Advantage and Disadvantage

We had a chance to run a quick game last night with three combat encounters, and one of the new mechanics that really impressed me with it existing and potential versatility is Advantage and Disadvantage.

Mechanically, it allows you to roll two d20s and pick the better (or worse) of the two on a check.

This helps resolve one of the issues that I've always had with the sheer randomness of a single d20 roll (no bell curve).

It worked great in practice last night, is far easier to deal with than a bunch of modifiers to a roll, and I'd like to see this mechanic spread widely across the game (where applicable).

Anyone else have opinions about this mechanic?
I haven't gotten a chance to try it yet, but from my initial readthrough of the playtest rules, this was the thing I liked the most. Glad to hear it holds up well! I hope our group will have a similar experience.
Just thought you should know. the countdown continues...
I like it. It's better than a list of conditions that have varying modifiers. Instead it simplifies it, which is part of the goal, and makes it so there is extra risk invovled. Because 2d20 is two chances to screw it up over one. (Sorry, the evil DM in me came out. :P )
We had a chance to run a quick game last night with three combat encounters, and one of the new mechanics that really impressed me with it existing and potential versatility is Advantage and Disadvantage.

Mechanically, it allows you to roll two d20s and pick the better (or worse) of the two on a check.

This helps resolve one of the issues that I've always had with the sheer randomness of a single d20 roll (no bell curve).

It worked great in practice last night, is far easier to deal with than a bunch of modifiers to a roll, and I'd like to see this mechanic spread widely across the game (where applicable).

Anyone else have opinions about this mechanic?



I have the numbers saved in a googledoc. This is what it looks like:


This chart shows the  cumulative probabilities of rolling some number N or greater, based upon whether you rolled one or two dice. The third column is a list of the magnitude of difference between them. 

Example1: before you had a 50% chance to get an 11 or greater. With two dice you have a 75% chance.

Example2: before you had a 5% chance of critically hitting. With two dice you have a 9.75% chance.


N    Single    Double      Diff
1   100.00% 100.00% 0.00%
2   95.00%   99.75%   4.75%
3   90.00%   99.00%   9.00%
4   85.00%   97.75%   12.75%
5   80.00%   96.00%   16.00%
6   75.00%   93.75%   18.75%
7   70.00%   91.00%   21.00%
8   65.00%   87.75%   22.75%
9   60.00%   84.00%   24.00%
10  55.00%  79.75%   24.75%
11  50.00%  75.00%   25.00%
12  45.00%  69.75%   24.75%
13  40.00%  64.00%   24.00%
14  35.00%  57.75%   22.75%
15  30.00%  51.00%   21.00%
16  25.00%  43.75%   18.75%
17  20.00%  36.00%   16.00%
18  15.00%  27.75%   12.75%
19  10.00%  19.00%   9.00%
20  5.00%    9.75%     4.75%

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It's one of the few true innovations of this version, and I'm eager to see how it works in play. As was mentioned earlier, it's a simple way of handling a lot of situations.

It's also more fun than a flat bonus to your roll. My only worry is that it's pretty powerful...enough more powerful than the traditional +2 that I wonder if it won't throw some stuff. For example, if flanking gives you advantage, rogues (with their 1d6 sneak attack per level) might end up pretty insane....
Since flanking has not been mentioned in the playtest right now I'm assuming that it no longer exists. If sneak attack does indeed go up 1d6 every level (I'm sure it will have a cap, but it may not) getting sneak attack every round becomes overpowered. A level 20 rogue getting 20d6 on every attack? That's too much.

It seems they made sneak attack more deadly, but make advantage harder to get. It will take some time to see exactly how it works out over time, but I can see the rogue as the guy that doesn't go directly into combat but sneaks around to the bbeg behind the lines and one shots him while he is concentrating on the guys out in the open in front.
 My only worry is that it's pretty powerful...enough more powerful than the traditional +2 that I wonder if it won't throw some stuff.


