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Showing posts from September, 2021

The Genealogy of Advantage and Disadvantage in RPG Mechanics

This is inspired by a clear and informative blog post on iterative game design by Dwiz at his blog "A Knight at the Opera." (It's worth reading!) He demonstrates the development of "to hit" rolls from OD&D to the general mechanics of 5e by following the step-by-step redesign of those rules in successive editions. He closes by encouraging game rule designers with the words "Too many people try to reinvent the wheel, when they should be looking at other people's wheels for comparison." My intention here is just to sketch the background of rolling with Advantage and with Disadvantage. It comes from outside of D&D. In D&D 5e, advantage and disadvantage mean rolling 1d20 twice and dropping the worse of the two (with Advantage) or dropping the best of the two (with Disadvantage) instead of making fine-grained judgment calls about how many plus and minus factors should affect a roll targeting a difficulty number (mostly arbitrarily assigned b