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the Underdark needs more bioluminescent critters... Would be a cool power for an under dark race.
Actually i has a ton of bioluminescant life. Most people just dont notice because either the entries are dated or the mention of that feature in a given entry is in passing or not the focus.

Lots of fungi, invertebrates, fish, and even the walls in large regions are glowing due to biofilm.

The drow are actually pressured pretty hard to be dark skinned because it provides a major advantage against the occasional sighted creature and invasive species.

Geographically the drow live in a more isolated environment than that of our caves but mechanically and in practice far less as there are creatures that venture down frequently by comparison to real world caves.
 


Glow in the dark in the fantasy underdark is like a sign that says come eat me. Still cool though.
Can also be a means of communication (like irl) and a means of intentionally attracting creatures to eat fruiting bodies, then spread the next generation for plants and fungi (also irl) and also a means of scaring away predators or attracting prey (also both irl). Bioluminescance is both advantageous and disadvantageous.
 



Coroc

Hero
the Underdark needs more bioluminescent critters... Would be a cool power for an under dark race.

You mean like humanoids glowing in the dark? Totally or? I mean only their ears eventually? Or their hair? Or their....

Ah best make it their hair :p

Edit also @Umbran saw your post only after i sent the reply to Undraves post, made me cringe additionally ...
 

You mean like humanoids glowing in the dark? Totally or? I mean only their ears eventually? Or their hair? Or their....

Ah best make it their hair :p
Could make it everything that adapted from a certain constellation of traits we associate with a certain point in evolutionary divergence. Like specialized keratonous skin cells/scales in origin. I know teeth were inherited as the result of modified fish scales and i would wonder if hair and nails were the same. Keraton is not tye same as enamel but i expect it has similar adaptive origins. So maybe make it hair, teeth, and nails due to some anatomical and evolutionary commonality or common base part? Applying this to non humanoid animals immagine some maned beast coming at you in the dark. All you see is the exposed claws (just the nail part not the phalanges) a glowing halo of a mane and in the empty blackness at the center just glowing teeth. Eery (i dont know how to spell this word).
 

dave2008

Legend
Im well aware. But the underdark isnt like RL caves. Its filled with dim light and semi frequent surface interlopers with normal vision.

Completely dfferent adaptive pressure.
Of course the lack of pigment in RL animals is not an adaptive advantage either. And if adventurers are as rare as I think they are I doubt the "semi-frequent" surface interlopers pressure. Though the dim light is a thing, but I didn't think that was pervasive either (but I am not really up to speed on the Underdark).

Personally I think both Mind Flayers and beholders might be more eerie if there were pale, coolerless denizens of the dark. I might just make that change if I do an adventure in the UD.
 

Oofta

Legend
In a world where darkvision exists where darkness becomes dim light, having black skin could be a pretty huge advantage (unlike the real world). In addition, many modules over the year have some way of providing at least dim light in the underdark on a pretty regular basis.
 

Of course the lack of pigment in RL animals is not an adaptive advantage either. And if adventurers are as rare as I think they are I doubt the "semi-frequent" surface interlopers pressure. Though the dim light is a thing, but I didn't think that was pervasive either (but I am not really up to speed on the Underdark).

Personally I think both Mind Flayers and beholders might be more eerie if there were pale, coolerless denizens of the dark. I might just make that change if I do an adventure in the UD.
Its not an adaptive advantage. But it is a result of there being no adaptive pressure to maintain the trait. That is generally why it is lost or never developed (both of those happen depending on thw species.)

Beholders coloration ive actually never pondered. Mindflayers om the other hand i have. They have had a varied history of environments due to their cyclical time travelling cosmic empire sort of origin/future/past/termination backstory thing. They arent actually all that similar to octopi but i couldnt resist drawing on that just a little. As a result ihave always run them as generally having base coloration ranging from purple to blue to red to pale dead fish flesh color to black but averaging dark slightly purple cobalt blue (almost black) but with a slight metalic sheen and lightet regions in some anatomical regions. This covers coloration "at rest". Like many octopi (this is where the cephalopod influence comes in) i also give them the ability to color shift to precise and minute detail as well as control over texture of their skin in all life stages except for during metamorphosis of a host.
 

Of course the lack of pigment in RL animals is not an adaptive advantage either. And if adventurers are as rare as I think they are I doubt the "semi-frequent" surface interlopers pressure. Though the dim light is a thing, but I didn't think that was pervasive either (but I am not really up to speed on the Underdark).

