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Advantage vs. bonus?

TheCosmicKid

Villager
So, say I'm writing a new race or class or feat, and I want it to make the character good at, oh, let's say Acrobatics.

Do I give the character proficiency/expertise with Acrobatics, advantage in Acrobatics, or some flat bonus to Acrobatics?

Why?

What's the difference? What do these distinct mechanical tools represent, and when should you use one over another?
 

Horwath

Explorer
Advantage should be situational/magical effect. Not "always on" ability.

If new race is better at something than default then proficiency/expertise represents that.

Flat bonuses are rare in 5e as it breaks bounded accuracy. Starting proficiency/expertise gives you bonus from start while other races have to seek special training(cost to other class features) to match the specific aptidute of your design race.

expertise vs. advantage: expertise gives you ability better than it is normal and lets you achieve things that are above normal training(proficiency)

Advantage give you more reliability. As it shift average d20 roll from 10,5 to 13,8. But max skill level still stays the same, you are just more likely to succed on though chalenges that were already in your training possibility.
 

aco175

Explorer
I was more thinking that advantage was more race related (like dwarf or halfling advantage to saves) and proficiency bonus was more class related (like thief bonus to skills).
 

Particle_Man

Villager
Don't elves start with proficiency in Perception, and Half-Orcs with proficiency in Intimidate, and Goliaths with proficiency in Athletics? So for a new race that is good at Acrobatics, I would go for proficiency.
 

TheCosmicKid

Villager
Advantage should be situational/magical effect. Not "always on" ability.

If new race is better at something than default then proficiency/expertise represents that.

Flat bonuses are rare in 5e as it breaks bounded accuracy. Starting proficiency/expertise gives you bonus from start while other races have to seek special training(cost to other class features) to match the specific aptidute of your design race.
Not challenging you, just exploring these ideas -

"Advantage should be situational, not 'always on' ": Seems reasonable, fits my intuitions and looks to be usually the way the game works. But there are a few oddities. [MENTION=27385]aco175[/MENTION] brought up racial advantages to saves. I think that can be explained as a result of save proficiencies being fixed by class. So if a dwarf got proficiency to Con saves, that might overlap with his fighter or barbarian proficiency. But if it's advantage, they "stack". Not a problem with skill proficiencies, because they're not fixed: an elf can get Perception from her race and just pick something else from her class. But this doesn't explain why the kalashtar in this month's Unearthed Arcana gets advantage rather than proficiency with a skill. Or why the barbarian's Danger Sense grants advantage rather than proficiency with Dexterity saves.

Flat bonuses: The real outlier here is the pass without trace spell. Also a couple of feats. What's up with those?
 

LordEntrails

Explorer
...
Flat bonuses: The real outlier here is the pass without trace spell. Also a couple of feats. What's up with those?
Oversight? Designers return to 3E philosophy? A required exception because Pro/Adv didn't work for some reason?

I would suggest you not add more outliers. I would stick with proficiency/exoertise myself. Advantage if required. And then only if none of those work and the only way to do it is with a bonus, then go that way.
 

Tormyr

Adventurer
Not challenging you, just exploring these ideas -

"Advantage should be situational, not 'always on' ": Seems reasonable, fits my intuitions and looks to be usually the way the game works. But there are a few oddities. [MENTION=27385]aco175[/MENTION] brought up racial advantages to saves. I think that can be explained as a result of save proficiencies being fixed by class. So if a dwarf got proficiency to Con saves, that might overlap with his fighter or barbarian proficiency. But if it's advantage, they "stack". Not a problem with skill proficiencies, because they're not fixed: an elf can get Perception from her race and just pick something else from her class. But this doesn't explain why the kalashtar in this month's Unearthed Arcana gets advantage rather than proficiency with a skill. Or why the barbarian's Danger Sense grants advantage rather than proficiency with Dexterity saves.

Flat bonuses: The real outlier here is the pass without trace spell. Also a couple of feats. What's up with those?
My guess is pass without a trace uses a flat bonus so that it doesn't counteract disadvantage from heavy armor and provides a solid chance of beating contested Wisdom (Perception) checks. Similarly, the -5 to hit for GWM and SS can be offset with advantage.

As for the original question, use advantage when you want it to combine with proficiency. Use proficiency when you want to provide an additional skill that gets better over time. Another differentiating factor is whether the bonus is granted at character creation / level 1 vs a later level. Most things that come at a later level are advantage rather than proficiency so it doesn't step on the toes of the proficiency granted at character creation.

In this case, I would recommend proficiency because acrobatics is an extra thing that all creatures of this race are good at.
 

MechaPilot

Explorer
So, say I'm writing a new race or class or feat, and I want it to make the character good at, oh, let's say Acrobatics.

Do I give the character proficiency/expertise with Acrobatics, advantage in Acrobatics, or some flat bonus to Acrobatics?

Why?

What's the difference? What do these distinct mechanical tools represent, and when should you use one over another?
It depends.

Why are members of that race good at that thing?

If they're good at it because their culture expects them to be skilled at it, and they put in the time and effort to train in it, then I'd go with proficiency (and I'd probably give them expertise with that skill if they get training in it through another non-racial means).

If they're good at it because of biology or innate magic, then I'd go with advantage.
 

Winterthorn

Explorer
I treat advantage as roughly equal to +4.
The game rules specify to use +5/-5 if an effect or feature or ruling awards advantage/disadvantage on a passive check, such as on one"s passive Wisdom (Perception) score. I am not a wiz with probability math so +5 "looks" good to me for advantage.
 

