5E Philosophy: Devil's Sight

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Sure, but problems sometimes arise when different people have different interpretations. It is only supposed to be a game, but I've seen some people get pretty upset when those differences create problems. Much of that could have been avoided IMO if the rules were more concrete since the DM can always change them.

Anyway, I agree there is no "right", though.
Does that match your experience of the rules in 3.5 and 4e? It certainly doesn’t mine.
 

cmad1977

Adventurer
It’s basically 120’ of good light.
The character can discern areas that would be darker for others.
 

dnd4vr

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Does that match your experience of the rules in 3.5 and 4e? It certainly doesn’t mine.
I can tell you immediately, "No." But that is because my experience with 3E was less than one year's worth, back in around 2006-2007 or so. I never touched 3.5E or 4E. I've only been playing 5E a bit over a year now.
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
I really dislike how devils sight works in 5e because it ignores things that hinder darkvision, ignores bright light that hinders kobold/drow/etc darkvision, and has a stupid range that amounts to "it's kinda tough to see that far but you think you can make out a $thing">"I have devils sight so see it normally & ignore magical darkness screw uncertainty for any reason other than the dense obscuring fog you are about to love overusing my class was made for some GM's girlfriend"
 

keynup

Explorer
I really dislike how devils sight works in 5e because it ignores things that hinder darkvision, ignores bright light that hinders kobold/drow/etc darkvision, and has a stupid range that amounts to "it's kinda tough to see that far but you think you can make out a $thing">"I have devils sight so see it normally & ignore magical darkness screw uncertainty for any reason other than the dense obscuring fog you are about to love overusing my class was made for some GM's girlfriend"
That's like saying because you have a rogue with max possible pick locks you decide to add 10 DC to all locks.

If the player is good at something let them be good at it.
 
Hahahah. I knew a very anal DM who ruled that Devil Sight did not allow you to see through darkness, because you "normally" see nothing in darkness. :-S
Actually that's a valid reading of the RAW. The sage advice (which answers as a lawyer of the RAW rather than as a game designer) only goes less anal than your DM.

Clearly, DS is meant to provide a benefit. But it's also extremely suspicious to me that it was meant not to apply to dim light. It's likely that the author used the language a bit too naturally and didn't think of dim light. Unfortunately, when sage advice is faster than errata, it can cause all kind of unintended consequences because sage advice NEVER cares for the RAI, and even less for RAF. It's not his job.

Following the RAW too literally is the biggest cause IMXP of newcomers or casual gamers starting to believe that RPG hardcore gamers are true idiots, and leaving the game, because it destroys suspension of disbelief and RAF. Be warned of the choices you make when running the game for an extended audience.
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
That's like saying because you have a rogue with max possible pick locks you decide to add 10 DC to all locks.

If the player is good at something let them be good at it.
It's more than just devils sight, it's the general lack of even first pass sanity checking for what happens with you combine sorcerer and warlock thst leads to the GMs girlfriend feel.

I might be more sympathetic to your suggestion if I'd ever heard it from someone not playing warlock 2-3 sorcerer more trying to be a coffeelock. It's not helped by the fact that those individuals need frequent reminders that multiclassing does not work that way* at dramatically higher percentages than any other class combo.

Also... Weather is a thing to the point that there are even cantrip to check it ahead of time and spells to create fog. The fact that the darkness spell blinds a table of dark vision equipped pcs (many of which could have daylight sensitivity) but is ignored by the devil's sight variant human scorlock certainly does not help much either

* sometimes "still doesn't work that way" frequent attempts plop gestalt and importing the 3.5 style caster level concept rather than using the 5e NC rules.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
In the English language, the word "can" doesn't necessarily mean an option, it also means you are able to.

Ex. I can ride a bike.

Your meaning: I have the option to ride a bike.
My meaning: I have the ability to ride a bike.

For Devil's Sight:
You can see normally in darkness, both magical and nonmagical, to a distance o f 120 feet.

The natural language here, to me anyway, means I am able to see normally in darkness, not that I have the option to.

To the OP: Yes, they would know if the area was lit IMO.

Of course, if you have DS and can see in darkness "normally" you should be able to see in dim light normally. After all, dim light is brighter than darkness. So, I wouldn't need DV to see in dim light normally if I had DS. DS also shows colors as if vision was normal. It is basically superior to DV in every respect.
I would add that it is common for designers to use "may" when they mean to imply an option. "Can" is ambiguous, but I interpret it in this context as @dnd4vr does: the warlock has the ability to do X.

Consider the alternative text
You may see normally in darkness, both magical and nonmagical, to a distance o f 120 feet.

