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In the DMG (P. 168) there is an uncommon magical item called the Eyes of the Eagle that states:

These crystal lenses fit over the eyes. While wearing them, you have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight. In conditions of clear visibility, you can make out details of even extremely distant creatures and objects as small as 2 feet across.

While I get the advantage on perception part, I am confused on the functionality of the second part.

  1. Does this add range to your Darkvision if the visibility would otherwise be clear?
  2. Does it work in parallel with feats like Skulker (removes disadvantage on perception in dim light) or Sharpshooter?
  3. Is it only useful in scouting or peeping? Or is there in-battle functionality for a ranged fighter?

In short, I'd like some clarification on how these goggles might be used both in battle or while roleplaying, and what limitations a DM might impose.

For context, what got me interested in these goggles was an idea I had for a simic hybrid arcane archer; using the combination of his trick horse and manta glide to parasail into the air and hit unsuspecting marks from far away. Though I admit this is rather niche, it is the launching point I used.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Note: The numbered questions are just for the thought process, and are not to be treated as separate questiong \$\endgroup\$
    – Victor B
    Commented Jun 18, 2022 at 22:01

2 Answers 2

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Being able to see things a long way away in fine detail is useful, because it gives you information, and knowledge is power. How much power depends on the knowledge and what opportunities you'll have to exploit that knowledge, and is therefore adventure- and campaign-specific.

For example, in one adventure you might use the Eyes of the Eagle to scope out the layout of an orc village without risk of being caught before you sneak into it; in another you might use them to tell whether an approaching cavalry force is the Dread Lord's personal guard or a group of fresh recruits wearing their colours and acting as a decoy; in another you might use them to dupe a travelling merchant into believing you're a talented diviner and/or farsighted elf.

Incidentally, some of the most interesting abilities and powers in the game work this way. There isn't just one common problem to which they are easily applied; instead, there are a wide variety of situations in which they could be useful, if used creatively. The fun of such items is in trying to find creative ways to apply their powers.

Oh, and to answer your numbered questions:

  1. No. Nothing in the magic item's description or history in earlier editions suggests that it extends the range of darkvision.
  2. Yes. Nothing in the magic item's description suggests that it would interfere with or change these feats' normal function.
  3. Yes and no. Eyes of the Eagle are useful for scouting and peeping and not much else, but nothing save common sense prevents you from scouting and peeping in battle - it might even be useful, occasionally.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ For #2, I was refering more to the "clear visibility" and where those could apply with the feats. Like Darkvision makes darkness into dim light and Skulker effectively (as I understand it) makes dim light into bright light. Likewise, Sharpshooter ignores half and 3/4 cover, so does that mean "clear visibility." \$\endgroup\$
    – Victor B
    Commented Jun 18, 2022 at 23:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just to verify if I am starting to understand, The EotE would be comparable to a pair of very good binoculars, not gaining any advantages that, say, a scope would have. Likewise, they would be pretty useless in the dark as they are an uncommon item defeated by dim light? \$\endgroup\$
    – Victor B
    Commented Jun 18, 2022 at 23:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ @VictorB "Conditions of clear visibility" isn't a game-specific term. Its common English meaning is "a situation in which you can clearly see things," meaning there's no fog, no swarms of shoppers, and no thick flocks of migrating starlings obscuring your view. If you can see something clearly, that thing is clearly visible, and you have conditions of clear visibility. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Jun 19, 2022 at 0:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @VictorB Yes, Eyes of the Eagle lets you clearly see things that are a long way away, like an eagle. They also grant you advantage on sight based Wisdom (Perception) checks regardless of distance, which is something binoculars are less likely to help with, since binoculars tend to limit your field of view. They have no other effects, unless your GM decides they also make your eyes look like those of an eagle or something. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Jun 19, 2022 at 0:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah ok, I thought it was a reading comprehension issue on my end. Thanks for clearing it up. \$\endgroup\$
    – Victor B
    Commented Jun 19, 2022 at 1:09
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I would think it also adds 5 to passive perception. (Visual cues only.)

As per the Player's Handbook, Chapter 7, Passive Checks:

If the character has advantage on the check, add 5. For disadvantage, subtract 5. The game refers to a passive check total as a score.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG Stack Exchange! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for additional help. I think your observation is correct, the downvote is likely because usually there should be an explanation, citation or reference to support it. Doing so helps others understand how you came to your conclusion, and increases the likelyhood your contribution is helpful to them. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 19, 2022 at 9:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the update. I've revised the post: we don't signal our edits in text; we just make sure it's always a final version and use the edit history to see what was changed. Imagine if a school essay or Wikipedia article had "edit:" notes in it; we avoid it here too for the same reasons we'd avoid it there. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 19, 2022 at 10:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer doesn't seem to answer the part of the question the OP says they need an answer to. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Jun 19, 2022 at 23:18

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