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A PC is under the effect of a Suggest spell and told to follow someone who had Darkvision. The PC, who is under the effect, doesn't and they are lead into a tunnel system that is pitch black. How fast are they able to move?

I can't find anything RAW which states that trying to move in darkness has any detrimental effects, other than the obvious statement of not being able to actually see where they are going.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ How is the PC able to follow someone when he can't see that person/creature? Does the PC navigate by sound or is he bound to said person/creature via some length of rope? \$\endgroup\$ – Argamae Aug 12 '15 at 16:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ We treated it as a "follow their general direction", and the NPC would pop out if they lose sight to say "Yoohoo". But in total darkness it could be difficult to follow that. \$\endgroup\$ – Nicholas Aug 12 '15 at 22:28
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The rules provide no guidance, therefore it is your job as DM to make a ruling.

The obvious upper limit is that it has no effect and you can move at your full movement rate and the obvious lower limit is that it is totally debilitating and you can't move at all.

Did I say no guidance? Well, there is a little bit - crawling, swimming and climbing cost 2 for 1 as does difficult terrain and, of course, if these combine (e.g. crawling in difficult terrain) you are down to 4 for 1.

In making your ruling, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is being blind more, less or the same disability as, say, crawling?
  • Can a blinded creature take the Dash action?
  • Does the creature need to make a check or saving throw to remain upright and unbludgeoned by tripping or walking into things. If so, what DC will you set (varying by the obstacles; perhaps DC10 for a flagged passage, DC25 for a natural cave)? Dexterity is the obvious stat; a Dexterity save or a Dexterity (Acrobatics) check? What are the consequences of failing; no progress, fall prone, damage?

In making your decision try to come to a consensus with your players about what seems reasonable but remember you make the final call. Whatever you decide, stick with it for consistency (unless it is obviously failing).

With respect to the suggestion spell itself:

The suggestion must be worded in such a manner as to make the course of action sound reasonable. Asking the creature to stab itself, throw itself onto a spear, immolate itself, or do some other obviously harmful act ends the spell.

Walking into the dark might be an "obviously harmful act".

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You are right, RAW just says that he automatically fails any ability check that requires sight. I don't think difficult terrain would take effect, as that is more for terrain that difficults passage even if you can see it (snow % ice, rubble, vines, slippery substances).

But any shrub or rock trip-worthy will give him a direct face-to-face with the ground (failed a perception check).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It would be funny to penalize him for falling down :). Maybe difficult terrain was the incorrect phrasing, is there any reduction in speed. \$\endgroup\$ – Nicholas Aug 10 '15 at 23:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think so, either. There is nothing actively preventing him from moving, so he still can run (think of it as you walking around with your eyes closed). Though by not seeing he could run into whoever he is following. Or into a wall. He might also be unable to follow his quarry unless the guy with darkvisions guides him with his voice or other methods. \$\endgroup\$ – Renard Aug 10 '15 at 23:14
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Modeling all the possible minor trip hazards with dice rolls, and including the lack of sense of direction that not being able to see where you are going to can take a lot of time.

As others have suggested, there is no RAW for moving whilst completely blinded. Partly this is a game balance issue, it is possible to be made blind by game effects, and the impact of not being able to hit a target in combat and failing perception checks makes the condition already quite challenging. Adding in realistic difficulties for free movement would make it even harsher (aside: I personally would have the condition nastier and more realistic against navigating in unknown spaces, but harder to achieve - higher level spells required, darkvision not so effective in pitch darkness so most monsters need at least some light etc - but that involves changing RAW, not really worth it for the few times it turns up).

I suggest that you apply a moderate "common sense" restriction to movement whilst blinded outside of combat, depending on the terrain and types of challenges in it. Most often I would expect this to result in a reduction in movement speed, or the character could take a risk when moving faster - a skill roll to avoid falling prone or moving to incorrect location. Allow players a chance to counter these challenges with ideas that might help (e.g. following a wall or being guided by hand). Try to not let it interfere with movement in combat - but if that spoils your sense of realism, encourage the players to at least describe how they are helping their blinded colleague so that at the problem is not being conveniently ignored.

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