How do I help player’s frustrated by darkness in Roll20’s dynamic lighting?

I recently moved my pathfinder 1e campaign online. After some experimenting I decided that the Roll20 dynamic lighting system was worth the investment. However during our first session using the system they found it cool but frustrating.

Most of the player’s frustration came from an issue of not being able to see what was next to them. The situation was as follows.

  • I am using Dynamics Lighting with Advanced Fog of War
  • The party were trying to sneak up on a group in the dark, hence extinguished their lights.
  • One character has darkvision the other 3 members have low-light vision.
  • They decided to hold hands and move in a line following the character that could see.

This is where they encountered an issue and some frustration. Due to the way darkness is handled with the dynamic lighting tool there was no way for the players to follow the movements of the character with darkvision.

What they wanted:

L L X D . . . .      . L L X D . . .      . . L L X . . .      . . . L L . . . . . . . . . . .  =>  . . . . . . . .  =>  . . . . D . . .  =>  . . . . X . . . . . . . . . . .      . . . . . . . .      . . . . . . . .      . . . . D . . .   X = player token (low light vision), L = Ally with Low light vision, D = Ally with Darkvision 

What they saw:

. . X . . . . .      . . . X . . . .      . . . . X . . .      . . . . . X . . . . . . . . . .  =>  . . . . . . . .  =>  . . . . . . . .  =>  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .      . . . . . . . .      . . . . . . . .      . . . . . . . .  

As soon as the players entered the darkness they could no longer see the characters immediately next to them and therefore couldn’t follow their movements in a line style. This led to frustration, and the player’s without darkvision commenting “I can’t do anything since I can’t see”.

While not being able to see their opponents and having to carefully manage their light was the goal of using this system. Frustrating my players and making them not enjoy the game is an unacceptable consequence.

How can I configure the dynamic lighting system and player tokens to enable them to work cooperatively in darkness?

Goals:

  • Force players to think tactically about use of light (they have indicated they want this)
  • Use Advanced Fog of War for automated map reveal (reduce load on GM)
  • Allow players to move in the line formation without requiring the GM to move their pieces for them