Monday, 25 April 2022

U is for Ultravision

For a fantasy gaming enthusiast Ultravision sounds a bit comic superhero-y. Marvel. Not DC. Of course.

Nein! Ultravision, and Infravision, are racial attributes of creatures, some playable by Players and others not. The former being most often in AD&D an attribute of "monsters" and the latter an attribute of Elves, Gnomes, Half-elves, and Dwarves.

Ultravision is the ability to see in complete darkness as if in twilight. Infravision is less capable and can be ruined by friend and foe alike wielding torches or fire spells.

The mechanics are a science-fantasy gold mine in AD&D. We are treated to topics of light spectrums and heat radiation. If you were a teenager in the 80s, just saying, one might read these rules, introduced to some serious scientific concepts, if distilled for simplicity, and be somewhat conversant in the topics. Like reading Wikipedia and citing it—Wikipedia is really only "close enough," and provides pointers; don't cite Wikipedia.

Jason Cove wrote a fantastic supplement for D&D play, Philotomy's Dungeons and Dragons Musings in 2007. One can find this out there on the internet. I have a copy I keep handy. Jason expands a bit on the abilities in a simple way without new rules or tables to think about. He sets out early that the dungeon is a "mythic underworld." Monsters always have Infravision or Ultravision, but lose the ability if in the service of Player Characters.

In my current game of D&D 5e, my players are aware of my love for Jason's work. Most recently my single human character in the party made it a point walk behind the elf so as not to ruin the elf's Infravision! The player knew that if his character took point, I would have ruled the elf could not see with proper acuity as the lantern was a particularly bright heat source.

Posted by caffeinated at 9:06 PM in d10