Can someone explain Obscuring Mist to me?


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I see this spell recommended in all the build guides, but I just don't understand how it's useful. A spell that blinds my party (12 people) seems self-defeating.


Generally player characters have buffs to apply, monsters don't. A spell which effectively delays the start of combat has a use there. Other uses are emergency concealment when the enemy has better ranged attacks than you do, or just general use if the PCs have a means of seeing thru fog.

12 people is absurdly large as adventuring parties go BTW. This may skew the usefulness of many things from the normal for you.


As said, it's a delaying tactic. It's also useful for regrouping or a fighting retreat. Cast the spell and disappear into the mist. Enemies can't find you right away and you have time to do some emergency healing or applying buffs.

The advantage here is that you can communicate ahead of time what to do in case of mist, so you have a tactical advantage. You confuse the enemy and possibly shape the battlefield to your benefit. Yes, you can't see out, but enemies can't see in, so you can set up an ambush. You can scatter to lose the enemy in the mist, or simply block ranged attacks.

It's a great tactical tool, but the situation needs to present itself. It's not always useful, but when it does, you're happy you have it.


But, how do you do emergency heals or apply buffs if you can't see anything? And darkvision can't see through it, if I'm reading correctly, so none of us can see anything, so how is it good for retreating? And doesn't the enemy just have to wait for the spell to end, and then attack? Or, if they have area attacks, just target the center of the mist and kill me? Maybe if I could cast it at range it would have some use, but just following me around doesn't seem very helpful, especially when I can't see where I'm going if I'm trying to move it into the enemy.

Maybe I should have said that I'm running a first level cleric, so this is one of my two spells for the day.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

It's also (in combination with certain race-specific feats [Cloud Gazer] or magic items [Goz mask] to see out) one of the few ways to consistently be able to make ranged sneak attacks before greater invisibility. Very useful for an arcane trickster or similar character.


Presumably you knew where everyone else was standing. Also, if you get within 5 feet (next to them), you can see them. They have concealment, but that usually isn't an issue with most buffs or when they want to allow themselves to be touched. Also, you could all back out of the mist on the other side and keep it between you and you foes if you really need to see each other.

They can still AoE, true, but at least they can't technically target and lay out blasts to catch you all optimally (unless metagaming or if they go right after you cast the mist and no one's moved from their space yet).


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Thomas Keller wrote:

But, how do you do emergency heals or apply buffs if you can't see anything? And darkvision can't see through it, if I'm reading correctly, so none of us can see anything, so how is it good for retreating? And doesn't the enemy just have to wait for the spell to end, and then attack? Or, if they have area attacks, just target the center of the mist and kill me? Maybe if I could cast it at range it would have some use, but just following me around doesn't seem very helpful, especially when I can't see where I'm going if I'm trying to move it into the enemy.

Maybe I should have said that I'm running a first level cleric, so this is one of my two spells for the day.

"A misty vapor arises around you. It is stationary." (emphasis mine) It doesn't move with/stay centered on you.

"The vapor obscures all sight, including darkvision, beyond 5 feet." (emphasis mine) You can see adjacent characters (or farther if wearing a Goz mask or a sylph with Cloud Gazer) to buff and/or heal them.

It's a good defense against missiles and targeted spells (they can't target anyone more than 5 feet inside the mist) and low level opponents (which is what a 1st level cleric should be facing) don't usually have area attacks that affect a 20 ft radius.


It's really good against enemy ranged attackers that don't have AoE effects since it provides concealment even if you're not in it and just have it between you and them.


I'm confused. My core rulebook says for Effect "cloud spreads in 20-ft. radius from you." I thought that meant it was centered on me and goes out 20 feet in all directions. How can I not be in it?

Sorry if I seem thick, but this is my first time playing a caster in Pathfinder. At our last session, we were surrounded by bandits and I thought about casting this spell, but then I thought "but that'll be just as bad for us as for them. We'll just run around bouncing into each other for a minute, then the spell will end and we'll get slaughtered anyhow."

And I'm afraid I don't know either of those magic items. We've just started, so we don't have any magic items anyhow.


It does spread out from you. The term spread means it will go around, over, and under obstacles to fill the space. After that, it's in place (unless some effect that moves fog or mist moves it)

The duration is how long it lasts, it doesn't mean you continue to emanate or give off mist during that time. You can cast it and then move around within or out of it and it won't be affected.

