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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    So what exactly is the point of having a maximum vision range of darkvision?
    Simply by reference having Nightvision using IR or thermo or natural means would be imbalanced as replacement for darkvision, but I kind of fail to see why.

    The only thing I can think of is that darkvision is:
    1) To keep suspense over large dark areas.
    2) To grant limited nightvision as a lower balance point so level 1's can use it without breaking the game.

    My question is, is there any real problem with just swapping this all-together?

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    Default Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    The reason they went to dark vision over thermo-vision is because they wanted it to be simple. I mean having to know how far someone with thermo-vsion can see to dispurtion of heat. What if you're in a really hot room does everything blend together. This is just one of those instances where having something stupid and simple is just more fun.
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    Default Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    I'd say it's a limitation to stop game breaking. Just another example of something too good being too much of a problem. They want characters to both be surprised by things in the darkness and be able to see in the darkness.

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    Default Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    The big reason to limit darkvision is so that low-light vision, and improved low-light vision, still have uses. On a moonlit night low-light vision is as good as daytime vision.

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    Default Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    Once upon a time, I was a volunteer firefighter. One of our fire-trucks had a heat-vision gun (man that sounds cool) in one of its compartments - you use it in a dark or smoky room to find bodies. Things that are warm show up as white, things that are cooler show up as black - kinda looks like ghost-vision. You could walk around the station in pitch darkness and still see where you were going - you could even see your trail of footsteps behind you (if you took your shoes off).

    The thing was, if you went outside at night, after about 60ft. or so everything was just black - it couldn't pick up heat from that far away (unless it was really hot). In that sense, it was like darkvision.

    In older editions, darkvision was heat-vision - infravision. It was too wonky and unbalanced to work in D&D though - you could just see hiding creatures. So they made it darkvision in 3rd edition. There is no way to explain how darkvision works, that I'm aware of.

    Personally, I don't like darkvision at all - I think low light vision is a much better idea. If they really want races and monsters to "see" in darkness, give them blindsense/sight, tremorsense, scent, their own biological light, arcane sight, darkvision as a spell-like ability, etc. I don't have a homebrew fix, however. So, I just deal with darkvision.
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    Default Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    All the Darkmatter gets in the way.

    The rules of physics do not come out of their meeting with the 3.5 ruleset terribly well. This is especially true for light. Don't even try to think about how magical darkness works, its really just a pale imitation of light.

    Also: Meeting engagements in the underdark, etc., happen at a range of 60';
    this assumes that both sides have Darkvision. Darkvision > 60' is thus really powerful.
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    Default Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    It was limited as a balancing factor. A human with a torch can see out to 30ft, an elf with the same can see out to 60 (neither counting the shadowy area). If a dwarf could see in the dark as well as a human in daylight and just as far, he'd effectively have line of sight to everything in any given dungeon chamber that wasn't obscured by a solid object. Given the paradigm of "go into the dungeon, kill everything, return to civilization with loot," this would've made dwarves notably more capable than elves and humans, particularly at the lowest levels. So they capped darkvision to make sure that everybody was on roughly the same footing in a dungeon crawl.

    Also, darkvision can be explained scientifically by saying that the creature's eyes emit scanning lasers at a frequency unique to the individual creature and outside of the visual spectrum then reading the returning light.
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    Default Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    Also, darkvision can be explained scientifically by saying that the creature's eyes emit scanning lasers at a frequency unique to the individual creature and outside of the visual spectrum then reading the returning light.
    Awesome. WHITE TEXT
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    Default Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    So, Dark Vision is LIDAR?
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    Default Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravens_cry View Post
    So, Dark Vision is LIDAR?
    Yep!

    I wish I could claim full credit for that idea, but I'm pretty sure I read a less specific version of the same statement here in the playground a couple years ago.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThiagoMartell View Post
    Kelb, recently it looks like you're the Avatar of Reason in these forums, man.
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    Default Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    So that Darkvision doesn't let dwarves locate, discover, and make use of Dark Matter as weapons and armor.

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    Default Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    Yep!

