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One of my party members found a magical mace. Its magical ability is that it can light on fire (turn on or off at will) for 1 bonus fire damage. My question is, does the light from this mace dispel the magical effect of the Darkness spell?

My argument is that no, the mace is magical, but the fire isn't magical, nor is the light from the fire magical light, it's just regular light.

Even if I granted that the light is defined as magical, the mace was found really early after level 2, and Darkness reads:

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.

I expect that the mace is a low level magic at the very least, and not high enough level to cancel out darkness?

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The mace is not affected by the Darkness, and the Darkness is not affected by the mace.

Darkness has no clause that allows magical light to dispel it. You might be thinking of this, from the Daylight spell:

If any of this spell’s area overlaps with an area of darkness created by a spell of 3rd level or lower, the spell that created the darkness is dispelled.

But that is a feature of a specific spell (Daylight), not a general rule about the Darkness spell.

As for Darkness, it says this about magical light:

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.

But the light from the mace isn't light created by a spell of 2nd level or lower, it's light created by a magical item. Or possibly light created by fire created by a magic item. The point is, it's not the kind of light Darkness says it dispels.

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    \$\begingroup\$ May want to point out what this means (you can use the mace to see, but you can't use it to get rid of the magic so you can use regular stuff to see) \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Jul 25 '17 at 9:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually, I'd read it as the mace will still be on fire (not dispelled), but the magical darkness (which blocks vision, it's not just an absence of light) overrides it. So you could, perhaps, see the mace itself, but it wouldn't illuminate anything. So yes, Miniman, elaborating on the net effect would be helpful :) \$\endgroup\$ – SirTechSpec Jul 25 '17 at 17:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SirTechSpec We don't know enough about the mace to say for certain what the net effect would be. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Jul 25 '17 at 22:40
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No, It does not dispel the darkness. It also does not illuminate inside the darkness area of effect.

The darkness spell states:

The darkness spreads around corners. A creature with darkvision can’t see through this darkness, and nonmagical light can’t illuminate it.

When it interacts with magical light, it either:

  • dispels the spell creating the light (spells of 2nd level or lower - including cantrips)

  • the light from the spell suppresses the darkness in the overlapping area, illuminating that particular region of overlap (non-spell magical sources of light, or spells of 3rd level or higher).

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.

Unless the specific spell that created the light says otherwise:

Daylight - 3rd-level evocation

(...) If any of this spell’s area overlaps with an area of darkness created by a spell of 3rd level or lower, the spell that created the darkness is dispelled.

The mace's fire is not magical as you stated in question, so it has no chance against the darkness spell.

Last remarks:

  • the light from that one magical weapon (the flaming mace) does not supress darkness. Other light-emitting magical weapons might have different powers.

  • A caster can always cast the spell using a higher level slot (even if the spell does not have a at higher levels entry). The spell level is considered to be the level of the slot used. If darkness is cast using a 4th level slot, daylight cannot dispel it.
    This is one of the advantages of the warlock slots. They grow in level and all warlock spells are cast at max level.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @Adam [about the warlock remark] Unnecessary? yes. Irrelevant? no. \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Jul 25 '17 at 17:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Adam it is not incomplete. Darkness either dispels the magical light or the magical light illuminates their area. Its A or B. But I think i can improve the text if it has room for improvement, many thanks for pointing that out. \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Jul 25 '17 at 17:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Why is the mace's fire not magical? The damage dealt by a magic weapon is magical, and the fire is created magically, so it's magical fire. The real question is if light from magical fire is magical light for purposes of the Darkness spell. \$\endgroup\$ – Doval Jul 25 '17 at 19:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is a magical weapon, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the fire is magical. A magic mace could magically create regular fire. Regardless, since it doesn't state it, it doesn't seem to be magical fire or magical light from the fire. As a side question, does anyone believe the Moonlight spell would dissolve darkness if cast at a higher level? \$\endgroup\$ – Rusty Jul 25 '17 at 22:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rusty Magic weapons, like spells, are magical by definition; any damage they deal or effects they produce are automatically magical unless something says otherwise. This is explicitly addressed in Sage Advice Compendium: "Is the breath weapon of a dragon magical?" The main exception where magic produces something non-magical is instantaneous spells. If the mace doesn't state otherwise, it's magical fire. The Moonbeam thing should really become a separate question. \$\endgroup\$ – Doval Jul 25 '17 at 23:49

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