Not Sold on Advantages

So, running through the playtest this morning, I'm a little worried about Advantages. It seems like they are everywhere, and aren't balanced by an equal ammount of dissadvantages.

Assuming that this edition of D&D goes off the generally 50% chance to hit at level ideal, rolling 2d20 and taking the higher pushes this to a 75% chance to hit.

Now I realize with disadvantages that you get a 75% chance to miss if a dissadvantage is applies, but on my first read through there wasn't nearly as many as there were advantages.

But I'm running my group in a day or two, so we'll see.
I found the advantages to work well, in place of many different extra bonuses for this and that. I'm quite happy with them, and my players (the ones that had played a previous edition) preferred it. It helped run things a bit more smoothly, instead of counting up whatever bonuses from this and that. I'm happy with it.
I agree.

I don't think the developers realize this is like giving a +5 to the roll.

That is a LOT different than a +2 from 4E Combat Advantage.
 

– Jeff Sorensen

I agree.

I don't think the developers realize this is like giving a +5 to the roll.

That is a LOT different than a +2 from 4E Combat Advantage.
 



It's a little more complicated than a +5 because of the increased variance associated with that. Either the variance matters little (in a situation where you were already very likely to hit), or it matters a lot (in a situation where you were not very likely to hit). Also, increased chance to critical. So the times that you really really needed that advantage (big boss fight) it's a lot better than a static +5

Edit: I don't know if that is a good or bad thing in your book. I'm indifferen't (zero value judgement) right now. 
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It's a little more complicated than a +5 because of the increased variance associated with that.


That is true, however for middle ranged target die rolls (rolls from 7 to 15), the variance is between 21-25%.

Your chances of rolling an 11 or better are 50% with a single roll and 75% with a double roll.
Your chances of rolling a 7 or better are 70% with a single roll and 91% with a double roll.
Your chances of rolling a 15 or better are 30% with a single roll and 51% with a double roll.

So for those ranges that would be the same as +4/5. That's still a huge difference for "most" rolls.



































































































































NSingleDoubleDiff
1100.00%100.00%0.00%
295.00%99.75%4.75%
390.00%99.00%9.00%
485.00%97.75%12.75%
580.00%96.00%16.00%
675.00%93.75%18.75%
770.00%91.00%21.00%
865.00%87.75%22.75%
960.00%84.00%24.00%
1055.00%79.75%24.75%
1150.00%75.00%25.00%
1245.00%69.75%24.75%
1340.00%64.00%24.00%
1435.00%57.75%22.75%
1530.00%51.00%21.00%
1625.00%43.75%18.75%
1720.00%36.00%16.00%
1815.00%27.75%12.75%
1910.00%19.00%9.00%
205.00%9.75%4.75%

 

– Jeff Sorensen


It's a little more complicated than a +5 because of the increased variance associated with that.


That is true, however for middle ranged target die rolls (rolls from 7 to 15), the variance is between 21-25%.

Your chances of rolling an 11 or better are 50% with a single roll and 75% with a double roll.
Your chances of rolling a 7 or better are 70% with a single roll and 91% with a double roll.
Your chances of rolling a 15 or better are 30% with a single roll and 51% with a double roll.

So for those ranges that would be the same as +4/5. That's still a huge difference for "most" rolls.



































































































































NSingleDoubleDiff
1100.00%100.00%0.00%
295.00%99.75%4.75%
390.00%99.00%9.00%
485.00%97.75%12.75%
580.00%96.00%16.00%
675.00%93.75%18.75%
770.00%91.00%21.00%
865.00%87.75%22.75%
960.00%84.00%24.00%
1055.00%79.75%24.75%
1150.00%75.00%25.00%
1245.00%69.75%24.75%
1340.00%64.00%24.00%
1435.00%57.75%22.75%
1530.00%51.00%21.00%
1625.00%43.75%18.75%
1720.00%36.00%16.00%
1815.00%27.75%12.75%
1910.00%19.00%9.00%
205.00%9.75%4.75%

 




That's an interesting chart. Do you mind if I copy it to use in a googledoc for my group?

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I'm quite fond of Advantages, at least in principle.  
From my first reading (not playing it yet), I tend to like the rule also.  It tends to be more exciting than just adding new plusses to a roll.  Also, it introduces a bell curve to the d20 game, which I feel is necessary to flatten out the 1 to 20 straight roll.

