Suppose you have played first-person shooter games before like CS: GO or Valorant, you would know that smokes are essential in your gameplay.
They can be the defining moment between success and failure, as they obscure the enemy’s vision. However, people responsible for smoking areas should know where to put their smoke; otherwise, they might put your team at a disadvantage instead. The same is true for Fog Cloud.
When you cast the Fog Cloud spell in D&D 5e, you create a heavy fog in a large area (depending on the spell slot level you used to cast it). Essentially, it is like the smokes in these games: you need to know where to place it.
The placement can be the difference between who becomes at a disadvantage: your team or your enemies. However, there are some interesting mechanics for what goes on inside the fog.
For example, if you and your enemies are inside the fog, all of you neither get a disadvantage nor an advantage on your attack rolls against each other. It is kind of weird; because of this intricacy, many players think that the spell is pointless.
However, with some creative thinking and imagination, you can tell yourself that Fog Cloud is worth it to pick up. If you have no clue how to use it, read this Fog Cloud 5e guide!
Bottom Line Up Front: What is Fog Cloud in D&D 5e?
Fog Cloud is a level one conjuration spell you can find in the Player’s Handbook on page 243. This spell is a conjuration spell similar to Produce Flame and Misty Step because it creates an intense fog spanning a large area. Below are the crucial details about the Fog Cloud spell.
- Fog Cloud
- Level one conjuration
- Casting Time: one action
- Range: 120 feet
- Components: V, S
- Duration: Concentration, up to one hour
How to Use Fog Cloud in D&D 5e
The Fog Cloud spell has some requirements that casters need to fulfill before they can create their smokes. I have covered the standard requirements in my other articles before, so I will encourage you to read them first if you want a more detailed explanation.
In particular, I advise you to read my Call Lightning 5e Guide because this spell and the Fog Cloud spell are nearly identical, with a few exceptions.
Both are conjuration spells, but they are of different levels; Fog Cloud is a level one spell (which requires at least a level one spell slot), while Call Lightning is a level three spell (which requires at least a level three spell slot).
However, both spells can use a higher-level spell slot to increase their effectiveness. Fog Cloud can last up to an hour, while Call Lightning can last up to 10 minutes only.
Both spells have the same casting time (one action), range (120 feet), and components (verbal and somatic). Both spells also require concentration.
If you want a detailed explanation as to how concentration works, I wrote it down analytically in the Call Lightning 5e Guide. Essentially, you cannot cast other spells that also require concentration. You also cannot take damage or become incapacitated.
After confirming to yourself that you have completed Fog Cloud’s requirements, it is time to cast it. When you do:
- Choose a central point where the fog spreads out in a 20-foot-radius sphere. If you are using a square grid where each tile is five feet, a 20 ft. radius is equivalent to four tiles. Therefore, the foggy sphere fully spans up to 40 ft. (or eight tiles).
- Suppose you use a level two spell slot or higher; the sphere’s radius increases by 20 ft. for every level above one. For example, using a level three spell slot to cast Fog Cloud would have a radius of 60 ft. since there are two levels above one, which adds 40 ft. to the base radius.
The following section details what happens while the Fog Cloud is in effect.
How Does Fog Cloud Work in D&D 5e?
A thick fog spreads out from a point you chose, and the area occupied by the smoke becomes heavily obscured. Anyone trying to see through the site suffers from the “Blinded” condition; thus, the following effects take place:
- A creature trying to see through the area cannot see anything. Consequentially, spells that require the caster to see their target automatically fail.
- A creature trying to see through the area automatically fails an ability check requiring sight. For example, someone doing an Investigation check on a mechanical system that is inside the Fog Cloud automatically fails.
- A creature attacking someone in the Fog Cloud gains both an advantage and disadvantage on their attack rolls. Firstly, the creature gains an advantage because its target is blind. However, the creature also gains a disadvantage since they are also blind. Thus, the two circumstances cancel each other out, and the creature makes a regular attack roll.
- A creature in the Fog Cloud attacking someone gains both an advantage and disadvantage on their attack rolls. Similar to the previous situation, the creature gains an advantage because their target cannot see them, but they gain a disadvantage because they cannot see their target too. As I mentioned, the two circumstances cancel each other out, and the creature makes a regular attack roll.
