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Protection Fighting Style says that you can use your reaction to impose disadvantage on certain attacks, but it doesn't specify the timing. Does this mean that you can wait until the d20 has been rolled, and then impose disadvantage afterwards?

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No.

Advantage or disadvantage is a state that is determined when you roll the d20. It's not something you can impose after you see the roll.

The big problem here isn't with a normal roll, although I do believe that it would make this a somewhat overpowered feature. The big problem is how you deal with a roll that has advantage. If you impose disadvantage after you see the result of a roll that was rolled with advantage, which d20 roll do you take away?

Add to this the fact that it's pretty clear that advantage/disadvantage has to be determined when you roll the d20, and I think you've got a clear cut case to say no, this reaction has to be used when you're targeted, not when you know the die result.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ All 3 of those have a much more significant cost than this (1 is a L1 spell, a valuable low level resource, the other two are feats, which aren't available at L1 unless you're a variant human). Defensive Duelist is the only one that doesn't consume additional resources, and it only adds proficiency (at low levels worse than disadvantage, at high levels better). Basically, as a L1 ability with no resource cost, yeah it could be a bit OP. \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Oct 9, 2014 at 9:53

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