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RPG Superstar 2015

Dim Light + Dim Light = Absurd?


Rules Questions

Dedicated Voter 2013

[First, apologies for a second thread on a related topic. This is a different - though related - question and I find adding one to an existing thread doesn't result in many replies.]

So, I am writing a little program to make light easier to track in my games. While testing things, I ran into what looks like an absurd situation.

"The increased entry indicates an area outside the lit radius in which the light level is increased by one step (from darkness to dim light, for example)."

When two torches are set apart a certain distance, they create a normal light transition to dim light transition back to normal light transition back to dim light and then back to normal light (see this picture )

Is this just an absurd result due to not having gradual lighting (which would be too complex to implement, IMHO) or am I reading something wrong?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

I think you're right. This is a flaw that comes with discrete light levels and you're picture is correct.

It does look strange but it seems legit to me that the illumination is brighter where the two light sources overlap. Even though it creates the slightly darker area in between.


No. You're reading it wrong.

The light source between the two torches is dim light, not normal light.

Under the game system, light never increases due to overlapping sources. As such, two areas of light won't increase the illumination any further than the stated amount. The same applies if you were to hold two candles close together (You'd still have dim light).

Dedicated Voter 2013

Baelin wrote:

No. You're reading it wrong.

The light source between the two is dim lighting only.

Light never increases due to overlapping. The only way you can ever get 'normal' or 'bright' illumination is from a light source.

What about this then: "The increased entry indicates an area outside the lit radius in which the light level is increased by one step (from darkness to dim light, for example)."

The 'increased' entry for torches is 40 feet.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

while I can't find the exact rules, the increased illumination is based on the ambiant/global light level, not the already-increased light level.

otherwise, you simply light 2 torches at the same time/location and you have a "normal light" 40ft radius...


Okay, I think I see the source of the confusion.

The interpretation you have is that the extended area of Torch #1 increases the dark area one step to Dim Illumination and that Torch #2 increases that area to Normal Illumination.

What actually happens is that the area covered by the light sources doesn't stack. As such, the overlapping area between the two torches will always increase only by one step, not two.

Dedicated Voter 2013

Vrischika111 wrote:
while I can't find the exact rules, the increased illumination is based on the ambiant/global light level, not the already-increased light level.

Nothing in the section on light (as far as I can see) says that. I don't know where else to look for your assertion.

Vrischika111 wrote:
otherwise, you simply light 2 torches at the same time/location and you have a "normal light" 40ft radius...

I agree that is silly, but that doesn't mean the rules don't allow for it.

Dedicated Voter 2013

Baelin wrote:

Okay, I think I see the source of the confusion.

The interpretation you have is that the extended area of Torch #1 increases the dark area one step to Dim Illumination and that Torch #2 increases that area to Normal Illumination.

What actually happens is that the area covered by the light sources doesn't stack. As such, the overlapping area between the two torches will always increase only by one step, not two.

Ok, where does it say that?


Whale_Cancer wrote:

When two torches are set apart a certain distance, they create a normal light transition to dim light transition back to normal light transition back to dim light and then back to normal light (see this picture )

Is this just an absurd result due to not having gradual lighting (which would be too complex to implement, IMHO) or am I reading something wrong?

It's not absurd. It may seem a bit unusual if you haven't seen something like Wave Interference before though.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

well, just let us know on which ground you want the discussion: RAW or RAI/logic

pure RAW : you're right, 2 torches = 2x increased (and as per my example, you light 2 torches at the same time/place, and you have no dim light, you have 40ft normal light)
(note that RAW, you can still act when you're dead, as it's not mentioned anywhere that you cannot ;op )

imo RAI : the increase affect only the base light level

I'm (house-)ruling the 2nd in my games

Dedicated Voter 2013

another_mage wrote:
Whale_Cancer wrote:

When two torches are set apart a certain distance, they create a normal light transition to dim light transition back to normal light transition back to dim light and then back to normal light (see this picture )

Is this just an absurd result due to not having gradual lighting (which would be too complex to implement, IMHO) or am I reading something wrong?

