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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    DruidGirl

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    Default Everyone has Darkvision!

    So yeah 9 races in the core rule book and 2/3rds have darkvision, then more races are introduced and most of them have darkvision too, anyone else think they might be overdoing it a little with the darkvision? Kind of makes light sources kind of pointless when everyone can see in the dark, also ruins a lot of spells and items, not saying no races or playable character options should have natural darkvision but do creatures like Elves really need darkvision and does it really make sense for them to have it? To me it would make more sense if Darkvision was only granted to creatures who spend the majority if not all of their natural life underground and have penalties in natural sunlight like Drow, Deep Gnomes and Duergar.

    Kind of thinking of making some homebrew changes to certain races darkvision mechanics but not sure how players would react to that sort of thing, just wondering what the general consensus is here on this type of thing?

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    I mean, it doesn't actually change much to have Darkvision. Sure it lets you move around without a torch, but you have disadvantage on sight based checks while in the dark. So its best to bring a torch.

    As for races who have darkvision...they actually seem fine to me.

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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    yeah. I don't really find it a problem uness one character doesn't have it...
    Current characters:
    Drakirr (Blue Dragonborn Warlock)
    Alyfyldyr Hyalythki (Rock Gnome Wizard)
    Harilidir (Half-elf Bard)
    Kazaharad Akaztkl (Goliath Barbarian)
    Luft (air-genasi druid)
    And of course Lizard Wizard (Lizardfolk Sorcerer)

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    ClericGirl

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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard_Lizard View Post
    yeah. I don't really find it a problem uness one character doesn't have it...
    Yup. In my last campaign the DM all but threw Goggles of Night at the single non-darkvision character in the party.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    It's a legacy thing. Most nonhumans could see in the dark in earlier editions (and here I'm talking TSR era editions) because the writers thought it was cool. 3e at least broke it into darkvision vs. low-light vision, but that just makes the problem worse instead of better. Standardized vision means that everybody sees the same thing and you only have to give one description. Standard plus darkvision means two, and standard plus dark plus low-light is just extra headache. Luckily, when I explain it as such, there isn't as much grumbling about removing darkvision when I explain that it's there to save on DM annoyance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard_Lizard View Post
    yeah. I don't really find it a problem uness one character doesn't have it...
    If 2/3 of the races have darkvision, it's better said that 1/3 of the races have darkblindness as an added weakness. I don't want people to feel that a darkblind race is a tactical liability for the group.

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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    Quote Originally Posted by Elysiume View Post
    Yup. In my last campaign the DM all but threw Goggles of Night at the single non-darkvision character in the party.
    We use the spell darkvision.
    Our DM even made us a wand of darkvision based on the wand of web.

    The biggest problem with light in a dark area is the fact you are a beacon for everything.

    It is like telling the enemies to make an ambush and remove most of the group ability to stealth.

    In an area with light darkvision have no use so I will refer to it in a dark area.
    Last edited by BloodSnake'sCha; 2019-09-16 at 03:48 AM.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    ClericGirl

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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    Quote Originally Posted by BloodSnake'sCha View Post
    We use the spell darkvision.
    Our DM even made us a wand of darkvision based on the wand of web.
    He wanted the least failure-prone option since the non-darkvision character was played by the least rules-adherent player in the group. No muss, no fuss, just assume the goggles are always on and there's zero bookkeeping. Either way, whether it's Goggles of Night or a Wand of Darkvision, the annoyance of variable vision incentivizes DMs to work around it.

    My current PF campaign has 4 characters with normal vision, 1 with low-light vision, and 1 with darkvision. When the ratio skews that way, it's okay--the darkvision-having rogue-like character can skulk around when they want to and torches or other light sources are used when moving as a group. It's better than the inverse when one person feels like they're holding everyone else back with their weak human eyeballs.
    Last edited by Elysiume; 2019-09-16 at 03:51 AM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BloodSnake'sCha's Avatar

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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    Quote Originally Posted by Elysiume View Post
    He wanted the least failure-prone option since the non-darkvision character was played by the least rules-adherent player in the group. No muss, no fuss, just assume the goggles are always on and there's zero bookkeeping.
    That is a good solution.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    Quote Originally Posted by Anymage View Post
    If 2/3 of the races have darkvision, it's better said that 1/3 of the races have darkblindness as an added weakness. I don't want people to feel that a darkblind race is a tactical liability for the group.
    Generally the prospect that lack of darkvision for certain races is a liability is one born sort out of the idea that everyone will be playing monster races, when it's actually more realistic that most players are human. Only a certain subset of players really play monster races with darkvision and they are rewarded with it thusly.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    Planetar

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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    On one side, peoples says everybody play a dark vision character, which makes non-dark vision characters annoying.
    On the other side, peoples says everybody plays a variant human because the extra feat is OP.
    So it probably depends on the table.

