Darkness and Sensory Enhancement Headaches

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Darkness and Sensory Enhancement Headaches

Postby Murdling » Wed Mar 11, 2015 12:43 pm

I've seen a lot of questions in the recent past about what affects what in this area, and these are good questions because holy shit this area of the rules appears to be insane. As if it were written by a married couple in the midst of a pre-divorce war of passive aggression.

When it was just the PHB we had a relatively simple set of things that played into this. You had about four levels of illumination.

Total Darkness - can't see shit cap'n - total concealment
Shadowy - hazy and otherwise a pain in the dick - partial concealment
Normal Visible - what it probably is in your room right now
Total Daylight - bright ass vampire burning drow blinding Florida sunshine


You also had two ways to augment your visibility without bringing in outside sources.

Low-Light Vision - double the range you get in shadowy conditions
Darkvision - see perfectly in any degree of darkness up to a point, but in monochrome


You can usually figure out what someone can and can't see based on this sort of thing. It's not perfect but at least it's passably consistent.

This is before magical darkness comes into things.

Darkness Spells & Light Spells:

Here's the first problem. Normally these had a progression, Light was there at level 1 and Darkness at level 2 would blot it out with a black cloud, then Daylight and Deeper Darkness were both level 3 and would overpower everything (including each other - most recent one wins). If you wanted to get through a darkness spell you had to overpower it because the magical sorts would confound even Darkvision.


--Retard Torch: It's worth noting that Darkness is badly written. It says creates shadow illumination - in theory this means you could upgrade an area from total darkness to shadowy by casting Darkness. I attack the darkness with more goddamn darkness.--


In all seriousness we should probably just say Darkness spells lower the area by one or more ranks on that four level scale, to a minimum of total blackness. Darkness by one step, Deeper by two.

Ebon Eyes:

This is a low level spell which has been loosely agreed to let one see through darkness and magical darkness up to a range. I have issues with this spell. It accomplishes more than does Darkvision, which requires a 2nd level spell to acquire. Roughly it allows the same thing as the Devil's Sight Warlock invocation, but that also treats itself as a 2nd level spell. It shits all over both Darkness (2nd level spell) and Deeper Darkness (3rd level spell) along with a host of the Illusion (Shadow) spells in the game that I am not willing to make a list of but am confident is very long. I believe this is unbalanced. Even if it weren't a badly written nightmare I'd vote we at least make it 3rd level since it affects your visibility to a degree not unlike Daylight.
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