It's not absurd. It may seem a bit unusual if you haven't seen something like Wave Interference before though.

At issue is the fact that there are only 3 light states [Darkness, Dim, Normal(and sunlight, but that is just an extra property of some normal light)]. If light were recorded as an actual value (e.g. 142 light points), this would be a non issue. As it stands, it is very strange. Vrischika111's example of two torches on the same spot is also an absurd situation (consider the fact there would be no dim light around those two torches; it would go from normal to darkness).

Dedicated Voter 2013

Vrischika111 wrote:

well, just let us know on which ground you want the discussion: RAW or RAI/logic

pure RAW : you're right, 2 torches = 2x increased (and as per my example, you light 2 torches at the same time/place, and you have no dim light, you have 40ft normal light)
(note that RAW, you can still act when you're dead, as it's not mentioned anywhere that you cannot ;op )

imo RAI : the increase affect only the base light level

I'm (house-)ruling the 2nd in my games

RAW and RAI [This is the rules forum after all, if I wanted advice on ways I could run light I would go to other subforums]. RAI and logic (as in, real world logic) are not the same thing. I need some kind of citation or precedent or... something. Something other than people asserting it is this way or that way.

I chucked the rules for weather out when I ran a game that heavily involved weather (lol@downpour = fog). I have no problem doing the same for light; I just want to know what the RAW (and RAI) is first.


It has to increase based on base light level, otherwise a Torch in an area of normal light would create bright light in the "increased" area. So if you're in an area of base dim light and light a torch, it will be normal light through both the "normal" radius and the "increased" radius. Two torches close together work no differently than two candles close together. You can't get enough candles together to make normal light in the PF system and you can't get enough torches together to make bright light or to make normal light outside the "normal" radius.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Kazaan wrote:
It has to increase based on base light level, otherwise a Torch in an area of normal light would create bright light in the "increased" area.
CRB: Torch wrote:
A torch does not increase the light level in normal light or bright light.

Always check your particulars. Interpreting general rules to work a certain way because "otherwise X will do Y" is a dangerous game. "Otherwise X will do Y" is usually not even true (due to an existing rule the player missed), and the new rule/interpretation that the player thinks needs to exist usually has unfortunate consequences.

Sczarni

Darkness Spell wrote:
[...]This spell has no effect in an area that is already dark. [...] This spell does not stack with itself.

The darkness spell functions like a light source only opposite, making things darker instead of brighter. It's a stretch but that could be a solid basis for a house rule since we've not been able to find a definitive ruling on light sources stacking with themselves. It seems to me that, while it should be there, it was omitted. Probably by mistake.

Dedicated Voter 2013

Corren28 wrote:
Darkness Spell wrote:
[...]This spell has no effect in an area that is already dark. [...] This spell does not stack with itself.
The darkness spell functions like a light source only opposite, making things darker instead of brighter. It's a stretch but that could be a solid basis for a house rule since we've not been able to find a definitive ruling on light sources stacking with themselves. It seems to me that, while it should be there, it was omitted. Probably by mistake.

That is only because there is nothing darker than darkness.

Edit: Also, we kind of have. No one has shown any rule that contradicts the rule that light sources increase the light level one step in their 'increased' radius.

Dedicated Voter 2013

Kazaan wrote:
It has to increase based on base light level, otherwise a Torch in an area of normal light would create bright light in the "increased" area. So if you're in an area of base dim light and light a torch, it will be normal light through both the "normal" radius and the "increased" radius. Two torches close together work no differently than two candles close together. You can't get enough candles together to make normal light in the PF system and you can't get enough torches together to make bright light or to make normal light outside the "normal" radius.

See Jiggy's post. Also, this has already been mentioned upthread.


Actually, having walked through a tunnel that used torches and gas lamps, your picture is correct when you stop and look at the way they work.

But remember most halls and such have them close enough to where you have a continuous band of Normal Light.

