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2 light spells vs. one darkness spell


Rules Questions


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

Had a problem the other night. The party I GMing for went into a room with two light spells (cast by different PC's), one on a coin they tossed into the room, and the other on a shield. The demon they fought did not fare well and I decided it was going to try and get away. It cast darkness and made for the door. The question I have is would the darkness spell dispel both the light spells or would darkness have to be cast twice to cancel both.
Also, the room had a "dim" light source to start. If I used darkness to dispel a light spell, would the two spells cancel each other out and the room still maintain its dim light, or would the room go dark because darkness is two levels higher the Light.
Thanks

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

If the room is dim and the party tosses in a coin with a light spell the area effected (20ft radius) by the coin would become normal light. Entering with the with shield cast with light would not make the room brighter but would increase the ammount of the room(another 20ft radius) considered in normal light. Think of is as turning on a lamp in a dim room, it gets brighter in that cornor. Turn on a light in the other corner dosnt make the first lamp brighter but both cornors are now brighter. Once the darkness is cast the area it effects (20ft radius) would go from dim to darkness and the light spells that effected that area would not function because darkness is of a higher spell level.

At least thats the way I read it from the descriptions in the PRD.

Taldor

+1 for what Mythril said...

--Vrockin' the Suburbs!

Taldor

Yep. Light (0 level) is useless against darkness. You could have 9,999 light spells active in the room and

A) the room would never go brighter than from dim to normal; and

B) the fiend with the darkness spell would have utter, complete darkness around him the whole time.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

What PDP said.

Note that just casting a Darkness spell does not 'dispel' or 'counterspell' an already cast light spell. In order to use Darkness to dispel a light spell, it would have to be targeted at the object subject to the light spell with the purpose of dismissing the light spell; then once the Darkness spell is cast, the light spell is dismissed and both spells are not longer in effect. This is very similar to using dispel magic, except there are no caster level checks--the light spell is simply dispelled. But simply casting Darkness on an object and then taking it into an area affected by a Light spell doesn't dispel the Light spell; the Light spell would still be activate (although its overlapping area would be suppressed) and would function as normal once its removed from the area of the Darkness spell, or vice versa.

Also the same for counterspelling. If a sorcerer readied an action to counterspell a wizard, and the wizard then casts Light, the sorcerer could cast Darkness in order to counter the spell. (He could also cast Light as well to counter the spell, since you can always counter a spell with the same spell.) Again, the mechanics are the same as with dispel magic, just no caster level checks involved.


Why does the darkness description say that it lowers illumination by one step? Magical light and natural light don't work in the area of the spell.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16

angelroble wrote:
Why does the darkness description say that it lowers illumination by one step? Magical light and natural light don't work in the area of the spell.

That refers to the rule on lighting and the four levels of light and how they effect vision.

PRD wrote:


In an area of bright light, all characters can see clearly. Some creatures, such as those with light sensitivity and light blindness, take penalties while in areas of bright light. A creature can't use Stealth in an area of bright light unless it is invisible or has cover. Areas of bright light include outside in direct sunshine and inside the area of a daylight spell.

Normal light functions just like bright light, but characters with light sensitivity and light blindness do not take penalties. Areas of normal light include underneath a forest canopy during the day, within 20 feet of a torch, and inside the area of a light spell.

In an area of dim light, a character can see somewhat. Creatures within this area have concealment (20% miss chance in combat) from those without darkvision or the ability to see in darkness. A creature within an area of dim light can make a Stealth check to conceal itself. Areas of dim light include outside at night with a moon in the sky, bright starlight, and the area between 20 and 40 feet from a torch.

In areas of darkness, creatures without darkvision are effectively blinded. In addition to the obvious effects, a blinded creature has a 50% miss chance in combat (all opponents have total concealment), loses any Dexterity bonus to AC, takes a –2 penalty to AC, and takes a –4 penalty on Perception checks that rely on sight and most Strength- and Dexterity-based skill checks. Areas of darkness include an unlit dungeon chamber, most caverns, and outside on a cloudy, moonless night.

Each level effects the way characters can see with that effect. So a torch can raise the light level of a dark room to a dim room. But it can not raise it to dim if the darkness is casued by the spell. Magic light under the spell level of darkness also can not raise the light level. The darkness spell can only lower the light level by one step so its not as powerful out in the direct sun as it is in a dim cave.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
MythrilDragon wrote:


The darkness spell can only lower the light level by one step so its not as powerful out in the direct sun as it is in a dim cave.

True. But it does become quite strong anytime your not in sunlight.

