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    Default Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    I mean, even ignoring the fact that ioun torches are incredibly cheap and easy to get, I've never had dark vision actually be meaningful, let alone different ranges of dark vision. And I've had well over a hundred DMs by this point.

    So, I want to know other peoples' experiences.
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    About a month ago, my players had gotten trapped in the Elemental plane of Earth. To get a ride home, they were tasked with defeating a clan of Derro who had taken up residence in an old earth genie fortress. What the derro had been doing, though, is corrupting the plane's residence with a disease that essentially turned any infected into animalistic crystalized beasts. Part of the crystalization effect is that it amplified light to a blinding level, thus any light sources threatened to blind the party.

    The few members who had it were spotting and coordinating where everything was so the rest of the party actually had a decent chance of doing anything in the dark. They tried to use light sources, but everyone got blinded at least once by that (and it's a permanent effect, thankfully they had a Spheres of Power character with the Life Sphere) so they decided not to continue doing that. Ironically, this was the first time I've hsd a party where the majority didn't have darkvision, so ot actually gave the monster's ability relevance.

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    Default Re: Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    Yes.
























    Most of the time when playing lower level and finding oneself in a Dungeon, it helps if the scout at least has it. After all, it gives nothing away, no matter how the other side is looking for you, unlike equipment, Spelss, etc.

    In our recentmost campaign ALL our PC`s had it, and on top of that at Level 9 the worst of the 3 had a total pre roll Stealth Modifier (yes, 3.p) of +24.
    So yeah, Darkvision without wasting spells on a stealth focussed group helps steamroll just about any noncaster-main Encounter. Except those stupid psionic ants, urgh.
    Last edited by GrayDeath; 2019-11-16 at 02:58 PM.
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    Yes.

    Lights can be extinguished by various means (wind, water, dispel magic, or just plain smashing them).
    Lights give away the party location to any creatures not using lights.
    Lights often take a hand to hold.

    Ioun torches (and more expensive Ioun Stones for that matter) are especially vulnerable. They have a separate AC and are unattended. A 10d6 fireball takes them out on a failed save (and average damage), and a Shout spell is basically guaranteed to. Or the bad guy can just grab them. Even a troll is smart enough to snatch the light source from the humans.

    Edit: And lights (especially torches, Ioun or not) have terrible range. The goblins can just snipe from 60' away, and you can't even see them with your 20+20 torches.
    Last edited by Elkad; 2019-11-16 at 03:24 PM.

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    Default Re: Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    It helps if you’re being stealthy and you’re the only thing around with darkvision.

    From a metagame standpoint, though, that only tends to matter if EVERYONE is stealthy with darkvision or if you’re dumb enough to split the party, so it can be hard to put into practice. And of course anything that you’re sneaking up on that also has darkvision can see you coming unless you have a ring of the darkhidden. Or I guess if your darkvision has better range than theirs, but then your Knowledge checks need to be good enough to know exactly how far their DV will extend so you can stay in the ring where you can see them and they can’t see you, which is... often impractical.
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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    If foes are using darkness as their means of gaining cover or concealment so they can even attempt a Hide check, then Darkvision is superior to the dim light radius of a torch or a sunrod.

    This was going to come up in my game just a few weeks ago, where a guild of assassins had been sent after the party. They would catch up to them as the party was investigating an ancient underground ruined complex. The assassins were going to be Hiding in the shadows on the ceiling of a vast room (thanks to spider climb), 55 feet above the party treading on the floor, and would ambush the party by dropping via feather fall and each getting a surprise round attack on the party.

    Unfortunately, the half-orc among a party of humans died just before this encounter was to happen, and his new character was also human. If his half-orc had been around, he'd have fairly easily seen the assassins waiting on the ceiling, as they had nothing to Hide behind, at least relative to him.

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    Thumbs up Re: Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    I've been in precisely ONE party where everyone had Darkvision, and it it helped us get the drop on a LOT of opponents. Not having to announce your presence with light sources at night or underground can often be quite handy.

    Saying that someone reading RAW differently than you is "home brewing or house ruling, but that's fine" doesn't make you right, it just makes you seem pompous.

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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    It was useful enough in my party that the wizard got a permanent item. As others have said, not needing a light is an advantage
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    Default Re: Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    In my old campaign journal, A Kingdom Of Their Own, my players and I made good use of darkvision many times. It's very useful for navigating dark areas without giving away your location. The short range can be troublesome for archers or ranged characters to make good use of, but in caves or indoors, a lot of that doesn't matter much.

