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I respect your opinion, Lastman, it is one I share with you on a number of topics, but probably not this one.


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The only reasons I can imagine for a creature having advantage with ranged attacks on the high ground are:

1. If their body is partially covered

2. If their body is obscured by sunlight (but in order for this to ever happen the devs would need to implement the day/night cycle; something to consider).

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If we assume that Larian will be keeping the high ground / backstab advantage system, a few minor changes will help solve a lot of problems.


1) Implement Backstab as proper Flanking

A simple way to ensure backstab bonuses don't make other advantage sources obsolete is to implemented it like the optional flanking rule in the Dungeon's Master Guide. Essentially, the game assumes that in 1 on 1 scenarios, your opponent will always auto-face you (denying you the backstab advantage). A second person, the flanker, is always required to actually backstab.

This simple change will ensure special advantage sources - like Reckless Attack, will still have a purpose. It'll also limit the brutal amount of jump -> repositioning that currently happens in a melee fight. However, repositioning and proper teamwork will allow you to reduce RNG.


2) Implement a better cover system to counter height advantage

If Larian is going to keep the height advantage to hit mechanic, then they should implement a proper cover system from the rules to counter it. The DMG values are:
  • 1/2 Cover = +2 AC
  • 3/4 Cover = +5 AC
  • Full cover = can't be targeted

A proper cover system (where it shows you if a ranged attacker's weapon LOS- i.e. like Wasteland 3), will allow both the player and AI to make tactical decisions/tools to actually deal with high ground advantage.

Small changes to the AI - i.e. maybe enemies don't just use fire-surface-area arrows on you as soon as they can, but reserve it to flush you out of high ground / cover, would add more tactical depth to this engagement.

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Originally Posted by Roethen
The only reasons I can imagine for a creature having advantage with ranged attacks on the high ground are:

1. If their body is partially covered

2. If their body is obscured by sunlight (but in order for this to ever happen the devs would need to implement the day/night cycle; something to consider).

There are many advantages to having the high ground in pre-modern combat, which is why almost every respected military authority in history recommend seeking high ground, or at least avoiding the enemy on high ground.

Ignoring the psychological benefits and greater visibility, the primary benefits are physical.

When a ranged weapon is discharged, it immediately begins to lose kinetic energy through air resistance, and as the speed reduces, so does the accuracy and terminal hitting power. The 5e rules ALREADY use the advantage system to impose disadvantage on ranged weapons after some notional "effective range". ( This is in direct contradiction to the OP who inaccurately insists that the advantage system is never used for mere movement/positioning ).

If you have high ground, your ranged weapons receive a kinetic benefit from gravity, and conversely, if you are firing up towards high ground, your ranged weapons receive a kinetic penalty. As 5e is such a simplified system, the advantage/disadvantage system is the obvious way to reflect this. Particularly in a game where just about every environment includes significant verticality, not to reflect it would be perverse.

Similarly, hand-to-hand combat is significantly more difficult if you have to consistently wield your weapon in shortened arcs above shoulder height, and much easier and more effective if you can swing downwards with elongated arcs.

Of course, not all ranged weapons, and not all melee weapons are equally affected, but within the bounds of the trivial nature of 5e rules, and the focus in BG3 on height, using the advantage system doesn't seem unreasonable, particularly as it gives martial classes more reason to exist.

You may notice that I did not mention spells. This is because there is less obvious (+ve or -ve) kinetic effect with most spells, so less real reason that spells should be affected by height.

You can obviously argue this any way you want, but the OP arguments as concerns height are particularly weak.

The "backstab" situation is less easy to rationalise. I would expect the 5e rules to have some "zone of control" mechanism, but there seems to be nothing apart from attack of opportunity. I've seen some arguments that circling an opponent within weapon range should trigger an AOO as you move out of the front/side arc to get the backstab; this might help.

The real problem though, is that the tabletop, where you typically move characters via pick-up-and-place-down, will ignore things that then look silly in a videogame where you show continuous movement ( ignoring the unrealistic serialisation of movement inherent in turn-based games, of course ).

Maybe we will get something from the "Panel from Hell 2" in a few days; maybe WotC will even add some 5e rules/clarifications to resolve the argument.

