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Originally Posted by mrfuji3
@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.

Agreed but if Larian decides to include SS, then they need to provide another advantage of some sort. I just brought up bonuses because one part of SS is essentially bonuses. SS negates half and three-fourths cover which is kinda like you said, a bonus (tomato/tomahto) in certain circumstances.

Ironically, height advantage IS basically sharpshooter. From what I understand, advantage rolls are roughly +4 to hit (less as the AC goes up) which seems to roughly coincide with SS negation of cover. Basically everyone can get partial SS for free if they stand on a box.

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Originally Posted by mrfuji3
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.

I agree, and I don't really see the problem in your exemple.

- Acid (-2AC) mean you use an action and consider that the ennemy won't move.
- Advantages, if proper D&D rules also mean an action or specific situations (invisibility, flanking, conditions,...)
- Highground "free +1/+2" bonus.

Then yes, you can attack with a bonus to your attack roll. Which still doesn't mean you'll hit (RNG).

I can't see any problem here if we don't have nearly free (bonus action) acid potions everywhere.
This looks like a cool tactic to improve your %to hit.

Finding ways to play with the %to hit in a tactical TB game is one of the most interresting things to do.

If you can't easily stack too much bonuses, I guess it could be interresting. But I'll also be fine if highground only gives a better range to ranged weapons. I'm not in the "missing is so boring" camp.

Last edited by Maximuuus; 16/02/21 09:44 AM.
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I'll just chime in here and remind every one that, averagely speaking, advantage translates to a +5 bonus, even if it doesn't stack.


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Originally Posted by Dexai
I'll just chime in here and remind every one that, averagely speaking, advantage translates to a +5 bonus, even if it doesn't stack.

Basically. That’s why GWM is utterly OP right now. You can backstab with advantage that negates he penalty of the power attack portion of GWM and now you do +10 damage per hit without any penalties. It’s one of the main reasons why people are soloing this game.

Advantage should not be so easy to access.

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Very nice thoughts and most of the comments after that are not at the same level. They seem to come from people who never thought a bit to the balance in DD5 rules. Presently, the issue with advantage / disadvantage as well as the number of HP of some monsters that have been artificially increased breaks many aspects of the game. Many competences (and the full rogue class) and spells become useless. Solving these issues would re-equilibrate the whole game and give a richer gameplay, since some spells as support spells would become useful again.

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Originally Posted by Dexai
I'll just chime in here and remind every one that, averagely speaking, advantage translates to a +5 bonus, even if it doesn't stack.

Most sources I have seen actually say Advantage/Disadvantage is roughly +/- 3.3. I haven't done the math, but just pointing out what I have seen

Last edited by Blackmagicgirl; 22/02/21 05:08 PM.
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Originally Posted by Blackmagicgirl
Originally Posted by Dexai
I'll just chime in here and remind every one that, averagely speaking, advantage translates to a +5 bonus, even if it doesn't stack.

Most sources I have seen actually say Advantage/Disadvantage is roughly +/- 3.3. I haven't done the math, but just pointing out what I have seen
This is true in a vacuum, averaging over all possible DCs. Advantage is equivalent to +5 when you need an 11 on the die, +3.75 when you need a 16, and +2 when you need an 19 on the die (symmetric for die rolls lower than 11). All this averages out to +3.3.

Given that 5e has bounded accuracy, most checks require you to roll somewhere between a 7 and 14. These are regions where Advantage is closer to a +5. Then you have to take into account the fact that (for attack rolls), advantage makes it twice as likely you'll roll a 20 (for a critical hit, auto hit and 2x damage) and disadvantage makes it twice as likely you'll roll a natural 1 (auto-miss). Taken all together, Advantage gives closer to a +4.2 bonus.

See https://forums.larian.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=758374#Post758374 for a more detailed analysis

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It really depends on how granular/situational you would like to be.

It's not just about averages
Another source

Rolling 2d20 in a vacuum is different that rolling 2d20 in DnD or Baldur's Gate 3. You can take out a pen and paper, start rolling and track the delta between the rolls, and the average will trend to a number between 3 and 4.

