Advantage and Disadvantage: Not Bell Curve

I've been reading several threads about the concept of Advantage and Disadvantage.

People seem to like this new mechanic quite a lot, which is OK, I suppose. I don't agree with them, but that's just my opinion.

But what bothers me is that they were talking about "bell curves". And, AFAIK, nothing in DnDNext uses a bell curve for task resolution. This is a graphic with the actual probabilities of achieving a certain number when rolling checks in DnDNext:



As you can plainly see, there's no Bell Curve involved. There's always a straight line, just rotated on an axis. IF the developers wanted to introduce a Bell Curve in the system, they should change the normal d20 rolls to 2d20/2. THAT would be a bell curve, with only 0,25% probabilities of rolling 20s or 1s and a much bigger % of rolling 10s/11s. As of today, Next doesn't use a rolling system that turns into a bell curve.

Then, about my general dislike for this mechanic I'll use this thread to explain it again.

1) Since Advantages and Disadvantages don't stack with each other, it's just as difficult to hit someone 35 feet away with a sling bullet than to hit the same person 35 feet away while also being:



  • In close combat with an enemy

  • Frightened

  • Drunk/Intoxicated

  • Blind

  • Restrained

  • Wearing armor without proper training/expertise/proficiency

  • Any combination of the previous condition (including all of them)



This, for me at least, breaks any kind of sense this mechanic was supposed to make. Stackable and plain +/- modifiers allow more variability (i.e. Blind making attacking more difficult than being Intoxicated) and are more easily stackable. Right now, if you're Restrained you're better of also being Intoxicated and using better armor, since you'll get to reduce damage and get hit less often with almost no extra negative consequences. (And Wizards don't have to roll attacks that often, either)

2) The Disadvantage system promotes specialization, as the roll won't matter so much to a character that succeeds with lower rolls (of course, there's the problem of almost a 10% of rolling 1's, but it's not that much worse than a 5%). The Advantage system, on the other hand, is more useful to underspecialized characters, but But I don't see one thing making up to the other.

3) An then there's the "take 10" mechanic of the Rogue, that I'm not so clear about its interaction with Disadvantages.

IMHO, it could be much, much better and much, much clearer than it is if we went back to good old +/-'s.
I like the idea of a double re-roll, but I agree that it might be applied a little too broadly.  Perhaps differing degrees of advantage/disadvantage can start stacking modifiers in addition to the double re-roll?  This way conditional modifier still come up less frequently, but there's still a sense of variable difficulty.
Bell curve is not the right word, but the line graph doesn't really 'say' anything. You aren't looking for an exact number (other than 1 or 20). You are looking for "X or higher". Probability of rolling a number X or higher, or Y or lower is what matters, not 'odds of rolling a 9', since if rolling a 9 is good, then so is rolling a 10 or a 19.

While some may have problems with stacking multiple disadvantages on top of each other ... well, if you are restrained, you can't just say "well, I might as well be drunk too" or "I might as well put on heavier armor". First of all, being restrained would make it a little hard to change your armor, and you aren't going to be restrained for the entire fight (hopefully). However, something like intoxication would, I would assume, last the entire fight (and possibly longer). If a player decides to be disadvantaged AT ALL TIMES, just to avoid being 'further' disadvantaged ... it's still not exactly getting a benefit. They are deciding to always be bad off, instead of only on occaision.

This is also where modularity comes in. There will probably be an option (and even if there isn't, I'm sure DMs that wanted to would houserule it on their own) where advantage/disadvantage become a flat bonus/penalty instead, and can stack.

Of course, in 4e we didn't have situations where a dazed, prone enemy that was flanked was giving "triple combat advantage". Partially, the idea of the advantage/disadvantage system is two fold. First, it is simple (no math involved by the players, the max and min DCs are the same, so it's not "you need to have advantage to be able to hit this guy, or pull this off". It doesn't 'allow' or 'disallow' success, it simply increases (or decreases) the chance of success. Also, by having it be "either you have it or you don't" you don't have to check for each type, or work towards stacking multiple types together.


Advantage/Disadvantage is likely something they want to see playtested (instead of just theorycrafted), as it's a new mechanic. However, it is also something that, like much of the game, is probably going to be optional by way of modularity. [See also: flat hp progression vs. rolling dice, or stat arrays vs. point buy vs. rolling for stats]            

...
Then, about my general dislike for this mechanic I'll use this thread to explain it again 1.

1) Since Advantages and Disadvantages don't stack with each other, it's just as difficult to hit someone 35 feet away with a sling bullet than to hit the same person 35 feet away while also being:



  • In close combat with an enemy

  • Frightened

  • Drunk/Intoxicated

  • Blind

  • Restrained

  • Wearing armor without proper training/expertise/proficiency

  • Any combination of the previous condition (including all of them)



This, for me at least, breaks any kind of sense this mechanic was supposed to make. Stackable and plain +/- modifiers allow more variability (i.e. Blind making attacking more difficult than being Intoxicated) and are more easily stackable. Right now, if you're Restrained you're better of also being Intoxicated and using better armor, since you'll get to reduce damage and get hit less often with almost no extra negative consequences. (And Wizards don't have to roll attacks that often, either)

Also, the Disadvantage system promotes specialization, as the roll won't matter so much to a character that succeeds with lower rolls (of course, there's the problem of almost a 10% of rolling 1's, but it's not that much worse than a 5%). The Advantage system, on the other hand, is more useful to underspecialized characters, but But I don't see one thing making up to the other.