    (The two other races to not have dark vision are Halfling and Dragonborn. I find the lack of dark vision on Halfling particularly sad since it is a Dex race, so a race where you really like to use stealth)

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    Troll in the Playground
     
    Imp

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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    Before anyone starts to go for their pitchfork over how many races get Darkvision, it's really important to remember that...well, Darkvision is pretty terrible.

    Anyone with a lick of sense, Darkvision or not, will carry light into a dark place. Darkvision is not Devils Sight; it's not perfect. You might not have any penalties to attack rolls using Darkvision alone, but at the same time, a cunning foe can litrally Hide in "plain view" right in front of you and you're rolling at disadvantage against their Stealth roll. That's a really precarious combat situation.

    Be smart. Don't walk in dark places without a light. You're liable to be eaten by a grue.
    Last edited by JellyPooga; 2019-09-16 at 05:12 AM.
    I apologise if I come across daft. I'm a bit like that. I also like a good argument, so please don't take offence if I'm somewhat...forthright.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    I find the lack of darkvision to be a huge deal, though I tend to DM, and play, in stealth heavy parties.

    Yes there are a number of ways to get darkvision (or alternatively one could opt for Devil’s sight) but if you don’t have one of those, a large number of tactical options vanish.

    It’s actually at the point where, in most campaigns, I wouldn’t likely play a character without it.

    I remember one incident that fairly clearly educated me on this point

    I’d constructed a bug filled cavern system, slowly filling with water as the underground rivers within it rose.

    There were some mostly generic villagers to save and a couple non generic bugs at the end guarding them.

    Because this was effectively on a death clock, I ran a bunch of simulations against the party to make sure everything was reasonable. I used the party’s typical slink heavy tactics, including their ability to pick their fights and get the drop on things (they all had darkvision, stealth or expertise in stealth one had invisibility and they had pass without trace)

    The thing is, that’s not what happened.

    They’d had a run in or two with some bandits who had a plot tie in with, and information on those bugs, and the meta plot tie in as to why the critters were there in the first place.

    The paladin decided to talk the bandits into helping save those villagers. With the right incentive, she even pulled it off.

    I was a little miffed, I’d Planned a cool fight there, but no-matter, they’d earned some help in those caves, more power to them.

    That’s not how it worked out. I didn’t bother checking the encounters. I just figured the payers would face roll the bugs, I was mostly concerned with exactly what the right conditions would be for the bandits to backstab, or not backstab the party.

    Without stealth (the helpful bandits required torches) the party was no better off than alone. Lost surprise rounds, lost preparations, lost time to form basic but coherent plans made things a mess.

    Those bugs surprised the party a few times.

    They would have been better on their own.

    Not every party is stealthy, not every role requires stealth, but most benefit from it. A lot.

    Stealth without darkvision is decidedly limited.
    Last edited by Spiritchaser; 2019-09-16 at 06:40 AM.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Pixie in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    I think darkvision is quite important when needed. As mentioned before my experience is that while having a torch or light spell, you're a blazing beacon to anyone bad living whereever it's dark. Occationally you can't even light a torch or have light available. My experience is that not having darkvision is indeed a liablility.

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    Corran's Avatar

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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    Quote Originally Posted by JellyPooga View Post
    Anyone with a lick of sense, Darkvision or not, will carry light into a dark place. Darkvision is not Devils Sight; it's not perfect. You might not have any penalties to attack rolls using Darkvision alone, but at the same time, a cunning foe can litrally Hide in "plain view" right in front of you and you're rolling at disadvantage against their Stealth roll. That's a really precarious combat situation.
    Having darkvision prevents that (bolded part). Unless you meant it more generally, ie that it will be good having a light source so that an enemy cannot do that against an ally that does not have darkvision.