    I wish I could claim full credit for that idea, but I'm pretty sure I read a less specific version of the same statement here in the playground a couple years ago.
    Not explained the same way, but I had an idea that Darkvision would only show textures, so deep down culture's clothing would use embroidery more and less, if any, shades and colours, and would use engraved runes on stone and clay tablets cuneiform for writing.
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    Default Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravens_cry View Post
    Not explained the same way, but I had an idea that Darkvision would only show textures, so deep down culture's clothing would use embroidery more and less, if any, shades and colours, and would use engraved runes on stone and clay tablets cuneiform for writing.
    There's actually something like that in the cultural sections of the dwarf chapter of Races of Stone and in Drow of the Underdark.

    IIRC, some drow artists take advantage of the fact that a piece might be seen both in darkvision and in normal light to get a kind of hologram effect, like on those old baseball cards.

    Dwarven pieces favor complex textures, but don't do much with color, as I recall.

    Of course, writing is writing. Since darkvision is black and white you can still see the writing on the page as long as the ink and the page have a decent contrast. I could be wrong about this last part.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThiagoMartell View Post
    Kelb, recently it looks like you're the Avatar of Reason in these forums, man.
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    Default Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    I always thought it was a combination of balance and to stop the unnecessary accumulation of multiple vision types like Ubervision (Ultravision), Darkvision, Low light Vision, Blindsight, etc.

    Hmm, come to think of it, I wouldn't mind trying to make a character with as many visions as possible just for the laughs...

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    Default Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post

    Of course, writing is writing. Since darkvision is black and white you can still see the writing on the page as long as the ink and the page have a decent contrast. I could be wrong about this last part.
    Yes, darkvision is, by default, black and white. My idea was a crunch and fluff change.
    Last edited by Ravens_cry; 2012-11-14 at 03:16 AM.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    The theory I heard for limiting darkvision's range is because creatures with darkvision (like Dwarves) shoot lasers out of their eyes with a fixed range. That is all.
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    Default Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seharvepernfan View Post
    Once upon a time, I was a volunteer firefighter. One of our fire-trucks had a heat-vision gun (man that sounds cool) in one of its compartments - you use it in a dark or smoky room to find bodies. Things that are warm show up as white, things that are cooler show up as black - kinda looks like ghost-vision. You could walk around the station in pitch darkness and still see where you were going - you could even see your trail of footsteps behind you (if you took your shoes off).


    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    Yep!

    I wish I could claim full credit for that idea, but I'm pretty sure I read a less specific version of the same statement here in the playground a couple years ago.
    Some natural philosopher proposed that as the way sight work, IRL, but the theory was refuted because we would be able to see in the dark if we were really shooting things out of our eyes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    There's actually something like that in the cultural sections of the dwarf chapter of Races of Stone and in Drow of the Underdark.

    IIRC, some drow artists take advantage of the fact that a piece might be seen both in darkvision and in normal light to get a kind of hologram effect, like on those old baseball cards.

    Dwarven pieces favor complex textures, but don't do much with color, as I recall.

    Of course, writing is writing. Since darkvision is black and white you can still see the writing on the page as long as the ink and the page have a decent contrast. I could be wrong about this last part.
    Sometimes I have things in my campaigns I have things written in the same shade, but different color, than what they're written on. Often used as a shibboleth/safe means of communication by races under the subjugation of things that hate light.
    Last edited by Spuddles; 2012-11-14 at 05:10 AM.

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    Default Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    Here you go.
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    Default Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    In my game Darkvision is explicitly a magical ability to see without the use of light, and I've made it a plot point that it doesn't work on mirrors, because mirrors only reflect actual light. This has interesting implications for the version of the Plane of Mirrors I'm using as a counterpoint to the Plane of Shadow.
    Last edited by willpell; 2012-11-14 at 05:02 AM.

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    Default Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    So alternatives to darkvision such as infra or thermo can both out-range standard encounters (probably limited to 60' for dungeon encounter simplification) and complicate existing rules.

