[RPG] How to limit magical friendly fire risks during a fight


I followed @Hey I Can Chan advice and put a prismatic burst (MIC 40) on my rapier. Now when I look into the spell description it says that the area of effect is a cone with a 60ft range, and that any creature within area will be targeted by a ray…

Which makes me think that I should pay attention at my placement, because it would be annoying to hit an ally. So I wondered how friendly fire is handled in D&D because so far I never saw it being applied whether in a campaign or a video game, and in case my understanding would be correct, and aside placing myself in a situation where no ally can possibly be in the cone, how are those situations handled?

Beside, my current character can easily change its placement by tumbling or using dimension leap, but I have a friend who is also planning to use the effect. I was wondering if there were items for either avoiding to hit allies or for allies to avoid being hit by a friend, and how to use flanking tactics without having a friend in the potential cone area..

Thanks for your advices.

Best Answer

You unwittingly have two different questions without realizing it.

Question 1: How do I avoid injuring my allies with the Prismatic Burst on my melee weapon?

Answer 1: Easily. The Prismatic Burst weapon enhancement only affects the target of your confirmed critical hit. "Whenever you score a successful critical hit with this weapon, . . . , subjecting the target to a prismatic spray effect." You do not get a free casting of the spell on an area, but just an effect on a single target.

Question 2: How do I avoid injuring my allies with area-effect spells?

Answer 2: By spell selection and tactics. This can be a big and dramatic part of D&D 3.5 tactical combat. One climactic moment in a game I played involved me defeating our opponent with a fireball that killed one of the party, but saved the rest of us from almost certain doom. Those using area effect spells also generally choose their zones very carefully to maximize damage to the enemy and to avoid injuring allies. While the tactics are not historical in any way, this does lead to in-game tactics of spreading apart and using cover. Regardless, you generally cannot fireball into a melee without endangering your allies: it's one of the trade-offs.

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