That being said, the thread has been more focused on the total impact/value of higher ground giving a character advantage, while incoming attacks roll with disadvantage. With collision detection and other factors, high ground has other benefits alone that can't be measured.

High Ground Provides Other Benefits

High ground in patch 3 is a potent mixture of benefits for any character on the map.

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Originally Posted by Blackmagicgirl
Originally Posted by Dexai
I'll just chime in here and remind every one that, averagely speaking, advantage translates to a +5 bonus, even if it doesn't stack.

Most sources I have seen actually say Advantage/Disadvantage is roughly +/- 3.3. I haven't done the math, but just pointing out what I have seen

+5 is the convention in DnD circles, and the PHB refers to advantage as being a +5 bonus as well.


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As jumping behind the enemy and backstab is OP and jumping away is a free escape mechanic (given its tied to disengage), im spending my turns in every battle jumping back and forth between enemies with all of my characters. This resulted in some really tedious and long battles which i won this way but i didn't really enjoy the fights.

It was funny as i was watching some streamer reactions on the panel 2 and the question many of them raised right away when devs started to talk about patch 4 was "Is jumping still ridiculously OP?". Another common one was "Can you still rest anytime? Did they changed that?". I was like "Yes pleeeease".

Hopefully in some not-so-far patch...

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Originally Posted by Isaac Springsong
You have a system with some problems, but those problems are well known and has 6+ years of playtesting and rules updates to support it. It is widely recognized as the most widespread ruleset in its genre and the most balanced by far, in addition to being *so* popular that it's part of the reason your game is being made at all. It is also the edition of the rules you claimed you're using to make the game.

There is quite a few people in the D&D community that would have a serious problem with trying to say that 5e is the most widely used, widespread ruleset in its genre. Most players I talk to prefer 2E and 3E far more than 5E.

The game is based on 5E, they will not be able to adapt every single aspect, no matter how much some scream and yell about it.

Personally, I prefer height advantage of cover advantage and here is a perfect example:

Have you watched "The Rock"? In one scene the Marines are on the upper floor of a shower room, the Seals are in the lower floor, but have significant cover. It was still a kill zone because that cover, could not counter the high ground. The Marines could literally just put their rifles over the wall and wipe them out, or even lob some grenades. Or hell even lob some tear gas down and cut their throats. It is the same principle as dry gulching in canyons. You may have some boulders or a scrub tree here and there, but that would provide minimal cover over a group of people 100 ft above you with their own cover.

Not to mention, yes there is circumstances where the enemy has the high ground in BG3, and it has a negative impact on your ability to fight. But they also provide a number of ways to counter that, from teleporting, the warriors pull mechanic, acid, fire destroying the platform they are using for high ground. These are all done without Barrelmancy or anything else.

I do agree, backstab should be limited to rogues. But that should be in battle as well. The rogue in a battle could pull off a dexterous move, jumping over the enemy to backstab. But also, when you try and run around them, you have the chance of that NPC turning and hitting you if they win the roll for it.

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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).

You might want to do some research in military strategy if those are the only 2 you can come up with.

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Originally Posted by Pandemonica
Originally Posted by Isaac Springsong
You have a system with some problems, but those problems are well known and has 6+ years of playtesting and rules updates to support it. It is widely recognized as the most widespread ruleset in its genre and the most balanced by far, in addition to being *so* popular that it's part of the reason your game is being made at all. It is also the edition of the rules you claimed you're using to make the game.

There is quite a few people in the D&D community that would have a serious problem with trying to say that 5e is the most widely used, widespread ruleset in its genre. Most players I talk to prefer 2E and 3E far more than 5E.

The game is based on 5E, they will not be able to adapt every single aspect, no matter how much some scream and yell about it.

Personally, I prefer height advantage of cover advantage and here is a perfect example:

Have you watched "The Rock"? In one scene the Marines are on the upper floor of a shower room, the Seals are in the lower floor, but have significant cover. It was still a kill zone because that cover, could not counter the high ground. The Marines could literally just put their rifles over the wall and wipe them out, or even lob some grenades. Or hell even lob some tear gas down and cut their throats. It is the same principle as dry gulching in canyons. You may have some boulders or a scrub tree here and there, but that would provide minimal cover over a group of people 100 ft above you with their own cover.

