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D&D 5E Just About Sick Of Darkvision.

TornadoCreator

First Post
[MENTION=93444]shidaku[/MENTION]
The main problem I can see with this though is that while that addresses the issue when it comes to running a game where players can't just see everything. It let's you actually use theming... the enemies still all have Darkvision, and it really is almost everything, more than 2/3rds (maybe even 3/4ers) of the monster manual has Darkvision, and that makes the enemies frankly unfairly overpowered; and the Rogue, basically boned.
 

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TornadoCreator

First Post
I still don't see it. Darkvision gives you colorless dim light in darkness. Dim light is bad. Remember, even a candle produces bright light; darkvision is less light than a candle. Everything is lightly obscured. You explicitly have disadvantage on Perception, so that's -5 on passive Perception. Indeed, you probably have disadvantage on everything that requires sight more complicated than finding a target. In the confusion of battle, you might even have difficulty discerning freind from foe. You're also going to set off every trap you encounter. You can't discern color. You have no idea if you're looking at a pool of water or oil or sewage or blood. You can't tell if the walls are merely wet or covered in green slime. You have no idea if you're walking past armor stands or armed soldiers. You have no idea if you're walking past statues or creatures. You can't even read.

The rules also don't ever state how darkvision is impacted by other light sources. In 2e, infravision was explicitly spoiled by any other light source. I find it hard to believe that someone can stand next to you with a torch and it doesn't impact your darkvision just because of glare. 5e darkvision isn't 3e's darkvision that explicitly didn't rely on light. 5e darkvision partially does rely on light.

At which point I question why even bother...

I'd argue that those evaluations don't really make sense though... you can see in black and white, so why would you not be able to read? You can't discern colour sure, but you can still see textures, you can see consistency, you can see viscosity; oil would still have a shimmer; where as blood and sewage would be obvious by their smell. Hell, blood would look black, where as water would look grey, so even sight alone would make that one clear.

Now, if indeed, darkvision is as limited as you say, and you can only really make out basic shapes; in a combat situation it's basically useless, and from an adventurers point of view it's so unreliable that you'd never use it. Even if the entire team had darkvision, you'll still have a lantern or candle to light the way because, what's the use in seeing twice as far if you can't tell the difference between a vaguely humanoid statue, and an actual person.

With such limitations, I question why it's mentioned at all. Darkvision as it's described in 3e was at least useful; and without the distinction, creatures like Drow, are stuck with the muddy situation of being up for interpretation on exactly how good their Darkvision really is.
 

S

Sunseeker

Guest
[MENTION=93444]shidaku[/MENTION]
The main problem I can see with this though is that while that addresses the issue when it comes to running a game where players can't just see everything. It let's you actually use theming... the enemies still all have Darkvision, and it really is almost everything, more than 2/3rds (maybe even 3/4ers) of the monster manual has Darkvision, and that makes the enemies frankly unfairly overpowered; and the Rogue, basically boned.

Intelligent monsters with darkvision watch and wait, such as drow or gargoyles. Unintelligent monsters with darkvision get a surprise round on you...which is the whole reason their race evolved dark vision, to better stalk prey in the dark. It forces players to communicate or use other tools to allow them to see, like torches. Aragon's a half-elf but still needed a torch to fight in the dark. It forces players to more carefully pick their battles and ensure their resources are up to the task.

As it is now with so many races with darkvision, it's not simply the haunted mansion that gets ruined, but it makes night little different than day. There's almost no change to party tactics at night, and there should be.
 

Rune

Once A Fool
Just wanted to point out that darkvision lets the observer treat total darkness as dim light, in which foes can attempt to hide and perception checks have disadvantage. Unless they are trying to be stealthy, races with darkvision are far better off with someone carrying a light source (so they can treat the dim light radius as bright light).

And then there are drawbacks or limitations. It has already been pointed out that most forms of magical darkness cannot be pierced by darkvision. It's also worth noting that improved darkvision tends to come with the major downside that is light sensitivity.
 

TornadoCreator

First Post
[MENTION=93444]shidaku[/MENTION]

Interesting. I agree some creatures should keep Darkvision, though I feel it should be more like the Darkvision of 3e (as people have explained it's far less powerful in 5e).

I'd say it makes no sense for most creatures, and certainly not for creatures like Elementals, Genies, Golems... why would they have darkvision, they're largely being of magic. Creatures that hunt at night, live underground, and especially those in the Underdark. Them I'd allow to keep Darkvision.