We would all agree I think, that an option is implied, ergo one is not implied by "can" (or at least, it is up to each reader).
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
LOL I would hardly call my response "shooting the OP". :D



And yet, IME, another reason why JC is not the best game designer out there.

Let's place three rogues hidden in a forested area:

#1 is hidden behind some bushes within the bright light of a torch held by a character. So, the character can try to see #1 with a normal Wisdom (Perception) check.

#2 is hidden up in a tree at the edge of the dim light provided by the torch. The character makes a check to spot #2 with disadvantage.

#3 is hidden behind a rock in the darkness beyond the light spell, so the character automatically fails the checks to spot him.

View attachment 116655
Note: the outer circle is 60 feet, the edge of DV typically.

Throw just DV in:

#1, bright light, no change
#2, dim light is now "bright", no disadvantage
#3, darkness is now dim, so with disadvantage

With just DS (JC-version):

#1, bright light, no change
#2, dim light is still dim light, so disadvantage
#3, the darkness beyond the dim light is now "bright, so no auto-fail and no disadvantage

So, by his (JC) interpretation, with DS, you have normal bright light, dim light, and darkness--which within 120 feet is also bright light... So, a rogue hiding in the bright light or darkness can be seen with normal perception, the one in dim light is a perception check with disadvantage?

That means the region between bright light and "bright" DS darkness is "dim light". How can your vision be bright, dim, and then bright again?

Yeah, that makes so much sense... Sigh. :(

Back to the OP: If a light is on in a room, it radiates light as well as that light illuminating the area. If magical darkness were cast over the light, it still radiates light, but now the illumination is suppressed. DS allows you to see through into the darkness, so you would see it radiating light as always just as you see a candle radiating light normally.
It preserves the value of the third consequence of Skulker...

Clutch!
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
Back to the OP: If a light is on in a room, it radiates light as well as that light illuminating the area. If magical darkness were cast over the light, it still radiates light, but now the illumination is suppressed. DS allows you to see through into the darkness, so you would see it radiating light as always just as you see a candle radiating light normally.
That's pretty interesting, philosophically. Like, the candle radiance is suppressed for normal sight, but not suppressed for Devil's Sight. Paradoxical.

It implies the radiance is changed - tainted somehow - rather than blocked. Or maybe the effect is on the viewer?
 

jgsugden

Adventurer
Note that they made an intentional decision to have Devil's Sight work differently than Dark Vision. It is superior, in many ways. It was intended that a Warlock with access to Drkness would get the advantages they get.

I'm not saying that everything we see in play was intentional - I believe the dim light / Devil's Sight was an oversight (well, actually, an undersight). However, a lot of what people complain about was intentional - and is not disruptive.
 

dnd4vr

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Something I thought of this morning is what happens beyond the 120 feet...

Suddenly, darkness is dark again. It would be like seeing "normally" and then suddenly hitting a very dark or opaque wall or something. It is the same issue with DV as well.

It preserves the value of the third consequence of Skulker...

Clutch!
It is still valuable, regardless of how DS or DV works. :)
 

dnd4vr

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
That's pretty interesting, philosophically. Like, the candle radiance is suppressed for normal sight, but not suppressed for Devil's Sight. Paradoxical.

It implies the radiance is changed - tainted somehow - rather than blocked. Or maybe the effect is on the viewer?
The problem with magical sight is we can't really imagine how something might work that is beyond our experience. How can we see normally into a darkness beyond the dim light, but not have the dim light in between affected?
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
Note that they made an intentional decision to have Devil's Sight work differently than Dark Vision. It is superior, in many ways. It was intended that a Warlock with access to Drkness would get the advantages they get.

I'm not saying that everything we see in play was intentional - I believe the dim light / Devil's Sight was an oversight (well, actually, an undersight). However, a lot of what people complain about was intentional - and is not disruptive.
If only there was already some kind of vision beyond dark vision, maybe one so good that it had to come with daylight sensitivity for balance reasons, perhaps this hypothetical "superior darkvision" ability could even be baked into one of the core phb races & various non-phb races.... WotC could have used such a thing to properly balance devils sight rather than treating it like yet another an ability the GM grants his girlfriend if such an ability existed.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
If only there was already some kind of vision beyond dark vision, maybe one so good that it had to come with daylight sensitivity for balance reasons, perhaps this hypothetical "superior darkvision" ability could even be baked into one of the core phb races & various non-phb races.... WotC could have used such a thing to properly balance devils sight rather than treating it like yet another an ability the GM grants his girlfriend if such an ability existed.
This is called a hangup. It’s not a reasonable argument or complaint.