Not to mention, yes there is circumstances where the enemy has the high ground in BG3, and it has a negative impact on your ability to fight. But they also provide a number of ways to counter that, from teleporting, the warriors pull mechanic, acid, fire destroying the platform they are using for high ground. These are all done without Barrelmancy or anything else.

I do agree, backstab should be limited to rogues. But that should be in battle as well. The rogue in a battle could pull off a dexterous move, jumping over the enemy to backstab. But also, when you try and run around them, you have the chance of that NPC turning and hitting you if they win the roll for it.

You may want to watch that movie again, the reason they are wiped out is because they have zero cover down in that death-trap. And the terrorists can easily fire from behind cover at the marines.

Regarding High Ground vs. cover:
Now imagine I stand on top of a wall (3m high), and you are 10m away on an open field. Why should I have advantage to hit you with a ranged attack? Why should you have disadvantage to hit me? Especially with ranged weapons, you see me as clearly as I see you, you will have zero difficulty in your ability to target me and I will not have it more easy to target you.
When I am standing on top of a castle wall behind a Firing port, then the main reason you will not be able to hit me is the cover, not the height.

Height does bring advantages, mainly increased range and it is often far more easy to get behind cover. If the height difference is very pronounced, then I just need to duck a little bit, and you won't be able to see me anymore.

So the Advantage/Disadvantage system in BG3 currently is just way over the top. But a lot of people have already pointed that out.

My personal preference would be increased range with bows and crossbows, not with spells, and that's it.
If Larian wants to give more advantage to aleviated combatants, than I can live with a +1 or +2 bonus to hit, but not also a bonus to AC (aka a malus of -1 or -2 to the combatant on the lower ground).

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Originally Posted by daMichi
Height does bring advantages, mainly increased range and it is often far more easy to get behind cover. If the height difference is very pronounced, then I just need to duck a little bit, and you won't be able to see me anymore.

So the Advantage/Disadvantage system in BG3 currently is just way over the top. But a lot of people have already pointed that out.

My personal preference would be increased range with bows and crossbows, not with spells, and that's it.
+1 (If I'm looking for an ideal situation for the game)

I'd like to supplement this with some more minutiae:
  • Starting with (A) Height wouldn't provide AdvantageFOR/DisadvantageAgainst
  • (B) going beyond normal range is already in there, add in height extending the "normal range" for ranged weapons.
  • having a proper climbing speed (Ladders, etc.)
  • rough terrain being applied to ascending steep angles
  • Ranged attacks no longer being at disadvantage because an enemy is ~3-4 meters away (5 feet is fine for disadvantage)
  • Add in +2 to hit

^ This would be a healthy baseline for high ground benefits.

Higher ground would give a better vantage point in combat and enemies would have to expend additional resources to ascend. Also agreeing with applying a simple +2 to hit.

(Side note) Personally I'd rather we had proper Dodge or Prone actions than getting a bonus to AC for high ground. It would give the player more risk/reward options.

EDIT: adding this in here for clarity.

The core intent of 5e is that bonuses don't stack. The player takes the greater value that they've received. You see this throughout 5e. Examples: Temporary Hit Points from multiple sources, and Tortle's Natural Armor with Barbarian's Unarmored Defense.

Applying 5e's logic: if a player gains Advantage, Advantage would override a +2 to hit and not stack.

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Early on in EA I seem to recall people having difficulty with the main gnoll encounter. It was mainly due to height advantage but also something else.

You didn’t hear too many problems from goblins even though they used height as well. What makes the gnolls different is due to their increased HP and more importantly, their extra attacks with a bow.

Height advantage will be magnified as more and more monsters get extra attacks. And since BG3 seems to target your lowest AC squishy characters first, they will die often. Gale is going to look like a pin cushion after all is said and done.

