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Rules Index | GM Screen | Player's Guide

Chapter 9: Playing the Game / General Rules / Effects


Source Core Rulebook pg. 456 2.0
Some effects occupy an area of a specified shape and size. An area effect always has a point of origin and extends out from that point. There are four types of areas: emanations, bursts, cones, and lines. When you’re playing in encounter mode and using a grid, areas are measured in the same way as movement (page 463), but areas’ distances are never reduced or affected by difficult terrain (page 475) or lesser cover (page 476). You can use the diagrams below as common reference templates for areas, rather than measuring squares each time. Many area effects describe only the effects on creatures in the area. The GM determines any effects to the environment and unattended objects.


Source Core Rulebook pg. 456 2.0
A burst effect issues forth in all directions from a single corner of a square within the range of the effect, spreading in all directions to a specified radius. For instance, when you cast fireball, it detonates at the corner of a square within 500 feet of you and creates a 20-foot burst, meaning it extends out 20 feet in every direction from the corner of the square you chose, affecting each creature whose space (or even one square of its space) is within the burst.


Source Core Rulebook pg. 457 2.0
A cone shoots out from you in a quarter circle on the grid. When you aim a cone, the first square of that cone must share an edge with your space if you’re aiming orthogonally, or it must touch a corner of your space if you’re aiming diagonally. If you’re Large or larger, the first square can run along the edge of any square of your space. You can’t aim a cone so that it overlaps your space. The cone extends out for a number of feet, widening as it goes, as shown in the Areas diagram. For instance, when a green dragon uses its breath weapon, it breathes a cone of poisonous gas that originates at the edge of one square of its space and affects a quarter-circle area 30 feet on each edge.

If you make a cone originate from someone or something else, follow these same rules, with the first square of the cone using an edge or corner of that creature or object’s space instead of your own.


Source Core Rulebook pg. 457 2.0
An emanation issues forth from each side of your space, extending out to a specified number of feet in all directions. For instance, the bless spell's emanation radiates 5 or more feet outward from the caster. Because the sides of a creature's space are the starting point for the emanation, an emanation from a Large or larger creature affects a greater overall area than that of a Medium or smaller creature. Unless the text states otherwise, the creature creating an emanation effect chooses whether the creature at its center is affected.


Source Core Rulebook pg. 457 2.0
A line shoots forth from you in a straight line in a direction of your choosing. The line affects each creature whose space it overlaps. Unless a line effect says otherwise, it is 5 feet wide. For example, the lightning bolt spell’s area is a 60-foot line that’s 5 feet wide.