I don't care what I hit, I just want to cast it AT THE DARKNESS.

Is this possible? I'm currently in a lighthearted debate with one of my friends.

My friend argues that the darkness doesn't count as a target, I disagree.


3 Answers 3


Well the first thing you would have to determine is whether or not magic missiles actually create light or not. If Magic missiles are light emitters then its fairly certain that you'll deal no damage to the darkness.

However, there is also the possibility that since the missiles strike their target unerringly, that if they create light they will perpetually chase the darkness until the end of time, as they will never be able to catch the darkness as they are constantly moving.

The raw for Magic missile states the following:

The missile strikes unerringly, even if the target is in melee combat or has less than total cover or total concealment. Specific parts of a creature can't be singled out. Inanimate objects are not damaged by the spell.

However, it also states:

Target: Up to five creatures, no two of which can be more than 15 ft. apart

If you were to animate the darkness however, this would be another story entirely. You might be able to use the Bard spell Animate Object to animate the darkness, to make it a creature.

Animate Object states the following:

An animated object can be of any nonmagical material—wood, metal, stone, fabric, leather, ceramic, glass, or the like.

The darkness is possibly a non-magical material. And it doesn't say that it isn't an object that can't be animated. So if you animated the darkness, it would become Animated the darkness. The only problem with this is because if the darkness can be animated, and is actually an object, it cannot be damaged by Magic missile. However you can still choose to fire a Magic missile AT the darkness, you just would never be able to destroy it.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ In a world of alignments and hit points, I find this to be a good answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Smithers
    Oct 12, 2014 at 5:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think "darkness" qualifies as an object. But I like the idea of animated darkness. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 20, 2014 at 10:57


Even if you target the darkness, you shouldn't hit anything in the darkness.

The design of Magic Missile is that you fire a handful of homing force bolts out of your finger tips towards your target. They're impossible to dodge because they lock-on and will hit your target unless Shielded. If you don't lock onto something, they're not going to be able to home-in on anything and will just fizzle when they reach the darkness.

Many GMs fiat this at times to allow you to Magic Missile in a general direction without a target simply because it allows for funny story elements like the canonical "The darkness keels over and dies". However, by rules as written and even the intended use of the spell, you should not be able to launch them at the darkness and expect anything meaningful to happen.

There are other ways to attack the darkness. For example, there are other spells like Burning Hands which are designed specifically for attacking areas. Alternatively, you could throw a Torch into the darkness or spend the turn casting Light so that someone else could attack into the darkness. You could even just be a race with Darkvision so that you could see in the darkness regardless so that you could attack the things in it.


No. The possible target of magic missile is up to five "creatures." Unless the darkness is a creature, and it usually isn't, you can't target it. You also can't target inanimate objects for the same reason.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Certain creatures are apparently made from darkness, such as shadow elementals and undead shadows, and they could be targeted. \$\endgroup\$
    – Epiphanis
    Oct 11, 2014 at 11:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Shadow creatures are made out of shadow stuff. It is similar to darkness, but not equivalent. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 20, 2014 at 10:59

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