I truly believe Larian needs to re-evaluate height. I know it worked with DOS but it just isn’t compatible with 5e rules, modified or not.

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Has anyone else noticed that advantage from high ground and disadvantage from low ground is working differently than patch 3? It seems there is now a premium on when high ground advantage or low ground disadvantage can be applied. (The UI doesn't always reflect this).

Thread containing data on attack rolls for High Ground and Low Ground

Patch 4 is confirming a lot of our thoughts that the game would be more fun if range-dependent classes got to roll their attacks normal. Instead of Advantage or Disadvantage most of the time.

Even though high ground advantage and low ground advantage is still in the game. With the reduced occurrence of both, I've been able to use more spells and take on more battles proactively. I'm keeping an open mind throughout patch 4. So far through the Harpy fight I have been having a lot more fun in combat. What about the rest of you?

I'm going to play through all of Early Access before I totally change my opinion on Advantage from High Ground and Disadvantage from Low Ground.

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Originally Posted by Isaac Springsong
Primary Topic Links:
-> https://forums.larian.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=713497&page=1
-> https://forums.larian.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=716036&page=1
-> Primary feedback thread, multiple times

Summary: In the 5e ruleset, Advantage/Disadvantage is the most powerful impact on gameplay. This is true both from a mathematical standpoint and from a player/DM perspective. Because it is so powerful, all sources of Adv/Dis in 5e come at either a cost of resources or a potentially penalty to the user, to balance out the sheer power of the mechanic. Currently, BG 3 subverts this balance by providing always available sources of Adv/Dis in the form of Height and Backstab, both of which require nothing more than having your character in the correct location on the map (note: this is exacerbated by the Jump/Disengage/Stealth problem discussed elsewhere, but exists even if that is fixed). This makes the 5e sources of Adv/Dis nearly useless as they are all more costly or penalizing, thus invaliding literally dozens and dozens of class features and spells, completely ruining the balance of entire classes. Removing Height and Backstab based Adv/Dis will go a long way towards making the game far more balanced and play like a D&D game.

Main Discussion:

The Maths: - In 5e, in general, having Advantage is roughly equivalent of having +5 to your roll. Disadvantage is roughly equal to having -5 to your roll. This means if one character is rolling with Advantage, and the other character is rolling with Disadvantage, then there is the rough equivalent of +-10 between their rolls. Additionally, Advantage doubles the chance of rolling a critical hit, and makes critical failures much less likely (5% normally vs 0.25% with Advantage), vice versa for Disadvantage.

Next, one of the core theories for game balance in 5e is called "Bounded Accuracy". This term means that players and NPCs generally have limits to how high they can boost their static modifiers to rolls. There is a 'bound' on just how 'accurate' a player can become. This was a huge shift in D&D when it was introduced. In prior editions of D&D, players could achieve truly insane modifiers to their to-hit, to the point where attack rolls were reaching into the 1d20+100 range, which just creates stupid arms races between monsters and players. By reducing how much a player can add to their to-hit, WotC (the publishers the D&D rules) made smaller bonuses much, MUCH more important. For example, Bless requires both a spell slot, concentration, and is limited to three targets, and only provides an average of +2.5, half of Advantage.

Bounded Accuracy is why Adv/Dis is so impactful on gameplay. There are a few class abilities that can add a higher static modifier (such as a War Cleric's Channel Divinity that can add +10 to one single attack roll) but those are rare and always limited in amount. It is a large reason why 5e is generally much more balanced that prior editions of D&D with far less ways to truly 'break' the game. It also makes the gameplay much smoother because enemies to-hit and AC do not need to increase as much as you get higher level. On page 274 of the DMG, there is even a chart for rough AC numbers based on a creature's CR (Challenge Rating. The higher the CR, the more 'powerful' the creature):

CR 0-3: 13 AC
CR 4: 14 AC
CR 5-7: 15 AC
CR 8-9: 16 AC
CR 10-12: 17 AC
CR 13-16: 18 AC
CR 17+: 19 AC

Look at those numbers. Over the course of 17 'levels' of CR, the enemies AC only increases by an average of +6. Just having Advantage almost cancels that growth out entirely. Here is an analysis of the actual monsters made available from WoTC and their respective change in AC -> https://i.stack.imgur.com/a6rlg.png

Lastly, if you take a level 1 character and a level 17+ character, give them the same stats and the same weapon, the total difference in their to-hit roll will be....+4. That's it. A level 1 character has a proficiency bonus of +2 and a level 17+ character has one of +6. The difference between these otherwise the same characters is less than the difference from Adv/Dis. That is how strong Adv/Dis is mathematically.

