View Full Version : Infravision? Darkvision? Meatvision?

2011-03-28, 11:51 AM
So we are in between battles with a group of Drow enemies, and I was wondering if Darkvision is the same as the old Infravision, as in thermographic vision, and if so, is there anything you can cite for me?

I am currently wanting to use Burning Flux to possibly merc a Drows eyesight, and it is a character that knows much about Drow, so I figured "Hey, I know Drow and how their eyesight works, so I will drop a bunch of heat on them", but when I did it, my DM said, "I need you to show me where that is" and I cannot find it in 4E. My situation is this: My character is diverse in his knowledge of Drow, and if they have Infra, then he would have used the fire, but if their vision is not based on heat, then he would have done something else. The DM is okay with this mulligan, but I'd really like to NOT take a mulligan.

I am currently going through Legacy of the Drow on the side, and so mebbe that is why I am thinking that they see thermo, as it was written during an older edition.

Right? Wrong? Page number?

Mando Knight
2011-03-28, 12:04 PM
Darkvision is a fairly loosely defined sight ability in 4e. It doesn't even specify that the vision is grayscale like in 3.X. It just says that the character sees normally in total darkness.

2011-03-28, 12:32 PM
I want to note this for everyone: Thermal vision would be all but useless in the underdark. In towns and stuff, yeah, it would be ok since you could see other creatures and they would heat up their homes, as well as cooking fires and forges. But out and about? Everything will look the same other than the people traveling. Seeing in absolute darkness is a bit bs'd.

Also, Darkvision hasn't been Infravision since before 3rd.

2011-03-28, 12:55 PM
Yea, the current Darkvision just allows you to see in the absence of light. It does not require thermal or anything like that.

2011-03-28, 02:49 PM
You can see well in bright light, you can see well in low light, you can see well in no light. The biology of it is removed from the system which is why not all undead have "spirit sight" or some weird deviation.

The only why to blind enemies is to use powers that apply the "blind" condition, unless the monster stat block says otherwise.

On a curious note; other senses of perception can by bypassed like termor sense since there is a rule specifically about it (by flying for example). Does someone who has a book handy can remind me where that rule is and if other "senses" affected by the blind condition?

2011-03-28, 03:30 PM
I know that blind sense is unaffected by the blind condition.

2011-03-28, 03:45 PM
I know that blind sense is unaffected by the blind condition.

I don't know if I should laugh or cry...

I think I'll go with laugh! :smallamused:

2011-03-28, 03:45 PM
lol, you could try both

2011-03-28, 03:55 PM
As it's been said, Darkvision, as well as Low Light Vision, is one of the most vaguely worded entries in 4th Edition. I quote:

Darkvision: A creature that has darkvision can see normally regardless of light, it ignores concealment that is a result of dim light or darkness. (Page 168, D&D Essentials Rules Compendium. Also see pages 167 - 168)

As far as what it looks like to the user, there's nothing. It's up to your DM to fluff that kind of stuff out. In my campaign, for example, darkvision is a result of the presence of bioluminescent bacteria in the iris combined with overactive photoreceptors. The bacteria create a dim light unique in color and nature depending on the species and the creature's retina uses this minuscule amount of data and to send an image to the brain. This allows the creature to see a grayscale image of it's surroundings that is tinted a color unique to their species. Drow have their vision tinted slightly purple, for example. Low Light Vision is simply these photoreceptors acting as an amplifier, regardless of the bacteria's presence.

So, I'm afraid your DM wins this one. There is nothing that states that Drow see in infrared.

2012-07-10, 01:33 AM
using this version of heat vision for my predators

Infra-vision (Ex):This ability allows the predator to detect sources of heat with his eyes. These sources may range from ambient temperature to the heat of a powerful fire. Any such source of heat possesses an aura with a myriad of colors ranging from red to white, called a heat signature.

Accordingly, the predator gains a competence bonus to Spot checks involving such sources corresponding to the severity of the heat signature's color. The most 'severe' color is always closest to the source of the heat signature, and may be surrounded with less severe colors as the heat diminishes the further it gets from the source.

Table: Infra-vision

Signature Color|
Source Temperature |
Example |
Spot skill bonus

less than 70F |{colsp=1}
interior of a house during winter |

70F to 120F |{colsp=1}
living human body |

120F to 210F |{colsp=1}
a geyser |

210F or over |{colsp=1}
a fire |


This ability cannot detect heat sources with a temperature below that of the current ambient temperature.

I always pair this ability with Light Blindness. bright lights should temporarily blind them since it would overload the sensitivity of the creatures eyes.

Light Blindness (Ex): Creatures with light blindness are blinded for 1 round if exposed to bright light, such as sunlight or the daylight spell. Such creatures are dazzled as long as they remain in areas of bright light.

2012-07-10, 02:29 AM
I think it's like a cat's ability to see in low light, but amped (and with some sort of...I dunno...drow-ish help to get over the "total darkness" bump).

So...if you wanna mess with them, suddenly flood them with light in a situation of darkness?

2012-07-10, 06:04 AM
It's never come up, but I prefer that Darkvision is just magic. I do like the idea of limiting it to shape, distance, and texture but not colour and brightness. Drow would still need light to read text, though I guess their serious-Drow-business would be written using raised text, perhaps something like Braille. Maybe there's even something using texture that they can see which normal vision cannot.

This would make forging a lot more complex. Or perhaps a human's more sensitive colour vision can pick out forged documents that a Drow couldn't.

All serious Drow art would be sculpture and relief works, and even then they obviously rely on the play of light and shadow across a work. Any Drow artist using colour and light would obviously be overly affected by the surfaceslave races and should be shunnedsacrificed to Lolth.

2012-07-10, 05:23 PM
Of course, any sort of darkvision could be blinded by a bright light. I have a night-vision camera which uses active infrared (it shines out a light to reflect), and something like a sparkler causes green lines to appear on the image and everything within 5 feet to be almost invisible.

2012-07-10, 07:44 PM
Of course, any sort of darkvision could be blinded by a bright light. I have a night-vision camera which uses active infrared (it shines out a light to reflect), and something like a sparkler causes green lines to appear on the image and everything within 5 feet to be almost invisible.

Ironically, that's not the case in 4e. Read the rule Cealocanth quoted; a creature with darkvision can see normally regardless of light levels. Pitch darkness is a light level, but so is blinding light. So, no matter how bright the light is, creatures with darkvision see normally.

Besides that, darkvision is nothing like a night-vision camera. Darkvision doesn't shoot out rays of light, nor does it need even the slightest amount of ambient light to see, nor does it detect wavelengths of light humans don't.

This probably means that darkvision doesn't actually involve photoreceptors, but some other form of sense that we have no analogue for. Alternatively, a wizard (who lives by the coast) did it.

Mark Hall
2012-07-11, 11:06 PM
The Mod Wonder:

In Cheese and wine age
is a virtue; not so with
Playground message threads