Houserule for movement of blinded characters

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Been a long while since I was here. There used to be a "House Rules & Homebrew" forum, but this looks like my best next shot.

I'm considering house-ruling the blind condition, as when it came up in play a few weeks back, both my players and I felt that it was too forgiving towards movement. Specifically by RAW it is possible to execute long-distance maneuvers, around corners, avoiding obstacles etc, to arrive in a tactically optimal location.

So I want to make the condition place constraints on movement. This adds some complexity, so I understand why it's not in the core game. I'm putting it up here for discussion/feedback before I present it to my group, in case it has any unforseen drawbacks or consequences.

Movement whilst blind

Applies when:

  • Voluntary movement. These rules apply to voluntary movement made by a creature with the blind condition. 

  • Not forced movement. These rules do not apply to forced movement applied to a blinded creature.

  • Not first 2 squares (per action). During any single Action, a blinded creature may move 2 squares in total with no additional consequences from the condition. Note this is counted in squares moved on the grid, not in character movement points spent.

  • Affected by feats and traits. If a creature has any traits or abilities that avoid or reduce any of the other effects of the blind condition (e.g. Blind Fighting feat), then these rules do not apply.


  • Per action, every third square. Check for additional forced movement, during any single Action, in reaction to the blind creature entering the 3rd, 6th or 9th square in that action. Count squares moved on the grid, not points spent. Only count voluntary movement, not forced movement.

  • Save or slide. After it enters the 3rd, 6th or 9th square the blinded creature must make a save or be subject to a slide of one square in a random direction, chosen by a D8 roll of compass points on the grid.

  • Bumping into things. If the slide occurs, and would move the blinded creature to a location that is not allowed by the forced movment rules, then they remain where they are but the current movement ends, and no more movement is allowed for the creature in the current Action. The remainder of any compound action e.g. shift+attack, may continue if possible, otherwise the action ends.

  • Slide as normal. The slide is otherwise subject to the usual forced movement rules.

  • Resolve after leaps and jumps. Saves and slides that would occur during the middle of a jump movement are instead applied on landing.

The goals that I want to achieve:

  • Blinded characters take more care when moving or charging over long distances. For instance, with a movement of 6 it's still OK to move around a corner and charge someone the character is aware of, but you'll want to have some movement in reserve, and won't run up close to obstacles (or other enemies).

  • Blinded characters leaping obstacles will want extra capacity to make sure of their landing. They also find it harder than normal, for instance, to try and leap a 20' gap onto a 5' ledge on the other side.

  • There isn't a penalty for shifting around in close combat or melee. The -5 to hit is already bad enough.

  • The penalty is nowhere like "realistic", it's still heroic play, I'm just trying to throw in an effect that adds to the feel of the condition.

The consequences that I'm already aware of, and am ok with:

  • Adds an edge-case house rule. That's fine in general, the players and I want this edge case covered with something that "feels right"

  • Makes blind a slightly more powerful condition. That's ok, although I'd also go for something that had a similar feel but did not make blind more powerful (just I haven't thought of anything like that yet).

  • Adds complexity to the condition. That's fine, it's a rare enough condition it won't slow much down

  • Dwarves are racially immune. Go, Dwarves!

  • It is necessary to take risks to achieve what you could of done before the ruling. It's unlikley but possible to end up in a better combat position by stumbling into it through luck.

Can't say I'm a fan of these rules. The -5 to attack rolls, granting CA to enemies, not being able to flank and everything else Blind does already makes it one of the suckiest conditions out there. Making it so you can't do ANYTHING even remotely competently is just mean. And I don't mean metaphorically either. I'm talking "Told him his mom and dad were getting divorced and then kicking his puppy to death in front of him" mean.