I'd want more creatures to have heightened senses though. Gnoll, Owlbears, etc. should have a better sense of smell for example that they could use to hunt in the dark. This is something you could even give to creatures that aren't necessarily bestial, such as Vampires. Where as I'd allow; Drow, Duerger, Deep Gnomes, Mind Flayer, Beholder, Drider, Gargoyle, Quaggoths, Umber Hulks, Formorian, Hags, Merrow and Merfolk to all have Darkvision... these all make sense to me. Anything else, not so much. I especially hate the idea of Kobolds, Goblins, and Orcs having darkvision as I consider them "starter enemies", and I like to encourage my players to use tactics to take down the enemies. If they get used to the enemies all having :):):):):):):):) "I can always see everything" vision, they'll never try cleaver tactics in the future.
 


At which point I question why even bother...

I'd argue that those evaluations don't really make sense though... you can see in black and white, so why would you not be able to read?

It's not just black and white vision, though. It's lightly obscured black and white vision.

Look, here's an experiment. A candle produces 5 ft of bright light and 5 ft of dim light. So, 10 ft away is dim light. Do you have a basement, closet, garage, or bathroom with no windows? Grab a flashlight or smartphone or tablet and your PHB and go into your bathroom (it'll be just like Sunday afternoons!). Now, let's assume your flashlight or your tablet's/smartphone's flashlight app produce the same amount of light as a single candle. They don't -- they're much stronger -- but this should still work. If you can steal your wife's or girlfriend's tea lights and try it with actual candlelight, even better. In any event, turn off the bathroom lights, turn on your flashlight, and sit it close to one end of the room -- no fair pointing it at yourself if it's a flashlight. Now, walk 10 feet away, open your PHB, and try to read.

You can't discern colour sure, but you can still see textures, you can see consistency, you can see viscosity; oil would still have a shimmer; where as blood and sewage would be obvious by their smell. Hell, blood would look black, where as water would look grey, so even sight alone would make that one clear.

Not at all. Water in a dark container would look black. You may be able to discern viscosity, but not if the oil is something like mineral oil. Odor might help, but if we're talking about stagnant pools of blood or sewage, you're probably not going to notice the smell change all that much. The whole room is going to be pretty indescribably rank.

Now, if indeed, darkvision is as limited as you say, and you can only really make out basic shapes; in a combat situation it's basically useless, and from an adventurers point of view it's so unreliable that you'd never use it. Even if the entire team had darkvision, you'll still have a lantern or candle to light the way because, what's the use in seeing twice as far if you can't tell the difference between a vaguely humanoid statue, and an actual person.

With such limitations, I question why it's mentioned at all. Darkvision as it's described in 3e was at least useful; and without the distinction, creatures like Drow, are stuck with the muddy situation of being up for interpretation on exactly how good their Darkvision really is.

Correct. You should basically never willingly choose to use it in darkness. In unfamiliar territory, it's suicidal. So what good is it? Darkvision is useful when the only alternative is blindness. Darkvision is useful because it turns actual dim light into bright light. That's the true benefit of it.

Ever notice in pretty much every D&D novel that the Underdark is always lit by fungus, or glowing moss, or magic rocks, or something? It's lit by things that explicitly provide dim light. Real dim light isn't black and white. That means that a 120 ft passageway lit by just six candles spaced 20 feet apart is, to the Drow, a "brightly lit passageway."
 

SkidAce

Legend
But its only 60'.

So the ogre and goblin army wont see the human army 61 feet away outside at night.

(how's that can of worms?)
 

pemerton

Legend
A lot of races that get it are throwbacks to AD&D, where infravision (aka seeing the infrared spectrum or heat vision) was hella common. So races that were nocturnal (elves, orcs, goblins), dwelled underground (dwarves, gnomes) or had supernatural senses (demons, dragons, undead) all got infravision (or better).
I seem to recall that in AD&D and B/X, all monsters were assumed to have infravision.

Black and White (only) is very limiting: you can't read by it; you can't tell if something is water or blood by sight, and detail isn't always clear
You can't discern color. You have no idea if you're looking at a pool of water or oil or sewage or blood. You can't tell if the walls are merely wet or covered in green slime. You have no idea if you're walking past armor stands or armed soldiers. You have no idea if you're walking past statues or creatures. You can't even read.
Black and white doesn't prevent reading, and doesn't prevent discerning details. There are a lot of details (eg visual textures, saturation) that can be discerned independently of colour.

Dim light/partial obscurement strikes me as the bigger issue, although I think someone with good eyesight might be able to read large text held close, even in dim light.
 

Fion

Explorer
One of my first house rules was instituting 4e style Low-Light Vision. The only races that get Darkvision or Improved Darkvision are those that live naturally underground. The others that have it by default instead have Low-Light Vision, they can see in dim light out to 60 feet in grey color. This is the same for monsters - as other's have said - nearly every single monster in the MM has Darkvision even if their natural environment in no way reflects it.
 
