Light sources in combat.


Rules Questions


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Hello there, my friends and I just took up pathfinder and are running mods right now so that we can learn properly. Before this we were all experienced 3.5/ 4.0 and 5.0 players.

So in our group of 4 people we have 2 humans with normal vision and we are currently in a dungeon with dark lighting. We have various light sources such as lamps torches and candles in order to help them see. Since our party is using light sources and relying on them I had a few questions about the ruling of them.

1. Our ranger has a lamp, but he uses a 2 handed sword and a bow so he decided to tie it to his belt. Can he do this or does he need to hold it in at least one hand?

2. One of our party members dropped his torch as a free action, and we ruled that it should stay lit. But can you do this with a lantern or candle, would it break or go out?

3. When facing an intelligent creature/ opponent could they use a disarm or called shot to attack and destroy/disarm a light source in your hand or on your body?

4. If you can indeed attack a light source on an enemy in order to destroy or tamper with it, could you then do this on an attack of opportunity similar to how you can target a potion that someone is about to drink if they cause an AOO?


Are you looking for official rules or common sense rules?


My opinion for 1-3. #4 is in the rules though

1. I think this totally fine. And lighting shouldn't be a problem for long with light producing magic items being dirt cheap.

2. I would say he places it on the ground for the lamp, which is "dropping it," but for the candle I'm not sure how I would rule it (my group never uses candles)

3. Yes, though its effectiveness has more to deal with what happens to the object after the shot hits. GM's call is best for this one.

4. That would be a sunder attempt, both for the potion and the light source, and yes you can do that on AoO, following the rules for sundering.


justaworm's common sense suggestions:

1. Ouch. Lamp probably sufficiently transfers heat to ranger's leg/torso that this is very uncomfortable at best and damages him at worst. The lamp is likely high enough quality to not be in danger of going out used like this, but unless the ranger has taken precautions this shouldn't feel good. Also, if someone were to target the lamp or the ranger were knocked to the ground, there should be some chance the lamp breaks and sets the ranger on fire.

Question: Why is the ranger not just magically creating light?

2. Would agree that torch should stay lit (unless dropped in liquid obviously). Lantern should have a chance to break/tip over and probably start a fire as the oil spills out and ignites (unless maybe MW lantern or something). The candle should definitely have some sort of chance of going out (like 75% or something high).

3. Would make sense. Sunder is another option too when not using "called shots". Casters can also use wind or water spells as a tactic.

4. I would say yes only if the character's action is attempting to ignite the light source in question. So if Tordek's causes an AOO because his combat action is to attempt to ignite his torch, then yes you should be able to attack the torch with your AOO similar to how to can target the potion instead. If Tordek is just moving through an opponent's square with a lit torch, the enemy shouldn't be able to make the AoO against the torch. (though I think disarm and sunder are possible AoO actions, no?)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
justaworm wrote:
Question: Why is the ranger not just magically creating light?

Rangers don't get cantrips or orisons, so any light spells they use will be one shot only for the day.


The ranger might not be high enough level yet.

Honestly, I kinda miss the days when light wasn't just something everyone had and could use infinite times per day. Managing light is kind of an interesting challenge.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

It certainly has changed the dynamic of the game. I honestly don't recall it being a big deal in my 3.5 games, mostly due to the hassle of figuring out constantly shifting situations. It's a lot easier with online tabletops that can provide dynamic lighting effects now.

Grand Lodge

Well, remember that the Light cantrip loses the contest with just about any Darkness spells, since it is 0 level, and Darkness and its relatives start at 2nd level...

For 1, suggest a sunrod on a piece of rope around his neck. Lamps get hot, and, as another poster said, can and likely will cause the bearer to take damage.

For 2, torches should stay lit, candles have a chance of landing badly and putting themselves out with molten wax, and the lanmp depends on placed or dropped. Dropped should have a chance of breaking it, probably using a Fort save for the lamp against a fairly low DC (5, maybe?)

For 3, yes, indeed. Especially if held for disarm. Sunder would also work, but might not put out certain light sources.

For 4, typically, the AoO would depend on what triggered it, as to whether it could be used to disarm the light source or not.

Remember that candles are, for combat, a really bad idea, though, since they light little more than the square they are in, making it easier to hit the candle bearer, not necessarily for them to hit. 5' radius. Yuck.

To be honest, unless the party has a torchbearer, or someone who always has a free hand, the best light sources are either ones that don't need hands (Light spell, miner's helmet. Ioun torch, etc.) or something that would be within common sense could be attached to a piece f rope or string to wear instead of carry (sunrod on a rope, etc.)

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