How do low-light blindness and low-light vision interact?


Rules Questions


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

What happens if you have a character with both low-light blindness AND low-light vision, such as when playing an Anassanois (Starfinder Adventure Path #17: Solar Strike) operative with the nightvision exploit?

Low-Light Blindness (Ex) You treat dim light as if it were darkness.

Low-Light Vision (Ex) You can see in dim light as as well as normal light.


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As your GM, if we talked about it beforehand, I'd probably have them cancel each other out.

If you showed up at the game assuming the nightvision exploit superseded the low light blindness, I'd probably tell you the exploit doesn't do anything for your character and to pick a different one while the table does the pre-flight checks on the adventure we're starting.


I guess you have to figure out order of precedence?

Edit: Nevermind, I don't think it matters that much.

The night vision exploit gives you low light vison and darkvision with a range of 60ft.

So, treating dim light as darkness means they can still see 60ft in the low light.


Ah, I didn't look up the exploit. If you get darkvision out of it too, then yeah, you'd be using darkvision while in dim light.


Since the low light blindness is genetic and a character race issue, I would give it preference over the operative exploit which is training and experience.

So dim light would be considered darkness per you races ability.

The operative exploit nightvision part of low light vision would not help here as dim light is considered darkness for this character.

I would rule as others that you get dark vision out to 60 feet in dim light areas.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Hawk Kriegsman wrote:
...I would give it preference over the operative exploit which is training and experience.

Training and experience, eh? I disagree with the notion that those are the only possible sources of said ability.


I think half the Operative exploits should be Su, not Ex.


I suppose the most flavorful answer would be that they cancel, and treat low light exactly as low light, but also have darkvision 60ft.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I'm surprised more people aren't saying you lose lowlight blindness and gain lowlight vision. It seems like the simplest solution to me.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Xenocrat wrote:
I think half the Operative exploits should be Su, not Ex.

Why? Eye implants or genetic treatments are not supernatural.


Metaphysician wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
I think half the Operative exploits should be Su, not Ex.
Why? Eye implants or genetic treatments are not supernatural.

They’re also things that any class can purchase. There’s no reason Operatives should be able to develop the ability to see in absolute blackness, phase through walls, see through physical shape change effects, mimic Disguise Self and Holographic Image, and much more unless they are using gear that should have a cost and be available to all classes or because Operatives have some semi-mystical/psychic ninja-style training that can let them develop supernatural abilities in their line. It would also give a justification for Operative’s Edge.

In Starfinder previews one of the devs mentioned you could flavor these sorts of Operative abilities as psychic tricks if you wanted. I’d say you have to if you want them to make sense for why Operatives can do it and no one else can.


Xenocrat wrote:
Metaphysician wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
I think half the Operative exploits should be Su, not Ex.
Why? Eye implants or genetic treatments are not supernatural.

They’re also things that any class can purchase. There’s no reason Operatives should be able to develop the ability to see in absolute blackness, phase through walls, see through physical shape change effects, mimic Disguise Self and Holographic Image, and much more unless they are using gear that should have a cost and be available to all classes or because Operatives have some semi-mystical/psychic ninja-style training that can let them develop supernatural abilities in their line. It would also give a justification for Operative’s Edge.

In Starfinder previews one of the devs mentioned you could flavor these sorts of Operative abilities as psychic tricks if you wanted. I’d say you have to if you want them to make sense for why Operatives can do it and no one else can.

It could be a combination of equipment and the training/knowledge to use that equipment effectively.

And seeing as the Mechanic has class features that 100 percent fall into existing categories of equipment...


Ravingdork wrote:
Hawk Kriegsman wrote:
...I would give it preference over the operative exploit which is training and experience.
Training and experience, eh? I disagree with the notion that those are the only possible sources of said ability.

The point I was making was a racial trait is with the character from day one. The operative ability comes latter via training, experience, equipment and the like.

Let's say the racial trait was blind.

Latter adding the operative ability of night vision would not let a blind character see in dim light nor to 60 feet in the dark.

