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Question about spell Glitterdust


Rules Questions


2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

Hi if you cast this spell on a creature that can go invisible at will would it still continue to make him be seen.

Not had this spell used in our game yet but we had an invisible creature in another part of game who could go invisibly. We managed to make part visible with a bag of flour but then when recast invisibility the dm said the flour was also gone invisible.

Would this be the same for this spell as they way I read it, it work differently and continues to outline the creature even if it re cast invisibility on itself.


no, because the spell specifically denies the ability to go invisible and not still be seen

prd wrote:
A cloud of golden particles covers everyone and everything in the area, causing creatures to become blinded and visibly outlining invisible things for the duration of the spell. All within the area are covered by the dust, which cannot be removed and continues to sparkle until it fades. Each round at the end of their turn blinded creatures may attempt new saving throws to end the blindness effect.


It depends on how you imagine the spells works. Personally, I think the spell wording means that the sparking part doesn't depends on whether you are or not invisible, that is, It sheds some sort of light on their own (albeit minimal, but light nonetheless), not mere reflections of the surrounding light. That's why it imparts penalties to stealth checks, no matter lightning ( even being in complete darkness)


Glitterdust is a Conjuration (Creation) spell, so it creates something "real"; in this case, it is a "cloud of golden particles". it doesn't say anything about being a light effect, it just seems that the particles "sparkle", which I think it just means that they reflect light.
So, as a creature that casts invisibility also makes invisible anything that carries, I would say that those particles become invisble too, as they are something material and not a pure spell effect. This is, you are creating a thing that causes (indirectly) the loss of invisibility (in the same fashion that flour does), and not a magical effect that causes (directly) that invisible creatures become visible (and which would require a saving throw).
Talking about balance, I think Glitterdust is enough powerful to be cautious when assigning effects.


I would be OK with an invisibility recast causing you to become invisible again versus glitterdust. The dust created by glitterdust is itself not a magical effect (no SR), so it's effectively part of your gear.

PRD wrote:
If the recipient is a creature carrying gear, that vanishes, too.

Faerie fire would be more effective and recasts of invisibility wouldn't help.

The question of whether or not glitterdust emits light is interesting. I'd say no, but I could easily see it ruled the other way. If it does emit light, then recasts of invisibility won't help. If it doesn't emit light, then it should vanish as gear. Just like the "does color spray emit light" question, I default to say no unless a spell specifically mentions light, has the light descriptor, or the light production is obvious (e.g., minor creation to make a torch and setting it on fire).


It's a Conjuration spell that doesn't allow Spell Resistance, it affects multiple creatures, and it can even blind you if you fail your save.

If you aren't yet convinced how it's supposed to run, just ask yourself "Should a second level multi-purpose spell be able to negate and continue suppressing existing and future castings of Vanish, Invisibility, Invisibility Sphere and Greater Invisibility, some of which are higher level?"

Also remember that it already has the unique ability to foil the Natural Invisibility of the Invisible Stalker and similar creatures that are immune to normal Invisibility Purge.

Shadow Lodge

Troubleshooter wrote:


If you aren't yet convinced how it's supposed to run, just ask yourself "Should a second level multi-purpose spell be able to negate and continue suppressing existing and future castings of Vanish, Invisibility, Invisibility Sphere and Greater Invisibility, some of which are higher level?"

Faerie fire is 1st level druid spell that does just that.

"PRD' wrote:
Creatures outlined by faerie fire take a –20 penalty on all Stealth checks. Outlined creatures do not benefit from the concealment normally provided by darkness (though a 2nd-level or higher magical darkness effect functions normally), blur, displacement, invisibility, or similar effects.

The argument that a x level spell shouldn't be able to totally negate higher level spells is simply not valid. The text for Glitterdust, as quoted above by asthyril, specifically states that it "visibly outlines invisible things for the duration of the spell". Whether it is conjuration, a physical dust, reflecting ambient light, etc... don't negate this explicit statement.

Now if a GM doesn't like that and wants to change it that is fine but the way the spell is written is that as long as the duration lasts the creature can cast invisibility as many times as it wants but will still be seen.


I’d stick to the text of the spell, since the simpler the ruling, the less you have to rely on interpretation and the less you have to deal with table variation

“Any creature covered by the dust takes a -40 penalty on Stealth checks”. That’s clear enough; it doesn’t matter if they’re invisible at the time of casting or turn invisible.

“All within the area are covered by the dust, which cannot be removed and continues to sparkle until it fades.” Lots of spells without the light descriptor emit light: Prismatic Sphere, or example, or Fireball if you want something more prosaic. The spell doesn’t say the dust sparkles in this lighting conditon or that lighting condition: it says it sparkles, full stop. The dust sparkles on its own.