Hopefully by now, you can see why getting Adv/Dis is such a huge deal in 5e rules, and why being able to have them should be considered such a huge impact on the mathematics at play.

The Gameplay: - Here is a non-exhaustive list of class features and spells that grant Adv or impose Dis for characters between levels 1-4:

General Actions:
1. Dodge/Help
2. Dropping Prone against Ranged Attacks

Spells:
3. True Strike
4. Vicious Mockery
5. Cause Fear
6. Command (certain instructions)
7. Compelled Duel
8. Ensnaring Strike
9. Entangle
10. Faerie Fire
11. Find Familiar (Help Action)
12. Fog Cloud (Depending on types of sight)
13. Grease
14. Guiding Bolt
15. Protection from Evil/Good (Against certain enemy types)
16. Sleep
17. Snare
18. Tasha's Hideous Laughter
19. Zephyr Strike
20. Blindness/Deafness
21. Blur
22. Darkness (Depending on types of sight)
23. Heat Metal
24. Hold Person
25. Invisibility
26. Maximilian's Earthen Grasp
27. Shadow Blade (Depending on lighting)
28. Web

Class Features:

29. Barbarian - Reckless Attack
30. Barbarian - Wolf Totem
31. Barbarian - Ancestral Protectors
32. Bard - Words of Terror
33. Cleric - Warding Flare
34. Cleric - Invoke Duplicity
35. Druid - Multiple Wildshape forms that grants Pack Tactics (Wolf, etc)
36. Fighter - Distracting Strike
37. Fighter - Feinting Attack
38. Fighter - Goading Attack
39. Fighter - Menacing Attack
40. Fighter - Trip Attack
41. Fighter - Fighting Spirit
42. Monk - Patient Defense
43. Monk - Open Hand Technique (knocked Prone)
44. Paladin - Conquering Presence
45. Paladin - Nature's Wrath
46. Paladin - Abjure Enemy
47. Paladin - Vow of Emnity
48. Paladin - Dreadful Aspect
49. Ranger - Umbral Sight
50. Rogue - Assassinate
51. Rogue - Master of Tactics
52. Rogue - Cunning Action (Stealth)
53. Sorcerer - Eyes of the Dark
54. Sorcerer - Tides of Chaos
55. Warlock - Hexblade's Curse
56. Warlock - Pact of the Chain (Help from Familiar)


56 different spells, actions, and class features (I'm sure I missed some as well). Every single one of these costs a resource or imposes a penalty for using. For example, the Dodge Action takes your characters Action for that turn. The Barbarian's Reckless Attack makes the Barbarian grant Advantage to anyone attacking it for a turn, making it significantly more likely that they will take damage for that turn. The Open Palm Monk's tripping attack takes Ki to attempt and still provides an enemy with a Save first. And this list is ONLY for levels 1-4. It grows massively once you start getting higher levels characters.

Each and every one of these has the same benefit as Adv/Dis from Height and Backstab, which means each of those class features and spells are essentially pointless given how much easier it is to just get higher or to walk around a target. This is terrible, TERRIBLE for balance. You are throwing out 6+ years of playtesting the rules and balance of 5e.

Finally, Rogue's deserve special mention due to how their primary class feature (Sneak Attack) interacts with Advantage/Disadvantage. Ignoring the cheapening of the Rogue in general due to every class now having Stealth as a bonus action, Rogue's are not able to use Sneak Attack if they have Disadvantage on a roll. This makes it extremely difficult for a Rogue to use their primary function against any target that is above them. This is terrible for the balance of the class.

