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Darkvision through a telescope

Mistwell

Legend
Branduil said:
The example of noticing something large in plain sight obviously already takes into account distance modifiers... it's simply referring to something anyone would notice. Putting aside a strict reading of the rules, which I still don't agree you are right on, someone can obviously see large city a mile away from a hilltop, or the moon on a cloudless night. There is no such thing as a limit to how far you can see with normal vision. None. You could theoretically see something on the other side of the universe if it was large enough.
Retreading seeing cities and planets again (fourth time now)? It's a strawman, and I don't see the value in that. The rules in question are for encounters only. Seeing a city, the moon, or a star is not an encounter. For situations involving initiative, and when it starts, and whether you can notice something that is part of an actual encounter itself, we use these rules. For situations involving role playing aspects and campaign color you don't need any rules at all.

So for encounters, large is a defined term in this game. We know what a large creature or object is (it occupies a 10' square), and it's different from a small creature or object, or a gargantuan one. The DC to see a large object that is part of an encounter that is in plain view is 0, modified by circumstances, the spot rules for seeing things, sight distances, etc.. The DC to see a small sized creature or object would be higher, and lower for a gargantuan one.
 

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Hypersmurf

Moderatarrrrh...
Mistwell said:
So for encounters, large is a defined term in this game. We know what a large creature or object is (it occupies a 10' square), and it's different from a small creature or object, or a gargantuan one. The DC to see a large object that is part of an encounter that is in plain view is 0, modified by circumstances, the spot rules for seeing things, sight distances, etc.. The DC to see a small sized creature or object would be higher, and lower for a gargantuan one.
So when you're describing the 'absolute limit' of distance for normal vision, that limit varies depending on the size of what you're looking at, right?

Let's say the DC to see a Large object that is part of an encounter that is in plain view is 0; for the untrained, Wis 10 creature, the 'absolute limit' of how far away he can see that Large object that is part of an encounter that is in plain view is 200 feet.

Let's say the DC to see a Medium object that is part of an encounter that is in plain view is 1; for the untrained, Wis 10 creature, the 'absolute limit' of how far away he can see that Medium object that is part of an encounter that is in plain view is 190 feet.

Allowing for variation in what DC you'd call the Medium object, does that fit with what you're advocating?

Does that mean that with a spyglass, the creature can potentially see the Medium object that is part of an encounter that is in plain view up to 200 feet away (but no further), since it is magnified to twice its size, becoming effectively Large?

-Hyp.
 

Mistwell

Legend
Hypersmurf said:
So when you're describing the 'absolute limit' of distance for normal vision, that limit varies depending on the size of what you're looking at, right?

Let's say the DC to see a Large object that is part of an encounter that is in plain view is 0; for the untrained, Wis 10 creature, the 'absolute limit' of how far away he can see that Large object that is part of an encounter that is in plain view is 200 feet.

Let's say the DC to see a Medium object that is part of an encounter that is in plain view is 1; for the untrained, Wis 10 creature, the 'absolute limit' of how far away he can see that Medium object that is part of an encounter that is in plain view is 190 feet.

Allowing for variation in what DC you'd call the Medium object, does that fit with what you're advocating?
Yes, to all of the above.

Does that mean that with a spyglass, the creature can potentially see the Medium object that is part of an encounter that is in plain view up to 200 feet away (but no further), since it is magnified to twice its size, becoming effectively Large?

-Hyp.
That's the issue (for me). I am not sure what effect x2 magnification should have.

One reasonable interpretation is to enlarge the relative size of the object, changing the DC to make it easier. That view is more accurate, but it's also a lot more complicated (since doubling the size of an object doesn't necessarily easily translate into the next larger size up). If you go with that view, I would not extend the distance you can see with darkvision while using a spyglass (beyond modifying the spot DC, if that comes into play).

Another reasonable interpretation is to double the maximum distance you can see objects. That version is easier to adjudicate, but probably less accurate than the first one. If you go with that interpretation, then I would extend the maximum distance darkvision works while using a spyglass.
 
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Hypersmurf

Moderatarrrrh...
Mistwell said:
That's the issue (for me). I am not sure what effect x2 magnification should have.

One reasonable interpretation is to enlarge the relative size of the object, changing the DC to make it easier. That view is more accurate, but it's also a lot more complicated (since doubling the size of an object doesn't necessarily easily translate into the next larger size up). If you go with that view, I would not extend the distance you can see with darkvision while using a spyglass (beyond modifying the spot DC, if that comes into play).
That's how I see it. It doesn't make sense to me to take "magnified to twice its size" to mean the one that doesn't treat the object as twice its size.

