A Guide to Area of Effects spells

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Casting Spells That Have an Area of Effect (AoE)

All spell casters that get into a tight situation or want to support their comrades use spells that have an Area of Effect at some time in their career.

First we need to define Area of Effect spells. Area of Effect spells are any spell that can affect more than one target at a time. Some examples are: Burning Hands, Color Spray, Entangle, Sleep, Darkness, Stinking Cloud, Fireball, Lightning Bolt, Call Lightning, and Cloudkill. All of these spells have set areas that they cover and all have a maximum range at which they can be cast.

Area of Effect spells can be very useful in supporting a party during combat or in self preservation. However they can also cause problems for the party as well. Everyone knows that the Sleep spell puts enemies to sleep but it also causes corpses to sleep as well. These sleeping corpses also count against the spells maximum number of affected targets. Fireball, Ice Storm, and Call Lightning are excellent choices for thinning out the number of attacking enemies but if targeted on an enemy they can cause problems for the party or be ineffective if or when the target moves. Darkness affects virtually everyone in the Area of Effect. If you are outside the area of effect you cannot see into it or through it and you cannot see out of the area of darkness.

Tips for Casting Area of Effect Spells==

Since AoE spells typically affect all, allies and enemies, in the blast radius, here are a few tips on how not to kill your party members with your AoE spells:

  • Try to not target the first rank of the enemy.
  • If you do target the first rank of the enemy make sure that your escorting fighters do not rush the enemy until after the spell has been cast and taken effect.
  • Cast the spell in to the middle of the enemies from as far away as you can. All spells have a range of between 50 and 400 feet. I know that this is difficult to judge in NWN but it can be done.
  • For Burning Hands, Color Spray, and a few others the area of effect is either a cone or fan shaped area. To protect your comrades from harm from your spell you need to take a great risk. You should only cast these spells from the front rank or in a direction other than the one the fighters in the party are going.
  • Try to affect the most enemies you can but most importantly be aware of your comrades at all times.
  • Lastly, sometimes Area of Effect spells are not as useful as targeted spells.

Some Area of Effect spells will only target enemies. Two of these are Call Lightning and Chain Lightning. However, use them with a bit of caution in the midst of your comrades.