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Harriel001
2010-03-01, 01:02 AM
I've never played a character that would want to, or even could, cast the Darkness spell. So now that I am I'm looking for a bit of clarification on the spell description.

For ease of reference here's a link to the D&D Wiki:
http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Darkness

I'm a bit unclear about the second part of the spell description.

"Normal lights (torches, candles, lanterns, and so forth) are incapable of brightening the area, as are light spells of lower level. Higher level light spells are not affected by darkness."

Does this mean that normal light sources and lower level light spells make an area affected by the spell seem to be total darkness, or does it illuminate it slightly and reveal the shadowy illumination effect of the spell? What about other natural light sources, such as a Sun or Moonlight?

If these natural and lower level light sources aren't able to illuminate the area of effect of a Darkness spell at all then why does the spell description say it creates an area of 'shadowy illumination' and not just say it creates an area of 'total darkness'? There is no way to tell the difference otherwise.

sonofzeal
2010-03-01, 01:06 AM
The spell is worded oddly, but effectively it's an area of deep shadows (but not pitch blackness) that resist all non-magical attempts to brighten it.

Interestingly, it does the same even if the spot was already pitch black, effectively making it brighter.

CockroachTeaParty
2010-03-01, 01:11 AM
Yup. Darkness creates shadowy illumination. If you're in pitch-darkness, you can cast Darkness to help you see.

What gets really confusing is when you're in a Darkness spell targeting things outside it in brighter light. Do you suffer the miss chance with ranged attacks, even though your target wouldn't otherwise have concealment? Ask your DM today!

KillianHawkeye
2010-03-01, 01:12 AM
Yeah, the darkness spell no longer creates "total darkness." You're not the only one who finds it misleading.

EDIT:

What gets really confusing is when you're in a Darkness spell targeting things outside it in brighter light. Do you suffer the miss chance with ranged attacks, even though your target wouldn't otherwise have concealment? Ask your DM today!

Actually, the rules state that you suffer the same miss chance from concealment if it exists in any intervening spaces between you and your target, the same as if it was in the target's own space.


To determine whether your target has concealment from your ranged attack, choose a corner of your square. If any line from this corner to any corner of the targetís square passes through a square or border that provides concealment, the target has concealment.

Harriel001
2010-03-01, 01:35 AM
The spell is worded oddly, but effectively it's an area of deep shadows (but not pitch blackness) that resist all non-magical attempts to brighten it.

Interestingly, it does the same even if the spot was already pitch black, effectively making it brighter.

This is totally not what I expected to get as an answer, and in my personal opinion is the stupidest thing I've ever heard if true.

Darkness actually makes total darkness brighter? What moron decided that? Not only is it counter intuitive, it's the complete opposite of any use of the spell I've ever read about or have an example of in a work of fiction.

If there's official errata on this I'd love to see it, but so far I haven't been able to find anything about it with a google search and a search over at the wotc forums.

sonofzeal
2010-03-01, 02:01 AM
This is totally not what I expected to get as an answer, and in my personal opinion is the stupidest thing I've ever heard if true.

Darkness actually makes total darkness brighter? What moron decided that? Not only is it counter intuitive, it's the complete opposite of any use of the spell I've ever read about or have an example of in a work of fiction.

If there's official errata on this I'd love to see it, but so far I haven't been able to find anything about it with a google search and a search over at the wotc forums.
It's pretty easy to houserule, or reinterpret. Either say that it's limited by the dimness of the original, or say that you now get a shadowy view... of pure darkness. Go you.

Either way though, the basic use of the spell is to create dimness, not blackness. If I cast the spell in broad daylight, I get dark shadows but not a total sphere of midnight black. That's what they're going for. Makes sense?

Harriel001
2010-03-01, 02:07 AM
Either way though, the basic use of the spell is to create dimness, not blackness. If I cast the spell in broad daylight, I get dark shadows but not a total sphere of midnight black. That's what they're going for. Makes sense?

That part makes sense. It's just not what I expected. Anytime I've read about someone using the Darkness spell in a book it's always created a globe of midnight black, not just shadows.

I guess I'll have to talk to my DM about which interpretation he plans on using...I'm not sure that's going to go very well...sigh...

Bayar
2010-03-01, 02:14 AM
This is totally not what I expected to get as an answer, and in my personal opinion is the stupidest thing I've ever heard if true.

Darkness actually makes total darkness brighter? What moron decided that? Not only is it counter intuitive, it's the complete opposite of any use of the spell I've ever read about or have an example of in a work of fiction.

If there's official errata on this I'd love to see it, but so far I haven't been able to find anything about it with a google search and a search over at the wotc forums.