As far as doubling the size goes, it either becomes the next size category up, or it doesn't... and in most cases, it does. If it does, change the DC. If it doesn't, don't change the DC.

-Hyp.
 

Mistwell

Legend
Hypersmurf said:
That's how I see it. It doesn't make sense to me to take "magnified to twice its size" to mean the one that doesn't treat the object as twice its size.

As far as doubling the size goes, it either becomes the next size category up, or it doesn't... and in most cases, it does. If it does, change the DC. If it doesn't, don't change the DC.

-Hyp.
I might go that route as well. But, I don't think it's completely illogical to use the other method, and it's the method the original poster seems to be looking for. If you take x2 magnification to the logical conclusion, it means you can see twice as far. Because the point of your vision where it ordinarily became too difficult to see the necessary details are now twice as big, making it easier to see. Which means you should be able to see roughly twice as far as you could without it (which is generally how 2x Magnification works with things like telescopes).
 

Hypersmurf

Moderatarrrrh...
Mistwell said:
Which means you should be able to see roughly twice as far as you could without it (which is generally how 2x Magnification works with things like telescopes).
But if we say that a Large object is DC 0 and a Medium object is DC X to Spot, this model falls down... because we can have a Large object which is an exact 2x replica of a Medium object (therefore every necessary detail is twice as big), and yet the maximum Spotting distances will not be double for everyone, based on the values of X and the respective Spot bonuses.

-Hyp.
 

Branduil

First Post
Mistwell said:
Retreading seeing cities and planets again (fourth time now)? It's a strawman, and I don't see the value in that. The rules in question are for encounters only. Seeing a city, the moon, or a star is not an encounter. For situations involving initiative, and when it starts, and whether you can notice something that is part of an actual encounter itself, we use these rules. For situations involving role playing aspects and campaign color you don't need any rules at all.

So for encounters, large is a defined term in this game. We know what a large creature or object is (it occupies a 10' square), and it's different from a small creature or object, or a gargantuan one. The DC to see a large object that is part of an encounter that is in plain view is 0, modified by circumstances, the spot rules for seeing things, sight distances, etc.. The DC to see a small sized creature or object would be higher, and lower for a gargantuan one.
Okay.

So by your interpretation, I couldn't see a Dragon attacking a city 1 mile away, and he couldn't see me, even if I was on fire and holding up a huge sign that said "Hey Dragon, I'm coming to kill you!"

Is this correct?
 

Mistwell

Legend
Branduil said:
Okay.

So by your interpretation, I couldn't see a Dragon attacking a city 1 mile away, and he couldn't see me, even if I was on fire and holding up a huge sign that said "Hey Dragon, I'm coming to kill you!"

Is this correct?
If seeing the Dragon was the start of the encounter (it isn't by the way in most games - unless you actually go to the melee grid to move a mile until you arrive, all while in initiative). Unless your spot check was high enough, if it were the encounter, then absolutely correct.

See for example the DMG rule that specifies when an encounter starts and how one party sees another party, and what rules you use to determine who sees who when.

Honestly, we have ALWAYS played using spot checks to know when one party sees another party (even if nobody is hiding). It's not a house rule, it's right out of the DMG and the spot rules and the skills DC chart. I'm kinda surprised people assume their characters can see anything at any distance assuming no obstructions. I mean poor half-elves once again! They get keen eyesight, which the rules specifically say translates into a bonus to their spot check, but EVERYONE apparently has extraordinarily fantastic eyesight in some games that can see anything at any distance provided there is no obstruction! Look, an ant on the ground at 1000 yards!
 

Branduil

First Post
Mistwell said:
If seeing the Dragon was the start of the encounter (it isn't by the way in most games - unless you actually go to the melee grid to move a mile until you arrive, all while in initiative). Unless your spot check was high enough, if it were the encounter, then absolutely correct.

See for example the DMG rule that specifies when an encounter starts and how one party sees another party, and what rules you use to determine who sees who when.

