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Old 03-29-2017, 11:12 PM   #1
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Default [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#38): Dark Vision, Night Vision

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The intent of this thread is to discuss the selected Advantage in its entirety. While this begins with how the trait was written in [Basic], other useful sources to help explain or expand upon what it does, and what you may love about the trait, it includes questions about how it works and even criticisms of the trait as well. I'll avoid sharing my own thoughts, except where it is necessary, such as when I don't really understand the trait all that well myself.

While we are once again progressing alphabetically, we aren't back to where we once were. I was going to cover all the Vision-related traits at once but not only have I already done a few, but I believe that rushing to do all the rest at once will muddle the discussion, even if it means we'll have to cover some familiar territory later on a later date. Thanks to the index of topics johndallman created as is maintaining, it is much easier to keep track of what we've covered and where also lessening the need for me to try to cram every remotely related trait together or keep them all separate (whichever might make them easier to find).


We'll start with Night Vision (p. B71), a Mundane Physical trait that costs 1 CP per level. From GURPS Lite:

Originally Posted by GURPS Lite
Your eyes adapt rapidly to darkness. Each level of this ability (maximum nine
levels) allows you to ignore -1 in combat or vision penalties due to darkness, provided there is at least some light.
All [Basic] adds to this are an example to affirm this and a reminder that Night Vision does not work in total darkness at all; the full -10 penalty for total darkness would still apply.

The text then points us to our next trait, Dark Vision (p. B47). For 25 CP, you can purchase Dark Vision, assuming Exotic, Physical Traits are allowed. This is just the improved version of Night Vision, as it wipes out all darkness related skill penalties, even the -10 for total darkness. What it won't let you do is see colors in the dark... unless you take the "Color Vision" [+20%] Enhancement also found on p. B47. The text also notes that Dark Vision does not use light, radar, or sonar.

Other Supplements

Powers does its usual thing of explaining a bit more about these traits, including where they are easily appropriate and alternatives that might work better where they aren't. It also includes a new Enhancement for Dark Vision, "Hypersensory". Surprisingly, Night Vision gets a brief mention in Power-Ups 3: Talents, as part of some alternate rules involving prerequisite traits for certain Talents.

According to sir pudding, Tactical Shooting has quite a bit about Night Vision, including realistic limits and techniques for maintaining and improving night vision. Whswhs mentioned GURPS Fantasy introduced a variant of Night Vision. This version is a zero-point feature as it redefines the character's "native level" of vision, reducing some of the darkness penalties in exchange for suffering brightness penalties more easily than a character with unmodified vision.

Previous Editions

Dark Vision, as described on page 52 of Compendium I, works the same as its Fourth Edition counterpart; the exact wording is a little different if we want to get technical, but even the +20% Enhancement to see in color is still present. Night Vision, though, that did change between editions. Its entry on page 22 of GURPS Basic Set (Third Edition, Revised) is the same as its entry on page 10 of GURPS Lite (Third Edition) so

Originally Posted by GURPS Lite Third Edition
Your eyes adapt rapidly to the darkness. You cannot see in total dark – but if you have any light at all, you can see fairly well. Whenever the GM exacts a penalty because of darkness, except for total darkness, this penalty does not apply to you.
Emphasis from the original text, though it was italics instead of bold. According to this post by Anthony, the First/Second Edition version of Night Vision halved darkness penalties but still was priced at 10 CP.

Useful Links

Discussion Starters

This is a generic list of questions if you need them; if you already know what you want to say, feel free to just chime in.
  • Have you ever taken this trait for one of your PCs or NPCs? How'd it go?
  • Is there anything this trait does really well?
  • Is there anything you think this trait should do different, whether it means adding, subtracting, or just changing aspects of it?
  • Any thoughts on how the 4e version of the trait compares to it in earlier editions?
  • Feedback about BAotW threads in general, such as how I structure them?
My GURPS Fourth Edition library consists of Basic Set: Characters, Basic Set: Campaigns, Martial Arts, Powers, Powers: Enhanced Senses, Power-Ups 1: Imbuements, Power-Ups 2: Perks, Power-Ups 3: Talents, Power-Ups 4: Enhancements, Power-Ups 6: Quirks, Power-Ups 8: Limitations, Powers, Social Engineering, Supers, and one issue of Pyramid (3/83), most of which was provided through the generosity of others. Thanks! :)

Last edited by Otaku; 04-08-2017 at 09:40 PM. Reason: Added additional Supplement; reworded a few spots for better clarity
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