    -------------------

    @OP: As others said, it's a legacy thing. Most non human races always had a small advantage in vision. Though if I remember correctly it was low light vision for most of them, and only a handful of races actually had darkvision. 5e treats this by giving darkvision with superior range to a few races (that live underground) and darkvision to almost everyone else.

    Quote Originally Posted by Skadi View Post
    Kind of thinking of making some homebrew changes to certain races darkvision mechanics but not sure how players would react to that sort of thing, just wondering what the general consensus is here on this type of thing?
    I think to do that, you must begin from the rules about vision. As they are, they less complex than needed to handle any changes about darkvision well. Unless yyou are talking about completely removing or adding darkvision from and to certain races.
    Last edited by Corran; 2019-09-16 at 06:19 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    I hereby bestow upon you a magic sword, the Sword of Corran, which will henceforth be the only thing that can permanently destroy my withered undead hand and nose.

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    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    Quote Originally Posted by Corran View Post
    Having darkvision prevents that (bolded part). Unless you meant it more generally, ie that it will be good having a light source so that an enemy cannot do that against an ally that does not have darkvision.
    No. It doesn't.

    Unless you're in dim light already, Darkvision only provides you (effective) Dim Light. Dim Light counts as concealment and concealment is all that's required for Hiding, as well as imposing Disadvantage on Perception checks. In a pitch dark battle, even with Darkvision, a foe can Hide freely, without further concealment. Can do it 5ft in front of your face, even and you'll have disadvantage on the opposed Perception vs. Stealth check to spot them. Darkvision does nothing to prevent this.

    Darkvision is a good stop-gap, but it's far from ideal.
    I apologise if I come across daft. I'm a bit like that. I also like a good argument, so please don't take offence if I'm somewhat...forthright.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Corran's Avatar

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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    Quote Originally Posted by JellyPooga View Post
    No. It doesn't.

    Unless you're in dim light already, Darkvision only provides you (effective) Dim Light. Dim Light counts as concealment and concealment is all that's required for Hiding, as well as imposing Disadvantage on Perception checks. In a pitch dark battle, even with Darkvision, a foe can Hide freely, without further concealment. Can do it 5ft in front of your face, even and you'll have disadvantage on the opposed Perception vs. Stealth check to spot them. Darkvision does nothing to prevent this.

    Darkvision is a good stop-gap, but it's far from ideal.
    First of all, I am AFB, so apologies for continuing this instead of just waiting a few hours so I can check it in my own time. As far as I remember, you need heavy obscurement or total cover to attempt to hide. A quick internet search (which may not be accurate of course) confirms that to me.

    Here is how I think it works. Concealment could mean either lightly obscured, or heavily obscured. You can attempt to hide when you are not being seen (with some exceptions, from memory wood elf and gloomstalker). If you are lightly obscured, you can be seen, so you cannot attempt to hide. If being heavily obscured or behind total cover, then you can take the hide action (assuming the DM does not find it unreasonable because of reasons).
    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    I hereby bestow upon you a magic sword, the Sword of Corran, which will henceforth be the only thing that can permanently destroy my withered undead hand and nose.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    The level of cover isn’t detailed, instead the phrase is: you can’t hide from a creature that can see you clearly.

    As I recall, early versions of the PHB lacked the word clearly, and it was errata that fixed this

    So something less than full cover, but very much less than clear, therefore at least a little table dependent, and very prone to start unending forum flame wars with stubborn opinionated forum goers maniacally advocating for their point of view.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    There are numerous class features, traits and other game effects that allow creatures to hide under light obscurement (relative to the hidee). This strongly implies that one cannot — by default — hide while being lightly obscured; otherwise all those features are useless.

    Edit: Removed irrelevant quote.
    Last edited by NNescio; 2019-09-16 at 08:01 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by kardar233 View Post
    GitP: The only place where D&D and Cantorian Set Theory combine. Also a place of madness, and small fairy cakes.

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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiritchaser View Post
    As I recall, early versions of the PHB lacked the word clearly, and it was errata that fixed this
    Ah, that clears it up () for me. Thanks.
    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    I hereby bestow upon you a magic sword, the Sword of Corran, which will henceforth be the only thing that can permanently destroy my withered undead hand and nose.

