Thu Feb 09, 2006 5:48 am  
visibility ranges and encounter distance

hi all,

although i have come up with this problem while writing an encounter for a greyhawk campaign, this is not greyhawk spesific but about wilderness encounters in general.

imagine a situation like this: there are two parties moving towards each other from opposite directions. one party travels with a wagon and the other is a single man on foot. there's also a temple in the horizon, which is at the same distance to both. they are on a plains, it is midday and the weather is clear.

the question is this: at what distance does any of the parties spot the temple? at what distance does any of the parties spot another? at what distance can one understand that the incoming traveller is a human, a male, carries a sword, has a scar on his eye?

the temple can be considered a colossal object. the wagon is considered huge and the single man is medium. the temple (of course) is not in motion, but both of the parties are, which makes being spotted easier.

the 2nd e players handbook had a table about this in the vision and light chapter which consisted of distance/detail info like "move" (the max distance at which a moving medium character can be spotted), "spot," "type", "ID" and "detail". but this has no reference to size.

i have seen no info about this subject in 3 or 3.5 books. the spot skill does not cover this. the wilderness descriptions in DM guide gives arbitrary random encounter distances but again makes no reference to size or movement or detail level.

to make things more complicated include the light sources and precipitation.

how far can one man with standard vision see in the horizon?

i am planning to create a detailed table set for encounter distances and detail perceived/distance but this will be very time consuming and far from practical. if there are any resources about this advise me. if you think this is by no means practical, useless or over-complicated or if there's a practical solution to this, tell me. or just let me know what you think. all will be more than appreciated.

thanks in advance.