    Well, if the sight was balanced with class features and the complications were accepted I don't really see a problem, hell I'd even throw in that it raises your critical range on them by one.

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    Default Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
    The big reason to limit darkvision is so that low-light vision, and improved low-light vision, still have uses. On a moonlit night low-light vision is as good as daytime vision.
    I dont follow this line of thinking. Lowlight doubles normal light and shadowy light when there is no other source of light. Moonlight doesnt give a set amount of normal vision and a set amount of shadowy illumination to be impacted by low-light.

    If there's a section in the DMG or somewhere else that does reflect this I've missed it until now. The only reference to moonlight I've been able to readily grab is this one, and it's far from definitive:

    Quote Originally Posted by SRD Getting Lost
    Poor Visibility: Any time characters cannot see at least 60 feet in the prevailing conditions of visibility, they may become lost. Characters traveling through fog, snow, or a downpour might easily lose the ability to see any landmarks not in their immediate vicinity. Similarly, characters traveling at night may be at risk, too, depending on the quality of their light sources, the amount of moonlight, and whether they have darkvision or lowlight vision.

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    Default Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Diarmuid View Post
    If there's a section in the DMG or somewhere else that does reflect this I've missed it until now.
    From the Dungeon Master's Guide Glossary entry for LOW-LIGHT VISION on page 296:
    Characters with low-light vision can see outdoors on a moonlit night as well as they can during the day.

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    Default Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    To stop pointless arguments.

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    Default Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    Awesome.

    So with regards to that...if you've got a party walking around at night under a moonlit sky...what kind of penalty would you be applying to those characters without either LLV or DV?

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    Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    Because all vision is supposed to have a limit in game terms. That limit is normally determined by the illumination, so darkvision needs an absolute limit.

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    Default Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Diarmuid View Post
    Awesome.

    So with regards to that...if you've got a party walking around at night under a moonlit sky...what kind of penalty would you be applying to those characters without either LLV or DV?
    It would probably be considered shadowy illumination, so a 20% miss chance. Darkvision and Low-light vision would have no miss chance.

    In an area of shadowy illumination, a character can see dimly. Creatures within this area have concealment relative to that character. A creature in an area of shadowy illumination can make a Hide check to conceal itself.

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    Default Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeraa View Post
    It would probably be considered shadowy illumination, so a 20% miss chance. Darkvision and Low-light vision would have no miss chance.
    Hm, the quoted part mentions making a Hide check in shadows; would that still work even if your opponents have DV/LLV and can see you?

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    Default Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Hm, the quoted part mentions making a Hide check in shadows; would that still work even if your opponents have DV/LLV and can see you?
    No for LLV and not if you're in range for darkvision. Those abilities effectively remove your concealment for the characters that have them. You could hide from their human companions though. (it wouldn't last very long since the dwarf/elf can just point out where you are to give the human(s) a circumstance bonus on their spot check and fighting gives you a horrible penalty to your hide-checks.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThiagoMartell View Post
    Kelb, recently it looks like you're the Avatar of Reason in these forums, man.
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    Default Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    My groups have mostly just handwaved this unless it was a particular point of the design of a challenge or encounter. Mentally keeping track of the range of vision is kind of taxing. With an online campaign though, things like MapTool can automatically do this and display a different view to each player. I've had fun with a convoluted crypt in MapTool where one player could see an undead creature lying in wait due to their position and vision settings, but everyone else couldn't, so there was sort of a spontaneous 'oh crap' comment without me having to describe anything.

    You won't really ruin anything by not tracking it though.

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    Default Re: Darkvision Limitations: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by cfalcon View Post
    Because all vision is supposed to have a limit in game terms. That limit is normally determined by the illumination, so darkvision needs an absolute limit.
    Vision is usually limited by spot/search or perception check, thermo/IR could have the same. The quality, heat-range and differentiation of your sensory pits or magical thermo may need trained usage or evolution, depending on what kind of thing you are playing.

    @Maptools
    Agreed, on all counts.
    Have they fixed maptools darkness party sight yet?

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