Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Vision Factors in Game

Not very often do visual factors come into play in game just to stream line combat.  I think the only time when it has become a factor was in total darkness (as per the spell).  I am not going to get into the special abilities of the different visions.  Maybe this is a human centric discussion or rambling thought. 

Here are some factors that I would see that could come into play, there are probably more, but I won't remember them all.  They will be broken down into categories of penalty.  This is just off the cuff thinking, I have no rules in front of me and no rules behind my back.  This is all out of my ass.  So wash your hands afterwards.

-6 To Rolls
Total Darkness
High Winds

-4 To Rolls
Heavy Smoke
Heavy Rain
Heavy Fog
Sun Glare
Really Drunk

-2 To Rolls
Partcial Darkness
Light Smoke
Light Fog
Snow Glare
Kinda Drunk

-1 To Rolls
Light Rain

Let me know what you think?  Should I include them or toss them into the bin?  I am not in love with them, but I think a standardized set of conditions with predetermined penalties might be good.  If you think of other conditions let me know.  Now go wash your hands.


  1. I use a simpler system.

    -2 penalty if things suck.

    So drunk, -2. Light rain? Nah, not sucky enough, no penalty. Major storm? The rain sucks and the wind sucks, -4.

    Basically, scrap the -1 category, and just play it by ear.

  2. I'd want to know what the penalty is for a blind PC, if other visual penalties stack, and if so, take care that they don't stack to worse than the penalty for complete blindness.

  3. My own inclination (rooted mostly in skirmish games of course) is toward simplicity, so like Dyson, I'd lean toward a few basic modifiers representing varying degrees of impediment (regardless of specific cause) – maybe three levels such as "slightly impeded," "impeded," "severely impeded," all non-stackable (the sum total of all factors would put a character in one of those three categories).

    Ruling on the fly with the generic concept of impediment has the advantage of avoiding multiple lists, that almost seem required by the desired specificity – one for factors that would affect only missile combat (light fog, moderate winds, etc.), a list for those that would affect both missile and melee combat (heavy rain) and one for factors that would have a modifying effect only on melee combat (for example gale force winds, which would seriously impede melee and completely rule out missile combat).

    This said, for addressing factors strictly related to visibility (rain, fog, partial darkness, etc.), I have seen skirmish games that quite simply and effectively shorten missile weapon ranges rather than apply a modifier. Assuming the target is close enough to be seen, you just make a normal roll to hit (though in the case of rain, you might be inclined to consider wet bowstrings...)

  4. I use a 2/5/10 system. If its "somewhat hard, hard, very hard" for a penalty or "somewhat easy, easy, dirt simple"

    Modifiers of 20 are only used in extreme circumstances (ie, if a roll is normally automatic..but a large number of other penalties have unbuttoning a shirt after a 15 minute beating with a sack of doorknobs)

  5. Here is how I handle lighting . . .

    When encountering an opponent that has night vision or infra vision (ability to sense body heat) depending on their light source the player’s party is surprised on a
    1 – 4 if candle or starlight
    1 - 3 if torch or moon light
    1 - 2 if lantern , lamp or dusk
    and only on a 1 if daylight.

    Creatures with infra vision or night vision are only surprised on a 1 in their natural habit.

    Ranged attacks can be aimed from darkness into light without penalty; however, attacking from light to within darkness usually incurs the following modifiers . . .

    Daylight: double weapon ranges if outdoors

    Sub Optimal (-) dawn, dusk, lantern, lamp

    Moonlight (-2) full moon, torch

    Starlight (-4) moonless night, candle

    Pitch (roll d12 instead of d20)
    vision only possible with
    night vision or infra vision

    “I was pursued with imprecations, arrows, and rifle balls. The fact that it is difficult to aim anything but imprecations accurately by moonlight, that they were upset by the sudden and unexpected manner of my advent, and that I was a rather rapidly moving target saved me from the various deadly projectiles of the enemy and permitted me to reach the shadows of the surrounding peaks before an orderly pursuit could be organized.”
    Chapter 1 Princess of Mars

  6. I use AD&D's -4 if you can't see melee opponent for any reason, and take it down from there.

    Missile is made worse by having to guess at the 5x5 area you are aiming at in the first place. I guess that would also apply to an invisible or dark-bound opponent you couldn't otherwise hear or sense.