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Originally Posted by etonbears
Originally Posted by Roethen
The only reasons I can imagine for a creature having advantage with ranged attacks on the high ground are:

1. If their body is partially covered

2. If their body is obscured by sunlight (but in order for this to ever happen the devs would need to implement the day/night cycle; something to consider).

There are many advantages to having the high ground in pre-modern combat, which is why almost every respected military authority in history recommend seeking high ground, or at least avoiding the enemy on high ground.

Ignoring the psychological benefits and greater visibility, the primary benefits are physical.

When a ranged weapon is discharged, it immediately begins to lose kinetic energy through air resistance, and as the speed reduces, so does the accuracy and terminal hitting power. The 5e rules ALREADY use the advantage system to impose disadvantage on ranged weapons after some notional "effective range". ( This is in direct contradiction to the OP who inaccurately insists that the advantage system is never used for mere movement/positioning ).

If you have high ground, your ranged weapons receive a kinetic benefit from gravity, and conversely, if you are firing up towards high ground, your ranged weapons receive a kinetic penalty. As 5e is such a simplified system, the advantage/disadvantage system is the obvious way to reflect this. Particularly in a game where just about every environment includes significant verticality, not to reflect it would be perverse.

Of course, not all ranged weapons, and not all melee weapons are equally affected, but within the bounds of the trivial nature of 5e rules, and the focus in BG3 on height, using the advantage system doesn't seem unreasonable, particularly as it gives martial classes more reason to exist.

You may notice that I did not mention spells. This is because there is less obvious (+ve or -ve) kinetic effect with most spells, so less real reason that spells should be affected by height.

You can obviously argue this any way you want, but the OP arguments as concerns height are particularly weak.


Maybe we will get something from the "Panel from Hell 2" in a few days; maybe WotC will even add some 5e rules/clarifications to resolve the argument.
The issue isn't that high ground gives benefits, the issue is that granting advantage on attacks for and disadvantage on attacks against is overpowered. Advantage and disadvantage are specific mechanics in DnD that are more than just increased accuracy, evasion. OP even brought up that they're okay with a +2 to hit, -2 to attacks against. Attacks outside of effective range doesn't contradict OP at all, it's already in the game.

IRL in a sniper duel, if a sniper misses their shot they will always change positions because they have no protection. High ground or not they have been given away and the opposing sniper now has an easy shot. Castle walls had trapezoidal openings so that archers could be protected from incoming attacks. They weren't just standing out in the open on top of the castle, opposing archers could take them out too easily if they did that.

The high ground doesn't protect you from ranged attacks IRL, it forces the opposing team to exhaust more energy/resources climbing the hill, sieging a caste wall, etc. Baldur's Gate 3 doesn't have characters expend nearly any energy for going up and down a ladder. So the whole economy of high ground benefits doesn't make sense.
Originally Posted by etonbears
Similarly, hand-to-hand combat is significantly more difficult if you have to consistently wield your weapon in shortened arcs above shoulder height, and much easier and more effective if you can swing downwards with elongated arcs.

But somehow boxers train in learning how to uppercut rather than punch downward. Being able to rotate the human body in 3d space easily overcomes the kinetic expense of punching upward. And it can be strategically worth it to punch upward. Also if kinetic penalties really stopped someone, no one would go for high knees in MMA.

Again we're all okay with high ground having benefits, but advantage for / disadvantage against is ridiculous. IRL if the enemy started with higher ground you would find cover to fire safe shots from, not run to high ground yourself.

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On the advantage thing......
THe system is and always was broken. But it was invented on a sole purpose..... to lessen the math that had to be done prior rolling the dice to speed up Combat in a pen and paper session.

Now in a video game the whole purpose of speeding things up is obsolete as all math is done instantly by the computer. Leaving us with a just broken system. So why it is broken?

Let me explain:

We all agree that having higher ground or attacking from the back should have some sort of advantage!
But lets dive into the Math of the Advantage system.