Obscuring Mist wrote:
A misty vapor rises around you. It is stationary.. ...


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Obscuring Mist can be useful in certain situations, but requires some tactics to utilize. It is not an instant win spell, but allows you to control the battle field. It is generally uses defensively instead of offensively.

It can be used to cover a retreat. Let’s say your party is caught in the open and is being attacked at range from a group that you cannot reach. If you retreat the group can still attack your party. Cast Obscuring mist and the other group cannot attack your party while it retreats.

You could also use it to provide a safe place to retreat for any characters that need it. For example let’s say you have a caster that focuses on buffs and support. Obscuring mist can provide a safe haven from them after they have cast their buff spells. This also works well for summoning focused casters. They can summon up allies without being exposed to being attacked.

Another use for it is to create a diversion. Cast Obscuring Mist on the opposite side of the battle from where your party is planning to attack and watch most of the enemy concentrate their attention there. This will improve the chance of your being able to surprise the enemy. This works very really well when you have lower level spell casters with the party. It allows the low level caster to aid the party without being directly exposed to attack.

These are just a few examples of how to use the spell. Obscuring Mist is one of the low level spells that remain effective at higher levels. Spells like sleep and color spray work very well when you are first level, but once you gain a couple of levels they are almost useless.

How useful Obscuring Mist is depends on how clever you are.


What everyone said is exactly right. And generally at level 1 it may not be a good spell choice, especially if everyone else is still feeling out their characters and learning how to work together. And then at higher levels when you can afford equipment or gain abilities to see through smoke, fog or gas, it can be a game changer.

There are two druid archetypes, for instance, that starting at level 4 can see through 10 feet of magical fog, and at higher levels that distance increases. So you could cast Obscuring Mist right next to the druid and he/she can still direct Flaming Spheres or Call Lightning while counterattacks are difficult. Heck, the druid could stand there with a longspear and wait for someone who charges in. That person would be flat footed without Uncanny Dodge and your chances of connecting with the attack of opportunity goes up potentially a lot.


JiaYou wrote:

What everyone said is exactly right. And generally at level 1 it may not be a good spell choice, especially if everyone else is still feeling out their characters and learning how to work together. And then at higher levels when you can afford equipment or gain abilities to see through smoke, fog or gas, it can be a game changer.

There are two druid archetypes, for instance, that starting at level 4 can see through 10 feet of magical fog, and at higher levels that distance increases. So you could cast Obscuring Mist right next to the druid and he/she can still direct Flaming Spheres or Call Lightning while counterattacks are difficult. Heck, the druid could stand there with a longspear and wait for someone who charges in. That person would be flat footed without Uncanny Dodge and your chances of connecting with the attack of opportunity goes up potentially a lot.

Afraid there is no druid in the party.


Fog-cutting lenses, a goz mask, or the ashen path spell can also allow sight through fog.


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Here's the sort of situation you might see Obscuring Mist used in at low levels:

1. You cast Obscuring Mist.

2. Clerics channel energy, spellcasters cast buffing spells, etc.

3. Everyone readies a spell or attack against an opponent they threaten (or that's in range) as soon as they can see.

4. You dismiss the spell and your enemies get a faceful of magic missiles/axes/swords/arrows/javelins out of nowhere.

5. Another caster uses their readied action to cast Obscuring Mist.


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Thomas Keller wrote:
Afraid there is no druid in the party.

Is there room for a 13th?


Hahahaha I mean with 12 people, if they all stood in front of the Cleric when he casts Obscuring Mist, there's almost not enough squares in the mist for them!

In my city there's only really one person who runs 5E one-shots, and so every week there can definitely be 12+ people playing his games...


Does that actually work? I mean, never mind combat, how does everyone get a chance to speak or get involved? Isn't there enough background noise that you're at risk of missing some of what the GM says, or of the GM missing a player who doesn't have a loud voice?


I've actually never made it to a game (but participated in a DM workshop/idea share he hosted at his apartment) but it has to go really quickly, a decent amount of railroading, and obviously each person only gets maybe one or two actions in combat. I think he also said you have to have your dice in your hand, and on your turn if you can't make an action in six seconds you're skipped.

Silver Crusade

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I've played several low level clerics who made excellent tactical use of Obscuring Mist. I'll present the most extreme example, Vicente.

