Inspired by this question on starting a fire with a magnifying glass, I was curious if there were any spells in 5e core rules (no 3rd party) that would fulfill the requirements?

In other words, [spell] + magnifying glass or focusing element = fire starter. Note, I am not looking for spells or other mechanisms that directly light something on fire, that was covered in the other answer. The critical element is the use of the focusing element (magnifying glass or other similar object).

Multiple castings of a spell are allowed.


1 Answer 1


Dawn, Sunbeam, (and a sunblade)

The description of magnifying glasses gives our light source some requirements:

Magnifying Glass. Lighting a fire with a magnifying glass requires light as bright as sunlight to focus, tinder to ignite, and about 5 minutes for the fire to ignite. Basic Rules, p. 51)

Since we can use multiple castings we need a spell with a duration and which explicitly creates light as bright as sunlight.

  • Dawn, five castings of this 5th level spell will get you 5 minutes of sunlight in a 30ft radius cylinder.

  • Sunbeam, similarly five castings of this 6th level spell will get you 5 minutes of sunlight.

Honorable mentions, magic items:

  • Sun blade, this magical sword emits sunlight and can do so indefinitely. So, you can use your magical lightsaber and a magnifying glass, as a fire starter.

  • Holy Symbol of Ravenkind, this legendary item from Curse of Strahd can emit for sunlight for 10 minutes, using 5 of its 10 charges.

Notable exclusions:

  • Sunburst, which produces sunlight, but does not have a duration.

  • Daylight, which unlike what the name suggests, isn't actually described as producing sunlight.

  • The other light spells: light, dancing lights, wall of light, sickening radiance, moonbeam. Which unsurprisingly aren't described as producing daylight either.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with this ruling, but I wonder if there's an argument to be made here that "as bright as sunlight" doesn't necessarily mean the light has to be considered sunlight- I'd consider the 5e rules' 'brightness levels' to be "bright light", "dim light", and "darkness", with whether or not it is sunlight to be an independent factor. That'd mean daylight would work, but raises other weirdness like a nearby torch also working. \$\endgroup\$
    – CTWind
    Commented Nov 18, 2019 at 21:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ (I'm guessing the intent is, in this case, to not take 'brightness' as a codified game term with a strict/known/limited set of 'levels', though) \$\endgroup\$
    – CTWind
    Commented Nov 18, 2019 at 21:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Note on physical reality (not relevant to RAW, just for the curious): Quoting an xkcd What If?, as a general rule "You can't use lenses and mirrors to make something hotter than the surface of the light source itself." So anything that's making "sunlight" without creating heat or otherwise implying extreme radiation output (e.g. via radiant damage) isn't suitable, in a purely physical sense, to making a fire; it might be very bright, but lenses can't refocus light of less than ignition temperature to reach a higher (ignition level) temperature. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 19, 2019 at 20:15

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