# Keeping dice before exploding

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Can we talk about the fact that you pick dice to keep before exploding them? It's been really bugging me that not only does this slow down roll resolution by adding a whole second level of mental odds balancing and gambling, but it always ends up feeling super negative that I miss out on occasional super lucky rolls because I'm never going to take that one in a hundred shot at which dice to keep when the safer option more reliably gets me to just where I want to be.

It's like if in the old RNK system you could instead of rolling the exploding die just assume it rolls a five. You have to stop and do mental math, and figure out if 5 is enough to hit, and if it is you always take it, but you miss out on all of those situations where suddenly you explode that one die two or three more times more and what was a barely successful event becomes something awesome.

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15 hours ago, rcuhljr said:

It's like if in the old RNK system you could instead of rolling the exploding die just assume it rolls a five. You have to stop and do mental math, and figure out if 5 is enough to hit, and if it is you always take it, but you miss out on all of those situations where suddenly you explode that one die two or three more times more and what was a barely successful event becomes something awesome.

I'm not sure I get this example.

If I roll [exploding success] as one of the results, why do you feel there's a real delay/probem with whether to keep the exploding success. It still counts as a success, so there's no more reason not to keep it than a normal success, and I get a 'stop/go' check with each successive explosion I roll, so if I role [exploding success][strife] as the extra die and I don't want the strife more than I want another [exploding success], I'm not forced to keep that one (or any subsequent one along the same line).

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Because keeping the explosion isn't always the most reliable way to reach your goal.

Let's say I'm hitting Hida Yoshi with a strike and I need to crit to win.  I roll 2 opportunities, 2 explosions and I'm keeping 3 die. It's not optimal for my chances of that to pick two explosions, I want to keep two opportunities and one explosion hoping for another success on it. But what if a super lucky attack with 3 bonuses successes also would have worked? Now I'm stuck trying to do the mental math on whether it's better to keep both explosions hoping for that outcome or continue with my original path of just trying to opportunity a crit.

The point of this die system was supposed to be adding in more narrative control over the outcome of a roll, yet blind explosions limit our number of outcomes and control while pushing people away from some of the most interesting results which are exceptional successes.

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Considering that getting 2 successes and 2 opportunities with 3 kept dice without explosions requires keeping a skill die with a success+opportunity roll (a 1/12 chance per skill die) your 2 successes + 2 opportunities plan with 3 kept dice was a long shot all along.

A "normal" successful Strike roll was going to be 2 successes + an opportunity/bonus success. The smart thing to do when you rolled 2 explosions and 2 opportunities is to keep both explosions and roll them hoping for the 33% chance of getting an opportunity on each for a 55% chance of a crit.

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35 minutes ago, Ultimatecalibur said:

Considering that getting 2 successes and 2 opportunities with 3 kept dice without explosions requires keeping a skill die with a success+opportunity roll (a 1/12 chance per skill die) your 2 successes + 2 opportunities plan with 3 kept dice was a long shot all along.

A "normal" successful Strike roll was going to be 2 successes + an opportunity/bonus success. The smart thing to do when you rolled 2 explosions and 2 opportunities is to keep both explosions and roll them hoping for the 33% chance of getting an opportunity on each for a 55% chance of a crit.

No one said it wasn't a long shot? I don't think trying to get criticals with a 3 ring is exactly unusual in this system as written though.

Keeping both explosions and one opportunity is better odds if the exploding die is a ring die, with a skill die keeping one explosion is more likely to succeed. I assumed at least one skill explosion was more common than two ring explosions. But again, a single random example is less useful then the holistic look at how it feels to pick exploding die before they are fully resolved. Let's say someone rolls phenomenally well, and gets 5 explosive successes, while their buddy gets only two. If they are both keeping two dice there's no benefit to your amazingly lucky roll compared to your buddies average roll, you both end up keeping two die with identical odds.

Can someone put forth an argument for why having to pick die before they've exploded is better that isn't "That's what the system is now."?

Edited by rcuhljr

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3 minutes ago, rcuhljr said:

No one said it wasn't a long shot? I don't think trying to get criticals with a 3 ring is exactly unusual in this system as written though.