- A wind of at least ten miles per hour disperses the Fog Cloud.
As long as the caster can concentrate on this spell for up to an hour, these effects will last for the entire duration. As you can see, the spell is incredibly confusing, especially regarding the third and fourth steps.
Many players agree that Fog Cloud is wonky in terms of its mechanics, and it is the main reason why they say that it is not a good spell. To give you a clearer picture of how it works, I will demonstrate it.
Example Scenario for Using Fog Cloud in D&D 5e
Take out your magical fog machines (a.k.a., your spell casters with Fog Cloud), and let’s fill up Arthur’s Lab with smoke! This time, we will be demonstrating the Fog Cloud spell with Marshal the Half-elf Wizard, who knows the spell. Involved in this demonstration are bandits who are “passionate” about learning Fog Cloud.
Also, since the lab is too small for our Fog Cloud experiment, we will be moving to our private island. Now, Marshal will show you how large the spell’s area is depending on the spell slot level used to cast Fog Cloud.
In the picture below, there are three differently colored circles. The red (innermost) circle is Fog Cloud using a level one spell slot, the yellow (middle) circle uses a level two spell slot, and the green (outermost) circle uses a level three spell slot.
Again, each time you cast the spell using a higher-level spell slot, the fog’s reach extends by 20 ft. for every level after level one.
However, for this demonstration, we will only be using a level one spell slot to cast Fog Cloud. Marshal casts it as shown below.
First Turn: Marshal vs Bandit with a Short Sword
It is Marshal’s turn first, and he targets the bandit with the short sword. He cannot cast spells that require sight against a creature such as Acid Splash, Frostbite, Prayer of Healing, etc., because he cannot see the target in the Fog Cloud. He also cannot cast a spell that requires sight on a particular point within the Fog Cloud.
However, he can cast a spell that only requires choosing a point within range without specifically seeing it. So, he casts Ice Knife and chooses the bandit with the short sword.
He gains both an advantage (his target cannot see him) and a disadvantage (he cannot see the target). They cancel each other, and he makes a regular ranged spell attack roll (i.e., rolling a d20). However, his attack misses.
Second Turn: Bandit with Short Sword vs Bandit with Crossbow
The bandit with the short sword is next to make his move. However, he targets his fellow bandit, who is also in the Fog Cloud (they are definitely not fighting because they got scammed into participating in this demonstration).
Similarly, the bandit with the short sword gains an advantage since his target cannot see him, but he gains a disadvantage because he cannot see his target. He makes a normal melee attack, but he misses.
Third Turn: Bandit with Crossbow vs Marshal
The bandit with the crossbow attacks next, and he tries to attack Marshal. Since the bandit is in the Fog Cloud, he gains an advantage because Marshal cannot see him. However, he also gains a disadvantage because the bandit cannot see Marshal. Both circumstances cancel each other out, and the bandit makes a regular attack roll.
However, this time, the bandit with the crossbow successfully hit Marshal. Since Marshal received damage, he loses concentration on the spell, and the Fog Cloud disappears prematurely.
Who Can Cast Fog Cloud in D&D 5e?
Four classes (Druid, Ranger, Sorcerer, and Wizard), four subclasses (Arcane Trickster Rogue, Eldritch Knight Fighter, Marid Genie Warlock, and Tempest Cleric), and two races (Half-elf with the Mark of Storm and Triton) have access to the Fog Cloud spell.
Classes that Can Cast Fog Cloud in D&D 5e
Druids, Rangers, Sorcerers, and Wizards have access to this magical fog machine. All these classes, except for the Ranger, have level one spell slots at level one; thus, they can get the Fog Cloud spell as early as level one.
Rangers get two level one spell slots at level two (this sentence sounds like a tongue twister after reading it). Below are the class sources for each class.
- Druid: Player’s Handbook, page 64
- Ranger: Player’s Handbook, page 89
- Sorcerer: Player’s Handbook, page 99
- Wizard: Player’s Handbook, page 112
Subclasses that Can Cast Fog Cloud in D&D 5e
Four subclasses have access to the Fog Cloud spell; below is the crucial info for each subclass.