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    Default Re: Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elricaltovilla View Post
    In my old campaign journal, A Kingdom Of Their Own, my players and I made good use of darkvision many times. It's very useful for navigating dark areas without giving away your location. The short range can be troublesome for archers or ranged characters to make good use of, but in caves or indoors, a lot of that doesn't matter much.
    There's spells to get a fairly long range. I'm fond of Dragonsight (Spell Compendium; 10 feet/CL darkvision, plus 5 ft/CL Blindsense, plus 4* Low Light vision, hours/level duration).
    Of course, by the time I finish this post, it will already be obsolete. C'est la vie.

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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack_Simth View Post
    There's spells to get a fairly long range. I'm fond of Dragonsight (Spell Compendium; 10 feet/CL darkvision, plus 5 ft/CL Blindsense, plus 4* Low Light vision, hours/level duration).
    The game in question was Pathfinder, and we were all playing Path of War characters. We only had one spellcaster, who was busy gishing it up as our frontline tank, so none of that was available.

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    Default Re: Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    Does your GM take they time to use the vision rules?
    Are your adventures in places without consistent light?

    Even in an urban, political game, it can matter for skullduggery of diverse sorts, but it is irrelevant if the entire issue gets handwaved/ignored. Many GM's don't want to bother about it.

    I have had a few GM's that tracked it, but they are the minority.
    Last edited by stack; 2019-11-18 at 09:41 AM.

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    Not using vision rules seems pretty rare with the tables I've played at.

    Far more likely to skip encumbrance, or tracking mundane consumables (food, water, arrows).
    But the tables I play at tend more towards "simulation" than "story-telling", so we typically track all those things.

    And of course with the advent of VTTs, tracking vision is easy. You set it on the PCs token once and ignore it forever.
    I don't have to know how far a troll sees in the dark. If I can see 90', I'm going to attempt to stay close to that. (and in the case of the troll, that isn't good enough, but at least I'll have a 90' head start when I run for my life.)

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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    STORY TIME
    I played a campaign where we had a Aasimar (Warlock w/ See the Unseen Invocation), a Skeleton (60ft darkvision because undead), and a Hellbred (*me* "Body" because i'm the tank of a party with two squishies). Therefore everyone had darkvision except me. We went into an abandoned mine, we didn't bring any torches. Apparently the rest of my party assumed that I had darkvision as well, so we started walking. I was obviously in the front (Because tank), and I got by because it was a narrow pathways, and I'm a big guy. Eventually after triggering two traps, my party asked me if I could see. I replied with a confident "NO, why? Did you think I did?". The Aasimar cast light on my shield, and we continue.

    Fast forward 3 hours out of game, we come upon an opening into a largeish cavern, with a Werebear sitting in the middle. My Aasimar makes a diplomacy check to persuade the (un)kind sir to let us pass. Fails 3 times. I make a single intimidation check to demoralize my new opponent, success. My character loves the thrill of battle, and this werebear looks like a challenge, I love a good challenge. Surprise round, my two party members dash past the enemy, hes focused on me, the threat, so he lets them go. I make it a good 3 rounds of combat, where each round, my party gets further and further away. I'm literally brawling it out with an encounter meant for the whole party, BY MYSELF. At the top of the 4th round, the aasimar cancels his light spell. We are both fighting by the very dim light filtering through the roof of the cavern. My enemy can see clearly, I can't. I fight for another 5 rounds, the only reason I'm still alive is because of my unholy AC, and massive pool of Health, thankfully I had a silvered weapon (I always make my characters with one, just because I like to feel safer). I've been fighting blind, and I'm starting to inch closer to death, but I can tell by the ragged breaths, and the stench of blood not my own, that he is not doing well either. I eventually kill it, sitting at a comfy -6 hp (thanks to diehard). My party pretty much left me there to die, and I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have done that had I made a character with darkvision.

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    Default Re: Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    If you build around "external invisibility" aka the various darkness spells then darkvision still works and you have a problem for this form of invisibility. A ring of the darkhidden solve the problem of darkvision that your various enemies may have.

    Combine with another spell such as ebon eyes or the various other ways to see through darkness and you have invisibility that lasts all day and does not go away when you attack. Deeper Darknesss 3.5 lasts 1 / day a level so cast it on a rock and put it under a napkin or a glove or spell storing / glove of the master strategist and suddenly you darkness effect activates as a free action. [In pathfinder Deeper Darkness is 10 min / level instead of 1 / day a level.]

    But for this to work you need to have a way to disable darkvision and thus the ring of the darkhidden.

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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    I have an entire rant about how broken darkvision is, the massive gap it creates between PCs, how it destroys verisimilitude/world building the moment you actually think about its effects outside of caves, the fact that it's a 2nd level spell or 12,000gp item and yet is thrown around on certain races like candy. Darkvision is absurdly meaningful, the only way its not meaningful is if the DM writes adventures where it's not.

