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D&D 5E Just About Sick Of Darkvision.


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Zaran

Adventurer
My entire party has darkvision but I am still casting Light so I can read inscriptions and examine rooms in color. Darkvision is great for sneaking up on enemies but if you want to look at your surroundings you are going to want to be able to see in a full spectrum of light.
 


jgsugden

Legend
As Bacon Bits points out: Darkvision will get you by, but all races are better off with real light. Accordingly, relying only on darkvision puts them at a disadvantage (literally).

Try taking things a step further and factor in the darkvision reliance of certain races in game design. If Darkvision is the norm, then light is the aberration... and some creatures might use light as a way to hide and reveal secrets. For example, multiple colors can appear identical in greyscale. Thus, a message written in one color set against a background of another color might appear like a blank sheet in darkvision... but be clear as day in light.

As for how it interacts with other vision, the way I play darkvision is not as a form of vision per se, but instead as a unique lightsource. Darkvision is effectively a dim 'black and white' light source that only the PC can see and is always on and available to the PC. It works really well to think of it this way and keeps the game simple.
 

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.

Being able to read isn't affected by the lack of color. It's simply due to not having enough light to make out the letters regardless of contrast.

I really encourage you to try the experiment I mentioned where you try to read 10 feet away from a candle, tablet/smartphone on flashlight mode, or similar light source in an otherwise dark room. You can read very easily when you're adjacent to the light, but moving just 10 feet away makes it impossible, and 10 feet away is where there's dim light. You can probably make out the letters on the cover of the PHB, but you really won't be able to read the contents at all.
 


billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
Being able to read isn't affected by the lack of color. It's simply due to not having enough light to make out the letters regardless of contrast.

I really encourage you to try the experiment I mentioned where you try to read 10 feet away from a candle, tablet/smartphone on flashlight mode, or similar light source in an otherwise dark room. You can read very easily when you're adjacent to the light, but moving just 10 feet away makes it impossible, and 10 feet away is where there's dim light. You can probably make out the letters on the cover of the PHB, but you really won't be able to read the contents at all.

Ultimately, that's going to vary more with the materials being read than any blanket property of darkvision.
 

ehren37

Adventurer
[MENTION=93444]shidaku[/MENTION]
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.

Owlbears have owl eyes. Which are eyes designed to work in the dark. Vampires are "children of the night". Do you really want vampires having to carry around lanterns while sneaking about?5th edition darkvision is actually sub-par for what I would expect.

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.

I'd say your hatred carries a bit too far, particularly that kobolds, goblins and orcs are subterranean/cave dwelling races that evolved underground. Orcs used to have a penalty to hit in 1st edition from light sensitivity IIRC. Also, as noted, 5E darkvision sucks. It just gives you crappy 60' vision, at disadvantage. -5 to passive perception is hardly "I can see everything" vision. Its more like "can your 10 dex untrained doofus not roll a 4 or less to sneak past me" vision.
 

Ridley's Cohort

First Post
My personal opinion is that "Normal Darkvision" should be LESS effective than wandering around with a candle. Therefore, I would houserule:
* It is fine for going through familiar terrain or very slowly through unfamiliar terrain, sufficient that you do not simply fall down into holes or other overt hazards.
* You cannot read, other to know there are markings on the paper.
* Stuff more than 20 feet away? Hazy hints only.
* The usual underground races like dwarves simply know how to live their lives while nearly blind beyond 20 feet. When they require more visual information than that, they use a light source.
* There are specific races with Super Darkvision, but that is very rare.
* Angels/Devils, for example, can get light magically when they care.
* Devils/Demons see through magical darkness the same as usual darkness. Only a few have Superior Darkvision.
 

scholz

First Post
I know 5E is all about simplicity, but I wanted to make it more complicated to distinguish the races a bit.
My House Rule:
Dwarf/Gnome (Hill) – Deepvision - Generations of living underground have given these races acute eyesight, and a keen sense for where things are in relation to them based on non-visual cues. Double the range of light from any sources when underground or inside buildings. Also, no disadvantage/advantage to/from melee attacks caused by darkness. So if a Dwarf finds herself in complete darkness she can still fight (in melee) without penalty.
Elf/Half Elf/Gnome (Forest) – Feysight – Treat dim light as bright light outside. Treat foliage as one level lower obscurement. Life in the forest have given these races a natural ability to see in starlight or moon light. In addition, their affinity for plants makes it difficult from them to hide using them.
Tiefling/Half Orc/Goblin/Orc/Drow – Darkvision as per PHB.
 

