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Suppose a small object has a light spell on it, causing it to emit bright light in a 20' radius in an otherwise completely dark area.

What happens if a creature under the effects of an invisibility spell picks up the illuminating object and puts it in an invisible container that it carries?

Will that block the light or will the object continue to illuminate the area anyways?

Many people have discussed a lighted object you carry. I am specifically looking for a lighted object you put INTO an invisible container you carry on yourself like a bag for example or a pouch

Please indicate if answers are RAW (and state the documentation) or RAI (and support that intention with quotes or evidence from the designers).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Please clarify how the container became invisible. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 23, 2023 at 23:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ Please clarify if you are only concerned about light created by the light spell, or if any kind of light source is possible, as a torch. Since the light spell comes with its own, specific rules, it is possible that the answer might differ. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 4:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ Invisible using magic spell like invisibility. Im concerned by both mundane and magic light spurces \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 11:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related on Can I see due to the mundane light source that I carry while I'm invisible? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 15:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ If we don’t know how the container became to be invisible, we really don’t understand how it’s going to interact with the light spell. This question should be closed until we have that clarification. Otherwise, we are just guessing. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 16:50

2 Answers 2

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No.

There's no clear/consistent ways to make an object invisible (Mirage Arcane can render objects invisible but is very unique in general; Invisibility + True Polymorph is an arguable corner case at most), so this is based on applying invisibility rules as they apply to creatures to objects.

Here are the main pertinent rules:

A creature you touch becomes invisible until the spell ends. Anything the target is wearing or carrying is invisible as long as it is on the target's person. The spell ends for a target that attacks or casts a spell. (Invisibility, the spell)

An invisible creature is impossible to see without the aid of magic or a special sense. For the purpose of hiding, the creature is heavily obscured. The creature's location can be detected by any noise it makes or any tracks it leaves. (Invisible, the condition)

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. (Light, the spell)

Invisible light sources produce visible light.

This has been asked before, with consensus pointing toward "invisible light sources still produce light," which is in line with a Jeremy Crawford tweet:

The invisibility spell doesn't prevent you or your gear from emitting light, yet that light makes you no less invisible. The light appears to be coming from the air. Spooky! #DnD

Light is not blocked by an invisible barrier.

An invisible creature is not opaque, by definition: they are completely transparent. This means that they don't cast shadows and they don't block light. The spell explicitly calls out that it needs to be blocked by something opaque.

Either way, whether or not the invisible container would make its contents invisible, the light will be emitted. The invisible container cannot block the light and the light source, whether or not it's still visible, will continue to emit light. This question and its top answer also feels pertinent here.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think an argument can be made that a light source in an invisible container does not shed light outside that container. It would depend on the wording of that hypothetical invisible container, but I would assume that if I put a regular rock inside it I wouldn't be able to see the rock. If non-invisible objects inside the invisible container are not visible, that means light does not travel from inside the container to the outside. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 13:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ An invisible creature is not opaque, by definition: they are completely transparent. This is not true as the definition in DnD 5e says that it needs magic or special senses to see and not transparent. Even Oxford dictionary does not say it is transparent. The true answer lives within this subtle difference. Not being transparent makes the opaque container to continue serving with the same function as @JoakimM.H. mentioned. This is why I put my answer there. Backed by the other post of J.C. that says you can pick up an item and it will disappear if covered...means not transparent. \$\endgroup\$
    – jonDraco
    Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 23:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ 5e does not define "opaque" so we go by the normal definition: "not able to be seen through; not transparent." Transparent is defined as "(of a material or article) allowing light to pass through so that objects behind can be distinctly seen." There is no possible way to be invisible while being opaque or not transparent by these definitions. You cannot see an invisible character yet you can distinctly see objects behind them. \$\endgroup\$
    – Shivers
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 3:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Shivers magic doesn't explain how you are made "invisible". It could be simply being transparent, or it could be an effect that shows what's behind the person. It could even be magic that affects the mind of nearby creatures so they do not see that the person is there. Since we cannot explain how invisibility works, we cannot say whether or not the person is still "opaque" or not. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matthieu
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 6:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ If there was a clear-cut explanation for how it worked then there wouldn't be a question. There's no explicit rule in the text to address this, so the only option we have is to look at approximations of how things seem like they would work. I don't think "this question isn't answerable because magic isn't real so we can't know" is a very useful answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Shivers
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 8:16
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Yes it does. Invisibility is not transparent as the intentions of the designers allow to hide a picked up object in a cloak worn by an invisible character

Any object carried or worn while becoming invisible becomes invisible as well but it does not mean it becomes transparent. An opaque container stays an opaque container and the rules state that an opaque container (or completely covering with an opaque material) blocks light.

