How does the Light Blindness weakness (found, for example, as a weakness racial trait for Drow) interact with artificial light sources like torches, campfire, oil lamps, Light Spell, other magical illumination etc.?

Specific Example

A party with a Drow member is exploring a dungeon. Since the dungeon denizens all possess Darkvision, there are no natural or artificial light sources present. The party members which do not have Darkvision need a light source to navigate the dungeon, fight monsters etc.

Detail Questions

Would their light source affect the party member with Light Blindness? To what extent? Would lighting a torch trigger the blinding for 1 round effect of Light Blindness? If so, are there any special light sources, that would allow the non-Darkvision party members allow to see and NOT trigger the Light Blindness?

Bonus Question

The above, but the only party member that does not have Darkvision has Low-Light-Vision.

Thank you all!


1 Answer 1


Most light sources can't trigger light blindness or sensitivity

Fortunately, the Light Sensitivity and Light Blindness racial traits are triggered specifically by bright light, a specific level of illumination which is explained by the rules about vision and lighting:

In an area of bright light, all characters can see clearly. Some creatures, such as those with light sensitivity and light blindness, take penalties while in areas of bright light. A creature can't use Stealth in an area of bright light unless it is invisible or has cover. Areas of bright light include outside in direct sunshine and inside the area of a daylight spell.

However, "normal" light doesn't trigger light blindness or sensitivity:

Normal light functions just like bright light, but characters with light sensitivity and light blindness do not take penalties. Areas of normal light include underneath a forest canopy during the day, within 20 feet of a torch, and inside the area of a light spell.

Most sources of light (examples of which given on the table at the above link) only produce "normal" lighting, with specific exceptions for spells like daylight, which explicitly produce bright light. When an effect mentions raising or lowering the level of illumination by steps, it is referring to a progression of:

  • Bright light
  • Normal light
  • Dim light
  • Darkness
  • (bonus extra added by later material) Supernatural darkness

But, if you use something like a torch in an area already well-lit, you don't further increase the light level:

A torch does not increase the light level in normal light or bright light.

Which should probably be extrapolated, if it's not otherwise explicitly stated, for any light source which doesn't normally create bright light - so you shouldn't accidentally trigger light blindness by having too many torches or lanterns.

If your drow is adventuring with a fellow who has low-light vision, that makes no difference to the drow, since unless their friend uses light sources which explicitly cause bright light, they are not at risk of light blindness.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .