Obscuring Mist?


Advice


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All of the class guides that I have read seem to agree that Obscuring Mist is a great spell. It is recommended very highly over most other spells.
I don't get it. It creates a cloud around you that is impossible to see through for everyone, including you. I can see it being situationally useful as a means to cover your escape or to prevent archers from turning you into a pin-cushion. However, you can't cast spells targeted at allies or enemies that you can't see and you can't direct your summoned creatures to attack specific targets.
So what gives? Am I missing something? Is there some amazing use for this spell to which I am blind?


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Stopping a Charge is a good 'un, as I've found out recently.

Great if you need to skedaddle, or if you have a way to see through it to block enemy spellcasters (Fogcutting Lenses for 8k ain't bad, for example).

And it's only a 1st level slot. That's a biggie.


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For low level casters, no, it's not that great. But at midlevels it can really shine. You're safe inside the mist. You can still cast spells that don't require you to see (like, say, summoning monsters). You can use the Message cantrip to communicate with party members, so under the RAW you can probably use allies outside the mist to give you targeting information -- "cast your Fireball there", type of thing.

Even if your DM forbids that, the spell still has lots of uses. Say your party turns a corner and you're facing half a dozen ogres. There's no surprise round, but you win initiative. You cast this. Your party members will probably have a free round to buff and prepare while the ogres poke at the mysterious cloud; even if the ogres rush in, they can't charge without making an Acrobatics check (good luck with that) and they'll still have either a 20% or a 50% miss chance.

There are also some interesting synergies possible with this. For instance, consider a spellcaster allied with a fighter who has the Blind-Fight feat. He casts this spell. The fighter is still going to hit most of the time (he rolls his concealment percentile dice twice, taking the better one). In fact, for best effects give the fighter a reach weapon -- make him an ogre, say, or a humanoid with the Polearm mastery archetype. Attacking at 10' range, now he'll be making his miss check 75% of the time, while the PCs are only making it 50%. Effectively, his damage output relative to the PCs is increased by 50%. Pretty sweet -- especially since the evil druid can stroll out of the back of the cloud while you're fighting his mooks, summon something, and wait to ambush any PC who comes through.

A first level caster won't want to spend a precious slot on this, and a 16th level caster will have lots of better ways to burn a standard. But between 5th and 10th level, it's a battlefield control spell that can give you all kinds of interesting options.

Doug M.


Rogues cry when you use it.

They cry so much


Meh.

Rogues cry when a Barbarian flexes in their general direction anyway, so it's not like adding to the waterworks is an issue. =p


I jump in my hot air balloon and float away. If only you had fly!

Silver Crusade

Its a first level spell that shuts down most ranged types.

I don't tend to memorize it but I usually have a scroll handy (often in my spring loaded wrist sheath).

I don't actually cast it that often since it tends to be a double edged sword but it has absolutely saved lives several times, especially in ambushes.

It can also act to (mostly) level the playing field when the opponent as deeper darkness, invisibility, etc. Now you're ALL hosed


Da G8keepah wrote:
All of the class guides that I have read seem to agree that Obscuring Mist is a great spell. It is recommended very highly over most other spells.

It's a nice tactical spell that maintains its usefulness as you level.

Now the keyword is tactical and as such needs to be used when the time is right.

But it can be very nice to create some terrain when you need it. A wand of it is just as useful as the spell, and at 1st level becomes cheap very quickly.. as opposed to a 2nd level fog cloud.

-James


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

There's also a nice trick to use. Stand in the last square of the cloud.
You don't have the penalties of concealment...but anyone firing at you does. Smokesticks work for this too.


9th level Boreal Bloodline Sorcerers can cast it and see through it just fine, giving them a nice advantage.


As a Druid, I enjoy casting Faerie Fire on an opponent and then using Obscuring Mist (or a Smokestick) so they can't see me but I can see them.

Silver Crusade

It's great for shutting down enemy archers and stopping enemy rogues from getting sneak attacks. But it is definitely situational, as others have said.


Thanks guys, that gives me a lot of things to think about.


I tend to use it a lot at low to mid levels. Let me preface the next part that I hate the way these rules work, but they make the spell a lot more useful.

Reason dictates that if you are standing in the cloud looking out, you have a hard time seeing out. The people on the other side of the cloud that can't see you are looking through the same amount of fog that you are. This is NOT how the spell works. When determining line of sight you start on the outside of the the square you are standing in, and in this case, outside of the fog. This means you can stand on the edge of the fog and reap the rewards without paying the penalties.


