Color Spray in area of Total Darkness


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Fellow Paizonians, the following situation has come up last session, and I need your help:

The PCs were in an area of total darkness, facing enemies with darkvision. The group's wizard decides to cast Color Spray in the general direction the enemies seem to be coming. However, it also includes other PCs (which do not possess darkvision). Now, who is affected ? Does Color Spray generates a "flash", cancelling momentarily the darkness, thus affecting everyione in its path, does it affect only those which can see in the conditions under which the spell was cast, or does it fail to affect friend and foe ?


Thiago Cardozo wrote:

Fellow Paizonians the following situation has come up last session, and I need your help:

The PCs were in an area of total darkness, facing enemies with darkvision. The group's wizard decides to cast Color Spray in the general direction the enemies seem to be coming. However, it also includes other PCs (which do not possess darkvision). Now, who is affected ? Does Color Spray generates a "flash", cancelling momentarily the darkness, thus affecting everyione in its path, does it affect only those which can see in the conditions under which the spell was cast, or does it fail to affect friend and foe ?

Considering the last line of Color Spray:

PRD wrote:
Sightless creatures are not affected by color spray.

Things get tricky. If color spray produces light, then it can be seen by everyone and affects all in the area of effect. If color spray doesn't, then the effect can't be seen by those in the total darkness who don't have darkvision.

It's your call. I think I'd tend toward _not_ having color spray produce light.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I agree with the other poster, but my assessment is that it would cause blindness.

Sightless creatures wouldn't be affected because they cannot see at all, but not being able to see does not equate to sightless (I can still see in the dark, it's just there's no ambient light to reach my retinas). In my mind color spray is color, which implies the presence of light (even in the absence of ambient light), so I would rule that much like a flashbulb going off in a dark room, color spray would render the effects as noted. Magical darkness though likely would negate color spray in my world.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
meabolex wrote:
Thiago Cardozo wrote:

Fellow Paizonians the following situation has come up last session, and I need your help:

The PCs were in an area of total darkness, facing enemies with darkvision. The group's wizard decides to cast Color Spray in the general direction the enemies seem to be coming. However, it also includes other PCs (which do not possess darkvision). Now, who is affected ? Does Color Spray generates a "flash", cancelling momentarily the darkness, thus affecting everyione in its path, does it affect only those which can see in the conditions under which the spell was cast, or does it fail to affect friend and foe ?

Considering the last line of Color Spray:

PRD wrote:
Sightless creatures are not affected by color spray.

Things get tricky. If color spray produces light, then it can be seen by everyone and affects all in the area of effect. If color spray doesn't, then the effect can't be seen by those in the total darkness who don't have darkvision.

It's your call. I think I'd tend toward _not_ having color spray produce light.

There is a difference between being sightless, and not currently being able to see. After all darkness provides concealment, not cover. It cant block a spell. Would you say that fog cloud blocks color spray because it gives full concealment outside of 5ft?

The Spell is described as "A vivid cone of clashing colors springs forth from your hand, causing creatures to become stunned, perhaps also blinded, and possibly knocking them unconscious. Each creature within the cone is affected according to its HD."

Unless they are physical materials IE pigment, they HAVE to produce light or they cant have color. You are either a physical thing (reflect light) or produce your own to have color.


MisterSlanky wrote:
I can still see in the dark, it's just there's no ambient light to reach my retinas

That bothered me too when I was writing my post. I'm "effectively" blind when in total darkness -- but I'm not actually "sightless".

Also, I'm saddened that the spell works normally on those that can't see color. That would fix the problem with those in total darkness who have darkvision. But alas, since patterns are mind-influencing effects, just being in the area and seeing it (color or not) makes you affected.


Kolokotroni wrote:
Unless they are physical materials IE pigment, they HAVE to produce light or they cant have color. You are either a physical thing (reflect light) or produce your own to have color.

The material components are red, yellow, and blue powder or colored sand. Since they don't glow/blow up/burn, I'd lean toward the spell not producing light, but it's not clear either way.

Furthermore, rainbow pattern does specifically mention that it glows, although it mentions that it doesn't affect sightless creatures. Another DM judgment call I guess -- in that case, since it glows it would work on those with or without darkvision in total darkness.


meabolex wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
Unless they are physical materials IE pigment, they HAVE to produce light or they cant have color. You are either a physical thing (reflect light) or produce your own to have color.
The material components are red, yellow, and blue powder or colored sand. Since they don't glow/blow up/burn, I'd lean toward the spell not producing light, but it's not clear either way.

That's pretty telling actually, since Red, Yellow, Blue are primary colors for pigments. Red, Green, Blue (technically Cyan, Magenta, and Green?) are the primary colors for light.

Liberty's Edge

Colour Spray is an Illusion (pattern, mind-affecting) spell. It is not affected by darkness because it does not have the (light) descriptor.


First of all, color spray does not affect sightless creatures, therefore, something must be seen.

IF:
Color spray creates pigmented colors, then there must be the presence of light for people to see them, since we perceive color by the refraction of light. In an area of darkness, magical or mundane, you can't see anything, and so all the kaleidoscopes of color in the world are meaningless. Those who see with darkvision (and thus NOT in color) might not be affected.

