The cantrip Control Flames has a list of effects it can do: four items, out of which two are instantaneous, and two are non-instantaneous. One of the non-instantaneous effects listed there is:

You double or halve the area of bright light and dim light cast by the flame, change its color, or both. The change lasts for 1 hour.

It also states:

If you cast this spell multiple times, you can have up to three of its non-instantaneous effects active at a time, and you can dismiss such an effect as an action.

A torch can shed bright light for 20ft and dim light for another 20ft. So, simply, can a torch that has been cast with Control Flame thrice shine for 160ft of bright light, and another 160ft of dim light?

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    \$\begingroup\$ @phyrfox not in 5e--everything you quoted is 3.x/PF rules. I find no such rule in 5e materials. (There is a limitation on stacking multiples of one's proficiency bonus, but no general rule on multipliers.) \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Dec 9, 2016 at 15:16

2 Answers 2


My understanding of control flame is that you can have up to 3 of its effects as stated in the spell description. To my knowledge and as stated on P205 of the PHB same spell effects do not stack.

The effects of different spells add together while the durations of those spells overlap. The effects of the same spell cast multiple times don't combine, however. Instead, the most potent effect-such as the highest bonus-from those castings applies while their durations overlap.

For example, if two clerics cast bless on the same target, that character gains the spell's benefit only once; he or she doesn't get to roll two bonus dice.

So in answer to your question, no you cannot make a torch shed light for 160ft of light. You could however for example expand the flame, double the brightness and manipulate it all in the castings.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for the answer. However, that is a general rule and this cantrip has a specific clause that says, you may cast it thrice (so 3 actions) and have three non-instantaneous effects simultaneously be active. Expanding the flame is an instantaneous effect so it doesnt need to factor into the equation. \$\endgroup\$
    – user27327
    Dec 9, 2016 at 9:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi Markov, as stated in the spell description you may have 'up to three' - the rule for casting the same effect (as per a spell such as bane, or bless, or even spells like Mage armour) is that they do not stack and you may only gain the benefit of one casting of the spell, the effect simply overwrites the previous casting. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 9, 2016 at 9:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ Worth noting that the spell's wording is compatible with having three separate torches all doubled in brightness at the same time. That seems to be a clear interpretation and does not require stacking. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 9, 2016 at 12:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LegendaryDude - on different light/fuel sources. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 9, 2016 at 14:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ The spell effect ceasing to work on a single target would only occur with multiple castings on the same target and with the same effect. You could have 3 torches or fires all bright, or dimmed. But you couldn't have one torch or fire dimmed or brightened 3 fold. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 9, 2016 at 14:17


Combining Magical Effects (PHB p.205)

The effects of the same spell cast multiple times don't combine,

So casting the same cantrip effect onto the torch three times will have all three operating but only one of the effects will apply.


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