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Just as the title says, I'm looking for the lowest level spell on the wizard spell list that will allow me to negate the miss chance on ranged attacks imposed by concealment such as that given by solid fog or fog cloud.

I often place a solid fog around enemies to keep them still and render them useless, but I'd like to be able to use my ranged touch attacks on them while they're trapped. I've also been known to place solid fog around myself as a defensive measure, and would like to be able to use ranged touch attacks to shoot out of it. Either way, gust of wind is not the answer I'm looking for.

Any and all official WotC 3.5 books, web articles, but not Dragon articles available, although I'd prefer spells from either the Player's Handbook or the Spell Compendium. (I don't think there are any in the Player's Handbook, but I'd be happy to have missed something.)

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Seeing through fog is difficult...

While there are multiple low-level ways to make fog, mist, and smoke go away (the 1st-level Sor/Wiz spell Darsson's cooling breeze [evoc] (45-6), the 2nd-level Sor/Wiz spell dispel fog [abjur] (Shining South 46), the 2nd-level Sor/Wiz spell gust of wind [evoc] (PH 238), for example1), as you point out, few spells continuously allow the caster, instead, to see through fog sufficiently to make effective ranged attacks through it.2 Here are two.

  • The 2nd-level Sor/Wiz spell listening lorecall [div] (Spell Compendium 133), for 10 min./level, grants the caster a +4 insight bonus on Listen skill checks. A caster with at least 5 ranks in the skill Listen gains blindsense 30 ft. A caster with at least 12 ranks in the skill Listen gains blindsight 15 ft. An effect like the spell silence negates this blindsense and blindsight.

    Thus, while only a 2nd-level spell, the caster must typically have 9 character levels or Hit Dice to realize the benefit he wants, and, even then, that range probably just won't be enough, and I am unaware means to extend it. Further, the typical wizard doesn't even have the skill Listen as a class skill, and the Listen skill is difficult to put on a wizard's class skill list.3 I don't know what prestige classes are available in the campaign, but having Listen on a prestige class's skill list is a solid criterion if this is how you're choosing to play.

  • The 4th-level Sor/Wiz spell sandform [trans] (Sandstorm 119) for 1 min./level grants the caster, among other benefits, blindsight 60 ft., but the caster is otherwise blind, has a speed of 20 ft., and when under stress (like, for example, in combat) makes a Willpower saving throw (DC 19). Failure means, until the stress passes, the caster suffers a −2 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, ability checks, and skill checks. Casting spells, it should be noted, is unimpeded by the spell sandform. (The sandform ring (Sandstorm 132) (24,000 gp; 0 lbs.) for 10 min./day in as little as 1 round increments on command grants the wearer an effect like the spell sandform if you're interested. Tip: You're not; see below.)

So, technically, the lowest-level wizard spell that allows the caster to continuously ignore fog's total concealment is the 2nd-level spell listening lorecall, but that spell's got serious baggage. Otherwise, the lowest-level wizard spell is the 4th-level spell sandform (but see below).

...And maybe it shouldn't be

The Dungeons and Dragons, Third Edition splatbook Masters of the Wild contains the following spell, which was never updated for Dungeons and Dragons 3.5, and is, therefore, legal in 3.5 campaigns with minor adjustments made by the DM.4

  • The 0-level Drd spell fire eyes [trans] (Masters of the Wild 88) for 10 min./level grants 1 touched creature the ability to see normally through mundane fire, fog, and smoke, negating any concealment they provide.

So this spell exists, but no greater firesight spell was ever published. Were such a spell to have been published, precedent implies it would be a 2nd-level spell (following the usual pattern of an improved spell being 2 spell levels higher than the unimproved spell), yet the hypothetical spell greater firesight would probably also be a druid spell. Perhaps a friendly druid could develop a greater firesight spell by Researching an Original Spell (DMG 198)—one that allows sight through magical fire, fog, and smoke—and cast that on you before you enter battle?

The spells blindsight, greater blindsight, and improved blindsight

As this answer notes, the 3rd-level Clr spell blindsight [div] (SpC 32), until the publication of the Spell Compendium, appeared on the sorcerer/wizard spell list in Magic of Faerûn (2001) (as a 3rd-level Sor/Wiz spell), Savage Species (2003) (as a 2nd-), Underdark (2003) (as a 2nd-), and Player's Guide to Faerûn (2004) (as a 2nd-). That is, for nearly four years (about half the game's lifespan) sorcerers and wizards could cast the spell blindsight. Then, with the Spell Compendium's release, suddenly and inexplicably, they couldn't. Given such events, a DM, after learning the spell's history, may allow a wizard to develop (or redevelop) this spell using the rules for Researching an Original Spell (DMG 198), probably as a 3rd-level spell as per the Spell Compendium.