As for the movement part, test this. Go out into a hallway, preferably one wth a turn. Close your eyes and walk the hall. Try and make the turn. I bet you you can do it. So if you can, no doubt a seasoned adventurer can move the ~30 or so feet his movement speed is without killing, bungling, or dooming himself.
Spiteful Wizard and Voice of Reason of the House of Trolls The Silent God of the House of Trolls Unfrozen OTTer Arbiter of the House of Trolls Yes, I have many titles. Deal with it.
Way too complicated for way too little payoff.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
i think you could get what youre going for while making it a lot simpler and more intuitive to use. like say they have a base 50% chance of banging into something they try to move past, or "sliding" a square if they try to move too fast, or what have you. so all you have to remember is 50%. they are already blinded and penalized as is, so this seems a reasonable percentage imo. then if they have high dex or wis you could give them a 10% bonus, low dex or wis a 10% penalty. that way you can just use the idea on the fly without having to get too detailed about situations that might never occur.

honestly though, i dont think it needs it, i like i how 4e 'blinded' is more like 'blurred', but if i were to houserule it, id keep it simple to use
Can't say I'm a fan.  Besides being too complicated and fiddly, I can't see how getting (metaphorical) sand thrown into one's eyes would also cause someone to stumble around like a drunk. 

What you are trying to model is total blindness - complete and total visual sensory deprivation.  However, the type of blindness 4e attempts to model is more like being legally blind.  You can still see, but your vision is significantly hampered, and you probably shouldn't be allowed to drive a forklift.

And I find it a bit jarring that, with some luck, being blinded could actually allow you to move further than you normally would.  While unlikely to happen very often, I still have to ask "Wat?"

If you just want the Blind condition to hamper movement, there are simpler ways.  For example, you could simply add something like "you are slowed" or "your speed is reduced by 2 (to a minimum of 2)" or "you treat each square as difficult terrain" (though this would hamper shifting). 

You could even take it a step further and treat this as a new condition.  Call it "Total Blindness" and have it exist alongside the original Blind condition.  Your onion now has layers.
Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
Chiming in with the same general feedback: Too complicated for little pay-off.

If you feel blinded should have more "oomph" I would suggest only cutting speed in half and leaving it at that.
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.

 I'll second that... Half speed.
If you really want to get into it, allow them to move full speed but require a saving throw at the end of the movement to avoid falling prone.


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There are reasons they call me Mad...

There's actually a "Homebrew Campaigns" forum further down that the old homebrew forum got baked into. I don't think there's a need to repost down there, but now you're aware of it.

And yeah, this is too complicated and potentially unbalancing. The blinded condition is now strictly more powerful, which you said you're okay with, but still. Now instead of just making it hard to fight, a little bad luck could make it impossible. Just change the condition name to "partially blind" or "blurred vision" or something. That's what it's supposed to emulate anyways.

 I'll second that... Half speed.
If you really want to get into it, allow them to move full speed but require a saving throw at the end of the movement to avoid falling prone.

That might be best alternative suggestion so far.

Although I'm not worried about distance. It's fine for the blind character to travel 60 feet. A mad, straight dash to the mage who blinded you - not a problem.

What I'm trying to make harder to achieve is the combination of long-distance and precise movements, that play out using full knowledge of multiple positions of obstacles:

  • A 4 square leap onto the only 1-square-wide landing position that isn't dangerous.

  • Travelling 10 squares, moving in muliple directions avoiding a ledge and two enemies, to deliver a perfectly executed charge.

 . . . these things happened in the game and led to head-scratching from players quite happy to accept 4E's flexibility and gamist approach elsewhere.

I'd like these things to be harder for a blind character, but not impossible. I'm willing to to set the bar quite low - just something that gives the feel that these things are harder, not something that gimps a blinded character. Perhaps I'd need to give back flanking or similar, from other feedback, too, to prevent blind being too vicious.

I have also toyed with the idea of simply have the player turn around and describe the PCs movement without seeing the board, as it would probably get some laughs, and could be played without changing any end results . . .

The problem is you're forgetting something. The adventurers know what the area looks like. They saw it. It's not that hard for someone, even if they can't see, to avoid a immobile obstacle. Like I said, try walking though a dark room. Odds are you know they layout well enough to kill yourself.
Spiteful Wizard and Voice of Reason of the House of Trolls The Silent God of the House of Trolls Unfrozen OTTer Arbiter of the House of Trolls Yes, I have many titles. Deal with it.
Been a long while since I was here. There used to be a "House Rules & Homebrew" forum, but this looks like my best next shot.

Go to Homebrew Campaigns.  That's the forum to discuss house rules and homebrew.
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