Color Your Creativity With New Lighting Options!

Dave Human

Dave Human

Guest Contributor

Emergency, emergency, all pro users to the Dynamic Lighting layer! This is a red alert, I repeat, a red alert!

Or was it a green alert?

Or maybe blue alert?

It’s code whatever-you-like!

Introducing the fantabulous new feature to the Dynamic Lighting tools—colored lighting! Have you ever wanted to spice up your maps with a certain ambience that written descriptions just can’t quite convey? The time is now, my friends, and the possibilities are as endless as your imagination.

Creepy eldritch temple? Purple. Zombie infested bunker? Green. Sweet 70s disco? ALL OF THE COLORS!

This exciting addition to the Dynamic Lighting toolkit allows for any individual light source to set the scene. You can deepen and enrich your spaces to a new level of depth without the need for words at all.

Thinking about the different types and colors of light that might be given off by different sources unlocks new possibilities for immersing players that much further into the areas they’re exploring.

While there are absolutely going to be times where you want shafts of natural light piercing through the roof of a cave, you are also going to want the dimmer, more reddish light of torches. These can both occupy the same area and even blend together to make the transition natural. Overlapping colored light sources will merge and create the varied hues you would expect. It’s incredibly cool.

One of my dream scenarios is a clever use of specific colors to cue certain pieces of information. If players are savvy, they might realize the blue light around the corner is the glow from a robotic guard and quickly hide. A monster glowing with red light might be immune to fire, or an ominous purple path might be the way to the weird… tentacley part of the dungeon.

If you really wanted to go wild testing the new lights, you could go for a futuristic metropolis with a dizzying array of neon signs and advertising holograms. Characters will be able to react in all sorts of ways they might not have considered before: Are they used to the visual noise of a busy city, or are they struggling to adjust and take it all in? Try not to go overboard and give everyone a headache, though!

Color can empower the creativity of players, too! Choosing the color of a wizard’s spells is an important decision that can lead to a whole load of character development in itself. Having the opportunity to pick Dancing Lights and see all those bright colors sure beats always just using plain old light on the fighter’s shield. Igniting your laser sword and it giving off the same colored glow for the first time will be an awesome experience, I can guarantee it.

Don’t forget to use colors in conjunction with other features, too! Flare up the sconces with an eerie glow a beat before playing the opening notes of a boss theme to get that epic set piece moment… until you roll low initiative and the players obliterate the Big Bad in one round with overpowered abilities and crits and why did you even bother in the first place. They loved it, though, and let’s face it; that’s why you put all that effort in.

Of course, this all has API integration too, so folks on the community forums will have amazing scripts to let your halogen strip lights flicker on when the player tokens approach. Maybe you take the colored warning lights from the top of the blog and make them flash on and off like warning sirens. I bet they’re making that one noise in your head right now, so I’ll refrain from the onomatopoeia.

I really love this update and it’ll have some of you champing at the bit to go and tinker with some themed dungeons. Or maybe ask your DM if they can make it so your sweet magic sword goes all fwoosh when you draw it!

Enjoy all the fwoosh-ing your heart could desire with Colored Lights, now available for Pro and Plus subscribers on the Roll20 tabletop.

Dave Human Guest Contributor

Dave Human (they/them) is another hapless denizen of the internet who hates having to use Twitter as much as you do but is compelled by equal parts self-loathing, morbid curiosity, and the maintenance of an internet presence to stay there. They're in the videogames and TTRPG spheres as a fledgeling designer whenever they can push past the executive dysfunction to actually make anything. Don't worry, they'll get there eventually! Much to their continual surprise they are now GMing a Dungeons & Dragons show for Roll20 on the official D&D Twitch channel and would love it if you could swing by and offer up some of that sweet, sweet external validation.