The 4th-level Clr spell greater blindsight [div] (SpC 32) is even more problematic in that it appears only in the Spell Compendium. The 4th-level Sor/Wiz spell improved blindsight [div] (Savage Species 67) does not appear on the Spell Compendium's list of Renamed Spells (5) nor in the Web article "Rules Reference: Feats, Prestige Classes, and Spells." That means legally—technically—the spell improved blindsight has been on the sorcerer/wizard spell list since 2003 and still is. However, the DM may make minor adjustments to the spell because it's unupdated Third Edition material, and, with the existence of the spell greater blindsight, arguing with the DM that spell improved blindsight stay on the sorcerer/wizard spell list will likely end up with the DM throwing dice at you. A very generous (or legalistic) DM may see things differently, though.

A handful of alternatives to spells

I know you didn't ask, but it's worth noting that darn few magic items grant blindsight. This answer mentions the blindfold of true darkness (Arms and Equipment Guide 130) (9,000 gp; 0 lbs.), which is the best way to get blindsight 60 ft. if one doesn't mind being unable to actually see. Also available is magic weapon special ability blindsighted (Underdark 68) (30,000; 0 lbs.) which, when the weapon's wielded, grants the wielder blindsight 60 ft.5

More specific to your needs is the costly shoulder-slot wondrous item cloud cloak (Far Corners of the World Web column "The Hidden Realms Above: Magic Items of the Sky") (31,500 gp; 1 lbs.), which provides an endure elements effect, a freedom of movement effect versus fogs, and the ability to ignore any concealment granted by fogs. The endure elements effect is silly, and if you're already ground zeroing the spell solid fog probably you've a freedom of movement effect from another source (perhaps the 3rd-level Sor/Wiz spell heart of water [trans] (Complete Mage 107)?), so you are only getting this for the vision effect. That vision effect, according to the item's creation prerequisites, is likely via (for a wizard) the 6th-level Sor/Wiz spell true seeing [div] (PH 296)... somehow. A generous DM may allow crafting a custom magic item to create that same vision effect using that spell as a prerequisite once you show him this item. It's worth a try.6


Notes
1 Apparently, Shining South is a bit of a misnomer, or, maybe, a bunch of wizards using these spells is what makes these places shiny all the time.
2 This answer posits the 1st-level Sor/Wiz spell true strike [div] (PH 296), which permits a lone attack to ignore even total concealment. I'm assuming this is insufficient, but that's a good answer and a solid workaround.
3 Min/Max Boards curates "Alternative Ways to Get Class Skills".
4 See the section Why a Revision? (Dungeon Master's Guide 4).
5 Both items have as a creation prerequisite the spell see invisibility, yet the spell blindsight actually appears in Underdark. No, I don't understand that either.
6 I'd be remiss were I to omit former Dragon magazine publisher Paizo's fogcutting lenses (Fortress of the Stone Giants 50) (8,000 gp; 0 lbs.) with its prerequisites of the spells darkvision and fog cloud (originally published for Dungeons and Dragons 3.5), and from Paizo's D&D 3.5 compatible Pathfinder the even better goz mask (Inner Sea World Guide 298) (8,000 gp; 1 lbs.) with its more difficult prerequisites of the spells control winds and water breathing.

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True Strike (PHB p.296, 1st-level)

You gain temporary, intuitive insight into the immediate future during your next attack. Your next single attack roll (if it is made before the end of the next round) gains a +20 insight bonus. Additionally, you are not affected by the miss chance that applies to attackers trying to strike a concealed target.

Emphasis mine. Unfortunately, this solves your problem for but a single attack, and due to the "See text" duration can't be extended or persisted. Also note that if they are totally concealed, true strike will not provide you with the means of locating them - just hitting them if you know where they are.

Get yourself a command word item of true strike, however, and you're doing pretty well for the low price of 1800gp (DMG p.285, table 7-33: Estimating Magic Item Gold Piece Values). You can only attack every other turn but your first attack on those turns gets +20 and ignores concealment.

Another option exists if you catch a foe on the edge of a fog cloud or similar...

Guided Shot (SpC p.108, 1st-level)

While this spell is in effect, your ranged attacks do not take a penalty due to distance. In addition, your ranged attacks ignore the AC bonus granted to targets by anything less than total cover, and also ignore the miss chance granted to targets by anything less than total concealment.

Emphasis mine. This can be extended or persisted, however is much more limited in its effect by not tackling total concealment. A continuous item of guided shot would set you back 8000gp by the DMG's estimates.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately, Fog Cloud (and thus Solid Fog) give total concealment, making Guided Shot inapplicable in the specific situation the question poses. In cases of just normal concealment, though, it would work. \$\endgroup\$ – Michaellogg Sep 3 '15 at 20:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MikeKellogg I've updated to make true strike my main answer, with guided shot as a still related consideration. Have considered the concept of suggesting a ring of true strike but I don't think any sane DM would let that fly... \$\endgroup\$ – mike32 Sep 3 '15 at 20:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mike32 Hey, a command word activated item of true strike is totally okay. Making attacks every other round, the first of those at +20? Whatever. Now, a continuous item of true strike... \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Sep 3 '15 at 22:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ Technically use-activated true strike on a weapon should be legal. Good luck catching DMGs though. \$\endgroup\$ – annoying imp Sep 8 '15 at 14:06
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mike32 has the best single-attack option with True Strike (Player's Handbook). The best I can find for longer-term solutions are two level 5 options, one of which is solely Player's Handbook, while the other is from Spell Compendium. This seems to be about it as far as Sor/Wiz spells go (granted, I haven't checked every spell in every book, but I've checked a lot of books).

