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D&D 5E Too Many PC Races With Darkvision? (a Poll)

Yes, this race SHOULD have darkvision.

  • Aarakocra

  • Aasimar, Fallen

  • Aasimar, Protector

  • Aasimar, Scourge

  • Bugbear

  • Centaur

  • Changeling

  • Dragonborn

  • Dwarf, Duergar

  • Dwarf, Hill

  • Dwarf, Mountain

  • Elf, Drow

  • Elf, High

  • Elf, Wood

  • Firbolg

  • Genasi, Air

  • Genasi, Earth

  • Genasi, Fire

  • Genasi, Water

  • Gith

  • Gnome, Forest

  • Gnome, Rock

  • Gnome, Svirfneblin (Deep)

  • Goblin

  • Goliath

  • Grung

  • Half-Elf

  • Halfling, Lightfoot

  • Halfling, Stout

  • Half-Orc

  • Hobgoblin

  • Human

  • Kalashtar

  • Kenku

  • Kobold

  • Leonin

  • Lizardfolk

  • Locathah

  • Loxodon

  • Minotaur

  • Orc

  • Orc of Eberron

  • Orc of Exandria

  • Satyr

  • Shifter

  • Simic Hybrid

  • Tabaxi

  • Tiefling

  • Tiefling, Feral

  • Tortle

  • Triton

  • Vedalken

  • Verdan

  • Warforged

  • Young-Ti Pureblood

  • NONE OF THE ABOVE


Results are only viewable after voting.

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Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I think that most of the dark vision races should have low light vision. I know crunching darkvision and low-light vision into one rule-set simplified the game but...

I also think... oh this is interesting - that creatures who have dark vision ... can't see in low light. Like it has to be totally dark for it to kick in. That would be enough of a penalty, I think daylight sensitivity is too harsh. It's dark but the sky is full of stars? The elf sees fine, the deep dwarf sees... starts and shadows (ie no better than a human).
 

Li Shenron

Legend
According to my quick run of PC races I know of (I am sure I might have missed some...), more than half of all PC races get darkvision. IMO, this is a shame because darkness is one of the greatest elements for creating mystery and suspense, etc. For exploration, it is also a key component. And well more than half of the core PHB races have darkvision.

I know there are arguments for many races, some pretty strong, some weak. And there are races that IMO should have it, but don't (I'm looking at you, Dragonborn!).

So, I wanted to get your opinion. Below are dozens of playable races, vote for the race if you think they should have darkvision.

In brief, I would give darkvision to creatures who:

  • evolved to live in the dark (underground, caverns...): e.g. Dwarves
  • have life activity mostly at nighttime: e.g. Orcs
  • by concept, have extraordinary senses: e.g. Elves
  • by concept, is a "creature of darkness": e.g. Devils
  • is meant to be the primary foe of "creatures of darkness": e.g. Angels

Just because a creature is supernatural or mythical is not enough.
 

According to my quick run of PC races I know of (I am sure I might have missed some...), more than half of all PC races get darkvision. IMO, this is a shame because darkness is one of the greatest elements for creating mystery and suspense, etc. For exploration, it is also a key component. And well more than half of the core PHB races have darkvision.
I've found the best solution for this disparity is to prevent Darkvision from working while in Bright Light. It's still a valuable tool to have, but it keeps everyone in the same vision while together. A scout would greatly benefit from it, as would someone who got separated (such as my idiot human paladin that followed the retreating bugbears without the party).
 

lets try this again in a proper thread. Heh.

May not be the "exact" answer/solution, but Monarchies of Mau, which is a 3PP modified 5E setting where you play as cats, actually has both Darkvision and Low-Light Vision. The entries in Monarchies of Mau and read as followed on Page 102 within Chapter-Playing the Game: (All credit goes to the fine folks of Onyx Path Publishing with Pugsteady and the creator of Pugmire and Monarchies of Mau-Eddy Webb)

Darkvision: Darkvision allows for a character to see without any light at all. Characters that use Darkvision in darkness can only see in black and white (they can’t see any colors). It doesn’t give them any ability to see things they normally wouldn’t be able to see in the light, such as invisible characters or monsters.

Low-light Vision allows a character to see twice as far as they normally might be able to in dim light. They can see in color and make out details as if the area were brightly lit. They do need to take a few seconds to adjust, however — a character with Low-light Vision who suddenly has bright light in their eyes may get the Blind condition (p. 109) for a few minutes.