Not in the Rules: The rules of 5e to not provide Advantage/Disadvantage due to different in Height. There is an *optional* rule in the DM regarding Facing and what might be called 'backstab' but 90% of the rule (including the ability to use your Reaction to face the target and deny them Backstab) is not implemented, meaning that rule was not used. Anecdotally, I have never, ever heard of any DM using the Facing system because of how much it throws a wrench in the gameplay process.

Possible Solutions: First, remove granting Advantage/Disadvantage for Height and Backstab. As you can see from the list, there are enough ways to get Adv/Dis, BUT they are all balanced by having a cost/penalty associated with using them.

Next, if Larian still wants to incorporate having a benefit for having higher elevation than a target and/or maneuvering near a target, please incorporate the Cover and Flanking mechanics as described in the first linked Primary Topics Link. Cover provides a potential benefit for being higher than your target because your target will not have Cover from your attack. Additionally, you will possibly have some Cover from attacks from below due to the surface providing elevation. Flanking also requires at least 2 allies in melee combat, increasing the risk to those characters for the reward of potentially having a greater chance to hit.

Alternatively, if Cover/Flanking is deemed to difficult or impossible due to the limitations of the DoS engine being used, then replace Adv/Dis with a flat +2/-2 bonus (which is the bonus provided from Cover and Flanking respectively). This makes players still want to seek out sources of Adv/Dis due to their higher mathematical benefit, while also not invaliding all of the listed spells, actions, and class features.


God yes!!!!

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Originally Posted by Isaac Springsong
Primary Topic Links:
-> https://forums.larian.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=713497&page=1
-> https://forums.larian.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=716036&page=1
-> Primary feedback thread, multiple times

Summary: In the 5e ruleset, Advantage/Disadvantage is the most powerful impact on gameplay. This is true both from a mathematical standpoint and from a player/DM perspective. Because it is so powerful, all sources of Adv/Dis in 5e come at either a cost of resources or a potentially penalty to the user, to balance out the sheer power of the mechanic. Currently, BG 3 subverts this balance by providing always available sources of Adv/Dis in the form of Height and Backstab, both of which require nothing more than having your character in the correct location on the map (note: this is exacerbated by the Jump/Disengage/Stealth problem discussed elsewhere, but exists even if that is fixed). This makes the 5e sources of Adv/Dis nearly useless as they are all more costly or penalizing, thus invaliding literally dozens and dozens of class features and spells, completely ruining the balance of entire classes. Removing Height and Backstab based Adv/Dis will go a long way towards making the game far more balanced and play like a D&D game.

Main Discussion:

The Maths: - In 5e, in general, having Advantage is roughly equivalent of having +5 to your roll. Disadvantage is roughly equal to having -5 to your roll. This means if one character is rolling with Advantage, and the other character is rolling with Disadvantage, then there is the rough equivalent of +-10 between their rolls. Additionally, Advantage doubles the chance of rolling a critical hit, and makes critical failures much less likely (5% normally vs 0.25% with Advantage), vice versa for Disadvantage.

Next, one of the core theories for game balance in 5e is called "Bounded Accuracy". This term means that players and NPCs generally have limits to how high they can boost their static modifiers to rolls. There is a 'bound' on just how 'accurate' a player can become. This was a huge shift in D&D when it was introduced. In prior editions of D&D, players could achieve truly insane modifiers to their to-hit, to the point where attack rolls were reaching into the 1d20+100 range, which just creates stupid arms races between monsters and players. By reducing how much a player can add to their to-hit, WotC (the publishers the D&D rules) made smaller bonuses much, MUCH more important. For example, Bless requires both a spell slot, concentration, and is limited to three targets, and only provides an average of +2.5, half of Advantage.