It's roughly equivalent to the old +/-4 (see the charts someone posted above), slightly more in the midrange on DCs, and substantially less in the extremes.
As far as we know the Advantage/Disdvantage system will cover the ability of the rogue to do sneak attack. As it stands now, the rogue has to hide and then attack from hiding. So, sneak attack every other round, averages currently to 10d6 a round. Nothing new here. Now, as I said elsewhere, a rogues' party could cleverly make use of conditions that grant advantage and then the rogue can go on a killing spree ala jack the ripper. That would be awesome for everyone IMO. The rogue is very much more bursty as it stands currently.

That's not to say us clever playtesters won't say: "so, we've abused the crap outta the conditions for granting advantage and slaughtered armies of orcs, goblins, etc. because of this. probably best to tone it down in our opinion."

What party wouldn't love to see the rogue get a gleeful grin on their face as they rip out the hearts of your enemies while their dazed? I get the chuckles thinking about it.  
The real trick with adv. and dis. is the increased chance of critically hitting or missing. It also DOES NOT scale linearly with increased threat ranges. So if they start putting in 18-20 critical weapons that do less die of damage than say a 20 only crit. weapon, then depending on how easy it is to get advantage the lower die/higer crit weapon could be more optimal.

but math like that shold be held back until the full equipment stuff gets put into test. 
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[QUOTE}It's roughly equivalent to the old +/-4 (see the charts someone posted above), slightly more in the midrange on DCs, and substantially less in the extremes.


Sort of my point. That makes them about (i know the math gets wonky) twice as powerful as the usual +2 for generic bonus...which makes it less useful for those random circumstances that pop up.

Not that I can't also use the DM's Best Friend, but I hope to see Advantage/Disadvantage among other things...not as the sole situational modifier. 
We had a chance to run a quick game last night with three combat encounters, and one of the new mechanics that really impressed me with it existing and potential versatility is Advantage and Disadvantage.
 (where applicable).

Anyone else have opinions about this mechanic?



I've only read through the rules pack once, and I waffled back n forth on the idea of the"Advantage/Disadvantage" mechanic replacing a more traditional +2/-2 or whatever to a Check roll.

But, the more I rolled it around in my head, the more I came to like the idea. It just seems like a simple and elegant mechanic. Course that could also be because I'm a fan of the "Mighty Deeds" dice from the new Goodman Games Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG.

Dirty Deeds, DONE DIRT CHEAP!

We had a chance to run a quick game last night with three combat encounters, and one of the new mechanics that really impressed me with it existing and potential versatility is Advantage and Disadvantage.
 (where applicable).

Anyone else have opinions about this mechanic?



I've only read through the rules pack once, and I waffled back n forth on the idea of the"Advantage/Disadvantage" mechanic replacing a more traditional +2/-2 or whatever to a Check roll.

But, the more I rolled it around in my head, the more I came to like the idea. It just seems like a simple and elegant mechanic. Course that could also be because I'm a fan of the "Mighty Deeds" dice from the new Goodman Games Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG.



The +/- was an intuitive system, and that's about all it had going for it. Adding up the modifiers can be cumbersome.

The adv./dis. system takes what was a uniform distribution that had only been shifted to a nonuniform distribution that has been slanted. 

The absolutely critical part of this is that it destroys the idea of number inflation in high level gaming. No matter how much advantage you have you still only roll numbers from 1 to 20, period. I think as we go further into the playtesting people are going to start seeing very balanced high level play because of this sort of smart mechanics writing. It's all very exciting.
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What Clan are you? There is no equality. There exists only equity.
I just wanted to throw my hat in here:

I like the Advantage/ Disadvantage as a replacement for many penalties.

I *particularly* like it as a replacement for Opportunity Attacks on ranged/ spell casting.

I like that OA/AoO are gone, or appear to be gone at least.  It'll encourage moving all around the battlefield rather than only shifting 5 feet for fear of some monster's basic attacks.  Should make for more exciting combats.

~DD 
I just wanted to throw my hat in here:

I like the Advantage/ Disadvantage as a replacement for many penalties.

I *particularly* like it as a replacement for Opportunity Attacks on ranged/ spell casting.