IF:
Color spray creates light, then the spell descriptor is missing the [light] descriptor. The flavor text seems to indicate that swirling lights are involved, but if it creates light, then mundane darkness does not hinder it, but any [darkness] spell of 2nd level or higher would block it completely.

OR:
Color spray doesn't create anything. It's an illusion that affects the mind.

Finally, red, blue, and green are the primary colors of light, but cyan, magenta, and yellow are the primary colors of pigment. (I used to work in a printshop.) But I don't think this has much bearing on the spell at all.


There are many, many complications with having Color Spray emit light (like, can this light penetrate Deeper Darkness when nothing else it's level can?).

I would say you have to be able to see it, so it would not work in total darkness.

And so, Darkvision just screws you. I think it works ok this way, considering you were just getting a huge benefit.


Malachi Tarchannen wrote:
Color spray creates light, then the spell descriptor is missing the [light] descriptor. The flavor text seems to indicate that swirling lights are involved, but if it creates light, then mundane darkness does not hinder it, but any [darkness] spell of 2nd level or higher would block it completely.

That's not entirely true. Fireball and Lightning bolt both produce light, and they don't have the light descriptor. Lightning even has the word "light" in it (:

The descriptor is actually a design decision about the spell:

PRD wrote:
Most of these descriptors have no game effect by themselves, but they govern how the spell interacts with other spells, with special abilities, with unusual creatures, with alignment, and so on.

EDIT AGAIN: OK, there is no flavor text for this spell. . . nevermind (:

Grand Lodge

Color spray is a visual illusion. If the caster created a visual illusion of an orc in total darkness, the party members wouldn't see it. There are good reasons that illusions don't create real light unless the spell description says they do.

Color spray works on color-blind creatures, as far as I can tell from the description, but darkvision is a bit beyond that. It's a different form of perception that can't carry color.

I'd say: The party members don't see the color spray. The monsters see a subdued cone of subtly different shades of gray. Nobody is affected.


Starglim wrote:
I'd say: The party members don't see the color spray. The monsters see a subdued cone of subtly different shades of gray. Nobody is affected.

I'd prefer it that way too, but since patterns are mind-influencing effects, your mind is affected the moment you'd see it, color or not. I'd say your ruling would be fair though.

Sovereign Court

Color Spray is a pattern so it creates a visible effect, and as it's mind effect it certainly attacks the visual processes of the creatures mind (as opposed to the visual organs). While it isn't a [light] spell it does make light, albeit a quick flash. All this means is that it is likely affected in areas of magical darkness, but in a area of natural total darkness it will certainly flash, though it wouldn't trigger weaknesses towards light such as light blindness.

--in the town of BedVrock

Grand Lodge

King of Vrock wrote:
Color Spray is a pattern so it creates a visible effect, and as it's mind effect it certainly attacks the visual processes of the creatures mind (as opposed to the visual organs). While it isn't a [light] spell it does make light, albeit a quick flash.
p. 210 wrote:
Like a figment, a pattern spell creates an image that others can see, but a pattern also affects the minds of those who see it or are caught in it.

A pattern creates an image in the same sense that silent image (a figment) does.

edit: full relevant quote

Sovereign Court

Starglim wrote:
King of Vrock wrote:
Color Spray is a pattern so it creates a visible effect, and as it's mind effect it certainly attacks the visual processes of the creatures mind (as opposed to the visual organs). While it isn't a [light] spell it does make light, albeit a quick flash.
p. 210 wrote:
Like a figment, a pattern spell creates an image that others can see, but a pattern also affects the minds of those who see it or are caught in it.

A pattern creates an image in the same sense that silent image (a figment) does.

edit: full relevant quote

and...? That doesn't change the fact that it makes something visible, it can cause blindness and doesn't affect sightless creatures. So darkvision using creatures would still see a vivid, coruscating flash in their visual processing centers and be affected, as would the normal vision creatures in the AoE even momentarily.


Personally, I'd just stick with everyone in the area is affected unless there is a specific exclusion. In this case sightless creatures. Otherwise you open up all kinds of issues.

For example: What if the party knows in advance the caster is casting color spray and closes their eyes? Could you make a spellcraft check to close your eyes before color spray goes off? What if the caster gives the party a catch phrase and they know to close their eyes for until he's done with the spell?

Maybe I'm thinking about this too much.


Dennis da Ogre wrote:
Personally, I'd just stick with everyone in the area is affected unless there is a specific exclusion. In this case sightless creatures. Otherwise you open up all kinds of issues.

I think this is the best approach, dealing with it on the level of being affected by lighting level/ creating it's own light just creates way more problems that would be immediately apparent from 1st Level.

Minor Image isn't mind-effecting. Color Spray is.
Ruling it affects creatures' minds DIRECTLY (i.e. the cone of colors is in the mind of those effected) seems the clearest solution. "Sightless creatures" aren't affected because they don't have a visual cortex to mess with. This reading DOES have the interesting side effect that bystanders outside the AoE don't see anything special (beyond the spellcasting itself). So in the OP's example, everybody in AoE would be effected (but the Caster wouldn't get any better any idea of the Orcs' positions because there isn't any flash of light)

I don't think there's necessarily a RAW reading of this,
but using the least-problematic interpretation seem reasonable to me.