An then there's the "take 10" mechanic of the Rogue, that I'm not so clear about its interaction with Disadvantages..



A few quick replies:

- I agree that multiple disadvantages should be worse than one disadvantage. One simple option would be to make disadvantages stack by saying that for every disadvantage you have you add an extra die to the roll and take the lowest result of all of them. So if you make an attack while you are both blind and intoxicated, for instance, you would roll three d20 and take the lowest of all three. You could make advantages stack the same way if desired, so if you are invisible attacking a stunned opponent for instance you'd roll three d20 and take the highest result. If you have both advantages and disadvantages you cancel them out and the net result is what you roll (eg one advantages and three disadvantages results in a two-disadvantage net roll)
 
- I agree that the Intoxication condition is kind of dumb. It really shouldn't give a benefit at all, or at least not a benefit as good as it does.

- The Take 10 mechanic of the rogue works as normal with disadvantages. Roll two d20, take the lowest result, but the minimum result is a 10. (ie It's really hard to keep a rogue from succeeding at an easy task.)
My suggestion for this is to use different dice types.

For 1 advantage you would start with a d10. That way if your d20 rolls 9 or below you have a chance of getting higher than that.

Combos:
 1,1
 2,1   2,2
 3,1   3,2   3,3
 4,1   4,2   4,3   4,4
 5,1   5,2   5,3   5,4   5,4
 6,1   6,2   6,3   6,4   6,5   6,6
 7,1   7,2   7,3   7,4   7,5   7,6   7,7
 8,1   8,2   8,3   8,4   8,5   8,6   8,7   8,8
 9,1   9,2   9,3   9,4   9,5   9,6   9,7   9,8  9,9
10,1 10,2 10,3 10,4 10,5 10,6 10,7 10,8 10,9 10,10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20

2 advantages is 1d20/1d12

 1,1
 2,1   2,2
 3,1   3,2   3,3
 4,1   4,2   4,3   4,4
 5,1   5,2   5,3   5,4   5,4
 6,1   6,2   6,3   6,4   6,5   6,6
 7,1   7,2   7,3   7,4   7,5   7,6   7,7
 8,1   8,2   8,3   8,4   8,5   8,6   8,7   8,8
 9,1   9,2   9,3   9,4   9,5   9,6   9,7   9,8  9,9
10,1 10,2 10,3 10,4 10,5 10,6 10,7 10,8 10,9 10,10
11,1 11,2 11,3 11,4 11,5 11,6 11,7 11,8 11,9 11,10 11,11
12,1 12,2 12,3 12,4 12,5 12,6 12,7 12,8 12,9 12,10 12,11 12,12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20

3 advantages would be 1d20/1d20
 1,1
 2,1   2,2
 3,1   3,2   3,3
 4,1   4,2   4,3   4,4
 5,1   5,2   5,3   5,4   5,4
 6,1   6,2   6,3   6,4   6,5   6,6
 7,1   7,2   7,3   7,4   7,5   7,6   7,7
 8,1   8,2   8,3   8,4   8,5   8,6   8,7   8,8
 9,1   9,2   9,3   9,4   9,5   9,6   9,7   9,8  9,9
10,1 10,2 10,3 10,4 10,5 10,6 10,7 10,8 10,9 10,10
11,1 11,2 11,3 11,4 11,5 11,6 11,7 11,8 11,9 11,10 11,11
12,1 12,2 12,3 12,4 12,5 12,6 12,7 12,8 12,9 12,10 12,11 12,12
13,1 13,2 12,3 13,4 13,5 13,6 13,7 13,8 13,9 13,10 13,11 13,12 13,13
14,1 14,2 14,3 14,4 14,5 14,6 14,7 14,8 14,9 14,10 14,11 14,12 14,13 14,14
15,1 15,2 15,3 15,4 15,5 15,6 15,7 15,8 15,9 15,10 15,11 15,12 15,13 15,14 15,15
16,1 16,2 16,3 16,4 16,5 16,6 16,7 16,8 16,9 16,10 16,11 16,12 16,13 16,14 16,15 16,16
17,1 17,2 17,3 17,4 17,5 17,6 17,7 17,8 17,9 17,10 17,11 17,12 17,13 17,14 17,15 17,17 17,17
18,1 18,2 18,3 18,4 18,5 18,6 18,7 18,8 18,9 18,10 18,11 18,12 18,13 18,14 18,15 18,16 18,17 18,18
19,1 19,2 19,3 19,4 19,5 19,6 19,7 19,8 19,9 19,10 19,11 19,12 19,13 19,14 19,15 19,16 19,17 19,18 19,19
20,1 20,2 20,3 20,4 20,5 20,6 20,7 20,8 20,9 20,10 20,11 20,12 20,13 20,14 20,15 20,16 20,17 20,18 20,19 20,20

Disadvantages would be similar except the hill would go the other way
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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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Let me first point out that the "I'm Restrained, let's get drunk and wear full plate" is intended as an absurd situation and I thought of it as a joke or jest. Even if there was a valid point (YMMV) behind it.