But yea your picture is realistic to a real life scenario.


i don't see a problem with the OPs scenario,
that is what i would always have described two such torches as working out as.

in the real world you would see a similar effect, albeit since the light levels are continuously dropping in the real world, it would be less pronounced. in the game, all light levels are categorized into 4 basic categories, and thus you see the stark contrast between these categories,
but one can just as easily classify real-world light into said categories (0-30 light watts, 31-100 light watts, 101-150 light watts, etc) and a 'map' of the real world would look similarly if you are looking at categorizations of real-world light.

i don't see why the light from one torch would not count as the base level of light to be modified by another, ALL LIGHT has some sort of source, so any 'ambient base light level' IS from some sort of source ultimately.

Dedicated Voter 2013

Azaelas Fayth wrote:

Actually, having walked through a tunnel that used torches and gas lamps, your picture is correct when you stop and look at the way they work.

But remember most halls and such have them close enough to where you have a continuous band of Normal Light.

But yea your picture is realistic to a real life scenario.

As mentioned upthread, additive light would make sense if light were measured as a real number and not a state. As it stands, you can strategically place torches so that there are areas of normal light next to complete darkness. This is _not_ realistic; that is _not_ how light works.

As it stands, I am tempted to add additional light states (perhaps faint light that has 35% miss chance and poor light that has 10% miss chance) and then adding these states to the program I mentioned above (even using 5 light states would be too complex for non-computer assisted gameplay).

Dedicated Voter 2013

Quandary wrote:

i don't see a problem with the OPs scenario,

that is what i would always have described two such torches as working out as.

in the real world you would see a similar effect, albeit since the light levels are continuously dropping in the real world, it would be less pronounced. in the game, all light levels are categorized into 4 basic categories, and thus you see the stark contrast between these categories,
but one can just as easily classify real-world light into said categories (0-30 light watts, 31-100 light watts, 101-150 light watts, etc) and a 'map' of the real world would look similarly if you are looking at categorizations of real-world light.

i don't see why the light from one torch would not count as the base level of light to be modified by another, ALL LIGHT has some sort of source, so any 'ambient base light level' IS from some sort of source ultimately.

I agree the issue arise mainly because of the limited number of light states (I would say there are only 3 light states, as Bright light is more like a subcategory of normal light [and there is also SUPERMAGIC darkness]).

This still leaves the situation of a character holding two torches spreading normal light in an 80 foot radius and having darkness all around that.


so house-rule an increased radius of dim light beyond the normal dim light radius when you have two torches making normal light out to the standard dim radius (due to one torch increasing the light atop the other torch's increase).

look, the rules aren't perfect to perfectly model reality. if you don't understand that, you will be sorely disappointed with this game, and not just in this case. if you want to house-rule, you can adjust things to be more realistic, although you will inevitably run into the same sorts of complications of detail which are the exact reasons why the game designers chose to simplify things in the first place. the rules seem to be reasonably accurate models of the real world within the standard radius of torch's effect, it's just outside that area where situations like immediate drop off from normal light to darkness can occur.

since low-light vision people double the effective radius' of light sources, which means they see ONE torch making normal light out to the standard dim light radius, you could use that as a model and create dim light out to 2x the normal radius, even if that seems a bit excessive. although that would just be prone to abuse, since anybody who can carry 1 torch can usually carry 2 (certainly their allies 1 or 2 squares away can), and then lowlight vision characters would be doubling their vision even further. that's why i stick with RAW as much as possible. pathfinder rules try to model normal reality close enough that it still is plausible, while keeping game balance in mind. of course, if pathfinder had simplified the light levels even further to only 'light' and 'darkness', then 'drop offs' would ALWAYS be the case, and holding two torches wouldn't cause any unique drop off to occur..


The way it is set up relies on GM fiat a lot.

But you can actually have normal light in darkness. The problem is that means you can't see out But things can see in.

After all look into the origins of the Candlelight Trap Tactic. It makes you think on how brutal ambushes can be.

Dedicated Voter 2013

Quandary wrote:
look, the rules aren't perfect to perfectly model reality. if you don't understand that, you will be sorely disappointed with this game, and not just in this case. if you want to house-rule, you can adjust things to be more realistic, although you will inevitably run into the same sorts of complications of detail which are the exact reasons why the game designers chose to simplify things in the first place.