 

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Yeah, I really like the advantage mechanic. It makes the unlikely a little more likely to happen, and it makes something that had a good chance of happening almost guaranteed. And the bell-curve means that having a higher modifier is rewarded more when using advantage, at least as I understand the math of it. This means that someone who is good at something gets overall more from advantage than someone who starts off not being very good. Or in other words, part of what you gain when using advantage is reliability.
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I think it's a great idea. Not only does it nix the need for alot of bonus/penalty stacking to a single roll,  but it's also a big enough effect that players and NPC's are going to hunt for every way to leverage the mechanic. That puts alot of pressure to come up with every creative idea possible. LOVE IT!
I like the Advantages system alot, as it will encourage players to think creatively in order to get those advantages. It's very streamlined, without a million little things.

As far as I'm concerned, this seems like an excellent method of streamlining the game to make it play faster, smoother, and better.
I was able to use it very easily on the fly in the game I ran.  It was much better than just a bonus or penalty to a roll.  It has the right feel and my players really enjoyed the mechanic.
Like a few others here, I was really happy with the advantage/disadvantage system. I found it to be a simple way to reward a player for clever thinking or to show that the odds were stacked against them, and I appreciate that it sidesteps the whole issue of how many +/- 1s something deserves.
I like the idea in theory, but we'll have to see how it works in practice.

I'm a little concerned on how it "stacks".  For instance, if my character is flanked, I'm assuming the monsters get advantage on their attack. Does that also mean the character is disadvantaged during his attack if the flank is still in effect?  That seems like a terrible "doube-dip" penalty so I'll assume that isn't the case.

However, what about the cliff edge example? In that case it would almost make sense that the creature with the stable high ground would get advantage, and a character clinging onto a root trying to swing and/or leverage himself up should also get disadvantage... I suppose the meta-game in that case would be to make sure your character isn't put into such a dire circumstance.

My only real concern is the in-between cases will require a ruling that could lead to rule lawyering. It would be nice if we had some examples of when an advantage and disadvantage can "stack" in this manner for or against a character... or a ruling that they can never stack and the GM will have to decide which side gets the bonus or penalty, but not both.

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I really liked the Advantage/Disadvantage. It was a great way to reward creative thinking. I'd really like to see if I could work it into scenes a bit more. Like the heroes spurn the prince of the realm, he then spreads a bad rep of the heroes and they have disadvantage interacting with loyal or law-abiding NPCs. Or Advantage on an enemy after a few gurrilla raids to dishearten them.
I like it. It rewards strategic play well, and is more interesting than just a +2. Players don't seem to enjoy disadvantages, though. It's fine for enemies, and I reckon it would be okay for curses that don't come into play much, but I think we should avoid having PCs subject to it as a result of tactical situations. To a substantial extent that's a DM concern rather than a design concern, though.
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I like it. It rewards strategic play well, and is more interesting than just a +2. Players don't seem to enjoy disadvantages, though. It's fine for enemies, and I reckon it would be okay for curses that don't come into play much, but I think we should avoid having PCs subject to it as a result of tactical situations. To a substantial extent that's a DM concern rather than a design concern, though.

I disagree. I think Disadvantage is important, because it requires players to think about their actions and plan them.

The game won't just come down to pure stat bonuses and munckin number crunching; it'll also be about tactically positioning yourself and setting things up so that you maximize when you have advantage, and minimize when you have disadvantage.

It's also a "soft" way of discouraging non-class abilities, like thieves in full plate.

I'm all for it so far.
I like advantages too.   Looking at the rogue in particular, you are just looking to gain advantage to get your sneak attack bonus, which I think is a lot better than other ways to get them in.  In particular, the provided class seems to provide a way to regain the advantage again and again, which seems like a lot of fun.
Advantage is fine - makes everyone into the 4th avenger with effectvely +4-5 on the roll. However I know the folks I play with will hate disadvantage when on thier character, Being effectively blinded in 4th terms (-5 to hit) is bad enough but having to throw away that nice jucy 17/18/19 let alone 20 on the dice is going to cause no end of psychological pain.

Disadvantage will just slow the game down and any player (or monster) hit with it will be basically out of the fight until they can shake it off. I know that if I ever run this system I am houseruleing disadvantage down to a flat -2 to the roll as the full -5/throw away the better dice will just turn people off asap.

You can see the Math here Look at how fast and far disadvantage pushes you below the flat curve of a single d20 it's vile, at a dc of 11 you drop from 50% hitting to a 25% chance of hitting. If you target number is 16 you go from a 25% chance down to a miserable 8% chance a 3 fold reduction in your chance to hit! at DC 20 you go from a 5% chance to a 0.25% chance to hit.