First, a bit about the non-obvious mechanics of how Obscuring Mist works in Pathfinder. Line-of-sight is traced on a grid from 5' square vertex to vertex. The LOOKER chooses the starting vertex and the DEFENDER chooses the end vertex. This means anyone standing on the outer edge of Obscuring mist can see out clearly but is obscured (20% miss chance) to those outside looking in. Anyone fully 5' inside Obscuring Mist can't be seen at all from outside but can see out, although everything is obscured (20% miss chance). Anyone in the mist can see anyone adjacent in the mist, but there's a 20% miss chance.

Here's how Vicente exploits Obscuring Mist to the maximum amount possible. Vicente is an outrageously effective melee combatant as 1st level characters go. Vicente deals out big damage with his longspear and uses Obscuring Mist as a defensive bulwark.

How to exploit Obscuring Mist:
Vicente is a 1st level smog-sighted half-orc Seperatist Cleric of Erastil. Vicente is a Reach Cleric with the domains Plant(Growth) and Travel, a 16 Strength, 14 DEX, and the single feat Combat Reflexes. For spells Vicente prepares Obscuring Mist, one Open Spell Slot, and either Longstrider or Enlarge Person. With Longstrider buff active Vicente has movement 50 and can ignore difficult terrain. He's highly mobile.

Smog-sighted half orc wrote:
Smog Sight: Half-orcs with this racial trait can see double the normal range in dense fog and smoke (including magic effects like obscuring mist) and ignore concealment from smoke or fog for targets within 5 feet. This racial trait replaces darkvision.

Smog-sight allows Vicente to stand within Obscuring Mist such that he can see out clearly (no miss chance) but he can't bee seen at all by anyone more than 5' away. Vicente uses Obscuring Mist in particularly difficult fights, as he can only do it once or twice (using his Open Spell Slot) a day. Here's how it works.

Vicente starts his turn by moving to where he wants to center Obscuring Mist. Typically he'll choose a choke point about 15' from allies and 25' from foes. Vicente positions Obscuring Mist (which does not move and lasts the entire combat) such that his allies are on the edge of the mist and foes are outside the mist. This means allies can see out without hindrance but are partially obscured (20% miss chance) to foes. This reduces incoming damage to allies by about 20%. From the foes' perspective Vicente disappears in billowing mist 25' away and does not threaten them.

Next, Vicente uses the Plant(growth) domain's swift action Enlarge ability to become Large. He grows towards foes, leaving the foes inside his 20' reach threatened zone and adding +2 to his strength. Smog-sighted Vicente can clearly see foes through the mist but they can't see him at all and they probably don't know he now threatens them with his large longspear. Vicente then ends his turn in the hope that foes will provoke Attacks of opportunity[link to hilarious video that explains AoOs]. They usually do.

Foes have no idea that there's a spear-wielding giant in the mist, so they generally move. The first two foes to move draw Vicente's AoOs, which are at +2 to hit because they can't see what's attacking them. Few foes want to run into the mist after him, although some brave souls try. Vicente usually gets both of his two enlarged AoOs each round.

Vicente's longspear inflicts 2D6+6 damage, which averages ~13 hp per hit. That's a large longspear wielded in two hands with an 18 Strength.

On ensuing rounds Vicente typically attacks once on his own turn then gets another two AoOs on the GM's turn, all from inside the mist. That's three attacks per round, usually all at +2 to hit, each hitting for ~13 hp damage. That's 3x13 = 39 hp damage per round if every attack hits. From a 1st level Cleric. Vicente remains in the mist, which makes it difficult for foes to even target him. Effective indeed!


For my PFS character it's not something she prepares every day, partly because she can't plan on having a party that can exploit it. However, there have been a few situations where it would have been useful, including one where it would have saved her life. As such I have a scroll tattoo of it on my shopping list.


On your home turf or in some place you have gotten to study and drill in for a while, you could arrange an ambush by hiding in the area in a way that you have at least one party member covering each exit; of course, the caster has to be in a location compatible with covering the area in mist, since Obscuring Mist doesn't provide for placing the center of the effect far away from the caster (for this, you need Fog Could, which is 1 level higher); also, the caster either needs to be non-squishy or be teamed up with someone non-squishy. Then when enemies enter the area (potentially drawn there by a diversion set up by the party, or possibly it is an area they you know they need to go through for some other reason, although beware of it being an area that is at least familiar to them as to you), you cast obscuring mist and have them not able to see each other and not know which way to go, and you attack them from concealment. Even sneak attack is a possibility if you have an ability like Shadow Strike(*) and can position yourself where you can see one of them a little bit as they undertainly try to make a run for the exits, and may blunder towards different ones. This will work even better if you can set up the area to have Difficult Terrain within it, but with the pathways just outside the exits themselves left clean so that you can run away (and reconvene at a prearranged meeting location) if things go sour.

