Special Area of Effects


Rules Questions


This is a question our group has puzzled over for a while (when it comes up). Just interested in others' takes on these areas of effect.

Channel Energy - 30 foot radius burst (60' diameter) centered on the cleric. Straightforward and easy to understand. Included here as a point of comparison.

Cure Light Wounds, Mass - one creature/level (within range), no two of which can be more than 30 feet apart. We've traditionally played it where it affects a number of people (up to the level of the cleric) so long as there is not more than 30 feet of distance between any two of them. So it could be an ovoid 80' in width so long as there was no more than 30' of distance between any two people within it. It has been suggested that it is really a 30' diameter circle area of effect. Channel energy seems much more effective in most cases than this version of MCLW.

BTW, in a recent high level encounter (using 3.5 rules) we attempted to use this interpretation when fighting an army of undead and with one spell we wiped out a huge portion of the lowbie undead army. The army was just for effect anyway, so it wasn't a big deal to the DM.

Horrid Wilting - living creatures, no two of which can be more than 60 feet apart. Traditionally we've run it like MCLW above, but in thinking about applications on the field of battle this single spell would wipe out most armies (or at least large formations marching in order), which seems way overpowered. Is it really just a 60' diameter? If so, why not say 60' diameter with selected targets?

There are other examples also, but decisions on the above will help us adjudicate how we rule the others as well. Thanks in advance for your input!


Dosgamer wrote:
Cure Light Wounds, Mass - one creature/level (within range), no two of which can be more than 30 feet apart. We've traditionally played it where it affects a number of people (up to the level of the cleric) so long as there is not more than 30 feet of distance between any two of them. So it could be an ovoid 80' in width so long as there was no more than 30' of distance between any two people within it. It has been suggested that it is really a 30' diameter circle area of effect. Channel energy seems much more effective in most cases than this version of MCLW.

What it means is that no pair of targets can be more than 30' apart. You can't "chain" it to affect A, B, and C where B is less than 30' from both A and C, but A and C are more than 30' apart. A and C also have to be within 30' from one another.

That means you can't treat it as an AoE. Let's say you have 3 targets you want to affect, and conveniently enough they're standing in an equilateral triangle with all sides equal to 30 ft. A circle that would encompass all three targets would have a diameter of approximately 35 ft. But if you would add another target on the opposite side of the circle from, say, A, that target would be within the circle but 35 ft away from A, and thus not a valid target.

So in short, a multi-target spell is different from an AoE


Staffan Johansson wrote:

What it means is that no pair of targets can be more than 30' apart. You can't "chain" it to affect A, B, and C where B is less than 30' from both A and C, but A and C are more than 30' apart. A and C also have to be within 30' from one another.

That means you can't treat it as an AoE. Let's say you have 3 targets you want to affect, and conveniently enough they're standing in an equilateral triangle with all sides equal to 30 ft. A circle that would encompass all three targets would have a diameter of approximately 35 ft. But if you would add another target on the opposite side of the circle from, say, A, that target would be within the circle but 35 ft away from A, and thus not a valid target.

So in short, a multi-target spell is different from an AoE

Gotcha. Thanks. Makes channel positive energy all that much better.


It's also different from area spells in that you need line of effect from the caster to the targets, where as an area spell requires line of effect from the center of the area to the target.

Consider a situation where four passages ways meet to form a crossroads. A is in the northern passageway, B is in the western one, C is in the eastern one and D is in the sourthern one. A and D can see each other (and the intersection), but cannot see B or C.

If D casts a area spell centered at the the intersection, it affects A, B, C and D, assuming the area of the spell is large enough. This is true, even though D doesn't have line of effect to B or C. However, D could only affect A and D with a MCLW.

Liberty's Edge

MCLW doesn't use an AoE, but using an AoE template can help. Choosing you targets is easy when you can plop down a 30' diameter circle and just pick creatures within that circle.

A benefit of MCLW is that you can avoid healing creatures that you don't want to heal, and you don't have to be quite as close to those you need to heal.

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