Another timeless classic, Faerie Fire, gets a boost in terms of usability in 5e. It is one of the best spells for fighting unseen foes, but it does have some drawbacks.
The rules for Faerie Fire are found in the Players Handbook on page 239.
Faerie Fire 5e
Evocation 1st Level
Casting Time: 1 Action
Range: 60 feet
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
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.
The rules for the spell Faerie Fire leave some room for flavor. They also explain that objects and creatures are affected by the spell. Creatures do get a dexterity saving throw to avoid the effects, which does limit this spell slightly.
How Good is Faerie Fire?
Faerie Fire, like all spells with a save, are as good as the difficulty check to avoid them. That being said, Faerie Fire is one of those spells that might be the best spell in your arsenal, depending on the circumstance. Just having it handy for regular situations isn’t a bad idea either. It is important to note that though it does have a save, it only has one save, so when it hits, it sticks for the full 10 rounds.
The spell, if successful, gives advantage on attacks against the target creatures. Using this spell in conjunction with a sneak-attack-wielding rogue or a multi-attacking fighter can be devastating. The chance to hit increases, which means the chance to critically hit increases on each attack. Don’t forget about your paladin ally with smite in his pocket.
The downside is that Faerie Fire is a 20-foot cube and is indiscriminate on the targets within. While your companion rogue might make the save, chances are the plate-mail wearing paladin will not, giving all attacks against him advantage too.
All of this information leads to the classic use of the spell, countering invisibility. A creature hit by Faerie Fire sheds light and grants advantage to attacks against it, it also cannot benefit from being invisible. The 20-foot cube property makes this an area of effect, meaning that you don’t have to be really precise in the location of your casting.
Does Faerie Fire Work in Magical Darkness?
Magical darkness, as in the Darkness spell, will dispel any source of non-magical light and magical light cast at 2nd level or lower. This indicates Faerie Fire would need to have been cast at a minimum of level 3 to not be dispelled by the Darkness spell.
The creature affected by Faerie Fire would be illuminated within the Darkness spell and illuminate dim light for 10 feet. A creature within that 10-foot range would be able to engage the affected creature as normal. This also applies to creatures outside of the Darkness spell when the Faerie Fire affected creature moves within 10 feet of the edge of the Darkness spells range.
The advantage and disadvantage granted by the two spells can get a bit tricky depending on who is affected by what. If both creatures are affected by Faerie Fire, they both have advantage on the attacks. If one is affected and the other isn’t, then the non-affected creature has advantage, while the affected creature would attack normally due to the dim light they produce.
Who gets Faerie Fire?
- Artificer, Bard, and Druid
- Light Cleric, Twilight Cleric, Swarmkeeper Ranger, Archfey Warlock
- Mark of Finding Dragonmark
The base classes that have access to Faerie Fire are the artificer, bard, and druid. The druid is the most likely to be able to benefit from this spell, as it is situational. Since they can prepare any of the spells available to them, like divine casters, they can swap out spells daily and prepare it only when there might be a need.
Faerie Fire is ultimately a situational use spell. If the situation involves fighting in the dark or fighting invisible forces, it is a must-have. However, that doesn’t limit its use in regular combat against high armor class enemies or in situations that would otherwise grant disadvantage to attacks.
Careful spell placement is a must when using this spell because it will affect both your friends and your foes. Giving the enemy advantage on their attacks is never a good idea.