I like that OA/AoO are gone, or appear to be gone at least.  It'll encourage moving all around the battlefield rather than only shifting 5 feet for fear of some monster's basic attacks.  Should make for more exciting combats.

~DD 



Our Based God Mearls confirmed that they are gone (unless too many people want them back). He really felt like it slowed down combat when people constantly performed actions outside of their own turns. Occationally is fine, but you shouldn't base a class around it (looking at you 4e defender).
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I just wanted to throw my hat in here:

I like the Advantage/ Disadvantage as a replacement for many penalties.

I *particularly* like it as a replacement for Opportunity Attacks on ranged/ spell casting.

I like that OA/AoO are gone, or appear to be gone at least.  It'll encourage moving all around the battlefield rather than only shifting 5 feet for fear of some monster's basic attacks.  Should make for more exciting combats.

~DD 



Our Based God Mearls confirmed that they are gone (unless too many people want them back). He really felt like it slowed down combat when people constantly performed actions outside of their own turns. Occationally is fine, but you shouldn't base a class around it (looking at you 4e defender).

I concur. Out of all the editions I've played, the editions with layered actions such as AoO have dragged out combat. It's fun, but I enjoy getting more combats in better.

Bow_Seat, how did you interpret multiple advantage/disadvantage conditions on an attack? Was having one advantage able to nullify multiple disadvantages or did you just go with "whichever there are more of dominates, ties mean no extra die."


Jon
It took me 15 mins before I liked the idea of Advantage/Disadvantage.  At first I thought it rather... flakey. 

As I considered though, it grew on me.  I'm not an optimizer, and I don't care much for statistical probabilities.

What won me over was the thought of how it might play - and it seems like it would be *FUN*.

And for me, that's the point of it all.

YMMV.


Bow_Seat, how did you interpret multiple advantage/disadvantage conditions on an attack? Was having one advantage able to nullify multiple disadvantages or did you just go with "whichever there are more of dominates, ties mean no extra die."


Jon



Just wanted to weigh in on this. I am using a 1 for 1 ratio, 2 advantages and 1 disadvantage then you have advantage, 5 disadvantages and 1 advantage you aredisadvantaged. If they are equal then neither.
I put up a blog post with some detail about this last night: onlinedungeonmaster.com/2012/05/24/advan...

As others have said above, Advantage is effectively like a +4 or +5 to the roll for most rolls, and Disadvantage is like a -4 or -5.

The table below tells you the probability of getting a particular number on the die or better. Note that if you need to hit AC18 but you have +6 to hit, then you only need a 12 on the die, for instance.

 
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Even If I dont play Next, im definately using this idea for 4e, maybe replace all of the -5 modifiers (Running, Total concealment and superior cover among a few) with disadvantage.  I'd rather see a player attempt something he knows he has a chance of hitting rather then a -5 putting the action totally out of reach period.

Play whatever the **** you want. Never Point a loaded party at a plot you are not willing to shoot. Arcane Rhetoric. My Blog.

Even If I dont play Next, im definately using this idea for 4e, maybe replace all of the -5 modifiers (Running, Total concealment and superior cover among a few) with disadvantage.  I'd rather see a player attempt something he knows he has a chance of hitting rather then a -5 putting the action totally out of reach period.



I completely agree, Adv/Dis is the best thing to come out of this playtest. Nail, head.
Reading through the packet, I couldn't exactly figure advantage and disadvantage out. It references these two things several times, but I didn't see any clear rules about what happens if a player has advantage or disadvantage.

So, if the player has advantage he makes 2d20 rolls and uses the better? And what exactly happens if he has disadvantage? Maybe I wasn't thorough enough, but honestly, I didn't see anything defining this aspect. 
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Roll 2d20.

If you have advantage, take the higher of the two.

If you have disadvantage, take the lower of the two.

If you have neither, or both, only roll 1d20.
Roll 2d20.

If you have advantage, take the higher of the two.

If you have disadvantage, take the lower of the two.

If you have neither, or both, only roll 1d20.



Ah, I see. Thank you. Where exactly can I find that in the materials?

