5th Edition Spells – Faerie Fire

Faerie Fire

Artificer, Bard, Druid - 1 Level Spell

School: Evocation
Casting Time: 1 Action
Range: 60 ft
Components: Verbal
Duration: 1 Minute
Attack/Save: DEX
Reference: PHB 239

Each object in a 20-foot cube within range is outlined in blue, green, or violet light (your choice). Any creature in the area when the spell is cast is also outlined in light if it fails a Dexterity saving throw. For the duration, objects and affected creatures shed dim light in a 10-foot radius.

Any attack roll against an affected creature or object has advantage if the attacker can see it, and the affected creature or object can’t benefit from being invisible.

My Comments: Perhaps one of the most useful spells for a low-level Bard or Druid to carry around, casting this spell gives a few benefits in a difficult battle.

The first and best of these is granting your allies advantage on attack rolls. This specifically benefits a Rogue and their sneak attack, but it’s not bad for any attacker. Especially if you can cast this before your companions enter melee combat, because this spell covers everyone in the 20-foot cube area. You negate its usefulness and even, potentially, create further problems for your party, if you use it in an area where they are also attacking. Granted, if they have a good Dex save, then it may be worth the gamble of attacking it when melee is already underway.

“An amazing element of Faerie Fire is that it is one of the only ways a 1st-level spells can overcome invisibility!”

About the only time you might want to otherwise use this spell when the area has a mixture of your allies and your enemies is when they’re invisible. An amazing element of Faerie Fire is that it is one of the only ways a 1st-level spells can overcome invisibility! Happen to be in a fight with something that can turn invisible at will, such as certain fey and the Invisible Stalker, cast this and you have a chance of eliminating their ability to use their innate invisibility for up to 1 minute. However, I’d recommend considering whether you have a decent spell save DC as most of these enemies also have a good Dexterity save.

Another time when you might want to cast this spell after melee has begun, or in scenarios you may not otherwise use it, is that it generates light! Something blow out your torches? Cast this spell and you get some dim light, and those who don’t have Darkvision can see your enemies and avoid traps or hazards.

But what about magical darkness? Well, that takes some thought and decisions by GMs. Faerie Fire is a 1st-level spell, and Darkness is a 2nd-level spell which specifically states it dispels and/or overcomes 1st-level or lower light-casting spells. So could you use a 2nd-level spell slot to cast

Faerie Fire? Yes! But whether it foils Darkness is a bit more vague. As said in the Spellcasting section of various class descriptions:

Faerie Fire - It can light up your enemies, even invisible ones, but can it overcome magical darkness? Let's review!

“The [class] table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your [class] spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these spells, you must expend a slot of the spell’s level or higher.” (PHB 58 and 114, for example)

So that means you can make Faerie Fire a 2nd- or higher level spell, right? Well, maybe. But there are no hard and fast rules:

“When a character casts a spell, he or she expends a slot of that spell’s level or higher, effectively ‘filling’ a slot with the spell. You can think of a spell slot as a groove of a certain size – small for a 1st-level slot, larger for a spell of higher level. A 1st-level spell fits into a slot of any size, but a 9th-level spell fits only in a 9th-level slot…Some spells, such as Magic Missile and Cure Wounds, have more powerful effects when cast at a higher level, as detailed in a spell’s description.” (PHB 201)

In other words, there is no reason you can’t use a 9th-level spell slot to cast Faerie Fire. However, it does not increase in power or change what it does. However, there is no hard and fast rule that means that Faerie Fire is now a 9th-level spell. I believe that at this point, it becomes a decision that the DM needs to make. If someone is expending a higher-level spell slot – a more valuable resource – I would side with it being considered a higher level spell.

What do you think of Faerie Fire? What do you think about the idea of casting it at a higher level to illuminate magical darkness? Give us some ideas in the comments below!

Terra Katherine McKeown

Terra Katherine McKeown is a non-binary writer, farmer and bodyworker living in the Southwest. Ze has been playing role-playing games since ze was eight years old. Zir first novel, Chasing Dawn, is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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