D&D 5E How Darkness helps the dungeon crawl experience immensely.

FitzTheRuke

Legend
I'm pretty sure you can't read anything written on a flat surface (paper, parchment, blood on walls, etc) with darkvision. You sure as heck couldn't with the old-school "infravision" (unless it was fresh enough to be warm!)
 

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GMMichael

Guide of Modos
Basically D&D 4e's take was . . .
Hey, sounds neat!
. . . Imagine a 100ft cubic room. In a completely bright setting; the DM has to describe the the scale of the room, all of the outstanding features, the relevant furnishing like chests, and everything else all at once. For players, this can be overwhelming information and for DM's, it can be difficult listing absolutely everything of relevance all at once. This might lead a DM to cutting back on the details of a room knowing that the room will be seen all at once.
This will totally lead to the DM cutting back details. And that's intentional. PCs who seek shall find. PCs who don't, well, they get ambushed. I'll describe about the same amount of detail in lit or non-lit environs. The difference: how close to the observer those details are.
 

Hussar

Legend
I'm pretty sure you can't read anything written on a flat surface (paper, parchment, blood on walls, etc) with darkvision. You sure as heck couldn't with the old-school "infravision" (unless it was fresh enough to be warm!)
Actually, yes you can. It's in black and white, but, you certainly can read it.

But, as far as light cantrips go, Light is a really weak light source - it's only 20 feet of bright and 20 feet of dim. And, it's only one light source. If you have a party of 5, with a 5 foot space between each as you move down a corridor, the guy in the back is actually in dim light and can't see much of anything behind the party (assuming the lead character has the Light spell).

This really is where VTT play absolutely gleams. When you realize just how small a light that Light spell actually is and suddenly, you just painted a huge target on that character's chest with everything attacking him or her with advantage. Light spells are not exactly all that's cracked up to be.
 

Asisreo

Patron Badass
This will totally lead to the DM cutting back details. And that's intentional. PCs who seek shall find. PCs who don't, well, they get ambushed. I'll describe about the same amount of detail in lit or non-lit environs. The difference: how close to the observer those details are.
What I mean is that DM's will tend to make the room less detailed from an objective view during the adventure creation process. Where a room might have a chest, a bookcase with an ominous book, and an illusory wall that leads into a different room may be reduced to only having a chest and a locked door, simply because describing the entire room might be cumbersome during play.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
Actually, yes you can. It's in black and white, but, you certainly can read it.

I think that's up to interpretation. I mean, you have disadvantage on perception checks, so in the very least, I'd think you'd have trouble reading. I suspect that a Drow arachnomancer is gonna want a few glowing mushrooms to read her spellbook.
 

delericho

Legend
This really is where VTT play absolutely gleams. When you realize just how small a light that Light spell actually is and suddenly, you just painted a huge target on that character's chest with everything attacking him or her with advantage.
Why are they getting advantage?
 

delericho

Legend
Exactly. It basically removes resource management re: light sources as a concern. Same problem with Outlander background, goodberry, purify food & water, create food & water, etc for resource management re: food and water. Same problem with Rangers ribbon abilities for resource management re: time and getting lost, etc. Same problem with bags of holding, portable holes, etc for resource management re: weight carried. As a player and referee who likes a bit of resource management, it makes for an unfun game when that entire part of the game is handwaved away.
I agree, and it's really unfortunate.

The thing is, I think a lot of these things were introduced to the game specifically for that purpose - after a while Gygax's players got sick of tracking encumbrance (or just wanted to carry more), so Tenser's Floating Disk and the bag of holding were born. They got sick of tracking arrows, hence the quiver of Ehlonna, and so forth. As the party gained in levels, these things became more and more common, and so some aspects of the resource management went away.

But as the editions have progressed, and especially with 5e, these things have come earlier and earlier. To the point where now groups can just opt out of entire elements of the resource management from the get-go.

(But my biggest frustration is that in some cases a player may choose the Ranger class, say, because they want to interact with that element of the game and want their character to be good at it, only for the option they have chosen to completely negate the very thing they wanted to do.)
 