Honestly, we have ALWAYS played using spot checks to know when one party sees another party (even if nobody is hiding). It's not a house rule, it's right out of the DMG and the spot rules and the skills DC chart. I'm kinda surprised people assume their characters can see anything at any distance assuming no obstructions. I mean poor half-elves once again! They get keen eyesight, which the rules specifically say translates into a bonus to their spot check, but EVERYONE apparently has extraordinarily fantastic eyesight in some games that can see anything at any distance provided there is no obstruction! Look, an ant on the ground at 1000 yards!
If your interpretation is correct, can you tell me why it's possible to shoot 1000 feet with a normal longbow? If there is a maximum distance to spot of only a few hundred feet, what's the point of having a weapon that can shoot father? Why would the far shot feat even exist? And wouldn't it mention somewhere that even though you can shoot this far, it doesn't matter since you can't see your enemies?
 

Mistwell

Legend
Branduil said:
If your interpretation is correct, can you tell me why it's possible to shoot 1000 feet with a normal longbow?
Because with a high enough spot check, a large enough target, and circumstance bonuses (like knowing the character went in that direction), you can hit things at 1000 feet.

If there is a maximum distance to spot of only a few hundred feet,
Who said that? There is a maximum distance for any given character and target and circumstances, but given the right character and target and circumstances it can extend quite far (particularly with a spy glass, if you choose the interpretation I suggested).

what's the point of having a weapon that can shoot father? Why would the far shot feat even exist?
Most folks I know that take far shot use it for things with a shorter range to begin with (like a dagger). It would be pretty silly to take far shot with a composite longbow, as you cannot see the target, and frankly even if you could the opportunity to have a target that far is so rare that it would be a waste of a feat.

And wouldn't it mention somewhere that even though you can shoot this far, it doesn't matter since you can't see your enemies?
It does. It's in the spot rules, and the chart for DCs for skills, and the DMG.

Tell me, what does DC 0 to notice a large object in plain sight mean to you, if there is no need to hit a DC at all? How can there be any question that you need to roll a spot check for things in plain sight, once you saw that chart?

And I'll ask again...can your character notice an ant in plain view 1000 yards away? If not, why not, given you believe there are no rolls necessary to spot something in plain view, regardless of distance and size?
 
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Branduil

First Post
Mistwell said:
It does. It's in the spot rules, and the chart for DCs for skills, and the DMG.

Tell me, what does DC 0 to notice a large object in plain sight mean to you, if there is no need to hit a DC at all? How can there be any question that you need to roll a spot check for things in plain sight, once you saw that chart?

And I'll ask again...can your character notice an ant in plain view 1000 yards away? If not, why not, given you believe there are no rolls necessary to spot something in plain view, regardless of distance and size?
Notice that the PHB chart does not specify a distance for the check to notice a large object in plain sight. It's deliberately vague, because the distance is irrelevant. It's merely saying that, unless you're basically blind, you cane see large objects in plain sight. Noticing the moon on a cloudless night would be a DC 0 spot check.

Now you are the one making up straw men. I never said anything about spotting an ant. The only point I've been trying to make is there is no such thing as an absolute limit to normal sight, so to try and compare it to Darkvision in that aspect is wrong, and a Telescope can no more extend the range of Darkvision than it can make Darkvision technicolor. Frankly the Spot skill is a red herring to this discussion. There are only two important factors:

1)There is no absolute limit to normal vision.

2)There is an absolute limit to Darkvision.

We can therefore decisively state that Darkvision is NOT like normal vision in this respect.

Furthermore, telescopes do not work by extending your range of vision, as that is a meaningless concept for normal vision. They merely make things twice as large, and thus easier to see. Therefore, telescopes cannot extend the range of Darkvision; that's not how telescopes work. I guess you could see the nothingness past 60 feet twice as large.
 

Hypersmurf

Moderatarrrrh...
Branduil said:
Furthermore, telescopes do not work by extending your range of vision, as that is a meaningless concept for normal vision. They merely make things twice as large, and thus easier to see. Therefore, telescopes cannot extend the range of Darkvision; that's not how telescopes work. I guess you could see the nothingness past 60 feet twice as large.
Mistwell has already said that if we consider a telescope to effectively double the size of what you're looking at, he wouldn't let it increase Darkvision's range. He also said that if we consider a telescope to double the distance you can see, he would.

So as long as you consider a telescope to effectively double the size of what you're looking at, you're in agreement with Mistwell.

-Hyp.
 

Mistwell

Legend
Branduil said:
Notice that the PHB chart does not specify a distance for the check to notice a large object in plain sight. It's deliberately vague, because the distance is irrelevant.
No it's deliberately vague because, just like everything else on that chart, it's just an example and you have to look to the skill description itself for the details. Distance is not irrelevant for spot checks. That much is clear in the spot skill description.

