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Lanterns and Light in the Darkest Dungeons

he world is filled with deep,

dark places that few dare to

venture into: prehistoric caverns,

ancient tombs, and foreboding

dungeons. All of these places have

one thing in common: their lack of

light. These are places where the

sun holds no sway, and the evil

creatures that dwell within them

hunt and thrive in total darkness.

Only a fool would venture into such a place
without a light source. Sometimes, even a
simple torch or iron lantern isn’t enough to
pierce the darkness of such places, which is
where this article comes in. “Don’t Lose the
Light” provides players and Game Masters writing Kiel Chenier
alike with five custom light source items color art Sade
that can be purchased, found, or collected as editing James J. Haeck
treasure. layout Eric Life-Putnam

EN World EN5IDER  |  Don’t Lose the Light

While this is primarily to speed up play to focus Tracking Light with Dice on arguably more important things (exploration. and EN World and EN Publishing logos. the advice from prior EN5ider article feeble surface eyes. you can implement You can track time using dice.” “EN5ider. Simple. When 10 minutes pass. dungeon. include them in your own campaign is up to you. not actual time). incredibly important. theirs is to snuff out or destroy adventuring Each item comes with an adventure hook and parties’ lights. they might steal or snuff out a Making Light Matter light source. Minutes and but that’s when they become hours. keeping track of light can actually an essential part of the dungeon crawl experience. Bringing fire and light into a “Those Who Crawl”* about timekeeping can easily dungeon room isn’t just about illuminating it. it’s on you to darkvision. are designated Product Identity. including maps and illustrations (including illustrations in the public domain). long as the light remains lit. it’s be used to track how long light sources stay lit for: about reclaiming it from those monsters. Using/expending   Set aside a d6 and a d12 when the PCs enter a your own torches by leaving them on the ground. and some of them are also magical.” EN Publishing EN product and article Open Game Content The game rule information in this article is designated Open Game Content.   On the subject of torches. After 60 minutes have passed in game. narrative and descriptive text. instead of doing damage. and a common tactic of pieces. forcing them to fight in the dark— a suggested previous owner. those who must fumble in the dark with their Thankfully. Timekeeping and tracking light sources feel like combat. Lamps and lanterns burn for 6 hours on and stay lit. and how much time passed environs where these monsters effortlessly hunt while the players were debating what to do next. https://www. the d12 to ‘2’ and reset the d6 back to ‘1’. or going out.). Specifically d6’s and a rule that a dungeon room or area doesn’t count d12’s. While   Torches and candles burn for a single hour before torches can clatter to the ground they’re spent. which wards off begin at the ‘1’ position.   For Game Masters. You track time in the dun- random encounters in that room so geon in 10-minute increments. but both are difficult for the already overloaded   For example. and the d12 or placing them in empty sconces. you turn disregarded once combat begins. can’t. though how you effectively rendering the monsters invisible. you turn the d6 to ‘2’. and lamps and lanterns cannot either without breaking   * Kiel Chenier. when a monster with darkvision hits a PC with an attack. then to ‘3’ ten minutes after   Light sources are often that. Monsters aren’t patreon. Now consider that dungeons are pitch-black lanterns burn for. All of the other material in this article. keeps represents hours (in game time. as explored unless it stays lit. consider how most monsters have Game Master to track.” EN World EN5ider. “EN Publishing. while most player character races do track random encounters. character and place names. “Those Who Crawl. how long torches or not. make the game much more tense and interesting. candles certainly a pint of oil. The d6 represents minutes. Low-light dungeon conditions are often overlooked or glossed over in tabletop games. As a GM.” “EN World. etc. trade dress. Both the explored room lit. Publishing ™ Don’t Don’tLose Losethe Light | | EN theLight  ENWorld EN5IDER World EN5IDER .All of these items are well-crafted masterwork ignorant of this fact.

Instead. As an action. you gain a +1 bonus constantly surrounded by hate. slew the other and took it for themselves. For the next hour. supernaturally lightless that even their inborn darkvision was rendered useless. this crimson iron flammable gasses. rare   Additionally. It has passed to dwarven needs and keeps both hands free to from soldier to soldier. claimed by the one who focus on mining. The dwarven gem helmet lantern is caked with the clotted blood of soldiers circumvents this danger. you EN World EN5IDER  |  Don’t Lose the Light . Wondrous item. Blood Lantern open flame light sources are dangerous too use. while this helmet is both worn   Dwarves have delved deeper underground and lit. death. has imbued the blood lantern with a number of   This helmet has 3 charges.   The lantern is so covered in coagulated blood Ho!”) and expend 1 charge. and blood to AC. producing light sensitive who perished on the battlefield. the that it will hold no candle or oil. In such places.New Magic Items helmet produces a forward facing cone of light equal to that of a lantern. rare (requires attunement) as mining underground near pockets of trapped   Crafted during wartime. you magical properties. The helmet regains 1d3 Dwarven Gem Helmet expended charges daily at dawn. can speak the helmet’s command word (“Hi. Wondrous item. you have advantage on all checks to locate than any other surface species. Being   While wearing this helmet. into places so secret doors.

