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5E Is 5e Darkvision A Good Design?

Is 5e Darkvision good/which parts are good or bad

  • Limited Distance Is Good

    Votes: 48 61.5%
  • Limited Distance is Bad

    Votes: 7 9.0%
  • Binary Darkvision (no separate low-light) is Good

    Votes: 31 39.7%
  • Binary Darkvision (no separate low-light) is Bad

    Votes: 32 41.0%
  • No Option for Darkness as Bright Light is Good

    Votes: 43 55.1%
  • No Option for Darkness as Bright Light is Bad

    Votes: 12 15.4%
  • I WILL NOT BE CONTAINED! (explain in thread)

    Votes: 8 10.3%

  • Total voters
    78

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nevin

Villager
I think Darkvision is fine but I like regular light cutting it out. Then party with a light source isn't going to get surprise but anyone looking at them can't use darkvision. this creates the dynamic of "do we want to sneak in with darkvision or blanket the area with light and go in boldly"

But overall I preferred infravision. I think the most overlooked part of infravision is that undead have no body heat. I remember great games where the party suddenly realized they were surrounded by undead, or the vampire simply followed them unnoticed in the dark. Also reptiles, fungus creatures and plant creatures are cold blooded. :cool:


I think the big problem with Darkvision is too many races have it and it's too easy to obtain so it's really not an issue in most games thus removing the reason for monster's to have it. Monsters seeing in the dark when you can't sucks. I honestly wouldn't have a problem removing it from PC's. It would make certain magic items more useful.
 

Darkvision is a good design because 5e wasn't ment to be a 3.5 repeat. 5e explains just enough to get your imagination going. Then it let's you shine with your ingenuity.
Notice how in 5e it doesn't go into much detail about how darkvision works. Is it magic? Is it an evolutionary trait (IE: cats eyes)? Why does it only have 60' of range? The reason they left so many questions unanswered is so that you the player/ DM may decide how things work.
Does Darkvision work with a telescope? I'll have you know that darkvision does work with a telescope. The rules as written don't say anything about this. Does that mean the answer is no? Of course not XD! However do you or your players have the knowledge of science, technology, & how magic works in 5e to explain how it would work?
In conclusion, that is the challenge & experience I believe the creators would like us to enjoy.
 

TaranTheWanderer

Adventurer
Darkvision is a good design because 5e wasn't ment to be a 3.5 repeat. 5e explains just enough to get your imagination going. Then it let's you shine with your ingenuity.
Notice how in 5e it doesn't go into much detail about how darkvision works. Is it magic? Is it an evolutionary trait (IE: cats eyes)? Why does it only have 60' of range? The reason they left so many questions unanswered is so that you the player/ DM may decide how things work.
Does Darkvision work with a telescope? I'll have you know that darkvision does work with a telescope. The rules as written don't say anything about this. Does that mean the answer is no? Of course not XD! However do you or your players have the knowledge of science, technology, & how magic works in 5e to explain how it would work?
In conclusion, that is the challenge & experience I believe the creators would like us to enjoy.
In short, 5e's design goal was to generate endless Threads like this one.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Darkvision is a good design because 5e wasn't ment to be a 3.5 repeat. 5e explains just enough to get your imagination going. Then it let's you shine with your ingenuity.
Notice how in 5e it doesn't go into much detail about how darkvision works. Is it magic? Is it an evolutionary trait (IE: cats eyes)? Why does it only have 60' of range? The reason they left so many questions unanswered is so that you the player/ DM may decide how things work.
Does Darkvision work with a telescope? I'll have you know that darkvision does work with a telescope. The rules as written don't say anything about this. Does that mean the answer is no? Of course not XD! However do you or your players have the knowledge of science, technology, & how magic works in 5e to explain how it would work?
In conclusion, that is the challenge & experience I believe the creators would like us to enjoy.
None of that means it’s well designed. It just means the design goals were consistent, but there are several ways those goals could have been accomplished.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Even when they do run it that way (I do), disadvantage on Perception checks isn't enough of a penalty to offset the advantage of being able to function in complete darkness. That's just too valuable a capability. And it makes humans, halflings, and dragonborn a huge liability for the party in darkness: either they light a torch and blow stealth for the whole team, or they try to wander through blind.

I would much prefer for every PC race to have the same problem with total darkness and thus be on the same footing for the "Should we light a torch?" question. 3E-style low-light vision, which treats dim light as bright light and doubles the effective range of point light sources but is still blind in the dark, would have been a much more party-friendly way to model the eyes of elves and dwarves and the like. Maybe especially "dark-friendly" races like tieflings get a version of devil's sight on top of low-light vision: they can ignore magical darkness, but still need light to do it.

Once you get into class features and magical effects, I'm more okay with actual darkvision and devil's sight. Those are perks you earn. But the baseline assumption should be that everybody needs a torch or suffers the consequences for not having one together.
I like what your laying down here. I just don't like to have too many house rules, because that just becomes mental baggage I have to carry to every session.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
I do as well. Also interesting that none of the core 4E races had darkvision.

/offtopic - I've come around on my view of 4E. There is still a lot I don't like but I appreciate its design evolution a lot more than I did at the time. I could almost envision a "4.5E", but using the core of 5E and moving back towards 4E. But that's a topic for another thread.
Start that thread please.
 

Pauln6

Explorer
I think that there are a lot of nuances that get overlooked. Disadvantage on perception checks to see but only those with the skulker feat or a specific ability can hide in dim light so technically they can see targets in the dark.