No, it is unusual. Getting a critical strike on a keep 3 roll when not using a technique such as Iaijutsu Cut: Rising Blade is a lucky occurrence and something players should not expect as normal.

My point was that you were trying to put the cart (the best possible result) before the horse (the roll by step) and missing the actual thought process for a roll.

20 minutes ago, rcuhljr said:

Keeping both explosions and one opportunity is better odds if the exploding die is a ring die, with a skill die keeping one explosion is more likely to succeed. I assumed at least one skill explosion was more common than two ring explosions. But again, a single random example is less useful then the holistic look at how it feels to pick exploding die before they are fully resolved. Let's say someone rolls phenomenally well, and gets 5 explosive successes, while their buddy gets only two. If they are both keeping two dice there's no benefit to your amazingly lucky roll compared to your buddies average roll, you both end up keeping two die with identical odds.

Both rolls are stupidly lucky and don't factor in how many of Explosions each roll also has a Strife on it (most of them will). The "lucky" 5 explosions is actually more likely to have 1 or more explosions without strife. The person who rolls 3 Skill and 2 Ring and gets 5 Explosions + Strife should be considered both lucky and unlucky.

40 minutes ago, rcuhljr said:

Can someone put forth an argument for why having to pick die before they've exploded is better that isn't "That's what the system is now."?

Explosions being picked before the roll is to make choosing between an Explosion+Strife, a Success and an Opportunity a much more balanced choice of what to keep.

Would you keep an Explosion+Strife over a Success w/o Strife if you knew it would explode into a Blank?

Would you keep an Explosion w/o Strife Skill die over a Success+Opportunity Skill die if you knew it would explode into a Blank or Success+Strife?

Explosions are supposed to be semi-risks not sure things.

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10 minutes ago, Ultimatecalibur said:

No, it is unusual. Getting a critical strike on a keep 3 roll when not using a technique such as Iaijutsu Cut: Rising Blade is a lucky occurrence and something players should not expect as normal.

What? Out of character gen bushi can crit on strike almost a third of the time and after a few sessions can crit more often than not.

Quote

Both rolls are stupidly lucky and don't factor in how many of Explosions each roll also has a Strife on it (most of them will). The "lucky" 5 explosions is actually more likely to have 1 or more explosions without strife. The person who rolls 3 Skill and 2 Ring and gets 5 Explosions + Strife should be considered both lucky and unlucky.

I mean even on 4 dice rolled in a quiet session (10 total rolls) will see two explosions, and 3 or more every other session. They're not super common but it's not like the 4+ explosions on the same die for d10 rare. Strife has yet to be an issue in any combat I've run, having my choice of an explosion without strife doesn't really feel lucky.

Quote

Would you keep an Explosion+Strife over a Success w/o Strife if you knew it would explode into a Blank?

Would you keep an Explosion w/o Strife Skill die over a Success+Opportunity Skill die if you knew it would explode into a Blank or Success+Strife?

Explosions are supposed to be semi-risks not sure things.

That's my point, that slows down the game and isn't interesting to me. I've already gambled by deciding my action for that round, I don't want a second round of gambling on potential outcomes. I want to play faster and have rare results that are far down the bell curve that no sane person would gamble on because the EV just isn't there.

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10 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

I'm not sure I get this example.

Old R&K: I roll 5k3, and get 10,10,10,10,2. Before keeping, I get to expand them. (10+8),(10+6),(10+3),(10+1),2 If I want to succeed, I keep the (10+8),(10+6),(10+3)=47. If I want to fail, I'm screwed, as (at least in 3E) keeping all isn't optional... so I've got (10+6),(10+3),2=31. (There are few times you want to fail, but when you do... 3E can have you screwed by the dice. In several cases, players intentionally kept low to fail to notice the dishonorable actions of another PC, so as to make their sincerity rolls MUCH easier in claiming to know nothing about it.)