Yeah. I've been DMing for like... what... 10 years? I know the rules don't (and can't) model reality. Pathfinder is, however, a rules heavy game and so many things take lighting into account (stealth, miss chances, lurkers in light, etc.,) that it should have sensible light rules. As I understand it, there are some absurd situations.

(Don't interpret the following all-caps as yelling; I am just trying to be crystal clear)

What I am looking for is HOW THIS WORKS BY RAW. That is why I am POSTING IN THE RULES FORUM. I want to know how this works by RAW so that I can ACCURATELY MODEL LIGHTING IN AN APP I AM PROGRAMMING; failing RAW making sense, I want to know what RAW is SO I CAN HOUSERULE ACCORDINGLY WITH REFERENCE TO RAW. Up until this point, like the vast majority of DMs, I have been RULING ON LIGHT AD-HOC. Now that I am running a campaign where light and darkness have become very important, I NEED TO BE CONSISTENT ON LIGHT RULINGS.

My hope is that there is a rule somewhere along the lines as others have asserted, but now it appears absolutely certain that there are none.

Edit: Here is another picture from my light app that shows the sort of absurdities I wish to avoid. When ruling ad-hoc, it is easy to get around this with DM fiat. When trying to track light more accurately, it becomes problematic.

Dedicated Voter 2013

Azaelas Fayth wrote:
But you can actually have normal light in darkness. The problem is that means you can't see out But things can see in.

I am not aware of this. I would appreciate if you told me how this was possible.


yeah, i think the rules for this are pretty clear cut and should be easy to 'program'.
best of luck if you try and program the low-light vision rules or stealth rules using just RAW... 8-/

EDIT: i still don't find your examples with the region of increased light at the intersection of 2 light sources to be strange, that's how it would look if you modeled real-world torches and categorized the light levels into tiers. the only variance is the drop-off from high tier to low tier bypassing medium tier.

Dedicated Voter 2013

Quandary wrote:

yeah, i think the rules for this are pretty clear cut and should be easy to 'program'.

best of luck if you try and program the low-light vision rules or stealth rules using just RAW... 8-/

Why would that be difficult? Light sources just shed a second type of 'low light' radius that is activated when switching a toggle to show low-light vision light instead. Stealth is a matter of drawing lines between entities and computing concealment (although I am not bothering with this, this is just for tracking light).


Modern methods are flares and something like a Hooded Lantern angled down.

You can't see out simply for the fact that our eyes actually have a harder time seeing in darkness when you are in light. If you are outside of the light radius But your target is then you can target them easier than they can even notice you.

The basic of the Candlelight Trap is you launch Flares or turn a light on your target illuminating them while you open fire into them.

Dedicated Voter 2013

Azaelas Fayth wrote:
The basic of the Candlelight Trap is you launch Flares or turn a light on your target illuminating them while you open fire into them.

Basically a mundane version of Faerie Fire; Gotcha.


ummm... here is a post covering the conflict in the stealth rules,
and here is a post covering issues with the low-light vision rules,
i also posted errata issues with the perception rules themself, re: modifiers. (in Core Rule Errata thread)
paizo themself already initiated an errata process for stealth, with a new functionality, but it was cancelled because they didn't want to change the rules too much (even if said rules are borked).
i'm sure you can make SOME decision on all of those, and in many cases the intent is mostly clear, but the RAW certainly isn't, definitely not in the case of Stealth in areas of normal/bright light but with some other form of concealment.


Whale_Cancer wrote:
Azaelas Fayth wrote:
The basic of the Candlelight Trap is you launch Flares or turn a light on your target illuminating them while you open fire into them.
Basically a mundane version of Faerie Fire; Gotcha.

Dancing Light I believe also works.

Look at medieval tactics. Setting fire to the roofs of a building wasn't really for destruction it was to illuminate the area around them so you could shoot the enemy while they ran about trying to douse the fire.

