Dark / blind. Anyone else have this problem?


Advice


I have certain players who, whenever they get struck blind or have darkness dropped on them, they keep trying to continue to attack (at range, even). Even if a creature was 15 feet away, they just announce that they knew where the creature had been when they went blind, and they're going to keep shooting at that square.
Or they announce that they're going to start moving to the other side of the room towards the exit. I tell them they're blind and can't see the exit. They respond that they knew where the exit was before it went dark, and they're just going to go where they knew it was.
What is the best way to explain to these people that it doesn't work that way?


If the players can't see the enemy you could always remove the enemy mini from the board. Let them use actions to try and find the enemy or attack at random until they hit something. You could also insist they don't just know directly where the exit was if they are engaged in chaotic combat and suddenly everything goes pitch black.

Perhaps have a combat where they have a vision advantage and just have the enemy repeatedly hone in on them with uncanny accuracy. I bet they'd object to the realism of it in that case. But really, if your players are insisting on metagaming, solving it in game isn't going to help.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

For the first case, I think it does work that way.

A blinded character can't see, their target is functionally Undetected for them, but guessing/hoping the target doesn't move and continuing to attack in the same direction is something you can do with Undetected characters, so I don't think it's too unreasonable for them to blindly launch attacks in the direction the enemy had been before. Their chances of hitting the enemy are going to be low if the enemy doesn't move and basically impossible if the enemy does, but they can try.

The second one is a bit trickier, because the game doesn't really have any rules for modifying the ability of a blind character to move. I don't think "we walked in and started fighting so the exit is behind us" or "there were some boxes next to me so I try to dive behind them" are unreasonable things for a suddenly blinded character to do, but it's also probably unreasonable for a character to be completely familiar with the layout of a room they may have never been in before, especially under hectic and stressful circumstances like combat.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Unless you're going to create an arbitrary subsystem in which you start to determine what a PC remembers about the layout of a room via some kind of check against an intelligence or perception check its not really your problem. The PC is suffering the mechanical penalties for blind, so as far as the rules are concerned their actions under that condition are legal.

If your concern is this line from the blind condition that says "You can't detect anything using vision" I assume that means using the stealth/visibility rules.

You can't even trip yourself for moving in 2e anymore, so I don't think it really matters.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Well, I'm not talking about a character continuing to attack the same square with his sword. It's more like continuing to fire at the exact same 5 ft square with his bow 15 or 20 feet away.
And being in a room, having moved around quite a bit, then going blind, and deciding to walk right towards the 5 ft wide doorway on the complete other side of the room.
If I was in a 40x40 room, and someone put a sack over my head, I'm pretty sure I couldn't walk in a straight line towards the exit.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:

Well, I'm not talking about a character continuing to attack the same square with his sword. It's more like continuing to fire at the exact same 5 ft square with his bow 15 or 20 feet away.

And being in a room, having moved around quite a bit, then going blind, and deciding to walk right towards the 5 ft wide doorway on the complete other side of the room.
If I was in a 40x40 room, and someone put a sack over my head, I'm pretty sure I couldn't walk in a straight line towards the exit.

You aren't a PC in a Fantasy Role Playing Game either. Among other strange talents they possess are an uncanny perception of time, the ability to calculate distances in 5 foot squares, determine the area of a sphere as if looking from above, and other tricks of spatial awareness.

I suppose if you wanted to stress the point, you could make the player close their eyes while moving their character, but its a lot of work for something that matters very little. A blinded PC is slower, easier to hit, worse at attacking, and awful at perception checks. That's all blinded does.


Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:

I have certain players who, whenever they get struck blind or have darkness dropped on them, they keep trying to continue to attack (at range, even). Even if a creature was 15 feet away, they just announce that they knew where the creature had been when they went blind, and they're going to keep shooting at that square.

Or they announce that they're going to start moving to the other side of the room towards the exit. I tell them they're blind and can't see the exit. They respond that they knew where the exit was before it went dark, and they're just going to go where they knew it was.
What is the best way to explain to these people that it doesn't work that way?