TornadoCreator

First Post
Owlbears have owl eyes. Which are eyes designed to work in the dark. Vampires are "children of the night". Do you really want vampires having to carry around lanterns while sneaking about?5th edition darkvision is actually sub-par for what I would expect.

Neither owls nor bears having Darkvision though... check the animal listings.

Admittedly what people are describing sounds more like Low Light Vision to me. The problem I have is them being able to treat dim light as bright light, and complete darkness as dim light. It's too much I feel. Still creature by creature I could make an argument... Vampires for example, fair enough; Zombies, Skeletons, Wraiths etc. no, they don't need Darkvision.

I'd say your hatred carries a bit too far, particularly that kobolds, goblins and orcs are subterranean/cave dwelling races that evolved underground. Orcs used to have a penalty to hit in 1st edition from light sensitivity IIRC. Also, as noted, 5E darkvision sucks. It just gives you crappy 60' vision, at disadvantage. -5 to passive perception is hardly "I can see everything" vision. Its more like "can your 10 dex untrained doofus not roll a 4 or less to sneak past me" vision.

Yeah, but that's because they abstract everything too much. As far as I'm concerned passing a Stealth check means nothing if your moving past any creature that can see. You auto-fail the Stealth check. Why? Because you can no more stealth in a room without cover than you can Swim in a pool without water. You can roll as many natural 20s in Athletics as you like, you can't swim if there's no water. The same goes for Stealth. So yes, technically RAW Darkvision is a lot less powerful than I first thought, but that's because the writers didn't write practical skills into the game, they just put in arbitrary contests. As far as I'm concerned Darkvision should be like Infravision of previous generations, and it should be limited to a few magical creatures, and Underdark races. Even Orcs etc. shouldn't get it I feel, because depending on your campaign setting they're not strictly subterranean; same goes for Dwarves. (in fact the number of subterranean creatures in general is too damn high; most animals live in forests, jungles, grasslands, and where possible; along rivers and coastline. They don't all pile into miles of underground caves... some do sure, but most don't.
 


ehren37

Adventurer
Neither owls nor bears having Darkvision though... check the animal listings.

If owls dont have darkvision, that's either an oversight or pretty stupid. Bear dont matter, since owlbears have owl heads.

Admittedly what people are describing sounds more like Low Light Vision to me. The problem I have is them being able to treat dim light as bright light, and complete darkness as dim light. It's too much I feel. Still creature by creature I could make an argument... Vampires for example, fair enough; Zombies, Skeletons, Wraiths etc. no, they don't need Darkvision.

None of those creatures really rely on biological sight. Skeletons dont have ANY eyes and see just fine. its not like ghosts have spectral optic nerves transmitting info to their ectoplasmic brains. I like my ghosts materializing in the dark, not needing to flip a light switch so they dont bumble around.


Yeah, but that's because they abstract everything too much. As far as I'm concerned passing a Stealth check means nothing if your moving past any creature that can see. You auto-fail the Stealth check. Why? Because you can no more stealth in a room without cover than you can Swim in a pool without water. You can roll as many natural 20s in Athletics as you like, you can't swim if there's no water. The same goes for Stealth. So yes, technically RAW Darkvision is a lot less powerful than I first thought, but that's because the writers didn't write practical skills into the game, they just put in arbitrary contests. As far as I'm concerned Darkvision should be like Infravision of previous generations, and it should be limited to a few magical creatures, and Underdark races. Even Orcs etc. shouldn't get it I feel, because depending on your campaign setting they're not strictly subterranean; same goes for Dwarves. (in fact the number of subterranean creatures in general is too damn high; most animals live in forests, jungles, grasslands, and where possible; along rivers and coastline. They don't all pile into miles of underground caves... some do sure, but most don't.