Edit: Nevermind. Found it. 
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
This is the type of elegance I would expect from a new system and I hope the rest of the system can line up with such clean dynamics.
Since flanking has not been mentioned in the playtest right now I'm assuming that it no longer exists. If sneak attack does indeed go up 1d6 every level (I'm sure it will have a cap, but it may not) getting sneak attack every round becomes overpowered. A level 20 rogue getting 20d6 on every attack? That's too much.

It seems they made sneak attack more deadly, but make advantage harder to get. It will take some time to see exactly how it works out over time, but I can see the rogue as the guy that doesn't go directly into combat but sneaks around to the bbeg behind the lines and one shots him while he is concentrating on the guys out in the open in front.



well, about the sneak attack progression...it probably will be changed and this progression shown at playtest material (that goes only to 3rd level, not 20) is just symbolic...for now we need to check if Advantage/Disadvantage works nicely with Sneak Attacks...in my point of view  
I just wanted to throw my hat in here:

I like the Advantage/ Disadvantage as a replacement for many penalties.

I *particularly* like it as a replacement for Opportunity Attacks on ranged/ spell casting.

I like that OA/AoO are gone, or appear to be gone at least.  It'll encourage moving all around the battlefield rather than only shifting 5 feet for fear of some monster's basic attacks.  Should make for more exciting combats.

~DD 



Our Based God Mearls confirmed that they are gone (unless too many people want them back). He really felt like it slowed down combat when people constantly performed actions outside of their own turns. Occationally is fine, but you shouldn't base a class around it (looking at you 4e defender).

I concur. Out of all the editions I've played, the editions with layered actions such as AoO have dragged out combat. It's fun, but I enjoy getting more combats in better.

Bow_Seat, how did you interpret multiple advantage/disadvantage conditions on an attack? Was having one advantage able to nullify multiple disadvantages or did you just go with "whichever there are more of dominates, ties mean no extra die."


Jon



I believe that I read in the rules that you can't stack them, so no double advantage. The way that I personally ruled was that they cancelled one for one, but that just seemed most fair at the time. I really didn't do much analysis on it.

So basically if you gave someone disadvantage twice and they got advantage once then I would rule that they have disadvantage. I would like to hear other peoples' thoughts on the matter. 
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So basically if you gave someone disadvantage twice and they got advantage once then I would rule that they have disadvantage. I would like to hear other peoples' thoughts on the matter. 



That's my take on it as well Bow Seat.  Keep it Simple, Keep it fun.
I ran some numbers, that agree with the tables posted above, but if you compute the expected value, its not +4 to +5 like it may appear (since the tables are cumulative, its kind of misleading).

With advantage, the expected value is around 13.824.
With disadvantage, its around 7.175.

Since the normal expected value is 10.5, the bonus/penalty amounts to about 3.325.

The median is in fact around 15 for advantage and around 7 for disadvantage, but I think the expected value is a better measurement 

What surprised me is that the most likely value to get with advantage is a 20, which may explain why the critical damage is just maximum damage.

I also tried with 3 dice, and the expected values are now 15.487 and 5.5112, "only" 4.998 above or below the norm. This may mean that it is acceptable to have extra advantage or disadvantage in some very specific situations.
I'll put in my two cents here and say that after running a game, rolling 2d20 has a much better impact on the game than just a +2 circumstance modifier.  I really like it and so did my players.  One thing that showed up very well: by maneuvering into a position where the enemies would have disadvantage to their attacks, the group was able to negate a few critical hits as well as take advantage of the situation and make their attacks much more accurate against the ogre in the goblin dens (who I ruled was squeezing through corridors in chase of them).  I'm very happy with tihs system

I Like the new Advantage/Disadvantage system but  "There are no 'stacking' penalties. If I'm not proficient with a longbow, I have disadvantage, so I might as well fire the longbow into melee, at 600 feet, while clinging to the side of a wall in a thunderstorm. A proficient archer has no better luck at firing into melee, than a non-proficient archer."


It really needs a bit more thought because of this one issue.