If you wanted to do it like that in 5E, that's probably the simplest method.
 

Something important that a lot of people miss because it isn't stated as directly in 5e as it was in 3e: you can't make out fine details with Darkvision (because it counts as Dim light and you can't make out fine details in Dim light).

This means you can't read. You can't tell what a painting is (maybe you can see a mottled surface, but you won't be able to discern details). You are likely to step on small objects left laying around, etc.

Dim light has few (though significant) mechanical penalties, but it has really hefty conceptual penalties.

Races with Darkvision and the ability to manipulate tools wouldn't intentionally live their lives that way. Their homes and settlements will be lit, although not as brightly as humans, because they only need to cover the area with what would normally be Dim light so that it will become Bright for them.

When creatures with Darkvision travel they will use light sources. They won't need as many of them, or might use dimmer ones like glowing fungus, but they won't want to trip over things. They really would only intentionally douse the lights when they are trying to be sneaky.

And as has been said, make sure to apply that Perception penalty for all traps, ambushes, secret doors etc. Can't read, can't tell what's on a mural, can't find the secret doors, can't see the monsters lurking in ambush.

Having Darkvision is useful in certain situations, but it should not, as presented, obviate the need for light, when the DM correctly understands and applies the rules.
 

MGibster

Legend
I wish they would go back to having a half-way point of low light vision. Having entire parties with darkvision is a pain.
I haven't kept track of lighting in years. Very few of my players play humans and I'll typically see 4-5 PCs with dark vision in any game I'm running. It isn't worth anyone's time to keep track of lighting, torches, etc., etc. So you know what? There's always enough light.
 

darkvision in 5e is a big mess. It's valued as if not having darkvision
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In reality the cost of not having it at the table is zero unless you are the party scout.
 



Faolyn

Hero
I put down the three goblinoids (I see them as pretty nocturnal), the leonin and tabaxi (coz cats), the tritons (I imagine them as living deep underwater), the underground races (svirfneblin, duergar, and drow), aasimar and tieflings (since they're supernatural), and the warforged (who, being robots, I can imagine being built with night-vision capabilities).
 

Faolyn

Hero
Low-light Vision allows a character to see twice as far as they normally might be able to in dim light. They can see in color and make out details as if the area were brightly lit. They do need to take a few seconds to adjust, however — a character with Low-light Vision who suddenly has bright light in their eyes may get the Blind condition (p. 109) for a few minutes.
Is there actually a radius for being able to see in 5e? Or is this using the radius of, say, a torch, and saying you can double that? I think that might be a bit confusing. If a torch as a 20-foot radius (I forget the exact rules on it, so just go with 20 feet), and you're standing at the edge of that light, can you see an additional 20 feet out, or 40 feet out?

I'd go with low-light vision as just "you can see in dim light to 30 (or 60) feet as if it were bright light, but can't see in darkness" and be done with it.
 

Is there actually a radius for being able to see in 5e? Or is this using the radius of, say, a torch, and saying you can double that? I think that might be a bit confusing. If a torch as a 20-foot radius (I forget the exact rules on it, so just go with 20 feet), and you're standing at the edge of that light, can you see an additional 20 feet out, or 40 feet out?

I'd go with low-light vision as just "you can see in dim light to 30 (or 60) feet as if it were bright light, but can't see in darkness" and be done with it.
I honestly took it as Monarchies of Mau's take on Superior Darkvision, just with the cravat that a sudden bright flash of light has a nasty side effect of giving you the Blind condition for a bit.
 

Bird Of Play

Explorer
Agreed!!
Please leave darkvision only to demons, devils, tieflings, drows, svifnerwhatthey'recalled, and duergar.

Don't give it to races who live in daylight like elves or orcs!
 

pming

Legend
Hiya!
According to my quick run of PC races I know of (I am sure I might have missed some...), more than half of all PC races get darkvision. IMO, this is a shame because darkness is one of the greatest elements for creating mystery and suspense, etc. For exploration, it is also a key component. And well more than half of the core PHB races have darkvision.

I know there are arguments for many races, some pretty strong, some weak. And there are races that IMO should have it, but don't (I'm looking at you, Dragonborn!).

