Cloud of Daggers has an area of a 5' cube. If I cast it on a group of enemies standing together (in adjacent "squares" if you use a battle map), can I affect more than one enemy with the spell? For example I cast the cloud between two enemies, and both are half in the cube, so the cloud deals damage to both at the start of their turn?


4 Answers 4


If you're not using a grid, a 5' cube will usually have a single target. DMG249 has a table giving recommendations on the number of targets in an area of effect; for a 5' cube, this value works out to be one target. If enemies are standing shoulder-to-shoulder, it falls under the "add or subtract targets based on how bunched up [they] are." Regardless, it's a judgment call by the GM.

If you're using a grid, the answer is unclear; probably one or two targets. DMG251 says you pick an intersection of squares/hexes as an origin, which means that you can overlap a maximum of four 5' squares with a 5' cube (with 1/4 of the cube in each square). It also says that in the case of a circular effect, it affects a square if it covers at least half of it. Cubes aren't circular, but the implication I see is that a 5' cube can, at maximum, affect two adjacent 5' squares.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ If you overlap 4 squares, you will be only affecting 1/4 of the area, therefore you will hit no one. \$\endgroup\$
    – Shem
    Mar 15, 2017 at 19:00
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 Pg. 251 of the DMG says "If an area of effect is circular and covers at least half a square, it affects that square." That's the only known written mentioning that I know of for the half or nothing rule. \$\endgroup\$
    – Adam
    Mar 15, 2017 at 19:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Perfect--thanks! There are a half-dozen bits of the DMG that occupy the same space in my head-index, yet can be separated by hundreds of pages in-text =\ \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Mar 15, 2017 at 19:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Nitsua60 this is why we rely so heavily on your brain index... the DMG is so damn scattered... someone had to put it all together nicely, right? \$\endgroup\$
    – Airatome
    Mar 15, 2017 at 23:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ This question is addressed in the 2019 Sage Advice Compendium (...though I don't quite agree with it, as the DMG only has rules for partially covered squares being affected for circular AoEs): "Using 5-foot squares, does cloud of daggers affect a single square? Cloud of daggers (5 ft. cube) can affect more than one square on a grid, unless the DM says effects snap to the grid. There are many ways to position that cube." \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Jan 30, 2019 at 19:49

You can hit one or more enemies.

According to Jeremy Crawford, the rules designer for the game (see this tweet):

Cloud of daggers (5 ft. cube) can affect 1+ squares on a grid, unless the DM says effects snap to the grid.


That's not explicitly stated in the rules. Until and unless the ruling above is published in Sage Advice, it is the opinion of the designer, not a rule.

Due to the ambiguity, a DM may be within their rights to reject the use you have suggested if they operate under the assumption that effects snap to the grid, which many do. See this other answer for more details regarding what the Dungeon Master's Guide states or implies.


First thing I would do is ask your DM whether or not it would be possible. Some more generous DMs might allow you to do it whereas others may not.

If I was the DM I might split up the damage between the two. Instead of it being 4d4 on each it would be 2d4 and so on.

It would also depend on the movement of battle. (E.g moving down a corridor or moving into position, two enemies might overlap on space.)

Space: A creature's space is the area in feet that it effectively controls in combat, not an expression of its physical dimensions. A typical Medium creature isn't 5 feet wide, for example, but it does control a space that wide.

As far as casting on a group of enemies who are stationary goes, unless they were overlapping due to some other mechanic (such as a tiny creature and a medium creature sharing a space) I doubt it would work (unless the DM allows the sharing of the damage amongst the two.)


Per Jeremy Crawford (lead rules developer for Dungeons and Dragons) on Twitter:

Cloud of daggers (5 ft. cube) can affect 1+ squares on a grid, unless the DM says effects snap to the grid.

So, consult your DM. But yes, in some circumstances you can affect more than one target with Cloud of Daggers.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Problem is that I am the DM. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Tobold
    Mar 16, 2017 at 8:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tobold So, you just need to decide if you want effects to snap to the grid. The advantage is it makes play simpler, and faster. The disadvantage is it introduces an artificial restriction on the players action with no real world explanation. So the choice is a quicker simpler combat, or a more immersive experience. \$\endgroup\$
    – Seamus
    Mar 16, 2017 at 17:46

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