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A selective sight system, perhaps


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It's always bothered me that creatures in the games see others in an encounter too quickly and completely. The actual range of sight is very limited, but within that range a PC instantly sees all members of an advancing group who don't block each other from sight. Or rather sight does not exist outside of scripts, the range of sight is just the range of action. If they are within 40 feet or so, you can act on all of them.


I don't know if that's realistic. What is seeing, anyway? Seeing is mostly noticing, and that's a function of attention and accident as much as the eye. When a group of orcs rushes a wizard, does he really "see" exactly seven creatures? Or does he just glimpse a group, a bunch? He might think there are five or nine of them. He might have tunnel vision from sitting with his head in a book all day. He might be so scared by the front runner that he won't know how many there are.


The AD&D system doesn't draw these distinctions, it's a simple tactical layout. But neither does it forbid them. And a Dungeon Master doesn't have to answer how many orcs there are. In the case of the IE games, something like selective sight in the beginning of a fight might add tactical interest. If we begin to think and see from each character's angle, as I did with initiative, rather than be, in Jaheira's words, "the invisible authority figure," fighting might become more dense, personal and desperate. What if the party wizard doesn't perceive all of the enemies, even in the front line, and can't target just any one with his Acid Arrow? What if a fighter's attention is so fixed on one enemy he fences that he can't properly shift to another?


I can imagine dispersing short-term untargetability among combatants in the first round - perhaps even untargetability to particular creatures. But it would have to be equal on both sides, for monsters and heroes, so that it creates situations rather than annoys.

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