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Can I use an at-will ability to fuel an ability that is fueled by spending a use of that ability?

For example, dragonfire adepts can use any invocation they know at-will, one of which is

DARKNESS
Least; 2nd
You can create magical darkness, as the darkness spell (PH 216).

(Dragon Magic, p. 79) On the other half of the combo, there is the feat Blend into Shadows (Drow of the Underdark, p. 47)

BLEND INTO SHADOWS
You can draw from nearby magical shadow to cloak yourself in darkness.
Prerequisite: Darkness as a spell-like ability.
Benefit: As a swift action, you can spend a use of your darkness spell-like ability to make a Hide check, even while being observed and without cover or concealment. You must be within 10 feet of an area of magical darkness.
You also gain one additional daily use of your darkness spell-like ability.

So, can I use the Darkness invocation to activate the benefit of the Blend into Shadows feat?

 
Consider the following: According to D&Dtools, there are three feats with "per day" (my guess as to the relevant words) in the prerequisites. These are

  • Bonus Breath ("[b]reath weapon with limited uses per day", Savage Species p.31),
  • Improved Web ("[a]bility to create webs as an extraordinary ability at least twice per day", Savage Species p.36), and
  • Extra Exhalation ("breath weapon with limited uses per day", Races of the Dragon p.102).

The existence of these feats implies that the BiS prereq. could have been worded as "Darkness as a spell-like ability [with limited uses per day]".
Furthermore, Savage Species was published in 2003, Races of the Dragon was published in 2006, and Drow of the Underdark (DotU) was published in 2007. Therefore, the precedent had long since been set before DotU.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Is it better to wait until it gets closed, then revise the question, or do close-voters get notified of question revision (to retract close-votes)? \$\endgroup\$ – NiteCyper Sep 25 '14 at 11:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ Retracting close votes has some complications. It may be better to wait until it's closed before editing. \$\endgroup\$ – Oblivious Sage Sep 25 '14 at 12:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NiteCyper When a closed question is edited, everyone capable of voting to reopen can see it in one of the Review Queues. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Sep 25 '14 at 13:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I keep forgetting this is about a dragonheart adept. I see the Darkness Invocation and think warlock. Oh well, I leave this one to the experts ^_^ have fun with it. \$\endgroup\$ – gatherer818 Sep 26 '14 at 8:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @gatherer818 The quoted material is identical for the Warlock, except that the Warlock's Darkness invocation's description is "You can use darkness as the spell." \$\endgroup\$ – NiteCyper Sep 26 '14 at 9:42
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Per my answer to your other question, yes the invocation counts for the prerequisite.

As for uses to spend, you can use darkness as a spell-like ability. Blend into Shadows gives an alternate effect for using it, a different way to use it. The fact that you uses are infinite does not mean you have none to spend!

Furthermore, Blend into Shadows is very clearly written to be broad: it’s “designed for” drow, but they didn’t specify the race or even that it be a racial spell-like ability. They also do not use the phrase “daily use” of the spell-like ability. There was ample opportunity to nail down the wording to restrict the feat, which they did not do. The warlock already existed when Drow of the Underdark was written, and the book includes a warlock prestige class as well as invocations. They were aware of the warlock when they wrote Blend Into Shadows. This seems to me to very likely be an intended usage.

Finally, neither the feat nor the invocation not the warlock itself is very powerful. There is no balance concern to be had here other than that any non-drow warlock is better at using this feat than the drow are. Unfortunately, that is just generally true, as the drow are pretty poor in general. The fault there lies with the level adjustment system and the drow themselves, not with the feat or class.

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