Convert low-light vision into darkvision

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Vaemar
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Convert low-light vision into darkvision

Post by Vaemar » Fri May 20, 2016 12:53 pm

I will anticipate that I am not particularly dissatisfied with how things are now in the mud, but I find some merit in discussing this.

The facts: the fifth edition of D&d has abolished low-light vision. Races who had it now have darkvision.

The antecedents: actually the third edition was the first one that really made a big difference between the two, according to what I learned. In the second edition most races had infravision, some of them better, i.e. further, than others. Like for example drow in comparison to elves, or deep gnomes to rock gnomes. In some cases however, they paid this superior darkvision with penalties under sunlight.

So the tentative proposal would be to convert low-light vision into real darkvision.

I see some benefits with this approach:

-Consistency with tabletop. Even if we are a different game, with different dynamics and interplay consistency to tabletop should at least be considered, and sought to a reasonable extent. In particular this would make new players find themselves in a familiar setting, for example, and also allow better and implementation of new lore material. Okay a weak reason, but still a sound point, no less.

-Low light vision is messy as it is now. I joke about it calling it "ultimate quest-breaking vision". Since you see colours when low-light vision is working, you can often not realize that mobs cannot see you. So it is entirely possible, and happened to me with my first elf, that you are going to complete a quest where you have to give an item, when the mob can't see you. And it is very difficult to realize when this is going. For new players this, needless to say, even more confusing and frustrating.

-It seems low-light vision is also bugged, in particular for what concerns ranged weapons. See this thread. Effectively I find it odd that elves, for example, are worse archers than orcs or dwarves, because of this. I am not sure it is really a bug, but anyway I think it sucks.

-Darkvision at present is an unbalanced mechanic. If you have it you are far superior to a character without it or even with simple low-light vision. There would be nothing wrong in having an advantage, but the problem is that this advantage is not counted for the purpose of balancing races, see for example how shield dwarves are actually a race with many advantages and few penalties to balance them. This because we refer to tabletop where darkvision is not that useful ability. Here however, where the world is divided in rooms rooms, each on its own and these rooms can often be dark and with aggressive mobs waiting for you, darkvision is much more valuable to have. I think that there would be some merit in balancing this aspect of the game. More on this later.

-Lack of darkvision creates HUGE problems with mobs all over the game. I have personally verified it myself and reported it repeatedly in several instances. Being in tabletop light handled differently, here we have often mobs who should be able to see people in the darkness who do not do this, and thus create awakward, and unbalanced situations. For example the many animals or predators have low-light vision, and thus they cannot see characters in the darkness. This creates the absurd situation where a goblin in the jungle, during the night, can butcher a tiger easily, or as one can read here you can pass by a shrieker without causing it to scream, where on the contrary it would, due to his other senses. Also the assumption that light is totally absent in most dark rooms is simply plain wrong, complete darkness is difficult to find even in the real world. This would make many areas as dangerous as they should for characters with darkvision. Right now I have the feeling that characters with darkvision get it too easy in many places. (For the record I have played mostly characters with darkvision here, so I speak with some basis when I say I felt areas were too easy at times)

-Fixing the many animals who see worse than they should would also have the added benefit to see polymorphed characters not going around with lanterns, magical glowing stones and other gadgets that look simply RIDICULOUS on animals. This is especially true for classes who get polymorph but not darkvision, like druids and some clerics.

And low-light vision? After all what it does in game now is nice. It is not all bad or broken.

As an accessory proposal, to balance the incredible advantage darkvision gives in a world which is divided in rooms, some of the features of low-light vision could be extended to everybody. In particular:
-Seeing mobs in neighbouring rooms when you have a light source: since a real world is not divided in rooms, but is continuous, it seems reasonable that a halfling or human could see mobs while going nearer to them, but not in their mouth, by holding a torch in that direction.
-Map view under moonlight: I have looked at the horizon under the moonlight in real life and even if I can testify I am neither an elf or a gnome, I could see pretty far away. It would be reasonable to extend this both to characters with darkvision and to characters without it if holding a light source.

I repeat I have no troubles with the system of vision as it is now, but I find merit in bringing these points to attention.

Yemin
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Re: Convert low-light vision into darkvision

Post by Yemin » Fri May 20, 2016 3:53 pm

Very well written.

For me the biggest issue is the archery and the offseting of how tough / easy a creature, quest or area should be because of this.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I believe if you encounter something that should have darkvision or low light vision you can and probably should bug it.

At the moment, I'd lean towards this because while lowlight vision is still nice. You often still have to carry a light source outside for it to be worth while. ON my elf, I have never been able to travel any distance before the clouds obscure the moon so in practice, I feel like a human using a light source to see a little further. Because I cannot actually attack or interact with anything I see in adjacent rooms. I gain perhaps 60% of the benefit of if this was operating properly.

I may be incorrect but the reason we can't attack things in dark rooms without darkvision is hardcode? And this might present a simpler way to get over it without tinkering with combat?
I trained up double-edged bananas because the uber-plantain of doom I scored from the beehive quest was the best weapon in the game. Now it's being treated like a bug and they have gimped its damage! That's not fair! My character is ruined!

Vaemar
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Re: Convert low-light vision into darkvision

Post by Vaemar » Sat May 21, 2016 8:50 am

Thanks, pal!

I regularly report the issues I find, some are clearly bugs, like wererats not having even low-light vision or carrion crawlers not having darkvision. Other findings however are more difficult to identify as bug. For example kuo-toas do not have darkvision, but tabletop sources are ambiguous on the matter; initially kuo-toas had no special vision in 3rd edition material, but this was later fixed in later 3.x material as well as in the 5th edition and they were given darkvision. And yet other are inconsistent, such as the shriekers mentioned by Solaghar, because they work by the book, having low-light vision, but practically they are severely hampered. And so are many many other creatures.

Anyway, the idea is this:
-The benefits of low-light vision are extended to all creatures. This concerns humans and halflings among the playable races.
-The creatures who now have low-light vision are upgraded to get darkvision. This concerns elves, half elves and surface gnomes among the playable races. And this would make them incidentally more suited for archery for the pointy eared fellows, and more suited for life underground, as they should actually be, for the small big-nosed fellows.

As stated, anyway, I am perfectly fine with the current system, but I found that bringing up the issue could be worthwhile, given that I have the impression such a change could fix several inconsistencies present now in the game.

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