    Which is entirely possible if the DM has decided not to track it, or has specifically built the adventure to make sure lighting and vision aren't a hassle, or if the PCs have proactively layered solutions, etc.

    There's also the fact that a lot of DMs don't actually bother with mapping (in a tactical game that relies heavily on precise positioning ), and you know what's gonna be forgotten and glossed over even faster than relative distance and lines of cover? Something that is dependent on both of those plus more layers of information, vision differences.
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    Default Re: Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    In my experience darkvision doesn't get targeted as often as light sources; it isn't an obvious weakness.
    It tends to be more reliable too, a lot of the common light sources have quite limited range.

    If you like sneaking around or just moving slowly it's practically required, light gives you away in the dungeon and every turn you spend picking locks and checking for traps is a turn the enemy can spend casting buffs if they know you're coming.
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    d6 Re: Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    Quote Originally Posted by King of Nowhere View Post
    It was useful enough in my party that the wizard got a permanent item. As others have said, not needing a light is an advantage

    Had a human fighter/mage/theif that was obsessive about the dark vision spell. The party kept going underground.
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    "One hobgoblin in heavier armor calls out something you don't understand, but the tone seems like a command. The hobgoblins all make sunder attacks on your torches."
    Last edited by Elkad; 2019-11-20 at 12:23 AM.

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    Default Re: Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    Arguably if you can see your foe but they can’t see you there’s a lot of bonuses the party should probably get that we often forget about. Darkvision is also handy because I tend to play utter clods so anything to avoid tripping over a random brick is good
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    Default Re: Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elkad View Post
    "One hobgoblin in heavier armor calls out something you don't understand, but the tone seems like a command. The hobgoblins all make sunder attacks on your torches."
    Cutting a torch in half mostly only puts it out if you're standing in water or something. There will still be light for quite some time.
    Of course, by the time I finish this post, it will already be obsolete. C'est la vie.

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    Default Re: Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    It depends on the game.

    I once ran a game where the entire party were Dwarves — who, of course, all have darkvision. There were several encounters where opponents with longer range darkvision were able to use hit and run attacks against them.

    It's usually a factor in choosing who goes on watch as well.
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    That's why I always carry sunrods. (Well, that, and they are probably cheaper over your career than an everburning torch, because you won't use 125 of them).

    Fling them at sniping enemies you can't see. Drop them down wells. Etc.

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    Default Re: Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack_Simth View Post
    Cutting a torch in half mostly only puts it out if you're standing in water or something. There will still be light for quite some time.
    I'd allow sunder to snuff a torch or a lantern. The torch carrier is often in the back line and hard to reach, then there are the sunder rules to contend with but it should be doable.
    Telling fighter 'No you should have rolled a wizard and cast Snuff the Light' rarely results in a better game.
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    Default Re: Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    Quote Originally Posted by rel View Post
    I'd allow sunder to snuff a torch or a lantern. The torch carrier is often in the back line and hard to reach, then there are the sunder rules to contend with but it should be doable.
    Telling fighter 'No you should have rolled a wizard and cast Snuff the Light' rarely results in a better game.
    I'm just going by "I've seen torches, and have a handle on how they physically work." If Sundering instantly douses torches, you're still in a position of telling the fighter "No you should have rolled a wizard and cast ..." - you're just doing it from the other direction.

    Suppose a Wizard (or Cleric, or even a Bard) dropped a Light spell on the worn armor of the fighter (or Cleric, or Rogue, or even his own if he's got a Twilight Mithral Chain Shirt or something). Worn armor literally can't be sundered without certain special abilities (such as a Beblith's "Rend Armor" ability).
    Of course, by the time I finish this post, it will already be obsolete. C'est la vie.

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    Default Re: Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    Like so much else in D&D, it depends on the DM.

    If you never see dragons, then a dragon's bane sword is meaningless.
    If no NPCs turn invisible, then See Invisible is meaningless.
    If no animals wander by, then Speak with Animals is meaningless.

    And for the same reasons, if the DM never has anybody interfere with your torches, then darkvision is meaningless.

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    Default Re: Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    My current party all has darkvision and rings of darkhidden (invisible to darkvision).
    Trekking through the underdark like this has pretty much invalidated a lot of fights.
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    Default Re: Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    I've actually come to prefer low-light vision over darkvision. It's just really easy to light a light source and not have to worry about darkness, and at that point low-light vision is just like darkvision, but with a longer range. It also means you don't need light sources outdoors at night, which, IMO, is much more relevant than complete darkness, assuming your DM remembers that shadowy illumination provides concealment, which, to be fair, many DMs don't.

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    Default Re: Has anyone run in to issues where darkvision was actually meaningful?

    I had a dungeon where part of my party did not have darkvision or any reliable type of light source.

    It worked as a core component of the dungeon crawl pretty well. Exactly once. :D
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