D&D 5E Breaking up Darkvision

The way Darkvision is currently written is pretty generic. I am thinking about breaking up Darkvision a bit and adding a few more options. Rip it up:
  • Blindsight
    • Uses echolocation or air pressure changes to sense surrounding out to 60'
    • Does not suffer from attack penalties from being unable to see their target
  • Darkvision
    • Either a combination infravision and low-light vision or magical vision out to 60' distance
    • Treats dim light like regular light
    • Treats darkness like dim light
    • Suffers from disadvantage to perceptions checks which rely on sight while in bright light
  • Infravision
    • Able to see heat signatures out to 60' distance
    • Treats darkness like dim light
  • Low-Light Vision
    • Able see with very little light out to 60' distance
    • Treats dim light like normal
  • Superior Darkvision
    • An enhanced version of Darkvision 120' distance
    • Treats dim light like regular light
    • Treats darkness like dim light
    • Suffers from disadvantage to perceptions checks and attacks which rely on sight in bright light
  • Tremor Sense
    • The ability to feel movement and vibrations through solid material out to 30'
    • Does not suffer attack penalties when unable to see targets who are in contact with the same surface as the creature.
  • Water Sense
    • The ability to discern movement and vibration in liquid out to 60'
    • Does not suffer from attack penalties from being unable to see their target while both are in the same liquid
As for creature breakdown, this list is hardy exhaustive but a start on what I am thinking:
  • Blindsight
    • Air Elementals
    • Air Genasi
    • Angels
  • Darkvision
    • Devils
    • Demons
    • Formorian
    • Orcs/Half-Orcs
    • Kobolds
    • Kuo-Tao
    • Slaad
    • Tieflings
    • Undead (a Life Sense for undead might work better, especially if we needed a sense to simulate electroception, but might weaken Invisibility too much)
  • Infravision
    • Dwarves
    • Fire Elementals
    • Fire Genasi
    • Gargoyles
    • Trolls
    • Troglodytes
    • Yuan-Ti
  • Low-Light
    • Bugbears
    • Elves/Half-Elves
    • Ettin
    • Goblins
    • Gnomes
    • Gnolls
    • Hobgoblins
    • Nymphs
    • Ogres
    • Oni
    • Sahuagin
  • Superior Darkvision
    • Deep Gnomes
    • Drow Elves
    • Mind Flayers
    • Umber Hulk
  • Tremor Sense
    • Earth Elementals
    • Earth Genasi
    • Gargoyles
    • Umber Hulk
  • Water Sense
    • Kuo-Tao
    • Merrow
    • Sahuagin
    • Water Elementals
    • Water Genasi
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Lyxen

Great Old One
It's interesting, but it complicates the matter a lot, and the main trouble is the combination with all the spells (darkness, flog cloud, etc.) and conditions, which will create a large number of edge cases, especially the vision rules, that I have no problem with, but that a lot of people consider at the very least difficult to understand and apply...
 


This goes well above and beyond prior editions, and doing this will be a ton of work for monsters.
  • Blindsight
    • Uses echolocation or air pressure changes to sense surrounding out to 60'
    • Does not suffer from attack penalties from being unable to see their target
Not sure why the need to detail the specifics. By doing so you present some problems, such as when the creature is deafened.
  • Darkvision
    • Either a combination infravision and low-light vision or magical vision out to 60' distance
    • Treats dim light like regular light
    • Treats darkness like dim light
    • Suffers from disadvantage to perceptions checks which rely on sight while in bright light
Having darkvision shouldn't hamper a creature in bright light. Remember, even a torch provides bright light. I would simply have it not work while in bright light.

  • Low-Light Vision
    • Able see with very little light out to 60' distance
    • Treats dim light like normal
I actually miss low light vision. I felt it provided a great distinction from the generic infravision and darkvision.

  • Water Sense
    • The ability to discern movement and vibration in liquid out to 60'
    • Does not suffer from attack penalties from being unable to see their target while both are in the same liquid
Interesting, but not sure if you really want to limit it to a specific element. Web Sense and Tremor Sense work basically the same, and the liquid is just a moving surface.
 

Horwath

Hero
I would just go for darkvision and superior darkvision(outside spells or some special features)

Darkvision;
range 60ft
treat dim light as normal light
treat darkness as dim light, but you have disadvantage on checks relying on sight and attacks on target in darkness.
moving more than half speed can have disadvantage on STR and DEX checks.