Second, I think that, maybe, with the use of modules and/or several rules changes the Advantage/Disadvantage system could be better and more believable. I really think the main idea behind it, lesser the math, isn't bad. I'm just not sure about the current solution being better.

Well, that and annoyed because people spoke of bell curves that weren't (and aren't) there.

Just my 2 silver pieces.
Here's what "Advantage" was in the PAX East D&D Next play: +2 bonus.  Not this two rolls things.

Imagine a system like this...

Advantage: +2
No bonus/penalty: +0
Disadvantage: -2

I'd even say something like...
Severe Advantage: +3
Strong Advantage: +2
Slight Advantage: +1
No bonus/penalty: +0
Slight Disadvantage: -1
Strong Disadvantage: -2
Severe Disadvantage: -3

As a situation gains multiple advantages, add them and move up and down the "track".  two advantages and three disadvantages =  Slight Disadvantage of -1.  You get the idea.  Like it?
I couldn't agree more about stacking advantages/disadvantages. The concept is very cool, but if I can cancel 20~ something disadvantages with a single advantage . . . Powergamers would have a complete field day.

I think that the "roll multiple dice depending on how many (dis)advantages you have" idea bodyknock suggested might work.

Your friendly neighborhood Revenant Minotaur Half-Blooded Dragonborn Fighter Hybrid Barbarian Multiclassing into Warlord

IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1223957875/Scorecards/Landscape.png)

My suggestion for this is to use different dice types.

For 1 advantage you would start with a d10. That way if your d20 rolls 9 or below you have a chance of getting higher than that.

Combos:
 1,1
 2,1   2,2
 3,1   3,2   3,3
 4,1   4,2   4,3   4,4
 5,1   5,2   5,3   5,4   5,4
 6,1   6,2   6,3   6,4   6,5   6,6
 7,1   7,2   7,3   7,4   7,5   7,6   7,7
 8,1   8,2   8,3   8,4   8,5   8,6   8,7   8,8
 9,1   9,2   9,3   9,4   9,5   9,6   9,7   9,8  9,9
10,1 10,2 10,3 10,4 10,5 10,6 10,7 10,8 10,9 10,10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20

2 advantages is 1d20/1d12

 1,1
 2,1   2,2
 3,1   3,2   3,3
 4,1   4,2   4,3   4,4
 5,1   5,2   5,3   5,4   5,4
 6,1   6,2   6,3   6,4   6,5   6,6
 7,1   7,2   7,3   7,4   7,5   7,6   7,7
 8,1   8,2   8,3   8,4   8,5   8,6   8,7   8,8
 9,1   9,2   9,3   9,4   9,5   9,6   9,7   9,8  9,9
10,1 10,2 10,3 10,4 10,5 10,6 10,7 10,8 10,9 10,10
11,1 11,2 11,3 11,4 11,5 11,6 11,7 11,8 11,9 11,10 11,11
12,1 12,2 12,3 12,4 12,5 12,6 12,7 12,8 12,9 12,10 12,11 12,12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20

3 advantages would be 1d20/1d20
 1,1
 2,1   2,2
 3,1   3,2   3,3
 4,1   4,2   4,3   4,4
 5,1   5,2   5,3   5,4   5,4
 6,1   6,2   6,3   6,4   6,5   6,6
 7,1   7,2   7,3   7,4   7,5   7,6   7,7
 8,1   8,2   8,3   8,4   8,5   8,6   8,7   8,8
 9,1   9,2   9,3   9,4   9,5   9,6   9,7   9,8  9,9
10,1 10,2 10,3 10,4 10,5 10,6 10,7 10,8 10,9 10,10
11,1 11,2 11,3 11,4 11,5 11,6 11,7 11,8 11,9 11,10 11,11
12,1 12,2 12,3 12,4 12,5 12,6 12,7 12,8 12,9 12,10 12,11 12,12
13,1 13,2 12,3 13,4 13,5 13,6 13,7 13,8 13,9 13,10 13,11 13,12 13,13
14,1 14,2 14,3 14,4 14,5 14,6 14,7 14,8 14,9 14,10 14,11 14,12 14,13 14,14
15,1 15,2 15,3 15,4 15,5 15,6 15,7 15,8 15,9 15,10 15,11 15,12 15,13 15,14 15,15
16,1 16,2 16,3 16,4 16,5 16,6 16,7 16,8 16,9 16,10 16,11 16,12 16,13 16,14 16,15 16,16
17,1 17,2 17,3 17,4 17,5 17,6 17,7 17,8 17,9 17,10 17,11 17,12 17,13 17,14 17,15 17,17 17,17
18,1 18,2 18,3 18,4 18,5 18,6 18,7 18,8 18,9 18,10 18,11 18,12 18,13 18,14 18,15 18,16 18,17 18,18
19,1 19,2 19,3 19,4 19,5 19,6 19,7 19,8 19,9 19,10 19,11 19,12 19,13 19,14 19,15 19,16 19,17 19,18 19,19
20,1 20,2 20,3 20,4 20,5 20,6 20,7 20,8 20,9 20,10 20,11 20,12 20,13 20,14 20,15 20,16 20,17 20,18 20,19 20,20

Disadvantages would be similar except the hill would go the other way




The problem with these trees is that an extra d10 or d12 is BARELY worth anything else – most successes that you'd have to roll for require well more than a result of 10 or 12 – to the point that on a non-combat roll, DC10 is something so simple you can just take 10 and consider it an auto-success. 