Personally I think both Mind Flayers and beholders might be more eerie if there were pale, coolerless denizens of the dark. I might just make that change if I do an adventure in the UD.
also the light's pervasveness (and presence altogether) varies greatly. The underdark has pitch black regions. It is very different one region to the next.
 

In a world where darkvision exists where darkness becomes dim light, having black skin could be a pretty huge advantage (unlike the real world). In addition, many modules over the year have some way of providing at least dim light in the underdark on a pretty regular basis.
Precisely. Also unless something changed since 3rd edition that im unaware of, darkvision ceases to function in perfect darkness. Also, since you only see greyscale, the hue will be pressured less. So you could have all kinds of color randomly as the important part is mostly just how dark the skin is.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Could make it everything that adapted from a certain constellation of traits we associate with a certain point in evolutionary divergence. Like specialized keratonous skin cells/scales in origin. I know teeth were inherited as the result of modified fish scales and i would wonder if hair and nails were the same. Keraton is not tye same as enamel but i expect it has similar adaptive origins. So maybe make it hair, teeth, and nails due to some anatomical and evolutionary commonality or common base part? Applying this to non humanoid animals immagine some maned beast coming at you in the dark. All you see is the exposed claws (just the nail part not the phalanges) a glowing halo of a mane and in the empty blackness at the center just glowing teeth. Eery (i dont know how to spell this word).
.

Apparently its been done Seoul National University created Beagles modified to produce the red florescent gene produced by sea anemones. The glow red under ultraviolet light. Similar things have been done with monkeys using jellyfish genes and rats infected with bioluminescent bacteria

1575497210439.jpeg
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Precisely. Also unless something changed since 3rd edition that im unaware of, darkvision ceases to function in perfect darkness.

Define, "perfect darkness".

I mean, in the real world, there can be "no light visible to the human eye", but everything with a temperature emits in the infrared. There's no such thing as a physical space humans can be in that has no electromagnetic energy flying about in it.

Darkvision cannot see through magical darkness (like the spell, Darkness). But otherwise, even down in a cavern miles below ground, with no fires, magically glowing things, or bioluninesence... darkvision works.
 

Define, "perfect darkness".

I mean, in the real world, there can be "no light visible to the human eye", but everything with a temperature emits in the infrared. There's no such thing as a physical space humans can be in that has no electromagnetic energy flying about in it.

Darkvision cannot see through magical darkness (like the spell, Darkness). But otherwise, even down in a cavern miles below ground, with no fires, magically glowing things, or bioluninesence... darkvision works.
Perfect darkness in the context if d&d typically means something nebulous along the lines of "human night vision goggle tech wouldn't be suffucient to give you even vague perceptable forms". I dont think its ever directly been defined but it has been specified in the books before that "perfect darkness" or "complete darkness" is a light level benchmark.

Now, my primary background is physics and i would be quite dissappointed in myself if i didnt say that this is no where near perfect darkness. Its not my conception of perfect darkness irl. Just my conception of what the d&d benchmark means.

Irl perfect darkness is rare in literally the enire universe if it even exists as it would mean there were literally no photons. None. Just none. Good luck. Even the candidate scenarios are rare (as in candidate scenarios that the entire universe could create). Generally something somewhere is if nothing else spontaneously firing a photon somewhere occasionally even in low energy locations. All normal matter emits elctromagnetic radiation. And also light is coming from elsewhere far away too. And thats only if we limit "light" to photons. There are many subatomic particles that can exhibit some "light like" effects. Generally just limiting the scope of candidates to photons is adequate though.
 
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Define, "perfect darkness".

I mean, in the real world, there can be "no light visible to the human eye", but everything with a temperature emits in the infrared. There's no such thing as a physical space humans can be in that has no electromagnetic energy flying about in it.

Darkvision cannot see through magical darkness (like the spell, Darkness). But otherwise, even down in a cavern miles below ground, with no fires, magically glowing things, or bioluninesence... darkvision works.
oh. Also magical darkness is at baseline "perfect".
 


Maybe humanoids from the underdark have got ecolocallitation, like bats and dolphins.

Other trick to about controversy about darkskins is easy, the drows are totally covered, with hoods and masks. Then if we can't see the color of the skin, but maybe only the leader, a albine, only fans will notice they are drows.
 

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