Lets make it simple to understand. Attacker has no bonuses at all but has the height advantage. Target is a guy in PLatemail Armorclass 17

So you need to rol a 17 or greater to hit wich is a base chance of 20 %. With advantage you get a second role wich means:

FIrst chance to Hit is 20% (roling a 17,18,19 or 20)
Basechance of 80% to not roll a 17 or higher on first roll and a chance of 20% to a 17-20 on the second roll. Wich translates into an additonal chance of 16% hitting if your first roll fails.

Now we attack someone with a chain shirt (AC13)

you have a base chance of 40% to hit AC13 (roling a 13,14,15,16,17,18,19 or 20) on your first roll.
Basechance of 60% to not roll a 13 or higher and a chance to of 40% to roll a 13 or higher on second roll. Wich translates into an additonal chance of 21% hitting your target if your first roll fails.

So that what does that mean in gameplay? Having a heigt advantage technically means that instead of having a bonus because you are standing higher than your enemy, the bonus magically grows if you target has lesser armor. Or in other words the your Armor gets magicaly and expontentionaly weaker if enemy is higher ground than you.

Its makes absolutly NO SENSE gameplay wise. And WotC know it. But it was a way to reduce calculations and speed things up at the cost of realism.

Now in a computer game where calculation speed is no issue.... the only thing thats left is pointless unrealism.

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Originally Posted by Baldurs-Gate-Fan
On the advantage thing......
THe system is and always was broken. But it was invented on a sole purpose..... to lessen the math that had to be done prior rolling the dice to speed up Combat in a pen and paper session.

Now in a video game the whole purpose of speeding things up is obsolete as all math is done instantly by the computer. Leaving us with a just broken system. So why it is broken?

Let me explain:

We all agree that having higher ground or attacking from the back should have some sort of advantage!
But lets dive into the Math of the Advantage system.

Lets make it simple to understand. Attacker has no bonuses at all but has the height advantage. Target is a guy in PLatemail Armorclass 17

So you need to rol a 17 or greater to hit wich is a base chance of 20 %. With advantage you get a second role wich means:

FIrst chance to Hit is 20% (roling a 17,18,19 or 20)
Basechance of 80% to not roll a 17 or higher on first roll and a chance of 20% to a 17-20 on the second roll. Wich translates into an additonal chance of 16% hitting if your first roll fails.

Now we attack someone with a chain shirt (AC13)

you have a base chance of 40% to hit AC13 (roling a 13,14,15,16,17,18,19 or 20) on your first roll.
Basechance of 60% to not roll a 13 or higher and a chance to of 40% to roll a 13 or higher on second roll. Wich translates into an additonal chance of 21% hitting your target if your first roll fails.

So that what does that mean in gameplay? Having a heigt advantage technically means that instead of having a bonus because you are standing higher than your enemy, the bonus magically grows if you target has lesser armor. Or in other words the your Armor gets magicaly and expontentionaly weaker if enemy is higher ground than you.

Its makes absolutly NO SENSE gameplay wise. And WotC know it. But it was a way to reduce calculations and speed things up at the cost of realism.

Now in a computer game where calculation speed is no issue.... the only thing thats left is pointless unrealism.

Simple solution:
Just add a flat bonus, like +1 or +2.
As OP suggested, btw.

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Originally Posted by daMichi
Originally Posted by Baldurs-Gate-Fan
On the advantage thing......
THe system is and always was broken. But it was invented on a sole purpose..... to lessen the math that had to be done prior rolling the dice to speed up Combat in a pen and paper session.

Now in a video game the whole purpose of speeding things up is obsolete as all math is done instantly by the computer. Leaving us with a just broken system. So why it is broken?

Let me explain:

We all agree that having higher ground or attacking from the back should have some sort of advantage!
But lets dive into the Math of the Advantage system.

Lets make it simple to understand. Attacker has no bonuses at all but has the height advantage. Target is a guy in PLatemail Armorclass 17

So you need to rol a 17 or greater to hit wich is a base chance of 20 %. With advantage you get a second role wich means:

FIrst chance to Hit is 20% (roling a 17,18,19 or 20)
Basechance of 80% to not roll a 17 or higher on first roll and a chance of 20% to a 17-20 on the second roll. Wich translates into an additonal chance of 16% hitting if your first roll fails.

