The name may suggest that this is another spell you can use to set fires and help further your career as a magical arsonist, but Faerie Fire is much cleverer than that. It can be a real bonus when you encounter certain types of creatures, and you can have a lot of fun customizing the spell to fit your style of play and campaign vibe.
Table of Contents
What is Faerie Fire 5e Spell?
A quick glance at the Player’s Handbook will tell you the basic form that the spell takes…
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.
When cast, it will attempt to outline each object in a 20-foot cube, up to 60 feet away from the caster, in a blue, green or violet light, the color at the caster’s discretion. A Dexterity saving throw is permitted for each creature or character caught within the target area, and if they fail, they also light up like the inanimate objects around them.
Faerie Fire 5e Stats
|Casting Time||1 Action|
|Range/Area||60 feet, 20-foot cube|
|Classes||Bard, Druid, Artificer|
|Duration||Up to 1 minute|
How does Faerie Fire 5e spell work?
For the spell’s duration, any object and the affected creature will shed a dim light in a 10-foot radius. This means that any creature or character affected by the spell will no longer gain any benefit from Invisibility or similar cloaking magic and become visible due to the Faerie Fire’s outline.
This, in turn, means that anyone attacking such a target does so as if they were totally visible. They gain no advantage from being invisible or guarded from view to those around them.
It takes an action to cast the spell, and it can be placed anywhere up to 60 feet distant from the caster. The spell requires only a verbal component. The spell lasts up to a minute but requires total concentration on the part of the caster, which means that you can’t cast another spell whilst keeping the Faerie Fire active.
It also means that if you take damage of any sort whilst holding the spell in place, the caster must make a Constitution-based saving throw to see if they successfully maintain enough concentration to keep the spell going.
Who can use Faerie Fire 5e spell?
The spell is available to Bards, Druids, and Artificers and belongs to the Evocation school of magic. When successfully cast, any object within the 20-foot cube target area lights up in the color chosen by the caster — blue, green or violet.
Inanimate objects light up automatically, and any creature or character must make a successful, Dexterity-based saving throw to avoid a similar fate. Those failing to make the save light up also and are clearly visible to anyone within 10 feet of them. They are so visible that the outline negates Invisibility, and attacks against them are made at an advantage.
That may seem like a small bonus but consider this. The spell lasts for one minute or a full ten combat rounds. That’s ten attacks that negate the effects of Invisibility and ten rounds where you get to attack the target at an advantage.
If you are engaged in melee with a particularly powerful enemy with a high AC to get through and an enormous hit point pool to whittle away at, those extra ten rounds where you attack with an advantage might be the difference between bringing your opponent to its knees and watching your battle axe continuingly bouncing off their body to little or no effect.
Invisibility in DnD 5e
Invisibility, as a spell, a magic item, or a natural ability, is a powerful weapon in your arsenal. It is also a drag when you are up against a creature using it and have no way of countering its unseen movements.
When used, no matter what source the power is derived from, the creature or character and anything they carry become invisible to the eye of anyone who looks on. However, they become visible if the creature or character in question attacks or casts a spell.
But this does mean that they remain invisible until the point of attack or the spell being cast, which means they do so at an advantage, only becoming invisible as the damage is done.
But that is just standard Invisibility. Greater Invisibility is a whole different and more potent brew. Any character or creature using this more powerful form of the ability will remain invisible even if the attack or casts a spell.
Instead, they remain invisible for a full minute or ten combat rounds. This makes such foes a nightmare, finding yourself having to second-guess their position and needing to know where to defend against the next incoming attack or spell.
Creatures such as Invisible Stalkers, giant chameleons, pixies, certain demons, and other undead can become invisible according to the rules as they are written in the core rulebooks. But, DnD is a game of the imagination; any DM worth their salt will bend the rules to build the campaign world they desire.
This means that, in essence, any encountered creature could have the potential to use Invisibility, depending on the whim of your Dungeon Master.
A first blow coming out of thin air, acting as a surprise attack and struck at Advantage, can be devastating to the target, so if you suspect there is something out there in the darkness, something invisible to the naked eye, something that you shouldn’t let roam around unseen and unchecked then you need a spell which will even the odds in your favor.
That spell is Faerie Fire.
Faerie Fire verses Invisibility
It is often possible to detect invisible creatures. Even if you can’t see them, with a bit of quiet and concentration, it is possible to smell them, hear the sounds they are making and see the movement of things that they touch or disturb as they move.
If you suspect that there is an invisible creature lurking nearby and you have a rough idea of where they might be, then Faerie Fire makes for the perfect way of leveling the playing field. If you light them up like a Christmas Tree, they will lose the attack advantage of their unseen status.
Of course, they get to make a saving throw based on their Dexterity; a failure means that they are affected by the spell. Plenty of monsters and encounters have at least an average Dexterity or better, but once you have leveled up a few times and increased your spell save DC, you will be more than a match for most of them.
Also, since Faerie Fire is a first-level spell, you can keep casting it at higher levels until it works.
Once you see the creature, you can hit them, and once you hit them, the melee becomes a fair fight again. Well, as fair as it was ever going to be, at least.
If you suspect you might be venturing into a realm where creatures are likely to have access to Invisibility, or even if you want to be cautious, any self-respecting party shouldn’t leave the safety of that cozy tavern without someone having this in the magical armory.