If your underground, in a cave, in a dungeon, outside at night, in a room with no windows, etc., any light source would be artificial light, whether mundane or magical. I can't think of anything that qualifies as a natural source of light aside from the celestial bodies. So that means in all those places the underlying lighting condition is darkness (or dim light if outside on a moonlit night). Thus the darkness spell would 1) lower the underlying light condition by one step, 2) suppress all mundane sources of light, and 3) suppress any magical sources of light that aren't created by a higher level lighting effect. Thus--not counting higher level spell effects--the darkness spell will knock out all light in any place not lit by natural light, creating an area of total darkness.

I was quite pleased to discover this the other night when my players came across some derro in an underground complex. None of the players had darkvision or any means of overcoming the darkness, so they were all effectively blind. Hilarity ensued.

The one way darkness was nerfed a little is that darkvision now works against the spell, whereas in 3.5 darkvision wouldn't help against magical darkness. This also can make darkness an effective technique to use in conjunction with darkvision against foes who can't deal with the darkness, either because they have no higher level light magical light sources or they don't have darkvision or spells or items granting darkvision. It becomes an area of effect blindness in a way.


2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.
Father Dale wrote:
MythrilDragon wrote:


The darkness spell can only lower the light level by one step so its not as powerful out in the direct sun as it is in a dim cave.

If your underground, in a cave, in a dungeon, outside at night, in a room with no windows, etc., any light source would be artificial light, whether mundane or magical. I can't think of anything that qualifies as a natural source of light aside from the celestial bodies.

Mmm... Darkness doesn't say anything about natural/artificial sources. It states that "non magical sources of light don't increase the light level in an area of darkness". The sun is not magical ??

Natural sources: sun, moon, stars, fireflies, electrical storms, lava, electrical storm that sets a wood on fire, aurora borealis, ...

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

As near as I can tell, darkness's examples of non-magical light sources being "torches and lanterns" indicates an intention towards 'artificial' light.

It's still quite vague though. Besides magic, is natural sunlight/moonlight the only thing keeping darkness from enforcing total darkness at all times? What about lava, phosphorescence from bugs & plants & certain animals, Aurora Borealis, foxfire, lightning, etc?


Virgil wrote:
What about lava, phosphorescence from bugs & plants & certain animals, Aurora Borealis, foxfire, lightning, etc?

Generally the darkness spell effect doesn't cover an entire bed of lava. However, if the lava bed could fit within the darkness effect, then it wouldn't emit any light.

Osirion

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

To beat a dead horse...

I'm a human in a dungeon, with no natural light sources. I have two light spells casting on me, and I'm holding a torch. I enter an area of darkness. I am now blind, since I'm now in darkness (see Core Rule Book, pg 172)? Darkness counters both lights (lvl 0), and the torch since it's a non-magical lightsource.

So basically, underground, darkness rules, unless you can cast daylight, because, as I understand it, continual flame can't even counter a darkness spell, since it simulates a torch.

Am I correct? Currently running PFS #32, and the bad guys are whomping our butts by simply casting darkness, and no one has daylight.


By raw Continual Flame would counter Darkness.

Unfortunately this can get very expensive since it has a costly material component where darkness does not.

Might want to ask your DM to houserule the spell takes no component if used specifically to counter Darkness (as compared to actually creating a permanent light source).

-S

Taldor

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

So I'm trying to explain how darkness works to my players, two of which are tieflings and use their Spell-Like Abilities as a common tactic. They encountered a group of elven snipers, a human cleric, and a treant guarding a woodland shrine at night w/ full moon. The only light was from a camp fire which I treated as a sunrod. Now my players argued that because the camp fire was mundane that darkness would completely negate it. They reasoned that moving an area of darkness into an area of mundane light is no different than bringing a torch into the area of darkness.

I ruled that darkness has an order of operations.

1. The spell effects an area of ambient light reducing it one step. So the campfire is reduced to dim light for 30 feet, and darkness beyond.

2. Any mundane light source (or lesser magical one) brought into the area of darkness could not raise the light levels.

Who is interpreting it correctly?

Secondary question, as a method to counter their effective tactic (two elves escaped so their tactics are known). If their next opponents are carrying everburning torches the two effects will suppress each other leaving the natural lighting to take precedence. If a sunrod were pulled out would it illuminate the suppressed area???

--Vrocknrolla!


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

The darkness spell has two separate effects that must be dealt with. Although the spell entry lists them in the opposite order, it's better to think of them in this order:
1) All nonmagical light sources, and magical light sources of darkness's level or lower, don't change the light level in the area.
2) Reduce the light conditions by one level.

Apply #1 first. All your torches, light spells, sunrods, campfires -- within the radius of darkness they have no effect on the light level in the area. This will include a continual flame spell cast by a sorcerer or wizard.
Now, assume you have a level 3 continual flame cast by a cleric. It's not suppressed by darkness, so only effect #2 applies to the overlapping area.
- Within 20 feet of the continual flame, you have normal light, minus one level from darkness = dim light.
- For the next 20 feet, you have a plus one and a minus one = prevailing light conditions.

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