Subclasses that can cast Fog Cloud
|Originating Class||Subclass Source||
|Arcane Trickster||Rogue||Player’s Handbook, page 97||Player’s Handbook, page 94|
|Eldritch Knight||Fighter||Player’s Handbook, page 74||Player’s Handbook, page 70|
|Marid Genie||Warlock||Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, page 73||Player’s Handbook, page 105|
|Tempest Domain||Cleric||Player’s Handbook, page 62||Player’s Handbook, page 56|
The Arcane Trickster Rogue and Eldritch Knight Fighter gain two level one spell slots at level three; thus, they can get the Fog Cloud spell starting at that level. However, per the rules of these subclasses (specifically their Spellcasting subclass feature), they choose spells from specific schools of magic in the Wizard spell list.
The Arcane Trickster can only choose Enchantment or Illusion spells, while the Eldritch Knight Fighter chooses Abjuration or Evocation spells. Thankfully, both subclasses can choose a spell from any school of magic at levels 3, 8, 14, and 20.
Note that, by level three, they can select two spells from their respective specific schools of magic plus one spell from any school of magic.
Warlocks with the Marid Genie patron can get the Fog Cloud spell thanks to their Expanded Spell List subclass feature. They can choose the spell to become a part of their kit, starting at level one, because it gets added to their spell list.
Clerics in the Tempest Domain automatically get the Fog Cloud spell as part of their prepared spells, thanks to their Tempest Domain Spells subclass feature. They always have this spell prepared, meaning they can cast it whenever desired as long as they have an available spell slot. It also does not count against their count of prepared spells.
Races that Can Cast Fog Cloud in D&D 5e
Two races have access to the Fog Cloud spell: the Half-elf with the Mark of Storm variant and the Triton. If you plan on choosing the former, note that it belongs in the Eberron setting.
If your campaign is not focused on Eberron, it will not make sense for the race to exist. So, ask your DM first if it is okay to choose the race. If they agree, they might incorporate a reason as to how you got into the campaign.
The Half-elf with the Mark of Storm variant has access to the Fog Cloud spell thanks to their “Spells of the Mark” race feature. However, your class needs to have a Spellcasting or Pact Magic class feature; otherwise, you cannot use the spell.
For example, a Barbarian of the race cannot cast Fog Cloud because Barbarians cannot cast spells. Essentially, this race feature adds Fog Cloud to your spell list.
The Triton can cast Fog Cloud thanks to their “Control Air and Water” race feature. However, they can only cast it once after finishing a long rest. So, if you cast Fog Cloud using this race feature, you can cast it again after you finish a long rest.
You can find more info about the Half-elf with the Mark of Storm variant in the Eberron: Rising from the Last War book on page 50 and the Triton in Volo’s Guide to Monsters on page 115.
Creative and Useful Ways to Use Fog Cloud in D&D 5e
On the surface, the Fog Cloud spell seems kind of useless; it does not put the enemy team at a disadvantage, and it does not put you at an advantage. What’s the point?
As it turns out, its biggest flaw is also its biggest strength; no one can have the upper hand or the lower ground. With a little bit of creativity, we can use the Fog Cloud’s strength for our benefit through the following methods:
- Covering up traps
- Disabling sight-based spells and abilities
- Disabling opportunity attacks
- Disabling Truesight
- Negating enemy advantages and ally disadvantages
- Extending a ranged weapon’s reach
- Allowing small creatures to use heavy weapons
- Creating a hiding spot instantly
Covering Up Traps Using Fog Cloud in D&D 5e
A pack of wolves chases you around a dungeon, and all of you end up trapped in a room. The wolves are closing in on you, but you have some valuable traps with you. Unfortunately, the space is empty; you can’t hide the traps in this room.
A good idea would be to cast Fog Cloud, especially if the room is large. The idea is to set up the trap on the ground and launch Fog Cloud, effectively hiding the surprise.
This method of hiding traps might need some permissions from your DM, though. According to the rules, you can use your passive Wisdom (Perception) score or a Wisdom (Perception) check to detect a trap. However, the Perception skill does not solely rely on sight. Instead, it depends on other senses, too, like smell, hearing, touch, etc.
So, ask your DM first if doing this method would hide your traps. If I were a DM and someone asked this question, I would consider the trap first. If the trap does not make any noise, smell, or changes in the temperature, it means that one can only detect the trap by sight.