I Like the new Advantage/Disadvantage system but  "There are no 'stacking' penalties. If I'm not proficient with a longbow, I have disadvantage, so I might as well fire the longbow into melee, at 600 feet, while clinging to the side of a wall in a thunderstorm. A proficient archer has no better luck at firing into melee, than a non-proficient archer."


It really needs a bit more thought because of this one issue.



Good point, but this is the over simplified version.  I'm sure when the tactics book comes out it'll have all the bells and whistles many have been complaining about that are missing.  As for your example, I may give a +2 to +4 for cover if particularly windy/rainy.

I Like the new Advantage/Disadvantage system but  "There are no 'stacking' penalties. If I'm not proficient with a longbow, I have disadvantage, so I might as well fire the longbow into melee, at 600 feet, while clinging to the side of a wall in a thunderstorm. A proficient archer has no better luck at firing into melee, than a non-proficient archer."


It really needs a bit more thought because of this one issue.



Good point, but this is the over simplified version.  I'm sure when the tactics book comes out it'll have all the bells and whistles many have been complaining about that are missing.  As for your example, I may give a +2 to +4 for cover if particularly windy/rainy.



I would argue that it's pretty good the way it is. It's forcing the player to think tactically about how best to offset Disadvantage, and gain Advantage. In the archer scenario you're finding a small percentage situation that levels the playing field.

Take two archers, one Olympic lvl and one me. Blindfold us both, point us toward the target and spin us around a few times. The Olympic guy is still going to have a better chance of hitting the target., but not so significantly better to give him significant advantage.

This plays to the Dis. pretty well. We both roll 2d20 and take the better number. He is probably adding 7 or 8 to his number, and I might be adding 3. With a worse shot he still has a significantly better chance of striking. Assume you need a 15 to hit, he has a 12 digit range to land in where I have a 8 digit range. Neither one of us is going to do great, but he is still better off.

I Like the new Advantage/Disadvantage system but  "There are no 'stacking' penalties. If I'm not proficient with a longbow, I have disadvantage, so I might as well fire the longbow into melee, at 600 feet, while clinging to the side of a wall in a thunderstorm. A proficient archer has no better luck at firing into melee, than a non-proficient archer."


It really needs a bit more thought because of this one issue.




That's why I tried with 3d20, and I think that its reasonable to have some advantages and disadvantages stack, since the maximum value never goes up, and I don't think the difference is that drastic as it may seem.
Advantage and Disadvantage mechanic
I like :-). Well done
When I received my playtest pack, I read Mearl's letter, then How to Play, followed by the DM PDF.  Then I proceeded to check out the pre-gens, beastiary, and finally the adventure.

When I first read about the Advantage/Disadvantage rule, I didn't care much for it.  The first thing that popped into my head is, "Great, more dice we'll have to roll to resolve an action."  It didn't really dawn on me til I later as I kept reading just how many situations such a simple rule could be applied.  I was sold by the time I finished the DM PDF.  It throws out the need for a lot of random and situational modifiers, and it makes a lot of sense.  My group and I are going to play the adventure this weekend, so I'm looking forward to seeing the rule in actual play.

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I don't cancel Advantage / Disadvantage one-for-one.  It's marginally faster not to have to count up one or the other (though, honestly I doubt that stacks of Disadvantages will come up that often), but more importantly, it makes things worth doing.  If you're encumbered and prone and blind or whatever, there's a tendency to just accept that there's probably not much you can do about it without spending the entire encounter futzing with it.  But if you just need one Advantage to counter it, sure, you won't actually be "advantaged", but at least you can maintain your standard.

I guess it could work fine either way, but that's the way I'm doing it now.
I don't cancel Advantage / Disadvantage one-for-one.  It's marginally faster not to have to count up one or the other (though, honestly I doubt that stacks of Disadvantages will come up that often), but more importantly, it makes things worth doing.  If you're encumbered and prone and blind or whatever, there's a tendency to just accept that there's probably not much you can do about it without spending the entire encounter futzing with it.  But if you just need one Advantage to counter it, sure, you won't actually be "advantaged", but at least you can maintain your standard.

I guess it could work fine either way, but that's the way I'm doing it now.