Dedicated Voter 2013

Quandary wrote:

ummm... here is a post covering the conflict in the stealth rules,

and here is a post covering issues with the low-light vision rules,
i also posted errata issues with the perception rules themself, re: modifiers. (in Core Rule Errata thread)
paizo themself already initiated an errata process for stealth, with a new functionality, but it was cancelled because they didn't want to change the rules too much (even if said rules are borked).
i'm sure you can make SOME decision on all of those, and in many cases the intent is mostly clear, but the RAW certainly isn't, definitely not in the case of Stealth in areas of normal/bright light but with some other form of concealment.

I have been following these threads but I have nothing new to add. I believe these lines in stealth provide for fairly simple RAW interpretation: "If people are observing you using any of their senses (but typically sight), you can't use Stealth. Against most creatures, finding cover or concealment allows you to use Stealth. If your observers are momentarily distracted (such as by a Bluff check), you can attempt to use Stealth. While the others turn their attention from you, you can attempt a Stealth check if you can get to an unobserved place of some kind. This check, however, is made at a –10 penalty because you have to move fast."

I acknowledge there are problems with conflicting and confusing statements made elsewhere, but as a DM I would follow that section when making any ruling on stealth.


yeah, the only problem is that some people like to point to other sections of the rules.
as i wrote there, *I* would tend to use the rules for stealth itself when i'm using stealth, but there IS a conflict amongst the RAW.
i'm really not sure why paizo didn't clean up those conflicts, even if they didn't go for the 'new school' stealth they were playtesting in the blog.
the other stuff about lowlight vision and perception is mostly obvious re: intent even if the RAW is badly worded/organized.
(probably the most questionable thing for LL is whether LL vision removes Unfavorable Condition modifiers for Perception ONLY in moonlight, or in all Dim Lighting conditions - I think in all Dim Lighting, but maybe moonlight IS special)

Dedicated Voter 2013

Quandary wrote:

yeah, the only problem is that some people like to point to other sections of the rules.

as i wrote there, *I* would tend to use the rules for stealth itself when i'm using stealth, but there IS a conflict amongst the RAW.
i'm really not sure why paizo didn't clean up those conflicts, even if they didn't go for the 'new school' stealth they were playtesting in the blog.
the other stuff about lowlight vision and perception is mostly obvious re: intent even if the RAW is badly worded/organized.
(probably the most questionable thing for LL is whether LL vision removes Unfavorable Condition modifiers for Perception ONLY in moonlight, or in all Dim Lighting conditions - I think in all Dim Lighting, but maybe moonlight IS special)

I think the glossary entry on low light vision makes it pretty clear: "Characters with low-light vision have eyes that are so sensitive to light that they can see twice as far as normal in dim light."

I think the specific example of moonlight is to say that, since moonlight is dim light and it is everywhere, a character with low light vision can effectively treat it as normal light.


That is how I rule Low-Light Vision. Similar to how Night Vision Goggles work.

Sczarni

Quote:

That is only because there is nothing darker than darkness.

Edit: Also, we kind of have. No one has shown any rule that contradicts the rule that light sources increase the light level one step in their 'increased' radius.

No, there is nothing darker than darkness but if the spell didn't specifically state it didn't stack with itself the argument could be made for two instances of darkness applying the same effect as deeper darkness.

I think you're going to find lighting RAW similar to many other types of RAW. Non-existent. Nothing is officially confirmed or denied in the book it just simply isn't covered. Per what is actually written I'd say your model is spot on. There's nothing to suggest contrary after all.


Decrease the distance between the torches 1 square and you have an entire path of normal light. Which is perfect for torchlight paths.

Dedicated Voter 2013

Corren28 wrote:
I think you're going to find lighting RAW similar to many other types of RAW. Non-existent. Nothing is officially confirmed or denied in the book it just simply isn't covered. Per what is actually written I'd say your model is spot on. There's nothing to suggest contrary after all.

I think this is the final conclusion. Even though it also means the two torches in one square = 40 feet radius of bright light trick works by RAW.

A friend suggested by email that the principle of 'similar effects don't stack' might useful in houseruling this, but I'm not sure. I'll post my results in a new post on the homebrew forum.

Edit: Actually, I don't think it is fair to say it isn't covered. It is, it just results in what I posted in my OP.

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