At low level: cast mist and run out the back. As you do so, lace the area with caltrops, marbles & grease spell.


I had no idea: Standard action - cast Obscuring Mist; Move action - move 20' up (the very last square of the mist). You now effectively have full sight of everything in front of you while anything attacking you is either a 20% or 50% miss chance?

I just had no idea...


Sitri wrote:
Reason dictates that if you are standing in the cloud looking out, you have a hard time seeing out. The people on the other side of the cloud that can't see you are looking through the same amount of fog that you are. This is NOT how the spell works. When determining line of sight you start on the outside of the the square you are standing in, and in this case, outside of the fog. This means you can stand on the edge of the fog and reap the rewards without paying the penalties.

Depends on how you reason.

If you look to reason along the lines that wrote the cover and concealment rules, then you will think that the person in the square controls their own movement within that square.

When they need to peek out, they do so. When they hide within it, they do so.

That's why you need to draw lines to all corners of their square from only one of your own when making a ranged attack.

Frankly if we accept a turn based combat system with hit points, then we can't really draw the line here as being unreasonable.

-James


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

It's totally brilliant against enemies with constant true seeing. Useful even to high levels.

Scarab Sages

My mage took a trait that gives him stealth as a class skill. the cover at the edge of the cloud let's him stay hidden, cast, hide, cast, hide.

It's highly situational depending on terrain, but it's right there in my pocket....


There's a number of monsters that have gaze attacks + others that like to use magical darkness. Obscuring Mist helps to negate those advantages.

This is a GM call but I always ask the GM if I have a invisible creature attacking if I can see it's outline from the mist surrounding him. I'd still suffer the miss chance but I'd at least see the outline if in a adjacent square. Instead of swinging blindly in the square I think the creature is.


There was a build on these messageboards that I fell in love with when I first saw it. The original was called the Mist Assassin I believe. Levels in Rogue or Ninja and Oracle, with the Waves Mystery and Water Sight. Being able to see in the mist of Obscuring Mist without penalty means you can sneak attack anything that's inside the mist with you that can't see you. Brilliant.


Combine it with the Invisible Spell metamagic feat and you have an anti-true-seeing mechanism at a much lower level than sequester.
It isn't nearly as good as sequester, of course, since it takes relatively little effort to disperse the obscuring mist, but that means they lose an action doing it.


My party used this spell to great effect recently to cover movement. We wanted to get into a fortress without alerting the enemy to our presence. So we cast invisibility on the mist caster (so he could get into position to cast obscuring mist without getting attacked or tipping our hand), had him create the mist right in front of the open fortress gate, and then we all held hands and walked straight into the fortress without the enemy knowing we were there. Then we were able to lock the gate and start working through the fortress from the inside. It was like a poor man's invisibility sphere, although we got lucky that no bad guys were close enough to get within 5' and detect us. It was the most successful stealth operation I've ever been a part of, and very satisfying :-)


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

That would still require a lot of successful Stealth checks from everyone in the party.

Also, couldn't you have just cast invisibility on everyone? You chances of success go WAY up that way.

Shadow Lodge

oh i love that spell. play an oracle with water sight, then run adjacent to an enemy and cast that spell, you win...

one of my favorite characters ive built was a ninja/oracle that used water sight + obscuring mist to get insane sneak attacks on tagets, using a reach weapon. my party members hated that character though, he would have all of the fun as they tried to fight in the mist.

lol good times.


In the past I didn't like obscuring mist either, I was wondering why people thought it was good when all it did was create a cloud that hindered you as much, if not more than your opponents.

What I've since learned over like 10 years of gaming is that it's an awesome asymmetrical warfare spell.

Want to slow a brawl down, obscuring mist provides concealment. Want to stop the Darkstalkers with deeper darkness and sneak attack from dealing massive damage? Need a safe moment to recover from archers?


Ravingdork wrote:

That would still require a lot of successful Stealth checks from everyone in the party.

Also, couldn't you have just cast invisibility on everyone? You chances of success go WAY up that way.

There weren't that many guards down in front of the gate; most were up in watch towers with bows. So we actually did get detected by the one down on the ground, but he just followed us into the fort to investigate (he hadn't actually spotted us, just heard us), and we made quick work of him there.