It's merely saying that, unless you're basically blind, you cane see large objects in plain sight. Noticing the moon on a cloudless night would be a DC 0 spot check.
Again, please, no more moon, planet, star, or city references. You know, I know, and everyone knows this is a rule for encounters and not role playing color.

Your intepretation of that rule does not match the DMG description or the spot skill description. The weight of the evidence is on my side that a spot check is called for to start an encounter at a distance. Simply trying to fiat over all those rules without responding to it isn't compelling (at least it's not to me).

Now you are the one making up straw men. I never said anything about spotting an ant.
It's not a straw man and I never said you brought it up. I brought it up as a counter example to your examples. Could you answer the question, like I have patiently answered yours? If an ant is in plain view, 1000 yards away, can you see it without a spot check or can't you? The logical extension of your view is that no check is required, or the check is against a DC 0, because it's in plain view regardless of distance or size (hence the DC would be 0 in your view). If that is not correct, explain why.

The only point I've been trying to make is there is no such thing as an absolute limit to normal sight,
But there is. I understand that's the point you were trying to make, I just disagree with it, and have presented rules as to why I disagree with it. I'm really not sure at this point why you think there is a maximum sight limit to see someone hiding, but not a maximum sight limit to start an encounter.

so to try and compare it to Darkvision in that aspect is wrong, and a Telescope can no more extend the range of Darkvision than it can make Darkvision technicolor. Frankly the Spot skill is a red herring to this discussion. There are only two important factors:

1)There is no absolute limit to normal vision.
There is, however. And it's in the spot skill. You can call it a red herring all you want, but it's the issue at hand. The -1 to checks per 10' has some meaning. The DC to spot something in plain sight has some meaning. The DMG rule that calls for spot checks to determine when an encounter starts has some meaning.

2)There is an absolute limit to Darkvision.

We can therefore decisively state that Darkvision is NOT like normal vision in this respect.
Except it is, in the respect that you still need to deal with the maximum range for normal vision part of this debate.

Furthermore, telescopes do not work by extending your range of vision, as that is a meaningless concept for normal vision.
It's not a meaningless concept for game rules however. We need to decide if it makes things larger, and thus the spot check easier, or it extends the maximum distance, which effectively makes the spot check easier for objects in closer range.

They merely make things twice as large, and thus easier to see. Therefore, telescopes cannot extend the range of Darkvision; that's not how telescopes work. I guess you could see the nothingness past 60 feet twice as large.
I understand that part of your position, and I agree it's one reasonable interpretation of how to apply the x2 magnification effect of the spy glass. I just think there is another reasonable interpretation, and the OP seemed to be asking if anyone could think of a reasonable interpretation of the existing rules that would allow that sort of thing to work.
 

Branduil

First Post
Mistwell said:
No it's deliberately vague because, just like everything else on that chart, it's just an example and you have to look to the skill description itself for the details. Distance is not irrelevant for spot checks. That much is clear in the spot skill description.
Distance is irrelevant if the object is large relative to your viewpoint and in plain sight. That's why it's DC 0.

Again, please, no more moon, planet, star, or city references. You know, I know, and everyone knows this is a rule for encounters and not role playing color.
What if I wanted to make a check for the PCs to notice something like the moon changing color because it's a cursed night, or something similar? By your interpretation it is impossible.

It's not a straw man and I never said you brought it up. I brought it up as a counter example to your examples. Could you answer the question, like I have patiently answered yours? If an ant is in plain view, 1000 yards away, can you see it without a spot check or can't you? The logical extension of your view is that no check is required, or the check is against a DC 0, because it's in plain view regardless of distance or size (hence the DC would be 0 in your view). If that is not correct, explain why.
No, unless it is a large dire ant or something. It is a strawman because you're making up a ridiculous example instead of addressing my claim, which is that you can see relatively large things at any distance.

But there is. I understand that's the point you were trying to make, I just disagree with it, and have presented rules as to why I disagree with it. I'm really not sure at this point why you think there is a maximum sight limit to see someone hiding, but not a maximum sight limit to start an encounter.
You have not shown that Spot can only be used for encounters. What if I want to know if any of the PCs notice a glow on the night horizon from a town several miles away that's being burned and sacked by goblin raiders?

There is, however. And it's in the spot skill. You can call it a red herring all you want, but it's the issue at hand. The -1 to checks per 10' has some meaning. The DC to spot something in plain sight has some meaning. The DMG rule that calls for spot checks to determine when an encounter starts has some meaning.
Give me book and page number where they ever mention anything about an absolute range limit to normal vision. Distance modifiers are countered by size modifiers.

