Retrieving items while blind.


Rules Questions

The Exchange

Blinded: "All checks and activities that rely on vision (such as reading and Perception checks based on sight) automatically fail."

Ran a scenario last night.

Babau cast Darkness.
Pregen 7th-level Kyra wanted to retrieve her Oil of Daylight from her backpack. Just a regular backpack, not a Handy Haversack. But she doesn't have Darkvision, so I ruled that she wouldn't be able to find that specific oil in her pack without being able to see, especially not as a move action.

How would you guys rule this? Allow it as a move, but roll randomly to determine which oil/potion is drawn from the bag?

Taken to the extreme, how would a caster find the specific spell components they need in order to cast a spell while blind?


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Unless she had a whole bunch of different substances in vials that happened to be exactly the same shape, material, and weight--that were also just thrown in there haphazardly rather than sorted into various pockets/locations--I would have let her pull it out just fine as a move action.


She should have been able to find her Oil of Daylight just fine. Backpacks have all sorts of pouches which any reasonable adventurer would have put smaller items like an Oil of Daylight in.


I'll agree with the other two. move action to pull out the right item normally.

Shadow Lodge

I suppose I would lean on the text from the Blinded condition you quoted, key text being activities:

"All checks and activities that rely on vision (such as reading and Perception checks based on sight) automatically fail"

The question then becomes:
Does removing something from your backpack rely on vision?

I would say yes it does but would allow some more-than-move action blind fumbling randomized against any other oils or vials in the backpack. There's no distinction in pathfinder as far as I know in vial shape so it could be assumed that they are all the same. ;)


Do your adventurers typically take off their backpack(a move action in itself) to root around in it to retrieve an item from it (a move action)?

No. They know where they put the things they are likely to need, and can effectively reach that pocket while wearing the backpack without having to take it off to retrieve the item. They probably aren't even looking at the backpack/item until its in their hand in front of them to be sure they grabbed the right thing.

The Exchange

It's unrealistic to expect that an adventurer's backpack has a specific pouch for every individual item, but I will grant that there is probably a "potions pouch".
The fact that retrieving a stored item provokes an attack of opportunity means that you, at the very least, have to pay attention to what you're doing enough that you might get stabbed.
On the other hand, a magic backpack automatically gives you what you want, and thus no concentration is needed, and thus it doesn't provoke an attack.

So if you can't see, reaching into the right pounch only helps you somewhat. It's very possible to pull out the wrong potion.

Think, too, that it takes two successive full-round-actions to coup-de-gras someone in the dark.

"You can deliver a coup de grace against a creature with total concealment, but doing this requires two consecutive full-round actions (one to “find” the creature once you've determined what square it's in, and one to deliver the coup de grace)."

So perhaps it is a full-round-action to find something in your mundane backpack. Or as a move action you can roll randomly for which potion/oil.


Most potions and other items that are likely to be used are placed in an appropriate location that is easy to identify and get to just by reaching for it. An oil of daylight would certainly qualify.

It is an excessive GM penalty to penalize someone in this way. It is a move action that can easily be performed without sight.


Got to go with Tarantula. I don't expect someone using the normal move action while retrieving a potion to pull off the backpack and find the item by sight. As such I don't see why being blind would change anything. You just seem to WANT to make them roll randomly Belryan.


Lets say that they kept all their potions/oils in a pouch. When they want to get a specific item, do you roll to see which one they grab, and then they can spend their standard action (as a move) to try again for the right one? I doubt it.

It is only a move action. If you really want to penalize them this time, you're the GM, you can have rocks fall too if you want. Just don't be surprised when they say that each potion they place into a differently shaped bottle so that they can tell by touch in the future.


If I'm DMing for people I know I often ask minor things about their character such as how they wear their clothes, how they organize their backpack, etc. If the group is more of a roleplaying/die roll suspense kind of group then I would have a 75% chance of drawing out the potion, 25% chance of drawing another consumable. It's not like (most I've come across anyway) people keep track of the actual volume of the backpack.

However, if it would cause trouble with the group then I would just say it's a move action. For PFS I would just stick to a move action since there's enough precedent of not really using sight to get something from your backpack already.


Dimminsy wrote:
If I'm DMing for people I know I often ask minor things about their character such as how they wear their clothes, how they organize their backpack, etc. If the group is more of a roleplaying/die roll suspense kind of group then I would have a 75% chance of drawing out the potion, 25% chance of drawing another consumable. It's not like (most I've come across anyway) people keep track of the actual volume of the backpack.

Myself I always put potions in an Iron vial. If you had a system like that, I'd carve in some simple patterns on them to ID. (1 line is this one 2 is that, series of dots that ect.) Between that and different shaped vials (flared flat bottom, round bottom, flared round bottom, flat bottom, diamond shaped, ect), there shouldn't be any issue with getting the right one. :)


I've done a lot of backpacking and there's a limit to how carefully you pack. I -do- put all of the food together, know where the first aid kit is, etc. I would expect all of the potion vials to be in a particular pocket, on the outside, so they can be reached quickly, but it's quite possible that the vials are all similar. Not being machine made, they'd all be slightly different, and it would depend on the adventurers perception level to tell them apart by touch. If there are only two or three I might just assume your average adventurer would be able to tell. Twenty or more, I would make them roll.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Pre-Gen Kyra at 7th has:

Combat Gear oil of align weapon, oil of daylight, potion of eagle’s splendor, scroll of comprehend languages, scroll of lesser restoration, scroll of magic circle against evil, wand of cure light wounds (50 charges), antitoxin, thunderstones (2);

So only two different types of oils, plus an antitoxin and a potion that are also liquids.

Seems to be a small enough number of items that they could reasonably be stowed in known locations. Even fumbling around, it is likely she could locate the item assuming she remembered anything distinguishing about the container. She made it to 7th level, by then she should know where she packs stuff.

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