Thus, if such a trap is in question, then I would allow the Fog Cloud to hide the surprise. When the wolves come in, they will trigger it!
Disabling Sight-Based Spells and Abilities Using Fog Cloud in D&D 5e
Many spells require the caster to see their target or a point in space. There are 191 spells in total that require sight; these spells are from the following sources: Acquisitions Incorporated, Explorer’s Guide to Wildermount, Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons, Player’s Handbook, Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, and Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.
Even if your spells only come from the Player’s Handbook, 102 of them require sight; that is still a lot! Furthermore, some creatures have abilities that need sight.
By using Fog Cloud, all of these spells and abilities automatically fail because the caster or animal cannot see their target. If you are up against an enemy that can cast such spells or have such abilities, casting Fog Cloud will put them at a disadvantage.
Disabling Opportunity Attacks Using Fog Cloud in D&D 5e
Many players and DMs forget that Opportunity Attacks exist, but if you do not know what they are in the first place, I will explain the concept to you. According to the rules in the Player’s Handbook on page 195, you can use your reaction to immediately attack an enemy moving out of your reach.
For example, if an enemy is five feet away from you and they move out to hit someone else, you can hit them while they are moving away. We call these attacks Opportunity Attacks.
However, an important note about this rule is that you need to see your enemy move away from you. Therefore, if you cast Fog Cloud, Opportunity Attacks will not happen because it blocks vision.
Disabling opportunity attacks become helpful, especially in scenarios where you need to reposition yourselves and you are entirely surrounded by enemies.
If, for example, six wolves surround you, you would take a lot of damage if you try to move away from them due to their Opportunity Attacks. Fog Cloud can save your butt when this situation happens.
Disabling Truesight Using Fog Cloud in D&D 5e
Many creatures in various sources like the Monster Manual have Truesight. If you do not know what Truesight is, it is a type of sense that allows animals with it to see through normal and magical darkness, invisible creatures and objects, and visual illusions.
Throughout the Monster Manual alone, there are 23 monsters that have Truesight. With other sources, that number increases to 113.
To even the playing field against monsters with Truesight, you can cast Fog Cloud within the area. Yes, you will suffer from the “Blinded” condition, but so will the beast. The rules of Truesight in the Player’s Handbook on page 183 do not indicate that creatures with this sense can see through fogs, may they be standard or magical.
Negating Enemy Advantages and Ally Disadvantages Using Fog Cloud in D&D 5e
You are facing off against the final boss! This battle will define the world’s status between destruction and peace. During the fight, the boss casts spells that give himself an advantage.
He also casts spells that impose a disadvantage on your attack rolls. This technical issue may look small on the surface, but you will soon learn that it becomes a difficult battle due to these disadvantages.
Based on some analytical players’ research, there are 198 or more ways for enemies to impose an advantage on themselves and a disadvantage on you. An effective way to negate an enemy advantage or an ally disadvantage is to use Fog Cloud.
This spell negates such rules due to the “Blinded” condition, and according to the rules, having an advantage and disadvantage at the same time cancels each other out.
For example, the enemy casts the Blur spell on themselves. Typically, anyone trying to attack the enemy will get a disadvantage on their attack rolls.
If you cast Fog Cloud, that disadvantage fizzles out; anyone attacking the enemy gets an advantage because the enemy cannot see the attacker. Thus, it cancels out. Even if the situation calls for two disadvantages and one advantage, everything still cancels out.
Extending a Ranged Weapon’s Reach Using Fog Cloud in D&D 5e
Weirdly, Fog Cloud can extend a ranged weapon’s average reach due to the technical rules of the spell. Let’s say that a bandit uses a light crossbow to attack.
Light crossbows have an 80/320 ft. range, which means that if the bandit strikes someone beyond 80 ft. of him, he has a disadvantage on his attack roll. But because of how Fog Cloud negates advantages and disadvantages, this disadvantage disappears.
If the bandit is within the Fog Cloud, or if he is attacking someone in the Fog Cloud, he can shoot at a target reaching up to 320 ft. away from him without having a disadvantage. Thus, if you or someone in your party heavily relies on ranged weapons, casting Fog Cloud can increase their effectiveness in terms of range.