Malachi Tarchannen wrote:

First of all, color spray does not affect sightless creatures, therefore, something must be seen.

IF:
Color spray creates pigmented colors, then there must be the presence of light for people to see them, since we perceive color by the refraction of light. In an area of darkness, magical or mundane, you can't see anything, and so all the kaleidoscopes of color in the world are meaningless. Those who see with darkvision (and thus NOT in color) might not be affected.

IF:
Color spray creates light, then the spell descriptor is missing the [light] descriptor. The flavor text seems to indicate that swirling lights are involved, but if it creates light, then mundane darkness does not hinder it, but any [darkness] spell of 2nd level or higher would block it completely.

OR:
Color spray doesn't create anything. It's an illusion that affects the mind.

Finally, red, blue, and green are the primary colors of light, but cyan, magenta, and yellow are the primary colors of pigment. (I used to work in a printshop.) But I don't think this has much bearing on the spell at all.

I'm going to go with C here. It doesn't explain sightless creatures, but it's not evocation, it's illusion. It's mind affecting, not actual colors. This is my opinion, but sightless creature's wouldn't know what colors are, so that is probably why they are immune, sort of like a visual version of a language barrier. I would let it work, but I would make the person using it have a darn good reason for aiming it where they are, no metagaming on the cone.


Let's look at the original color spray (well, the OSRIC 1st edition compatible release):

Quote:

Colour Spray

Phantasmal Transmutation/ Alteration
level: Illusionist 1
Range: 0
duration: 1 segment
area of effect: Cone, 5 ft wide at origin, 45% arc, 10 ft/
level long
components: V,S,M
casting time: 1 segment
Saving throw: See below
The caster fans out his or her fingers, and a sheet of unearthly coloured light springs forth. 1d6 creatures caught within the light may be affected, and the spell can only affect 1 hit die of creatures per caster level. Creatures with HD equal to or less than the caster’s are rendered unconscious by the burst of colours. If the creature’s hit dice exceed the caster’s by 1-2, the creature is blinded for 1d4 rounds. If the creature has 3+ hit dice in excess of the caster’s, it is merely stunned for 2d4 segments. Any creature with hit dice exceeding the caster’s (and creatures or 6+ HD regardless of the caster’s level) are entitled to a saving throw.

In *light* of this, I think the original design intent of color spray was to give off light.

Liberty's Edge

meabolex wrote:


In *light* of this, I think the original design intent of color spray was to give off light.

Still, without the light descriptor, Darkness does not cancel it, so it's fully effective in supernatural darkness (barring any house rulings, that is). It's wierd, but that's magic for ya. :)


Dennis da Ogre wrote:

Personally, I'd just stick with everyone in the area is affected unless there is a specific exclusion. In this case sightless creatures. Otherwise you open up all kinds of issues.

For example: What if the party knows in advance the caster is casting color spray and closes their eyes? Could you make a spellcraft check to close your eyes before color spray goes off? What if the caster gives the party a catch phrase and they know to close their eyes for until he's done with the spell?

Maybe I'm thinking about this too much.

You know....in my D&D circles, we've been using the party keyword shout as a cue to close your eyes to not be affected by party's color spray for....like, ever. Now, reading this thread, I'm curious if that fits either the RAW or RAI of any of the versions of this spell in history....ehh, screw it, it worked for us!


Physically speaking, a color is a wavelength. Put all wavelengths of the visible spectrum together and you get white. So a colored light (lets say red) isn't white light + red "pigment", it is:


    A) white light from which all parts of the spectrum BUT red have been REMOVED.

    B) light emitted from a source that does not emit in any part of the spectrum BUT red.


My take would be that color spray is an illusory filter, filtering the spectrum of ambient light to make it appear colored and bugging your mind hard enough to stun/blind/knock you out. I think one's mind make it appear like a flash of color, but a resistant onlooker (i.e. someone who made the save) would see that the colors are actually dimmer than the ambient light.

From that, I'd rule that without ambient lighting, the spell cannot be effective. Actually, I'd rule that color spray cast in total darkness automatically fails, so nobody would be affected regardless of their ability to perceive things in the dark; the spell simply does not work.

'findel


Xuttah wrote:


Still, without the light descriptor, Darkness does not cancel it, so it's fully effective in supernatural darkness (barring any house rulings, that is). It's wierd, but that's magic for ya. :)

I would rather say that since color spray does not have the 'light' descriptor, darkness does not counter or dispell it.

It does not mean that darkness, mundane or magical, cannot render its effects ineffective.


They put one very specific limitation on the spell.

That means, they thought about limitations, and just put this one on.

The simple factor is, you are trying to apply a nerf to the spell that the rules do not account for. And, they had the chance to do so. They even thought about it, and put in a limitation.