A torch or lantern provides illumination to a greater distance so demi humans can't moan about the annoying humans quite so much in this edition.

I think it's fine.

I saw the note about 'blowing Stealth' for team but the team can't Stealth in dim light and most monsters have darkvision too.
 
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Pauln6

Explorer
Pardon? Of course they can use stealth in dim light.
No I think that's the misconception, probably due to the fact that 'hide in shadows ' is an iconic Rogue ability. Darkness provides concealment. Dim light doesn't otherwise there would be no point allowing those with the skulker feat to be able to hide in dim light if everyone could do it (I appreciate that you can still move silently). So yeah, darkvision is great for not allowing monsters to hide in the dark and torchlight is visible, so it increases the range at which encounters can occur, but it otherwise does little to make the group more stealthy when balanced against missing all those traps due to disadvantage on sight.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Perhaps you are conflating stealth generally with hiding in particular? Hiding certainly has a set of parameters under which it is allowed, but stealth is about more than just hide checks. Moving silently is a big part as well, and that part is indeed made significantly less effective by a 60' pool of torchlight in a dark environment. Light in the darkness is a beacon that announces your presence out much farther than just the reach of the light. Moving in complete silence isn't helpful when you're carrying a big light up sign that says Here I am, come eat me.
 

Pauln6

Explorer
Perhaps you are conflating stealth generally with hiding in particular? Hiding certainly has a set of parameters under which it is allowed, but stealth is about more than just hide checks. Moving silently is a big part as well, and that part is indeed made significantly less effective by a 60' pool of torchlight in a dark environment. Light in the darkness is a beacon that announces your presence out much farther than just the reach of the light. Moving in complete silence isn't helpful when you're carrying a big light up sign that says Here I am, come eat me.
Yes that's true. That's why there is a balance I guess. Darkvision only, you are less likely to spot stuff, including enemies hidden behind cover, vs a light source where you can see further but enemies are able to spot you and prepare that bit earlier. Pros and cons for both.
 

Istbor

Dances with Gnolls
I know this will ruffle a good deal of petticoats, but... I don't think player races should get darkvision at all.

There! I said it! Whew... feels good.

I don't want to hate on races that get it, just... it always bugs me thematically. They hold the potential for changing the dynamic of certain campaign themes and it creates this need in some groups to have at least one character with it, or all with it.

And I don't like that. People should be able to play what races they want, without the need to have one person be able to see in the dark, or to expel all that do not, so there are no torches.

There are certainly good cool stories for things like that. Just... It isn't my cup of tea. What is more, unless you have a great understanding of how it looks, note, Humans just naturally do not, (we don't have the ability so the concept isn't as natural) then you have some players who think it is near infinite, or as good as eye-sight in daylight.

I am glad they got rid of the varying degrees like low-light. I hope they remove darkvision altogether one day. At least for player races.
 

None of that means it’s well designed. It just means the design goals were consistent, but there are several ways those goals could have been accomplished.
As long as the goal is accomplished thats all that matters. If the goal wasn't accomplished then it would be poorly designed. If it ain't broke don't fix it. The only thing they could have added was upgrades to darkvision. Aka goggles of night upgrades.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
As long as the goal is accomplished thats all that matters. If the goal wasn't accomplished then it would be poorly designed. If it ain't broke don't fix it. The only thing they could have added was upgrades to darkvision. Aka goggles of night upgrades.
I find that mindset very odd.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
As long as the goal is accomplished thats all that matters. If the goal wasn't accomplished then it would be poorly designed. If it ain't broke don't fix it. The only thing they could have added was upgrades to darkvision. Aka goggles of night upgrades.
The upgrades are the worst part. I can deal with limits on darkvision, but it really becomes a pain to manage when different player characters have different darkvision amounts. Races with more than 60' Darkvision meant for PCs like the Drow and subclasses that improve darkvision like the gloomstalker and shadow sorcerer are really annoying to deal with at the table.

If I had my way Darkvision would just extend out to the range of your vision, but if we must have limits please make them consistent.
 

The upgrades are the worst part. I can deal with limits on darkvision, but it really becomes a pain to manage when different player characters have different darkvision amounts. Races with more than 60' Darkvision meant for PCs like the Drow and subclasses that improve darkvision like the gloomstalker and shadow sorcerer are really annoying to deal with at the table.

If I had my way Darkvision would just extend out to the range of your vision, but if we must have limits please make them consistent.
I actually prefer that there are darkvision options and not all just one static range. There can be more interesting tactics deployed with varying ranges.
 

Yep, all of this. I think DMs (and myself included earlier in 5e) totally ignored this and treated darkvision as see everything all the time, when in fact, not having bright light is a problem sometimes.
This is indeed the problem. I remind them constantly of the penalty and typically turn off all the lights in a room except for a single candle or background like to remind them "THIS is what your darkvision is like, except black and white." It works surprisingly well as a visual aid, especially if a couple of them have trouble reading their character sheet in dim lighting.
 

Nebulous

Legend
This is indeed the problem. I remind them constantly of the penalty and typically turn off all the lights in a room except for a single candle or background like to remind them "THIS is what your darkvision is like, except black and white." It works surprisingly well as a visual aid, especially if a couple of them have trouble reading their character sheet in dim lighting.
Yeah, good point, I forget about the reading stuff. Like, dwarven runes in a dim, black and white cave, you'd really need a light source to see them well.
 

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