No Errata for it. And even if the spell is worded weird and lets you do some crazy stuff like making a dark place affected by shadowy illumination so you can see in it, that is only on a theory level. In actual play, doubt it would be used (unless no other options exist).

You'll get used to reading stupid things in D&D books after a while...it's nothing special.

Harriel001
2010-03-01, 02:29 AM
I've been playing D&D since 2nd edition, I'm accustomed to stupidity within its pages. I just didn't expect such nonsense from players. I'm used to players looking at something and going, 'oh, that's what they mean it to do' not, 'that's what it says so that's what it does, logic be damned.'

sonofzeal
2010-03-01, 02:30 AM
That part makes sense. It's just not what I expected. Anytime I've read about someone using the Darkness spell in a book it's always created a globe of midnight black, not just shadows.

I guess I'll have to talk to my DM about which interpretation he plans on using...I'm not sure that's going to go very well...sigh...
The short description is pretty clear - "20-ft. radius of supernatural shadow". Also, it only gives 20% miss chance; if it were pure blackness, you'd expect the penalty to be a whole lot worse, y'know?

There's always higher level Dark spells for pure darkness, afaik.

Noble Savant
2010-03-01, 02:30 AM
My recommendation? Call it something like Shadowy Globe and stop whining about something as inconsequential as bringing light to total darkness.

In this case, the change was made because the 50% miss chance, which is what "true" darkness would grant, would of been too powerful an effect.

Harriel001
2010-03-01, 02:44 AM
Yeah, the description is just worded poorly. At first glance it seemed just like what it is, but when I read it thoroughly it got all muddled. Not to mention my expectations of the spell were a globe of total darkness given what I'd read about in novels and how it had been used against me in the past.

Is there a spell that creates total darkness? I looked at Deeper Darkness and it does the same thing as Darkness, just with a wider aoe and longer duration.

sonofzeal
2010-03-01, 02:55 AM
Yeah, the description is just worded poorly. At first glance it seemed just like what it is, but when I read it thoroughly it got all muddled. Not to mention my expectations of the spell were a globe of total darkness given what I'd read about in novels and how it had been used against me in the past.

Is there a spell that creates total darkness? I looked at Deeper Darkness and it does the same thing as Darkness, just with a wider aoe and longer duration.
Silent Image?

Ashram
2010-03-01, 03:15 AM
Yeah, super magical darkness is what Deeper Darkness is for.

ka_bna
2010-03-01, 03:26 AM
Silent Image?

Would that be possible? If so, it'd be an upgrade for Darkness, since Silent image has a larger range, longer duration and more coverage. Oh, and it's movable, so you can let the darkness creep.

Of course, you'd have to claim that the darkness is "an object, creature, or force, as visualized by you".

Harriel001
2010-03-01, 03:34 AM
you'd also have to concentrate on it

sonofzeal
2010-03-01, 03:49 AM
Of course, you'd have to claim that the darkness is "an object, creature, or force, as visualized by you".
Picture an object that's a sphere of matte black and the appropriate radius. Voila!

Pluto
2010-03-01, 03:50 AM
Blacklight (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/divine/spells/blacklight.htm)

Obscuring Mist and Fog Cloud also fit the bill with only the slightest bit of refluffing.

Curmudgeon
2010-03-01, 04:45 AM
Yeah, super magical darkness is what Deeper Darkness is for.
You do realize that Deeper Darkness creates illumination, too?

PhoenixRivers
2010-03-01, 04:53 AM
It's hard to have darkness without light, that's why it provides a little. Shadows only exist when Light falls on something.

Aharon
2010-03-01, 05:11 AM
Hey, no getting philosophical here :smallwink:

2xMachina
2010-03-01, 06:38 AM
I think it's just badly named. It's not darkness, it's shadowy illumination. Call it Shadow or something like that, and it'll fit quite fine.

Heliomance
2010-03-01, 07:20 AM
Yeah, the darkness spell no longer creates "total darkness." You're not the only one who finds it misleading.

EDIT:


Actually, the rules state that you suffer the same miss chance from concealment if it exists in any intervening spaces between you and your target, the same as if it was in the target's own space.

Actually, the Darkness text explicitly gives concealment only to character within the radius. Which, if you think about it, makes sense. Imagine standing in a dark room on a sunny day, with one doorway leading outside. You can see what's going on out in the light quite easily, but people outside can't see you very well, looking in through the door.

Optimystik
2010-03-01, 07:25 AM
Blacklight (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/divine/spells/blacklight.htm)

This. Pity clerics only get it through domains.

graeylin
2010-03-01, 08:53 AM
How about Prestidigitation?

