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The Reborn lineage in Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft includes a racial trait called Knowledge from a Past Life that says, among other things:

When you make an ability check that uses a skill, you can roll a d6 immediately after seeing the number on the d20 and add the number on the d6 to the check.

How this works is straightforward with a straight roll as well as when rolling with advantage. However, when rolling with disadvantage, do you apply the bonus before or after resolving that disadvantage? For example:

  1. Resolve disadvantage first: Roll two d20s {11,14}. Resolve the disadvantage by choosing the smaller value {11}. Roll a d6 to determine the bonus {5}. Add the bonus to get the final value {16}.

  2. Apply bonus first: Roll two d20s {11,14}. Roll a d6 to determine the bonus {5}. Add the bonus to the smaller d20 roll {16,14}. Resolve the disadvantage by choosing the smaller value {14}.

Which of these two methods is correct?

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1 Answer 1

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You resolve the advantage/disadvantage first

Looking at the rules:

Sometimes a special ability or spell tells you that you have advantage or disadvantage on an ability check, a saving throw, or an attack roll. When that happens, you roll a second d20 when you make the roll. Use the higher of the two rolls if you have advantage, and use the lower roll if you have disadvantage. For example, if you have disadvantage and roll a 17 and a 5, you use the 5. If you instead have advantage and roll those numbers, you use the 17.

The key is, you use the lower roll. Not, use the lowest value after applying modifiers.

In your case, you roll two d20 and record which is lowest. Then you add your modifiers to that roll.

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