D&D 5E Sudden Realization On Darkvision Wording

ezo

Where is that Singe?
Two different answers, spoken with equal confidence, neither agree with each other, and both referring to real life physics and technology to arrive at those conclusions, because the game rules alone are not sufficient to determine what the character can or can’t see. And that, in my experience, is always how it goes with infravision. Which is precisely why WotC switched to Darkvision.
Read them again more carefully. How do they really differ? We pretty much agree on everything, other than the moonlight issue where @overgeeked is a bit more non-committal.

I hope no one is reading only your post without reading the replies its based on and forming their own opinion.
 

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Horwath

Legend
Darkvision is fine mostly, it just needs rule enforcement and maybe add few more penalties.

there is no need for penalties for attacking as attacking does not need fine detail to work, you just need to see what you are aiming.

consider darkvision going from 1080p to 360p, you can still play FPS at 360p good, it will just not look as good.

but what DV needs is constant enforcement of penalties for details.

Perception/Investigation for finding anything, thief tools for traps as you cannot see fine details of mechanism, Insight as you cannot see fine and tiny facial/body movements, possible penalties to Acrobatics/Stealth as you can miss on what exactly are you stepping on.

also, there is no penalty for sound based Perception and most of the enemies are waiting in ambush and you usually move towards them, so you produce sound and they do not, so you get the penalty for perception and they hear you normally, and you fall into ambush simply because they hear you sooner that you see them.

there can also be writing that cannot be read by darkvision alone, red writing on green background, or there can be writing only visible to darkvision also.

@pukunui as for your Gloomstalker remark, it's main ability is countered by literally spending one copper piece, a damn torch.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
The real wonky thing is the warlock's Devil's Sight invocation. Unlike actual devils, who can simply see through all kinds of darkness, warlocks get to see normally in full darkness. So if the lighting is dim, they have to put up with it being dim. It's only if it's pitch black and then all of a sudden they can see as if everything was brightly lit and in full color.

(I have a player who loves to use the Devil's Sight plus darkness combo. His current PC is a half-elf, so she can basically ignore dim light as well, but the whole Devil's Sight thing can be weird. The PC also happens to have a sentient sword with Truesight ...)
I took this combo in the last 5E campaign I played in, as a hexblade, and wound up rarely using it. There were too many circumstances where the Darkness would hinder the rest of my party excessively. The few times I could use it, it was reasonably badass.

Two different answers, spoken with equal confidence, neither agree with each other, and both referring to real life physics and technology to arrive at those conclusions, because the game rules alone are not sufficient to determine what the character can or can’t see. And that, in my experience, is always how it goes with infravision. Which is precisely why WotC switched to Darkvision.
Yes. Infravision was much more convoluted and problematic. The confusion around Darkvision is a tiny fraction of the debates and varying interpretations players had around Infravision.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
Hello!

So, I'm working on something for myself and I was going over the Darkvision for the elves and...I only now just realized how it's written and now I feel I might have been using it wrong. It says:

" ...You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light...."

Now, I had assumed and run it with dim light as bright for 60, and then darkness as dim for another 60; but now I feel I ran it wrong. So is it done the way I have been running it, or is it 30 for dim as bright, and 30 for darkness as dim? I know that the darkness as dim can't be something that can be seen in forever right? so I'm not even considering that, but the rest is now confusing me. Any help with this is greatly appreciated!
Ahh, natural language.

It seems to me that the wording indicates that darkvision has a maximum range of 60' regardless of light level. Darkness within that range behaves like dim light and dim light within that range behaves as if it were instead bright light. Outside that range, things work as normal, dim light is dim and darkness is dark.

The real wonky thing is the warlock's Devil's Sight invocation. Unlike actual devils, who can simply see through all kinds of darkness, warlocks get to see normally in full darkness. So if the lighting is dim, they have to put up with it being dim. It's only if it's pitch black and then all of a sudden they can see as if everything was brightly lit and in full color.