This makes Glitterdust measurably better than bags of flour at revealing invisible creatures.


Troubleshooter wrote:


If you aren't yet convinced how it's supposed to run, just ask yourself "Should a second level multi-purpose spell be able to negate and continue suppressing existing and future castings of Vanish, Invisibility, Invisibility Sphere and Greater Invisibility, some of which are higher level?"

It can stop invisibility and prevent it's use for a short time. Shorter than the duration of invisibility, mass invisibility and invisibility sphere. Only vanish (1st level) and greater invisibility have the same, short duration.

So you have to know the general area (10ft spread) where the invisible guy is, manage to cast the spell (he could interrupt you) then he is visible for 1 round/level.
I don't think it is such a gamebreaker.

And just to note: The blindness part can be as much of a drawback as a boon if the invisible guy is between multiple PCs.


Glitterdust on a Poltergiest (incorporeal)?


Emmit Svenson wrote:
“All within the area are covered by the dust, which cannot be removed and continues to sparkle until it fades.” Lots of spells without the light descriptor emit light: Prismatic Sphere, or example, or Fireball if you want something more prosaic. The spell doesn’t say the dust sparkles in this lighting conditon or that lighting condition: it says it sparkles, full stop. The dust sparkles on its own.

Unfortunately the word "sparkle" includes definitions that emit light (a candlelight sparkled in the crystal) and reflect light (a sparkling gem). So using that word for the basis of whether or not glitterdust emits light isn't helpful.

Prismatic sphere specifically mentions light. Fireball implicitly makes light simply because fire does. The problem with glitterdust is that we simply don't have enough information |:


meabolex wrote:
Emmit Svenson wrote:
“All within the area are covered by the dust, which cannot be removed and continues to sparkle until it fades.” Lots of spells without the light descriptor emit light: Prismatic Sphere, or example, or Fireball if you want something more prosaic. The spell doesn’t say the dust sparkles in this lighting conditon or that lighting condition: it says it sparkles, full stop. The dust sparkles on its own.
Unfortunately the word "sparkle" includes definitions that emit light (a candlelight sparkled in the crystal) and reflect light (a sparkling gem).

A gem would not be a "sparkling gem" in darkness. Glitterdust would sparkle in darkness, unless you add text to the spell that is not there.

Shadow Lodge

meabolex wrote:
The problem with glitterdust is that we simply don't have enough information |:

We do have enough information. It says it visibly outlines invisible things for the duration of the spell. Everything else, like the word sparkling, is irrelevant to determining if it visibly outlines invisible things for the duration of the spell because it outright says it visibly outlines invisible things for the duration of the spell.


Glitterdust wrote:
...[V]isibly outlining invisible things for the duration of the spell.

That's pretty cut and dry.


PatientWolf wrote:
meabolex wrote:
The problem with glitterdust is that we simply don't have enough information |:
We do have enough information. It says it visibly outlines invisible things for the duration of the spell. Everything else, like the word sparkling, is irrelevant to determining if it visibly outlines invisible things for the duration of the spell because it outright says it visibly outlines invisible things for the duration of the spell.

Agree 100%


I believe I understand your perspective and I respect why you come to that conclusion, but I still disagree. My position is that the rules are ambiguous, allowing two more more internally-consistent interpretations, and I am influenced by mechanical balance to believe in a particular way regarding how the ruling should be made. I'll start with the balance argument.

PatientWolf wrote:


The argument that a x level spell shouldn't be able to totally negate higher level spells is simply not valid.

If a spell is properly focused, then sure. However, you're trimming and altering my statement into one that can be correctly and dogmatically negated. The negation is justified; but then, that statement isn't mine.

I agree that 'The argument that a x level spell shouldn't be able to totally negate higher level spells is simply not valid' may be true, depending on the situation.

First, a few examples of when this is okay; Freedom of Movement (4), Life Bubble (5), Mind Blank (8), Neutralize Poison (4), Remove Fear (1), True Seeing (6). I'm pretty fine with these, since they are narrowly-focused spells, and the less narrow they are, the more the spell is compensated to make up for it (generally speaking -- I'm still a little burned on Freedom of Movement negating a very-prevalent Combat Maneuver if you don't have a specific archetype).

My issue here is that this isn't a focused spell concept; it's a general one. Glitterdust reveals invisible creatures; it keeps them revealed; it incredibly penalizes the Stealth of affected creatures even if they're not invisible; and after all that it attacks them with the blinding effect.

