I have been enjoying some OSR gaming recently, in which I've been paying a lot more attention to light than previous D&D. Which of the party are carrying lanterns? How much does that really illuminate? I have been trying to work at describing the shadows, the way the light flickers when they move, what fighting by moving torchlight is like. It's been great fun.
However, all I really have to go on is what various D&D texts have told me over the years about how much light a candle, a torch, or a lantern shed. The standard rules for a torch in 3.5 are 20 feet of bright illumination, and a further 20 feet of dim illumination. A lantern is a bit more than that, whereas a candle only gives 5 feet of dim illumination. (SRD link
I thought it would be fun and interesting to experiment with this myself*. So my plan is to go to some shallow caves next time I'm visiting my relatives in the country. I'm going to take along candles, homemade torches, and so on, and do some experiments into how much I can see. I don't think I will be able to photograph or film the results, but I hope to describe them on my blog. This will then fuel my descriptions / rulings when I GM.
I would be interested if any of you here knew of anyone else doing similar and having written it up on the web or in a roleplaying text already. I would also be interested to know if anyone has practical experience of doing things by fire light, or if anyone else wants to do the same sort of thing and tell me their results. I realize that as a UK-based gamer, I am one of the worst placed to do anything like this, compared to all you Americans and Scandinavians!
* Note that as far as roleplaying goes, so long as our world is consistent and flavourful it doesn't really matter whether our lighting is realistic. So this is for fun, rather than an obsessive necessity with getting the rules "right".