If the designers think that screwing over players that badly with what looks like an easy to apply condition is good I will be very supprised. There is a long history of the designers being poor at math and probability so I am hoping that they have simply not thought through all the implications. Basially for any target number over about 12 the best thing you can do if under disadvantage is just get out of the way and try to shake it, rolling dice will just lead to massive frustration.
I like it. It rewards strategic play well, and is more interesting than just a +2. Players don't seem to enjoy disadvantages, though. It's fine for enemies, and I reckon it would be okay for curses that don't come into play much, but I think we should avoid having PCs subject to it as a result of tactical situations. To a substantial extent that's a DM concern rather than a design concern, though.

I disagree. I think Disadvantage is important, because it requires players to think about their actions and plan them.

Advantage allows for that too.
The game won't just come down to pure stat bonuses and munckin number crunching;

That has nothing to do with anything.
it'll also be about tactically positioning yourself and setting things up so that you maximize when you have advantage,

You don't need disadvantages for this.
and minimize when you have disadvantage.

Or you could minimize the advantage that you grant your enemies. The same play effect can be reached different ways with numbers, and the one that forces players to not use their great rolls takes fun away from people.

It's also a "soft" way of discouraging non-class abilities, like thieves in full plate.

I'm all for it so far.


It's only technically soft, in practice anything like that which gives blanket disadvantage, especially one this potent, may as well be a hard ban.
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I think its important to note, as far as I can tell, that there isn't a bonus or penalty for flanking or being flanked in the packet.
Disadvantage may be a huge penalty, but if it is not overused it works.

What you dont want is a player suffering from it all the time; that's not fun. 
I think the advantage/disadvantage mechanic works well in play so far.  I was giving them out based on quick judgement calls - it added some nice tension to rolls where it came into play.  I like having some tension in the game.  My players liked the mechanic and felt it was simple but fun to use (even when they got a disadvantage).
i very much like advantages for this reason

"well, he is blinded, and i am flanking but he is partially concealed, and i have (random fever)"

okay so thats.............. ****.

i would much rather say

okay so thats 2 advantages to 2 disadvantages, role 1 2d20.

not +x -y +z -a added to BAB
I found the advantages to work well, in place of many different extra bonuses for this and that. I'm quite happy with them, and my players (the ones that had played a previous edition) preferred it. It helped run things a bit more smoothly, instead of counting up whatever bonuses from this and that. I'm happy with it.

I agree.

Having too many + and - on the board is too much to calculate. Giving flanking bonuses or prone negatives with extra d20 choose higher and lower is a unique way to do things. I think it will add a whole other element to the game we had not fully considered in the past. While there were a few powers and abilities that granted this type of effect in some situations in previous editions, this is the first time it is used to explain an entire set of conditions.

Try this out, and see how it works.
The severity of the penalty for being disadvantaged (and bonus for advantage) will force PCs and monsters to maneuver into or out of a more advantageous position.  This may make combats more dynamic.  I like it.  This seems to mimic real fights more fully, where two duelists move around each other a bit looking for an advantage..then when there's an opening one duelist will attack.  If and when they add combat maneuvers or stunts to the game, I think this will really make even more sense.  Melee attackers will have incentive to attempt interesting stunts to gain advantage.

On another note, in "Theater of the Mind" style gridless combat, having a mechanic like advantage/disadvantage encourages more narration of attack maneuvers.  I think it will make games more colorful.

Happy testing!

 

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I dont know if it's been mentioned before but the Advantage/Disadvantage mechanics are essentially a seporation of Accuracy and DC boosting.

in 4e especially these are one and the same, boosting your to hit number not only pushes your DC ability out further but it also increases your accuracy for the lower DCs.  

What Advantage and Disadvantage does is give you a way of modifying accuracy without damaging the flatter math.  I could see using Advantage/Disadvantage in 4e and completely remove the half level bonus and maybe flatten out the DC by level chart.

Personally I like it, it's a great method of keeping bonuses rare and meaningful and allowing a multitute of effects that effect different kind of accuracies without breaking the math. 

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Wasn't one of the polls in that really big poll thread about %to hit ratio (%50 vs %75) and it was right up the middle? I think going above the %50 mark was kind of the point.

I personally love advantages, it gives you a much better chance while not actually increasing how good you are a the thing you're doing. You're just manipulating luck, not power. Plus it doesn't involve more math, the biggest clogger for our group IMO. (Because people usually get distracted when someone has to count numbers in their head every 5 seconds.)

I'm sure it would be easy to just change the rule to +/-2 to your roll.
The problem is they don't stack. So you can have 10 different things granting you disadvantage and you still only roll the two dice. This means that our drunk rogue can use a greataxe at no extra penalty. He can then do anything that would normally grant penalties and not feel it.
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1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
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The problem is they don't stack. So you can have 10 different things granting you disadvantage and you still only roll the two dice. This means that our drunk rogue can use a greataxe at no extra penalty. He can then do anything that would normally grant penalties and not feel it.


