Very much related: How long does Alchemist's Fire burn?

An answer on the linked post leads to suggest that Alchemist's Fire burns as long as it is not actively extinguished by somebody.

However, a comment on the same answer indicated that Alchemist's Fire doesn't release light, because light isn't mentioned with the description of the item.

I'm looking for any RAW material that indicates whether or not Alchemist's Fire produces light, and how long it can burn for on an inflammable object.

If there is no such material, then I am even willing to accept information from prior versions that cover this same information.

If there is no information on Alchemist's Fire itself, then a RAI answer can be acceptable if it includes the process with how Alchemist's Fire is made (to draw a conclusion about what kind of light/duration could be expected).

Alchemist's Fire in 5e, per the description under "Adventuring Gear":

This sticky, adhesive fluid ignites when exposed to air. As an action, you can throw this flask up to 20 feet, shattering it on impact. [...] The target takes 1d4 fire damage at the start of each of its turns. A creature can end this damage by using its action to make a DC 10 Dexterity check to extinguish the flames.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: How much illumination does Create Bonfire provide? (Also note that this topic was highly controversial at the time in RPG.SE General Chat) \$\endgroup\$ Jul 31, 2018 at 20:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ In asking this question, are you making a distinction between the alchemist's fire (some kind of fluid) and whatever it is that it sets on fire? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 31, 2018 at 20:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ Specifically the alchemist's fire after it has become exposed to air (or whatever the ignition is in prior edition). The material that is burning is of little consequence for this question. We could say it is a Stone Golem, for the sake of RAW (Both a creature, but also made of stone which is normally inflammable). \$\endgroup\$ Jul 31, 2018 at 20:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you actually asking if the alchemist's fire burns forever, or are you trying to estimate how long it will burn? \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark Wells
    Jul 31, 2018 at 21:00
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @MarkWells A duration would be perfect, if there is one available. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 31, 2018 at 21:01

2 Answers 2


There is no rule. It's up to your DM.

Don't mistake the game's rules (or lack thereof) for laws of physics in the D&D universe.

There are a lot of areas where the rules don't get specific about every detail of how something works because it's not, generally speaking, important. This is one of those areas.

For the purpose of using alchemist's fire in a fight, it burns for some indefinite amount of time that exceeds the length of the fight. Even two minutes is usually much longer than any fight lasts, so 'until extinguished' is sufficient definition for that purpose.

Similarly, presumably the flame produces some amount of light, but how much isn't specified, so it's left up to the DM to decide. That doesn't mean it produces no light. It just means it's not specified.


It produces some amount of light but maybe not permanently

As this answer to your related question states, RAW does not have a time limit for the effect until it is extinguished. However, since fires in reality burn their fuel eventually (if only after a long time for some fuels), it may be less than permanent. For that you'll have to ask your GM.

What about light?

This sticky, adhesive fluid ignites when exposed to air ... extinguish the flames

[emphasis mine]

The 5th edition is meant to be read in plain English. This means that the liquid "ignit[ing]" and the fact that the "flames" have to be extinguished provides us a light source (emphases mine).

ignite... catch fire or cause to catch fire.


fire ... combustion or burning, in which substances ... typically give out bright light...


flame ... a hot glowing body of ignited gas...

How much light is unclear though so you'll have to ask your GM.

Note: none of the previous D&D editions from what I could find provide an illumination factor for Alchemist's Fire (or Greek Fire as it was called in AD&D 1e and 2e).

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ "RAW does not have a time limit" does not mean the same thing as "RAW says it is permanent". \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark Wells
    Jul 31, 2018 at 21:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MarkWells if a liquid ignites and nothing causes it to burn out (other than the extinguishing by a creature) then it is permanent \$\endgroup\$ Jul 31, 2018 at 21:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Except that's not written in the rules. The word "permanent" does not appear. That's your extrapolation from the absence of any mention of other ways for the fire to burn out. If WOTC published new material tomorrow that said that alchemist's fire burns out on its own after about a minute, that would not contradict the existing rules on the subject. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark Wells
    Jul 31, 2018 at 21:24
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Burning does not always give off light. Only cool fire ( yellow or red flames) give off light. Hot flames such as alcohol and acetylene (blue flame), give of energy outside of the visible spectrum and thus produce little visible light. In fact, many alcohol fires are invisible (NASCAR fuel). \$\endgroup\$
    – ravery
    Jul 31, 2018 at 21:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ravery as my answer states we should be using a plain english reading. Most uses of the word ignite and flame refer to fires that produce light. We would need a more specific clarification to assume otherwise \$\endgroup\$ Jul 31, 2018 at 21:39

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