Not the way I interpreted it.  You don't roll more than one extra die just because you have more than one advantage or disadvantage source, but they still exist.  One advantage would only counter, and be countered, by one disadvantage.  If you had further disadvantage sources, seems to me, you'd still be disadvantaged.

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I must the only one who sees numbers as more sensible and more resonable...

Saying one disadvantage is the same as any other disadvantage sounds way too simple to me. I'm off balance so I can't shoot as well BUT i can shoot as well as someone who is blind? Really?

And can one advantage really offset multiple disadvantages? Sounds great for my blind-drunken monk style ;)

Plus i'd like this mechaninc if it actually did away with another mechanic (like modifiers) but it doesn't look like it does that? Cover still has +2 ac or +5 ac. So are we going to now have a number of modifiers to add / subtract AS WELL as a number of advantages or disadvantages to count up?

Is this really simplifying combat?

Yes on the surface this sounds pretty cool and I LOVE the concept - but it's implementation needs a lot of work IMHO.
I must the only one who sees numbers as more sensible and more resonable...

Saying one disadvantage is the same as any other disadvantage sounds way too simple to me. I'm off balance so I can't shoot as well BUT i can shoot as well as someone who is blind? Really?

And can one advantage really offset multiple disadvantages? Sounds great for my blind-drunken monk style ;)

Plus i'd like this mechaninc if it actually did away with another mechanic (like modifiers) but it doesn't look like it does that? Cover still has +2 ac or +5 ac. So are we going to now have a number of modifiers to add / subtract AS WELL as a number of advantages or disadvantages to count up?

Is this really simplifying combat?

Yes on the surface this sounds pretty cool and I LOVE the concept - but it's implementation needs a lot of work IMHO.



I wasn't too sure when first reading the packet, but the advantage rules worked pretty well in play.  I do agree that either they need to stack (which gets too complicated I think) or a single advantage shouldn't cancel out multiple instances of disadvantage.
Hmm, this is a tough design issue.

On the one hand I really like the mechanic of taking the min or max of two die rolls since it leaves open the possibility of doing just as well but substantially effects the probability of that outcome.

So it's a great mechanic to use in a situation where, say, someone has thrown some kind of blinding spice in your archer's face and he still tries to make a shot.  It's much harder for him to hit but maybe he gets lucky and still skewers the enemey.

On the other hand it just doesn't scale and isn't flexible enough to handle the huge variety of situations.

For one it renders it useless to further hinder an adversary.  If the enemey archer is trying to assasinate the helpless princess lying bleeding on the floor it should still make sense to keep trying to distract him by throwing rocks even after the rogue hits him in the face with the jar of spices.

For another it doesn't let the DM decide how much a particular advantage helps or hurts your charachter.

Lastely, it fails to substantially help you win a truly overmatched contest.  If your enemy's dex just makes them too hard for your wizard to ever land a succesful hit then hanging on their leg doesn't help (or if every crit hits then how hard the task is becomes irrelevant).

---

What about a die based addition to your check instead?  Say if you have (basic) advantage you roll 1d6 -3 and add any positive result to your check and vice versa for disadvantage.  Now you can succeed at previously impossible tasks, have double or triple advantage, and still potentially succeed (with lower probability) despite disadvantage.

This whole thing may be too difficult.  Maybe you should just go back to assigning a modifier to your roll instead.

The double dice roll is very nice and simple but people expect whatever mechanism is used to scale with greater advantage/disadvantage.  Moreover, they will want to gain greater advantage when using some power/skill/situation as they increase in level.  So whatever mechanic you use really needs to scale.

This is the right solution for first time RPG players but it really doesn't handle the entire range of play well enough to be added to D&D.
I like the system for two simple facts.

1) Its simple.  I like simple, rules light systems.  They hold a great deal of appeal for me and my group.  One Rule Engine and FATE are our systems of choice.

2) I have at least two players who are cursed by the dice gods.  When it matters, they will completely bone the roll.  Every time.  Always.  One of them rolled 6 "1's" in a row.  Advantage is why they're both play testing
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