Now we attack someone with a chain shirt (AC13)

you have a base chance of 40% to hit AC13 (roling a 13,14,15,16,17,18,19 or 20) on your first roll.
Basechance of 60% to not roll a 13 or higher and a chance to of 40% to roll a 13 or higher on second roll. Wich translates into an additonal chance of 21% hitting your target if your first roll fails.

So that what does that mean in gameplay? Having a heigt advantage technically means that instead of having a bonus because you are standing higher than your enemy, the bonus magically grows if you target has lesser armor. Or in other words the your Armor gets magicaly and expontentionaly weaker if enemy is higher ground than you.

Its makes absolutly NO SENSE gameplay wise. And WotC know it. But it was a way to reduce calculations and speed things up at the cost of realism.

Now in a computer game where calculation speed is no issue.... the only thing thats left is pointless unrealism.

Simple solution:
Just add a flat bonus, like +1 or +2.
As OP suggested, btw.


Yes its ist.... but that will NEVER EVER happen. Trust me!
Never will WotC approve this. Not because it wouldnt be good for the game...... they will deny this because i means the first step moving toward the system of their biggest competitor and it would signla that maybe..... just maybe some things are better there.

So trust me.... BG3 would rather be canceld at all bevor THAT will happen.

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Originally Posted by Baldurs-Gate-Fan
On the advantage thing......
THe system is and always was broken. But it was invented on a sole purpose..... to lessen the math that had to be done prior rolling the dice to speed up Combat in a pen and paper session.

Now in a video game the whole purpose of speeding things up is obsolete as all math is done instantly by the computer. Leaving us with a just broken system. So why it is broken?

Let me explain:

We all agree that having higher ground or attacking from the back should have some sort of advantage!
But lets dive into the Math of the Advantage system.

Lets make it simple to understand. Attacker has no bonuses at all but has the height advantage. Target is a guy in PLatemail Armorclass 17

So you need to rol a 17 or greater to hit wich is a base chance of 20 %. With advantage you get a second role wich means:

FIrst chance to Hit is 20% (roling a 17,18,19 or 20)
Basechance of 80% to not roll a 17 or higher on first roll and a chance of 20% to a 17-20 on the second roll. Wich translates into an additonal chance of 16% hitting if your first roll fails.

Now we attack someone with a chain shirt (AC13)

you have a base chance of 40% to hit AC13 (roling a 13,14,15,16,17,18,19 or 20) on your first roll.
Basechance of 60% to not roll a 13 or higher and a chance to of 40% to roll a 13 or higher on second roll. Wich translates into an additonal chance of 21% hitting your target if your first roll fails.

So that what does that mean in gameplay? Having a heigt advantage technically means that instead of having a bonus because you are standing higher than your enemy, the bonus magically grows if you target has lesser armor. Or in other words the your Armor gets magicaly and expontentionaly weaker if enemy is higher ground than you.

Its makes absolutly NO SENSE gameplay wise. And WotC know it. But it was a way to reduce calculations and speed things up at the cost of realism.

Now in a computer game where calculation speed is no issue.... the only thing thats left is pointless unrealism.
DnD 5e doesn't natively grant (advantageFOR)+(disadvantageAGAINST) by standing on higher ground. Advantage is rare and can be a reward for good role-play. Have a human DM give out advantage for situations that make sense, works.

Larian as the DM, is giving out advantage for near-free in the current meta. Disadvantage on attacks from lower ground just exacerbates that. We're just asking for a premium on advantage and most of us are open to other benefits for using high ground.

For most of us who have played tabletop 5e, we're used to advantage being strong and situational.

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The only problem I see with granting a flat bonus is that this might scale crazily in the higher levels. Advantage is really easy to get at higher levels.

You are stacking this with advantage and weapon enchantments - so you're now looking at roughly +8-10 to hit above bound accuracy.

Still, I'd take that over the current system.

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Originally Posted by Topgoon
The only problem I see with granting a flat bonus is that this might scale crazily in the higher levels. Advantage is really easy to get at higher levels.

You are stacking this with advantage and weapon enchantments - so you're now looking at roughly +8-10 to hit above bound accuracy.

Still, I'd take that over the current system.

