[RPG] Navigating through magical darkness


This issue came up when the party's warlock cast Hunger of Hadar upon some enemies. She argued that because they were within magical darkness, and blinded, that they should not be able to immediately run out of the spells area of effect without having to make some form of a check to know where they were going.

What are the rules for moving when you can't see? Should an enemy be able to just walk out of magical darkness, or should there be a check that needs to be made? Visual below:

A grid map of a Warlock who has cast Hunger of Hadar on two enemies

Should they just be allowed to run towards her, or at least be able to escape? Or should they have to bumble around in the dark in order to try to get out, with ENEMY 1 potentially walking away from the Warlock in difficult terrain, thus being trapped in the spell for another round?

In the meantime, for less wise enemies, we would roll a d8 and they would walk in the direction that they rolled. Until I find more definitive ruling, we were thinking about the enemy having to make a survival check/wisdom saving throw opposed to the Warlock's spell save DC, and imposing the d8 random movement if they fail.

Best Answer

Apply common sense for the enemies.

  1. Have I seen where my enemies used to be before the darkness? If so, charge in that direction and attack. Or, if I think they are too strong for me or preparing a trap, run in the opposite direction.

  2. If I don't know where my enemies are and want to get away from the darkness, probably I would just move in the same direction I was originally going. If I was standing guard, just step forwards from the place I was guarding.

  3. If I am too scared to step out of the darkness, perhaps just take a few careful steps in a random direction to see if I can find some defensible spot, like back to a wall, then hope for the best in case something tries to attack me while I can't see.

  4. Edit: If I have no reason to believe I can actually exit the darkness and its just me going blind, but there is suspicion that I will be attacked, declare a ready action to strike back at whatever attacks me if able.

In any case, try to RP the NPCs acting in a believable manner according to their personality. They might not know the shortest path out of the darkness. Some NPCs could be clever, and other could make bad calls.

If a GM wants to leave this to randomness, then I would suggest an INT or WIS check depending on what the enemy is trying to figure out, but in general it is not required for the GM to roll for this. In case you do want to roll:

  • A Wisdom ability check could be used to use another sense or features in the environment to find the way out of the darkness. Think sounds or wind direction.
  • An Intelligence ability check could be used to recall the layout of the place from memory and move around, or to find the most logical route using known information.