Let's talk about infravision.
I think I'll throw this one open. I'd like to know what you think. Andrej in my campaign, who is also James C., challenged the way I do things, and I am open to being challenged. Here's what James wrote:
"My feeling on infravision has long been that its application is arbitrarily limited somewhat by most DMs considering it thermal vision only, and further being limited to the extent of thermal imaging available with mind-20th century technology. There is more than just heat in the infrared range and all bodies (i.e. matter, objects) can both absorb, reflect and emanate infrared energy, which is simply a kind of light humans can't detect. Just as the human eye and brain can discern a multitude of colors (i.e. frequencies) and shadows (amount) of "visible" light... wouldn't one anticipate the same level of sophistication in the same organs that can "see" light beyond the normally visible spectrum?"
James makes good points, and it deserves discussion. Here are some relevant questions I'd like answered:
1) Is infravision definitively the detection of infrared light, or is it a differently originating ability that is merely similar to infrared light.
2) If it is the detection of infrared light, is it near-infrared, mid-infrared, or long-infrared? For definitions, and for general information, read the wikipedia entry. Is it thermal only, or can one detect dipole moments?
3) Should infrared be just as good as seeing in daylight? Should there be any restrictions to what can be 'seen'?
4) If (3) is taken for granted, should the 60 foot limit be thrown out? Is any range limit logical? And if there is one, does infravision end dead without any ambient radiation detected by the eye further out, as there must be with visible light?
5) Again, if (3) is taken for granted, what is the difference between infravision and ultravision?
6) Should it automatically be assumed that infravision-capable creatures are able to see perfectly out-of-doors, or should visible light spectrums be limited? What is the changeover time between infrared and visible light vision, if a user needs to switch from one to the other? Does visible light underground 'blind' infravision users longer than normal visible light users?
These don't represent all the possible questions, but they would seem to me the most pertinent for game purposes.
Please argue your pet position. Please restrain anecdotal references or personal experiences, and stick to arguing why one position is better for gameplay that another. Please consider the problem from a game perspective, rather than what "real" infrared vision would be like. The problem here is how to manage the game, not how to solve philosophical questions about scientific optics.
Go on. Take a shot.