Darkvision


Ancestries & Backgrounds

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

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So darkvision no longer has a range, it works as far as the eye can see? This seems to limit design space for creatures which can see better in the dark than standard, such as drow, etc. Having a greater than standard range of darkvision used to be a huge advantage, but now every creature which can see in the dark can see equally well. That's disappointing.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Did Darkvision come in increments other than 60 and 120ft?


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You think that's disappointing, Low Light has zero value: torches (lanterns, other sources of light, etc) only cast bright light. As soon as it hits the radius, bam, full darkness again.


Rysky wrote:
Did Darkvision come in increments other than 60 and 120ft?

I think there were abilities/items/spells that gave it in 30 or 90 increments, and lots of inconsistencies on how much extra those abilities gave if you already had darkvision (10-60).

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

*nods*


If this is an attempt to simplify all the different distances of Darkvision, I'd rather have 2 categories rather than none. Something like basic Darkvision (60ft) and advanced Darkvision (90ft/120ft/unlimited)


Personally, I wish they would do away with darkvision, at least at level 1. It'd be fine if they kept it out of the reach of characters below 5th level, much like flight, but to give it away so freely makes darkness a non-issue, and that makes the game less interesting.

But at least a range gives it a limit. Turning it into see in darkness is just obscene. At that point we might as well just eliminate lighting rules altogether.


Have they given it away so freely, though? By my count the only races ancestries that start with darkvision as standard are dwarves and goblins, which feels appropriately thematic.

Half-orcs can get darkvision as a 'power-up' ancestry feat, but not at level 1.

I agree that low-light vision is next to useless now.


I don't need that much granularity in my darkvision--or really that many types of wacky magic vision at all. I'm fine with underground races like dwarves and half-orcs (and now goblins I guess) having darkvision. I'd like to see elves have superhumanly good vision but I've never much cared for them having special abilities to see in the dark. The rest of the races should just have normal vision.

Well except gnomes. Gnomes should be able to see strong emotions as torchlight--or also gummy bears because gnomes are freaking weird.


I would like to see darkvision reduced to 30ft and give -2 penalties for attack as you treat targets consealed.

That would give every race incentive to use torches/lanterns/magical light, but still give underground races option to muddle through darkness somewhat competently in a rush or must have stealth operation.

Push darkvision spell to 3rd level and make it last 24hrs.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Tracking darkvision ranges was something that was quickly cast aside and handwaved in my games back in 3.5 days, let alone Pathfinder. Constantly monitoring the "well one person in the party has darkvision 60, the other has darkvision 120, the rest of the party is on good old torch and now there's a monster with darkvision 90 skulking out there, which train will reach the station first?" situation was something we never bothered with. It's pretty much a non-change for us, but I suspect the amount of groups which did pay actual care about darkvision ranges (let alone blew feats on increasing it) was small enough to convince Paizo to off it altogether.


I just want low light to be low light and dark to be dark.

There's no need for dark to ALSO be low light imo.

Mechanically, they even work differently and for different reasons.

(also, put back dim light radiouses on light sources, Raw we have silly things like light from a torch magically being cut off to darkness...)


Honestly the light level system plays pretty simplified for races. Races with Darkvision can always see all the time, but in total darkness, they cannot distinguish color. Not sure if this was something a GM ever implemented, but depending on the situation, that can be a serious disadvantage. Creatures with Darkvision and Low-Light Vision can see at night, unless it is a new moon, while creatures with Normal vision cannot.

A Darkness Spell heightened to 4th level cannot be penetrated by Darkvision, so a See in Darkness ability is still better than standard Darkvision.

I'm guessing the reason the light sources don't give off a Low-light radius was for the sake of keeping things simple in a more you see or don't see kind of fashion. I don't really agree with this approach since it basically makes Low-Light vision very situational. On the Positive, I do like that the different types of vision are tiered as Normal < Low-Light < Darkvision.

A Major complaint I do have for this is simply that Tabletop roleplay sites like Roll20 do not have lighting systems that support this implementation of lighting rules, which as a GM can be frustrating.


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FoxofShadows wrote:

Honestly the light level system plays pretty simplified for races. Races with Darkvision can always see all the time, but in total darkness, they cannot distinguish color. Not sure if this was something a GM ever implemented, but depending on the situation, that can be a serious disadvantage. Creatures with Darkvision and Low-Light Vision can see at night, unless it is a new moon, while creatures with Normal vision cannot.

A Darkness Spell heightened to 4th level cannot be penetrated by Darkvision, so a See in Darkness ability is still better than standard Darkvision.

I'm guessing the reason the light sources don't give off a Low-light radius was for the sake of keeping things simple in a more you see or don't see kind of fashion. I don't really agree with this approach since it basically makes Low-Light vision very situational. On the Positive, I do like that the different types of vision are tiered as Normal < Low-Light < Darkvision.