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I too am a fan of advantage and disadvantage. While its not a bell curve, it does reign in the math a bit.
I couldn't agree more about stacking advantages/disadvantages. The concept is very cool, but if I can cancel 20~ something disadvantages with a single advantage . . . Powergamers would have a complete field day.
.



You can't cancel out multiple disadvantages with one advantage. At least not how I read the rules. It says you can't roll more than one extra dice per Advantage/Disadvantage. It also says A advantage and A disadvantage cancel out. That means 3 disadvantages are reduced to 2 by 1 advantage. So if your intoxicated, feared, and blind but manage (as god only knows how players manage to do it) to get off a sneak attack on a foe you will still be disadvantaged.
My suggestion for this is to use different dice types.

For 1 advantage you would start with a d10. That way if your d20 rolls 9 or below you have a chance of getting higher than that.

Combos:
 1,1
 2,1   2,2
 3,1   3,2   3,3
 4,1   4,2   4,3   4,4
 5,1   5,2   5,3   5,4   5,4
 6,1   6,2   6,3   6,4   6,5   6,6
 7,1   7,2   7,3   7,4   7,5   7,6   7,7
 8,1   8,2   8,3   8,4   8,5   8,6   8,7   8,8
 9,1   9,2   9,3   9,4   9,5   9,6   9,7   9,8  9,9
10,1 10,2 10,3 10,4 10,5 10,6 10,7 10,8 10,9 10,10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20

2 advantages is 1d20/1d12

 1,1
 2,1   2,2
 3,1   3,2   3,3
 4,1   4,2   4,3   4,4
 5,1   5,2   5,3   5,4   5,4
 6,1   6,2   6,3   6,4   6,5   6,6
 7,1   7,2   7,3   7,4   7,5   7,6   7,7
 8,1   8,2   8,3   8,4   8,5   8,6   8,7   8,8
 9,1   9,2   9,3   9,4   9,5   9,6   9,7   9,8  9,9
10,1 10,2 10,3 10,4 10,5 10,6 10,7 10,8 10,9 10,10
11,1 11,2 11,3 11,4 11,5 11,6 11,7 11,8 11,9 11,10 11,11
12,1 12,2 12,3 12,4 12,5 12,6 12,7 12,8 12,9 12,10 12,11 12,12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20

3 advantages would be 1d20/1d20
 1,1
 2,1   2,2
 3,1   3,2   3,3
 4,1   4,2   4,3   4,4
 5,1   5,2   5,3   5,4   5,4
 6,1   6,2   6,3   6,4   6,5   6,6
 7,1   7,2   7,3   7,4   7,5   7,6   7,7
 8,1   8,2   8,3   8,4   8,5   8,6   8,7   8,8
 9,1   9,2   9,3   9,4   9,5   9,6   9,7   9,8  9,9
10,1 10,2 10,3 10,4 10,5 10,6 10,7 10,8 10,9 10,10
11,1 11,2 11,3 11,4 11,5 11,6 11,7 11,8 11,9 11,10 11,11
12,1 12,2 12,3 12,4 12,5 12,6 12,7 12,8 12,9 12,10 12,11 12,12
13,1 13,2 12,3 13,4 13,5 13,6 13,7 13,8 13,9 13,10 13,11 13,12 13,13
14,1 14,2 14,3 14,4 14,5 14,6 14,7 14,8 14,9 14,10 14,11 14,12 14,13 14,14
15,1 15,2 15,3 15,4 15,5 15,6 15,7 15,8 15,9 15,10 15,11 15,12 15,13 15,14 15,15
16,1 16,2 16,3 16,4 16,5 16,6 16,7 16,8 16,9 16,10 16,11 16,12 16,13 16,14 16,15 16,16
17,1 17,2 17,3 17,4 17,5 17,6 17,7 17,8 17,9 17,10 17,11 17,12 17,13 17,14 17,15 17,17 17,17
18,1 18,2 18,3 18,4 18,5 18,6 18,7 18,8 18,9 18,10 18,11 18,12 18,13 18,14 18,15 18,16 18,17 18,18
19,1 19,2 19,3 19,4 19,5 19,6 19,7 19,8 19,9 19,10 19,11 19,12 19,13 19,14 19,15 19,16 19,17 19,18 19,19
20,1 20,2 20,3 20,4 20,5 20,6 20,7 20,8 20,9 20,10 20,11 20,12 20,13 20,14 20,15 20,16 20,17 20,18 20,19 20,20

Disadvantages would be similar except the hill would go the other way



I was actually going to suggest this very idea.  While rolling an extra d10 won't help much if the rolling a 10 won't help you succeed, it does significantly reduce the odds of rolling critical fumbles, as well as making low DC tasks even easier to succeed at.
op> If you are talking flat rolls, you are accurate.  However DnD is based on achiving a roll or greater, which does create a curve graph.


