One of my favorite things about the Dungeons & Dragons 5e core rules set is its simplicity. That simplicity is what drew me back to Dungeons & Dragons, and I believe it’s the simplicity and accessibility of Dungeons & Dragons 5e that is spurring the phenomenal growth of the hobby. The thing that contributes to that simplicity more than any other (at least in my humble opinion) is the Dungeons & Dragons 5e advantage and disadvantage mechanic (Pg. 173, PHB). It is elegant and easy to understand, even for those who are brand new to the game.
Rather than knowing (which is virtually impossible for a new DM, even if you have a photographic memory) all of the modifiers that apply to all of the actions possible in a given scenario, or even worse yet, stopping play to look up all the different modifiers that apply to all of the actions possible in a given scenario, you roll 2d20, and in the case of advantage you use the highest result, and in disadvantage you use the lowest result.
BOOM! The Dungeons & Dragons 5e advantage and disadvantage mechanic is so simple!
It’s simple for the new DM and PC alike because instead of trying to make sense of a vast list of arbitrary skill, stat, and situational bonuses or penalties (When do they apply? How do they apply? Do they stack?), advantage or disadvantage is applied. It makes the game cleaner, easier to understand, and (most of all) less intimidating. And, while advantage and disadvantage are normally applied through the use of special abilities, actions, and spells, PC’s can also gain advantage through inspiration (Pg. 125, PHB – another mechanic I love). And, the DM can decide that circumstances influence a roll for better or for worse and apply advantage and disadvantage accordingly. Both of which not only make running the game easier, they have the added benefit of encouraging and rewarding good roleplaying!
Bottomline… I think the Dungeons & Dragons 5e advantage and disadvantage mechanic makes the game easier to understand, easier to play, and easier to run, especially for new players and DM’s.
But, I’d love to hear your thoughts! What do you think about the Dungeons & Dragons 5e advantage and disadvantage mechanic? Let me know in the comments!
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With the catch being that it doesn’t represent degrees of advantages/disadvantage.