It seems part of the problem derives from you making stealth harder than it needs to be, thus creating the darkvision issue. This is why I advise people to play it as written first. The way you describe how you want stealth to work, you are essentially forcing people to use magic to sneak around.

Just because you CAN see doesn't mean you notice. Stealth involves both hiding behind something or in dark areas, and moving when someone isn't watching. Its harder to observe when you cant see well. Play hide and seek in a house with all the lights off and you'll see its easier to hide in darker areas. Creatures with darkvision still have those darker areas, the radius just shifts.
 
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Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
Why? Because you can no more stealth in a room without cover than you can Swim in a pool without water.

Replying not because I want to start a big argument with you, but because reading this reminded me of a "cool story bro" funny situation with my wife years ago.

We were watching TV in a room with all the lights off. The only light source was the television. She left the room to get a snack, at which time I dashed off the couch and laid down on the ground in front of the television screen.

When she walked back into the room it took awhile for her eyes to readjust to a room lit only by the television. Since I was below the screen and she was watching the bright screen she had NO IDEA I was laying there watching her and trying to keep from laughing. I could have stayed there forever in STEALTH, hiding in plain sight just using the difference in complete darkness and the bright television screen.

So yes, it *IS* possible to hide in the open....

DS

PS: I used a sneak-attack BOO which revealed my position but had the desired effect. Try it on YOUR unsuspecting friends and family.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
I'm just about sick of Darkvision.

....so get rid of it?

So do others agree, and if so, would you house rule a change to this?

I don't agree, but "get rid of it" seems like it would do what you want. It's hardly essential to the game's math or balance. Toss those races some other benny if the folks who love 'em at your table put up a stink (maybe advantage to perception checks in the dark - similar, but different).

No need for extensive essays on the topic. Just do what works for your table.
 


pemerton

Legend
I really encourage you to try the experiment I mentioned where you try to read 10 feet away from a candle, tablet/smartphone on flashlight mode, or similar light source in an otherwise dark room. You can read very easily when you're adjacent to the light, but moving just 10 feet away makes it impossible, and 10 feet away is where there's dim light. You can probably make out the letters on the cover of the PHB, but you really won't be able to read the contents at all.
I don't need to do the experiment - I won't be able to read in bad light 10 feet away!

But people with good eyesight (probably not me any more) will be able to read large letters up close by moonlight, I think.
 

spinozajack

Banned
Banned
I would personally really like to understand the thought process behind giving both elves and half-elves access to darkvision.

Like, what game or story or balance reason is there for making that continuity break with every single past edition of D&D? Just to be different?

With elves having both a +2 to dex and darkvision, I am besides myself trying to think of how halflings can even compete as rogues, mechanically speaking.

I guess what's done is done, but I don't remember there being a single survey asking people if they were okay with this change. There was an interview some time back with RA Salvatore about his books and FR, where he was talking about the rules changes requiring lore changes back in 2nd edition, with the god of assassins being dead so there was no more assassin. It's this kind of continuity break that annoys me, especially since elves and half-elves have plenty going for them and no one was complaining about them not being able to see in the dark without magic, ever.

I do appreciate my dwarf having it, but it doesn't feel so special with half the group being able to. I would much rather no PC races have it than make it as common as it is now.

Makes me wonder if @RodneyThompson knows the answer. Probably under NDA.
 
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Rune

Once A Fool
I would personally really like to understand the thought process behind giving both elves and half-elves access to darkvision.

Like, what game or story or balance reason is there for making that continuity break with every single past edition of D&D? Just to be different?

In 5e, darkvision is also low-light vision.

And, I don't remember about the half-elf, but in AD&D, the elf did, indeed, have infravision and could see in absolute darkness.
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
In 5e, darkvision is also low-light vision.

And, I don't remember about the half-elf, but in AD&D, the elf did, indeed, have infravision and could see in absolute darkness.

Yup. Half-elves too. I don't quite understand what that comment was about. It had a shorter range than, say, full elves or dwarves, but half-elves did have infravision too. Was it taken out in 3e?
 

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