Bounded Accuracy is why Adv/Dis is so impactful on gameplay. There are a few class abilities that can add a higher static modifier (such as a War Cleric's Channel Divinity that can add +10 to one single attack roll) but those are rare and always limited in amount. It is a large reason why 5e is generally much more balanced that prior editions of D&D with far less ways to truly 'break' the game. It also makes the gameplay much smoother because enemies to-hit and AC do not need to increase as much as you get higher level. On page 274 of the DMG, there is even a chart for rough AC numbers based on a creature's CR (Challenge Rating. The higher the CR, the more 'powerful' the creature):

CR 0-3: 13 AC
CR 4: 14 AC
CR 5-7: 15 AC
CR 8-9: 16 AC
CR 10-12: 17 AC
CR 13-16: 18 AC
CR 17+: 19 AC

Look at those numbers. Over the course of 17 'levels' of CR, the enemies AC only increases by an average of +6. Just having Advantage almost cancels that growth out entirely. Here is an analysis of the actual monsters made available from WoTC and their respective change in AC -> https://i.stack.imgur.com/a6rlg.png

Lastly, if you take a level 1 character and a level 17+ character, give them the same stats and the same weapon, the total difference in their to-hit roll will be....+4. That's it. A level 1 character has a proficiency bonus of +2 and a level 17+ character has one of +6. The difference between these otherwise the same characters is less than the difference from Adv/Dis. That is how strong Adv/Dis is mathematically.

Hopefully by now, you can see why getting Adv/Dis is such a huge deal in 5e rules, and why being able to have them should be considered such a huge impact on the mathematics at play.

The Gameplay: - Here is a non-exhaustive list of class features and spells that grant Adv or impose Dis for characters between levels 1-4:

General Actions:
1. Dodge/Help
2. Dropping Prone against Ranged Attacks

Spells:
3. True Strike
4. Vicious Mockery
5. Cause Fear
6. Command (certain instructions)
7. Compelled Duel
8. Ensnaring Strike
9. Entangle
10. Faerie Fire
11. Find Familiar (Help Action)
12. Fog Cloud (Depending on types of sight)
13. Grease
14. Guiding Bolt
15. Protection from Evil/Good (Against certain enemy types)
16. Sleep
17. Snare
18. Tasha's Hideous Laughter
19. Zephyr Strike
20. Blindness/Deafness
21. Blur
22. Darkness (Depending on types of sight)
23. Heat Metal
24. Hold Person
25. Invisibility
26. Maximilian's Earthen Grasp
27. Shadow Blade (Depending on lighting)
28. Web

Class Features:

29. Barbarian - Reckless Attack
30. Barbarian - Wolf Totem
31. Barbarian - Ancestral Protectors
32. Bard - Words of Terror
33. Cleric - Warding Flare
34. Cleric - Invoke Duplicity
35. Druid - Multiple Wildshape forms that grants Pack Tactics (Wolf, etc)
36. Fighter - Distracting Strike
37. Fighter - Feinting Attack
38. Fighter - Goading Attack
39. Fighter - Menacing Attack
40. Fighter - Trip Attack
41. Fighter - Fighting Spirit
42. Monk - Patient Defense
43. Monk - Open Hand Technique (knocked Prone)
44. Paladin - Conquering Presence
45. Paladin - Nature's Wrath
46. Paladin - Abjure Enemy
47. Paladin - Vow of Emnity
48. Paladin - Dreadful Aspect
49. Ranger - Umbral Sight
50. Rogue - Assassinate
51. Rogue - Master of Tactics
52. Rogue - Cunning Action (Stealth)
53. Sorcerer - Eyes of the Dark
54. Sorcerer - Tides of Chaos
55. Warlock - Hexblade's Curse
56. Warlock - Pact of the Chain (Help from Familiar)


56 different spells, actions, and class features (I'm sure I missed some as well). Every single one of these costs a resource or imposes a penalty for using. For example, the Dodge Action takes your characters Action for that turn. The Barbarian's Reckless Attack makes the Barbarian grant Advantage to anyone attacking it for a turn, making it significantly more likely that they will take damage for that turn. The Open Palm Monk's tripping attack takes Ki to attempt and still provides an enemy with a Save first. And this list is ONLY for levels 1-4. It grows massively once you start getting higher levels characters.

