Maddening Darkness: 5e Mechanics & User Guide

Casting Time

1 action




Psychic, Magical Darkness


150-feet, 60-foot sphere


Warlock, Wizard




Up to 10 minutes ©




Verbal, Material

Spell Description:

Magical darkness spreads from a point you choose within range to fill a 60-foot-radius sphere until the spell ends. The darkness spreads around corners. A creature with darkvision can’t see through this darkness.

Nonmagical light and light created by spells of 8th level or lower can’t illuminate the area. Shrieks, gibbering, and mad laughter can be heard within the sphere.

Whenever a creature starts its turn in the sphere, it must make a Wisdom saving throw, taking 8d8 psychic damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Damage, Utility, Psychic, Vision Obstruction

Damage Dice8d8
Minimum Damage8
Average Damage36
Maximum Damage64

Level: 8

Materials Required: A drop of pitch mixed with a drop of mercury

Concentration: Yes

Ritual: No

Number of Targets: N/A

Die Type: d8

Number of Dice: 8

Damage Type: Psychic

Save: Wisdom

Damage On Successful Save: Half

Statuses Inflicted: None

Status Duration: N/A

Affected By Cover: No

Advantage: None

Disadvantage: None

Who Can Cast Maddening Darkness?

Maddening Darkness is a high-level spell available to Warlocks and Wizards. Warlocks and Wizards can begin casting Maddening Darkness starting at the 16th level. 18th level Bards can take the while using their Magical Secrets feature.

What Is Maddening Darkness?

Maddening Darkness is an 8th-level Evocation spell that allows the caster to summon a globe of magical darkness centered on a point in the range. Magical darkness emanates from the center, filling a 60-foot sphere.

Those outside the sphere cannot see into the globe, nor can those inside the sphere see outside the sphere. It cannot be lit by a spell lower than 8th-level.

Creatures that start their turn inside the sphere must make a Wisdom save, taking 8d8 Psychic damage or half on a successful save.

When and Where Should I Cast Maddening Darkness?

Maddening Darkness is a good spell for taking out large groups of smaller additional enemies accompanying a boss monster. It loses its power in very centralized fights since your allies will not be able to enter the sphere to engage with the boss if you cast it atop the boss.

Any attacks made from outside the sphere attempting to hit the boss inside the globe will be made as if the boss has total cover. So keep this one in your back pocket in case your enemies summons a ton of goblins or something.

Maddening Darkness is a giant sphere. You can use it to block off a hallway and kill all those who come through the darkness. Putting Maddening Darkness into a choke point is a great way to use the spell to control the flow of battle.

Why Should I Take Maddening Darkness?

The spells you take will taper off as you reach the point of taking 8th and 9th-level bits. With so few spell slots to allocate, it can be better to take a spell that can be cast at a lower level with good scaling. 

However, Maddening Darkness is an excellent spell for zoning. It creates a significant obstacle that cannot be reasonably passed through without taking great damage. Additionally, since you can’t see through the sphere, it prevents enemies from just standing on the other side of the globe and shooting at you through it.

Maddening Darkness is a fantastic control spell that allows players to mark off a kill zone and prevent enemies from traversing the space. Small enemies that try to make their way through will almost certainly be picked off, and larger enemies will have to go around it.

Alternatives to Maddening Darkness

Common Questions About Maddening Darkness

Can You Shoot an Arrow Through Maddening Darkness?

Yes, but you can’t see what’s on the other side to aim at.

How Can You See in Maddening Darkness?

The Devil’s Sight feature allows you to see when traversing Maddening Darkness.

Do You Have Advantage in Maddening Darkness?

No. All checks made to hit in or through the effect of Maddening Darkness are made with Disadvantage.

Can You Dispel Maddening Darkness?

Yes. Dispel Magic can Dispel Maddening Darkness. There is no check to dispel the magic when cast with a spell slot level of 8 or 9.