The difference is most noticeable at the 50% threshold, 15+ for advantage, 11+ for normal and 5+ for disadvantage.

Edit> Though I think I did some of my caculations off a bit, as the Disadavantage and Advantage should mirror each other and they don't quite.




You can't cancel out multiple disadvantages with one advantage. At least not how I read the rules. It says you can't roll more than one extra dice per Advantage/Disadvantage. It also says A advantage and A disadvantage cancel out. That means 3 disadvantages are reduced to 2 by 1 advantage. So if your intoxicated, feared, and blind but manage (as god only knows how players manage to do it) to get off a sneak attack on a foe you will still be disadvantaged.



I suppose it might be wrong, but conventional WIS on the forums is that regardless of the number of modifiers, you can only be Advantaged or Disadvantaged once.  Then, they cancel each other out.

That said, I like the current rules because they're effective and quick.  Plus, while one Advantageous situation might cancel multiple Disadvantageous situations, it also means you're never getting your Advantage, and there will still be reason to seek to remove those Disadvantages.
Maybe apply advantages as something like the following:


One advantage: +2

Two advantages: +3

Three or more advantages: +5 but the DM may prefer autosuccess if that makes more sense in the narrative context.
You can't cancel out multiple disadvantages with one advantage. At least not how I read the rules. It says you can't roll more than one extra dice per Advantage/Disadvantage. It also says A advantage and A disadvantage cancel out. That means 3 disadvantages are reduced to 2 by 1 advantage. So if your intoxicated, feared, and blind but manage (as god only knows how players manage to do it) to get off a sneak attack on a foe you will still be disadvantaged.



I suppose it might be wrong, but conventional WIS on the forums is that regardless of the number of modifiers, you can only be Advantaged or Disadvantaged once.  Then, they cancel each other out.

That said, I like the current rules because they're effective and quick.  Plus, while one Advantageous situation might cancel multiple Disadvantageous situations, it also means you're never getting your Advantage, and there will still be reason to seek to remove those Disadvantages.



It doesn't matter what the 'conventional' wisdom is. Go back and read it for yourself. One disadvantage cancels an advantage out. So multiples cancel each other out on a 1 to 1 basis...
"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.
When making suggestions, make sure your suggestion isn't more complex than their existing rule.  Their overriding goal with D&D Next is to put a cap on complexity.  Rolling a die more than twice, or rolling dice and then averaging, or rolling different sizes of dice are all more complicated.  Having a sliding scale of advantage and disadvantage is more complicated.

If a player tries to abuse having multiple disadvantages at once, which has not once happened to me in 4E, the DM can just make an exception and give that player a larger disadvantage for that particular situation.  There's no need for a rule for it. 
This isn't connected to your bell curve comment,

but the whole searching for advantage feels a lot like a Thief's Backstab ability in the '70s. Very hard to pull off, but very rewarding if you pulled it off. As someone who's played a 4ed Avenger, I know the value of rolling 2 attack dice. Whatever side of the DM screen I would be on, I would want to know how to get Advantages early on in the campaign, and try to get it as much as possible. Compared to getting a +3 to an attack by charging into a flank in 4ed, rolling twice for an attack is simply incredible. 

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick


It doesn't matter what the 'conventional' wisdom is. Go back and read it for yourself. One disadvantage cancels an advantage out. So multiples cancel each other out on a 1 to 1 basis...



Using common meanings for the words in it; you are wrong.

Advantage or Disadvantage is on/off switch, not a condition.  If you advantage you roll an extra die, if you have disadvantage you roll and extra die.  If you roll three dice, you ignore the two extras so just roll one.
op> If you are talking flat rolls, you are accurate.  However DnD is based on achiving a roll or greater, which does create a curve graph.


The difference is most noticeable at the 50% threshold, 15+ for advantage, 11+ for normal and 5+ for disadvantage.

Edit> Though I think I did some of my caculations off a bit, as the Disadavantage and Advantage should mirror each other and they don't quite.





Nice math!  

A Brave Knight of WTF

 

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

 

 


It doesn't matter what the 'conventional' wisdom is. Go back and read it for yourself. One disadvantage cancels an advantage out. So multiples cancel each other out on a 1 to 1 basis...



Using common meanings for the words in it; you are wrong.

Advantage or Disadvantage is on/off switch, not a condition.  If you advantage you roll an extra die, if you have disadvantage you roll and extra die.  If you roll three dice, you ignore the two extras so just roll one.



The exact wording is:

"If you have advantage and disadvantage on the same check, attack roll, or saving throw the advantage and the disadvantage cancel each other out for that roll."

Its pretty clear. 1 to 1 basis canceling each other out.

Above that it says:

"No matter how many times you gain advantage or disadvantage on the same check, attack roll, or saving throw, you roll only one additional d20"

So according to this you can gain multiple advantage or disadvantage, which means they cancel each other out 1 to 1. It is not an on off switch.
"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.
It is an 'odd' mechanic. Mostly I sort of think it is a bit obtuse. Many people really aren't going to be sure just what advantage DOES. The virtue of a straight +2 is everyone understands it. Transparency can be a good thing. Truthfully the main purpose of these sorts of bonuses and penalties is to give the player the sense of having gotten something good or suffered something bad. Simply put that works better when they entirely understand the thing they're getting. Still, in some ways it is a nice mechanic.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Rhenny> Thanks

Loik> We will agree to disagree until they errata the playtest for clarity.

