[House Rule] Buying Explosions

A friend of mine told me a while back that they didn’t like the idea of rolling a bunch of dice even though they really like Open Legend and the rationale is straight forward: if the people on your table aren’t the “quick maths from a glance” sort of people, it can really slow down the pacing of combat, especially when you explode several dice when you have a fairly large advantage level. Even worse when THOSE dice explode then at that point, you just get lost with the whos and whats. Now normally, I can just group up the dice to make them easier to keep track but as someone who enjoys being efficient, this isn’t a permanent solution for me, especially now that almost all games have to happen online where there is less hands-on control over your dice. (It’s easier to calculate, yes and I don’t have to track anything, but I prefer to have my true randomness dice over the often almost-true random number generators. Screw you, Avrae. You almost never give us any good rolls.)

So, I decided to adapt the Buying Hits rule from Shadowrun. Since statistically, you’re eventually going to explode a die when you’re rolling so much. So to cut out the middleman, for every Advantage 4 you have on a roll, you can exchange it for one exploded die.

The only problem that I can see that will absolutely happen is a shift in priorities when it comes to attributes and advantages. Since explosions are now practically flat bonuses when using this rule, players will prioritize having at least Advantage 4 in whatever attack or roll that they use extensively. This is very game-breaking so I do want advice on how to adapt this rule to be… less breaking. Really, the only reason I came up with this rule is for the times when the dice of all things are getting in the way of getting to the good parts of the game.

Maybe it could be an exclusive mechanic for Focus Action? Or maybe it’s an alternative effect that can be declared when using Legend Points? It could be even left up to the GM, who rules that, in certain situations, there’s simply too much uncertainty for the player to just outright buy explosions or to prop up a player who’s having a string of bad rolls?

Part of me wonders if you are doing explosions correctly. Explosions happen AFTER you keep dice. So if you have an Attribute Score 5, you are rolling d20 + 2d6.

Advantage 4 we’ll see is a total of 6d6 dice you are rolling. If 4 of those could explode (rolled max for the die), you only keep 2, and then only explode those 2 dice.

Reality of random is that a lot of the dice rolls out there are actually more truly random than you rolling a dice in person, but then again, random is random is random.

This won’t be the only problem, but certainly there will be more focus on getting advantage in multiples of 4. The reality is it won’t make math any easier or harder, you still have to add in the end, so I don’t really see it as a solution, expecially compared to getting a roller that adds it for you anyways (there are some good discord dice rollers out there too, we have 2 of them in our OL discord channel, one made specifically for OL)

The other problem is that advantage is actually designed around diminishing returns. The more you have, the less effective adding more advantage is. This has to do in part with how rolls work (as explained at the top). So by being able to take 4 advantage away, you can still have 3 and be way more effective now than with 7 advantage.

Everything comes down to perspective. You aren’t rolling all that many more dice than you would in a game like DnD,the difference here is that you are rolling all the dice at once, instead of rolling a D20, then adding modifiers, then rolling damage dice, and adding modifiers.

Instead of doing 2 separate rolls and consolidating for each, you do 1 (so more dice at once) and then figure out the level of success.

It seems like a lot just b/c it is happening at once, but that once determines everything for you.

I may not be explaining well here b/c I’m tired at the time of typing this, but I hope that makes sense to a degree.


I doubt that anyone will be able to offer you much advice here, honestly, as you are proposing to change the fundamentals of the system and whenever one tries that, they are delving into uncharted territory. So, at best, we can do some theorycrafting but to get really into it, you’d probably need to do some math first and rework some aspects of the system.

But before I even get into that, I would question if this change even accomplishes what you are aiming for. The stated goal seems to avoid to “slow down the pacing of combat” but I doubt that introducing another decision, thus adding a layer of complexity, accomplishes that. To take @Great_Moustache’s example to illustrate that:

We have an attribute of 5 with 4 advantage resulting in a d20 roll and 6d6 rolls. Now the player has to decide whether it’s better to take the 6d6 or take 2d6 with a guaranteed explosion. I haven’t done the math, so I wouldn’t know right now what’s better, so I’d probably take a moment to ponder which seems better in any given situation. I hope you see where my doubt stems from that this would speed up combat.

I’d be interested to hear though if this has sped up your game since my players never had much of a problem with reading the dice right in front of them instead of having to add modifiers to their rolls afterwards. And whenever it has led to delays during combat it was actually building tension as a player might have exploded their d20 4 times in a row to finish off an enemy with one hit, or they needed a big defend roll for another character to not die, etc.

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Late to the party here, but I wanna share my own version of this house rule I’ve had for a long time now but we’ve never used it.
Since we had a fairly small amount of dice at the time, high level play where lots of advantage rolling was expected tended to take lots of time since we would end up having to re-roll, say whether or not that was advantage or explosion, write down the results in the calculator…
It’s essentially the same problem you have.

My solution was this

When rolling with advantage or disadvantage, once your advantage or disadvantage total goes beyond 3, the remaining advantage or disadvantage is simply a flat +1 or -1 bonus depending on whether or not it was advantage or disadvantage.

The reason it was 3 was because we had 5 of each die type at the time, so 3 was convenient as it meant the maximum amount of times we would ever reroll the dice was twice.
Mathematically though, probability is very skewered with this rule. This rule could be potentially just as equally game breaking honestly. But I wanted to share it.

Like I said we never used this rule. When I proposed it, they immediately said no, not because it was mathematically flawed, but because it meant they wouldn’t be able to roll dice as often :confused:

Maybe change it to beyond dis/advantage 4 instead of 3? 5 even?
A flat bonus is certainly fast but it also means dis/advantage becomes kind of powerful potentially…