Each and every one of these has the same benefit as Adv/Dis from Height and Backstab, which means each of those class features and spells are essentially pointless given how much easier it is to just get higher or to walk around a target. This is terrible, TERRIBLE for balance. You are throwing out 6+ years of playtesting the rules and balance of 5e.

Finally, Rogue's deserve special mention due to how their primary class feature (Sneak Attack) interacts with Advantage/Disadvantage. Ignoring the cheapening of the Rogue in general due to every class now having Stealth as a bonus action, Rogue's are not able to use Sneak Attack if they have Disadvantage on a roll. This makes it extremely difficult for a Rogue to use their primary function against any target that is above them. This is terrible for the balance of the class.

Not in the Rules: The rules of 5e to not provide Advantage/Disadvantage due to different in Height. There is an *optional* rule in the DM regarding Facing and what might be called 'backstab' but 90% of the rule (including the ability to use your Reaction to face the target and deny them Backstab) is not implemented, meaning that rule was not used. Anecdotally, I have never, ever heard of any DM using the Facing system because of how much it throws a wrench in the gameplay process.

Possible Solutions: First, remove granting Advantage/Disadvantage for Height and Backstab. As you can see from the list, there are enough ways to get Adv/Dis, BUT they are all balanced by having a cost/penalty associated with using them.

Next, if Larian still wants to incorporate having a benefit for having higher elevation than a target and/or maneuvering near a target, please incorporate the Cover and Flanking mechanics as described in the first linked Primary Topics Link. Cover provides a potential benefit for being higher than your target because your target will not have Cover from your attack. Additionally, you will possibly have some Cover from attacks from below due to the surface providing elevation. Flanking also requires at least 2 allies in melee combat, increasing the risk to those characters for the reward of potentially having a greater chance to hit.

Alternatively, if Cover/Flanking is deemed to difficult or impossible due to the limitations of the DoS engine being used, then replace Adv/Dis with a flat +2/-2 bonus (which is the bonus provided from Cover and Flanking respectively). This makes players still want to seek out sources of Adv/Dis due to their higher mathematical benefit, while also not invaliding all of the listed spells, actions, and class features.

I agree with all of this, especially the height mechanic. Your characters should be scrambling for cover (if squishy mages) and not scrambling for high ground out in the open.

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Originally Posted by Vortex138
I agree with all of this, especially the height mechanic. Your characters should be scrambling for cover (if squishy mages) and not scrambling for high ground out in the open.
I've been planning on doing a write up on this. It is a big issue that the enemy AI is set to go for high ground and mages are incentivized to go for high ground. The game asks the player to put their mages in bad positions. Spells and Bows having equivalent range is also part of the issue.

Mages innately have a bunch of tactical decisions in 5e to make, which spells to use and where to be to zone the enemies safely.

I can understand that fighter and ranger was lacking tactically and high ground / low ground might be interesting for them... but it's a problem treating magic like it's a crossbow bolt. Fighters, Barbarians, Rogues, and Rangers have the armor and weapons to deal with enemies at close range consistently. Mages usually have to use a spell slot on a close range spell.

Mages should not have an incentive to go where their enemies are going. And it doesn't make sense that magic would be granted advantage/disadvantage just for elevation.

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Unpopular opinion, but abilities that use up spell slots should not have % hit/miss chances, it's patently absurd the immense swing in combat outcomes RNG has instead of player input.

I also don't enjoy being railroaded into Misty Step on every single caster so I don't miss half my spells and proceed to either die in one hit or two to a simple melee swing from an equal level opponent.

Casters in this game feel like hot, slow, boring garbage.

Spells don't feel impactful at all for the opportunity cost they have outside the aoe CC spells.

And charm/sleep being so widely available to enemies and completely wrecking you in outnumbered fights just cements the huge gap between elf vs. non elf races since the immunity to charm and sleep is ridiculously strong.

I'll also say that the concentration system needs an overhaul. Mage hand is totally worthless thanks to it alongside several other spells.

Last edited by Zenith; 06/03/21 07:54 AM.
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