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D&D 5E Revisiting RAW Darkness Spell

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
There has been a supposed symmetry between those looking out of the darkness and those looking into the darkness generated by the spell. But I'm not finding that explicitly stated anywhere in the spell.

Darkness Spell (PHB 230)
Magical darkness spreads from a point you choose within range to fill a 15-foot-radius sphere for the duration. The darkness spreads around corners. A creature with darkvision can't see through this darkness, and nonmagical light can't illuminate it. If the point you choose is on an object you are holding or one that isn't being worn or carried, the darkness emanates from the object and moves with it. Completely covering the source of the darkness with an opaque object, such as a bowl or a helm, blocks the darkness. If any of this spell's area overlaps with an area of light created by a spell of 2nd level or lower, the spell that created the light is dispelled.

The question comes down to what 'seeing through this darkness' means. Also of note is that RAW never specifies that one cannot see out of this darkness. So what do you think is the best interpretation of 'can't see through this darkness'?


Other relevant rules:

Heavily Obscured
(PHB 183) A heavily obscured area—such as darkness, opaque fog, or dense foliage—blocks vision entirely. A creature in a heavily obscured area effectively suffers from the blinded condition (see appendix A).

Blinded Condition (PHB 291)
A blinded creature can't sec and automatically fails any ability check that requires sight. - Attack rolls against the creature have advantage, and the creature's attack rolls have disadvantage
 

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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
You can't look into it if you are outside of it and you can't look out of it if you are inside of it. And looking "through" it just means btrying to traverse the distance of the spell and see whatever is along the way-- which you can't do because you can't see "in" or "out" of the darkness to begin with.

And the game doesn't need an explanation that goes into all these details, because it's all common sense and only someone trying to play linguistic games would ever to say "Well, the game doesn't SAY you can't look "out" of it!" If you are inside the darkness spell... you have to look "through" the darkness to the edge of the spell before you can look "out" of it. Which the spells says you can't do.

The Darkness spell is a sphere of black "ink" that shows nothing that is inside of it from the POV of someone outside... and someone inside sees just blackness as if they were blind so long as they remain in the sphere. And no amount of light sources can change this black "ink" sphere unless it is from a magical source of 3rd level or higher.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
You can't look into it if you are outside of it and you can't look out of it if you are inside of it. And looking "through" it just means btrying to traverse the distance of the spell and see whatever is along the way-- which you can't do because you can't see "in" or "out" of the darkness to begin with.
The RAW never says you can't look into it or out of it. It's simply magical darkness with the added effect that 'a creature with darkvision can't see through this darkness'
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
@el-remmen you laughed but show me where I'm wrong. Where does the darkness spell say it creates darkness that has any other character effects than regular darkness (save for how it interacts with darkvision)?
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
@el-remmen you laughed but show me where I'm wrong. Where does the darkness spell say it creates darkness that has any other character effects than regular darkness (save for how it interacts with darkvision)?
Regular darkness blocks vision entirely unless you have Darkvision. Even if the only special effect of the darkness created by the spell is that it cancels Darkvision and nonmagical light can’t illuminate it... The effect is still that it blocks vision entirely.
 



FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Darkness creates a heavily obscured area.

A heavily obscured area blocks vision entirely.
Agreed.

So if you are in a heavily obscured area, your vision is entirely blocked.
I wouldn't say this particular statements follows from the above statements - but it is still a rule by itself.

"A creature in a heavily obscured area effectively suffers from the blinded condition (see appendix A)."

Thanks. That rule is the key! It doesn't matter whether they could see anything out of it or not, by 5e RAW we don't even have to ask that question. All we need to know is if they are in darkness that heavily obscured their vision then they suffer from the blinded condition. That's the rule that makes darkness spell symmetrical.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Regular darkness blocks vision entirely unless you have Darkvision. Even if the only special effect of the darkness created by the spell is that it cancels Darkvision and nonmagical light can’t illuminate it... The effect is still that it blocks vision entirely.
Regular Darkness doesn't actually block anything in at least one example. You are in light, your opponent is in light and there is darkness between. In that case you will be able to shoot him as normal. Darkness magical or otherwise didn't block anything.

If you are in darkness and they are out of it then the rule @prabe brought shows that you being in regular darkness without darkvision makes you effectively blinded (an odd rule IMO, but the rule nonetheless).
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Regular Darkness doesn't actually block anything in at least one example. You are in light, your opponent is in light and there is darkness between. In that case you will be able to shoot him as normal. Darkness magical or otherwise didn't block anything.
It's not the opponent that the darkness in between blocked, it's everything within the darkness between the two pockets of light that is blocked from being seen. Regular darkness blocks seeing whatever is within the regular darkness. But since regular darkness doesn't block regular light (unlike the Darkness spell, which does)... you can easily see anything lit up beyond the darkness in whatever diameter of light is out there.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
It's not the opponent that the darkness in between blocked, it's everything within the darkness between the two pockets of light that is blocked from being seen. Regular darkness blocks seeing whatever is within the regular darkness. But since regular darkness doesn't block regular light (unlike the Darkness spell, which does)... you can easily see anything lit up beyond the darkness in whatever diameter of light is out there.
IMO. Trying to bring physics into fantasy game mechanics is an exercise fraught with peril. It's fun but not really meaningful.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
This rule has been errated rendering most of my above reasoning moot. It's looking more and more like the Darkness Spell allows you to see out as normal.

"A creature in a heavily obscured area effectively suffers from the blinded condition (see appendix A)." becomes "A creature effectively suffers from the blinded condition (see appendix A) when trying to see something in that area."
 

Torquar

Explorer
This rule has been errated rendering most of my above reasoning moot. It's looking more and more like the Darkness Spell allows you to see out as normal.

"A creature in a heavily obscured area effectively suffers from the blinded condition (see appendix A)." becomes "A creature effectively suffers from the blinded condition (see appendix A) when trying to see something in that area."
But the sentence before that says "A heavily obscured area-such as darkness, opaque fog, or dense foliage-blocks vision entirely".
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
But the sentence before that says "A heavily obscured area-such as darkness, opaque fog, or dense foliage-blocks vision entirely".
Which at best is ambiguous. There's lots of ways it can block vision entirely while not doing so in every conceivable scenario. The rules go on to clarify how it blocks vision entirely - and with the errata it's became even clearer.

"A creature in a heavily obscured area effectively suffers from the blinded condition (see appendix A)." becomes "A creature effectively suffers from the blinded condition (see appendix A) when trying to see something in that area."
 


Iry

Hero
The "Blocks Vision Entirely" and "Nonmagical Light Can't Illuminate It" are the phrases that cement RAW for me. Without assuming basic physics, you trigger the "But it doesn't say I can't" argument. And that way leads to madness.*
*Madness in this case meaning a completely non-functional game.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
The "Blocks Vision Entirely" and "Nonmagical Light Can't Illuminate It" are the phrases that cement RAW for me. Without assuming basic physics, you trigger the "But it doesn't say I can't" argument. And that way leads to madness.*
*Madness in this case meaning a completely non-functional game.
Behavior of light isn't exactly basic physics ;) Behavior of light in magic is even less basic physics ;)

"Blocks Vision Entirerly" was errated away...
So let's take the "Nonmagical Light can't illuminate it." No idea why that matters in this context?
 



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