Abdul> I think they thought that adding a second die roll would let their AC levels carry through with the no bonus to attack thing.

The problem is, against things that are hard to hit (need 16+) the extra die roll Significantly changes matters.  With advantage when you normally would hit 1/4 of the time, you now hit 2/5, and at 1/3 you are hitting 1/2 of the time.  Not to mention it doubles your crit rate (kinda...mostly, goes from 5% to 9.75%, but meh whats .25% between friends)
Oh trust me players know if they got something good or bad when a 4 suddenly becomes a 20, or conversely a 16 becomes a 1 or 2. 
I wonder how many people who are "in love" with advantage/disadvantage now will see it differently when their character has disadvantage and is fighting an NPC with advantage. In general that means their attacks will be 20-25% less likely to hit their target, while their enemy's attacks will be 20-25% more likely to hit them. If they are evenly matched at about a 50% "normal" chance to hit each other, the PC will be getting hit three times for every single time they hit the enemy.

So, after a battle against those odds, come back and tell me how "great" it is not to have to do a bit of math. 
However, something like intoxication would, I would assume, last the entire fight (and possibly longer). If a player decides to be disadvantaged AT ALL TIMES, just to avoid being 'further' disadvantaged ... it's still not exactly getting a benefit. They are deciding to always be bad off, instead of only on occaision.



I so want to play a dwarf that spends the whole time intoxicated now.
I wonder how many people who are "in love" with advantage/disadvantage now will see it differently when their character has disadvantage and is fighting an NPC with advantage. In general that means their attacks will be 20-25% less likely to hit their target, while their enemy's attacks will be 20-25% more likely to hit them. If they are evenly matched at about a 50% "normal" chance to hit each other, the PC will be getting hit three times for every single time they hit the enemy.

So, after a battle against those odds, come back and tell me how "great" it is not to have to do a bit of math. 



I can't seehow much worse that is from fighting a creature with significant bonuses while at a penalty yourself in other editions.


It doesn't matter what the 'conventional' wisdom is. Go back and read it for yourself. One disadvantage cancels an advantage out. So multiples cancel each other out on a 1 to 1 basis...



Using common meanings for the words in it; you are wrong.

Advantage or Disadvantage is on/off switch, not a condition.  If you advantage you roll an extra die, if you have disadvantage you roll and extra die.  If you roll three dice, you ignore the two extras so just roll one.



The exact wording is:

"If you have advantage and disadvantage on the same check, attack roll, or saving throw the advantage and the disadvantage cancel each other out for that roll."

Its pretty clear. 1 to 1 basis canceling each other out.

Above that it says:

"No matter how many times you gain advantage or disadvantage on the same check, attack roll, or saving throw, you roll only one additional d20"

So according to this you can gain multiple advantage or disadvantage, which means they cancel each other out 1 to 1. It is not an on off switch.



Um an "On or Off" switch is exactly what the Advantage/Disadvantage system is and your own quote proves it. Again:

If you have advantage and disadvantage on the same check, attack roll, or saving throw the advantage and the disadvantage cancel each other out for that roll.

The hypothetical drunk halfling thief in platmail wielding a greatsword is at disadvantage.  However, if he gets advantage somehow, then he would have both advantage and disadvantage on the same (attack) roll.  That means they would cancel each other out by the very language you quoted.  An On/off switch is exactly what this is.


-Polaris
  
I wonder how many people who are "in love" with advantage/disadvantage now will see it differently when their character has disadvantage and is fighting an NPC with advantage. In general that means their attacks will be 20-25% less likely to hit their target, while their enemy's attacks will be 20-25% more likely to hit them. If they are evenly matched at about a 50% "normal" chance to hit each other, the PC will be getting hit three times for every single time they hit the enemy.

So, after a battle against those odds, come back and tell me how "great" it is not to have to do a bit of math. 



I can't seehow much worse that is from fighting a creature with significant bonuses while at a penalty yourself in other editions.




In one word:  Medusa.  The packett does suggest that a DM that inflicts suprise on a party using a Medusa is a donkey's posterior but that ignores the monster description which strongly implies (to me anyway) that the Medusa will do her utmost to do just that (by making the party think she is a damsel in distress most likely until it is too late).

Great.  You are suprised and at disadvantage.  Not only can you NOT avoid the Medusa's gaze but your saving throws are at disadvantage while this happens and if you fail you die.


Game over man.  Game over.


-Polaris    
Look, whatever else this new version has done, nothing I've seen comes close to absolutely dominating combat like this "advantage/disadvantage" system.

And I mean DOMINATING combat. You get advantage and force your opponent to have a disadvantage and you're just going to crush him like a bug.

So that's what the optimizers and power gamers will do. They will use every trick in the book to gain advantage and force the enemy into disadvantage.

Because that's "I win" right there.

I've never seen a version of D&D that is so totally dominated by a single mechanical effect.