To me low light blindness would work exactly the same. Hence I will use 60 feet of darkvision is gained only, for a character with light blindness.


Question: Does it make sense to reference the spell cancellation rules here? IE, two opposite effects just cancel each other out?


Nerdy Canuck wrote:
Question: Does it make sense to reference the spell cancellation rules here? IE, two opposite effects just cancel each other out?

Interesting thought, however to me they are not two opposite effects.

Low-light blindness causes dim areas to count as dark.

Low-light vision causes areas of dim light to be normal light.

A character / creature with low-light blindness never has areas of dim light. Only normal light and darkness.

So low-light vision cannot help the character / creature.


Hawk Kriegsman wrote:
Nerdy Canuck wrote:
Question: Does it make sense to reference the spell cancellation rules here? IE, two opposite effects just cancel each other out?

Interesting thought, however to me they are not two opposite effects.

Low-light blindness causes dim areas to count as dark.

Low-light vision causes areas of dim light to be normal light.

A character / creature with low-light blindness never has areas of dim light. Only normal light and darkness.

So low-light vision cannot help the character / creature.

Treat dim light as darker. Treat dim light as brighter. That's actually a more direct opposition than some spells which cancel each other out.


I think cancelling each other out or just saying 'Well, the word is either dark or bright, lucky I have darkvision and... regular vision... so it doesn't matter' are fairly equal in terms of how I'd run it.

But I can see why there's other opinions. If you treat dim light as dark, then adding in treating dim as regular can't work, because there's no dim for you anymore, just dark or bright.


There's three ways to run it.

A) removes the racial penalty
B) racial penalty remains, you still have darkvision
C) they cancel out and you see low light as low light

I'm not sure any of the three options are wrong RAW. I don't think racial abilities or class granted abilities are more specific rules than the other.


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I agree that there's no RAW reason to favor any of the options, and I can't see any strong philosophical reason to favor any, either. A GM should just pick what seems fair/right to him. Until I see the full race I can't guess how I'd feel about balancing out the investment in low-light vision against the design handicap of the low light blindness.


Nerdy Canuck wrote:
Hawk Kriegsman wrote:
Nerdy Canuck wrote:
Question: Does it make sense to reference the spell cancellation rules here? IE, two opposite effects just cancel each other out?

Interesting thought, however to me they are not two opposite effects.

Low-light blindness causes dim areas to count as dark.

Low-light vision causes areas of dim light to be normal light.

A character / creature with low-light blindness never has areas of dim light. Only normal light and darkness.

So low-light vision cannot help the character / creature.

Treat dim light as darker. Treat dim light as brighter. That's actually a more direct opposition than some spells which cancel each other out.

Not exactly to me anyways. The character / creature that has this hindrance does cannot see at in low light it is considered darkness.

Low light vision does nothing for darkness.

For my game racial traits are applied before class abilities.

And as others have said it is really for each GM to interpret how they want to apply the rule.


Hawk Kriegsman wrote:
For my game racial traits are applied before class abilities

I mean, do what you want, but there isn't an existing rules basis for that order of operations; as far as the actual written rules go, the two would be on equal standing.


Nerdy Canuck wrote:
Hawk Kriegsman wrote:
For my game racial traits are applied before class abilities
I mean, do what you want, but there isn't an existing rules basis for that order of operations; as far as the actual written rules go, the two would be on equal standing.

Technically that is incorrect. In character the character creation steps, race is chosen in step 2, before theme in step 3 or class in step 4.

That sure seems like an order of operations to me.

The same applies to creating creatures.

The creature type graft is step 2 and the creature subtype graft is step 3 which both occur before class graft in step 4.

So the minute you chose a character's race, you get all the racial abilities / disabilities BEFORE you choose a theme or class.

However YMMV so you also do what you want.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Nerdy Canuck wrote:
Hawk Kriegsman wrote:
For my game racial traits are applied before class abilities
I mean, do what you want, but there isn't an existing rules basis for that order of operations; as far as the actual written rules go, the two would be on equal standing.

Beat me to it.

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