It’s certainly true that picking one’s next set of D&D dice has always been a science of sorts (psychologically speaking) but who knew manufacturing ‘em could be the same way?
Ben snagged a Paizo GameMastery Invisible Character Pack at Gen Con but isn’t sure the game accessory matters since he can’t figure out how Blind exactly works in 4E. So, let’s use this product review to try and uncover “the truth.”
First off, the Invisible character mini concept is a great idea – why not have a fun and interesting way to initially represent your character on the board in all its stealthy glory? The pack comes with a mix of 10 different character races (like the Dwarf) and classes (like the Human Wizard). It’s a shame there aren’t any medium or large versions though – maybe as a future expansion pack though.
While the invisible silhouettes are well done, the quality sorta stops at the bases. They’re a tad flimsy and slightly oversized for d20 squares (a huge pet peeve of Ben’s). Gale Force Nine offers a similar product in their Player Character Token Sets but you have to buy them individually instead of a single set.
So, let’s now use this opportunity to try and understand how being blind in combat works. Ben gave it the ol’ college try in a WotC forum thread but he felt the feedback left the rule clarification unresolved. It got really confusing in the comments.
Here’s what the new and very handy D&D 4E Rules Compendium says (pg. 221)
Confusing Rule #1: Targeting What You Can’t See – “Make a Perception Check: On its turn, the attacker can make a perception check as a minor action to try and determine the location of an invisible that is hidden from it.”
Ben’s Q: What is the attacker making a perception check against exactly (another skill, a DM DC, etc.)?
Confusing Rule #2: Close or Area Attacks – There’s no -5 total concealment penalty on a close or area attack.
Ben’s Q: Really? We think of blind as Stevie Wonder/Ray-Charles-duet blind and not post-eye-doctor-exam blind. How in the world would there be no penalty for adjacent attacks or throwing a ranged spell 10 squares? Only no penalty on a blast makes sense to Ben.
Confusing Rule #3: There’s no mention of how a blinded creature moves. Ben uses a yes/no and a scatter die combo to determine what squares you end up in while walking blind on the game board.
Ben might be overcomplicating this one but with no simple answer, his group has turned to a basic house rule on fighting blind. The character always takes a -5 attack penalty. It grants combat advantage and can’t flank. It can throw a range spell up to five squares in any direction (like a grenade) but nothing past that. For movement and ranged spell targeting, first roll a yes/no to determine if you have your bearings and if “no”, a scatter die moves/throws you in a random direction.
Questions to Ponder: Do you understand stealth or invisible 4e rules? What resources (book and page numbers) helped you play these rules right? Do you just do a simplified house rule to make it easier? Can you help Ben’s group understand fighting blind in battle?