I understand that part of your position, and I agree it's one reasonable interpretation of how to apply the x2 magnification effect of the spy glass. I just think there is another reasonable interpretation, and the OP seemed to be asking if anyone could think of a reasonable interpretation of the existing rules that would allow that sort of thing to work.
I disagree in that I do not think it is reasonable to interpret the rules in such a way that results in it being impossible for PCs to notice a burning town miles way or the moon changing color slightly. Distance modifiers are always countered by size modifiers, so there's no such thing as an absolute limit to normal vision.
 

Elethiomel

First Post
Mistwell said:
If seeing the Dragon was the start of the encounter (it isn't by the way in most games - unless you actually go to the melee grid to move a mile until you arrive, all while in initiative). Unless your spot check was high enough, if it were the encounter, then absolutely correct.
Combine seeing the mile-distant city-attacking Dragon to the ability for people to shoot 1500+ feet with Far Shot and a Composite Longbow.

And where does verisimilitude go when you remember that common people in the Age of Exploration were able to see the sails of an incoming ship before the hull was over the horizon?

I have a really hard time accepting the rules on spot checks as the maximum distance you can see something that is in plain view unless the size of the object alter the DC in a multiplicative fashion.

[Edit: ]
("there isn't an absolute limit on normal vision")
Mistwell said:
There is, however. And it's in the spot skill. You can call it a red herring all you want, but it's the issue at hand. The -1 to checks per 10' has some meaning. The DC to spot something in plain sight has some meaning. The DMG rule that calls for spot checks to determine when an encounter starts has some meaning.
That's a variable limit. The limit on a given character's Darkvision is absolute, not variable.
 
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Mistwell

Legend
Branduil said:
Distance is irrelevant if the object is large relative to your viewpoint and in plain sight. That's why it's DC 0.



What if I wanted to make a check for the PCs to notice something like the moon changing color because it's a cursed night, or something similar? By your interpretation it is impossible.



No, unless it is a large dire ant or something. It is a strawman because you're making up a ridiculous example instead of addressing my claim, which is that you can see relatively large things at any distance.



You have not shown that Spot can only be used for encounters. What if I want to know if any of the PCs notice a glow on the night horizon from a town several miles away that's being burned and sacked by goblin raiders?



Give me book and page number where they ever mention anything about an absolute range limit to normal vision. Distance modifiers are countered by size modifiers.



I disagree in that I do not think it is reasonable to interpret the rules in such a way that results in it being impossible for PCs to notice a burning town miles way or the moon changing color slightly. Distance modifiers are always countered by size modifiers, so there's no such thing as an absolute limit to normal vision.
Enough with the point by point, given you avoided my question a second time.

What is the DC to spot a fine sized creature a mile away out in the open and not hiding. Creatures can be fine sized, and be a foe. So forget the ant and insert your favorite fine sized creature. Now please, answer the question. It's relevant to both our positions.
 

Mistwell

Legend
Elethiomel said:
Combine seeing the mile-distant city-attacking Dragon to the ability for people to shoot 1500+ feet with Far Shot and a Composite Longbow.

And where does verisimilitude go when you remember that common people in the Age of Exploration were able to see the sails of an incoming ship before the hull was over the horizon?

I have a really hard time accepting the rules on spot checks as the maximum distance you can see something that is in plain view unless the size of the object alter the DC in a multiplicative fashion.

[Edit: ]
("there isn't an absolute limit on normal vision")


That's a variable limit. The limit on a given character's Darkvision is absolute, not variable.
Yes, it's variable from character to character, and object to object, and circumstance to circumstance (which I said earlier). However, for any given character, object/creature, and circumstances, there is a fixed maximum range you can notice something. Same goes for many uses of Darkvision as well. I gave the example of the drow vs. the human, and BOTH could only see 100' for their average roll, regardless of whether they used darkvision or normal vision.
 

Branduil

First Post
Mistwell said:
Enough with the point by point, given you avoided my question a second time.