As for casting invisibility on everyone, we had only just reached 3rd level, so it wasn't like we had a lot of invisibility spells to burn ;-)

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I like obscuring mist, but most parties I have been with do not know how to properly deal with or utilize it. I have however talked our GM into letting me homebrew the spell so that instead of 20', it only effects adjacent squares yet moves with me. The prime reason that my character had grabbed obscuring mist is because he has a vendetta against casters, so has tried to discover techniques to combat them. And making it so that they cannot target him with their spells (except AoEs) is pretty efficient.

A question that I have in general about obscuring mist and other such total concealment things is this though. Archers can get an enchantment called "Seeking" that allows them to ignore concealment miss change as long as they can target the proper square. Now when a mist, etc goes up, the GM doesn't normally pull the enemies from the board (especially if there is someone in melee from them). How do you deal with the archer "really" being able to select the proper square without them metagaming it? Is another player acting as "spotter" really accurate enough to pinpoint a 5' target (especially when you can't see the spotter to begin with? If the archer has status up, that gives them the relative position of their allies, so I would say that could help enough for the spotter to say, attack 5' in front of me. But is it too much metagaming and too easy of a way to shut down one of the few real defenses against higher level archers who rain 200+ dpr down and aren't effected by concealment (improved precise + seeking).


Can you magic missile someone in the mist? You have a miss chance, but their vague outline is still visible. Also if someone cast Burning Hands into the mist, would that burn it up?

Silver Crusade

Mark Hoover wrote:
Can you magic missile someone in the mist? You have a miss chance, but their vague outline is still visible. Also if someone cast Burning Hands into the mist, would that burn it up?

If you can see them, you can missile them, but you can't see them through more than 5 feet of mist. So you can hit someone in an adjacent square, or at the edge of the mist with MM, but not if they're further in.

I'd say BH would burn away the mist in the squares it affects.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

You could target them with magic missile as long as you can see them. Miss chance doesn't apply to magic missile.

Burning hands would burn away the mist in its area.

Dark Archive

I used to think Obscuring Mist was a bad spell until I played Pathfinder Society. Then I learned how badly it cripples ranged characters and most casters. My sorceror has been taken out of the fight completely by that spell so many times that he now always carries scrolls of gust of wind to deal with the problem.


Fog cloud is quite nice, and only a level higher.

Worst case, you force enemies to lose a turn moving out of the cloud, which is STILL worth a 2nd level spell, as long as you can catch 2-3 of them.


Fromper is the most accurate here. In Obscuring Mist it states:

Obscuring Mist wrote:


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)

and Magic Missile states:

Magic Missile wrote:


The missile strikes unerringly, even if the target is in melee combat, so long as it has less than total cover or total concealment

So obviously MM woudn't help. However any level 2/CR 1/2 NPC Adept has the chance to be carrying around a Burning Hands spell. I'd hope OS wouldn't become a low-level "win button".

Silver Crusade

Obscuring Mist isn't a "win" button, because you still need to take down the enemies after using it to avoid getting hit from a distance. It just controls the situation, letting you force the fight to become a melee battle, because nobody on either side can hit each other with much of anything else.


Fromper wrote:

Obscuring Mist isn't a "win" button, because you still need to take down the enemies after using it to avoid getting hit from a distance. It just controls the situation, letting you force the fight to become a melee battle, because nobody on either side can hit each other with much of anything else.

Or, to reiterate things said earlier, if you (or a monster) has a way of using their senses despite the mist -- blindsense or blindsight, tremorsense, an Oracle power, etc. -- this is a great tool to give an asymmetrical advantage to the team that can still see where the enemy is. Add obscuring mist to a fight with creatures that have blindsight, and you now have a really scary situation, sort of like darkness when the monsters have darkvision and the party doesn't.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Goz Mask from Inner Sea World Guide. 8k to see through the mist. It takes the head slot so it messes with a few other decent items (Buffer Cap, Jingasa, Circlet of Persuasion, Mammoth Cap). Now that my natural attack alchemist can get Monstrous Physique II, I have been thinking of replacing my Mammoth Cap with this so I can make better use of my smoke bombs w/o penalty.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

There's another item in UE that lets you see through smog like the Goz mask, but it's the same price and doesn't have some of the more interesting periphial abilities (such as water breathing).

Still, it's a great generic fallback if your GM doesn't allow things from the Golarion campaign setting.

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