D&D General Types of Vision for D&D and Other Fantasy RPGs (Besides Darkvision)

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
So 1e had Ultravision and Infravision. 3.5 had Low-Light and Darkvision and 5e has Darkvision. The former sounds too sci-fi to some and the later is too ubiquitous and overpowered to some. What would you put in a fantasy game?

For me, it was kind of cool looking up the variety of eye types in the real world (so thanks to everyone in the post 1608 thread who encouraged me to do that). Trying to do things in game terms, here's five that didn't seem too ridiculous (with some creatures having maybe multiples of them).

  • Animal Vision (Fae vision?) that lets one see extra shades of purple like the many birds and mammals can. Great for writing secret messages that other races can't see and spotting lichens in the snow. (aka UV vision that lots of birds and mammals have)

  • Night Vision with large pupils or eyes that let one see better in less light - so at night outside , but not in complete dark. Doesn't help in the day. (aka usual night going mammal vision)

  • Far Sight that's able to details about 8x farther away (aka the non-UV part of what birds of prey have)

  • Clear Sight (Forge Sight?) that's able to better pick out details at a distance and through smoke, and in very dim regular light [Edit: ] if there is an IR source - but not in recognizable colors (aka near IR vision; going a bit beyond what some fish do)

  • Fire Sight (Blood Sight?) that lets one see a red beyond red that shows heat, recent footsteps, living things, etc... (aka medium IR vision; a pit viper, but not through its eyes)
And please correct me on any science misunderstandings I developed from my quick googling!
 
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Cadence

Legend
Supporter
And so, thinking through which type of vision matches up with how I picture each race... and then I find myself wondering what the source is of Elves having good night vision.

Is it in Tolkien somewhere? Is it implied because they managed to get around Middle Earth before the rising of the Sun, while Man literally came out when the sun first rose? Or if they just had better vision in general, would that also mean that they would see farther than humans at night too?

In any case, the default Infravision in 2e or darvision in 5e (seeing as well in dim light as normal light) doesn't seem right because then why care about the sun and the moon for example, when you have the stars.

Are there things about elves in non-Tolkien literature that imply it?
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
  • Fire Sight (Blood Sight?) that lets one see a red beyond red that shows heat, recent footsteps, living things, etc... (aka medium IR vision; a pit viper, but not through its eyes)
And please correct me on any science misunderstandings I developed from my quick googling!
It turns out, while vipers’ IR sensing organs (the pits) aren’t in their eyes, they are connected to the optic nerve. So, they probably do perceive infrared light visually.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
And so, thinking through which type of vision matches up with how I picture each race... and then I find myself wondering what the source is of Elves having good night vision.

Is it in Tolkien somewhere? Is it implied because they managed to get around Middle Earth before the rising of the Sun, while Man literally came out when the sun first rose? Or if they just had better vision in general, would that also mean that they would see farther than humans at night too?

In any case, the default Infravision in 2e or darvision in 5e (seeing as well in dim light as normal light) doesn't seem right because then why care about the sun and the moon for example, when you have the stars.

Are there things about elves in non-Tolkien literature that imply it?
I’m not aware of anything in Tolkien suggesting elves have especially good night vision. The reason they can see so well at a distance is because the world of Middle Earth was once flat, and still is for elves. So, their vision doesn’t end at the horizon like everyone else’s does - theoretically if they had a totally unobstructed view, they could see to the end of the earth (which must exist for them, cause again, not round for them.) That’s also why they, and no one else can sail to the undying lands. It didn’t get wrapped into a ball when the rest of the world did, so anyone bound by normal physics can’t get there any more (or… I dunno, maybe with a rocket ship they could, in theory?) But for elves, it’s still just a straight shot.
 




Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Your "Animal Vision" is just a renamed ultravision, and "Fire Vision" a renamed infravision. I'm fine with both of these.

Echolocation or "sound vision" could (and maybe should?) be something Bards can learn.
 


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