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Help Understanding Narrative Dice

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Hello everyone,

I am a long-time player of L5R, starting from 1st edition.  And I would like to give the new edition more than a fair chance.  However, I have a question about the narrative dice as used in the new system.  Under step 6:  Resolve Symbols of Kept Dice on page 14 of the BETA rules, it states:  For each (explosive success) result, the player may roll 1 additional die of the same type as the one showing the (explosive success) result.  After rolling a die this way, the player chooses whether or not it will be kept or dropped.  If the die is kept, the player resolves its results in addition to the rest of the kept dice in the dice pool (including further (explosive success) results).


Now, my first question is does the explosive success increase the potential number of kept dice or do you replace another of the kept dice.  Example:  I roll 3 ring dice and 2 skill dice for a roll of 5k3.  I achieve an explosive success on one of the skill dice and a success one of the ring dice, an opportunity, and two strife results (which I am dropping).  Now, on the additional skill dice rolled from the explosive success, I roll a success and decide to keep it, raising my successes to three.  But, do I add it to the total bring the roll to keep 4 or do I have to replace opportunity die with the success?

Further along this vein of thinking (at least to me) is whether or not I can swap out the result of the explosive success for another die that I rolled previously or do I have to keep the die or drop it?  A little confusing in the wording so I hope that the example will make more sense.  Taking the above example again of 5k3 with the same initial results.  However, this time the additional die from the explosive success results in a strife.  Now, I would rather swap it out for another result of the roll,  such as the opportunity that I rolled.  Can I swap the addition result for another result of the same type of dice (ring/skill), or do I have to decide whether to keep the strife or drop it, period?


Thanks for all your help.  And sorry to ask such a basic question but I feel it is better to get a solid understanding of the mechanics before diving ahead.



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Explosive successes essentially grant you what would be 1k1 of the same type of dice in the old system, except you have the choice of keeping it or not.

And no, you can't swap out results, you choose which dice to keep from the original roll before rolling explosive successes.

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Also note that you have to choose whether a die added by an explosive success is kept or not before resolving it - which means where you have 'chained' explosive successes, you have to choose whether to accept that result before rolling the next one. 


Whenever you're told a dice is 'kept', it can be added to the pool without replacing an existing one.

  • Explosive successes add an extra dice you may roll and may keep
    • you don't have to roll the die in the first place if....reasons.
    • I can't think of any techniques which punish strife on rolled rather than kept dice, but I can imagine one existing in the future.
  • Assistance gives you an extra rolled die (skill if your assistant has the relevant skill, ring if they don't) and lets you keep an extra die.
    • Note that you don't have to keep the bonus die rolled to represent the assistance, it just increases your 'keep' limit by one and you can pick any die rolled.
  • Quite a few techniques add either rolled or kept dice.
    • Techniques which add rolled dice (such as Blood Of The Kami) give you an extra die you can keep, but you'll have to give up another rolled die to use it.
    • Techniques which add a kept die are in addition to anything rolled and chosen to keep. Note that the extra dice for Divination omens are compulsory - you can't opt not to take them! 

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53 minutes ago, Magnus Grendel said:

I can't think of any techniques which punish strife on rolled rather than kept dice, but I can imagine one existing in the future.

Not a technique, but in a way, being Compromised (cf. Update 1.0) has an effect on your rolled Strife results: in that you cannot keep those dice. It also means it seriously curtails the opportunity to explode dice at all...

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