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I am using roll20 to play with some friends, and there is an issue we cannot solve.

The problem is that we don't know how the game master can let different players see different portions of the map. For instance, if it is dark then a human will see worse than an elf with darkvision. We were wondering, how to let the elf see more of the map than the human?

We use free accounts, so maybe it's a premium feature.

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Roll20 supports dnd-3e lighting

You can achieve what you want by using the dynamic light feature, in particular, Line of sight for specific tokens:

Line of Sight restricts players to only see lights that are within the appropriate field of vision for the tokens that they control.

This means that each player has areas revealed based on tokens they can control. This feature supports customizing line of sight on specific tokens, including support for seeing further than normal under low light conditions and being able to see in complete darkness

Of particular interest to you is the roll20 documentation even including an example on how to simulate dnd-3e vision in roll20 using the above features.

Only one person needs a paid account for this feature

It's only the person who sets up the game environment who needs a paid account, and it's only the plus level. Once the game is setup, anyone can be set as a "GM" and control the lighting layer etc. You could easily club together as a group and pay the monthly cost if the price is an issue. (this section directly taken from a comment by GPPK)

The free account way (Not recommended at all)

For the sake of completeness there is technically a way to simulate this using free accounts although it is a lot of work for the DM and I personally do not recommend you attempt this.

By using different pages and the free feature for splitting the party you can have players on different maps. If the DM can duplicate the map and the state of the map on both pages, and then reveal different portions on the map on each page the same effect can be achieved.

This requires the DM to keep going through all the "duplicate" pages to mantain the state of each page consistent which is why I personally believe it to not be worth the trouble.

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