(*)Potentially obtainable at 2nd level using Combat Trick, but for using Sneak Attack +1d6, it probably isn't worth spending Combat Trick for that -- use a Combat Maneuver instead if you're a Rogue, and if you want it to be a Dirty Trick, you could get Underhanded Trick for this at 2nd level; leave Shadow Strike for your 3rd level Character Feat. This is the same for both Unchained and Pre-Unchained Rogues and even Ninjas (but Slayers unfortunately cannot access Underhanded Trick), but I just happened to notice that Rules As Written, only Pre-Unchained Rogues and Ninjas get access to Sneaky Maneuver which you could pick up as your 4th level Rogue Talent (or Ninja Trick) to let you do both the Dirty Trick (or even other Combat Maneuver) and your normal weapon damage at the same time, which is particularly delicious if you are a Half-Orc or Orc wielding a Greataxe or a Falchion (and if you are a Half-Orc, Smog Sight would also help, but I am not convinced that giving up Darkvision for this is overall a good trade).

Naturally, all of the above is more likely to be usable for a GM's party of antagonists, but a PC party could certainly use the above tactics in some situations.


Thomas Keller wrote:
I see this spell recommended in all the build guides, but I just don't understand how it's useful. A spell that blinds my party (12 people) seems self-defeating.

Many normal tactics simply wouldn't apply to your party. Average group sizes are 3 - 6 player characters.

Obscuring mist can be a really great tactic for a group that plans around it.

But in such a large group, and if there is a lack of coordination yes it could be more of an impediment.


I ran a group of 16 for a while, before I split them into two.

Strategies don't really change; you just can't expect your one spell or ability to have the same sweeping impact across the much larger battlefield.
But along the flank you're positioned on? Same deal as always.


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I can imagine big parties make buffs more interesting to apply. First and foremost not everyone will have spells, so there'll be more people wanting to receive those buffs than people/spell slots available to cast them. But secondly, all the spells that hit 1 person per level get interesting in a group of 8+ people. Haste is a famous example. Hits only a character per level, so by the time you get it, it usually hits everyone at once. But now you need to a) figure out which people want which buff and b) have them stand close to each other to get them within range of your 30 feet bubble. People standing in buff formation also stand in Fireball formation...


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JiaYou wrote:

Hahahaha I mean with 12 people, if they all stood in front of the Cleric when he casts Obscuring Mist, there's almost not enough squares in the mist for them!

In my city there's only really one person who runs 5E one-shots, and so every week there can definitely be 12+ people playing his games...

This is tangential to the thread, but 12 people is a solid player pool. A few other people should learn to GM so that you can do two tables of 6 (and so the GM gets the option to play once in a while).

Magda Luckbender wrote:
I've played several low level clerics who made excellent tactical use of Obscuring Mist. I'll present the most extreme example, Vicente.

This has the possibility of infuriating other players, so I'd ask for permission before doing it.

Watching someone else slaughter the enemies is fun some of the time, but annoying some of the time. Anyone without fog sight ends up literally unable to do anything - including helping the mist warrior if one of the enemies lands a lucky crit.


Watery Soup wrote:


This is tangential to the thread, but 12 people is a solid player pool. A few other people should learn to GM so that you can do two tables of 6 (and so the GM gets the option to play once in a while).

I'm going to be "attempting" to run a Pathfinder 2e game so that he can play a PC. My group will probably only be four people, though.


Watery Soup wrote:
Thomas Keller wrote:
Afraid there is no druid in the party.
Is there room for a 13th?

We had, I think, fourteen at one time. Recently started a new game with new(ish) characters. 3 rogues (one is building to a Duelist), one fighter, one shifter, one oracle, one summoner, one slayer, one witch, one barbarian, one paladin, and me.


