In this article the inestimable Zacchaeus looks at Effect Targeting
In the dialog for Spell/Ability Effect you will note that there is a box called ‘Targeting’ which can be set either to ‘Targets’ or ‘Self’. It is important to understand that this isn’t asking you to tell Fantasy Grounds who the target of the effect is but rather where the effect should reside.
If we take a simple case of a character that has set up an effect to deal some extra damage, DMG: 1d6. It is the character who is the beneficiary of this additional damage (not the creature who is going to take it) and so when creating the effect the character needs to set the ‘Targeting’ box in the dialog to read ‘Self’. When the player clicks the action button to apply the effect it will correctly be set on the character even if he has a number of enemies targeted on the Combat Tracker (or none at all).
On the other hand suppose we have some spell or ability which means that an enemy gets disadvantage on attack rolls DISATK:. Clearly there’s no use this effect sitting on the character; it must be place on an enemy and so when setting the targeting we make sure that it reads ‘Targets’.
So when setting the ‘Targeting’ to ‘Targets’ or ‘Self’ we need to think about what the effect is setting out to achieve, who should benefit or who should take the penalty. Once you have sorted that out you should be able to work out on which creature that effect should be sitting.
There is another layer of depth however to the effect system built into Fantasy Grounds – effect targeting.
This concept is probably best illustrated with another example and we’ll use the wizard cantrip True Strike. This spell tells us that on your next turn you gain advantage on your first attack against the target of the spell. Let’s say our spellcaster is up against 6 Goblins and he is going to cast the spell on Goblin 3.
Based on the above we need to figure out who is going to benefit from this spell and clearly it is the caster and so the ‘Targeting’ of the effect needs to be set to ‘Self’. So we set up an effect ADVATK: and set the targeting to ‘Self’. We click on the action button and it places the effect on the Wizard. However there’s a problem because we have just given our Wizard advantage on every attack roll he makes against any Goblin, not just Goblin 3.
What we need to do then is target this effect only at Goblin 3 and we do this by holding down SHIFT and dragging the effect onto Goblin 3. You will see that when you do so the effect appears on the Wizard (because we set the targeting to Self) not on Goblin 3. Now our Wizard will only get advantage on an attack against Goblin 3.
A similar kind of situation arises with the Hex spell which allows the caster to get an additional 1d6 necrotic damage against whomever the spell is cast upon. We create the effect DMG: 1d6 necrotic; and set the targeting to ‘Self’. When cast shift-drag the effect onto the target. Now, only against that target will the caster get the additional damage.
It needs to be noted that not every modifier can be used in this way. If you check the 5e Wiki on effects, modifiers which can be make use of effect targeting have a ‘T’ in the ‘Notes’ column. For convenience these are ATK, AC, DMG, Invisible, RESIST, VULN, IMMUNE, COVER, SCOVER, ADVATK, DISATK, GRANTADVATK, GRANTDISATK.
I would also recommend that readers take a close look at TASAgent’s excellent extension which helps to simplify effect targeting by adding an ‘effect target’ box into the dialog. This makes setting up such effects a bit easier.