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    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    Quote Originally Posted by Corran View Post
    First of all, I am AFB
    Me too, so apologies for any crossed wires. Did some looking up online and got them straight now, I think.

    Here is how I think it works. Concealment could mean either lightly obscured, or heavily obscured. You can attempt to hide when you are not being seen (with some exceptions, from memory wood elf and gloomstalker). If you are lightly obscured, you can be seen, so you cannot attempt to hide. If being heavily obscured or behind total cover, then you can take the hide action (assuming the DM does not find it unreasonable because of reasons).
    So it turns out I've been conflating standard hiding rules, which stipulate that it's basically up to the GM to determine when or under what circumstances you can hide (allowing you to avoid the "everyone can see everything 360° around them in combat" thing if you're trying to sneak up behind someone, out of combat, in otherwise plain view), with the bonus granted by Skulker whereby it allows you to hide in any light obscurement (which you'd have in Dim Light, or in Darkness with Darkvision).

    It's a problem with playing Rogues and sneaky types a lot; you tend to take a few things as written/for granted because that's always the way you play (and yeah, Skulker is an awesome feat for just the reasons I outline above RE: hiding in dim light right in front of your foe, including their penalty to Perception).
    I apologise if I come across daft. I'm a bit like that. I also like a good argument, so please don't take offence if I'm somewhat...forthright.

  21. - Top - End - #21
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    D&D 3eify it?

    New ability: Low-light vision - this creature can see in dim light as if it were bright light.

    Applies to elves (except dark elves), eladrin, gnomes (except svirfneblin), half-elves, and as a general rule all other primarily above-ground races, replacing darkvision.

    Doesn't apply to dwarves, half-orcs, tieflings, and all other subterranean (or extraplanarish) creatures (fire genasi being an edge case, but sure, why not).

    This is the one and only place I think the fact that 5e is rooted in AD&D 2e is a weakness, rather than a strength; AD&D 2e had the same problem with infravision (basically darkvision).
    Last edited by dreast; 2019-09-16 at 08:34 AM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    Quote Originally Posted by NNescio View Post
    There are numerous class features, traits and other game effects that allow creatures to hide under light obscurement (relative to the hidee). This strongly implies that one cannot — by default — hide while being lightly obscured; otherwise all those features are useless.

    Edit: Removed irrelevant quote.
    No

    It simply states that in those cases light obsctrement will always be sufficient

    If the RAW criterion is that, absent one of those features, you must not be seen clearly, then that and that alone is the requirement.

    You are lightly obscured, and do not possess a feature that would permit you to hide while lightly obscured.

    Can you be seen clearly?
    Yes: you may not hide
    No: you may attempt to hide.

    Being seen clearly encompasses far more than just cover and obscurement.

    It includes distance, camouflage, backlight and silhouette, shadows and relative brightness, distracting motions or images nearby, conditions affecting the observer, etc. etc.

    A power that allows you to hide when lightly obscured does exactly what it says it does.

    It does nothing to reduce the relevance of these other factors for everyone without such a trait.

    Edit: I acknowledge that there’s obviously a huge, table-specific grey area around that term “clearly”. Given that it would not have taken much time or space for them to add a table of examples, I have to think it’s more than just possible that WotC may have wanted this to be a flavour element of a campaign that was table specific.
    Last edited by Spiritchaser; 2019-09-16 at 12:12 PM.

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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    My current adventuring party is 2 humans, a halfling, and a gemstone dragonborn, none of whom have darkvision. The lacking of that darkvision does have a fairly significant impact on our gameplay. For example, my eldritch knight is effectively required to have the light cantrip, which is rough on an EK who gets so few cantrips. Yeah, I could try to go without it and use a torch, but once combat breaks out, I'd have to drop the torch and my light source would no longer be mobile. Plus, we adventure underwater sometimes.
    Last edited by Reevh; 2019-09-16 at 08:59 AM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    Quote Originally Posted by Corran View Post
    Ah, that clears it up () for me. Thanks.
    I remember being part of a less than polite full on forum battle on this point, it wasn’t until page... I don’t know, 8? That some helpful soul pointed out that, in addition to being obnoxious with each other, we were arguing both sides of a rule that had changed.
    Last edited by Spiritchaser; 2019-09-16 at 09:03 AM.