Sightless. It isn't "in the dark" or "in total darkness". it also isn't "someone with their eyes closed". But judging that the area has to be lit for the spell to work is tantamount to saying that someone closing their eyes is also immune to the spell. I do not believe that most folks would agree that players can announce that they close their eyes to avoid spell effects.

Its a cone, so you need line of effect not line of sight. That is how you determine who is effected. The spell says nothing about not working in various light levels.

Just my .02

-S


Dennis da Ogre wrote:

Personally, I'd just stick with everyone in the area is affected unless there is a specific exclusion. In this case sightless creatures. Otherwise you open up all kinds of issues.

For example: What if the party knows in advance the caster is casting color spray and closes their eyes? Could you make a spellcraft check to close your eyes before color spray goes off? What if the caster gives the party a catch phrase and they know to close their eyes for until he's done with the spell?

Maybe I'm thinking about this too much.

I don't know, color spray is a pattern, which I always interpreted as a mind-affecting effect triggered by sight, sound or some other sense (sight in the case of color spray).

Preventing the target from seeing would prevent the trigger from happening, immunizing the target against the mind-affecting part.

If the party caster gives a command for his allies to close their eyes, the players could:

A) risk to open their eyes too soon and still be affected (+2 bonus to save from favorable circumstances)

B) wait on their turn to open their eyes and be effectively 'blinded' until then.

Enemies that make their spellcraft check would have the same options. Actually, the DM may simply impose option B) for everybody, in which case they kind of let themselves be affected by similar effects from those of the spell anyway...

'findel


Quandary wrote:
"Sightless creatures" aren't affected because they don't have a visual cortex to mess with. This reading DOES have the interesting side effect that bystanders outside the AoE don't see anything special (beyond the spellcasting itself). So in the OP's example, everybody in AoE would be effected (but the Caster wouldn't get any better any idea of the Orcs' positions because there isn't any flash of light)

I think that if the spell was meant to affect somebody's mind regardless and the nice shinny color thing a useless side-effect, it would have been stipulated so. It think that if the spell was meant to create colored 'light', it would also been stated so.

[edit] I guess that if they meant color spray not to work in darkness, they would have stated so as well...

I see now that older editions do mention that the spell produce light. I can see two reasons why 3rd edition removed the word 'light' from the description:

1) they were short of word-space and cut everywhere they could.

2) they didn't want to give the spell the 'light' descriptor, cementing the difference between illusion and evocation spells.

If the intention was the later, there is a case for advocating that if you cannot see the effect, you cannot be affected by it.

I think that the designers meant color spray NOT to emit light, but also that they meant it to work in darkness just as well. That kind of bugs me because it creates and inconstancy and I like things to be coherent. I also like magic to follow a certain logic rather that the "hey, its magical!" explanation, but that just me...


Farabor wrote:
You know....in my D&D circles, we've been using the party keyword shout as a cue to close your eyes to not be affected by party's color spray for....like, ever. Now, reading this thread, I'm curious if that fits either the RAW or RAI of any of the versions of this spell in history....ehh, screw it, it worked for us!

Does it really matter if it's RAW? When we are discussing things on the boards maybe, but in actual play? Meh whatever works for your group. Maybe if you are doing Organized Play it's different.

I'm starting to get more curious about OP now so I think about this a little more.


Laurefindel wrote:

2) they didn't want to give the spell the 'light' descriptor, cementing the difference between illusion and evocation spells.

If the intention was the later, there is a case for advocating that if you cannot see the effect, you cannot be affected by it.

So, does flame blade not emit light? What about wall of fire?

I think the descriptor (in this case) just has to with how the designers wanted the spell to interact with other spells. A certain [light] spell cancels/dispels/counters a certain [darkness] spell, and so forth.

Judging by previous iterations of the spell -- heck, even rainbow pattern, which is *similar* to color spray -- it was the original intent to emit light. If that was "nerfed" in 3.0/3.5, it was done in a way that was completely ambiguous.


Well, boards just chewed my post :(

Making the long story short, I decided at the time that darkvision guys would see the pattern, albeit colorless, and would be affected while others would not, since the spell description says "sightless" not "color blind". However, I have been questioning my decision and decided to post it here for discussion.

I particularly like Laurefindel's take on the "physics" of phantasms; however, I would not dare introduce the complications which would arise from players deciding to close and open their eyes as free actions.


meabolex wrote:


So, does flame blade not emit light? What about wall of fire?

I think the descriptor (in this case) just has to with how the designers wanted the spell to interact with other spells. A certain [light] spell cancels/dispels/counters a certain [darkness] spell, and so forth.

Judging by previous iterations of the spell -- heck, even rainbow pattern, which is *similar* to color spray -- it was the original intent to emit light. If that was "nerfed" in 3.0/3.5, it was done in a way that was completely ambiguous.

Well, both flame blade and wall of fire are evocation spells, which in the mindset of the whole school of magic things, make thing happen that emit heat (enough to burn you), light (enough to dazzle you) or cold (although one could argue that physically speaking, cold spell don't emit cold but snuff-out heat) etc ... Both spells you mentioned have the 'fire' descriptor, and it is understood that fire emits both heat and light... As you said, they cannot counter (or be countered) by darkness since they don't have the 'light' descriptor, yet magical darkness could effectively mask a wall of fire, but you'll still get burnt unless you somehow 'mask' the heat as well (which in D&D exist personally as opposed to locally in the resist/protection from energy spells).

