Open-Ended Dice and Call-Ons

I wanted to get some specific clarification on dice that you roll from 6s on open-ended rolls and if they’re rerolled from a call-on.

This came up in an earlier thread, and Luke said: Fight Edge Case Questions:

I kind of get that; I get the idea that the intent is that the physical dice rolled are a convenience at the table and you’re supposed to be rerolling the 6s in a “legal fiction” sense.

The Luck sub-heading – BWGR (p.66) in the Artha chapter sort of suggests this, describing open-ended in a parenthetical as,

6s rerolled as new dice for additional successes.

But the Open-Ended Rolls heading in BWGR (p.16) says,

Certain rolls in Burning Wheel are described as “open-ended.” This means that any 6s rolled allow the player to pick up another die. If you hit your difficulty number or higher, it’s a success. If you don’t meet your difficulty number, the die is a traitor. If you roll a 6, it counts as a success and you get to roll another die!

There’s none of this, “You reroll the 6, but do it using a different die so that you’re not torturing yourself to keep track of these phantom successes,” legal fiction indicated. And failed dice are specifically called “traitors,” which seems to indicate they are “failed dice in the technical sense.”

The reason I’m revisiting this question is that the fellow who made the Arenji bot – an excellent dice roller for Discord that I use a lot – is trying to get this question answered for the bot at the moment. They’re looking on a/the Burning Wheel Discord server (the poor soul); I thought it might be helpful if I asked here.

As the poor soul writing the bot and polling the Discord I appreciate this.

In my estimation Luke’s comment indicates that dice added by Open-Ended 6s should be treated similarly to a 1 on an Astrology FoRK in that they are should be entirely separate from the original pool and only modify the amount of successes generated by the original die that spawned them.

Off the top of my head this changes interactions with Call-On traits, Saving Graces and spending a Fate point on an Open-Ended roll. Not to mention the complications with Astrology FoRKs (Eg. a 6 that rolls into a 1. Depending on what the 1 turns into that 6 could count as 1 success or 0. In each case is the 6 considered a success or failure?).

The best procedure is 1 roll, 2 call-on style rerolls and then 3 explode dice. But this doesn’t always work because some rolls are automatically open-ended and sometimes players want to try to explode dice before using a precious call-on.

In the original rules you could consider fate points as a toggle for making a roll open-ended.

Using the BWA fate rules (which I now prefer), you must spend fate points individually—one to reroll each 6 rolled. So I suppose if you rolled, spent fate, then used a call-on (or deeds point), you could explode any new 6s by spending more fate points.

R20 allows you to designate rolls as open-ended and then it rolls the new dice for you automatically. It’s quite nice. