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This spell creates a field of magical darkness. It functions essentially like a reverse of the Light spell, but it creates darkness rather than light. It does not always explicitly block special kinds of vision (such as darkvision or infravision), and it may or may not extinguish other light sources.

Original D&D Edit

Anti-clerics reverse the light and continual light spells. Illusionists could cast the original light and continual light spells, and also their reverse, dubbed "Darkness" and "Continual Darkness." The spell Darkness, 5' Radius appears in Supplement 1: Greyhawk

Reversed Light (Darkness) Edit

This spell appeared on the list of the illusionist in their debut in The Strategic Review 1-4. It was removed from their list in Dragon Magazine #12.

  • Spell Level: 1 (anti-cleric, illusionist)
  • Duration 12 turns + 1 turn/level

Creates darkness in a circle 3" in diameter for the duration.

Reversed Continual Light (Continual Darkness) Edit

Dragon Magazine #12 indicated that illusionists could cast this at spell level 2, as a magic user, and at spell level 3, as a cleric. As magic-users don't gain access to the spell, it's a little unclear what the level 3 version does that the level 2 version does not.

  • Spell Level 2 (anticleric, illusionist [magic-user]) or 3 (illusionist [cleric])
  • Range: 12"

Creates darkness in a circle 24" in diameter.

Darkness, 5' Radius Edit

  • Spell Level 2
  • Range 12"
  • Duration 6 turns

Creates total darkness in the area, making even infra-vision useless. It can be countered by dispel magic or light.

AD&D Edit

The spell darkness, 15' radius appeared on the magic-user list. The illusionist spell darkness was much the same effect, with continual darkness being the upgrade. These spells were distinct from the reverse of the light and continual light spells in that they also barred infravision and ultravision, and had different parameters (range, duration ,etc.).

Darkness Edit

  • Spell Level 1 (illusionist)
  • School: Alteration
  • Components: Verbal, Somatic
  • Casting Time: 1 segment
  • Range: 1"/level
  • Duration: 2d4 rounds + 1 round/level
  • Area: 15' radius globe of blackness

This spell creates a sphere of utter darkness. More than simply the absence of light, the spell makes ultravision and infravision useless, and stops normal and magical light form existing, unless a specific light or continual light spell is used. A light spell negates this, and vice-versa.

Reversed Light Edit

  • Spell Level 1 (cleric)
  • School: Alteration
  • Components: Verbal, Somatic
  • Casting Time: 4 segments
  • Range: 12"
  • Duration: 3 turns + 1 turn/2 levels
  • Area: 2" radius globe of darkness

Creates a sphere of blackness 4" in diameter that the caster may extinguish with a word. The darkness can spring from any target, air, rock, metal, wood, or "almost any similar substance." The darkness could even spring from a creature, though a creature is allowed magic resistance and a saving throw. If the save is successful, the darkness centers on the space just behind the creature.

Darkness, 15' Radius Edit

Debuted in the Player's Handbook for the magic-user.

Level: 2 School: Alteration
Components: V, M (a bit of bat fur and a piece of coal or a drop of pitch)
Range: 1"/level Casting Time: 2 segments
Duration: 1 turn + 1 turn/level Saving Throw: None
Area: 1 1/2" radius globe

This spell creates a sphere of utter darkness. More than simply the absence of light, the spell makes ultravision and infravision useless, and stops normal and magical light form existing, unless a specific light or continual light spell is used. A light spell negates this, and vice-versa.

Continual Darkness Edit

  • Spell Level 3 (illusionist)
  • School: Alteration
  • Components: Verbal, Material (a bit of bat fur and a drop of pitch or a piece of coal)
  • Casting Time: 3 segments
  • Range: 6"
  • Duration: Permanent
  • Area: 3" radius globe of darkness

This spell creates a sphere of utter darkness. More than simply the absence of light, the spell makes ultravision and infravision useless, and stops normal and magical light form existing, unless a specific light or continual light spell is used. A light spell negates this, and vice-versa.

Reversed Continual Light Edit

  • Spell Level 3 (cleric)
  • School: Alteration
  • Components: Verbal, Somatic
  • Casting Time: 6 segments
  • Range: 12"
  • Duration: Permanent
  • Area: 6" radius globe of darkness

Creates a sphere of blackness 12" in diameter that the caster may extinguish with a word. The darkness can spring from any target, air, rock, metal, wood, or "almost any similar substance." The darkness could even spring from a creature, though a creature is allowed magic resistance and a saving throw. If the save is successful, the darkness centers on the space just behind the creature. This darkness lasts until it is actively dispelled.

AD&D 2e Edit

The darkness spell here is considered the reverse of the light spell. Similarly, continual darkness is simply the reverse of the continual light spell.

Darkness (reversed light) Edit

  • Spell Level 1 (evil priest)
  • School: Alteration / Spheres: Creation, Guardian, Sun
  • Rarity: Common
  • Components: Verbal, Somatic (priests)
  • Casting Time: Standard Action (4)
  • Range: 120 yards
  • Duration: 30 minutes + 1 turn/2 levels (priest)
  • Area: 20-ft. radius globe of darkness

The darkness caused is equal to an unlit interior room. Light sources brought into an area are non-functional unless they are of equal or greater intensity than daylight.

Continual Darkness (reversed continual light) Edit

  • Spell Level 3 (evil priest)
  • School: Alteration / Spheres: Creation, Guardian, Sun
  • Rarity: Common
  • Components: Verbal, Somatic
  • Casting Time: Standard Action (6)
  • Range: 120 yds.
  • Duration: Permanent
  • Area: 60-ft radius globe of darkness

This spell causes pitch darkness similar to the darkness spell, but of greater area. The darkness does not abate unless specifically dispelled.

3.0e D&D Edit

  • Evocation [Darkness]
  • Level: Brd 2, Clr 2, Sor/Wiz 2
  • Components: V, M/DF
  • Casting Time: 1 action
  • Range: Touch
  • Target: Object touched
  • Duration: 10 minutes/level (D)
  • Saving Throw: None
  • Spell Resistance: No

This spell causes an object to radiate darkness out to a 20-foot radius. Not even creatures who can normally see in the dark (such as with darkvision) can see in an area shrouded in magical darkness. Normal lights (torches, candles, lanterns, and so forth) do not work, nor do light spells of lower level (flare, light, dancing lights). Darkness and the 2nd-level arcane spell daylight cancel each other, leaving whatever light conditions normally prevail in the overlapping areas of the spells. Higher-level light spells (such as the 3rd-level cleric spell daylight) are not affected by darkness.

If the spell is cast on a small object that is then placed inside or under a lightproof covering, the spell’s effects are blocked until the covering is removed.

Darkness counters or dispels any light spell of equal or lower level.

Arcane Material Components: A bit of bat fur and either a drop of pitch or a piece of coal.

3.5e D&D Edit

  • Spell Level: Bard 2, Cleric 2, Sorcerer 2, Wizard 2
  • School: Evocation [Darkness]
  • Components: Verbal, Material (a bit of bat fur and a drop of pitch or a piece of coal) (arcane) or Verbal, Divine Focus (divine)
  • Casting Time: Standard Action
  • Range: Touch
  • Target: Touched object
  • Duration: 10 minutes/level (D)

Radiates shadowy illumination out to a 20-ft. radius, which grants creatures in the area concealment (20% miss chance). Even creatures that can see in darkness are affected by this. Normal lights and [Light] spells of less than 2nd level are not capable of shining in the area, though light spells of 2nd level and higher function uninhibited. The spell can counter and dispel any [Light] spell of equal or lower level. Much like the light spell, if it is cast on an object, the object can be hooded or put in a container to block the darkness' radiation until it is taken out.

Pathfinder Version Edit

In Pathfinder, the spell drops the illumination level by one step (from bright light to normal light, from normal light to dim light, or from dim light to darkness), though multiple castings don't stack. Normal or lower-level illumination won't increase the light-level in the area (even if they are outside the area). In dim light, creatures in the area have concealment, and in darkness, they have total concealment. Creatures who can see in darkness or dim light are not affected by the spell's conditions.

The Pathfinder version furthermore extends this spell to the PF-specific antipaladin, oracle, inquisitor, and magus classes. It also has a Mythic version that drops the illumination to darkness levels (creatures who can see in darkness see as if a human in dim light), and imposes a -2 penalty to saves vs. fear.

4e D&D Edit

The actual darkness power in 4e is an Assassin utility that creates a zone of darkness that you can see through around you. The most similar power to the earlier editions' darkness spell is veil of darkness, a Cleric utility prayer

Veil of Darkness Edit

  • Cleric Utility Level 2
  • Keywords: Divine, Shadow, Zone
  • Casting Time: Minor Action
  • Area burst 1 within 10

The effect of this spell is to create a zone that is heavily obscured and blocks line of sight. The zone lasts until the end of your next turn. The caster can sustain the zone by spending a minor action on subsequent turns.

5e D&D Edit

  • Spell Level 2
  • School: Evocation
  • Components: Verbal, Material (a firefly or bit of phosphorescent moss) (mages)
  • Duration: Concentration, up to 10 minutes.

Magical darkness fills a 15-ft. radius sphere for the duration. The darkness even spread around corners. Creatures with darkvision can't see in it, and nonmagical light will not illuminate it. You can cast the spell on an object, and block the darkness shed by the object with an opaque barrier (such as by putting it in a box). If the spell's area overlaps an area of light created by a 2nd-level or lower spell, the spell that created that light is dispelled.

Sources Edit

OD&D:

  • Men & Magic
  • The Strategic Review 1-4

1e: Player's Handbook

2e:

  • Wizard's Spell Compendium
  • Priest's Spell Compendium

3e: http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/darkness.htm

PF: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic/all-spells/d/darkness

4e:

5e: Player's Handbook

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