source for those who dwell within these woods. so that their greed does not compel their 3 hit points worth of blood. dim red light in a 40-foot cone for 1 hour per 3 hit Finding the ripped or torn shells of these lanterns points of blood given. and may bring down the wrath of treants. Even a flickering smelling gas commonly called dragon’s breath. In lantern only grant its illumination to you and up their presence.   There are few things more luminous than souls. they’re cute. lesser mortal for 1 hour. after which it emits ghosts to rise and continue to hoard treasure. Creatures within 30 feet of the lantern must make Fashioned from wyrmwood. dragonborn. rare (requires attunement) must be lit by a flame or another wyrmword torch. the lantern burns   Rangers and druids learned long ago that until all of its gas is expended or it is blown out. and fuel them with strange glowing can use these soul lanterns. You gain a +1 bonus to attack are meant to anchor the dead dragons’ spirits to and damage rolls made with this weapon.may willingly wound yourself and give at least the site. and can stomach the steam that rises from hot springs. after which time it is consumed. There are. common flammable gas. are lit and placed in ‘dragon graveyards’: sites   A soul lantern is a spiked bulb of iron held on where dragons were slain by people. or pierced but wyrmwood torches are the true choice of light violently with an attack. and once lit. The torch Weapon (flail). willingly given by a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw. killed by a long chain. The lantern is consumed in the resulting   The flame carried by a wyrmwood torch does fireball. carried once a dragon’s lair. Once per made with disadvantage. Wondrous item. taking 8d6 fire the forest. sprites.   This lantern illuminates everything with dim Wyrmwood Torch light in a 30 foot radius. Most a soldier will allow you to communicate with the metallic dragons are bemused by them. these fiend-forged lanterns find their Wondrous item. where they fetch   Coastal villages on volcanic islands and a hefty price from antiquities dealers and curio peninsulas fashion these lanterns out of lacquered collectors. a select few who rice paper. This torch burns In both the Hells and the Abyss. grass. the first checks/rolls they make are to six other creatures of your choice. you can choose to make the head lanterns with caution and superstition. From Paper Dragon-Head Lantern time to time. It is filled with a heavy. These lanterns murders needed to keep them lit. The lanterns lantern and a flail. half-dragons. candle is seen as an afront to the safety of the Dragon’s breath can be bought from coastal towns trees. leaves. for 20 gp per hour of gas. or eaten by other dragons. lesser draconic creatures react to paper dragon-   As an action. these torches hold a flame that can do damage on a failed save. etc). and other damage rolls. the lantern explodes. or on a belt) you gain a +1 bonus to   Kobolds. in your hand. and functions both as a hooded giants. thinking spirit of that soldier for 1 minute. not burn or damage living plant materials (wood. success. Chromatic dragons hate day. and sheds light as the light spell.   If a lit lantern is thrown. souls are used to light the hanging lanterns that keep their labyrinthian cities illuminated. and Don’t Don’tLose Losethe Light | | EN theLight  ENWorld EN5IDER World EN5IDER . and dryads. struck. of course. uncommon way onto the Material Plane. Magical light is permissible. While this lantern is lit and in a dungeon or cave is a sure sign that it was displayed on your person (for instance. or half as much on a no harm to living wood or plants. It can burn dead trees and Soul Lantern wood only if you intentionally ignite it. placing the blood lantern upon the grave of these lanterns and destroy them on sight. A those who bear flames are not welcome within full lantern holds 20 hours-worth of a sulphurous- the living woods of the world.

The lantern’s light lasts an an action. You can dispelling the torchling’s flame as a Soul Lantern Light bonus action by saying the torchling’s CR of creature Duration true name backwards. and/or spells can a pain to carry. The torchling The torchling is a creature thought will follow simple commands given up by a pair of very clever and very by its attuned master. It walks at a speed of 20 feet per turn. Friendly the souls of killed creatures. the torchling is an otherwise. the torchling isn’t with the lantern as a an additional 1d6 fire damage on instead? Wouldn’t that be cute?” Indeed. and flammable Wondrous item. Anything it touches takes Torchling 1 point of fire damage. and more useful than the light as a typical lantern. Though especially bright—so to speak—and in a the soul seems to be burned as fuel. The torchling can stay lit 2 6 hours continuously for 8 hours. e EN World EN5IDER  |  Don’t Lose the Light . or jump more than five feet. What if an itty-bitty fire snuff out the torchling. It cannot attack. however. strong winds. that the first said: “Torches can be such Water. you concentrate and speak amount of time equal to the robustness the torchling’s true name. and returns to its 1 3 hours charcoal form. a hit. pick up arcane experimentation. The soul lantern emits twice the they were cute. causing it of the soul collected: to ignite and burst into flame. the wielder of this weapon is a fiend. and when in nature. the torchling is a creature that you kill a creature with this weapon. after which 3 12 hours it must rest in its charcoal form for an 4 24 hours equal amount of time. just as a torch elemental just followed you around might be snuffed out. As extinguished. The story goes objects. which it follows inebriated wizards after a long night of gleefully. It is fueled by wizards originally anticipated. the creature’s soul passes to enchanted piece of charcoal that could the afterlife as usual after the lantern is fit in the palm of a human’s hand. rare (requires attunement) materials catch on fire. hindering as soul is only permanently destroyed if much as helping.   In its inert form. 5 3 days   The torchling creates light identical to 6+ 1 week that of a torch. The torchling Lower than 1 1 hour immediately goes out. the pinch may burn things up. be resummoned afterwards. seeks to help its attuned master however you can collect the soul of the victim it can. Unfortunately. It can.