Magda Luckbender wrote:


First, a bit about the non-obvious mechanics of how Obscuring Mist works in Pathfinder. Line-of-sight is traced on a grid from 5' square vertex to vertex. The LOOKER chooses the starting vertex and the DEFENDER chooses the end vertex. This means anyone standing on the outer edge of Obscuring mist can see out clearly but is obscured (20% miss chance) to those outside looking in. Anyone fully 5' inside Obscuring Mist can't be seen at all from outside but can see out, although everything is obscured (20% miss chance). Anyone in the mist can see anyone adjacent in the mist, but there's a 20% miss chance.

I don't think that's right.

Silver Crusade

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Thomas Keller wrote:
I don't think that's right.

Thomas is correct. Turns out my rules description of Obscuring Mist was functionally correct but had a small semantic error.

Concealment Rules wrote:

Concealment

To determine whether your target has concealment from your ranged attack, choose a corner of your square. If any line from this corner to any corner of the target’s square passes through a square or border that provides concealment, the target has concealment.

When making a melee attack against an adjacent target, your target has concealment if his space is entirely within an effect that grants concealment. When making a melee attack against a target that isn’t adjacent to you, use the rules for determining concealment from ranged attacks.

Obscuring Mist wrote:
A misty vapor arises around you. It is stationary. 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).

* Turns out the defender does not choose a vertex (corner). Instead, it's automatically the worst vertex for the attacker. Functionally the same, but a slight semantic difference.

Everything else I said about Obscuring Mist above seems to be correct. In particular:
* Obscurement is not symmetrical. Those inside the mist can see out better than they can be seen.
* A person on the outer edge of OM can see out perfectly but has concealment from those outside.
* Those on the outside have concealment from a person fully 5' inside OM. The person inside has total concealment from those outside.
* Those 10' or more inside the mist can neither see nor be seen. Everyone not adjacent has total concealment from everyone else. Exceptions for those able to see through mist.


Magda Luckbender wrote:


Everything else I said about Obscuring Mist above seems to be correct. In particular:
* Obscurement is not symmetrical. Those inside the mist can see out better than they can be seen.

Where does it say this?

Quote:


* A person on the outer edge of OM can see out perfectly but has concealment from those outside.
* Those on the outside have concealment from a person fully 5' inside OM. The person inside has total concealment from those outside.
* Those 10' or more inside the mist can neither see nor be seen. Everyone not adjacent has total concealment from everyone else. Exceptions for those able to see through mist.


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Magda's quote on Concealment wrote:
To determine whether your target has concealment from your ranged attack, choose a corner of your square. If any line from this corner to any corner of the target’s square passes through a square or border that provides concealment, the target has concealment.

This quote from the CRB is where this is stated. Bandit without concealment chooses a corner. Then connects to any and all of the corners of the square of the target who is within OM. When drawing a line between those corners do any of those lines pass through a square or border with concealment? If so they have concealment against the bandit.

Now do the reverse but recall the target within the OM chooses which corner to start the line to any and all corners of the bandits square. Assuming he chooses something other than the corners furthest from the bandit his line will not cross a border or square containing concealment hence the bandit receives no benefit from concealment.

Think of it as the target is moving around in the square. When firing at the bandit he's right near the very 'front' edge of the fog, no interference with seeing clearly. Then he fades back into the 'back' of his square putting most of his square full of mist between himself and the bandit. Net effect is the bandit doesn't get a clear view of him all the time. The game mechanics have decided this results in a 20% Miss Chance.


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The people who are arguing that those outside the mist get concealment from those within will point to the description of Obscuring Mist and use the rule of "specific trumps general" to say that the rule about concealment is irrelevant.

I personally think rules as written is poorly written and that rules as interpreted should be asymmetry. It makes more sense and it makes for more fun. But it does make Obscuring Mist disproportionately powerful relative to other 1st level spells.


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Watery Soup wrote:

The people who are arguing that those outside the mist get concealment from those within will point to the description of Obscuring Mist and use the rule of "specific trumps general" to say that the rule about concealment is irrelevant.

I personally think rules as written is poorly written and that rules as interpreted should be asymmetry. It makes more sense and it makes for more fun. But it does make Obscuring Mist disproportionately powerful relative to other 1st level spells.

Color me a little confused. I don't think anyone is saying those outside the mist get concealment from those inside, at least in this thread, if they are in one of the outer edge spaces of the OM. Then again maybe my brain is just reading it the way it did the first time through again, then again. That's not to say you can't set up such a scenario but it would involve firing along the 'curve' of the OM in such a way to have a portion of the LOS pass through another space of the OM rather than, essentially, directly away from its point of origin. Everyone so far has kept it fairly straight-forward. No 3-dimensional set ups for instance.