New system, as written: (X=Explosive, \$=Strife, B=Blank O=Opportunity)
same 3r 2sk. X\$,X\$,X,X\$, B. Keep X\$,X\$,X. Exploding renders X\$,X\$,X + X,S,B + O

New system, keeping after exploding:   (X\$+X+O),(X\$+S),(X+B),(X\$+O), B. allowing more choice in keeps. It requires you to track which dice exploded from which, to work like the old R&K.

New System, alternate K after X... but exploding is +1d & +1k
same 3r 2sk. X\$, X\$, X, X\$, B. Exploding adds X, S, B, O, and increases K by 4, expanding again adds O, and +1 K, for keep 8 of X\$, X\$, X, X\$, B, X, S, B, O, O...
Easier to work, but MUCH more munchkin.

I like the simplicity of the current mode. In Old5R, all explodes were on  the same, unless techniques altered, and so you could batch roll exploding easier. (Tho if you exploded on 7-10, you might be making 4 batches, but likely would be rolling 9-10 dice to begin with, and never more than 10, so odds are very slim of more than 2.)

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12 hours ago, AK_Aramis said:

New system, keeping after exploding:   (X\$+X+O),(X\$+S),(X+B),(X\$+O), B. allowing more choice in keeps. It requires you to track which dice exploded from which, to work like the old R&K.

You make your choice to keep from initial rolls. Explosion results are a 'free keep' for that die specifically (just like the extra die for Togashi tatoos), so it doesn't matter which other die they 'spawn from'.

• Roll dice.
• If you don't keep an explodes result, it goes in the bin and doesn't explode (as you show).
• If you do keep an explodes, it doesn't increase the 'keep value' by one, it lets you keep that die specifically or not (normally because of a strife result, possibly because you're trying to do so much damage and no more to a target you want to incapacitate without killing).
• You never need to track which die exploded from which.

Using the rolls from your example

• Roll: \$,X\$,X,X\$, B.
• Keep: X\$,X\$,X
• Resolve Explosions: X,S,B
• Do you want to keep any of the additional dice?: X,S (yes, aside from the blank, because there's no reason not to keep a non-strife success 99% of the time)
• Add newly kept dice to pool
• Resolve Further Explosions: O
• Do you want to keep any of the additional dice?: O (yes, because there's no reason not to keep a non-strife opportunity 99% of the time)
• Add newly kept dice to pool
• Resolve Strife
• Resolve Opportunities
• Resolve Success/Failure

It's not that you roll out the explodes then are still limited to the 'keep limit' of 4 (or whatever your ring score is), it's that the extra dice from explodes are available to keep in addition to your pool.

I don't see a reason why you can't batch-roll all the explodes in a single check at once.

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5 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

I don't see a reason why you can't batch-roll all the explodes in a single check at once.

I believe he was talking about in the context of my proposal to roll them out before selecting kept dice. In which case you'd need to track the die 'path' through each explosion. The complexity of doing that is a reasonable if personally unfulfilling argument to not let explosions resolve before deciding to keep dice.

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9 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

I don't see a reason why you can't batch-roll all the explodes in a single check at once.

You are not following the example.

There is the current method - roll all, then keep, then explode from the kept. This requires no tracking of which explode gets which new result.

The suggestion to "explode before keep" can be construed as two very different methods:

• Exploding adds 1 die rolled and 1 die kept, determine before selecting kept dice. Creates more dice used and kept, as every explode is a bonus keeper.
• Exploding adds the pop to the exploded die. This requires 3 batches, one of which is easy - all ring die explodes are inherently X\$, so all X\$ results in a single recusion can be "stacked" with their triggering parent easily. The problem is the skill dice - half of the explosions are X\$, and the other half X, so you have to roll the explodes for the X\$ separate from the X, so you fairly generate which ones get the stressed and unstressed results.
• Exploding adds the pop to a separate pool Roll the main pool, then roll a second pool equal to the number of X & X\$ sides, and recurse that, too, then keep from the main pool, then keep from the second pool based upon total X/X\$ kept, then from the third pool equal to second pool X/X\$ kept, etc. Requires potentially many more dice than current, harder to explain, eliminates two batches per recursion issue, but adds a separate pool per recursion issue.

All the methods are more complex than present.

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