A Major complaint I do have for this is simply that Tabletop roleplay sites like Roll20 do not have lighting systems that support this implementation of lighting rules, which as a GM can be frustrating.

the reason i want low-light and dark to be two seperate things is because it makes sense for them to be different.

if you look at a night cam while there's light, you'll see nothing, but a cat as an example will see far better at night compared to a human.

they work off different things, hence the spectrum is different. hence why dark had range and low-light didn't.

on the mechanic side of things, it gives a lot of an advantage to the darkvision as well, since now it just means that things with darkvision have vision all the time no matter what (excluding high level darkness spells)

the light radius not shedding low light not only makes low-light lose even more value, but it also makes things without darkvision and darkvision only a terrible time.

at dim light you can shoot stuff, sure there is a miss chance, but at least you see where you're aiming. If it goes straight from light to dark, there are only 2 races that can actually see even in the closest of ranges.

i mean, 20ft light radius for a torch is laughably low if you can't see a thing at 21ft. that's being 100% blind vs every spell, every thrown weapon, every ranged weapon in the game basically.

additionally, it makes Stealth a while lot worse. With low-light being basically eliminated from the world in closed spaces (since in close spaces you only have light sources) there is either "light" or "dark". So, if you have no darkvision, you basically can't stealth inside a building, inside a dungeon, inside a cave.

I could see them not having low-light for simplicity, but then you'd need at least 60ft light radius on simple torches just to balance stuff out, and that in turn will make dark/low lose value.

the middle of the ground we had so far was pretty balanced imo:

low-light needed some light source but had far better range
darkvision didn't need light at all but was limited range and needed no light at all
light worked for all
all light sources produce low-light radiouses equal to the light source radiouses.

Grand Lodge

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20ft of light (or 30 ft for a lantern) is actually pretty far in real life. It just feels incredibly small on a 5ft scale battle mat.
I too, feel the change comes from making the rules simple to learn and remember. but I do agree Low-light needs some additional benefit.

My suggestion would be that low-light simply doubles the range of the light source as well as converting all dim light to bright light.

Lantern 30ft bright light (60ft if Low-light)
Bullseye Lantern 60ft cone bright light (120ft Cone if Low-light)
Torch 20ft bright light (40ft if Low-light)
Candle 5ft dim-light (10ft bright light if low-light)

Also the thing to remember is that unless your in a dungeon or other location completely devoid of ambient light, most encounters should take place in dim light at the very least. Moonlight is referenced in the rulebook as dim-light on page 301 under special senses.

Its also worth considering how useful seeing in black and white actually is for most creatures. I wouldnt expect dwarves to read or write in complete darkness so for some darkvision creatures, using a lightsource should be just as much a requirement for those without it.


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I want dim light back, and for low light to double the area of light sources again. I would also vote for the dark vision races (dwarf etc) being punted down to Low Light, with Darkvision then being an ancestry feat upgrade. I can buy someone who already has an enhanced ability to see in dark conditions being able to upgrade that to full on Darkvision with training.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'll add my voice to the disappointment in low-light vision. Either let it do something or remove it. As it stands now it is practically worthless.


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shroudb wrote:
So, if you have no darkvision, you basically can't stealth inside a building, inside a dungeon, inside a cave.

My GM felt that the light rules rules were not really clear, and do not like a Darkvision requirement for stealthing rogues, so he made the following rulings which he felt was compatible with the rules:

(GM ruling A) Bringing a bright light source into a room would cast the rest of the room in Dim Light, partly due to realism (see the Mythbusters' "mirrors into an egyptian grave" episode) and partly to the description of Dim Light: "Areas in shadows [...] are in dim light."

(GM ruling B) Creatures with Darkvision would not necessarily notice such indirect dim light entering their area. Since they see perfectly for an unlimited distance, introducing the dim light would just add faint colours to what they see, which might not be obvious depending on the situation.

Grand Lodge

DataLoreRPG wrote:
They gotta fix light sources to do dim light so low light isnt useless.

Or perhaps they need to highlight the penalties of relying on darkvision rather than it being the trump card to win them all that it currently is.

Since darkvision is mostly portrayed as black and white the closest real world analogy would be thermal cameras, like police helicopter night-time surveillance videos.

Seeing in black and white might have a penalty with regards to depth perception for example. The inability to see details or even identify friend or foe until your up close. If you focus on darkvision as thermal, you might be effectively blinded by intence heat (with or without light) making carrying a torch beneficial vs creatures with darkvision since you could "blind" them with the heat.

Overall my biggest concern is how darkvision is handled as a one word catch all for different night-vision types. We know various creatures see differently at night, from cats to toads, and we also know "blind" creatures like moles rely on senses besides sight, covered with rules such as temorsense.

What we find difficult to comprehend is how creatures obtain darkvision. Is it natural, supernatural or magical? Each could be very different in its workings and a creature that has access to them all might be able to switch like the predator does.

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