One of my level 2 players cast light on the nose of a giant constrictor snake to blind it.

I had him do a range spell attack, and he rolled a 20.

Fortunately for me, the snake was killed by the next player before I had a chance to make a ruling about using the light spell that way. And then we quit for the night. I say it was fortunate because I had to think about the situation. I really don't think light is supposed to be so powerful that it can be used to make enemies fight at a disadvantage due to difficulty seeing, but it's a smart idea so I think I should give him some chance to do something like that with it if he can, at least sometimes.

I was thinking along these lines: it's hard to hit the moving face so -(2 or 3) or whatever, on his range spell attack, but let him try.

  • 11
    \$\begingroup\$ Again, please edit in what game and edition you're playing. We can't answer your questions until we know that. \$\endgroup\$ – Purple Monkey Oct 27 '19 at 6:25
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I know that in an old edition of D&D, casting light on the head/nose of a monster did just that, but in at least one later edition it does not. For sure "which edition of D&D" is needed ... and if you are not playing D&D, what game you are asking about is very much needed. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Oct 27 '19 at 15:57
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Good point. Fifth edition. \$\endgroup\$ – Jamie Watts Oct 29 '19 at 0:19
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @JamieWatts: I've added the dnd-5e tag to your question. If you meant fifth edition of some other game system, feel free to roll back my change and add the correct tag. \$\endgroup\$ – Kyyshak Oct 29 '19 at 9:41
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ This was a canonical, even recommended use of light in AD&D -- but that was forty years ago, when a low level wizard might have only 4-5 spells, total, and none applicable in a particular situation. Magic has changed, and the way rules are interpreted has changed. \$\endgroup\$ – Zeiss Ikon Oct 29 '19 at 11:57

No, Light does not inflict blindness.

Spells only do what they say they do. Since the description for Light doesn't say it can inflict blindness, it can't inflict blindness. Rules as written this simply isn't an option, no matter how it is used.

There's other concerns here as well.

With the question answered, there's a couple of other things you mentioned that should be addressed.

First things first, Light can't be cast from range. It's a touch spell, so the person casting it would have had to be touching the snake's nose while casting Light. They would not make a ranged attack roll to do this.

Next, Light specifically states what must be done when casting it on a hostile enemy. Rather than the caster making a spell attack against the creature's AC, the defender must make a Dexterity saving throw against the caster's spell DC.

Third, Light can't be cast on a living body part; the spell states that it makes an object glow with light. Now, one could argue that "a person's nose" is an "object", but the Basic Rules state that an "object" is "a discrete, inanimate item". As a result, someone's nose would not count, and the player should not have been able to cast it on the snake's nose.

But it was clever, and I want to reward that as DM.

but it's a smart idea so I think I should give him some chance to do something like that with it if he can, at least sometimes.

Of course, you're the DM. If it was a particularly clever use of the spell and you wanted to reward that, then by all means, do so. If my players were in a very dark cavern and the snake's eyes had fully adjusted to the darkness and my players suddenly shined something with magical light directly into it's eyes, I'd probably rule the same thing: a turn or two of disadvantage on the snake's attack rolls, as a small reward for smart thinking and interesting roleplay.

However, there's some serious combat balance concerns here, and I'd definitely not allow it multiple times. If you allow this all the time, your players now have unlimited chances to inflict an hour of blindness on an enemy at no cost to them except the caster's action; doesn't even use a spell slot. You would essentially be giving a level 2 player infinite casts of a much stronger version of a 2nd level spell!



D&D spells do what they say. Light has the following description:

You touch one object that is no larger than 10 feet in any dimension. Until the spell ends, the object sheds bright light in a 20-foot radius and dim light for an additional 20 feet. The light can be colored as you like. Completely covering the object with something opaque blocks the light. The spell ends if you cast it again or dismiss it as an action. If you target an object held or worn by a hostile creature, that creature must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw to avoid the spell.

Nowhere in that spell description is the word 'blind' mentioned even once, it simply makes an object glow bright light in a 20-foot radius and dim light for an additional 20 feet. It's not even sunlight, so it won't blind Kobolds or Drow either.

You've entirely entered homebrew territory and that's a place you will likely want to avoid if you're a new DM and don't have a firm grip on the game's balance yet.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.