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

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Preface

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).

Basic


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

Quote:
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

Quote:
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.

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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?
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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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Old 03-29-2017, 11:27 PM   #2
sir_pudding
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#38): Dark Vision, Night Vision

Tactical Shooting has quite a bit about Night Vision, including realistic limits and techniques for maintaining and improving night vision.
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Old 03-29-2017, 11:42 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#38): Dark Vision, Night Vision

Why would you expect the Talents volume to say anything at all about Night Vision?

We had a vigorous discussion of the illumination levels that went with different darkness penalties in connect with GURPS Powers: Enhanced Senses.

GURPS Fantasy introduced a variant of Night Vision: Taking any level of it as a zero point feature, if you define that as your native light level and suffer penalties for brighter environments as well as dimmer. This actually is just as plausible as a realistic trait for owls or deep sea fish.
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Old 03-30-2017, 12:47 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#38): Dark Vision, Night Vision

Something that is not that obvious is that Dark Vision isn't actually vision, if someone uses something to blind you, your Dark Vision still works (Whether or not is works during the day is another question)
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Old 03-30-2017, 12:57 AM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#38): Dark Vision, Night Vision

If I'm making generic NPCs whose jobs could logically benefit from Night Vision and have a few points to spare, I give them a level or two of this trait to round them out. Or at least, that's how I used to do it when I was a completely green player (my GM was having me construct the generic NPCs and would grumble about me giving the king's guards a point in Heraldry, giving the thieves one or two levels of Night Vision, giving allegedly viking-inspired warriors skill in spear rather than shortsword, and other random things that made me wonder why he didn't just do this part himself).

In my campaign, if I run it, Night Vision 3 will be a mandatory campaign advantage to eliminate vision and combat skill penalties for fighting in torchlight. Races intended to have Night Vision 5 are thus marked with a [2] point expenditure instead of [5].
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Old 03-30-2017, 07:42 AM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#38): Dark Vision, Night Vision

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Why would you expect the Talents volume to say anything at all about Night Vision?
I didn't expect PU3 to say anything about it at all. So, when I actually found a brief, brief mention of it there, I didn't want to ignore it completely but was I also uncertain of how best to word it. I've since reworded that section, so hopefully, it reads a little more clearly now. I've included the zero-point version of Night Vision from GURPS Fantasy... but since I haven't read that you'll have to tell me if I overstated things. As for the discussion connected with Powers: Enhanced Senses, are you suggesting a thread on this message board for me to hunt down, or that there is something about it in the actual supplement? Or both?

Quote:
Originally Posted by scc View Post
Something that is not that obvious is that Dark Vision isn't actually vision, if someone uses something to blind you, your Dark Vision still works (Whether or not is works during the day is another question)
I know Powers stresses that Dark Vision has to be something pretty unrealistic (or at least Exotic) because the text states it doesn't use light, radar, or sonar to work; that it might be something of a sixth sense. I am uncomfortable going from "like" to "blatantly is" without more of a citation. At least... not in the opening post. ;)
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Last edited by Otaku; 03-30-2017 at 07:59 AM.
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Old 03-30-2017, 08:04 AM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#38): Dark Vision, Night Vision

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
We had a vigorous discussion of the illumination levels that went with different darkness penalties in connect with GURPS Powers: Enhanced Senses.
Is that code for "flame war"? :o)

Night Vision is an extremely useful advantage in Low-Tech settings, especially for those taking place indoors. I read somewhere that a single 60W light bulb gives about as much light as a hundred candles... so navigating inside by candle-light or even torch-light would realistically give rather severe penalties.
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Old 03-30-2017, 10:41 AM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#38): Dark Vision, Night Vision

Quote:
Originally Posted by scc View Post
Something that is not that obvious is that Dark Vision isn't actually vision, if someone uses something to blind you, your Dark Vision still works (Whether or not is works during the day is another question)
It's not obvious because it's not true. Dark Vision does necessarily involve something distinct from actual light, but it's still mechanically treated as vision and is affected by all things that affect vision, it's not a cheap version of para-radar.
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Old 03-30-2017, 10:50 AM   #9
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#38): Dark Vision, Night Vision

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anders View Post
Is that code for "flame war"? :o)

Night Vision is an extremely useful advantage in Low-Tech settings, especially for those taking place indoors. I read somewhere that a single 60W light bulb gives about as much light as a hundred candles... so navigating inside by candle-light or even torch-light would realistically give rather severe penalties.
Not so much as you'd think; the generally accepted threshold for human navigation (as opposed to IDing things or manipulating things) is 1 LUX. That's admittedly for walking around, not running, and Not Getting Lost would be another issue entirely.
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Old 03-30-2017, 10:55 AM   #10
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#38): Dark Vision, Night Vision

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
GURPS Fantasy introduced a variant of Night Vision: Taking any level of it as a zero point feature, if you define that as your native light level and suffer penalties for brighter environments as well as dimmer. This actually is just as plausible as a realistic trait for owls or deep sea fish.
This is one of my favorite traits, for the record: it just works so well.

Dark vision feels like it belongs in a specific game (that is not gurps), but I don't really have a problem with it being included. I just wish it was part of a more comprehensive "vision set" rules, instead of all of them being spread across 10+ traits that may or may not play well with each other.
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