Faerie Fire in DnD 5e: How This Classic Spell Really Works

Casting Time

1 action

School

Evocation

Damage/Effect

Debuff

Range

60 feet (20-foot cube)

Class

Artificer, Bard, Druid

Attack/Save

DEX Save

Duration

1 minute ©

Level

1

Components

Verbal

1st level, Evocation, Debuff, Utility

Spell Description:

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.

Level: 1

Materials Required: None

Concentration: Yes

Ritual: No 

Number of Targets: Any within a 20-foot cube

Die Type: N/A

Number of Dice: None

Damage Type: None

Save: Dexterity

Damage On Successful Save: N/A

Statuses Inflicted: Cannot benefit from being invisible

Status Duration: Up to 1 minute with Concentration

Affected By Cover: No

Advantage: On attacks made against enemies that can be seen

Disadvantage: None

Who can cast Faerie Fire?

Faerie Fire is naturally on the spell lists of all Artificers, Bards, and Druids. Additionally, Clerics of the Domains of Light and Twilight get access to the Faerie Fire spell. Lastly, Warlocks of the Archfey Patron get access to Faerie Fire.

Anyone else looking to add Faerie Fire to their spell list will need to take the Magic Initiate feat and choose Artificer, Bard, or Druid as their Magic Initiate class.

What is Faerie Fire?

Faerie Fire is a 1st level Evocation spell. It’s a support spell that aids vision in battle. The spell forces any creature in its range to make a Dexterity Saving Throw. A failed throw will cause the creature to be outlined in colored light. It’s a Concentration spell that can last up to 1 minute if the caster concentrates.

Attacks made against visible creatures affected by Faerie Fire are made with advantage so long as the attacker can see them. This feature affects all creatures in Faerie Fire’s radius, including allies. There is no way for players to discriminate who is and is not affected by Faerie Fire.

When and Where should I cast Faerie Fire?

Faerie Fire is best used in an enclosed space where affected enemies can’t run away from the effect. The effect extends through walls. So, if you use it in an area where there is a barrier, creatures, and objects on either side of the barrier will be affected by the spell.

Faerie Fire can be used both to reveal invisible objects and enemies and incur advantage on enemies that you can see. It has benefits whether you use it as a spell for revealing or to get a tactical edge against your enemy.

Because of Faerie Fire’s area of effect, you can use it to herd enemies through certain areas. Enemies will naturally avoid areas affected by the magic of their enemies, even if that magic doesn’t deal damage. So, use that to your advantage to control the battlefield space.

Why should I take Faerie Fire?

Faerie Fire is a great way to control space on the battlefield while providing bonuses to your teammates. But, its true power is that it can reveal invisible enemies and objects using a first-level spell slot.

Since Faerie Fire doesn’t require a higher-level spell slot like See Invisibility, it’s a more effective way of getting some vision of invisible objects or creatures without using a second-level spell slot or higher.

This spell also has effectiveness whether an enemy is invisible or not. If you have a ranged-heavy party composition, you won’t need to worry much about negatively affecting your allies with the debuff.

Alternatives to Faerie Fire

  • See Invisibility

A DM’s Guide to Incorporating Faerie Fire

It’s important to remember that as Dungeon Masters, part of our job is to incorporate what our players want to see in the game.

Unless your players have taken True Strike (and in some cases, even if your players have taken True Strike…), it’s your job as the Dungeon Master to incorporate the spells that they’ve chosen into the world. Luckily, unlike True Strike, Faerie fire is pretty straightforward to add to your world’s repertoire.

The easiest way to incorporate uses for Faerie Fire is to make things invisible. Since Faerie Fire grants automatic visibility of invisible objects, creating a puzzle object invisible is a great way to get your players using Faerie Fire.

A push and pull object puzzle, or a door with a hidden key that can be found with Faerie Fire is a great way to make the spell feel satisfying for your players to have in their arsenal. You could also use Faerie Fire to find certain devices and traps that might harm your players.

Many NPCs come armed with invisibility, but if you have players who have Faerie Fire, it might be worth it to give some extra NPCs access to invisibility to help them feel like they’ve made a good choice.

In combat, making creatures invisible is usually frustrating at best, but it can be a fun, neon-lit spectacle with Faerie Fire! If you have a player who is Faerie Fire happy, consider giving the party a fight with a bunch of invisible goblins or ghosts that can’t be seen except with Faerie Fire’s effect.

You could even get creative and get some bosses with Invisibility mechanics or puzzles that can be solved using Faerie Fire in combat. The possibilities are endless with Invisibility (and really, that is the inherent problem, isn’t it?) 

Frequently Asked Questions About Faerie Fire

Does Faerie Fire make invisible creatures visible?

No. Invisible creatures affected by Faerie Fire do not become visible. They can be seen, but that doesn’t mean they’re visible. It’s worth noting that Faerie Fire even distinguishes its advantage to “creatures that you can see,” indicating that you may not be able to see affected creatures.

Can you upcast Faerie Fire?

There is no reason you couldn’t use a higher-level spell slot to cast Faerie Fire if you wanted to. However, you would not get an upcast bonus for doing so.

Does Faerie Fire affect ghosts?

Yes. Ghosts are considered creatures and would have to make the Dexterity Save or be outlined in light.

Does Faerie Fire affect the caster?

Yes. If you are within Faerie Fire’s area of effect, you will be forced to make the Dexterity Save and be affected if you fail it, regardless of who you are.

Final Thoughts

Faerie Fire is a fun, low-level support spell that can be useful well into later levels if appropriately used. It’s a powerful spell for its level, and since it doesn’t use a lot of resources, it can be used for various things, from puzzles to combat.

While it may not have the flashiness we usually associate with Evocation spells, it’s definitely not one to be overlooked in the roster.

The most important thing about D&D is having fun. So, even if Faerie Fire isn’t the most potent spell in the book, there’s no harm in having it in your arsenal. You never know when someone might turn invisible!

As always, good luck, have fun, and happy questing!