Quote:
* Those on the outside have concealment from a person fully 5' inside OM. The person inside has total concealment from those outside.

Unless this is what you are referring to?


Watery Soup wrote:
I personally think rules as written is poorly written and that rules as interpreted should be asymmetry. It makes more sense and it makes for more fun.

Agreed. I think we've all seen fog before. It appears thick from a distance, but you can out of it easily enough when you're in it.


Quixote wrote:
Watery Soup wrote:
I personally think rules as written is poorly written and that rules as interpreted should be asymmetry. It makes more sense and it makes for more fun.
Agreed. I think we've all seen fog before. It appears thick from a distance, but you can out of it easily enough when you're in it.

Most of the time yes. But I have been driving (albeit very, very, slowly) in a fog so dense I could barely make out anything beyond the hood of my car (i.e. about 5 ft or so) and it was giving me vertigo it was so disorienting while trying to move. And at no point did I feel as if I could see any easier while inside the fog. Reading the description of OM and its LOS leads me to believe the "mist" described is in fact an extremely dense fog and not the fog that, for example, I've dealt with the last two nights heading home where I can see well beyond 5 ft while within it much as described.

That said like many of the oldest legacy spells it suffers a bit in editorial clarity.

Older RAW was definitely written more with the expectation of one GM running his own campaign and making independent decisions, i.e "guidelines not hard and fast rules". Current rules and rules books are much more concerned with writing in a manner aimed towards having all DM's see the rule as meaning one same thing, i.e hard and fast rules. Works much better for things like PFS, and its multi-table, multiple GM community based gaming.


I'll point out that the 2E spell solves the wording problem by being explicit.


Kayerloth wrote:
...I have been driving (albeit very, very, slowly) in a fog so dense I could barely make out anything beyond the hood of my car (i.e. about 5 ft or so)...at no point did I feel as if I could see any easier while inside the fog.

Then you must not have been within 5ft of the edge of the fog.

Honestly, I don't see a problem with it. It's a large area, but it has a short duration, Canby dispersed fairly easily, is reliant on a lot of factors involving environment interaction, and there are plenty of situations where it can't be used to its full potential or even used effectively at all.
Overall, it's more useful than color spray or sleep, but it's never quite as devastating, and there are times where it does nothing.


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Watery Soup wrote:
I'll point out that the 2E spell solves the wording problem by being explicit.

If people wanted to play 2E they'd be in the 2E forum


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Ryan Freire wrote:
Watery Soup wrote:
I'll point out that the 2E spell solves the wording problem by being explicit.
If people wanted to play 2E they'd be in the 2E forum

It was a response to a statement that Paizo should revise the wording to be clear.

The Exchange

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It's also a good spell if an enemy is spamming darkness/deeper darkness and you can't see through it but they can. Even the playing field.

Also the feat magic trick is cool with it.


Watery Soup wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
Watery Soup wrote:
I'll point out that the 2E spell solves the wording problem by being explicit.
If people wanted to play 2E they'd be in the 2E forum
It was a response to a statement that Paizo should revise the wording to be clear.

I was going to say just backport the wording from 2nd Edition to 1st Edition, but 2nd Edition changed Obscuring Mist enough to be a 2nd level spell instead of 1st level, and to have long range -- basically, it seems to have turned into the Fog Cloud replacement.


It seems to me that the concealment should work both ways. A character in a square with fog should be partially concealed and partially blinded.

Silver Crusade

Thomas Keller wrote:
It seems to me that the concealment should work both ways. A character in a square with fog should be partially concealed and partially blinded.

Concealment does work both ways. Cover and Concealment rules account for someone e.g. ducking out of cover to attack, then back behind cover. That's what's going on here. This rule set also covers other situations e.g. ducking around a corner (which proves cover) to attack then back out of sight. This is similar to ducking out of the mist to attack, then back into concealment.

Key point: Pathfinder line-of-sight is determined from 5' square corners, not from the 5' squares themselves. When you're in a square on the edge of Obscuring Mist that means two of your corners are outside OM and the other two squares are inside OM. Thus, your square provides both concealment and the opportunity for a clear attack. It's assumed that combatants use available terrain to best effect for both attack and defense.

