View Full Version : Light and Vision
05-26-2009, 03:42 PM
I need a little assistance,
The PH says a Torch (for example) produces 5 sq of bright light radius. Assuming we are deep inside a cavern, does that mean the 6th sq is in complete darkness?
Am I to understand that a Human (Normal Vision) and an Elf (Low Light) both can not see beyond the radius of effect of a bright light source?
If the source of light produces dim light, it is logical to me that any sq outside its radius of effect is in complete darkness, but if the source produces bright light, wouldn't the next sq out of that range be dim light?
I am looking first for the "official" understanding of the rule ...
05-26-2009, 03:50 PM
Theres rules and then there is flavor. As a DM, i would say the light can still function effectively for lowlight vision beyond the 5. But, the light is so dispersed as to make normal vision useless beyond it. Where the rules don't stipulate, i say the light extends the same range again for low light - but humans are out of luck beyond it. For strict mapping purposes, stick to the rules, but for flavor, maybe allow the low light to see "dim movement".
05-26-2009, 04:40 PM
I agree with the setup that temple put forth, but i don't think that the 'dim-light' should be equal again to the light the torch produces, i think a 2/3 or close enough equivalent would be more realistic, but the point is taken. Those with low-light vision should view this area with little ill effect, but i would like to add that those without vision enhancement could still see in this 'dim light' with a penalty to perception...maybe -1 for every grid outside the torches light...just throwing that out there, you could also make modifications for light that reflects off of the surface of walls, or around corners just take the number of squares that the torch lights and shift them to fit the geometry of the room; i know that sounds a bit much for realism's sake...I know you're looking for the official rules, but i didn't see anything in regards to that. The way they describe it is that there is light and then darkness.
05-26-2009, 09:48 PM
" ...but i would like to add that those without vision enhancement could still see in this 'dim light' with a penalty to perception...maybe -1 for every grid outside the torches light...
It is clear on the rules to what happens in "Dim Light".
I know you're looking for the official rules, but i didn't see anything in regards to that. The way they describe it is that there is light and then darkness.
In our last game it was ruled that Low light vision has a double range than regular vision. Actually we were fighting in "Dim Light", the official ruling should have been, both PCs (Normal and Low Light Vision) have the same vision range, but the Normal Vision guy suffers a penalty or grants concealment for all purposes. I think we just followed 3.X ruling automatically.
Perhaps the Light then darkness has to do with the fact that your eyes are set for bright light. Happens to me all the time, I turn off the lights and suddenly is complete darkness, after the eyes adjust everything is pretty much "clear".
Thanks for the input.
05-26-2009, 10:19 PM
According to the fourth edition rules, light sources shed either bright or dim light and do not offer anything beyond their stated radius. That's ridiculous of course, since light becomes more dispersed as it moves away from the source, and the idea of a hard radius of bright light and solid darkness beyond is completely incredulous. The approach in our games has been to consider bright light sources to shed dim light at half again their total radius.
05-26-2009, 11:44 PM
I'd counter that a hard radius of light with darkness beyond is very realistic. I base this on real life experience. Find a very dark and very large room, or go outside on a cloudy and moonless night. Activate your "torch" (lantern/flashlight/torch/whatever). Stand in that light for one minute. Now try to see outside of the nimbus of light.
As your eyes adjust to the intensity of your torch, your pupils will dilate and you won't be able to see anything in the 'dim' area. It's hard darkness. Folks for a long way around will be able to see you, standing in the light, but seeing beyond the tight and hard radius from within? Good luck.
A nice bonfire on a dark night does this too. Looking out from the inside is very hard, looking in... soooo easy. It really depends on how close you are and if your eyes have dilated. Holding the light source, you are going to be very dilated. A bit further away, you will do better.
All in my opinion ;)
05-27-2009, 01:20 AM
Many dungeons and caverns are illuminated to some degree, since only a few monsters are truly at home in pitch blackness. (DMG 4e, p. 66)
Dungeons are often illuminated by torches (some times magic torches that never stop burning), ceiling panels magically imbued with light, great oil-filled braziers or stone channels that burn continuously, or even globes of light that drift through the air.
Caverns might be filled with phosphorescent fungi or lichen, extraordinary mineral veins that glimmer in the dark, streams of glowing lava, or eerie auroralike veils of magic fire undulating high above a cavern floor. (PHB p 262)
Categories of Light
Bright Light: This category includes the light provided by most portable light sources, daylight, and the light cast by surrounding fires or lava. There are no special rules for vision in bright light.
Dim Light: This category includes the light provided by a candle or another dim light source, moonlight, indirect illumination (such as in a cave interior whose entrance is nearby or in a subteranean passageway that has narrow shafts extending to the surface), and the light cast by things such as phosphorescent fungi. Characters who have normal vision can't see well in dim light: Creatures in the area have concealment (page 281). Characters who have low-light vision or darkvision see normally in dim light.
Darkness: Darkness prevails outside on a moonless night or in rooms with no light sources. Characters who have normal vision or low-light vision can't see creatures or objects in darkness. Characters who have darkvision can see without penalty.
So, while yes, Dimthar, a torch provides the same effect for a human as it does for an elf, you're going to be hard pressed to find much more than perhaps a back room or two where the elf ever would even need the torch.
05-27-2009, 03:39 AM
Find a very dark and very large room, or go outside on a cloudy and moonless night. Activate your "torch" (lantern/flashlight/torch/whatever). Stand in that light for one minute. Now try to see outside of the nimbus of light.
That is a valid argument, but what if you have someone other than the torch bearer who is standing outside the "hard radius" of light. Presuming he is looking out from this radius, does the illumination provide by the torch 25 feet away provide him no trace of light to see by?
The second consideration is that we don't have a firm definition of the mechanics of lowlight vision and darkvision beyond what was defined in earlier editions. Someone who has darkvision is apparently able to stand within the torch light and see all that is within that radius of normal light and beyond with his darkvision. By the same token, if there were another source of dim light in the area, the lowlight viewer could see in the dim light beyond the torch according to the rules. Tha being the case, it would seem that if the torch has an additional radius of dim light, the lowlight user would be able to see things in that radius even if he is standing in the immediate vicinity of the torch, as normal light does not interfere with lowlight or darkvision.
05-27-2009, 10:47 AM
Yup. I think that's where DM's judgement has to come in. The rules say things, but not clear enough. Go with what makes the most sense to you, and ask this question to one of the designers at Gen Con. :)
05-27-2009, 05:51 PM
Actually the rules are quite clear. Objects give off one type of light at a set distance and that's it. True darkness, however, is extremely rare, and it's very likely that someone with lowlight vision will be able to see just fine most of the time. Plus, remember that creatures without lowlight vision can still see in dim light... just with concealment.
05-27-2009, 11:35 PM
I would agree that the rules are clear on the matter -- I just think that they are wrong. Just because some game designer somewhere put pen to paper does not make their rules sacrosanct. What I am suggesting is that it should be house-ruled since a hard radius of light doesn't make all that much sense. (In my never to be humble opinion, anyway)
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