Faerie Fire versus Darkness
Most creatures have some way of countering darkness. Of course, they do; many spend most of their life in the shadows, in underground lairs, making their home in the forgotten basements of castle dungeons, in gloomy forests, or preferring to keep out of the sight of predators or praying adventurers.
Some can see in the dark, some rely on magic to create light, and even the lowliest adventuring party has a supply of torches.
But imagine if you are in an area where you need help with those more common light-inducing ways. Faerie Fire doesn’t just illuminate objects and creatures in the target area to give you an advantage; it also causes them to produce dim light in a ten-foot radius.
Such a glow from inanimate objects, allies, and enemies alike, can cast enough illumination for you to navigate your way through safely. Everything from furniture to random detritus, wall hangings to other party members become temporary lampstands allowing you to find your way through the shadows.
Customizing Faerie Fire
In the simplest, perhaps least imaginative method of play, you can cast this spell by merely saying, “I cast Faerie Fire,” specifying the target area and waiting for the Dungeon Master to tell you the results.
But this is a game of the imagination; this is a book you are writing one action at a time, moving the narration on with every decision and move that you make. In many ways, you are both the writer and the reader, the characters and the audience; why not make things a bit more exciting?
To begin with, the spell description states that the spell’s colors can be green, blue, or violet. Why just those? If there is one thing that the DnD rules were made for, it was to give the players and DM the opportunity to overlay their ideas on the core rulebook and thus customize the game to meet their requirements.
So, why not any color of your choice or a random one every time? The color may be linked to your alignment or background culture. It’s a cosmetic change; most Dungeon Masters will be okay with this. If they aren’t, they are not the person you thought they were.
And why stop at color? Druids might elect to have their Faerie Fire take the form of a shimming moss covering the object or individual lightly, thus revealing their proper form. Remember, this is your world, be inventive and create something unique.
Using Faerie Fire as a Defensive Weapon
Faerie Fire is an excellent spell for when you need to flush out the enemy and negate their ability to get the jump on you and your party. But it also has the suitable properties to make it sound as a strategic defensive spell.
Imagine casting the cube so that it surrounds your party. Everyone inside the target area must make a dexterity save, including your allies and NPCs. If you have your high AC Paladin, Fighter and similar heavy melee characters fail the save, which they can elect to do without rolling, then they have an advantage applied to them.
Enemies are likely to leave the soft targets alone, especially at the start of combat, and start attacking the group’s high AC and high Hit Point characters. After all, they will want to defeat the more apparent threats before moving on to the insignificant ones, which they are likely to take as slaves or as sport to entertain themselves with at their leisure.
This allows your Bards, Druids, and Wizards to attack from a safe distance, and your “tanks” should be able to weather the worst of the blows.
You will want to discuss this strategy with the other party members first; finding yourself lit up with Faerie Fire unexpectedly mid-combat is hardly conducive to staying focused on the job at hand.
Using Faerie Fire with other attacks
If successful, the spell gives Advantage on attacks against the target creatures affected by the Faerie Fire. You should also consider the effectiveness of using the spell in conjunction with other, less straightforward forms of attack.
For example, using it in conjunction with a sneak-attack-wielding Rogue or a multi-attacking Fighter can result in some devastating damage to the opponent. The chance of hitting is increased, which means that the opportunity to critically hit also increases with each attack.
And remember your Paladin in the party with Smite in his pocket.
Faerie Fire 5e Spell FAQs
Although this article details how to use Faerie Fire in numerous ways and how to customize it for your campaign, if you are looking for just one point of clarification, you may find it in the FAQ below.
How does Faerie Fire work?
This spell is cast by Bards and Druids and can affect an area up to 60 feet away. Each object in a 20-foot cube within range is outlined in blue, green, or violet light (although the article above discusses customizing the color options).
Any creature in the area when the spell is cast is also outlined in light if it fails a Dexterity-based saving throw. For the duration of the spell, one-minute maximum, any objects and affected creatures glow with a dim light visible to all in a 10-foot radius.
Any attack roll made against an affected creature or object is done at Advantage, provided the attacker can see it. The affected creature or object gains no benefit from being Invisible.
Does Faerie Fire always confer Advantage when attacking an affected opponent?
The description of the Faerie Fire from the Player’s Handbook states:
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.
So the main benefit of being invisible is remaining unseen, and therefore the spell removes that benefit. Since the invisible creature is then visible, you have Advantage against it.
How good Is Faerie Fire?
Faerie Fire, as is the way with all spells that require a saving throw, is only really as good as the saving throw needed to avoid them.
That being said, Faerie Fire is still one of the best spells in your party’s options, even if it is to be on the safe side. It should be noted that although it requires a save, it only requires one save, so when it is successful, the effects are successful for the entire one minute of its duration.
Final Thoughts on Faerie Fire 5e Spell
Faerie Fire is a very versatile spell. It has one beneficial and obvious function, perfect for negating sneaky invisible opponents and leveling the playing field.
But, like all spells, in strategic terms, it has a broader application. With a bit of thought and planning, it becomes just as valuable as a defensive spell as it does in its usual, more offensive capacity.
It is what you make of it!
Kendra has always been a hardcore fantasy nerd. Growing up in the worlds of Tolkien, Sanderson, Jordan, and Abercrombie, DnD & board games just came naturally. She and her husband, Bryan, started GameCows.com in 2018 as a fun passion project that just took over their lives. An avid board gamer since childhood and chronic DnD chronicler for more than two decades, she loves to play, write, travel, and learn dead languages. She is also a professional content writer at SlashGear.com