It's truly stunning what they've done. They've turned combat into an A/DA race.
I wonder how many people who are "in love" with advantage/disadvantage now will see it differently when their character has disadvantage and is fighting an NPC with advantage. In general that means their attacks will be 20-25% less likely to hit their target, while their enemy's attacks will be 20-25% more likely to hit them. If they are evenly matched at about a 50% "normal" chance to hit each other, the PC will be getting hit three times for every single time they hit the enemy.

So, after a battle against those odds, come back and tell me how "great" it is not to have to do a bit of math. 



I can't seehow much worse that is from fighting a creature with significant bonuses while at a penalty yourself in other editions.


And this exactly illustrates the opacity of the advantage/disadvantage mechanic. It is a much steeper penalty than you'd get in 4e generally.

Advantage is roughly a +4 and disadvantage is roughly a -4 (less on the extreme ends but 5e to-hits so far look like they cluster in the 8-13 range). CA in 4e is a +2 and there's not really exactly a specific equivalent of disadvantage, but -2 is pretty typical. On top of that Advantage means you crit about 2x more often, and disadvantage means you crit about 20x less often. That last bit is also more important than in 4e given that few 4e at-level creatures can one-shot a PC with a crit. Some of the playtest creatures can (really it is hard to judge this overall, but in any case it is at least another benefit of advantage).

Having a -2 vs a +2 in 4e is going to be potentially a problem, but actually won't hurt you that much. You'll take around 20% more damage and do about 20% less, not great but survivable. In 5e playtest that would be more like 40% less vs 40% more. Your chances of winning that fight would be quite small in 5e and only marginally less in 4e (on average you'd probably not even chalk up a miss or get hit even one more time in a single melee in 4e).

And as Polaris said, there are already a couple creatures in 5e with absolute SODs (the stirge isn't quite a SOD, but it is pretty close).
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Did someone the math with stackable advantages and disadvantages? 
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Look, whatever else this new version has done, nothing I've seen comes close to absolutely dominating combat like this "advantage/disadvantage" system.

And I mean DOMINATING combat. You get advantage and force your opponent to have a disadvantage and you're just going to crush him like a bug.

So that's what the optimizers and power gamers will do. They will use every trick in the book to gain advantage and force the enemy into disadvantage.

Because that's "I win" right there.

I've never seen a version of D&D that is so totally dominated by a single mechanical effect.

It's truly stunning what they've done. They've turned combat into an A/DA race.

Well, there are a lot of ways that A/DA can be obtained and most of them probably aren't things that will persist, but are circumstantial. So, yes, it is sort of as you say, but OTOH it is just a bigger instant reward for good tactics. You aren't likely to keep it for long. You work into it, hope it turns the tide and then it goes away, probably before you win.

I think it will be more of a fierce jockying for position to get A and avoid DA where whichever side can get it more of the time will win very handily, and if neither can then other considerations will become important. Honestly I think in some respects you can build a better and more organic system of tactics on this than on the often pretty gamist 4e buffs and debuffs and CA.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
It seems that the rules are written from a point of view that only considers advantages and disadvantages for players, which makes sense if you're trying to avoid doubling up on penalties or bonuses. Some people seem to think that if you get an advantage, that by default automatically confers a disadvantage to the opponent or vice verse. I'm not sure that's how it's intended.

For example, if you're hanging on a ledge and have a disadvantage, does your opponent get an advantage also? I'd say that, as it seems to be intended (and I'm no mind reader) that the answer would be no. That doubles up the penalties and bonuses in a way that I don't think was considered or intended.

I think what would be best is if only the player rolls are modified to keep the game from becoming an advantage/disadvantage arms race. A player can become disadvantaged by an NPCs manuevers, but if the NPC likewise becomes advantaged, then, again, it's effectively doubling up the penalty. And vice verse, if the situation was reversed.

I also think that it'd be better if the number of advantages and disadvantages canceled out on a 1:1 basis. So you being tied up, using the wrong armor, but having height advantage, would be still one disadvantage.

I can agree with the idea that no matter how many advantages or disadvantages you get, the extra d20 dice be limited to just 1d20, though.

Maybe for extra advantages, after the first, can confer a +2, then +5 bonus. Or maybe do it in reverse. +2 for the first Advantage, +Advantage 1d20 for the second. -2 for the first Disadvantage, +Disadvantage 1d20 for the second.

This allows somewhat of a cascading number, and honestly +2/-2 isn't that difficult of math or that much book keeping. You have height? +2. You have height and are invisible? Roll 2 dice, which is effectively +15 as somebody's helpful chart above suggests above. That's more than fair, and way more of an advantage of the old +2/+5/+10 system a lot of other d20 games use.

Either way the system is much better than the system of needing to memorize every single status or variable in the universe's arbitrary number of bonus or negatives.

I think the only real concern with the system as is, is keeping the game from doubling up on a bonus by giving one guy advantage and the other disadvantage, and it having some ability to recognize greater or lesser threats.

I'm no professional designer or mathematician so maybe my +2/+Advantage;-2/-Advantage method won't work out in the long run, but it's an idea that I had. Maybe it could be worked out to +2/+4/+Advantage Die, or something similar. Smarter mathematical minds than mine would have to tackle that challenge.
Advantage/Disadvantage has a great advantage (pun intended) in game design: it is ALWAYS a 50% increase or decrease in the probability of your success. +/-2 isn't always a big thing, and I can think of countless times in games a +2 bonus did nothing for a player. Players will feel advantage and disadvantage more. They'll roll more dice, which they like. Based on the averages, it's close to a +3 bonus, so it's not that big of a deal.