And this is something people unfamiliar with 5e fail to understand. They are only seeing the portion where the characters have not come to their own yet. At higher levels, the combat will be ridiculous, almost comedic if the current system remains.

The best decision would be to remove height advantage and free backstabbing completely. Otherwise you are just pushing the problem to later parts of the game.

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Originally Posted by Topgoon
The only problem I see with granting a flat bonus is that this might scale crazily in the higher levels. Advantage is really easy to get at higher levels.

You are stacking this with advantage and weapon enchantments - so you're now looking at roughly +8-10 to hit above bound accuracy.

Still, I'd take that over the current system.
I don't really see the problem here? 5e RAW has Cover rules which grant +2/+5 to AC, and these bonuses don't pose a problem at higher levels. So why would the smaller +1 or +2 high ground bonuses, which in BG3 would replace these cover mechanics, be a problem?
Sure, cover grants AC bonuses whereas BG3 high ground grants to-hit bonuses, but tomato tomahto.

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Also Advantage could override +2 to hit, just as Advantage + Disadvantage wash each other out.

If player has advantage, override high ground benefit
If player has disadvantage, override high ground benefit

That's a possible solution to a possible problem.

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Originally Posted by mrfuji3
Originally Posted by Topgoon
The only problem I see with granting a flat bonus is that this might scale crazily in the higher levels. Advantage is really easy to get at higher levels.

You are stacking this with advantage and weapon enchantments - so you're now looking at roughly +8-10 to hit above bound accuracy.

Still, I'd take that over the current system.
I don't really see the problem here? 5e RAW has Cover rules which grant +2/+5 to AC, and these bonuses don't pose a problem at higher levels. So why would the smaller +1 or +2 high ground bonuses, which in BG3 would replace these cover mechanics, be a problem?
Sure, cover grants AC bonuses whereas BG3 high ground grants to-hit bonuses, but tomato tomahto.

Mainly the sharpshooter feat. Sharpshooter negates cover and now you have an extra bonus on top of no cover. I know SS is not in the game yet but GWM is and I suspect we haven't seen SS yet because Larian is well aware of how powerful it will be with advantage (it's already a very good feat to begin with). They will have to tweak SS if they want to implement it in BG3.

Also cover and height bonus, although may do the same thing, they affect the fight differently. If a foe wants to retain cover, they generally have to stay in their position or risk losing cover. That tactic won't work with height advantage. There's no turtling of mobs.

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Originally Posted by spectralhunter
Originally Posted by Topgoon
The only problem I see with granting a flat bonus is that this might scale crazily in the higher levels. Advantage is really easy to get at higher levels.

You are stacking this with advantage and weapon enchantments - so you're now looking at roughly +8-10 to hit above bound accuracy.

Still, I'd take that over the current system.

And this is something people unfamiliar with 5e fail to understand. They are only seeing the portion where the characters have not come to their own yet. At higher levels, the combat will be ridiculous, almost comedic if the current system remains.

The best decision would be to remove height advantage and free backstabbing completely. Otherwise you are just pushing the problem to later parts of the game.

As mrfuji3, this is something I don't understand (without considering thé cover mechanic).

Can you please explain why combats would be rudiculous ?

I understand the concept of bounded accuracy but I don't get why a single +1/+2 bonus would break combats. As a vidéo game player, I see it as another reasonable tool to control our %to hit.

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Originally Posted by spectralhunter
Originally Posted by mrfuji3
(paraphrasing) I don't think a +1/+2 bonus is that strong, especially since it would replace Cover

Mainly the sharpshooter feat. Sharpshooter negates cover and now you have an extra bonus on top of no cover. I know SS is not in the game yet but GWM is and I suspect we haven't seen SS yet because Larian is well aware of how powerful it will be with advantage (it's already a very good feat to begin with). They will have to tweak SS if they want to implement it in BG3.

Also cover and height bonus, although may do the same thing, they affect the fight differently. If a foe wants to retain cover, they generally have to stay in their position or risk losing cover. That tactic won't work with height advantage. There's no turtling of mobs.
Sharpshooter will be both buffed and nerfed, right? It (along will all ranged attacks) will be easier to hit with. However, BG3 is not going to have both cover and height-bonuses, so the "your ranged weapons ignore half and 3/4 cover" aspect of Sharpshooter will be useless. I think this probably works out to a relatively small net buff.

