An area of effect is the region a spell (or similar ability) occupies when it is triggered, typically accompanied by a visual effect that covers the region. This may be a "true" region with spatial dimensions, or it could be a specific location or creature for the spell's effects. For some spells, this region is defined purely through scripting, while spells that occupy an area for a duration usually have an area of effect object, which both provides the visual effect and defines the shape and size of the region affected. An area of effect object also provides events to ease the implementation of the spell.

The most common shapes for areas of effect are spheres and circles (which are effectively the same in most cases, given the lack of free vertical movement in the game). These areas of effect are typically identified by their size, with no explicit mention of the shape. The translations from size to radius of the sphere (or circle) are given below.

Small Medium Large Huge Gargantuan Colossal
1.67 meters 3.33 meters 5 meters 6.67 meters 8.33 meters 10 meters

The other common shapes for areas of effect are the following.

Only the caster is affected. These spells usually do not need to be targeted.
The spell summons a creature at the targeted location.
Only the targeted object is affected.
The origin of the cone is the caster, with an angle of 60 degrees. The cone extends in the direction the spell was cast to the specified distance (or to 10 meters if no distance is specified).

In addition, NWScript provides support for cylinders (effectively a 3-meter wide rectangle extending the specified distance in the aimed direction), cones (where the specified distance is the end radius, rather than the length of the cone), and cubes.


When targeting the casting of a "true" area of effect, either an object or a point on the ground can usually be the target. If targeting an object, that object's location at the time of casting will be used to position the area of effect (the center of the sphere or the direction for a cone), which can be useful to make sure a particular creature is in the affected area.

Once the area of effect is positioned, potential targets within the area are chosen. For this phase of targeting, there are three standard schemes used to determine which creatures (or other objects) within the affected area are subject to the results of the spell. The first is for beneficial spells. The second is for "party-friendly" hostile spells and is not commonly used. The third is used for most hostile spells, allowing those spells to affect party members (and the caster) if not blocked by the PvP setting. (In single-player, a difficulty setting easier than "hardcore" has various consequences that cause the third scheme to be more or less reduced to the second.)

Friends and members of the same faction/party are targeted. This utilizes the PvP setting.
Selective hostile
Enemies are targeted. This does not utilize the PvP setting, but instead is based solely on faction and personal reputation.
Standard hostile
Enemies and associates of enemy player characters are targeted, as are neutral player characters (which includes party members under "full PvP"). The caster and the caster's associates qualify as targets if the difficulty setting is at least "hardcore". The remaining creatures can be targets if they are neutral and an appropriate module switch is turned on. (The "allow spells to hurt" switch applies at all times, while the "NPC AoE hurt allies" switch applies if the difficulty setting is at least "hardcore".) This scheme utilizes the PvP setting when determining "friend", "enemy", and "neutral".

In all cases, dead creatures are excluded from targeting. If the module switch "multi-hench AoE damage" is not set, then an associate will not target another associate of the same master (even if the targeting scheme is "allies").