Eclipsing Rage And Light Levels


Rules Questions


Eclipsing Rage (Su) wrote:
While the barbarian is raging, the light level within 10 feet of her lowers by one step. She can’t decrease the light level below normal darkness with this ability. Multiple barbarians with this rage power don’t further reduce the light level. A barbarian must be at least 6th level to choose this rage power.
Eclipsing Rage, Greater (Su) wrote:
Whenever the barbarian rages, the light level within 20 feet of her lowers by two steps instead of one. She still can’t decrease the light level below normal darkness with this ability. A barbarian must be at least 10th level and have the eclipsing rage† power to choose this rage power.

How do these rage powers interact with non-magical and magical light sources?

I've looked through Vision and Light. It seems there's only such a thing as magical darkness, as "non-magical" darkness is simply the absence of light (e.g. it would not suppress a light source brought into it). This leaves us with magical darkness, and these powers are supernatural abilities, but "Illuminating Darkness" seems to only discuss darkness spells and makes frequent use of things like spell levels. Eclipsing Rage and Greater Eclipsing Rage are not spells, do not appear to reference spells, and I'm not aware of a wider mechanic for determining what level of spell a barbarian's rage powers would count as (unlike, for example, kineticist wild talents).

Some scenarios I'd like to understand:


  • The barbarian is carrying a lit mundane torch, or engaged with an enemy carrying the same, and rages. Is the torch's light negated as a non-magical light source, and then the lighting is lowered one level, or does only the latter happen?
  • As above with a Light cantrip.
  • More broadly, since 10-20 feet is a relatively short range, if a light source is in the area of effect, is its entire light radius affected, or only the part that overlaps with Eclipsing Rage's aura? E.g. barbarian is holding a torch, would it give light past the 10 feet around them as normal (20 feet for Greater Eclipsing Rage)?


As far as I can tell the special "quenches normal light sources" thing is only for spells (and, by extension, Spell Like Abilities); since the "spell level" of the darkness spell plays into that rule, there's not a sensible way to adjudicate this Su ability using those rules for spells.

It looks like those powers are agnostic as to the source of light; so the first simply lowers light levels in the 10 ft radius by 1 level; a torch (in an otherwise dark location) has normal light for 20 ft, then dim for another 40 ft (at least if I'm reading the table correctly). So, if a barbarian with the first power was holding a torch it would lower the light level to dim for the first 10 ft, then normal for the next 10 ft band, then back to dim for the 40 ft after that. With the second power it would lower it to darkness (2 levels) for the first 20 ft, then it would still be dim for the remaining 40 ft.

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Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Illuminating darkness blog
You can find a lot of information in that blog.


Well, supernatural powers are magical in nature, but aren't spells or even spell like abilities.

Still, I would hope that these rage powers would suppress non-magical light sources, and maybe anything that has a caster level lower than the character's barbarian level. That would be pretty awesome.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Claxon wrote:

Well, supernatural powers are magical in nature, but aren't spells or even spell like abilities.

Still, I would hope that these rage powers would suppress non-magical light sources, and maybe anything that has a caster level lower than the character's barbarian level. That would be pretty awesome.

Eclipsing Rage (Su) wrote:
... A barbarian must be at least 6th level to choose this rage power.

I would say it work as a level 3 light spell, while Greater Eclipsing Rage would work as a level 5 light spell.


You could certainly rule that way.

I would just be in favor of the barbarian's rage suppressing most the casual use of even light spells. Which is to say, that unless you're casting light spells using Heighten Spell the barbarians rage should beat it.

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Merged duplicate threads.


Thanks Sam for organising my mess.

merpius thanks for the original reply. Had a busy week, but read your input, and found myself agreeing. It's especially useful to get views on darkness covering a source of light but not its whole radius.

Diego Rossi thanks for the link. I couldn't find that blog itself, but the text is copied over in the one I was reading.

Claxon I agree with you that it should suppress conventional light sources. Having considered it more since posting, if it couldn't reduce magical light, and also couldn't reduce conventional light, only working when it's already dark... Then the power never does anything. So I'm sold on it affecting torches and sunlight and so on.

Here is where I'm at now:

The blog Deigo kindly linked says "Darkness spells first negate nonmagical light sources like lanterns and sunrods, and then they tell you how many steps to reduce the "ambient" light". That does say darkness spells, not darkness magic, but it makes no use of spell level or caster level, so I think it can and would apply to Eclipsing Rage. This would mean the light of a torch or similar is totally negated within the Rage Power's aura. It then lowers the ambient lighting (e.g. the sun) by one level, down to a minimum of darkness. I think that much is right.

Some quick wins are Eclipsing Rage probably cannot counterspell or be counterspelled, since the power is never "cast". Also, Daylight and it cancel each other out where their auras overlap, since that part of the spell is effective on all magical darkness.

The crux is other light spells, since according to the blog post "light spells attempt to shine through" whenever they overlap with magical darkness. Whether they succeed is decided by comparing spell level "(not caster level!)". Eclipsing Rage has no spell level, since it's just a Supernatural ability. Do Supernatural abilities provide a default?

Having looked around, it appears not.

I would not want to have to adjudicate interactions with this PFS legal ability at a PFS table.

Well, then, here I draw the line beyond which strict RAW ends.

I think I can rule out a non-heightened Light spell working, since the light spell must be a higher level than the darkness "spell", and even if Eclipsing Rage has no spell level, this at best ties with the 0 for a cantrip, and ties go to darkness. Beyond that, spell levels do not scale once a spell is learned, that's what caster levels are for, and caster levels don't get to play at the illumination party, that much the blog is clear on. To make comparisons with the kineticist: "Every wild talent has an effective spell level... Kinetic blast and defense wild talents are always considered to have an effective spell level equal to 1/2 the kineticist’s class level (to a maximum effective spell level of 9th at kineticist level 18th)".

This implies powers that continuously scale, such as with a kineticist's blasts, increase in their effective spell level. Fixed powers that don't grow stronger, like any wild talents not already inheriting a blast's effective spell level, sit at a fixed spell level. I think this ends up in agreement with Diego Rossi's 2nd post. Eclipsing Rage would be 3rd level, and Greater Eclipsing Rage 5th level, since their effects don't really scale. But this is a reasoned interpretation, not the RAW applied well, raw, which appears to return an error. I think this is how a FAQ would deal with the issue.

Thanks to everyone for the help.

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