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guachi

Adventurer
If you look up how actual low light vision works, it's largely done by the rods. And that's basically black and white vision. So I assume that creatures with darkvision are like real-world animals with good night vision like a cat or an owl or something. If the description says they can see in color, I assume they have some cones that work in lower light, too.
 

1) Yes, it's excessive. It has been for ages.

2) Fire isn't just used for illumination. Those humanoids were using it to cook and to keep away predators, even if they don't need it to see.

3) Unless you're looking at carved runes, you can't read using darkvision. You can't make out what a painting depicts. There's lots of scenarios where actual light is a necessary thing.
 

Saeviomagy

Adventurer
5e darkvision essentially is low light vision, but with extra restrictions. I think 5e has actually made the lighting situation palatable for those without darkvision.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
I still don't see it. Darkvision gives you colorless dim light in darkness. Dim light is bad. Remember, even a candle produces bright light; darkvision is less light than a candle. Everything is lightly obscured. You explicitly have disadvantage on Perception, so that's -5 on passive Perception. Indeed, you probably have disadvantage on everything that requires sight more complicated than finding a target. In the confusion of battle, you might even have difficulty discerning freind from foe. You're also going to set off every trap you encounter. You can't discern color. You have no idea if you're looking at a pool of water or oil or sewage or blood. You can't tell if the walls are merely wet or covered in green slime. You have no idea if you're walking past armor stands or armed soldiers. You have no idea if you're walking past statues or creatures. You can't even read.

The rules also don't ever state how darkvision is impacted by other light sources. In 2e, infravision was explicitly spoiled by any other light source. I find it hard to believe that someone can stand next to you with a torch and it doesn't impact your darkvision just because of glare. 5e darkvision isn't 3e's darkvision that explicitly didn't rely on light. 5e darkvision partially does rely on light.

Yeah I think Bacon Bits has the right of it here. Darkvision in total darkness is just dim light. That's lightly obscured. You have disadvantage on all perception checks. Some things can hide from you even when in the range of your darkvision (like with Skulker feat). Others can hide from you if they are outside your rather limited 60' range of vision. They can spoil your darkvision by casting light near you (which is the better use of that spell - cast it so you can see them, but they can't see you).
 

PnPgamer

Explorer
It woule be fun to exploit darkvision somehow
It would be funny that if in a completely dark room, there were loads of books rumored to be filled with great knowledge, only to be found "empty". When a person with s torch comes, there would be sometying like purple text on green or something similar.
 
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Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
I run it so that if you are using darkvision, you are blind outside of the 60' (or sometimes 120') range.

It makes using lights and rogues without darkvision useful.
 

Nawara

Explorer
In case anyone was wondering, here is the complete list of MM monsters (not miscellaneous animals from Appendix A) that do not have Darkvision, Blindsight, Tremorsense, or Truesight:

Aarakocra
Bullywug
Centaur
Cyclops
Allosaurus
Ankylosaurus
Plesiosaurus
Pteranodon
Triceratops
Tyrannosaurus Rex
Cloud Giant
Fire Giant
Frost Giant
Hill Giant
Storm Giant
Githyanki Knight
Githyanki Warrior
Githzerai Monk
Githzerai Zerth
Harpy
Hippogriff
Jackalwere
Kenku
Lizardfolk
Lizardfolk Shaman
Werebear
Wereboar
Werewolf
Merfolk
Nightmare (go figure...)
Pegasus
Peryton
Pixie
Roc
Satyr
Sprite
Treant

...that's it. That's the entire list. There are 238 monsters with Darkvision, 82 with Blindsight, 24 with Truesight, 9 with Tremorsense, and only 42 that have the same or worse night vision than a wolf, lion, or cat.
 
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PnPgamer

Explorer
In case anyone was wondering, here is the complete list of MM monsters (not miscellaneous animals from Appendix A) that do not have Darkvision, Blindsight, Tremorsense, or Truesight:

Aarakocra
Bullywug
Centaur
Cyclops
Allosaurus
Ankylosaurus
Plesiosaurus
Pteranodon
Triceratops
Tyrannosaurus Rex
Cloud Giant
Fire Giant
Frost Giant
Hill Giant
Storm Giant
Githyanki Knight
Githyanki Warrior
Githzerai Monk
Githzerai Zerth
Harpy
Hippogriff
Jackalwere
Kenku
Lizardfolk
Lizardfolk Shaman
Werebear
Wereboar
Werewolf
Merfolk
Nightmare (go figure...)
Pegasus
Peryton
Pixie
Roc
Satyr
Sprite
Treant

...that's it. That's the entire list. There are 238 monsters with Darkvision, 82 with Blindsight, 24 with Truesight, 9 with Tremorsense, and only 42 that have the same or worse night vision than a wolf, lion, or cat.

42!!!!!
 



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