Zardnaar

Explorer
The game rules specify to use +5/-5 if an effect or feature or ruling awards advantage/disadvantage on a passive check, such as on one"s passive Wisdom (Perception) score. I am not a wiz with probability math so +5 "looks" good to me for advantage.
Thats the simple one I think someone worked out its 4.something.
 

Horwath

Explorer
The game rules specify to use +5/-5 if an effect or feature or ruling awards advantage/disadvantage on a passive check, such as on one"s passive Wisdom (Perception) score. I am not a wiz with probability math so +5 "looks" good to me for advantage.
+5/-5 if only correct if you have 50% chance to succeed. that means d20 roll of 11+. Advantage gives you 75%. That is 6+ roll. Or disadvantage that gives you 25% chance. 16+ roll.

on average, advantage gives +3,3 on d20 roll.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad day
So, say I'm writing a new race or class or feat, and I want it to make the character good at, oh, let's say Acrobatics.

Do I give the character proficiency/expertise with Acrobatics, advantage in Acrobatics, or some flat bonus to Acrobatics?

Why?

What's the difference? What do these distinct mechanical tools represent, and when should you use one over another?
The way this has been done with multiple races is granting proficiency.

Classes seem to grant expertise.

Subclasses seem to offer proficiency, and expertise if you already have it.
 

Satyrn

Villager
Not challenging you, just exploring these ideas -

"Advantage should be situational, not 'always on' ": Seems reasonable, fits my intuitions and looks to be usually the way the game works. But there are a few oddities. [MENTION=27385]aco175[/MENTION] brought up racial advantages to saves. I think that can be explained as a result of save proficiencies being fixed by class. So if a dwarf got proficiency to Con saves, that might overlap with his fighter or barbarian proficiency. But if it's advantage, they "stack". Not a problem with skill proficiencies, because they're not fixed: an elf can get Perception from her race and just pick something else from her class. But this doesn't explain why the kalashtar in this month's Unearthed Arcana gets advantage rather than proficiency with a skill. Or why the barbarian's Danger Sense grants advantage rather than proficiency with Dexterity saves.

Flat bonuses: The real outlier here is the pass without trace spell. Also a couple of feats. What's up with those?
Your exploration is leading me down this path:

It seems like advantage is modelling being better at saving throws, while proficiency is for ability/skill checks. And if I was to guess why - well, explain why I think it works well this way - is that

1) because skill checks are a thing that players initiate, the players can shape shape the situation to gain advantage. If players simply have advantage from a feature, it removes the need to fish for advantage during play - which rather lessens the importance of playing smart, I think.

2) because saves are reactionary, there's far less chance for players to set up the situation to give them advantage for those rolls during play. It would still be possible, but no so much, so the disincentive to playing smart isn't pronounced enough to matter.
 

Bacon Bits

Explorer
I was more thinking that advantage was more race related (like dwarf or halfling advantage to saves) and proficiency bonus was more class related (like thief bonus to skills).
That's because races don't give save proficiency, and because there's no such thing as "save expertise," and because saving throw bonuses are already relegated to magic spells and items. Also, if Dwarves simply gained proficiency bonus on poison saves, you'd have the paradox of Dwarf Fighters being no better against poison than Dwarf Rogues, which doesn't reflect the tone that the game is going for.

"Save expertise" isn't used simply because it would break bounded accuracy. To be sure, skill expertise explicitly breaks bounded accuracy as well, but since skills have comparatively minor in-game effects, and there are essentially no magic items which grant a permanent bonus to skills (certainly compared to saves) the results tend not to cause problems in actual play.
 

Mistwell

Adventurer
To me, it should be proficiency, or expertise if you already have proficiency. That seems more special than advantage. It's something much harder to get, and only a few classes could get that expertise in the skill.
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
Actually, instead of giving advantage or bonuses, are there OTHER ways in which one could model “being good at acrobatics?” It would depend on what one was trying to model. Perhaps eliminating the need for a check to balance on surfaces greater than 2 inches wide; stand from prone with 5 ft of movement instead of half (a la drunken masters); even not being prone from falls 30 feet or less, etc.

Might be useful to tackle the benefit from other ways than straight bonuses, which is what we often see in WotC designs.
 

Satyrn

Villager
Actually, instead of giving advantage or bonuses, are there OTHER ways in which one could model “being good at acrobatics?” It would depend on what one was trying to model. Perhaps eliminating the need for a check to balance on surfaces greater than 2 inches wide; stand from prone with 5 ft of movement instead of half (a la drunken masters); even not being prone from falls 30 feet or less, etc.

Might be useful to tackle the benefit from other ways than straight bonuses, which is what we often see in WotC designs.
This is definitely a good approach to consider. Done right, it can be far more memorable when it comes up in game, and thus make the character appear special when it comes to being acrobatic.


(Although I would totally recommend against doing that first example, but that's because I dislike features tgat presuppose a DM is even gonna call for a check in a specific situation)
 

MPA2000

Villager
So, say I'm writing a new race or class or feat, and I want it to make the character good at, oh, let's say Acrobatics.

Do I give the character proficiency/expertise with Acrobatics, advantage in Acrobatics, or some flat bonus to Acrobatics?

Why?

What's the difference? What do these distinct mechanical tools represent, and when should you use one over another?

Some people already mentioned that stuff like an Advantage has to do with some particular response to an effect. Such as saving throws/DC's
 

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