Shadow Evocation (Wizard 5) into Faerie Fire (Druid 1)
Both spells in the Player's Handbook. Kind of a roundabout way, but the Player's Handbook doesn't seem to have any relevant spells for Wizards, at least not below 5th level. Faerie Fire, on the other hand, is extremely good for what you're looking for. Depending on the options available to you, you may find it more efficient to pick up a wand of Faerie Fire and use it with UMD.

Shroud of Flame (Wizard 5)
From the Spell Compendium. Only lasts 1 round/level, and only affects one creature instead of 4 squares, but also tacks on some recurring damage each round, and doesn't allow a save like Shadow Evocation does.


If you're willing to look at magic items instead of spells, you may be able to use the Crystal Mask of Visual Insight from the Magic Item Compendium. As a swift action, it allows you to ignore the effects of concealment (but not invisibility) on creatures within 30 feet of you for 1 round, with no use limit. It costs 10,000 gp.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That item is a fantastic alternative. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Sep 5 '15 at 18:57
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Starting with overkill and moving downwards:

Limited Wish (7th) --

a single creature automatically hitting on its next attack

Pretty clear. If you have access to it, this is the cleanest and most universal method. Also the only one that works with arbitrary obstacles and ranges.

Improved Blindsight (4th) -- this spell is in Savage Species and is like the lower-level version below but with blindsight 60' instead of 30'. It's also in the Spell Compendium, as Blindsight, Greater but without the Sorc/Wizard option.

Blindsight (2nd) -- is a 2nd level spell in Underdark and also Player's Guide to Faerun. It gives you, unsurprisingly, blindsight, which negates concealment. Unfortunately it only gives you blindsight 30'. It's also in the Spell Compendium, wherein it received a stealth errata removing it from the Sorc/Wiz list and bumping the spell level to 3.

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One of the actual best solutions to your problem that doesn't require the use of a spell slot is an elegant magic item called "Blindfold of True Darkness" in the Arms & Equipment Guide. It costs 9,000gp and gives you 60ft Blindsight.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Neither of these are wizard spells. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Sep 3 '15 at 7:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GMJoe Sometimes the best answer doesn't always fit the frame of the question, this is what challenging the frame of a question is for. \$\endgroup\$ – Sandwich Sep 3 '15 at 17:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ Arms & Equipment Guide is unfortunately a D&D 3.0 book, while this question is requesting 3.5 information. Some people allow 3.0 stuff in 3.5, but best to call it out, at least. Also, Darkvision wouldn't help with concealment from anything other than natural darkness, so it's not helpful for the situation described in the question. \$\endgroup\$ – Michaellogg Sep 3 '15 at 19:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MikeKellogg D&D 3.5 includes unupdated stuff from D&D 3E. The D&D 3.5 DMG says so. It's on the querent to exclude 3E stuff. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Sep 3 '15 at 22:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GMJoe - It's not an issue of good faith, it's an issue of implied knowledge. You're implying the querent knew to differentiate 'options a wizard could employ' from specifically 'spells a wizard could employ', which is an unfounded assumption. Most people aren't aware that the subsystems of the game can be useful compared to major, extremely powerful and obvious class features. Especially if they are seeking, rather than giving, information. \$\endgroup\$ – user2754 Sep 4 '15 at 23:54
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The lowest spell level for this is level 1: True Strike. It explicitly eliminates such miss chances.

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    \$\begingroup\$ There's already an answer that says this and gives more detail. Just letting you know. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Sep 4 '15 at 0:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GMJoe Yea, but even though I refreshed right before I started typing my answer, Sandwich's was the only answer there. Mike32's didn't show up on my screen until I'd already posted mine, and I didn't bother to remove mine at that point. \$\endgroup\$ – Matthew Najmon Sep 7 '15 at 20:26
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Back when I used to play, there was something called alter self, maybe 2nd level. Anyway, alter your head to be like that of a dire bat and utilize echo location to find targets for the duration of the spell. Not sure if this allows you to be able to tell friend for foe but there ya go.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Alter self is unfortunately unsuitable, since it can't change types. \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Nov 13 '15 at 0:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, it explicitly states that you don't gain the senses of the new form. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Nov 13 '15 at 0:26

protected by Oblivious Sage Feb 12 '16 at 14:21

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