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Are there any spells that can make a light so bright, you have to look away or else you can't really see anything?

I have read through all the spells in the PHB and not found one that obviously does what I want. I think illusion spells might be able to, but I haven't found one that seems obviously capable of the effect I want — spells like major image explicitly say it can't produce temperatures extreme enough to cause pain, our sound loud enough to deafen, or a smell so pungent so as to sicken. It doesn't say anything about luminescence, but it does seem like it's in that alley.

Are there other spells that can produce an effect that produces a blindingly white light that compels you to close your eyes rather than inflicting the Blinded condition on you? This discounts spells such as blindness/deafness that directly target someone. I'm after spells sort of like, but not exactly, pyrotechnics, if it was a longer duration spell — in other words, those that can make a really, really bright light.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ How does that edit look? Does it accurately reflect the situation that lead up to the question? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jun 10 '16 at 19:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ You say longer duration than pyrotechnics; would this be a concentration spell? Also you've said "you have to look away or else you can't really see anything," and "an effect...that compels you to close your eyes rather than inflicting the Blinded condition." So the spell has to have 3 possible consequences: What happens if you look at the light? If you look away? If you choose to close your eyes? The top answer right now suggests reskinning an existing spell; knowing what actual mechanical effects you are looking for (disadvantage, Blinded) will help folks to give better answers. \$\endgroup\$ – J. Foster Jun 13 '16 at 14:21
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I think you're simply reskinning Darkness. Instead of blocking all light, you're creating so much light in an area that you can't look directly at anything within 15" of the target. Reskinning this way still ticks the conditions of the spell itself:

  • Darkvision doesn't help, because the area isn't really dark.
  • Non-Magical Light doesn't help, because adding light to an area that's already ridiculously bright is superfluous.
  • Completely covering the object it's cast on with an opaque object blocks the effect.
  • Spells of lower level are dispelled. You could easily say it absorbs them into it's own effect, rather than an traditional cancellation. The end result is the same.

Cinematically, you can say people "must" close their eyes when looking at the area, but the game doesn't have any rules for whether a character's eyes are opened or closed. A character can look into the area of the spell all she wants - eyes open or eyes closed, she still can't see whatever's in the area or beyond it. "Turn" far enough away (read "not interacting with something in the area"), and it's not a problem.

It's worth noting that the 5e Player's Handbook has no rules on facing, but there's an optional facing rule on page 252 of the Dungeon Master's Guide. If you're looking for something with non-finite range that can force facing, you should probably make a new spell from whole cloth.

If you're looking for a persistent effect on the target, then Caleb has the right idea.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If you merely reskin Darkness in this way, the new spell still shouldn't effect creatures with Truesight or Devil's Sight, which allow them to see in magical darkness, and it could be dispelled by things like the daylight effect of the spell Hallow, which would be a bit strange. If these situations are likely to come up, you might need to explain why this is so, or else increase the spell's level, since it's basically "Darkness, but that overcomes immunity to darkness" \$\endgroup\$ – J. Foster Jun 11 '16 at 2:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ The points by @J.Foster are very valid, but I feel like this is one of the best and most efficient ways to create a "brightness" spell. \$\endgroup\$ – user27327 Jun 11 '16 at 17:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ The biggest issue with reskinning Darkness is that Darkness only obstructs vision of things within or beyond its area. Note that although the core rules don't include facing, Medusa's Petrifying Gaze feature has rules for averting your eyes which could be adapted for this. \$\endgroup\$ – Doval Jun 12 '16 at 22:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @markovchain Agreed, especially if you're using it for an NPC/monster, because you can adjudicate any edge cases on the fly. If one of the PCs is going to learn the spell, you may need to codify these effects. I've upvoted this answer. If you try this out in your game, I hope you will post your own answer so we can hear how it works! \$\endgroup\$ – J. Foster Jun 13 '16 at 14:45
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The first spell that comes to mind is Blindness/Deafness, which allows you to blind or deafen a creature. Its a level 2 spell for bard, cleric, sorc and wizard. If you talk with the DM you could see if your character can train to cast Blind/Deaf and Pyrotechnics to create a flashbang effect. I haven't found any spells that alone have the effect of a flashbang, but you can always talk with the DM.

Spell list I use is at http://ephe.github.io/grimoire/

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    \$\begingroup\$ I saw the spell, but it doesn't have the same effect I wanted. I wanted to shine a really bright light. I clarified this in my question. \$\endgroup\$ – user27327 Jun 10 '16 at 16:34
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I don't think there's anything in the Player's Handbook that will achieve what you want. You could try to adapt the rules for Medusa's Petrifying Gaze and Beholder's Antimagic Cone.

Here's my attempt at doing so:

Blinding magical light emanates from a point you choose within range for the duration. All creatures who can see the point are blinded until the start of their next turn. Unless surprised, a creature may avert its eyes to avoid being blinded at the start of their turn. If the creature does so, it can’t see anything that falls within a cone originating from the creature and whose length passes through the point until the start of its next turn, when it can avert its eyes again. If the creature looks at the point in the meantime, it is blinded until the start of its next turn.

You may avert your eyes immediately before casting the spell to avoid being blinded. Other creatures may close their eyes until the start of their next turn if they identify the spell as it's being cast.

An area of magical darkness created by a spell of equal or higher level blocks the light. If such an area overlaps the point of origin of the light, the spell ends.

However this will most likely slow down play significantly. I would reserve this mechanic for a specific creature rather than a spell players can use. Alternatively I would remove the persistence and just blind everyone you caught off guard until the end of their next turn.

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Not specifically in RAW however my last paragraph would be my ruling on that. Simply creating a way to avert someone's eyes from a given direction (as stated in other answers no facing rules are given outside of house rules) the second paragraph would more than likely suffice. The bottom line is that your DM would/should provide this answer although you used to be able to use Daylight and even Light spells to create a similar effect although I think the later versions removed this entirely.

I agree with Caleb on those spells but if you are only looking to "blind" the enemy there might be a more subtle way with illusions. This obviously assumes the creature is intelligent and knows what it is but why not simply create an illusion of a medusa or basilisk? This again assumes that the character knows what they are as well and the terrain allows for it but illusions are all about making things believable to the point that you get the advantage. After all most don't even have saves and rightly so, they can be very unfair if given prep time and careful thought.

As far as using a major illusion or something similar to create a flash-bang, I would rule as DM that it would be a one shot, not a sustainable effect... instantaneous rather than concentration if you will. But that sounds cool.

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