What is the DC to spot a fine sized creature a mile away out in the open and not hiding. Creatures can be fine sized, and be a foe. So forget the ant and insert your favorite fine sized creature. Now please, answer the question. It's relevant to both our positions.
As the rules are fairly ambiguous on spotting things out in the open, I would start from the one rule we do have: DC 0 check to see something large out in the open. Large is not defined in this context, so I'd have make an assumption. Something like a full moon on a cloudless night would be DC 0. So things smaller than that would be harder to see. We're basically in DM fiat territory here. Let's say it's a black bug on a while wall 1 mile away. The way I would adjust the DC for size is this: A creature or object 1/4 the size of a DC 0 object would have a +4 bonus to DC for DC 4, while a creature or object 4 times as large would have a -4 modifier, for DC -4. For every quartering or quadrupling of size, I would multiply by 4. So if a creature is 1/4 of 1/4 the size of a DC 0 object, it would be a DC 16 spot check to see.

Rather unscientifically, I would guess that a Colossal-sized creature not hiding a mile away would be DC 0. Also unscientifically, I'll simplify and say that each step down in size is equal to being a creature or object 1/4 smaller. So, 4x4x4x4x4x4x4= 4^7= DC 16,384 to see a fine sized creature a mile away. Sounds about right.

Of course in reality I would never have my players makes such a spot check anyway. And it is irrelevant to the question of whether or not there is such a thing as a maximum range for normal vision.
 

Mistwell

Legend
Branduil said:
As the rules are fairly ambiguous on spotting things out in the open, I would start from the one rule we do have: DC 0 check to see something large out in the open. Large is not defined in this context, so I'd have make an assumption. Something like a full moon on a cloudless night would be DC 0. So things smaller than that would be harder to see. We're basically in DM fiat territory here. Let's say it's a black bug on a while wall 1 mile away. The way I would adjust the DC for size is this: A creature or object 1/4 the size of a DC 0 object would have a +4 bonus to DC for DC 4, while a creature or object 4 times as large would have a -4 modifier, for DC -4. For every quartering or quadrupling of size, I would multiply by 4. So if a creature is 1/4 of 1/4 the size of a DC 0 object, it would be a DC 16 spot check to see.
OK, so finally, we both agree that a spot check can be used for things out in the open that are not hiding, and that the DC varies based on size and is not just a fixed DC of 0. Glad we got that out of the way. I don't think it is ambiguous like you do, or DM fiat (we know what a large sized object is - it is defined in the rules as anything taking up a 10' square), and we know the modifiers for sized (you can find the chart in multiple places), so it's just the same analysis and DM does for any skill check with a high variety of potential uses. But regardless, we both agree that spot is used to see objects out in the open, and the check is modified by size.

The other question however is the fact that the creature is a mile away as opposed to a foot in front of you. Is it harder to see a fine sized creature a mile away than a fine sized creature in the square next to you, or isn't it? I think the answer to that is obvious, as are the rules (in the spot skill - which is the skill we both agree is used to make the check).

Rather unscientifically, I would guess that a Colossal-sized creature not hiding a mile away would be DC 0. Also unscientifically, I'll simplify and say that each step down in size is equal to being a creature or object 1/4 smaller. So, 4x4x4x4x4x4x4= 4^7= DC 16,384 to see a fine sized creature a mile away. Sounds about right.

Of course in reality I would never have my players makes such a spot check anyway. And it is irrelevant to the question of whether or not there is such a thing as a maximum range for normal vision.
It's relevant once we get to the spot rules for making those checks, which include a modifier for distance.
 

Branduil

First Post
Mistwell said:
OK, so finally, we both agree that a spot check can be used for things out in the open that are not hiding, and that the DC varies based on size and is not just a fixed DC of 0. Glad we got that out of the way. I don't think it is ambiguous like you do, or DM fiat (we know what a large sized object is - it is defined in the rules as anything taking up a 10' square), and we know the modifiers for sized (you can find the chart in multiple places), so it's just the same analysis and DM does for any skill check with a high variety of potential uses. But regardless, we both agree that spot is used to see objects out in the open, and the check is modified by size.

The other question however is the fact that the creature is a mile away as opposed to a foot in front of you. Is it harder to see a fine sized creature a mile away than a fine sized creature in the square next to you, or isn't it? I think the answer to that is obvious, as are the rules (in the spot skill - which is the skill we both agree is used to make the check).



It's relevant once we get to the spot rules for making those checks, which include a modifier for distance.
Looking more closely at the rules, it says "a penalty applies on such checks." What does it mean by such checks? Spot checks to determine the beginning of an encounter. In other words, only in this specific use of the spot skill does the penalty apply. It says nothing about a penalty for opposed Hide checks, or spotting things father in the distance. And it seems this use of spot checks is entirely optional: "The Dungeon Master MAY call for spot checks."

So really I don't see how this optional use of the spot skill relates to the telescope argument at all.
 

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