Monday, August 22, 2011

Lighting the Way

One thing I often forget as a GM is to inflict lighting penalties. I'm trying to think of a visual cue for my maps and game table to cover it.

I was reminded of this by this excellent post:

Don't Be Cheap with Lighting over at Plant Algol.

In my games in the past my gamers have been the same way - no one wants to carry the torch, and even if they do, they want it to be effectively full daylight lighting conditions (-0) and not penalized for flickering torchlight (-0 out to 2 yards, -3 out to 6 yards per GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 2 p. 6). Often they want it to reach pretty far (out to dozens of yards, preferably) but not be especially noticeable.

I fully intend to be more of a bastard with lighting penalties in my DF game, and I started out on the right foot with that in our playtest session. Continual Light spells on rocks or amulets or helmet mounts and so on is a great idea. Torches tossed around like anything and Continual Light rocks tossed into rooms is also a great idea. So are torchbearer hirelings (although in DF they don't have much survivability, they'll last longer than a 0-level D&D henchman might).

I don't mind people minimizing the effects of darkness through clever actions. But I do have a problem with "have it both ways" folks who want the effects of full light without providing it. Honestly, if I wanted you to fight with -0 penalties and see everything without needing to use your hands, your money, your magical resources, or your ingenuity, I'd have put lights in the dungeon, right?


  1. I personally like the idea of treating either Night Vision 3[3] or Dark-Aspected Eyes 3[0] as the baseline for adventurers at no charge. That way they pay money for torches or torchlight-level spells, but don't face -3 for working in the light of a torch (which I find is the typical level of lighting for dungeons, one way or another).

    1. I'd charge for it, even if you just give out 3 free points to everyone. Otherwise, you've got races paying for Night Vision 3 (and getting either shafted, or Night Vision 6), races with Night Vision 12 (!) which makes no sense, etc, less value to Scouts being able to buy up NV as they go, etc.

      It would also mean that, in general, everyone is at -0 out to as far as their light sources go, and then it drops right to -10 for darkness. That's very abrupt.

    2. This ties in to what you said in the post about money systems: the more you change, the more work you need to put into using published materials. In my case, I'd re-evaluate the prices of the races from DF3 and subtract three points from those with Night Vision if I were to go through with this idea.


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