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Miniman's answer to this question Is there any way to get expanded critical range or higher critical multipliers? prompted me to theorycraft the following:

Rogue(18)/Barbarian(2)

Reckless Attack (PHB pg. 48) grants advantage on attacks, but it also grants anything attacking you advantage until your next turn.

However, Elusive (PHB pg. 96) states that no attacker can have advantage against you unless you're incapacitated.

The condition for Sneak Attack has been met, and the character Reckless Attacks with a Scimitar, but opts to use Strength. The Finesse weapon requirement has been met, and advantage has been gained, so Sneak Attack applies. Enemies are granted advantage, but simultaneously, they are denied advantage.

The above combination has two specific features that directly counter each other. Now, I personally would rule this as the higher level feature trumps the lower level feature in this specific case. However, I can't find an official rule or ruling that states that one feature trumps the other.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Heh this question title sounds like a CNN headline. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Apr 11, 2017 at 4:41

1 Answer 1

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Enemies don't get advantage against you in this scenario.

Yes, Reckless Attack grants them advantage. However, no-one ever has advantage unless something grants it to them. If Elusive doesn't work against Reckless Attack, it doesn't work against anything.

Consider, for example, someone who casts True Strike. That gives them advantage, too, contradicting Elusive. Similarly, a Kobold who has an ally within 5 feet has advantage due to Pack Tactics. The whole point of Elusive is that they don't get that advantage. Reckless Attack is no different - it's just another condition that grants them advantage.

This is actually a case of a feature that provides a specific exception to the rules - it's just a specific exception that is broadly applied. Whenever something would give a creature advantage on an attack against the Rogue, they don't get it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I happen to agree with this answer already, and this is how I would rule it for a number of reasons. However, I'm going to be "that guy" anyways: What support do you have which indicates which feature has priority as the exception? For instance, why wouldn't it work the other way, where attackers can't have advantage UNLESS you used Reckless Attack, which specifically imposes that penalty on you, by you? Is there any other example of directly contradictory features that could clear this up? \$\endgroup\$ Apr 11, 2017 at 4:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LinoFrankCiaralli Every feature that gives advantage directly contradicts Elusive. They all "specifically impose that penalty on you". \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Apr 11, 2017 at 4:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman this was exactly the answer I was typing up: Elusive is mooted in all cases if it's mooted in this case. It exists to take away advantage when it would be granted. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Apr 11, 2017 at 4:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ Does D&D not have the concept of self-debuff vs. debuff for this situation? Does Elusive still work even if the Rogue voluntarily drops to prone or puts on a blindfold? \$\endgroup\$
    – Jeutnarg
    Apr 11, 2017 at 20:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jeutnarg I think that you have the basis for another question. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 16, 2018 at 13:47

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