As for giving one an advantage and one a disadvantage, that is only a concern in contests. Every other situation only has one person rolling (an attack or check, or a save). 
Poe's Law is alive and well. Emerikol is right*
Advantage/Disadvantage has a great advantage (pun intended) in game design: it is ALWAYS a 50% increase or decrease in the probability of your success. +/-2 isn't always a big thing, and I can think of countless times in games a +2 bonus did nothing for a player. Players will feel advantage and disadvantage more. They'll roll more dice, which they like. Based on the averages, it's close to a +3 bonus, so it's not that big of a deal.

As for giving one an advantage and one a disadvantage, that is only a concern in contests. Every other situation only has one person rolling (an attack or check, or a save). 



For the vast majority of common battle situations rolling two dice and taking the higher is equivalent to between +4 and +5 PLUS it doubles your crit chance. For example, if you have to roll an 8 to hit (65% chance of success) then rolling two dice give you a 87.75% chance, which is an increase of 22.75% which equates to between a +4 and +5 added to a single die roll.

The fact that advantage/disadvantage is a huge increase or decrease in probability to succeed is a big deal from a game balance perspective. It completely overshadows other effects to the point that it makes it far more advantageous for the PC to focus on gaining advantage in place of any other technique to improve combat effectiveness. Why would I pursue something that MIGHT give me a +2 when I can spend the same effort and get a +5? Every power gamer and optimizer will be all over this like white on rice. And players who ignore it, will find themselves on the disadvantage side of the equation where they can't hit their enemies.

I will be very surprised if this survives play testing. 
Yea, what I meant was basically 'WotC didn't really do the math on this', it was a mechanic they thought would allow them to keep from adding bonuses to hit, as Advantage (and thus things that give advantage) can easily replicate a good bonus to hit all while not Directly changing threshold tolerances.

I dislike how screwy combat becomes and how important A/DA becomes.  Using 3/4E's standard of '10+ to hit of level monsters'

Advantage is +24.75% (~+5) and Disadvantage is -18.75% (-3/-4)

The really bad thing is, Advantage comes close to doubling your crit chances, while disadvantage basically makes crits impossible.

There becomes two driving forces in combat, 1.  Gain advantage, as offense in DnD has always (and probably will always) trumped defense.  2. Deny Advantage to enemies (by giving them disadvantage, nesscitating that they have advantage to not totally suck).

It makes A/DA a nuclear device.

 
There becomes two driving forces in combat, 1.  Gain advantage, as offense in DnD has always (and probably will always) trumped defense.  2. Deny Advantage to enemies (by giving them disadvantage, nesscitating that they have advantage to not totally suck).

It makes A/DA a nuclear device.

 



You talk about this like players and Monsters haven't been doing the SAME thing with combat Advantage throughout all of 4E.
I think this is a good mechanic. It's simple and inuitive. As a DM I can figure out quick if something causes an advantage or a disadvantage off the cuff easier then sitting there and compiling modifiers. Players (especially new ones) can easily understand what an advantage is or a disadvantage is, its right in the name. I think the whole point of it was to remove a lot of the maths of modifiers from the past.

As for it becoming a powergamer's bit of always seeking the A/DA, well, duh. That's the how it goes. There are a lot of people complaining about the lack of 'tactical' options in next compared to 4th, and seeking A/DA could be one of the ways at higher levels then we've been shown so far would be injecting the tactical into the game again. It is inherient in games that people will try to find a way to gimmick a system, and its expected that they will.

I do want to make a mention here though, and it may be stupid, but I also think that at higher levels like say 10 or greater, advantage or disadvantage will become less of a stumbling block. As it stands at first level, the pre-gens are getting around +6 to hit rolls, move that up and you've got something along the lines of +15 (at least). Given how low AC stayed (with few exceptions) for monsters, A/DA will become less and less meaningful as the game goes on.
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You talk about this like players and Monsters haven't been doing the SAME thing with combat Advantage throughout all of 4E.



The problem is that A/DA gives a much bigger edge than CA and that makes having one or avoiding the other it more of a "necessity" for characters and monsters to be better at combat.

Without having played, I can only make some statements:

should getting an advantage not make your attack very reliable?

I think there is nothing more annoying than telling the rogue, who tries to stab a drunken guardsman in the dark alley, that he missed, because he rolled a one.
The advantage system seems quite do the trick.

On the other hand, There may be two categories of advantage. Flanking, a common maneuver, should get a little bonus. Maybe a +2 bonus. Advantage for this situation would maybe be too much. Although of course, attacking 2 vs 1 is very advantageous.

advantages, and especially disadvantages should stack however. Inbuilt diminishing return prevents it from beeing too imbalanced. Even though you stack 4 or 5 advantages (however that should not be possible), If you only hit with a very high number, your chance is still not so good. And if the rogue needed 3 rounds to set up an attack, why should he not be able to make it worth it. You could also say every further advantage just gives another +1 (or -1 modifier for disadvantages) to reduce the effect a little. Though this way, stacking too may advantages can make hitting automatic.