D&D 5E Quick Idea for Feedback: Advantage/Disadvantage vs. Different DCs

DND_Reborn

Legend
I was working on some things for Difficulty Classes and looking over the chart in the PHB:

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When the task difficulty got me thinking about a different mechanic: advantage and disadvantage.

First, we allow them to stack in our games, and it works well. It gets to a point that trying to find yet another source of advantage isn't worth the benefit you get from it. So, no problems with letting sources of advantage and disadvantage stack.

Anyway, what if everything was DC 10, but depending on the task difficulty you allocated sources of advantage or disadvantage instead of adjusting the DC?

Note: with this idea, like in combat, a 1 always fails and a 20 always succeeds.

So, a very easy task would still be DC 10, but because it is very easy, you have advantage. Your chance of success with no modifier would be 80%, same as rolling for a normal DC 5 very easy. I know you have a greater chance of failure since a +5 no longer makes this automatic, etc. but I think if there is a cost for failure, it keeps things more interesting.

On the other end, a nearly impossible task would be 5d20, take lowest. A DC 10 without bonuses would be about 5%, the same as if you allowed a 20 to always succeed regardless of the DC (since a nearly impossible task is DC 30 normally). But, you give a PC a +8, so only fails on a 1, and you have about a 77% chance to succeed, allowing PCs to do more heroic tasks.

Anyway, just a thought experiment and not anything I will likely implement. Does anyone see any merits or flaws to doing this??
 

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The Star Trek Adventures uses an advantage disadvantage system (as does most Modephius systems) amd they are all good... until they aren't. Your concept is sound, I think the next step would be to do a series of playtests to find exploits and flaws (one of the prime reasons ad/disad systems fail) and any possible fixes.

I'm all for innovation, especially where dice and mechanics are concerned. My issue is most implementations are well thought out from only one perspective and when mim/max or power gamers get a hold of them 'the feces impacts the oscillating cooling device.' So I would say you have a great start. Now, go break it and tell us how to fix it. :)
 


vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I love it, its a nice idea.

I'd counter with another mechanic taken from (IIRC) Cypher System.

You keep the Difficulty chart as-is, but advantage and disadvantage moves the Difficulty one step up or down, and you can stack advantages and disadvantages.

So, say, a convincing Bob the guard to let you pass is a Hard check (DC 20). But because you have a friendly face and brought a bottle of wine to share, you have 2 advantages on the roll, meaning the task is now two step higher on the chart, becoming an Easy check (DC 10). But then, Gertrude the Chaotic Neutral rogue starts bad-mouthing Bob's mom, giving the roll 3 Disadvantages (thus canceling the 2 Advantages and leaving 1 Disadvantage), so now the check is instead one step higher than its base one, making it Very Hard (DC 25).

Fun thing is, you could even have monsters with more generic AC and Saves, like hitting the nimble goblin is a Hard Check but beating its Wisdom, Int and Cha is an Easy check.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
So there are 2 proposals here, 1 is to have a flat DC, and 2 is to have advantage stack

1: I don't like because it lacks granularity, and it's mixing two concepts together

The DC is how difficult is something to do in general. How tough is that door to kick in? Advantage disadvantage is about the circumstances. Having a portable battering ram with you makes kicking in the door easier, but it doesn't make the door weaker - it helps you, it doesn't hurt the door. Same as having stepped on a bunch of caltrops the GM might decide you have disadvantage to kicking in doors. Again, the door hasn't changed, your foot has.

It doesn't matter if advantage disadvantage stack, it's still not the same thing.

2: So if you have a flat DC, and you're going to get more or less dice ... you're well on your way to a "dice bucket" engine, where each dice has a flat chance of success, and you get more or less dice depending on your skills, circumstances etc. So why bother with a d20? why not use d6s?
 

I love it, its a nice idea.

I'd counter with another mechanic taken from (IIRC) Cypher System.

You keep the Difficulty chart as-is, but advantage and disadvantage moves the Difficulty one step up or down, and you can stack advantages and disadvantages.

So, say, a convincing Bob the guard to let you pass is a Hard check (DC 20). But because you have a friendly face and brought a bottle of wine to share, you have 2 advantages on the roll, meaning the task is now two step higher on the chart, becoming an Easy check (DC 10). But then, Gertrude the Chaotic Neutral rogue starts bad-mouthing Bob's mom, giving the roll 3 Disadvantages (thus canceling the 2 Advantages and leaving 1 Disadvantage), so now the check is instead one step higher than its base one, making it Very Hard (DC 25).

Fun thing is, you could even have monsters with more generic AC and Saves, like hitting the nimble goblin is a Hard Check but beating its Wisdom, Int and Cha is an Easy check.
Part of the issue with these systems is usually the sliding scale. It's accurate to be sure but the math (5 up 8 down) gets tedious after a while. It's not 'wrong' just eventually gets left by the road as waste.
 

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