View Full Version : Magical Darkness and Ranged Attacks

2007-09-12, 11:36 PM
I finally decided to sign up to the freindliest RPG forum out there!

I have a general question, but the specifics are quite pertinent. This question comes from a one-on-one player-versus-player gladiatorial arena style deathmatch. The question involves two player characters fighting wach other. The game is 3.5 using all "Complete" and "Compedium" supplements. Players are playing on a standard battle grid with 1 inch squares, and can see the position of their opponent.

ok, the question:

Player A casts darkness and silence targeting himself, each with a radius of 20 feet. Player A has the feat "Sunlight Eyes" from the Complete Mage, and a second level [light] spell prepared to allow him to see through 20 feet of magical darkness.

Player B wants to lob a ranged touch spell at player A.

Now, the rules for magical darkness cover melee combat quite well. Were A to get B into the radius of effect, A would be at quite the disadvantage. Since B has no way to see through magical darkness and no extrasensory perception such as tremorsense, B would be blinded and deafened. Blinded combatants cannot determine the square in which their opponent is located, and must choose a square to attack. Failure does not reveal if the miss was due to an incorrect choice of square or due to failure due to concealment. Were the correct square attacked, B would still suffer the 50% concealment miss chance, but would know the location of his opponent until they move.

But B says, "Forget that, Searing Light!"

B chooses the square at the center of the radius of effect, rolls the ranged touch, succeeds against the opponent's AC, then succeeds against concealment. A is dead... The crowd would go wild, if they knew... oh well.

So, does magical darkness and silence impose any penalty at all against ranged attacks besides the 50% miss chance due to total concealment?

Any and all help in the matter would be much appreciated. I believe that it has something to do with line-of-effect versus line-of-sight, but then concealment is defined as when you have line of effect but not sight... grrrr

2007-09-12, 11:42 PM
That's pretty much it, except 3.5 darkness only provides a 20% miss chance, not total concealment. That's darkness the spell, not darkness the general absence of light.

2007-09-12, 11:48 PM
Total concealment protects you in two ways, the first being that with no line of sight, the attacker has no way to target the defender, you must be able to find the square the defender is in before you can have any hopes of attacking them. Normally with an invisible attacker you could use a listen check to be able to target them, but silence provides it's own problems.

Short of triangulating the defenders position based on the radius of silence(along with lots of ranks in spellcraft and knowledge<math>, the attacker has no way of knowing what square the defender is in. The obvious solutions are to either a)use an area dispel to get rid of such annoyances or b)use area effects and screw targeting. Barring those options all thats left is to blind fire a targeted effect (like searing light) into one of the squares in the darkness. However, there are a lot of squares in the darkness, and with no way of knowing which one the opponent is in, there is very very little chance of choosing the right one.

If the right square is chosen, the attacker must still beat the second defense of total concealment, the 50% miss chance, and if they beat that, they still must hit the AC.

The lesson here, when battling magic stock wands of dispel magic.

EDIT: of course all of this is moot because, as the above poster said, 3.5 darkness provides only concealment, which means the defender can be targeted and attacked normally, there is just a 20% miss chance.

Shhalahr Windrider
2007-09-13, 09:28 AM
Short of triangulating the defenders position based on the radius of silence(along with lots of ranks in spellcraft and knowledge<math>, the attacker has no way of knowing what square the defender is in.
Indeed. Remember, the characters do not have the bird's eye view of the battlefield the players have. Figuring out the "center square"* would be difficult, if not impossible, if the area provided total concealment.

As has been mentioned, though, darkness does not provide total concealment. Viewers can still make out no end of shadowy shapes within and beyond the darkness. This does mean the character can likely find the center of the area of effect, too.

* Note also that emanations are centered on a grid intersection on the battlemat. This means there four "center squares", only one of which a Medium or smaller character occupies.