 258) is an effect similar to those listed in the description of the 1st-level Drd spell faerie fire (PH 229), which includes both mundane and magical effects.

Initially, I leaned toward saying the miss chance should apply, given that the spell obscuring mist is a conjuration (creation) school spell, but the spell faerie fire overcomes (completely mundane) darkness and (possibly mundane or, at least, not italicized) displacement and invisibility, likely putting the misty vapors conjured by the spell obscuring mist in the same boat as those. (The majority reach a similar conclusion in this 2012 Giant in the Playground forum thread.)

If this were a serious issue in my campaign, I might go so far as to rule that in this case darkness and fog are approximately equivalent, so that the spell faerie fire reveals clearly affected creatures within a not-so-dense fog (like the Interesting Combat factor fog on DMG 17) and affected creatures within 5 ft. of the viewer within normal fog (DMG 94) and a 1st-level fog effect like that created by the spell obscuring mist. But I'd also rule that faerie fire's blocked by the fog effect a higher level spell (e.g. the 2nd-level Sor/Wiz spell fog cloud [conj] (PH 232), the 4th-level Sor/Wiz spell solid fog [conj] (PH 281)). I'd consider this despite such mechanics being usually reserved for, for example, spells with the light descriptor versus spells with the darkness descriptor (as the opposing spells mentioned in faerie fire rightly warrant), because the game makes overcoming fog hard, I like low-level spells being versatile, and this has always seemed to me what should happen when lower-levels spells encounter higher-level spells. (Thus if a player wanted to heighten faerie fire to a 9th-level spell to see his foe while the foe's in, like, an incendiary cloud, I'd totally let him.) As a once-in-a-blue-moon (once-in-a-pea-soup?) rule, though, this might be too much work for too little reward.


Faery Fire: "Outlined subjects shed light as candles..." It penetrates Darkness, but it is still a sight-based effect.

Obscuring Mist: "The vapour obscures all sight, including darkvision, beyond 5 feet."

I would suggest that Obscuring Mist prevents line of sight, though not line of effect beyond 5 feet; you cannot see far enough to see the (admittedly magical) 'shed light as candles'.

In terms of RAW Faery Fire describes changing the appearance of the targets, and Obscuring Fog 'obscures all sight' beyond 5 feet; you cannot see far enough to see the changed appearance. Faery Fire does not specifically mention countering Obscuring Mist; Obscuring Mist does not have the Darkness subtype, and other than darkness all of the examples given as being countered by Faery Fire effect individuals and are illusions, were as Obscuring Fog effects the terrain and is a conjuration.

In terms of the real world (not necessarily relevant) you might see a step up of 5 feet to their sight (i.e. 5 feet = normal vision, 10 feet = concealment, 15 feet = total concealment), from trying to see a candle in a fog, but not much more than that.

Mechanically, you can't see in Darkness because there is no light to see by - Faery Fire provides that light*. Similarly invisibility and the other similar effects are countered by the Faery Fire's halo of light surrounding the targets. But Obscuring Mist puts hundreds water droplets in between you and what you are trying to see, obscuring your vision; effectively there is an object between you and what you are trying to look at - much like I wouldn't let Faery Fire let people see through natural rock, I wouldn't let Faery Fire let people see through natural fog.

I would say that the suggestion in the paragraph two above (5 foot step up) would be a not unreasonable, but still generous interpretation, and that no change (from Obscuring Mist) would be a reasonable and, in my opinion, RAW interpretation.

I would suggest that blindness would similarly prevent seeing a creature with Faery Fire on it. As with Obscuring Mist, mechanically, Faery Fire does not counteract the effect preventing you from seeing the target - in both cases you cannot see the Faery Fire for things to be highlighted by it.

For a target with both Blink and Faery Fire I would suggest it was as if you could see an Invisible target with the effect Blink (20% miss chance), because Faery Fire provides mechanics to see creatures with invisibility, but not plane shifting.

*Deeper Darkness has an additional effect of suppressing lower level light effects, like 'light' and Faery Fire. From Faery Fire: "(though a 2nd-level or higher magical darkness effect functions normally)" - Obscuring Mist is not a Darkness effect.


Compendium rule on lighting on page 79 could help you resolve that issue, you could see the illuminated creature through the fog, but at a certain distance only depending on the lighting condition your character is currently in. Compendium rule on lighting at p79 states

In open spaces, a light source can be spotted from much farther away than its radius of illumination. An observer who succeeds on a DC20 spot check sees the light from a distance indicated below, and one who fails the spot check automatically notices the light source at half that range.

Observer in complete darkness: A light source can be spotted at a distance equal to 20 times its radius of illumination

Observer in Dim Light: A light source can be spotted at a distance equal to 10 times its radius of illumination.

Since a Faerie Fire makes the creature illuminates as a candle, a candle's illumination radius is 5ft... so depending on the light condition the observer is in,

if observer is in bright light, it cannot see the creature through the fog if it is more than 5 ft away and target creature has total concealment

If observer is in Dim light: it can see the illuminated creature in the fog from 25 ft if it fails the spot check or 50ft if it succeeds.

If observer is in complete darkness: it can see the illuminated creature in the fog 50 feet away if it fails the spot check or 100 feet if it succeeds.


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