Advantage/Disadvantage vs +3/-3 for easy and hard



Has anyone tried 5e-style Advantage/disadvantage with ICRPG over the regular +3/-3 for easy and hard rolls ?
(For those who don’t know, Adv/Dis is you roll an extra D20 and keep the best or worst of the 2)

I know they aren’t quite the same mathematically (Adv roughly translates to a +5 rather than a +3), but I just find that mechanics more elegant.

Anyone tried ?
Did that work for you ?


I did play with advantage/disadvantage in addition to +3/-3. Some events just called for something being really difficult or very easy.

I don’t think it’s needed, but no one seemed to complain, and it added a level of getting the upper hand or being totally screwed to some situations…but there was always luck.

So +3/-3 first level…+3/-3 with Advantage/Disadvantage second level.

From a mechanics perspective +3/-3 gives a 30% swing to chances. Each number in a D20 is 5% on a single roll.

Advantage/disadvantage has a variable swing depending on Target Number.
With advantage you have a 51% chance of rolling 15+ with advantage 30% with a normal roll and 9% with disadvantage.

Using a more normal TN of 12+.
Advantage = 70%
Normal = 45%
Disadvantage = 20%

+3 requires a 9 = 60%
Normal = 45%
-3 requires a 15 = 30%

Add them together…
+3 with advantage needing a 9 = 84%
Normal needing a 12 = 45%
-3 with disadvantage needing a 15 = 8%

So…it’s really not needed, but can give players a reason to work for advantage, or the +3

Based on my understanding (I’m probably wrong) of where ICRPG is probably going…it would be use a turn to get an auto hit next round, +3, normal, -3, use 2 turns to roll -3). With the probable elimination of “use 2 turns to roll -3” cause Hankerin likes Heroic actions and player agency, and using an extra turn for a bad chance is not heroic or giving players chances.

All that said, ICRPG is your game to play with your Table!!! Play it in the most fun way you can imagine how.
Personally I’d explore effort manipulation…players roll advantage but halve effort, or disadvantage to double effort, adding player choice to any roll and keeps the GM from thinking too hard on statuses.


I would say use both in different situations. Since ADV gives a better chance for success use that when you want a bigger nudge than an Easy roll. Perhaps let a Boss or a Champion type creature use Advantage or have an ability that creates Disadvantage for a round for the PCs. More options are always good, do what you feel is fun.


I really like the mechanic of advantage, and it’s satisfying as a player. There are no shortage of dice at my tables, so when this happens it’s usually two d20s rolled at once, which creates an odd tension waiting for both to display their results. It’s almost like a Vegas gaming table for a brief moment as everyone holds their breath to see what happens.

I’ve found that when you roll twice (that is, roll one die, then re-reoll that die as opposed to rolling two dice at once) it changes the tension a lot. If you succeed on the first roll (with ADV) then you don’t need to roll the second one, and it’s not a big deal that you had it. When you fail your first ADV roll, and then fail your second, the feeling of losing is somehow worse - perhaps because we built up so much hope on this one die.

Getting both results at once, and knowing whether the dice were with you or not, is somehow just a lot more energizing and satisfying.

I find ADV/DIS to be an easier-at-the-table concept to explain and execute, but it doesn’t feel right for every situation. Having an advantage in a situation may be fundamentally different than that thing being easy, so both mechanisms can live side by side for different situations.


I agree totally with the way you implement it and often do the same.

One other thing I randomly thought of while reading your post was why not use the ADV/DIS mechanic on Effort/Damage? Something I may play around with for Treasure/Loot rewards, monster powers, and such. That would make for some tense and awesome moments.


I assumed that Hankerin went with Easy/Hard instead of Adv/Disadv. because everything else is designed around each player having just 1 of each type of polyhedral dice, and they weren’t expected to have the two d20s needed to satisfyingly roll advantage.


I like the mechanic of target rolls getting easier when trying for a second or third time. My players don’t see the math, so by changing the target they have the instant feedback of ya I may succeed now or ya it’s getting easier. going from two dice to one dice to two dice they don’t get it and I have to explain. I used to dm in 5e but it was getting frustrating because of having to manage pcs and explain, it was almost like i was playing for them. as soon as I switched to icrpg playing became more natural from my players and Importantly it was very more funner :slight_smile: so, my vote +3/-3


Decent Deduction, but I don’t think it is the case. If I remember based on my flimsy recollection of the videos… @Runehammer did not like the way it was used in 5E and did not want people playing with conditions to that extent. He also wanted to keep language “natural”.

