Darkvision and Low Light Vision, and balancing the two.

Ancestries & Backgrounds

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Ok, I remember when basically Darkvision and Low Light Vision were Infravision and Ultravision.

Back in those days few things had Ultravision, but lots of things had Infravision. Infravision was usable in caverns to see living things easily with absolutely no light needed. It was also supposed to let people see the shape of the terrain around them. If my memory serves me correctly however, it have a very distinct limitation. It gave no access to traditional colors, but not in the Black/white sense... it saw an object being there or not there, it didn't pick up if it was a dark color or light color. That meant that you could not generally read things with Infravision. As you could make out shapes, the potential exception was, for perhaps engraved forms of writing.

With this in mind, make Darkvision a vision that gives no color, not even dark vs. light. It just gives them presence. Basically a visual form or echolocation that is blocked by things that could block vision. As if a personal source of light only seen by yourself was emitted by your eyes, projecting out to your target and reflecting back. You couldn't read things, so you can't study standard spellbooks, determine the color of something, make out painted images and the like. But it would be really helpful in combat and the like. Things like walls block your vision, as might a cloud or mist, even in the darkness. Magical darkness may block this vision to, consuming even this personal light frequencies.

Then Low Light vision would basically, if given even a twilight amount of light, allow them access to otherwise normal vision to any areas in said to be in dim light. Dim light sources simply create an area of dim light of the size specified.

This actually would give a reason to have both Low Light vision and Darkvision both, making a difference if you only had Darkvision.

Another suggestion, make dim light arbitrarily extend for some minimum 120' past any source of bright lighting. Then you don't necessarily have to worry about specific distances of bright light sources, but know that if you are within a certain distance of bright light with clear LOS, the space can be considered dim light?

Under a crescent moon at night, the whole outdoors can be considered dim light, save for an area with an overgrown canopy in the woods that allows no light down below it. [cue suspenseful music] But if they bring a torch, if they have low light vision they would be able to see far into it.

Low light vision: triples the range of light sources.
No range limit but line of sight, see normally(colors, etc...)
-5 penalty for attack, perception in darkness, can move with half speed in darkness normally.

Darkvision: 30ft, can see black and white only. Can move normally in darkness with full speed, -2 penalty to attack and -5 to perception as colorblind gives less detail.

This both gives incentive to use light sources as you can only have 100% within a lighted area.

Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I really feel like Darkvision should be colorless not black and white. I don't think that someone should be able to read normal writing with dark vision. Engravings fine, but reading standard books, or non-engraved signs in total darkness, I don't think they should. I'm assuming that most creatures with Darkvision also have either low-light vision or normal vision, so for reading, most would use a candle or other light that would allow them to see colors.

Just like I'm fine with the idea of strong dim lights, I'm also not against the idea of a form of 'dark light' that could make spaces past a creature's normal vision visible in darkness... I might even be willing to embrace the idea that it might improve their vision such that it would gain access to a more black and white sort of vision than its normal colorless object vision. With this concept, a cavern might have moss growing on its ceiling which emits a dark glow allowing everyone not within a building to be able to see withing their LOS within the cavern using their darkvision.

I also don't think that low-light vision should give someone the ability to see in total darkness. I'm fine with the low light vision being a multiple of light source distance, but I thought they were trying to simplify it, so was trying to come up with a way to make it simpler than having to know each light source and calculate multiples of it. Just having a reasonable range from any area considered bright, seemed reasonable.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I’d just like to have dim light so I can make sense of this low light vision thing I keep hearing about.

Yes, the fact that nothing (except I think candles) give off "dim" light makes low light vision pretty useless.

Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Well, as far as the Dim light issue:

I was suggesting as part of it that dim light spread out a set distance past any bright light sources (I suggested 120').
Igor Horvat suggested 3 times the distance of bright light generated.

My reasoning for a set distance was that some maps might specify areas that are considered brightly lit, but might not show actual specific light sources or specify their given light radius. While I'm fine with dim light extending out as a multiple of the range of a bright light emanation, I was suggesting that a simple dim light always radiating out a given distance from any brightly lit area.

Basic rules for Dim Light:
Dim light covers three times the distance of range of bright light emanation from any bright light source, the minimum extended distance of this would be an extra 60' of dim light. [if there existed a flare, providing a 5' radius of bright light, would give 5' bright light, it would have 65' radius dim light.]
Any square with bright light that has anything in it which could be seen (this includes floors, ceiling, creatures, objects) will be surrounded by 15' of dim light.

In this case a bulls-eye lantern being used in a cave or castle, might shine bright light in a 60' cone. But dim light would go out 180' Not only that , but the lantern itself, and the border around the bright cone would emanate a dim light for 15' from the light bouncing off objects in the bright area.

You could also have rules so that if an area has 'cover' or 'concealment' from all nearby bright light sources, it would be considered dim light, instead of bright light. This could be set to only apply to terrain features, as you may not want to have to worry about creatures moving around creating dim light shadows.

Community / Forums / Archive / Pathfinder / Playtests & Prerelease Discussions / Pathfinder Playtest / Player Rules / Ancestries & Backgrounds / Darkvision and Low Light Vision, and balancing the two. All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Ancestries & Backgrounds