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    Chimera

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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    I think the different views here highlight that different campaigns will treat darkvision somewhere between a ribbon and of absolute vital importance. That seems to be the edition working as supposedly intended, given that it means that people who want to treat 5e as '3rd edition, take #4' can play it that way, and those who want to play it as 'TSR-era, but without racial level limits and other garbage' can also play it their way. If you want darkvision to be important, well then it is a pretty decent counterbalance to Vuman supremacy. If you want vision to be hand-waved away, well then light cantrips are plentiful, as are drift globes. What I find interesting is the edge cases. Examples: no one (well, very few people) consider non-variant humans or Dragonborn to be a high-powered racial choice, yet most people consider Vumans to be. Also, if you expect rogues to go off and stealth by themselves (away from allied torches and heavy armor, then a halfling somehow makes a challenging rogue pick.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    I don't find darkvision to be a big issue. I find not having it to be a bigger pain and in a lot of the characters I like to play I take two levels of warlock for devils sight (especially for a human or other race without darkvision). Otherwise, when playing characters without darkvision, I juggle carrying light sources and don't focus on stealth since there are too many situations where stealth and darkness go together.

    Seeing in the dark is a very useful ability. Disadvantage on perception checks in darkness means that in a lot of cases you would want a light source anyway (searching, finding traps, exploring, scouting unknown areas .. where stealth isn't a consideration) but if you want to be stealthy in the dark then some ability to see in the dark either darkvision, the spell darkvision, goggles of the night, or devils sight is indispensable. Stumbling around blind isn't a realistic option in most scenarios.

    Adding a level of complexity to the mechanic just seems to be a waste of effort to me. The main reason there were different types of vision dates back to first edition where underground races mostly had infravision and outdoor races had ultravision. Infravision saw more into the infrared and worked in subterranean locations without light sources while ultravision was assumed to extend farther to the ultraviolet end of the spectrum and had greater light sensitivity outdoors. These evolved into darkvision and low-light vision in later editions and finally to just darkvision in 5e. This was mostly, in my opinion, because the added complexity didn't really add to the fun of the game and 5e is designed to streamline the rules and focus on role play over mechanics in many cases.

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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    Quote Originally Posted by JellyPooga View Post
    you're rolling at disadvantage against their Stealth roll.
    You are not. Dim light gives disadvantage on vision-based Perception checks, but you have other senses. You can hear or smell hidden creature perfectly fine even in total darkness.
    It's Eberron, not ebberon.
    It's not high magic, it's wide magic.
    And it's definitely not steampunk. The only time steam gets involved is when the fire and water elementals get loose.

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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    Quote Originally Posted by Skadi View Post
    ...do creatures like Elves really need darkvision and does it really make sense for them to have it?...

    As long as they cling to the surface Elves don't really need Darkvision, they only have it as a vestige of their ancestors who were Drow.

    That's right, Drow are the original Elves!

    Don't believe the surfacelander lies!
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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    Back in AD&D, the non-human races had many advantages over human, infravision being one of them. Humans didn't get any stat bonuses, yet every non-human race did. The non-human races were better in multiple ways than humans. The completely arbitrary balancing tool was humans could rise to unlimited levels, but non-humans had a maximum level they could reach in a particular class. I don't have my old AD&D books around for reference anymore, but IIRC most of the non-human level limits were in the high single digits. Once the level limits came off it just gave non-humans a list of benefits at effectively no cost.

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    Default Re: Everyone has Darkvision!

    Quote Originally Posted by JackPhoenix View Post
    You are not. Dim light gives disadvantage on vision-based Perception checks, but you have other senses. You can hear or smell hidden creature perfectly fine even in total darkness.
    You'll probably find that a hard sell to any GM with a brain, especially if the source of concealment you're using to hide is visual (like a tree or if you're using Skulker to hide in dim light). If that's your argument, then hiding is always impossible because few things will conceal a scent.
    I apologise if I come across daft. I'm a bit like that. I also like a good argument, so please don't take offence if I'm somewhat...forthright.

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