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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Infravision or Not?

Some people on the forums have been skeeved out by this passage:
In the underworld some light source or an infravision
spell must be used. Torches, lanterns and magic swords
will illuminate the way, but they also allow monsters
to “see” the users so that monsters will never be
surprised unless coming through a door. Also, torches
can be blown out by a strong gust of wind. Monsters
are assumed to have permanent infravision as long as
they are not serving some character.
(Vol. III Underworld & Wilderness Adventures, p. 9. Emphasis added.)

Now, this passage shouldn’t be a big deal. It’s just saying why things living in the dungeon don’t need to use lights, but adventuring parties do. But it means that, as far as the pre-Greyhawk rules are concerned, elves and dwarves don’t have infravision. “Monster” elves and dwarves do, until they join the party as NPCs, at which point they lose it.

And that’s turned into a big, huge “NO” for some people. It doesn’t seem realistic to them.

So maybe here’s a compromise for them?
Living in Darkness
Creatures living in the dungeon become so familiar with it that they can find their way in complete darkness, avoiding traps. They also become familiar with the breathing and footsteps of other inhabitants and can recognize their approach, or the approach of strangers to the dungeon, if they listen in silence. Without light, however, other details, such as written messages, can’t be seen, nor does this familiarity allow them to spot creatures in darkness over a long distance. It does not transfer to other, unfamiliar dungeon environments.
Now we have something of limited utility that still allows dungeon inhabitants an advantage of surprise.

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  1. If you’re with people and hobbits, the light ruins your dark vision. If you’re not, then don’t use light and you can see fine.

    This is adequate for me. What about you?

    1. Nope, i'm firmly in the "no infravision without a spell" camp. Don't even give infravision (or darkvision, or whatever you want to call it) to most monsters. They navigate by smell, or long whiskers, or echolocation... whatever. Truly supernatural beings can have infravision, though.

    2. Very fair and equitable ruling. Like most things, people will quibble but whatevs.

  2. You've inspired a post, thank you! https://chgowiz-games.blogspot.com/2019/07/infravision-part-of-mythic-underworld.html

  3. This is very Tombs of Atuan and I love it!