In the case of fire spells, the fact that fire emits both light AND heat independently means that you can get burn even if you didn't see the effect. In the case of color spray (and the few other patterns), it is halfway understood that the color effect and mind-affecting effect of a pattern are linked (supported by the last statement of the color sprayspell), which would suggest that canceling the sight would cancel the mind-affliction.

Again, I don't argue that the game is supposed to be interpreted as such, and I'm not trying to 'impose' my interpretation above every others. But for me, it make sense that way.

Even in older iteration of the game, I always played that illusion spells were able to 'bend' light but could not create it. A player could not, for example, create the illusion of a torch to illuminate its way in total darkness.

Thiago Cardozo wrote:

Well, boards just chewed my post :(

I would not dare introduce the complications which would arise from players deciding to close and open their eyes as free actions.

As for adverting you eyes or closing them, the game already have the conditions 'build-in'. I'd use the statement where 'If any viewer successfully disbelieves an illusion and communicates this fact to others, each such viewer gains a saving throw with a +4 bonus' when the wizard is pre-warning his companions. That or a voluntary blinding of the character until his turn by closing their eyes (as blindness condition), or allow the same rule for adverting your eyes as when facing a gaze attack. All of which could only be performed if the PC have been properly warned or enemy succeed the spell identification, off course. But I'd never let players open and close their eyes to avoid any effect as free actions without consequences...


Thiago Cardozo wrote:

Well, boards just chewed my post :(

Making the long story short, I decided at the time that darkvision guys would see the pattern, albeit colorless, and would be affected while others would not, since the spell description says "sightless" not "color blind". However, I have been questioning my decision and decided to post it here for discussion.

I particularly like Laurefindel's take on the "physics" of phantasms; however, I would not dare introduce the complications which would arise from players deciding to close and open their eyes as free actions.

Oh, just correcting myself here, it was the physics of **patterns** Laurefindel discussed, not phantasms :)


YOu can not have color wihtout light it is basically a reflection of light that makes color (so darkvision would be immaterial).

As a DM you need to decide:
Option 1) If you want the spell to work in total darkness, in which case the color has its own light.

Option 2)Or does not work at all in darkness because there must be light for there to be color.

I would choose option 1, but other DM's may go with option 2.


I have always seen it as a clashing rays visible as it produces its own light.
And its is spelled coloUr spray in my Wizard's spellbook...


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I never thought about it myself, but after reading through...

A) An illusion can create light, otherwise you would gain a huge bonus to disbelieve illusions of fire (no flickering lights). So, that color spray could be generating it's own light, just fine.

B) Complete Darkness, non-magical : Illusion spell would create light if necessary.

C) Darkness, Magical : Magical darkness cancels all light except that created by a spell with the [light] descriptor. Illusion spells don't have that descriptor, so all light from them is canceled. Basically, to me, a darkness spell would negate all illusion spells as they prevent the light inherent in the illusion from being seen. If you have darkvision, then you could see the illusion, as long as the person casting it thought to also extend the illusion to darkvision as well, might require a knowledge (arcana) check if the caster doesn't have darkvision.

D) Given my view of the above, the darkvision people would be affected by colorspray, mainly as the black and gray and white colors in it clashed. I'd say the caster needed to have darkvision or make a knowledge (arcana) check to make sure the illusion extended to darkvsision (which is not normal vision, it's a different sense, otherwise it would work to the horizon, not 30/60/120 feet). An illusion can be targeted at a sense (hearing, sight, darkvision, blind-sight, etc). Colorspray is specifically targeted at sight.


mdt wrote:

I never thought about it myself, but after reading through...

A) An illusion can create light, otherwise you would gain a huge bonus to disbelieve illusions of fire (no flickering lights). So, that color spray could be generating it's own light, just fine.

Assuming that an illusion can create light, would a pattern still be able to affect the mind of a target that is capable of sight, but currently unable to see the effects (blindfolded, magically blinded etc)?

Looking at other pattern spells, would an effectively blinded creature affected by an hypnotic pattern spell follow the pattern even if it is no longer able to see it? Is the 'control' of the mind-affecting part of a pattern conveyed via visual (if abstract) images? If not, is the whole visual effect part of the spell fluff only?


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Laurefindel wrote:
mdt wrote:

I never thought about it myself, but after reading through...

A) An illusion can create light, otherwise you would gain a huge bonus to disbelieve illusions of fire (no flickering lights). So, that color spray could be generating it's own light, just fine.

Assuming that an illusion can create light, would a pattern still be able to affect the mind of a target that is capable of sight, but currently unable to see the effects (blindfolded, magically blinded etc)?

Looking at other pattern spells, would an effectively blinded creature affected by an hypnotic pattern spell follow the pattern even if it is no longer able to see it? Is the 'control' of the mind-affecting part of a pattern conveyed via visual (if abstract) images? If not, is the whole visual effect part of the spell fluff only?