The references below are to support this as it shows that invisibility by spell or feature that gives the condition invisible is intended to be treated the same.
A tweet from Jeremy Crawford sates the intention that light stays visible even if the object providing the light becomes invisible. This is solely for objects emitting light that are invisible themselves by being carried or worn not about an object in a container. The light spell specifies that completely covering the light source with an opaque object blocks the light and the intention is the same for any light source unless specified otherwise. The intention of concealing an object you pick up, under a cloak for instance, after you are invisible as stated by Jeremy Crawford in another tweet really means the intent is not to make the objects transparent when they are invisible otherwise you would see the concealed object whether you cover it or hold it.

If you absolutely need to explain how invisibility works to adjudicate how light works around and within an invisibility spell/feature you can see it as light refraction through magic that bends it around the invisible creature which would explain even light being diffused from an emitting object that is invisible itself. It is one of the only real-world explanation that is close to what the intent is.

Invisibility Spell

A creature you touch becomes invisible until the spell ends. Anything the target is wearing or carrying is invisible as long as it is on the target's person. The spell ends for a target that attacks or casts a spell.

Invisible Condition

An invisible creature is impossible to see without the aid of magic or a special sense. For the purpose of hiding, the creature is heavily obscured. The creature's location can be detected by any noise it makes or any tracks it leaves.

Light spell

Completely covering the object with something opaque blocks the light.

As Jeremy Crawford wrote in an unofficial tweet

The invisibility spell doesn't prevent you or your gear from emitting light, yet that light makes you no less invisible. The light appears to be coming from the air. Spooky! #DnD

Another Jeremy Crawford tweet

Only items worn/carried when invisibility is cast are invisible, but I'd let you conceal something under them. #DnD

So, what we know is that

  • the light spell can be blocked by an opaque cover which could be determined by the DM but we can easily say a pouch, a scabbard or a backpack. The intention of the game would be that this could be applied to any light source.
  • the intent is that the invisibility spell doesn't prevent your gear from emitting light. The intention is also for anything invisible and not just the invisibility spell as the invisibility spell gives you the invisible condition. You gear emits light if it has magic on it or if it is on fire (so any light spell, glowing magic or flame of a torch).
  • the invisibility spells specifically says that the creature becomes invisible (condition) so does its gears (wearing or carrying). And the invisible condition makes it impossible to see without aid of magic or special sense.
  • there is no explanation on how invisible physics works either objects and creatures become transparent or light is reflected around or any other possible real world explanation...it just is invisible as this is a fantasy world.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ You can't use invisiblity on an object. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 15:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Wish could reasonably make an object invisible, although its not a very accessible option. Dust of Disappearance also works, although it only lasts for 2d4 minutes. \$\endgroup\$
    – RisingZan
    Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 16:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RisingZan If those are what OP is using, then we can use those rules to try and answer this. But we don't know that and shouldn't assume. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 17:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch thanks for editing. You're comment is not in my answer. I'm not using invisibility on an object. The invisibility spell states objects becomes invisible when you wear or carry them and we can use the same adjudication on objects as on the creature itself as there is no rule I found on invisible objects specifically. The whole point of this answer is that invisible does not mean transparent and opaque containers (or opaque clothes over the light source) still block light invisible or not. Please advise if you think I should add/remove things to make it clearer. \$\endgroup\$
    – jonDraco
    Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 17:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think if youre using the spell as support, then it should tie to it. If you aren't and you're just talking about opacity, then I'd suggest cleaning up your answer to focus on that. Referencing other things that aren't applicable doesn't help support your answer (at least for me.) \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 17:39

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