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Quick rules question on Dark Vision


Could a P.C. with dark vision read a parchment? Assume the parchment is linen white and the ink is dark.

Thanks for your input!


In dim light I’d say yes. In darkness, if something’s at stake, I might ask for a Wisdom (Perception) check.

edit: At disadvantage no less!
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I think RAW says that it is the same as humans using regular light. Older editions was different.
Since darkness is still dark enough that those with darkvision have disadvantage on perception tests, I'd rule it's too dark to read unless the text is really big.


Orcus on a bad day
Darkvision treats darkness as dim light and shades of grey.

If the contrast was such that a human could read it in dim light, then yes. Assuming it's not some weird color choices that make the shades of grey into one of those eye-doctor colorblind tests.

So it comes down to the definition of dim light. The SRD (which matches the PHB) has this to say:

Dim light, also called shadows, creates a lightly obscured area. An area of dim light is usually a boundary between a source of bright light, such as a torch, and surrounding darkness. The soft light of twilight and dawn also counts as dim light. A particularly brilliant full moon might bathe the land in dim light.
So if it's small cramped writing, faded on yellowing parchment I'd say no. If it white linen parchment in dark in, written with a reasonably-sized hand, then I'd say yes. I can read those by "particularly bright moonlight", dawn, or in moderate shadows. Not shadows deep enough to be called darkness, just shadows. I'm picturing the back of my garage during the day, with no direct light.


I'd say yes. People read in dim light all the time. Add a dice check if you feel it's needed, but if it was something written by a darkvision creature then they'll have used colors and script sizes that would allow it to be easily readable.


I'd say yes. Twilight and dawn are given as examples of dim light. Twightlight begins when the sun falls beneath the horizon and lasts for a little over an hour. I suggest you take some paper out and try to read it 60 minutes after the sun sets with no other light sources. You usually can.