So, I wanted to get your opinion. Below are dozens of playable races, vote for the race if you think they should have darkvision.
Totally agree with the idea of FAR too many creatures/races having "darkvision".

I like the idea of a simple statement of: "All monsters can see in the dark". That it. No specifics, just "...it's a monster, so it can see in the dark...", which leaves just exactly how, why, when, etc a monster could "see in the dark" up to the DM.

For me, for the last 3'ish decades or so, I've ruled that any "infravision/darkvision/ultravision" is a creatures "backup sense of sight". If a creature has Darkvision (I'll restrict to 5e), it "kicks in" when there is no other means of light or the other means are EXTREMELY dim. In other words, if a fighter is holding a torch, then the dwarf 40' in front of him can't see anything down the tunnel because the light from the torch IS reaching down the tunnel, it's just very, VERY dim! So, despite the fact that Darkvision would be great, it 'shuts off', for lack of a better description, in favour of the normal torch light.

Effectively, this gives a reason to have a goblin warren dotted with clusters of candles, torches, dull-fat-burning-lamps, etc; it spoils any other creatures Darkvision...putting the Goblins in control of the area because they live there and know all the traps and ambush spots. ;)

Anyway...Darkvision is a bit of a thorn in my side. I'd rather have "Monsters can see in the dark" and leave it at that. :)

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Hiya!

Totally agree with the idea of FAR too many creatures/races having "darkvision".

I like the idea of a simple statement of: "All monsters can see in the dark". That it. No specifics, just "...it's a monster, so it can see in the dark...", which leaves just exactly how, why, when, etc a monster could "see in the dark" up to the DM.

For me, for the last 3'ish decades or so, I've ruled that any "infravision/darkvision/ultravision" is a creatures "backup sense of sight". If a creature has Darkvision (I'll restrict to 5e), it "kicks in" when there is no other means of light or the other means are EXTREMELY dim. In other words, if a fighter is holding a torch, then the dwarf 40' in front of him can't see anything down the tunnel because the light from the torch IS reaching down the tunnel, it's just very, VERY dim! So, despite the fact that Darkvision would be great, it 'shuts off', for lack of a better description, in favour of the normal torch light.

Effectively, this gives a reason to have a goblin warren dotted with clusters of candles, torches, dull-fat-burning-lamps, etc; it spoils any other creatures Darkvision...putting the Goblins in control of the area because they live there and know all the traps and ambush spots.
;)
Anyway...Darkvision is a bit of a thorn in my side. I'd rather have "Monsters can see in the dark" and leave it at that. :)

^_^

Paul L. Ming
That's all well & good to say, but it's extremely difficult to actually model in a way where both of the players don't see what the other sees with a grid & with a VTT it instead creates a significant amount of overhead to juggle light sources between turns. at the end f the day when the dice are pulled from their bags both players wind up having the benefits of both vision types except when the GM declares they have the downsides of one or both vision types.
 

renbot

Explorer
I just started the Shadow of the Apt series (good, not great) where being able to see in darkness is rare and special. It made me decide that in my next campaign unless your race's culture takes place primarily underground you will not have darkvision without magic
 

I like reserving it for underground races - dwarves, drow, svirfneblin. The exceptions are dragonborn (although I'd prefer an alternative for them, really) and fire genasi for infravision.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Only darkvision for magical creatures that are subterranean or nocturnal.

High elf, no.
Wood elf, possibly nocturnal.
Drow elf, subterranean.
Half-high, no.
Half-wood, possibly nocturnal.
Half-drow, possibly subterranean or nocturnal.

Hill dwarf, no.
Mountain dwarf, possibly subterranean.
Duergar dwarf, subterranean.

Forest gnome, no.
Rock gnome, possibly subterranean.
Svirfneblin gnome, subterranean.

Goblinoid, nocturnal.

Orc, nocturnal but no if considered a nonmagical creature.
Half-orc, possibly nocturnal but no if nonmagical.

Tiefling, possibly nocturnal.
Gnoll, possibly nocturnal.

Dragonborn, possibly subterranean
Kobold, subterranean.

Tabaxi, nocturnal but no if considered a nonmagical creature.

No others.
 
Last edited:

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Something like:

Darkvision:
  • see in darkness as black-and-white
  • see in dimness as color
  • blind in brightness.

Brightvision (normal human):
  • see in brightness as color
  • see in dimness as black-and-white
  • blind in darkness
 

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