Hitchhiker's Guide to the Planes
“The battle was in our favor, Celie’s arrows and Acquiam’s firebolts keeping the swarms pushed back, and my blade dealing with any who attempted to move closer. However, the battle quickly turned when the goblins’ high shaman began making some strange motions with her hands and chanting. Before any of us realized what was happening, she released a small orb of fog in between me and my allies, which quickly grew and obscured their vision. The goblins, which until then had fallen as fast as they filled the corridor, quickly surrounded me, and I was forced to cut my way through them and flee. We eventually managed to clear the cave later that month, but ever since that moment I have always been cautious around hostile magic users.”
-Famed adventurer Ander Viram’s account of his first failed clearing of a goblin cave.
The origin of this spell is unclear, however is believed to have been one of the first spells to have been discovered by mortal races. There is evidence that it was a common spell used in tribal skirmishes. It is easy to see why; the ability to obscure terrain and the relative ease with which the spell is cast made it ideal for tribal shamans and druids to utilize. The earliest known use of this spell is described in a cave drawing which shows a human male with what historians believe to be antlers on his shoulders creating a heavy mist in between what appears to be the fleeing members of his tribe and the headhunters of another tribe.
Of course, as with many druidic/shamanistic spells, arcane spellcasters sought to replicate it, and with this spell they did so successfully. However, the arcane version of the spell is more complex and difficult to learn, requiring the wizard to study several runes unique to this spell as a supplement for the connection to nature that a druid or ranger has. For this reason it is not quite as common to see this in a wizard’s repertoire as it is a druid’s or ranger’s, but many wizards find this spell more than desirable enough to take the extra time to perfect it, particularly those with a penchant for conjuration magic or a focus on battlefield control.
Casting and Effect
Fog Cloud is one of the simplest spells to cast, requiring mere hand motions and a brief incantation. Indeed, it is usually one of the first spells that an apprentice druid learns, and it is so simple that even the dullest of races can learn and benefit from this basic conjuration.
The casting of the spell is the same for both naturalistic casters and arcane casters, though the source of the fog is different. To cast this spell one must put their hands approximately 6 inches apart and form a sort of invisible sphere. Once this is completed, the caster must swirl their hands around one another, being careful to retain the sphere, while chanting an incantation that takes about 3-5 seconds. The incantation is different depending on the caster; one dwarven wizard revealed that his incantation was actually the phrase, “Stop shooting arrows at me, ye foolish bastards”, in ancient dwarvish. As the caster does this, a ball of fog forms in their hands, becoming complete as they finish the incantation. When a druid or other natural spellcaster casts the spell, the feeling as the ball forms is pleasant, the fog comes the air around the caster and seems to softly caress their palms. However, as an arcane spellcaster, a small portal to the elemental plane of air is opened between their hands, and the fog is pulled from there. Unfortunately, this allows the biting winds of that plane to sting the spellcaster’s palm, making this an unpleasant experience.
When the spell is finished, the spellcaster launches the ball of fog to a point within 120 feet of them, where is spreads out to a sphere with a diameter of approximately 40 feet and obscures the area within it. This spell requires the caster to concentrate on keeping the form of the sphere, otherwise the spell will fail. Unfortunately, the fog is not particularly powerful and a gust of at least 10 miles per hour will disperse it, or it will disperse on its own after approximately 1 hour. More powerful spellcasters can increase the area of the sphere, though this requires more energy.
Differences in Location
Whether the spell is cast through arcane or natural means, it ends up taking a form unique to its area. A Fog Cloud spell cast within the elemental plane of fire is actually an area of thick steam and is a slight relief to weary adventurers, whereas the same spell cast by the same person in the plane of shadows is instead a area of mysterious shadow not unlike the Darkness spell. Below is a table detailing how different areas affect the spell:
|Nonspecified Material Plane Biome||A regular cloud of fog obscures the area.|
|Desert||A thick cloud of sand floats in the air, unmoving.|
|Forest||A cloud of dirt and leaves float around, gently shifting in the breeze.|
|Swamp||A humid and uncomfortable fog in which it is hard to breathe fills the air.|
|Tundra||A cloud of thick, cold mist fills the air.|
|Underwater||Copious amounts of bubbles obscure the area.|
|Astral Plane||A strange pink and purple mist obscures the area within and whispering of lost memories, subconscious fears, and minor musings.|
|Elemental Plane of Air||A violent fog swirls through the area.|
|Elemental Plane of Fire||Steam fills the area, obscuring it and providing a slight relief from the unbearable heat of the plane.|
|Elemental Plane of Earth||A thick cloud of dust and tiny rocks floats in the air, unmoving.|
|Elemental Plane of Water (Above Ground)||A salty and humid mist obscures area.|
|Feywild||A green fog floats through the area, soothing those within.|
|Hell||A blood-red cloud of screaming mist hangs in the air, smelling of brimstone and tasting like blood.|
|Deific Planes / The Abyss / Demiplane||The form of the spell is dependant on the deity/demon lord/plane creator associated with the plane / layer, for example a deity of nature may cause the same effect as the forest fog, the demon lord Zuggtmoy may cause a cloud of choking mushroom spores, or Ravenloft may have a cloud of shadow similar to the Shadowfells, through which Strahd himself can whisper to those within.|
|Wild Magic Zones||Beyond the chance of the spell being in the wrong location, the spell may randomly erupt, or may rupture in the caster’s hands. No matter the area it will take one of the other areas visual effects. Optional: In addition, it may randomly take the form of another area spell, such as erupting into a 40 foot radius Fireball or Fear spell, as decided by the GM.|
Should the spell fail in any way, the fog suddenly disperses violently. If the spell fails as the user is casting it, this can be quite dangerous, as the confined nature can be very damaging to the caster’s hands. It is slightly less dangerous if the spell is dispelled after being cast or if the user loses their concentration on it, as the most it will do is very minor hearing damage to those within for a brief time.