If you want to introduce elements of difficulty for losing a primary sense, I recommend only doing it for the movement, and tying it to having to make a wisdom, intelligence or perception check against a fairly simple static DC adjusted for conditions like weather or hazards or general clutter in the room, etc. I'd let them try to do the attacks because the 50% fail chance is enough to cover the uncertainty. They also still have to make a successful attack roll after all.

For movement, I'd let them move as desired on a success. For failure, I'd have them pick where they want to be and then roll a D8 to scatter their end position from the desired square, with running into the wall leaving them in the desired space, so picking a space with 2 or more walls increasing the odds of success. And then having them stumble on a crit fail, only moving them 1 step in the desired direction.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Squiggit wrote:
The second one is a bit trickier, because the game doesn't really have any rules for modifying the ability of a blind character to move. I don't think "we walked in and started fighting so the exit is behind us" or "there were some boxes next to me so I try to dive behind them" are unreasonable things for a suddenly blinded character to do, but it's also probably unreasonable for a character to be completely familiar with the layout of a room they may have never been in before, especially under hectic and stressful circumstances like combat.

Hey, don't forget that characters that are under the Blinded condition treat all normal terrain as difficult terrain.

For OP's example of moving toward an exit that they can no longer see - I think having their movement speed roughly cut in half is pretty significant.

I generally think I could mostly find my way through a room that suddenly went dark, especially if I went about half as fast as usual. That said, doing it in a combat situation, at speed, is a perfectly valid scenario to start ad-hoc balance rolls here and there as they step on something or slip in blood or stumble over the threshold on their way out the door or whatever.


Get the player to close their eyes and get them to navigate by telling you how many squares they move in relation to their mini.

Or just reply to "I move towards where the door was" with "make an intelligence check to remember the way" - for each 5 they fail by, they move a square in the wrong direction on the way (Walking in a straight line with your eyes closed isn't as easy as people think)

Being blind should be debilitating - and maybe if they complain, remind them that it will be just as debilitating for the enemy if the enemy gets blinded.


8 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:
What is the best way to explain to these people that it doesn't work that way?

You don't. It works exactly that way.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I can do some of the things you're saying fantasy PCs shouldn't be able to do. And I know of people (generally athletes & others who do extensive movement training) who have much better spatial awareness than I do.

And again, these are fantasy characters. They start elite and ramp up to Olympic level rather quickly on their way to rivaling demigods.
So yeah, they can walk across a dark room toward a door, much like Jason Bourne knows every license plate in the parking lot.

That said, I have had times where those who are blind have to turn around, only knowing the direction their mini was facing so as to give commands for future actions (even though the PC itself has no facing).


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Castilliano wrote:

And again, these are fantasy characters. They start elite and ramp up to Olympic level rather quickly on their way to rivaling demigods.

So yeah, they can walk across a dark room toward a door, much like Jason Bourne knows every license plate in the parking lot.

If they're first-level characters, they're not really Jason Bourne, they're more David Webb.


Ravingdork wrote:
Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:
What is the best way to explain to these people that it doesn't work that way?
You don't. It works exactly that way.

Agreed.


One thing I haven't seen mentioned, but just want to make sure the OP hasn't missed it (forgive me if I'm being a bit pedantic).

Remember that when blind, assuming no other sense they can use for targeting, all opponents are undetected by the character (the Blind condition says that if vision is your primary sense, you cannot detect enemies).

When targeting an undetected enemy, they can pick a square to target. Then the GM makes a secret DC 11 flat check and makes the attack roll in secret; this is different than targeting a hidden enemy where the player makes the flat check and attack roll. Regardless of the success or failure of the check, the action is carried out, which will increase the MAP of subsequent attacks, use ammunition, expend spell slots, or whatever else is appropriate. If the attack misses, the GM does not inform the player as to why it missed; the player isn't even informed if they are attacking the wrong square.

