Last Updated on December 4, 2023
From the Basic Rules:
You have blindsight with a range of 10 feet. Within that range, you can effectively see anything that isn’t behind total cover, even if you’re blinded or in darkness. Moreover, you can see an invisible creature within that range, unless the creature successfully hides form you.
Our Take on the Blind Fighting, Fighting Style
This is a valuable fighting style under specific circumstances. It lacks the versatility of something like the Archery fighting style but makes up for it in its potency within certain situations.
On the surface, if Blind Fighting lets you simply engage in melee combat while in total darkness, why not simply play a race with Darkvision? If you can see, there is no need for an entire fighting style ability dedicated to shoring up for a racial weakness.
Once you put some thought into it, however, it is obvious this ability lends itself to something much stronger than simple Darkvision.
Behold! A list:
You can no longer be snuck up on. Anything within 10 feet of you is now pinpointed. While you can still be flanked, this ability means no surprise combat round will happen without you provided your foe leaps into melee.
You can now stealth without the need for a light source within 10ft. This allows you to skirt the edges of the light source without fear of revealing your own position.
You can gain opportunity attacks from unseen foes. If they try to move around or past you, you can make your strike.
You are now essentially immune to the blinded condition out to a range of 10ft.
What Characters Should Take Blind Fighting?
Blind Fighting is available for Fighters, Rangers, and Paladins when they receive their Fighting Style ability.
This is often a difficult choice to make since there are many great options for fighting styles. Rangers and Paladins can take the option for a couple of cantrips, any of them could get bonuses to their favored weapon types or AC, or they could choose great support benefits if they are more teamwork-oriented.
Why then, when presented with these options, should a character choose Blind Fighting for their fighting style?
This can only be answered by the DM. When you are building your character, ask the DM to share information about what kind of story you are playing. Horror, Crime-thriller, and Comedy stories could all be viable options for Blind-fighting.
Horror stories often have many set pieces with limited or zero visibility, and the scariest of horror monsters, such as aberrations and undead, all tend towards the more predatory melee/martial role. Chuuls, zombies, skeletons, ghasts, and intellect devourers all need to get up close and personal to do any damage.
Even the advanced monsters, such as vampires and Mind Flayers, require to be within melee range to do their signature abilities. Liches are notorious summoners, so wading through a darkened room filled with zombies, tentacles, or zombie tentacles (ew!) becomes a more viable possibly with Blind Fighting.
Crime-thrillers usually involve humanoids as the bad guys. These antagonists are plenty capable of magic and long-range attacks, but when we specifically look at the Crime genre, we see thieves’ guilds, assassins, and blades-in-the-dark / cloak-and-dagger style combat encounters.
In these stories, the killers like to look the victim in the eyes because, as much as they aspire to delusions of grandeur, the antagonists are just the same kind of predator as any other monster. Blind Fighting will be a good deterrent against stealth attacks from clever humanoids who though they could sneak up on you.
Comedy stories (despite how many DMs try for serious roleplay, every game becomes a Monty Python movie in the end) are bastions of trickery. Fey, naughty animals, and other merry pranksters will rely on stealth and invisibility to get close to you and steal your underwear.
Joke’s on them, though. Not only do not wear underwear, but you also took the Blind Fighting style, which means you can feel the mischief in their hearts, hear their suppressed giggles, or smell their funny ways because they can not sneak up on you.
Blind Fighting Synergies
There are few feats, spells, sub-races, and abilities that do well with Blind Fighting.
Check it out:
- Sub-races: Mark of Shadow Elf, Dark Elf, Levistus Tiefling, or any other sub-race that can cast darkness. See the entry for the darkness spell, below.
- Fighter Subclasses: Eldritch Knight. At 7th level, they can cast darkness, and they gain access to all manner of buff spells that can improve their marital abilities at close range.
- Paladin subclasses: All paladins gain auras that extend to 10 feet out. Combined with Blind Fighting, the aura abilities become more viable since you will want to be up close where they are used.
- Ranger subclasses: Gloom Stalker rangers are already stealth masters, and it is safe to assume you will be sneaking around in the dark hunting monsters who aren’t as vulnerable as you are without light sources. Blind Fighting will give you the extra edge to keep you safe.
- Other classes: It may be worth it to take the Fighting Style feat at 4th level for Rogues, Monks, or Clerics. Rogues and monks are natural stealth fighters who may want to leave the torches at home, and Clerics are often fighting monsters who rely on stealth to ambush their prey.
- Darkness: the darkness spell is the single best ability to combine with Blind Fighting. If you cast this on yourself, or convince a friend to cast it on you, then you can be position yourself to be the only person in a 20ft radius that can see fight your target. While this can isolate you from your allies, it can give you an undeniable advantage.
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Rich is an avid D&D player and DM. He has been playing since the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st and 2nd editions. He has run campaigns of various editions with family and friends for over 20 years. Playing DnD 5th Edition in person at local game stores and online with VTT’s over the past 10 years has provided a consistent connection to how the game has grown. He strongly believes in understanding the source material, but catering the games to your individual players. Feel free to ask anything in the comments or drop him an email: [email protected].