Nope, I've always treated illusions as requiring the ability to be sensed. So, someone who was blindfolded, or temporarily blinded, could not be affected by them. For example, an illusion of a troll attacks. If someone puts a hood over your head, you can't see the illusionary troll anymore, so you don't know when it 'attacks' you, so you don't take damage from believing it, since you didn't know it attacked in the first place. If you had a hood on when hypnotic pattern was cast, you wouldn't be affected (although if you took the hood off while it was still lingering, you could be).

I don't consider that game breaking, there's worse things than being affected by an illusion, being blind is one of them.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
mdt wrote:


Nope, I've always treated illusions as requiring the ability to be sensed. So, someone who was blindfolded, or temporarily blinded, could not be affected by them. For example, an illusion of a troll attacks. If someone puts a hood over your head, you can't see the illusionary troll anymore, so you don't know when it 'attacks' you, so you don't take damage from believing it, since you didn't know it attacked in the first place. If you had a hood on when hypnotic pattern was cast, you wouldn't be affected (although if you took the hood off while it was still lingering, you could be).

I don't consider that game breaking, there's worse things than being affected by an illusion, being blind is one of them.

agreed, if a player wants to close his eyes to avoid an illusion and keep them closed, I'd allow it. The penalties for being blinded (a condition I would give him untill the round he decided to open his eyes) easily match the weight of being immune to the spell.


mdt wrote:
C) Darkness, Magical : Magical darkness cancels all light except that created by a spell with the [light] descriptor. Illusion spells don't have that descriptor, so all light from them is canceled. Basically, to me, a darkness spell would negate all illusion spells as they prevent the light inherent in the illusion from being seen. If you have darkvision, then you could see the illusion, as long as the person casting it thought to also extend the illusion to darkvision as well, might require a knowledge (arcana) check if the caster doesn't have darkvision.

Where are you getting this? The darkness and deeper darkness spells lower the current level of darkness by 1 or 2 steps respectively:

Deeper Darkness:
Quote:
This spell functions as darkness, except that objects radiate darkness in a 60-foot radius and the light level is lowered by two steps.

It doesn't talk about canceling anything.

Sovereign Court

...I am continually humbled by two things:

>the creativity of the community to interpret, re-interpret, and make up explanations for rules and

>the tendency of the community to try to "figure out" how magic and rules work scientifically

...I cannot even remember how many, many times we shouted, "close your eyes" when playing 2nd edition D&D.

All of this color spray stuff used to be straight-forward. Yet, long discussion threads (I enjoy them btw) make me doubt myself. I'm not looking at RAW right now, but traditionally I seem to recall:
>close your eyes, no effect
>generally disbelieve and get a save vs. illusion (going all the way back to 1e and OD&D)
>Color spray and other such light stuff doesn't contextually work in total darkness IF darkness is caused by magic, otherwise color spray should go off in a dungeon room without windows or light just fine.

I might be wrong, but I know I've not complicated this one unnecessarily. Is this different than Pathfinder RPG? I'll be checking tonight, but I'm curious now.

The point is "bag over the head" or magical darkness would be things in-between the spell and the adventurer, along with shut eyelids - meaning it helps to cover up against this one, but it should cast just fine inside a traditionally dark dungeon as I don't remember "make sure your creatures have torches or ambient light" as a tip for GMs throughout the ages.... thoughts?


Magical darkness has changed significantly under Pathfinder. The rest I think is just different interpretations. There are lots of things which are vague or poorly worded and it's kind of fun to hear the different ways people read them as you say.

If you want to talk about organized play or RAW I think the simplest way to read a spell is to just read it and not try to bring a bunch of analysis to the table. This is the area, this is the effect in the area.

Contributor

It's part and parcel of the bizarre logic that light and darkness spells are evocation but silence and ghost sound are both illusions.

1st edition actually had a better distinction in that there was both illusory blindness and actual blindness, which had the same end effect but different mechanics for other interactions.

Look at it this way: A character with darkvision can see a room. He creates an illusion of everything he sees, including the illumination he finds sufficient. Suddenly his friends who cannot see in darkness are instead seeing the illusion, which conforms to reality, so it's a lot like seeing things normally.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Color spray is a pattern, which is described as a figment with additional mind-affecting properties. A figment is a genuinely visible image... holographic projection, if you will, not "all in the head" of the viewer.

So yeah, I think you have to be able to see it. Figments generate light by necessity, since there's nothing physical to reflect the ambient, so I see no reason it won't work in darkness... even magical darkness, considering the PF changes. (My table rule is actually a corollary: they can't block light, since there's nothing there to create a shadow.)

In conclusion: closing your eyes should work. But remember that this is an abstraction of simultaneous events. IMO the fair solution is for both "closing your eyes" and "opening your eyes" to be free actions on your turn: you're blinded for the interim round, can't take AoO's, etc., and the wizard needs to give you advance warning (on his previous turn) so you know to do it.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Dennis da Ogre wrote:
mdt wrote:
C) Darkness, Magical : Magical darkness cancels all light except that created by a spell with the [light] descriptor. Illusion spells don't have that descriptor, so all light from them is canceled. Basically, to me, a darkness spell would negate all illusion spells as they prevent the light inherent in the illusion from being seen. If you have darkvision, then you could see the illusion, as long as the person casting it thought to also extend the illusion to darkvision as well, might require a knowledge (arcana) check if the caster doesn't have darkvision.

