Our party entered a dark dungeon with light spells. Enters an enemy countering with darkness. Prevailing conditions dictate everything goes pitch black as darkness is the more potent spell.

Now a character throws a Glitterstone for a Glitterdust effect. Do the effectively invisible enemies get visible or does it not work?

Glitterdust has no light descriptor so it is neither countered nor does it counter Darkness. So I could imagine the enemies becoming glittering figures in the dark, similar to Faerie Fire.

On the other hand the enemies are only invisible because of darkness. Maybe Glitterdust just does not work?


1 Answer 1


The spells do not interact

Darkness doesn't make creatures invisible; it makes it so creatures can't see well in its area. (It's not even total darkness in 3.5, just "shadowy illumination"):

This spell causes an object to radiate shadowy illumination out to a 20-foot radius. All creatures in the area gain concealment (20% miss chance). Even creatures that can normally see in such conditions (such as with darkvision or low-light vision) have the miss chance in an area shrouded in magical darkness.

Note that invisibility gives total concealment (50%), so this is less than that.

Even if it made them "effectively invisible" by plunging the area in total darkness (as in this case, because it negates the prevailing light sources), it still doesn't make them actually invisible. Creatures are harder to spot because people in the Darkness can't see as well, not because the creatures themselves are intrinsically harder to spot.

Glitterdust, then, won't have any special effects. It will make actually invisible creatures potentially visible by giving them an outline (but still not actually visible as they are in total darkness), and it potentially blinds the targets. Non-invisible enemies are outlined as normal, but that has no mechanical effect, as normal.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Note: some creatures can actually see in Darkness. For example, the planar domain (LE-only) Baator's granted power states: You have the supernatural ability to see perfectly in darkness of any kind, even that created by a Deeper Darkness spell. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 17, 2017 at 18:13

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