Easy, Normal, Hard. in reality it’s minimalistic, and speeds up play. Nothing bad there.

But if you want to add +1 for this and -1 for that and +4 for that…you can add it…but “oh, that makes it hard” is simple and fairly elegant…especially when tied into, if you missed the last time, this time it’s easy if you are doing the same thing.


I would also think it would be too much.
I was more thinking of replacing the +3/-3 by Adv/Dis, not adding it on top of it.

Those are not mutually exclusive

You can keep the “easy, normal, hard” descriptors, but instead of +3/-3, you give an extra die


The reason why a lot of us prefer the simple Easy/Hard adjudication system is because of the weird limbic system incongruity you can get with Advantage/Disadvantage. With Advantage, I might roll a natural 20 and a natural 1 and still succeed. Or worse yet, with disadvantage, roll a natural 1 and a natural 20 and still fail.

My opinion: any time you can have the dice do that to a player is terrible.

Another drawback is that Advantage doesn’t make players feel better able to PERFORM tasks or produce better results in the same way making a task Easy can. Instead, Advantage is just skewing the ODDS in favor of a better result without changing the floor or ceiling for success, which is a different feel for a player.

Advantage/Disadvantage shines in systems where there can be tons of fiddly modifiers, but it’s wholly unnecessary in a simple system like ICRPG where the Easy/Hard modifiers are always plus or minus 3.

All of that being said, there are plenty of people who love it, and it’s certainly the prized darling of 5e. So, if that’s what you like, go for it. There are plenty of people who like chocolate ice cream and plenty who like strawberry. There’s room for both to have a good time.


The level of emersion of it’s a 9 target number Vs. Well one was a 19 and the other was an 8 is substantial. Not to mention you kind of loose the “next time it’s easy” aspect of the argument.

Oddly I don’t have a dog in this fight, I could use both interchangeably. The +3/-3 Vs. +5/-5 is close enough to the truth to the most common Target Numbers, that I don’t care too much. I only gave an example of how I experienced it in play. I also expounded on my thoughts around it.

@Alex did a good job of talking extremes. I do like ending up on don’t change it unless evidence gives you a reason. But I’ll totally kick the tires and check the oil first.

Easy/hard then adv/dis then easy+adv/dis-hard would be the most granular. But then consistently arbitrating that becomes an issue. The question that arises is it worth the extra bandwidth required?

@G0R1LLAMUNCH provided an experience where easy/hard is better. If everyone has 5E experience then I’m sure Adv/Dis is better.

Use what you like better, this is a very modular aspect of the system.

Using Dis/Adv in effort is much more interesting to me.
In games I run use lower TN but every roll has an effort component. So this appeals to me.

What triggers Adv or Dis effort got my mind working.


I don’t use adv/dis very much these days on the PC side, but I may on the Nemesis NPC/boss monster side from time to time.

If I feel like a PC roll should be Easier than EASY, I often just let them go straight to rolling Effort.

If the Effort die is a 1, they will need to keep going to fill out a heart regardless of their Effort bonus. (And I come up with a story reason it was harder than it looked).

If the effort die is maxed, Full successful completion—possibly with a collateral benefit—is usually the outcome.

Anything in the middle of those two, I Make a spot decision as to whether they’ll need to roll again next turn or just grant success automatically at the start of their next turn.


I use a mix of both easy/hard and advantage.

In the kids game I run, I initially used the ICRPG easy/hard. The kids felt that some things still felt too hard. So I took ICRPG to be more of a philosophy of how to game “Like a big ol’ bad ass” and I tailored my rpg.

So I now have easy/hard for any task the characters make. But if it’s a skill based role that the character has taken, ie a thief picking a lock, I let the kids roll two dice. The kids like this better as they were getting frustrated with rolling a number, then adding 3 and still missing as the room DC was say 16 and they roll 12 plus 3… They think that rolling two dice is better odds. So I only give “advantage” on these skill based roles. I don’t use disadvantage and if they both want to use their strength to push something over it’s still an “Easy” +3 roll. So this is working and the kids are happy.

But as always, your mileage may vary.


Yes, exactly. ADV/DIS works great when the chance of success or failure is important: it keeps the randomness of the dice rolls, but gives the players potentially better chances without applying any modifiers to the rolls themselves.