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Dancing lights was an evocation or alteration spell that produced levitating lights that could move at the caster's direction.[4][7][8][13][15]


All versions of this spell produced up to four floating lights that could be made to appear as torches, lanterns, or as orbs vaguely resembling will-o'-wisps. They could also be combined into a roughly man-sized glowing humanoid shape reminiscent of a being from the Elemental Plane of Fire. The lights were fairly dim, casting as much light as a regular torch.[4][7][8][13][15]

The oldest versions of this spell had a minimum range of 150 feet (46 meters) and a minimum duration of two minutes, both of which could be extended by casters of higher level. The separate lights could move independently and, once set in motion, did not require concentration by the caster.[7][8][13] A newer version had a minimum range of 100 feet (30 meters) and a duration of one minute. The lights had to remain within a 10 feet (3 meters) radius sphere.[4] After the Second Sundering, this spell had a fixed range of 120 feet (37 meters), one minute duration, required caster concentration, and each light had to remain within 20 feet (6.1 meters) of one of its siblings.[15]

All versions of dancing lights winked out if they exceeded the range of the spell.[4][7][8][13][15] This spell could be made permanent using the permanency spell.[4]


Drow elves could cast this spell once a day as a spell-like ability.[16] Some drow also learned to combine this power with their other abilities of darkness and faerie fire to produce even stranger effects.[17]


All versions of this spell required verbal and somatic components. Dancing lights' somatic component was a finger pointed in front of the caster and twirled in a circular motion while reciting the spell's quick arcane phrase.[18] One version did not require any material component,[4] while all the others needed a pinch of phosphorus or wychwood, or a glowworm.[7][8][13][15] Alternatively, some were known to use the luminous glands of giant fire beetles for the spell's material component.[19]


The spell was attributed to Netherese arcanist Brightfinger in −1647 DR and was originally called Brightfinger's dancers.[1]


See Also[]


The Sapphire CrescentThe Magehound


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 slade, Jim Butler (October 1996). “The Winds of Netheril”. In Jim Butler ed. Netheril: Empire of Magic (TSR, Inc.), pp. 23, 27. ISBN 0-7869-0437-2.
  2. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 207–211, 230. ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.
  3. Jeremy Crawford, James Wyatt, Keith Baker (November 2019). Eberron: Rising from the Last War. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 56. ISBN 978-0-7869-6692-9.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams (August 2000). Player's Handbook 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 216. ISBN 0-7869-1551-4.
  5. James Wyatt (October 2001). Oriental Adventures (3rd edition). (Wizards of the Coast), p. 93. ISBN 0-7869-2015-7.
  6. Richard Baker (November 2004). Complete Arcane. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 91. ISBN 0-7869-3435-2.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 David "Zeb" Cook (August 1989). Player's Handbook (2nd edition). (TSR, Inc.), p. 133. ISBN 0-88038-716-5.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 David "Zeb" Cook (April 1995). Player's Handbook 2nd edition (revised). (TSR, Inc.), p. 172. ISBN 0-7869-0329-5.
  9. Cook, Findley, Herring, Kubasik, Sargent, Swan (1991). Tome of Magic 2nd edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 149. ISBN 1-56076-107-5.
  10. Richard Baker (1996). Player's Option: Spells & Magic. (TSR, Inc), pp. 180, 183. ISBN 0-7869-0394-5.
  11. Jeff Grubb and Andria Hayday (April 1992). Arabian Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 152. ISBN 978-1560763581.
  12. slade, Jim Butler (October 1996). “The Winds of Netheril”. In Jim Butler ed. Netheril: Empire of Magic (TSR, Inc.), p. 122. ISBN 0-7869-0437-2.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 Gary Gygax (1978). Players Handbook 1st edition. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 65, 94. ISBN 0-9356-9601-6.
  14. Gary Gygax (1979). Dungeon Masters Guide 1st edition. (TSR, Inc.), p. 40. ISBN 0-9356-9602-4.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 230. ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.
  16. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 13. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  17. Ari Marmell, Anthony Pryor, Robert J. Schwalb, Greg A. Vaughan (May 2007). Drow of the Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 50. ISBN 978-0-7869-4151-3.
  18. Thomas M. Reid (November 2003). The Sapphire Crescent. (Wizards of the Coast), chap. 11, p. 226. ISBN 0-7869-3027-6.
  19. Vince Garcia (July 1989). “Variety, the Spice of Magic”. In Roger E. Moore ed. Dragon #147 (TSR, Inc.), p. 24.