Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I'm Up to My Eyeballs in Visions

I've been thinking about all the different visions in a fantasy game setting. The first mention that I know of was in the original White Box, Monsters & Treasure. The goblins get the distinction, they (goblins) see well in darkness or dim light, but when they are subjected to full daylight they subtract -1 from their attack and morale dice. Simple and to the point.

Let's move onto AD&D. Here we find Infravision, the ability see heat radiation. Infravision has 60' range, but some creatures have a 120' range. Any light source spoils Infravision. Then there is the mention of Ultravision, the ability to see in the darkness as well as normal people see in the light.

4th Edition D&D there are three variants.
Low-Light vision can see normally or bright and dim light. But in darkness they still can't see. Darkvision lets creatures see normally regardless of light. Then there is Blindsight or Tremorsense, they can sense creatures regardless of the conditions including invisibility.

Swords & Wizardry has Darkvision. What I find interesting in this case is the elves have darkvision, but dwarves do not. Hmmm. OSRIC has Infravision. HackMaster has the standard Infravision and Ultravision.

Then we have Castles & Crusades, the champ with four different types of visions. Deepvision, the creature can see in total darkness, but things are seen in shades of gray. Twilight Vision, can see in moonlight or torchlight can see as in normal light and has the ability to distinguish colors. Darkvision is pretty much like Deepvision, but can see as normal sight. And the last one is Dusk Vision, they can retain the ability to distinguish color as dusk. These seem redundant to me.

Pathfinder has Darkvison and Low-Light Vision which allows a character to see twice as far. This seems to make the most sense for me.

So after spending way too much time going over the differences here are some of the conclusions I've developed. I never saw the reason why an elf would get infravision or any race for that matter. Pathfinder's version seems to make the most sense. Elves (half-elves are included in this) can see twice as far as normal and find the minute details of things easier thus locating secret doors easier. And Darkvision for dwarves and any other subterranean races. For my campaign I don't see the need to have more than these.