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Does color spray affect allies?

Color spray is a spell in Dungeons & Dragons that produces a dazzling array of clashing colors in a 15-foot cone. The spell can potentially blind, stun and knock unconscious enemies caught in the area of effect. However, one question that often comes up is whether color spray affects allies as well as enemies. The short answer is yes, allies in the area of effect must also make saving throws against color spray. But understanding the full implications requires a deeper look at the spell description.

Color Spray Spell Description

Here is the full description of the color spray spell from the 5th edition D&D Player’s Handbook:

A dazzling array of flashing, colored light springs from your hand. Roll 6d10; the total is how many hit points of creatures this spell can effect. Creatures in a 15-foot cone originating from you are affected in ascending order of their current hit points (ignoring unconscious creatures and creatures that can’t see).

Starting with the creature that has the lowest current hit points, each creature affected by this spell is blinded until the end of your next turn. Subtract each creature’s hit points from the total before moving on to the creature with the next lowest hit points. A creature’s hit points must be equal to or less than the remaining total for that creature to be affected.

Undead and creatures immune to being blinded aren’t affected by this spell.

The key points are:

– It affects creatures in a 15-foot cone from the caster
– It rolls 6d10 to determine total hit points worth of creatures affected
– Creatures are affected in ascending order of their current hit points
– Affected creatures are blinded until the end of the caster’s next turn
– Undead and creatures immune to blindness are unaffected

Notably absent from the spell description is any distinction between enemies and allies – it simply affects creatures in the area of effect.

Allies Are Affected

Since the color spray description does not specify enemies only, allies and neutral creatures in the 15-foot cone area of effect are also potentially affected. The caster chooses where to aim the spell, but cannot exclude allies from the area. The spell affects creatures based solely on their current hit points and blindness immunity, not their relationship to the caster.

This means allies must make saving throws against color spray as if they were enemies. An ally with low current hit points could be blinded by the caster’s color spray, giving attacks against that ally advantage. A blinded spellcaster ally would be unable to cast spells that require sight. And a blinded ally making an attack roll or ability check that relies on sight would have disadvantage.

Strategies to Avoid Affecting Allies

There are some strategies a color spray caster can use to try to avoid negatively affecting allies:

– **Position allies outside the cone area of effect.** The cone is only 15-feet long, so positioning allies beyond that distance avoids including them entirely.

– **Aim the cone away from allies.** If allies are intermixed with enemies, aiming the cone to minimize allies inside it reduces the chance of affecting them.

– **Alert allies to close their eyes.** If allies are warned to close their eyes when color spray is cast, they can avoid the blinded condition. But this doesn’t work if they need to see to make attacks or cast spells.

– **Consider allies’ hit points.** Targeting a color spray against low hit point enemies when allies are high hit point reduces the chance an ally is affected.

– **Use color spray early in combat.** When allies at full hit points, they are less likely to be affected by color spray. It becomes riskier to cast later in combat when allies are injured.

– **Cast it when allies are out of the area.** If allies have moved or been pushed outside the 15-foot cone, color spray can be used without worrying about affecting them.

Party Composition and Tactics

The risk of color spray affecting allies also depends on party composition and tactics. Here are some examples:

Melee Focused Party

If the party contains mostly melee characters (fighter, barbarian, paladin, etc), positioning them to avoid the cone is straightforward. The caster can aim color spray at enemy casters while melee allies engage enemies in close combat outside the area of effect.

Ranged Focused Party

A party with ranged attackers (rangers, rogues, etc) can spread out to avoid the cone area. The color spray caster targets only enemies clustered together.

Squishy Spellcasters

If the party contains spellcasters with low hit points and weak Constitution saves, they are at high risk of being blinded by color spray, unable to cast spells. Careful spell aiming and positioning is required.

Powerful Spellcasters

Spellcasters with high Constitution saves and hit points are less likely to be affected. They can tank a color spray if necessary.

Small Party

In a party of only 2-3 characters, it is harder avoid affecting allies with an area of effect like color spray. Single target spells may be a better option.

Large Party

A large party of 5-6 characters can more easily position members to avoid the cone area. The spellcaster has many attack options to avoid allies.

Allies with Blindsense/Blindsight

Some allies like rogues and rangers gain blindsight or blindsense abilities that allow them to operate while blind. Using color spray against enemies when those allies are within the cone is less risky since they ignore the blinded condition. Good communication about using color spray is still important however.

House Rules Options

Some Dungeon Masters implement house rules to reduce color spray friendly fire:

– Allow a Dexterity save for allies to avoid being blinded.

– Give allies advantage on the save against being blinded.

– Limit color spray blindness to only enemies.

– Allow blindness immunity if allies close their eyes.

– Let color spray deal damage instead of cause blindness.

But DMs should carefully consider if altering the spell from its official rules improves gameplay and fun at their table.

Color Spray Statistics

Here are some statistics on the color spray spell:

Average Hit Points Affected

Color spray rolls 6d10 to determine hit points affected. The average result of a d10 roll is 5.5. So 6d10 averages 33 hit points.

Chance to Affect Target Based on Hit Points

Target HP Chance Affected
10 100%
20 90%
30 66%
40 50%
50 40%

An enemy with 40 hit points or less has a 50% or greater chance of being blinded by color spray.

Monsters Often Affected

Here are some monsters likely to be affected by an average color spray:

– Kobolds (5 hp)
– Goblins (7 hp)
– Skeletons (13 hp)
– Zombies (22 hp)
– Cultists (9 hp)
– Bandits (11 hp)

Many weak enemies have low enough hit points to be blinded on failed saves.


In summary, the color spray spell does affect allies and the caster must be careful to avoid blinding party members. Tactics like positioning allies outside the cone area of effect, having allies close their eyes, and aiming the cone away from allies can reduce the chances of friendly fire. The spell is best cast when allies are out of the area, at high hit points, or immune to blinded already. With smart play, the color spray caster can leverage this potent spell to blind enemies while keeping allies safe.