You're welcome to house rule it to work differently, but it involves changing the base Pathfnder rules about Concealment, not Obscuring Mist. Changing this will alter a lot of situations beyond just Obscuring Mist, often in a way that's not rational. It's actually a well thought out rule that's been lifted from war-gaming convention. It may not be ideal, but other methods are worse.

Pathfinder concealment rules provide both attacker and defender with best available tactics. Both attacker and defender choose the optimal corner of their square from which to attack/defend. The attacker may choose the optimal attack while the defender must choose the optimal defense.

Attackers get to choose which corner of their square they attack from. If you're on the edge of mist this emulates the attacker ducking out of the mist to attack then back into the mist to foil counterattacks.

Defenders always defend from the best corner of their square. This emulates the defender staying out of sight in the mist as much as possible and generally being as defensively competent as possible.


Magda Luckbender wrote:
Key point: Pathfinder line-of-sight is determined from 5' square corners, not from the 5' squares themselves. When you're in a square on the edge of Obscuring Mist that means two of your corners are outside OM and the other two squares are inside OM. Thus, your square provides both concealment and the opportunity for a clear attack.

What your key point is missing is that Obscuring Mist does not use line of sight.

Obscuring Mist wrote:
A creature 5 feet away has concealment (attacks have a 20% miss chance).

Note that it specifies a distance - while general line of sight rules uses corners, obscuring mist explicitly uses distance.

So RAW, obscuring mist is symmetrical.

Nobody wrote:
What about rules as intended?

Paizo has not, to my knowledge, issued a formal clarification - they have let RAW stand.

And when they had the opportunity to revise the wording - 2nd edition - they unequivocally clarified it in the RAW direction.

It's pretty hard to argue that RAintended is any different than RAW.

Nobody wrote:
Aw ... party pooper!

Hey, I agree. I think it should be asymmetrical. It makes more sense and it's more fun. Come play at my home game if you want RAinterpreted to be asymmetry.

But I might also houserule it to be a second level spell for any class that abuses it. Because that's not fun either.

Silver Crusade

If both parties are in the mist it's totally symmetrical. Broken symmetry only occurs when one party is concealed in the mist and the other is not, which is an asymmetrical situation.

Obscuring Mist RAW and RAI is totally consistent with rules for Concealment. This makes sense, as the spell explicitly discusses Concealment. No clarification is required.

Grand Lodge

The guides recommending that spell aren't wrong in basis because it's always useful to some extent either in an offence or a defence way, targets will be aplenty.

There's a problem though, the increasing number of opponents who can just not care about the spell, making it hindering more than contributing.


Magda Luckbender wrote:
Thomas Keller wrote:
It seems to me that the concealment should work both ways. A character in a square with fog should be partially concealed and partially blinded.

Concealment does work both ways. Cover and Concealment rules account for someone e.g. ducking out of cover to attack, then back behind cover. That's what's going on here. This rule set also covers other situations e.g. ducking around a corner (which proves cover) to attack then back out of sight. This is similar to ducking out of the mist to attack, then back into concealment.

Key point: Pathfinder line-of-sight is determined from 5' square corners, not from the 5' squares themselves. When you're in a square on the edge of Obscuring Mist that means two of your corners are outside OM and the other two squares are inside OM. Thus, your square provides both concealment and the opportunity for a clear attack. It's assumed that combatants use available terrain to best effect for both attack and defense.

You're welcome to house rule it to work differently, but it involves changing the base Pathfnder rules about Concealment, not Obscuring Mist. Changing this will alter a lot of situations beyond just Obscuring Mist, often in a way that's not rational. It's actually a well thought out rule that's been lifted from war-gaming convention. It may not be ideal, but other methods are worse.

Pathfinder concealment rules provide both attacker and defender with best available tactics. Both attacker and defender choose the optimal corner of their square from which to attack/defend. The attacker may choose the optimal attack while the defender must choose the optimal defense.

Attackers get to choose which corner of their square they attack from. If you're on the edge of mist this emulates the attacker ducking out of the mist to attack then back into the mist to foil counterattacks.

Defenders always defend from the best corner of their square....

Wait. Are you saying that you can move out of the mist, attack, and then move back into the mist? That can't be right. You only get one move action.


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Watery Soup wrote:
Thomas Keller wrote:
Afraid there is no druid in the party.
Is there room for a 13th?

I don't suppose the 13th has to be a warrior...

(feel free to groan)

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