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SRD:Vision and Light

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Vision and LightEdit

Dwarves and half-orcs have darkvision, but everyone else needs light to see by. See Table: Light Sources and Illumination for the radius that a light source illuminates and how long it lasts.

In an area of bright light, all characters can see clearly. A creature can’t hide in an area of bright light unless it is invisible or has cover.

In an area of shadowy illumination, a character can see dimly. Creatures within this area have concealment relative to that character. A creature in an area of shadowy illumination can make a Hide check to conceal itself.

In areas of darkness, creatures without darkvision are effectively blinded. In addition to the obvious effects, a blinded creature has a 50% miss chance in combat (all opponents have total concealment), loses any Dexterity bonus to AC, takes a –2 penalty to AC, moves at half speed, and takes a –4 penalty on Search checks and most Strength and Dexterity-based skill checks.

Characters with low-light vision (elves, gnomes, and half-elves) can see objects twice as far away as the given radius. Double the effective radius of bright light and of shadowy illumination for such characters.

Characters with darkvision (dwarves and half-orcs) can see lit areas normally as well as dark areas within 60 feet. A creature can’t hide within 60 feet of a character with darkvision unless it is invisible or has cover.

Table: Light Sources and IlluminationEdit

Object Bright Shadowy Duration
Candle n/a1 5 ft. 1 hr.
Everburning torch 20 ft. 40 ft. Permanent
Lamp, common 15 ft. 30 ft. 6 hr./pint
Lantern, bullseye2 60-ft. cone 120-ft. cone 6 hr./pint
Lantern, hooded 30 ft. 60 ft. 6 hr./pint
Sunrod 30 ft. 60 ft. 6 hr.
Torch 20 ft. 40 ft. 1 hr.
Spell Bright Shadowy Duration
Continual flame 20 ft. 40 ft. Permanent
Dancing lights (torches) 20 ft. (each) 40 ft. (each) 1 min.
Daylight 60 ft. 120 ft. 30 min.
Light 20 ft. 40 ft. 10 min.
  1. A candle does not provide bright illumination, only shadowy illumination.
  2. A bullseye lantern illuminates a cone, not a radius.


Darkvision allows many characters and monsters to see perfectly well without any light at all, but characters with normal vision (or low-light vision, for that matter) can be rendered completely blind by putting out the lights. Torches or lanterns can be blown out by sudden gusts of subterranean wind, magical light sources can be dispelled or countered, or magical traps might create fields of impenetrable darkness.

In many cases, some characters or monsters might be able to see, while others are blinded. For purposes of the following points, a blinded creature is one who simply can't see through the surrounding darkness.

  • Creatures blinded by darkness lose the ability to deal extra damage due to precision (for example, a sneak attack).
  • Blinded creatures are hampered in their movement, and pay 2 squares of movement per square moved into (double normal cost). Blinded creatures can't run or charge.
  • All opponents have total concealment from a blinded creature, so the blinded creature has a 50% miss chance in combat. A blinded creature must first pinpoint the location of an opponent in order to attack the right square; if the blinded creature launches an attack without pinpointing its foe, it attacks a random square within its reach. For ranged attacks or spells against a foe whose location is not pinpointed, roll to determine which adjacent square the blinded creature is facing; its attack is directed at the closest target that lies in that direction.
  • A blinded creature loses its Dexterity adjustment to AC and takes a -2 penalty to AC.
  • A blinded creature takes a -4 penalty on Search checks and most Strength- and Dexterity-based skill checks, including any with an armor check penalty. A creature blinded by darkness automatically fails any skill check relying on vision.
  • Creatures blinded by darkness cannot use gaze attacks and are immune to gaze attacks.
  • A creature blinded by darkness can make a Listen check as a free action each round in order to locate foes (DC equal to opponents' Move Silently checks). A successful check lets a blinded character hear an unseen creature "over there somewhere." It's almost impossible to pinpoint the location of an unseen creature. A Listen check that beats the DC by 20 reveals the unseen creature's square (but the unseen creature still has total concealment from the blinded creature).
  • A blinded creature can grope about to find unseen creatures. A character can make a touch attack with his hands or a weapon into two adjacent squares using a standard action. If an unseen target is in the designated square, there is a 50% miss chance on the touch attack. If successful, the groping character deals no damage but has pinpointed the unseen creature's current location. (If the unseen creature moves, its location is once again unknown.)
  • If a blinded creature is struck by an unseen foe, the blinded character pinpoints the location of the creature that struck him (until the unseen creature moves, of course). The only exception is if the unseen creature has a reach greater than 5 feet (in which case the blinded character knows the location of the unseen opponent, but has not pinpointed him) or uses a ranged attack (in which case, the blinded character knows the general direction of the foe, but not his location).
  • A creature with the scent ability automatically pinpoints unseen creatures within 5 feet of its location.

System Reference Document

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