Light, Darkness and Variant Channeling Discussion

The Darkness spell has the following text: “Magical light sources only increase the light level in an area if they are of a higher spell level than darkness.” Deeper Darkness says it works “as darkness”, so would also include that text. Likewise, I’m going to assume that light spells should have similar text in them, even though none of them do (they only talk about counterspell/dispel) – I don’t think darkness spells should be inherently more powerful than light spells. But that also means we need to specify what happens when light and dark spells of the same spell level interact (for instance, Darkness vs. Continual Flame cast by a sorcerer/wizard, both level 2). In that case, I will rule that they do negate each other and illumination in that area returns to ambient. However, even in that case, non-magical light sources will still be suppressed throughout the entire area of the darkness effect.

The spell level of the variant channeling darkness will depend on the caster level of the caster:

Caster level Effective Darkness Spell Level
1-9 2
10-14 3
15+ 4

This is a special little perk, because there isn’t any spell that reduces light level by 3, but if there were it seems that spell level 4 would be the natural progression. However, once you get to level 10 and above you may choose to downgrade the effectiveness if you want i.e. I won’t force you to impose supernatural darkness unless you really want to.

Now, your variant channeling is a very funny case when it comes to counterspell/dispel. Normally, light and dark spells have range touch. This means to counterspell you need to be within touching range of the opposing caster. To dispel you need to touch the object that the spell you’re trying to dispel was cast on. In order to not tip the power balance either way, I’m going to say the counterspell/dispel using your variant channel works the same way, even though it is technically range Personal, not Touch (the variant channel just affects an area centered on you, not an object you touch like the spells).

Daylight will continue to have it’s special negation ability.

Sunburst is pretty explicit in its desciption that it dispels all darkness spells whose point of origin is within the area of effect of Sunburst.

Dancing Lights (and its first level cousin, Dancing Darkness) would actually be pretty useful because it does have a range…if it wasn’t level 0. But presumably you could use Heighten Spell in conjunction with Dancing Lights to perform a ranged counterspell or dispel of a darkness effect.
ryeookin wrote:

Ah ok, yeah that works a bit differently then I thought. My original thought was that it could potentially be a “get out of the sun” emergency power. After looking into it my secondary though was if the group all had darkvision, if this power was used it in the middle of a combat at night with enemies that didn’t have darkvision, it could potentially make them blind in the area of effect (if my understanding is correct of how light and darkness works, and at least until it worked like deeper darkness as you pointed out).

After looking over your link, hmm since the darkness variant channeling ability works as darkness (the spell) as to how it functions, does that mean any light spell that can thwart the 2nd lvl ‘darkness’ spell, will indeed thwart the darkness channeling ability? I’m just making sure I understand this correctly, it is a bit confusing.

Another weird thing is that in other parts it says whatever spell has the higher level thwarts the other spell (light vs dark spells) but the darkness ability doesn’t have a ‘spell lvl’ per say, well unless it’s counted as the ‘darkness’ 2nd lvl spell that is.

rhythmist wrote:

See the “Illuminating Darkness” callout on this page

Countering and dispelling are two very specific mechanics which have nothing to do with light and darkness sources interacting. Yes, it is true that an opposing spell caster cannot ready an action to cast a Daylight spell to counterspell your darkness (or, they can but their readied action will never trigger because you aren’t casting a spell). Likewise, a Dispel Magic will not do away with your darkness. However, if they just cast Daylight on their turn, the two effects will interact normally. In this case, there is no countering or dispelling going on, just two different light-altering effects interacting, with the stronger one winning.

Finally, most of the time you’ll have better things to be doing anyway. At high levels are you really going to be putting Deeper Darkness over an area, essentially screwing your friends as much as your enemies (at that point Darkvision isn’t helping any more, and you would need one of the non-visual senses/abilities to overcome it)? It’s kind of the same problem as Obscuring Mist; unless it gives you an advantage, or you’re using it to escape, what’s the point?

So yeah, it’s not really as awesome as you’re making it out to be.

ryeookin wrote:

Hey rhythmist,

It’s regarding the variant channeling “darkness” (harm) and how it interacts with other light spells.

Variant channeling darkness:
Darkness: Heal—Creatures gain low-light vision until the end of your next turn. At cleric level 5, they gain darkvision 30 feet as well, increasing this range by 30 feet for every 5 cleric levels thereafter. Harm—The illumination level in the area drops by 1 step, as darkness, for 1 minute. At cleric level 10, the light level drops by 2 steps. At cleric level 15, it drops by 3 steps, and areas of dim light or darkness become supernaturally dark (even creatures with darkvision cannot see within it).


Now channel energy is a (Su) ability and supernatural abilities per RAW aren’t subject to dispelling or counter spells. This could I think be potentially pretty powerful so I wanted to bring this to your attention for approval or not. That is its a darkness that seemingly isn’t counter-able by light spells such as “daylight” or “Sunburst” (the operative phrase in the spells “Daylight counters or dispels any darkness spell of equal or lower level, such as darkness.” and “Sunburst dispels any darkness spells of lower than 9th level within its area.”) . Additionally, it just emulates the effects of the spell, it isn’t a spell itself so looks like those light spells wouldn’t counter the channeled energy Su darkness (at least for the 1 minute duration) but I just wanted to run it by you first to see what you thought.

As such, how you would play it when the channel energy (darkness variant) ability is used to create darkness in an area and then someone casts a spell like “daylight” or “sunburst” which overlaps the darkness area?

Hmm, just an idea, maybe its countered by the “Sun” variant channeling channeling energy ability (as it’s the opposite of the variant channeling darkness ability)?


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Light, Darkness and Variant Channeling Discussion

Hell's Vengeance rhythmist