Where are you getting this? The darkness and deeper darkness spells lower the current level of darkness by 1 or 2 steps respectively:

Deeper Darkness:
Quote:
This spell functions as darkness, except that objects radiate darkness in a 60-foot radius and the light level is lowered by two steps.

It doesn't talk about canceling anything.

Read the entire spell.

Darkness wrote:


...
Nonmagical sources of light, such as torches and lanterns, do not increase the light level in an area of darkness. Magical light sources only increase the light level in an area if they are of a higher spell level than darkness.
Deeper Darkness wrote:


...
This spell does not stack with itself. Deeper darkness can be used to counter or dispel any light spell of equal or lower spell level.

If we are positing that an Illusion (color spray in this instance) creates light, then it is a light generating magic. Color Spray is a first level spell. It cannot create light in a darkness field, because it is not higher in level than the darkness spell. You could cast it with Heighten to a level 3 spell, then it could create light in the darkness spell, and thus work. A higher level spell always cancels a lower level spell.

Either that, or else illusion spells of 1st level can cancel any darkness spell of any level. I don't think that is the intention of the rules.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
tejón wrote:


So yeah, I think you have to be able to see it. Figments generate light by necessity, since there's nothing physical to reflect the ambient, so I see no reason it won't work in darkness... even magical darkness, considering the PF changes. (My table rule is actually a corollary: they can't block light, since there's nothing there to create a shadow.)

See my above quote, darkness and deeper darkness specifically state that magical light in an area only works if the spell is of a higher level than the darkness spell. So, the illusion could not generate light in a darkness spell unless it is of a higher level.


Pax Veritas wrote:

...I am continually humbled by two things:

>the creativity of the community to interpret, re-interpret, and make up explanations for rules and

>the tendency of the community to try to "figure out" how magic and rules work scientifically.

We'll, I could say that I am equally humbled with the tendency of the same community to to say "its magical" and be done with it.

Mind you, there is noting wrong with that either; it IS magical after all! But that would be one way of plying the game. I happen to like magic, especially vancian magic divided in schools of effects as in D&D, to work within its own ruleframe. I like wizards to be the 'scientists' of fantasy, who have to work with magical limitations similar to how modern engineers have to work with gravity and other physical Laws.

That being said, it is weird to assess that light cannot be emitted but sound can. I'd say that the limitation of illusion in that case is that illusions are restricted to the presence of a medium (air in most case) to create sound. As long as air is present, they can make it move and create sound. I'd work silence the same way invisibility deals with light: the waves are still there, they just got 'bent' above or below audible frequencies. An abjuration spell could create a sound-blocking 'bubble' physically preventing any soundwaves from penetrating the zone. Two spells, different approaches with the same result.


Keeping it simple...

Ask yourself the following...

Do you see Colour Spray as creating light? If yes, everyone can see it and will be affected; if no then...

ask yourself the following...

Do you see Darkvision as black & white? If yes then they're not affected as they can't see the colours; if no then just those with Darkvision are affected as the others can't see anything.

It doesn't actually matter what your anwsers are to the above as long as your gaming group are all aware of your rulings/views.

It's easy to over complicate the questions by considering all sorts of stuff that other posters have mentioned. Although they're all valid points and consideration, it just gets way too deep and complicated, it'll start to hurt your head!


mdt wrote:
If we are positing that an Illusion (color spray in this instance) creates light, then it is a light generating magic. Color Spray is a first level spell. It cannot create light in a darkness field, because it is not higher in level than the darkness spell. You could cast it with Heighten to a level 3 spell, then it could create light in the darkness spell, and thus work. A higher level spell always cancels a lower level spell.

The wording says "Magical light sources only increase the light level in an area if they are of a higher spell level than darkness." it does not say "Spells which require or use light do not function". Color spray and searing light don't increase the light level but all the other effects of those spells work just fine.

I guess I'm a KISS kind of guy. I just stick with the most obvious reading of spells. It doesn't say anything in the spell about requiring light or requiring that you actually SEE the effect. Nor does it suggest (as pyrotechnics explicitly does) that you can close your eyes to avoid the effect. If darkness were intended to suppress all light based magic of an equal or lower level then it should say that as well rather than the more specific wording which talks about light levels.


MDT, that is a *really* sketchy interpretation...

mdt wrote:

Read the entire spell.

Darkness wrote:

Nonmagical sources of light, such as torches and lanterns, do not increase the light level in an area of darkness. Magical light sources only increase the light level in an area if they are of a higher spell level than darkness.

