Advantages and Disadvantages

I can’t figure out how advantages and disadvantages are supposed to work. On page 28 it says that if the one player gains an advantage over a target, but the target also has an advantage, then no bonus dice are granted. So it appears that two opposing advantages cancel each other.

However, on the next page it says that advantages do not cancel out disadvantages. This is confusing, because how do you know when a situation is a disadvantage to you or an advantage to an opponent? Isn’t that just two ways of looking at the same thing? It seems like it would make a big difference, mechanically.

This leads into my second question: Why are disadvantages worse than advantages are good? Apparently we can combine them both in one roll (+1D, +1Ob), but in a case like that, the situation ends up being worse for the player, instead of even.

Why doesn’t the system just raise or decrease the Ob if there are advantages or disadvantages? That seems like it would make much more sense.

With a +1D, the chance of that single die rolling a success is 50% (or more if a grey or white shade).

On a +1 Ob, the increase is 100% challenge increase. There is no “chance” involved. Thus, a disadvantage is always more detrimental than an advantage. Its a simple math comparison (when you consider die probabilities it gets down to percentage comparison pretty quickly)

The reason this is the way it is, I imagine, is because creating challenges is fun for Role Playing Games (provided they’re fair challenges and the numbers are not ridiculously skewed against players).

Also not that while comparing advantage VS disadvantage favors the disadvantage, BW gives more than ample opportunity for players to tilt the odds drastically in their favor. Yay for FoRKs

You can also get only +2D from advantages, but disadvantages can stack up endlessly. It’s just one of those design decisions: things can get worse more than they can get better in BW, and you get more from making sure you’re not in a position of weakness than you do from building up a position of immense strength. It helps bolster the kind of exciting rather than safe play BW favors. There’s no reason to try to eke out every little advantage. Find a small edge in the situation, then leap into danger!

The sentence about canceling on p28 isn’t about advantages canceling out. It’s about the GM refusing to recognize advantage if the same advantage is also helping the target. You can’t lobby for +1D to shoot someone in a duel because the day is sunny and it’s easy to see; the other guy has the same edge as you. You can’t say you have an advantage in persuading the crowd because your magnificent robes give you an air of superiority if the other guy’s raiment is as splendiferous as your own.

Oh, that makes sense. Thanks!

Something to remember also is that (with the exception of a few very specific situations), dice are never lost and Obstacles are never decreased. In a standard test, if things are better for you than normal you get extra dice, if they are worse the difficulty goes up. In a versus test, if one person has a better position/argument/whatever than their opponent, they get an extra die or two to represent that. In both cases, the disadvantaged character isn’t ever reduced in their in their abilities (they don’t lose dice) but they are negatively impacted (the opposition is stiffer).

Note that injury is the one place where this doesn’t hold true. When injured, a character is expressly and directly reduced in their abilities.