(I have a player who loves to use the Devil's Sight plus darkness combo. His current PC is a half-elf, so she can basically ignore dim light as well, but the whole Devil's Sight thing can be weird. The PC also happens to have a sentient sword with Truesight ...)
Personally, I kind of like that, because it emphasizes how unnatural your vision is. Only in deep darkness does the Warlock's power shine.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
I made sure to apply that rule when one of my players took the Dungeon Delver feat to get advantage on checks to spot traps and secret doors. (We're playing Dungeon of the Mad Mage, so there are a lot of both.)

I pointed out that if he's relying on his PC's darkvision to see, then the dim light will impose disadvantage that cancels out the feat's advantage. In order for him to be able to benefit from the feat, his PC will need to have a light source ... so no sneaking around in the dark automatically finding all the traps and secret doors thank you very much!
I'd argue that using the dungeon delver feat to cancel out the dim light disadvantage IS benefiting from the feat.
 

pukunui

Legend
Personally, I kind of like that, because it emphasizes how unnatural your vision is. Only in deep darkness does the Warlock's power shine.
Yeah, I get it and like it in principal. It can just be awkward to adjudicate at the table sometimes.

I'd argue that using the dungeon delver feat to cancel out the dim light disadvantage IS benefiting from the feat.
Yeah, fair enough.
 
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James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Disadvantage on finding stuff with Perception is a big deal. When I ran Tales from the Yawning Portal, one of my players smugly said that he was taking Observant so he would find everything.

Then with his Darkvision, he would go ahead of the party to skulk about.

When he inevitably ran into a trap (we started with Sunless Citadel, and the first part is full of Kobolds), he seemed surprised. When it kept happening, he finally said "James, I have Passive Perception XX!", to which I replied "that's correct, you just missed the DC."

This went on for two sessions before another DM came up to me (this was in Adventure League) and asked if I was using the rules for passive perception correctly.

"Of course, he has passive perception X, and as you see here on page 5, the trap is DC Y."

"Uh, that's high enough for him to find it."

"Not with Disadvantage it isn't."

"One, Disadvantage doesn't affect passive checks, and why does he have it?"

I quickly pointed him at the rules for how advantage/disadvantage affects passive checks. "And he has disadvantage because he's using Darkvision."

"Huh, why? It lets him see in the dark!"

"It lets him treat darkness as dim light, see it says so right in his racial traits. Now if you go here where it discusses dim light, you'll notice he has disadvantage to his perception."

The DM blinked at the rules, as if he had never seen them in his entire life, in fact, he went to check his own rulebook. Then he wandered off. He came back a little while later and said "I checked online, you're right."

I wondered why he felt the need to check, but whatever. Then I watched him wander over to the Rogue player on the other end of the store (nonchalantly reading the store copy of the adventure...but that's another story).

A few moments later I heard a "WHAT?!" and I shook my head. The next session, he asked if someone had light or a torch. He then confronted me and asked why I didn't tell him he had disadvantage.

"It's in the rules, I assumed you knew."

"Nobody plays it that way!"

"I do."

Ever since then, any time someone says "Darkvision is OP!" I ask if they're using the penalties correctly. Because I have, and it's astonishing how many times players will blunder into an ambush thinking they're smart for not using light (while wondering why Darkvision equipped monsters in my games use light when not trying to be sneaky).
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Ever since then, any time someone says "Darkvision is OP!" I ask if they're using the penalties correctly. Because I have, and it's astonishing how many times players will blunder into an ambush thinking they're smart for not using light (while wondering why Darkvision equipped monsters in my games use light when not trying to be sneaky).
Darkvision is still OP even by RAW.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
Of course, it's not like the disadvantage for vision in dim light can't be ameliorated. That's the Skulker feat. My 14th level rogue makes use of all three - dungeon delver, observant, and skulker.
 

ezo

Where is that Singe?
Ever since then, any time someone says "Darkvision is OP!" I ask if they're using the penalties correctly.
I've never found darkvision OP (and yes, we do impose disadvantage for dim light... but a hooded lantern at 5' dim light helps a lot), I just think it's way too common in races. Nearly half of them have it, and now with Tasha's, you can always have it...
 

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