As color spray is an instant spell whether it increases the light in an area or not is irrelevant. The effect happens (color spray) and nothing in text for the spell you posted (darkness) says that the effect of color spray is in any way reduced/ineffective. Non-issue at that point as the spells have no conflicting effects and so can both occur in a set area simultaneously.

mdt wrote:


Deeper Darkness wrote:


This spell does not stack with itself. Deeper darkness can be used to counter or dispel any light spell of equal or lower spell level.
If we are positing that an Illusion (color spray in this instance) creates light, then it is a light generating magic. Color Spray is a first level spell. It cannot create light in a darkness field, because it is not higher in level than the darkness spell. You could cast it with Heighten to a level 3 spell, then it could create light in the darkness spell, and thus work. A higher level spell always cancels a lower level spell.

Emphasis mine, no positing required just reading of the rules text. To counter a spell requires you to cast another spell in opposition at the exact time of another spell being cast with the intention of negating it. You aren't countering color spray with a darkness/deeper darkness spell that is in effect already, you can't. The process for countering is very specific not to mention color spray isn't a light spell anyways. Again non-issue.

Dispelling a spell has other requirements to consider as well. An effect must have a duration to be dispelled, that means color spray isn't going to be dispelled, it is an instantaneous spell with possible after effects (thus the "read text" notation in the duration of the spell). As instant spells that have effects cannot be dispelled (same way the +X to stat from a wish cannot be removed by dispel magic) deeper darkness isn't going to do anything to modify the effects of a color spray in its area even if it were a light spell.

With all that said, your argument is flawed. Everything you else you said in the above paragraph was based on a flawed interpretation. It doesn't matter if there is light or not as color spray doesn't have any effects that would be modified by either spell you brought up. Think of it this way: The creatures in the area are subject to the spell (barring immunities or the like) regardless if they see the actual spell effect of "light" given in the description. In their minds they see it and suffer the penalities because of that regardless of if there is an actual visual light to see or be masked. Isn't that the whole point of illusion spells? Influencing some other creatures mind?

mdt wrote:


Either that, or else illusion spells of 1st level can cancel any darkness spell of any level. I don't think that is the intention of the rules.

And I don’t believe the intention of the rules was to keep it from happening either, the actual rules text certainly doesn’t back up your interpretation which means it would have to be a house rule on your end for it to work the way you suggest. Your "making sense of it" actually ignores the rules given in the book.

**My take – Attempting to keep it simple**

In total darkness the caster decides to randomly (or not so randomly) cast an AREA OF EFFECT spell in a direction which may or may not have "friendlies" in it. Said character is hoping there would be no effects on his friends. First off, don't AoE a place which has friends or at least have a feat (shape spell) or PrC ability that allows you to not hit them or you know they PCs can take it (resistances, DR, etc.). Even if the caster had them it doesn't seem that they can see so it probably wouldn't matter much regardless as they can't pick or choose based on where friends are. Basically, back to AoEing the party, the idea is bad from the get go. But assuming it has to be done, your friends are in for as much hurt as the enemies -that is what AoE is about. Effects over an area and carefully choosing the area to not do more harm than good is what a caster needs to determine. A "good" caster can swing the tide of battle, a "bad" caster can wipe the party easily with these choices. This is one of the types of situations that AoE may not be the best choice.

Now that I have harped on enough as to why this is a really bad idea, I'll get to the actual rules of it.

Caster can't target in total darkness (thus the AoE I'm assuming). Regardless of what the darkness is from (total lack of light? Deeper Darkness?) there is nothing in either case that causes the spell to fail in regards to the creatures inferred (PFRPG PC races are all sighted creatures and the opponents are said to have darkvision so they have some sort of sight as well). The only creatures that will not be affected by the spell (light or not) are creatures that are specifically sightless. There are a few creatures in the MM's and I'd imagine the beastiary that are specifically called out as being sightless, they typically have some other senses like blindsight or scent or tremor sense. Now in effect most of these creatures are blind BUT that does not mean that blind equals sightless. A sightless creature has never seen light, ever, they are completely incapable of comprehending the idea of it. A blind creature had the ability to see at some time (with notably few exceptions) or has the ability to be able to see, the mechanics are basically the same but that isn't what the spell is concerned with. Now you may say that it is a judgement call that blind is the same as sightless but I would then have to point out that the spell could have easily said "blind" creatures are not effected. It doesn't say that, it says sightless creatures which is a very specific subset of creatures.

That leaves us with the spell itself to consider for effects on others. We know it is an illusion (pattern) [mind-affecting] spell that allows for a Will save and spell resistance.

That means:

1)Creatures that are immune to [mind-affecting] spells or don't have to make will saves (Mind blank for example) are going to shurg the effects off.

2)Creatures that are immune to illusions are going to shurg off the spell as well (being a pattern just means the illusion is also mind-affecting).

3)Sightless* creatures are going to not be affected either as per the rules text of the spell (*see above about sightless vs blind creatures). This is a specific exception called out in the spell itself above and beyond the norm for the spells type and descriptor.

Darkness and Deeper Darkness only influence [Light] spells so they have no effect on Color Spray which doesn't have that descriptor. A non-issue, same as complete darkness from lack of light.

PC's generally don't have any of the qualities above without preparation (100% of PFRPG core races don't). So they will be ending up on the recieving end of the color spray which generally is an unpleasant experience. Hopefully the bad guys were in the area as well to make up for it.

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