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D&D 5E Ruling Consideration on Darkness (both magical and non-magical)

CapnZapp

Legend
I'm very glad that it's stated somewhere within the rules that sources of light can be seen much further away than they shed light. This is basic common sense, but from personal experience, some people out there have no idea how light functions.
Infamously the 2nd edition of the otherwise excellent Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play tried this.

That the light from a lantern stops when you reach the radius where you, the lantern-bearer, no longer gain any benefit is sheer and utter lunacy.

There's a reason WWII soldiers cup their hand when lighting a cigarette.

And that reason is that even the tiny light from a match can travel a mile away.

Anyone playing the game in such a way monsters aren't alerted far in advance when the classic adventuring party (with members needing light) clambers around dark caverns or outside at night just reveals their ignorance.
 

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I’ve actually converted to the OP‘s view, because it seems more interesting to me for drow to actually be able to hide in the darkness they create than just to blind opponents and then have to fire blind at them. There are already spells like fog cloud that just block vision (and generally better than darkness at a lower level!) and hunger of Hadar that explicitly creates a sphere of blackness. Giving the darkness spell a unique effect that provides different functionality makes it a worthwhile option.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I'm very glad that it's stated somewhere within the rules that sources of light can be seen much further away than they shed light. This is basic common sense, but from personal experience, some people out there have no idea how light functions.
I sometimes forget that some people have never been outside of the light pollution of cities. I grew up in the country, gone camping in remote areas.

Yes I could see if the neighbors a mile away were home because of the light coming from their windows. If there aren't clouds, the moon will give you plenty of light to go for a walk and so on.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I sometimes forget that some people have never been outside of the light pollution of cities. I grew up in the country, gone camping in remote areas.

Yes I could see if the neighbors a mile away were home because of the light coming from their windows. If there aren't clouds, the moon will give you plenty of light to go for a walk and so on.
You'd be surprised (or not, I guess) how adamant people can be arguing that if a torch sheds light in a 40 ft radius then the monster can't see you or your light from a hundred feet away.

I'm like my only response is to treat them as escaped lunatics and slowly back away. It's like talking to a flat earther or something.


(No, the rules don't need to call that out specifically. It's like they don't tell you you need to go to the bathroom every 2d6 hours, yet you do.)
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
(No, the rules don't need to call that out specifically. It's like they don't tell you you need to go to the bathroom every 2d6 hours, yet you do.)
And yet, they do (see page 104-105 of the DMG).

edit: and I too have met those "torches are invisible past 40 feet" people too :O
 

CapnZapp

Legend
And yet, they do
I mean, it doesn't hurt.

I meant it in the context of "unless the rules specifically tell me light travels longer than the indicated radius, it doesn't" ruling, which we agree is absurd on the scale "if the rules don't tell me I need to go to the bathroom, it clearly means my character have no poophole."

There's nothing wrong with the rules stating the obvious. They just shouldn't have to.
 

I also wanted to add: in the Vision and Light (VL) of the PHB, magical darkness is described as a type of the third category of Illumination, darkness, which is described as creating "a heavily obscured area." This would mean that the spell, Darkness, also creates a heavily obscured area. Normally, a creature with Darkvision would be able to see, within their designated range, areas of darkness as if it was dim light and so on. For the areas that fall under the darkness Illumination category, the VL section rules that "a creature effectively suffers from the Blinded condition" for the purposes of "trying to see something in that area," unless otherwise specified by some feature like darkvision. For the areas that are specifically affected by magical darkness, I'd make the creatures with darkvision gain no special benefit from that trait. So I'd rule it as just making everyone, including creatures with darkvision, effectively suffer from the Blinded condition when they try to see something that's within that area.
 

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