Could you "color" an item (air) in 1 cubic foot sections, slowly building up to the total blackness you desired? Might take a while, but...

Since no other spell (in core, at least) does this total darkness, Presti doesn't hit that blocking point either.

Optimystik
2010-03-01, 09:29 AM
Since no other spell (in core, at least) does this total darkness, Presti doesn't hit that blocking point either.

Blacklight (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/divine/spells/blacklight.htm) is core.


The caster creates an area of total darkness.

KillianHawkeye
2010-03-01, 10:40 AM
Also, air isn't really an item. More like a lack of items. From a D&D perspective, at least.

Curmudgeon
2010-03-01, 12:20 PM
Blacklight (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/divine/spells/blacklight.htm) is core.
As this spell is from Deities and Demigods, it's very much not core. It's just freely available.

Quietus
2010-03-01, 12:28 PM
Blacklight (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/divine/spells/blacklight.htm) is core.

Core is PHB, DMG, MM. SRD is often accepted as available material, but as Blacklight is NOT within those books, it is not core.

Optimystik
2010-03-01, 12:33 PM
Fair enough, but it still scuppers the "can't duplicate another spell's effects" clause of Prestidigitation.

ericgrau
2010-03-01, 02:27 PM
Shadowy illumination provides concealment for a 20% miss chance and allows the use of the hide skill (you cannot normally hide without cover or concealment). Low level light spells cannot make an area of darkness any brighter than shadowy illumination.

graeylin
2010-03-01, 07:36 PM
Also, air isn't really an item. More like a lack of items. From a D&D perspective, at least.

just for sake of argument, i will disagree... in a world filled with earth, fire, water and air elementals, invisible stalkers and unseen servants, i think air is indeed "something", and not a lack of anything. is an air elemental a lack of elemental? there's an entire plane of air... what would that be then?

KillianHawkeye
2010-03-01, 08:29 PM
Obviously my statement only applies to ordinary air. An air elemental isn't part of the air in general, it is an elemental which is made of concentrated air. It isn't a lack of anything.

Yuki Akuma
2010-03-01, 08:47 PM
Obviously my statement only applies to ordinary air. An air elemental isn't part of the air in general, it is an elemental which is made of concentrated air. It isn't a lack of anything.

Air isn't a lack of anything, either. There's lots to air.

Optimystik
2010-03-01, 09:45 PM
None of which matters in the slightest. There exists a spell that can create total darkness, therefore Prestidigitation can't create total darkness, RAW.

KillianHawkeye
2010-03-01, 10:03 PM
Air isn't a lack of anything, either. There's lots to air.

Don't get technical on me. All I'm saying is that air isn't an "object" in the sense of the D&D rules for what constitutes an object. It's empty space, more or less.

graeylin
2010-03-01, 10:37 PM
None of which matters in the slightest. There exists a spell that can create total darkness, therefore Prestidigitation can't create total darkness, RAW.

but if my DM doesn't allow non core spells (ie, blacklight), then that spell doesn't exist in the world... could Presti do it?

(again, it would be slow and cumbersome to do, but...)

Curmudgeon
2010-03-02, 01:09 AM
but if my DM doesn't allow non core spells (ie, blacklight), then that spell doesn't exist in the world... could Presti do it?
Spell research allows recreating the effects of all such spells, so the answer is still no.
Finally, a prestidigitation lacks the power to duplicate any other spell effects. It's not just specific spells in their entirety, but all effects that could be created by some other spell. Complete darkness is one such effect.

hiryuu
2010-03-02, 01:14 AM
Torch

A torch burns for 1 hour, clearly illuminating a 20-foot radius and providing shadowy illumination out to a 40-foot radius. If a torch is used in combat, treat it as a one-handed improvised weapon that deals bludgeoning damage equal to that of a gauntlet of its size, plus 1 point of fire damage.

So if I take a torch outside during the day, it makes it darker out to a 40 foot radius?

No, it obviously does not, that is dumb.

Darkness does not make dark places brighter, because that is the same thing as bringing a torch into a sunny place making it darker. Arguments otherwise are dumb.

Beorn080
2010-03-02, 01:32 AM
I think, technically, the torch would make it darker. At least by a strict reading of the rules.

Dexam
2010-03-02, 02:33 AM
Silent Image?
Would that be possible? If so, it'd be an upgrade for Darkness, since Silent image has a larger range, longer duration and more coverage. Oh, and it's movable, so you can let the darkness creep.

