Monday, February 13, 2012


My February vlog, late.  An answer to the Infravision Question, which will probably not make anyone happy, and a bit about treasure tables.  Overall, I'm feeling more comfortable as I do these.


Butch said...

I think you're overthinking the "treasure problem."

Let's take your previous example of the goblins that have 400 g.p. worth of "stuff," but the players are satisfied with the handful of coppers and silvers they find in a pouch. You know what? I say that's a good thing.

Would any merchant really want to buy a blood-stained, flea-infested, goblin-sized muskrat cape?

Personally, I'd rather my adventurers are, well, adventuring, instead each encounter ending with them loading up their wagon, hauling it back to town, and haggling with merchants.

Let's play Dungeons & Dragons, not Storage Wars.

Arduin said...

I have nothing to add about infravision, it's never been a huge part of my games. My players do most everything outdoors. In daylight. It's somewhat bizarre, actually.

In any case, the infamous p.92 is something I've always enjoyed about the -potential- game. The Knights-style, everyone knows the damn rules, and pays attention to the GMs world, and so on and on and on.

One of the salient points I must mention, however, is that the most valuable items -were- readily movable. That kickass sword, the fancy coat. Heck, even the coins came in a chest.

So said, I might just argue that treasure at, say, 20 miles belowground is impossible. What in God's name are they going to do with ten thousand gold pieces that far below ground? Every item they carry is another thing they can't carry later. One more bit of encumbrance, slowing them down.

Anything that isn't supplies or weapons...isn't gonna cut it. But it's pretty damn obvious that the Drow, or Mind Flayers, or whatever the hell are going to have more than just swords and cheetos.

So perhaps the solution is more a mental one than anything to be found in a table.

Sometimes the Thief needs to appraise things quick, take the good stuff, and move on. Sure, the gold necklace he picked up isn't worth as much as the casks of ale in the corner, but it can be picked up, and it can be carried out without a fuss.

Treasure without transport is just junk.

Butch said...

As to infravision... does infravision effectively see through a thief's ability to hide in shadows?

What about spells like invisibility, blur, mirror image, etc.?

Are the undead effectively invisible to infravision?

Or... what about a warm-blooded creature standing in a 120-degree room?

Andrej said...

I'm not unhappy with your ruling, as I never really expected you to reverse how you ran it. I do want to point out that most of the justification for running it that way misses my point entirely, but I understand my particular issue with infravision might be unique to me. It has less to do with simplification than reasonableness. Seeing heat strikes me as a bigger leap than seeing near IR. It's like a creature being able to hear a tuba and a flute, but not a trumpet. It takes a willingness to dismiss the notion of heat-imaging and consider all light as being on the same scale, just with different properties. Again, not everbody's cup of tea and certainly rife with game concerns that you point out.

Delicate said...


I'm a bio student and an AD&D player.
Detection of infrared is interesting in the natural world because it doesn't develop in the eyes. Many pythons and vipers sense infrared with pits or modified scales. Arthropods that detect it are usually using receptors on antennae or other parts of their bodies.

I struggle with infrared (or one of my players struggles with it I should say). He insists he would be able to detect differences between the air temp and stone/earth and can therefore "see."

Alexis said...


Conceivably, a thief could use the ability to "hide" among other heat-generating objects.

However, please note the ability is hide in SHADOWS. No visible light, no shadows. So yes, if the thief does not take measure to create shadows, or affect a change to their heat signature, the thief is as obvious as a buffalo at a rabbit convention.


I might have forgotten last night to mention that infravision might have nothing whatsoever to do with 'vision' ... which would answer Andrej's near-spectrum question.

If the infravision is a gland, and the brain interprets the messages from the gland like a 'vision' not accomplished by the eyes, then its probably the word would still be used even if it is not accurate. Stamins and pistols are not actually sex organs as they are in human beings, but the words are still made use of in biology - for convenience.


If they are glands, and not a detection of a wider range of light, then your near-infravision argument collapses.

But please, like I said. It's really for the same of gaming, not just so I can be a crumb.

Andrej said...


My argument has nothing to do with glands, so no collapse. It has nothing to do with pythons, either, but rather an understanding of physics and specifically the near IR spectrum of light. I most likely don't understand organisms as well as a biologist would. I've made a fine living understanding frequencies and means of detection, though.

I'd also say its more a matter of taste than making something game-able, as to me a true "heat vison" is just as rife with different sorts of game complications... but I'm ready to say tomahto to your tomato, accept your ruling and to move on to the important stuff. I only replied above because I felt that my case was being misrepresented as or lumped together with in the vlog as a desire for simplification. Your justification as to having game tradition, "romance" and DM say-so were enough for me. :)