A focused spell that disables and prevents invisibility effects without any~ method of being counter-acted, as well as penalizing enemies' stealth, as well as negating higher-level spell effects, and even being a method of negating invisibility that See Invisibility and True Seeing cannot, is worth a spell. A low level spell that blinds a group of enemies is also worth a spell. However, I'm already suspicious about all of this fitting into a 2nd level package even before the idea that it can also allow you to 'see' creatures in complete darkness.

In my groups, where we use the 'the dust is nonmagical, doesn't produce light and can become invisible with a creature' interpretation, the spell is already a must-have spell for a character in the group. Even with the interpretation of diminished effectiveness, it sees regular use and spectacular effect against ambushers. For anybody who is experienced with the term 'acid test' in game design theory, the fact that my groups always choose it means it fails my acid test, and if this were a spell I were designing, it would at least merit reexamination.

I now address Faerie Fire. Faerie Fire is okay, because it is a focused spell. It allows Spell Resistance, it affects only a 5-foot burst, and can be dispelled by effectively any level of Darkness spell. It doesn't take one of the greatest strengths of opponents, strip it away and then turn it into a liability. It's single-purpose and does what it does well but isn't necessarily a spell you have to memorize because it's quite useful at worst and occasionally critical at best.

Yet for a single level increase we're trying to justify a 10' spread, no resisting statistics whatsoever, unable to be dispelled by Darkness effects, yet still producing light capable of illuminating creatures that are stealthed, invisible or in areas of complete darkness and adding blindness for everybody.

cont'd


Hopefully I've managed to make my position clear on the balancing of it not allowing further invisibilities (honestly, I suppose that illuminating in darkness isn't that big of a deal, though I ultimately have to argue for or against it). Now to the mechanical and logical interpretation.

Quote:


The text for Glitterdust, as quoted above by asthyril, specifically states that it "visibly outlines invisible things for the duration of the spell". Whether it is conjuration, a physical dust, reflecting ambient light, etc... don't negate this explicit statement.

Now if a GM doesn't like that and wants to change it that is fine but the way the spell is written is that as long as the duration lasts the creature can cast invisibility as many times as it wants but will still be seen.

The circumstances absolutely could negate that explicit statement. Lots of things that adventurer wear and carry – glass, mirrors, polished scalemail also glitter in the light. Yet if a creature with scalemail near a torch is Invisible, I presume the majority of GMs don't treat the character as if it was casting a prism of glints on the ground nearby and giving away its location. I'd leverage an argument about an invisible mirror reflecting Gaze attacks, but I suspect there's an exception that mirrors don't reflect Gazes anyway.

To the point: It's all dependent on what type of dust it is, and what logically follows from that. If it's a nonmagical dust that reflects light, then it shouldn't reflect light when invisible any more than the rest of your gear does (after all, every part of you that can be viewed is viewed via the reflection of light).

Still, if I got a clear affirmation that the dust produced its own light, magically or not – then yes, I agree it would shed light while invisible. But I still don't see enough evidence to convince me that is produces light more than I have evidence that it doesn't; it is just 'golden dust', conjured by a Conjuration spell (rather than, say, Evocation), the spell doesn't have the Light descriptor, and even the material component (crushed mica) seems to hint that the dust is a magically-created mundane substance. When the spell says it outlines opponents, I interpret this to be the natural effect of a magically-summoned but inherently mundane reflective dust covering a creature, that only takes into account the normal circumstances within which it is cast.

I would compare the extremest form of that kind of thinking it to somebody pointing to a spell that summons a red cloak and declaring that the cloak must create light, because if it didn't and one looked at the cloak in the dark, there wouldn't appear to be a red cloak there.

I've presented my opinion on the mechanical balance; I've presented my thoughts that other internally-consistent interpretations can indeed exist; now I intend to outline one.

Anyway, the text itself can be interpreted as being contradictory. asthyril may have just quoted the text which supported his position, but once we read the whole thing it becomes foggy again. Emphasis mine.

”CRB, p. 290” wrote:


A cloud of golden particles covers everyone and everything
in the area, causing creatures to become blinded and visibly
outlining invisible things for the duration of the spell. All within
the area are covered by the dust, which cannot be removed and
continues to sparkle until it fades.
Each round at the end of their
turn blinded creatures may attempt new saving throws to end
the blindness effect.

Any creature covered by the dust takes a –40 penalty on
Stealth checks.

The dust “outlines invisible things for the duration of the spell” and “the dust cannot be removed and sparkles until it fades.” So once it fades, it ceases to sparkle – and I contend that invisibility does exactly that to the dust.

(end)


Glitterdust wins as long as it is active.
The higher spell level vs lower spell level is not an all purpose arugment.

The GM was incorrect.

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