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D&D 5E Use for Darkness

Howdie,

In a campaign I'm playing in, we found a "Box of Darkness", that emanates a Darkness spell when open (centered on the box). It's theoretically awesome, but, as none of us seem to be able to see in / through magical darkness, we've never actually used it.

What would be ways to see in magical darkness? Can anyone think of other uses for such an item?
 

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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Howdie,

In a campaign I'm playing in, we found a "Box of Darkness", that emanates a Darkness spell when open (centered on the box). It's theoretically awesome, but, as none of us seem to be able to see in / through magical darkness, we've never actually used it.

What would be ways to see in magical darkness? Can anyone think of other uses for such an item?

Unless you have a warlock with Devil's Sight it's incredibly situational and rarely used in games I've been in. Occasionally it can be useful if you're being targeted by ranged casters and you can move out of the darkness, attack and retreat.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
The only way I’m aware of to see through darkness is with the Devil’s Sight Invocation, and builds centered around taking advantage of this interaction are notoriously unfriendly for group play. Where Darkness can be useful, as @TheSword observes, is in evening the odds against an opponent with advantage.

There may be some other situational uses for it, especially since you can turn the darkness on or off by opening or closing the box. For example, you could attack an opponent while the box is closed, then use your object interaction to open it so that they will have disadvantage on attacks against you on their turn. Then on your turn you open it again. Since you only get one object interaction per turn, this would only give your opponent disadvantage on every other round unless your DM is generous with object interactions. But it’s not a terrible way to use such an item. You might also be able to coordinate between multiple characters to get that tactic to work more consistently.
 

Dausuul

Legend
What would be ways to see in magical darkness? Can anyone think of other uses for such an item?
As others have said, Devil's Sight will do it; note that you can now pick up that invocation via a feat in Tasha's, so you don't need a warlock in the party any more.

The other option is blindsight. The easiest way to get blindsight is to turn into a snake. Giant constrictor snakes have 10-foot blindsight; a moon druid can turn into one at level 6, and any full caster with access to polymorph can become one (or turn another PC into one) at level 7.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
Howdie,

In a campaign I'm playing in, we found a "Box of Darkness", that emanates a Darkness spell when open (centered on the box). It's theoretically awesome, but, as none of us seem to be able to see in / through magical darkness, we've never actually used it.

What would be ways to see in magical darkness? Can anyone think of other uses for such an item?
You don't need to see.

Under right terrain conditions, like a choke point, you throw down the box of darkness among enemies, then a caster sets up an area effect spell just outside of darkness. Enemies who wish to see you end up moving into the spell effect's area.
 

Nebulous

Legend
You don't need to see.

Under right terrain conditions, like a choke point, you throw down the box of darkness among enemies, then a caster sets up an area effect spell just outside of darkness. Enemies who wish to see you end up moving into the spell effect's area.
I was going to say, as a tactical combat option, this is how my players would do it. Put the enemy at a disadvantage. Hell, they'd dig a twenty foot deep poison spike pit just to lure some blinded arseholes into it :)
 

Quickleaf

Legend
I was going to say, as a tactical combat option, this is how my players would do it. Put the enemy at a disadvantage. Hell, they'd dig a twenty foot deep poison spike pit just to lure some blinded arseholes into it :)
My last gaming group was exceptional at weaponinzing all my pit traps. Definitely taught me to think like a player! :geek:
 

aco175

Legend
Save it, the McGuffin of light that needs to be placed inside to keep it from destroying the land.

Reach into the darkness to find the McGuffin of light that is needed to destroy the BBEG. Most players are afraid of reaching into the darkness since the last Sphere of Annihilation.

 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
I can see where Devil Sight and it’s like are tempting. As a 80% DM I would say I would get very quickly annoyed by an item that effectively made the enemy blind but not the players. It’s just too great a handicap. I’d not try to circumvent the disadvantage with feats and enjoy the item for what it is.

Devils sight is even more annoying for other players that can’t see while the one player can. Be very wary! An deeply unbalanced combo like this can only cause problems in the long term. If you think everyone will have more fun if your character can see but no one else can then on your own head be it. “If the Gods want to punish us they answer our prayers.”

I actually tried this technique as a player in pathfinder using an oracle of flame. That character got grappled in the jaws of a red dragon, flown 400 feet up in the air and then thrown at the side of a mountain... ... not dropped, thrown. I think the DM felt the trick got very old very quickly 🤷🏻‍♂️ ... and so rocks fell.
 
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A few years ago there was some discussion on the forum that suggested an alternate interpretation for how darkness works. Rather than making an opaque area, it actually just created a dark region of illumination that worked like natural darkness (other than that darkvision doesn't work on it). Ie, if you are inside it you could see things outside of it that aren't in darkness, and if you are outside it you can see well-lit things on the other side. Kind of like super-shade, or the area between widely spaced street lamps.

That makes it useful to hide in and attack outside of, and might potentially better explain why drow have it. It also makes sense of it in relationship to other spells. For example, there is a 3rd level warlock spell (I forgot it's name) that specifically makes an area of inky blackness and is more direct about its nature. Also, 2nd level darkness is mostly inferior to 1st level fog cloud. The alternate interpretation gives it a niche as kind of an area of invisibility with the downside being that its presence is obvious unless it's at a distance and/or already dark in the environment.

I'm strongly considering using that interpretation myself.
 


TheSword

Legend
Supporter
A few years ago there was some discussion on the forum that suggested an alternate interpretation for how darkness works. Rather than making an opaque area, it actually just created a dark region of illumination that worked like natural darkness (other than that darkvision doesn't work on it). Ie, if you are inside it you could see things outside of it that aren't in darkness, and if you are outside it you can see well-lit things on the other side. Kind of like super-shade, or the area between widely spaced street lamps.

That makes it useful to hide in and attack outside of, and might potentially better explain why drow have it. It also makes sense of it in relationship to other spells. For example, there is a 3rd level warlock spell (I forgot it's name) that specifically makes an area of inky blackness and is more direct about its nature. Also, 2nd level darkness is mostly inferior to 1st level fog cloud. The alternate interpretation gives it a niche as kind of an area of invisibility with the downside being that its presence is obvious unless it's at a distance and/or already dark in the environment.

I'm strongly considering using that interpretation myself.
In the Salvatore books, Drow used the globes to drop on an enemy during ambush to disorientate them and stop them coordinating a defense. Or to facilitate an escape. Also the more experienced Drow were trained in blind fighting, or they just shot into the globe with enemies unable to shoot back.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
Supporter
In the Salvatore books, Drow used the globes to drop on an enemy during ambush to disorientate them and stop them coordinating a defense. Or to facilitate an escape. Also the more experienced Drow were trained in blind fighting, or they just shot into the globe with enemies unable to shoot back.
Why unable to shoot back?
 



G

Guest 6801328

Guest
As others have said, Devil's Sight will do it; note that you can now pick up that invocation via a feat in Tasha's, so you don't need a warlock in the party any more.

The other option is blindsight. The easiest way to get blindsight is to turn into a snake. Giant constrictor snakes have 10-foot blindsight; a moon druid can turn into one at level 6, and any full caster with access to polymorph can become one (or turn another PC into one) at level 7.

The other way to get blindsight is to take the new feat in Tasha's that grants you a fighting style. That plus a box of darkness is pure win.
 

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