I agree that cover and height bonus would affect the fights differently. But I don't think either case is better/worse than the other.

Originally Posted by Maximuuus
Originally Posted by spectralhunter
And this is something people unfamiliar with 5e fail to understand. They are only seeing the portion where the characters have not come to their own yet. At higher levels, the combat will be ridiculous, almost comedic if the current system remains. [...]

As mrfuji3, this is something I don't understand (without considering thé cover mechanic).

Can you please explain why combats would be rudiculous ?

I understand the concept of bounded accuracy but I don't get why a single +1/+2 bonus would break combats. As a vidéo game player, I see it as another reasonable tool to control our %to hit.

5e is balanced around having bounded accuracy, and all to-hit bonuses are small.
In previous editions/Pathfinder, there were many many stacking bonuses. Deflection, dodge, natural, sacred, etc which mean that to-hit bonuses and ACs easily got into the 30s.

The worry, for 5e, is stacking bonuses. If Larian's BG3 allows a lot of stacking numerical bonuses, then it will unbalance the game. For example, Acid in BG3 reduces AC. If you combine an Acid'd enemy (-2 AC) with high ground (+2) with advantage (+~5), this adds up to a pretty big bonus.

My argument is that a single +1/+2 bonus isn't that powerful, especially if Cover is not implemented. But it is a slippery slope.

Currently, high ground and backstab grant advantage, and advantage doesn't stack. Thus, higher levels in BG3 will actually feel relatively weaker than PnP. All the powerful high-level skills/spells/etc that help grant Advantage will be useless.

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Originally Posted by mrfuji3
Sharpshooter will be both buffed and nerfed, right? It (along will all ranged attacks) will be easier to hit with. However, BG3 is not going to have both cover and height-bonuses, so the "your ranged weapons ignore half and 3/4 cover" aspect of Sharpshooter will be useless. I think this probably works out to a relatively small net buff.

I agree that cover and height bonus would affect the fights differently. But I don't think either case is better/worse than the other.


Can you please explain why combats would be rudiculous ?

I understand the concept of bounded accuracy but I don't get why a single +1/+2 bonus would break combats. As a vidéo game player, I see it as another reasonable tool to control our %to hit.

Height bonuses are Larian's homebrew. Sharpshooter essentially gives bonuses by removing penalties to cover. Without cover mechanics, you have to provide Sharpshooter something else since in BG3, that portion of the feat is meaningless. So what is Larian to do? They'd have to give SS more bonuses to compensate for lack of cover. Like you said, AC and to hit mods are the same mathematically.

It would be ridiculous if you provide SS with more and more bonuses when the whole point of balancing that particular feat is reducing them due to the -5/+10 mechanic. It's the same problem we are having with GWM. All a fighter has to do is jump, go behind a mob. Now he has advantage which pretty much negates the -5 penalty and essentially gets free +10 damage per hit with a greatsword or polearm. It's a joke. Throw in dipping and we get absurd levels of damage. Let's add level 5 extra attacks and action surge. See where this is going?

Because of how little accuracy and AC changes in 5e, every little bonus makes a significant difference on rolls. That +2 to hit may not seem big but it potentially makes huge differences on how many times you hit. Interestingly enough, Larian knows this and that's why they are giving out advantage like candy. They have the notion the characters weren't hitting enough and that's boring gameplay (it's a fair observation). But if characters hit too much, creatures die too fast hence we are getting mobs with higher than normal HP. Larian is trying to rebalance what has been balanced long ago and now are dealing with all sorts of balancing issues, mainly from all their homebrew.

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@spectralhunter: I'm not sure that Larian would have to "give SS more bonuses to compensate for lack of cover". As you mentioned,
Originally Posted by spectralhunter
I suspect we haven't seen SS yet because Larian is well aware of how powerful it will be with advantage
With easy advantage, the feat is too powerful. Larian (if they change height bonus to +1 or +2) should just remove the "negate cover" aspect of sharpshooter and I think the feat will still be relatively balanced?

I definitely agree with you that Larian shouldn't keep height-advantage and have SS give a + to hit.

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