Of course, you'd have to claim that the darkness is "an object, creature, or force, as visualized by you".

I have had characters use Silent Image to this effect. Apart from the previously mentioned concentration issue, any creatures within the darkness Silent Image gets a Will save (negates) the moment they are covered by the Image and every round they are in the area of the Image.

Beorn080
2010-03-02, 02:43 AM
Why would they get a will save? They have no reason to disbelief that it isn't a normal darkness spell, as opposed to an illusion.

Dexam
2010-03-02, 03:26 AM
Why would they get a will save? They have no reason to disbelief that it isn't a normal darkness spell, as opposed to an illusion.

The point is that the Silent Image is pitch black utter darkness (i.e. total concealment, blinding, blocks line of sight, 50% miss chance), not a duplication of the Darkness spell (concealment, 20% miss chance). If you interact with an Image illusion, you get a Will save (negates) to disbelieve. Any creature within the Image is by definition interacting with it, therefore they get a save to disbelieve.

I've also had characters use Silent Image to the reverse effect, creating large areas that are bright as (natural) daylight; thus having Shadows, Vampire Spawn, and similar sunlight-fearing undead that failed their Will saves flee in terror. :smallamused:

Curmudgeon
2010-03-02, 03:40 AM
So if I take a torch outside during the day, it makes it darker out to a 40 foot radius?
Torches don't have this property:
Normal lights (torches, candles, lanterns, and so forth) are incapable of brightening the area, as are light spells of lower level. A torch can't prevent sunlight from brightening the area of its illumination. Darkness can.

hiryuu
2010-03-02, 04:30 AM
A torch can't prevent sunlight from brightening the area of its illumination. Darkness can.

So, darkness can prevent light from propagating? Tell me something I don't know already. I was getting at that since a torch obviously doesn't make sunlight dimmer, casting darkness won't make a dark room brighter. Let me say it again. It is completely and utterly obvious that casting darkness does not make a dark room any brighter than it is any more than bringing a torch outside during the daytime makes it dimmer.

Curmudgeon
2010-03-02, 05:11 AM
casting darkness won't make a dark room brighter. Let me say it again. It is completely and utterly obvious that casting darkness does not make a dark room any brighter
Obvious anywhere outside the world of D&D RAW, perhaps.
This spell causes an object to radiate shadowy illumination out to a 20-foot radius.

Sophismata
2010-03-02, 05:50 AM
It is completely and utterly obvious that casting darkness does not make a dark room any brighter than it is any more than bringing a torch outside during the daytime makes it dimmer.

It's like this:

1. We know it's stupid.
2. That's what makes it funny.

Curmudgeon
2010-03-02, 08:11 AM
Just think of the spell as Dimness, not Darkness. Then it's all fine. Don't get hung up on the name.

Yuki Akuma
2010-03-02, 08:31 AM
So, darkness can prevent light from propagating? Tell me something I don't know already. I was getting at that since a torch obviously doesn't make sunlight dimmer, casting darkness won't make a dark room brighter. Let me say it again. It is completely and utterly obvious that casting darkness does not make a dark room any brighter than it is any more than bringing a torch outside during the daytime makes it dimmer.

It's magic.

And we know the effects don't match up with the name. This is why we think it's funny.

2xMachina
2010-03-02, 01:27 PM
Just think of the spell as Dimness, not Darkness. Then it's all fine. Don't get hung up on the name.

Dimlight! For the times you want to set the lighting to the correct mood!

Sydonai
2010-03-23, 08:22 AM
Darkness does not block light, it makes the light(or even heat) in an area incapable of being seen, this is why it used yo work on infravision, and this is why Drow use it on eachother, to block darkvision. So, Darkness doesn't block light, it blocks vision.

Lord Vukodlak
2010-03-23, 10:32 AM
Darkness used to be pitch-black darkness back in 3.0, I had a blackguard who favored casting devil's eye with darkness[or deeper darkness] to crush some opponents. In his first instance he used it to beat a Paladin in a one on one duel in a tournament which otherwise would have crushed me.


They changed it to simply shadowily illumination to limit the spells power as either you could exploit it to great effect when you had other magic to see in darkness. Or it was practically useless because you were just as blind as the enemy.


Hiyruu unlike everyone else here I see our point and I agree with it.
As you pointed out with a torch but I'll do with a daylight spell.
It radiates light
as bright as full daylight in a 60-foot radius, and dim light for an additional 60 feet beyond that By the logic these guys use if we cast daylight outside where the whole place has full illumination the spell would darken it.

If the darkness spell can brighten a pitch-black area, then a daylight spell can dim an area already bathed in full sunlight.