Hussar

Legend
Why are they getting advantage?
Sorry, yes, I should have mentioned the ranged attacks thing. My bad.

The point being, a light spell is REALLY small. And, unless you have multiple casters all with light spells, you're still going to have to use torches or lanterns. I know in our group, we have one character with no dark vision at all, who is constantly in need of light, a couple of characters with dark vision and one warlock with Devil's Sight. Since Fantasy Grounds actually differentiates all of these, it is really neat to see how everyone actually sees the game differently. Half the players are black and white, the Devil's Sight character gets the full color experience and the guy with the lantern is in the center of a lit circle.

Add in LOS things like corners and pillars and whatnot, and you get many situations where some characters can see the baddies, but not all. Which can get into all sorts of interesting tactical issues. Right now, my group is adventuring in the Shadowfell, so, lighting is a HUGE issue. Lighting a lantern is basically ringing the dinner bell for all and sundry to come and eat you. Like I said, adding in Skulker Feats to baddies gets to be all kinds of fun. 30 feet away from the guy with the light spell? No problem. I'm in dim and I can hide right in front of him.

Like I said, doing lighting on a virtual tabletop is where VTT play absolutely glows. It's one of the few areas where I think you can definitively say that VTT play is better than tabletop. There really aren't many areas where you can say that. :D
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I think that's up to interpretation. I mean, you have disadvantage on perception checks, so in the very least, I'd think you'd have trouble reading. I suspect that a Drow arachnomancer is gonna want a few glowing mushrooms to read her spellbook.
Only if the spellbook has color illustrations. And maybe it does!
 

nevin

Hero
If so many races didn’t have Darkvision, and it wasn’t so burdensome to implement in game I might agree on the use of more darkness in the game. As it is, it’s just an annoyance to the point all my dungeons are essentially prelit these days.
Imo the old infravision rules worked far better. If darkvision is heat based vision then undead, fungi, and elementals except fire and ice can't be seen in a dark dungeon. Make true darkvision a monster only ability.

But to other comments it would s a pain running blind people through a dungeon. That's probably why dark vision was made so easy to obtain. Of course in an environment with darkvision, creatures still have stealth, and would develop natural and magical camouflage.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Imo the old infravision rules worked far better. If darkvision is heat based vision then undead, fungi, and elementals except fire and ice can't be seen in a dark dungeon. Make true darkvision a monster only ability.

But to other comments it would s a pain running blind people through a dungeon. That's probably why dark vision was made so easy to obtain. Of course in an environment with darkvision, creatures still have stealth, and would develop natural and magical camouflage.
With the disadvantage to Perception in dim light, there's some incentive there for even creatures with darkvision living in a dark environment to have some light here and there. It would make some tactical sense to have light set up defensively so as to have a better chance of avoiding surprise.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Or even to use bright light offensively. Imagine you're creeping down a dark, dimly lit tunnel. You're sure the enemy has detect you, but they haven't made an appearance yet.

Suddenly, the room is filled by dazzling bright light, reflected off of polished shields and mirrors, momentarily blinding your eyes, which had up until now been straining to notice any details in the gloom, and then you hear the shouts of the Hobgoblins attacking...
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Or even to use bright light offensively. Imagine you're creeping down a dark, dimly lit tunnel. You're sure the enemy has detect you, but they haven't made an appearance yet.

Suddenly, the room is filled by dazzling bright light, reflected off of polished shields and mirrors, momentarily blinding your eyes, which had up until now been straining to notice any details in the gloom, and then you hear the shouts of the Hobgoblins attacking...
Yes, or put bright light on one side of a bridge where enemies would presumably be coming from and keep your side with all the archers in the darkness. Bonus points if the light sources are not easy to reach and out of range of a prestidigitation spell. Bullseye lanterns on the monsters' side of the bridge could outrange control flames spells too (though the PCs would be in dim light meaning monster Perception is at disadvantage if there are no light sources near PCs).
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
My human paladin got his hands on a 50gp ruby and got the cleric to prepare continual flame. Now his sword (which happens to be Shatterspike) is a perma-torch. Very handy.
 

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