Also, the DMs girlfriend trope is tired and sexist, and frankly was never particularly convincing or interesting.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I can tell you immediately, "No." But that is because my experience with 3E was less than one year's worth, back in around 2006-2007 or so. I never touched 3.5E or 4E. I've only been playing 5E a bit over a year now.
Well, as someone who did play those editions, I can tell you that more concrete and fleshed out rules don’t reduce issues at the table.

I do run 5e games for kids as the library, though, and they don’t have much issue with 5e’s natural language. If something works differently than they expect, I simply tell them that it’s written in such a way as to not try to cover every edge case and just let the people at the table play how they want, and they just accept that and move on.
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
This is called a hangup. It’s not a reasonable argument or complaint.

Also, the DMs girlfriend trope is tired and sexist, and frankly was never particularly convincing or interesting.
Your right, nobody could possibly forsee what would happen if you gave eb extra blasts rather than dice, added the ability to add cha to each blast, and had it scale based on character rather than class level... Except the genius who avoided that problem with making sure fighter extra attack scales on fighter levels only. The list of warlock and warloxk/sorcerer completely predictable things like that are simply too numerous and glaring to file under any reasonable excuse other than the trope I mentioned.

Most importantly, I can't help but notice that you completely overlooked the fact that superior dark vision is a thing and unlike devils sight had actual attempts to ensure that it was balanced.

Say what you want about the gms girlfriend trope, it exists for a reason and I've never seen a gender neutral equivalent that encapsulated what the trope represents nearly as well as it.
 

dnd4vr

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Well, as someone who did play those editions, I can tell you that more concrete and fleshed out rules don’t reduce issues at the table.

I do run 5e games for kids as the library, though, and they don’t have much issue with 5e’s natural language. If something works differently than they expect, I simply tell them that it’s written in such a way as to not try to cover every edge case and just let the people at the table play how they want, and they just accept that and move on.
Well, of course, every table is different. We had issues even in 1E and 2E, certainly. My point is there are a lot of rules missing or incomplete or vague, left yo to the DM and table to figure out. I understand much of this was intentional, but for myself I would prefer more concrete rules to argue over! ;)

DS could have been written "Your character treats darkness as if it were bright light up to 120 feet away. It has no affect on dim light conditions." if that was their intent.

Most importantly, I can't help but notice that you completely overlooked the fact that superior dark vision is a thing and unlike devils sight had actual attempts to ensure that it was balanced.
Except DS is balanced, especially if you rule it has no affect on dim light (which is the SA for those who care) which DV does help with. Warlocks have few eldritch invocations at their disposal, one of them allowing the PC to see in the dark is hardly overbalancing IMO and IME. If your players with DV are whining about it, remind them that they are liking getting it at no cost as part of their race.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Your right, nobody could possibly forsee what would happen if you gave eb extra blasts rather than dice, added the ability to add cha to each blast, and had it scale based on character rather than class level... Except the genius who avoided that problem with making sure fighter extra attack scales on fighter levels only. The list of warlock and warloxk/sorcerer completely predictable things like that are simply too numerous and glaring to file under any reasonable excuse other than the trope I mentioned.

Most importantly, I can't help but notice that you completely overlooked the fact that superior dark vision is a thing and unlike devils sight had actual attempts to ensure that it was balanced.

Say what you want about the gms girlfriend trope, it exists for a reason and I've never seen a gender neutral equivalent that encapsulated what the trope represents nearly as well as it.
I’m sorry, but this is just whining. Neither class is unbalanced (most CharOp communities consider both to be 2nd or 3rd tier at best), and even MCd together it’s far from overpowered. It’s literally just...cooler than you apparently want PCs to be able to be?

But wizards will often outshine the “coffeelock” anyway, so...oh well. 🤷‍♂️
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Well, of course, every table is different. We had issues even in 1E and 2E, certainly. My point is there are a lot of rules missing or incomplete or vague, left yo to the DM and table to figure out. I understand much of this was intentional, but for myself I would prefer more concrete rules to argue over! ;)

DS could have been written "Your character treats darkness as if it were bright light up to 120 feet away. It has no affect on dim light conditions." if that was their intent.



Except DS is balanced, especially if you rule it has no affect on dim light (which is the SA for those who care) which DV does help with. Warlocks have few eldritch invocations at their disposal, one of them allowing the PC to see in the dark is hardly overbalancing IMO and IME. If your players with DV are whining about it, remind them that they are liking getting it at no cost as part of their race.
I prefer the wording as is. Seeing normally in darkness, including magical darkness, is just more interesting exactly because you aren’t treating it as bright light. It isn’t giving your eyes greater sensitivity to light. It is a wholly unnatural ability to simply see in darkness. Even when that darkness is the absolute darkness created by magic, where no amount of light sensitivity will help you, you just...see normally. It’s creepy, and unnatural, and doesn’t interact with the world, which makes it perfect.
 

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