Agreed, this is also my personal qualm with this system.
Once you have a disadvantage of sort you can just ignore any other negative element because you cannot be penalized anymore.

To exacerbate the point: once you are a drunk rogue you can wear a full plate (not like it is going to be an advantage due to the actual armor rules, but it's beyond the point) and an heavy shield, while being blinded and putting yourself in any dumb and inferior tactical position and still getting no worse than being just drunk.

The fact you can actually get POSITIVE returns from this (armor and shield) is just awful.
I saw a lot more cases of disadvantage than advantage. So it's probably actually quite balanced and we're just selectively noticing one thing more than the other.

Also, with regards to it basically being +5, it doesn't stack. The advantage and disadvantage system is (in my opinion) there to give someone a bonus without having the horrible stacking of bonuses that occurs in 3.x and 4e that requires char-op and system mastery.

To exacerbate the point: once you are a drunk rogue you can wear a full plate (not like it is going to be an advantage due to the actual armor rules, but it's beyond the point) and an heavy shield, while being blinded and putting yourself in any dumb and inferior tactical position and still getting no worse than being just drunk.



Although this means that the Rogue will never in a million years have advantage.

Perhaps add a rule/module that if you have a certain number of (dis)advantages, you either auto fail/succeed?
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To exacerbate the point: once you are a drunk rogue you can wear a full plate (not like it is going to be an advantage due to the actual armor rules, but it's beyond the point) and an heavy shield, while being blinded and putting yourself in any dumb and inferior tactical position and still getting no worse than being just drunk.



Although this means that the Rogue will never in a million years have advantage.

Perhaps add a rule/module that if you have a certain number of (dis)advantages, you either auto fail/succeed?



I'd rather them add a 20 sided die for each advantage/disadvantage. That way you really really don't want to be disadvantaged more than once...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
The fact you can actually get POSITIVE returns from this (armor and shield) is just awful.



I don't know.  That's the point, isn't it?  If there was no chance of a positive return, why would you do it?

Also, while on some kind of chart it might not be that big of a deal, every lost crit and every checked failed and every backstab (or similar effect) suffered because of the Disadvantage is likely to "hurt" pretty badly in the eyes of any player who isn't some kind of statistics-munching robot.
I'd rather them add a 20 sided die for each advantage/disadvantage. That way you really really don't want to be disadvantaged more than once...



Then you have to be incredibly careful about letting people stack advantage, otherwise critfishing becomes trivial.
I agree.

I don't think the developers realize this is like giving a +5 to the roll.

That is a LOT different than a +2 from 4E Combat Advantage.
 



Keep in mind that there is no flanking bonus in DDN which is probably the most common source of combat advantage in 4e. Also in DDN you have to spend an action to hide whereas in 4e you can hide as part of any move action. So while DDN advantage is a bit more powerful than 4e's combat advantage it's also a bit harder to get.

I'm also loving the advantages, but mostly because it was coincidentally stolen from my houserules home games. I called it "awesome". If you do something awesome, you get to roll 2 dice instead of one and take the better result. Let me tell you, it will change your game in a great way. Everyone will be working hard to get it whenever they can. You, as the DM, can control what your game looks like by how and when you reward with it.  It's an amazing tool far more versatile and effectine than flat bonuses.

Also, don't only think of disadvantage as a bad thing. Think of it as an enabler. I use disadvantage (or my version of it) to allow things that I might not have before, something that sounded next to impossible. With the use of disadvantage, it allows a DM to be more flexible and say yes more often. Because you tell your player, "well, that sounds pretty far fetched but instead of creating an astronomical DC to reflect the nature of the attempt, I'll let you try it with a more normal DC, with disadvantage."

To exacerbate the point: once you are a drunk rogue you can wear a full plate (not like it is going to be an advantage due to the actual armor rules, but it's beyond the point) and an heavy shield, while being blinded and putting yourself in any dumb and inferior tactical position and still getting no worse than being just drunk.



Although this means that the Rogue will never in a million years have advantage.

Perhaps add a rule/module that if you have a certain number of (dis)advantages, you either auto fail/succeed?



I'd rather them add a 20 sided die for each advantage/disadvantage. That way you really really don't want to be disadvantaged more than once...



That's a good idea!!!  Nice thinking.

Since the condition is so influential (sometimes changing your chance to succeed by 25%), if I as a player incur a disadvantage that lasts for longer than 1 round, I'm going to try my best to rid myself of the condition or gain an advantage to cancel out the negative effect.  This may add to the tension and choices players make in the game.

I like it. 

A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"

 

Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 

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