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Picture the following scenario.

A creature attacks me, and through any combination of features, spells, conditions and other effects (for example, I am a Recklessly Attacking barbarian being Recklessly Attacked by another creature while prone, restrained, and under the effects of faerie fire), it would normally attack with advantage.

However, I have taken the Dodge action, causing attacks against me to be made with disadvantage. Normally,

If circumstances cause a roll to have both advantage and disadvantage, you are considered to have neither of them, and you roll one d20.

So far so good, but there is an added complication - I am playing a Wildhunt Shifter (using the Eberron: Rising from the Last War version), which gives me the following feature,

While shifted, (...) no creature within 30 feet of you can make an attack roll with advantage against you, unless you're incapacitated.

Now, the question is, does the Wildhunt feature negate the advantage on the attack (thus making the final attack be made with disadvantage, with no advantage to cancel it out), or do the advantage and disadvantage cancel each other out first, and only then does the feature say the attack roll cannot be made with advantage, which it is not?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Heavily related question here \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 14, 2022 at 17:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ In English, there isn't any "interaction". In Gaming, don't you think "cannot make a roll with advantage" is at worst neutral while "disadvantage" is necessarily negative? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 15, 2022 at 21:33

2 Answers 2

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The attack roll would have neither advantage nor disadvantage

The rules on "Making an Attack" outline the structure of an attack:

1. Choose a target. Pick a target within your attack's range: a creature, an object, or a location.

2. Determine modifiers. The DM determines whether the target has cover and whether you have advantage or disadvantage against the target. In addition, spells, special abilities, and other effects can apply penalties or bonuses to your attack roll.

3. Resolve the attack. You make the attack roll. On a hit, you roll damage, unless the particular attack has rules that specify otherwise. Some attacks cause special effects in addition to or instead of damage.

Notably, "The DM determines whether [...] you have advantage or disadvantage" is before "You make the attack roll". Thus, (dis)advantage must be determined before actually making the roll.

Meanwhile, the Shifter's feature states (emphasis mine):

[...] no creature within 30 feet of you can make an attack roll with advantage against you

This affects the creature making the attack roll; but making the attack roll comes after determining (dis)advantage. As such, the advantage and disadvantage would have already cancelled out before the Shifter feature could apply.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Why doesn't the Shifter feature apply at stage 2? The "no creature can" wording seems like something that would be evaluated at the same time as determining if a creature has advantage since it precludes gaining advantage, not stripping it once it already is granted. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rykara
    Commented Jan 14, 2022 at 17:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ser Sure, but it also makes sense to me the other way around, too: there's a standing prohibition in place that, when a creature would get advantage, that is checked and invalidated, not checked, granted, and invalidated subsequently. At the very least, I'm not sure that the timing of removal of advantage happens after the determination of modifiers step. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rykara
    Commented Jan 14, 2022 at 18:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rykara I'd say it does happen after because the feature happens when a creature makes an attack roll; if it had said "no creature can have advantage on attack roll against you"; I'd say that is checked during stage 2 and not 3 \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 14, 2022 at 18:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ @rykara but checking if someone has advantage includes checking for disadvantage, because advantage only exists when there is no disadvantage. You have to do that check first, they go hand in hand \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented Jan 14, 2022 at 19:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ It is technically true that "no creature [...] can make an attack roll with advantage against you" is different from "no creature [...] can have advantage on attacks against you", and I'm with you there. Then again, "If circumstances cause a roll to have both advantage and disadvantage, you are considered to have neither of them" is worded in a way that you could say that the circumstances is causing the roll to not have advantage. Therefore it has disadvantage. But... It's not really changing the circumstances, just disabling an actual roll with advantage, which we weren't doing anyway... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 14, 2022 at 22:44
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The roll would be made with neither advantage or disadvantage

Looking at the rules again.

If circumstances cause a roll to have both advantage and disadvantage, you are considered to have neither of them, and you roll one d20.

You must first determine whether you have advantage or disadvantage. If both conditions would apply, you have neither.

Note that in the Wildhunt Shifter rules...

While shifted, (...) no creature within 30 feet of you can make an attack roll with advantage against you, unless you're incapacitated.

...it never says that you cannot have advantage. It just says that the roll cannot be made with advantage. The roll can still have advantage, but just won't be rolled as such. As it never limits you from having advantage, the advantage is still present to counteract the disadvantage.

Contrast this with the Rogue level 18 elusive feature reviewed in the linked related question

No Attack roll has advantage against you while you aren't Incapacitated.

This feature stops you from getting advantage in the first place, meaning it would not be present to counteract the disadvantage.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Assuming similar features in different books that are similar are actually different based on this kind of interpretation is on dodgy ground \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented Jan 16, 2022 at 21:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri Jeremy Crawford went on record several times stating that the rules are what they are in plain English. If the rule doesn't state it does a thing, it doesn't do that thing. Thus, the if the rule doesn't state it stops you from having advantage, you can have advantage. Between Jeremy's statements and possible inconsistencies in editing, a large number of cases where similar abilities with slightly different wordings exist. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 15:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ That is exactly what I mean, a large number of similar abilities with different wording DO exist, because the quality control is terrible and the rules should be read in plain english. Your answer reads the minor differences as important, which they aren't because the rules aren't legal documents. Both abilities you refer to are almost certainly intended to be the same, but different authors use different words and you have nitpicked to get different interpretations. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 17:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri Rules as Intended, they may be meant to be the same. But rules as written, one stops you from having advantage, the other stops you from using it. Read as plain English, they are not the same. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 18, 2022 at 6:42

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