Now, don't be a jerk and fudge the die rolls because you don't like the player attacking the last place they saw the enemy, but a character attacking in such a situation is going to have a tremendously hard time hitting anything between the negative to hit modifiers for blind/dark and the flat check for targeting an undetected enemy.


Yeah, I'm not sure if OP was accounting for the full impact of Blindness re: (effective) Difficult Terrain, which itself impedes moving significant distances. Is there a general rule on two sources of Difficult Terrain stacking to Greater Difficult Terrain? Seems pretty reasonable to apply, I'm not sure on RAW though.

I guess if you wanted, you could use Survival check to Sense Direction accurately, failing resulting in your destination being off by a square or two (for a full round's movement). If you have large room with multiple doors, or branching corridors, that seems plausible thing to worry about getting off-course or lost.

Personally I wouldn't really bother with that except over longer distances (multiple rounds of movement), although I might give failure chance to interact with objects or Reflex save if stepping over/thru objects that could trip a blind person. If players really want to metagame and step around known object locations, that also rapidly loses speed considering it's all Difficult Terrain. I think that combined with Difficult Terrain probably is enough to satisfy OP's impulses on this topic.

On targetting known squares of enemy, I don't think any change is needed, there are explicit rules for just this thing, imposing major Concealment miss chances assuming they actually are in the square. Since enemy knows they just blinded you, they should know that just a 5' step puts them in a different square... So targetting known square has high chance of being total waste of actions if enemy had action to move away (or did so on later rounds). In fact the meta is, even if they didn't move away, the Blinded character has every reason to think they may have, so targetting original square would be desperate action with little certainty of correct location, never mind Blindness miss chance. But mechanically, using a Seek action (high DC with blindness) to pinpoint the square (still Miss chance for Blindness) is supposed to be an option for Blinded characters. So I would not change anything here.

Overall, I think NPCs should be using movement tactics to destroy Blinded PC knowledge of their location (although possibility they moved makes actual movement almost superfluous). Knowing this, a Blinded PC probably should use Seek action, but in desperate situation (or maybe one they can metagame the caster probably doesn't have remaining action to move squares) just targetting last known square (with full miss chance) is reasonable tactic, the presense of which should motivate caster to move squares. Being offended by this is contrary to the rules which explicitly cover this scenario (blinded and guessing square).

If Blinded character is consistnetly targetting the square a caster moved into after casting Blindness without a high DC Seek action, that certainly is egregious. But I don't think rules are solution to that problem, out of game real talk is.


I just thought a completely blind person choosing specific squares that they can't see 20 or 40 feet away in a 40x40 or 100x100 room sounded weird. But so far every single person has disagreed with me. So I guess I stand corrected.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:
I just thought a completely blind person choosing specific squares that they can't see 20 or 40 feet away in a 40x40 or 100x100 room sounded weird. But so far every single person has disagreed with me. So I guess I stand corrected.

That's because thinking in terms of squares is weird.

Imagine being in a gymnasium and there's one other person in there. If the lights went out, wouldn't you be able to shoot in their general direction? Wouldn't you be able to head relatively straight to the exit?
The fact the game then has to translate that into targeting squares is unfortunate, but works better than getting a whole line of possible targets (even if that might be more realistic).


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Castilliano has the right of it. The square targeting mechanic is just for game purposes. In a "real world" situation, you'd just fire your weapon in that direction, not at a specific volume of space. Honestly, that makes being blind in the game even worse. In a "real world" situation, if I fired in that direction, and they were fleeing directly away from me, I'd still have a chance to hit them. In the game, if I fire at a specific square, and they've moved one square directly away or directly towards me, I have no chance of hitting them, even though the enemy is still exactly in line with the shot.


your problem is that you try to view this game as "real life", but modern game design shifted to "cinematic reality" years ago.

PC's are like characters in a movie...one scene they take a bullet in the leg and barely walk, next scene 5mins later, they walk normally.

Or, you know, superhero movies...

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Second Edition / Advice / Dark / blind. Anyone else have this problem? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.