Superior darkvision;
range 120ft
treat dim light and darkness as normal light
you have disadvantage on checks relying on sight and attacks if you or the target are in sunlight or daylight or similar spell.
 
Last edited:

Lyxen

Great Old One
The way Darkvision is currently written is pretty generic. I am thinking about breaking up Darkvision a bit and adding a few more options. Rip it up:
  • Blindsight
    • Uses echolocation or air pressure changes to sense surrounding out to 60'
    • Does not suffer from attack penalties from being unable to see their target
If I may, you may want to differentiate the two types of blindsight above if you are really intent on this, because they are not affected by environment in the same way and in particular by obstacles or by the substance of creatures. There are also other types of mystical blindsight, and things like life sense (for undead), etc.

You might also, for most senses not based on sight, define what can be perceived, just the location of creatures, their general shapes, details about them, what is distinctive (colors? textures), etc.

For all these reasons, I am happy with a much simpler system which allows me to make ad hoc local rulings rather than creating even more complex rules that will in the end create even more edge cases.
 


Aldarc

Legend
This seems more trouble than its worth. I think that I would much rather reduce the amount of Darkvision given across the board. For example, do we really need to give Elves Darkvision when we can simply chalk up their better vision in lowlight as a result of having proficiency in Perception?
 

Horwath

Hero
This seems more trouble than its worth. I think that I would much rather reduce the amount of Darkvision given across the board. For example, do we really need to give Elves Darkvision when we can simply chalk up their better vision in lowlight as a result of having proficiency in Perception?
well, there is a difference from being able to notice details better than others from being able to see at all.
 

Blindsight "echolocation" already exists. Monsters like Bats have echolocation and can't use it when they're deafened.

That's a good template for alternative forms of Darkvision: make it conditional.
 

This seems more trouble than its worth.
I think so too and for the players as well. I had a DM that would change rules as he wanted without discussing it with the group, sometimes on the fly. It got to a point I wasn't sure what my actions would result in because I couldn't keep straight which rules he had changed. Going into the game I had certain expectations of how the game would work based on the 3 core books RAW. Once that changed quite drastically I wasn't having fun and quit. I'd make sure the players are on board with this before going through the trouble.
 



Rabulias

the Incomparably Shrewd and Clever
if you or the target are in sinlight or daylight or similar spell.
Is that some special version Paladins use, via detect evil
:) I think it's more like anti-sunlight, or (something I often mistype when trying to type sunlight) sunblight.

DM: "Strahd utters some strange-sounding words, and a fiery beam of gray light blasts forth from his outstretched hand."

Paladin: "Arrg! It burns!"
 


Having darkvision shouldn't hamper a creature in bright light. Remember, even a torch provides bright light. I would simply have it not work while in bright light.

I got long standing issues with considering torches, or even lanterns, bright light. I treat them as light. Bright light would be direct sunlight, the effects certain spells, or other conditions like that.

I actually miss low light vision. I felt it provided a great distinction from the generic infravision and darkvision.

My thoughts as well. And having different characters with different perception strengths in different conditions might be fun. Elves are great for the evening lookout in the woods, but in a mine dwarves can at least see.

And how a creature sees can really help define their behavior and encourage different tactics. Orcs make fine dusk and night raiders, but put them in an open field in the middle of the day and it gets easy to sneak past them.

Interesting, but not sure if you really want to limit it to a specific element. Web Sense and Tremor Sense work basically the same, and the liquid is just a moving surface.

I could just be getting pedantic here, but I sort of wanted some other way to give a water based sense which wasn't reliant on "vision" and wouldn't have land application.
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
It's interesting, but it complicates the matter a lot, and the main trouble is the combination with all the spells (darkness, flog cloud, etc.) and conditions,
Flog cloud?

I think you're talking about a different type of role-playing than the rest of us are... :)
which will create a large number of edge cases, especially the vision rules, that I have no problem with, but that a lot of people consider at the very least difficult to understand and apply...
It's pretty easy, really: physical (fog, snow, walls) or magical (darkness, etc.) impediments to vision affect all types* of vision equally.

* - note that here I don't treat echolocation, tremorsense etc. as vision as they do not rely on light.

I have ultravision, which is great outdoors (up to 900' for some creatures on a clear night) but does not work indoors at all (you're seeing by UV rays from starlight), which many "fey" creatures get; and infravision, which underground creatures get, that only has up to a 60' range but works the same indoors or out. That's it.
 



An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top