Additionally, using a ranged weapon against an enemy five feet near you no longer gives a disadvantage. Again, if a party member heavily relies on ranged weapons, Fog Cloud allows them to target creatures near them without having to worry about penalties.
Allowing Small Creatures to Use Heavy Weapons Using Fog Cloud in D&D 5e
Across the various sources, 40 races (including subraces) are small such as the Gnome, Halfling, Kobold, and more. If you are playing such a race, chances are that you cannot use a heavy weapon.
According to the rules in D&D, small creatures get a disadvantage when using a heavy weapon to attack. If you are in a dire situation and you need to increase the damage, you deal against your enemies, use Fog Cloud.
By casting Fog Cloud, you eliminate the disadvantage that small creatures receive. Of course, the tiny creature or their target must be inside the Fog Cloud for this rule circumnavigation to work. Finally, your Halfling Fighter can use a great sword!
Creating a Hiding Spot Instantly Using Fog Cloud in D&D 5e
Once again, you and your friends are trapped in a bare room with no furniture. This time, you are escaping from a spooky and scary monster.
You suffer from the “Frightened” condition because of the monster’s abilities; thus, you cannot willingly move closer to it. The right move would be to get away from it instead of engaging in combat with it, but how can you do it?
You can hide, but there is nothing in the room you can use to hide. A brilliant solution would be to cast Fog Cloud. It creates a heavily obscured area you can hide in.
You still need to use the “Hide” action because the monster can still sense you through other means such as hearing or smell. When nothing is available to hide into, you can rely on your smokes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Can You Dispel Fog Cloud in D&D 5e?
Answer: Yes, you can dispel Fog Cloud in D&D 5e. There are multiple ways to dispel it; the level two Gust of Wind spell disperses the fog in a 60 ft. line. The level three Wind Wall spell stops fog from breaching a particular area.
The level eight Control Weather spell creates a strong wind which you can direct toward the Fog Cloud to dispel it. You can also use the level three Dispel Magic spell to end the Fog Cloud’s effects.
Question: Does Fog Cloud Block Sunlight in D&D 5e?
Answer: No, Fog Cloud does not block sunlight in D&D 5e. In 2017, someone asked Jeremy Crawford, D&D’s game architecture and lead designer, if Fog Cloud blocks sunlight or other light sources.
He replied that the Fog Cloud blocks vision, but it does not block light. Everything Jeremy Crawford clarifies about the rules of D&D is known as Sage Advice, and everyone considers them official.
Question: Can Fog Cloud Move in D&D 5e?
Answer: No, Fog Cloud cannot move in D&D 5e. The caster must choose a point where the Fog Cloud spreads. After casting the spell, you cannot move the point or the Fog Cloud.
If you need to release it somewhere else, you must first dismiss the current Fog Cloud since you cannot focus on two spells that require concentration at once. Note that casting it twice will still need two separate available spell slots.
Question: Can Truesight See Through Fog Cloud in D&D 5e?
Answer: No, creatures with Truesight cannot see through Fog Cloud in D&D 5e. According to the rules of Truesight in the Player’s Handbook on page 183, they can see through normal and magical darkness, invisible creatures and objects, and visual illusions.
It does not state that they can see through the standard or magical fog; thus, they cannot see through it.
Conclusion: Is Fog Cloud a Good Spell in D&D 5e?
Initially, I thought that Fog Cloud was a useless spell to pick up since it does not give the enemy a disadvantage nor your allies an advantage.
However, after closely inspecting the spell’s capabilities, I have learned that it is an excellent spell to have primarily due to its power to negate advantages and disadvantages. It can also disable opportunity attacks and sight-based spells and abilities.
To make Fog Cloud even more powerful, you can cater a build around it. For example, having a spell that targets an area without needing to see it or the targets works great with Fog Cloud.
If your enemies are in the smoke, you can cast a spell like Fireball toward them. Also, you should avoid having spells that require your sight, like Acid Splash, Frostbite, Poison Spray, and more.
Still, the power to cancel out advantages and disadvantages is enough of a reason to pick this spell. Analytical players found out that there are around 198 ways to impose an advantage or disadvantage on creatures.
By having Fog Cloud, you do not need to worry about your team having a disadvantage. Yes, the spell’s uses are situational, but it is incredibly effective once the situation occurs.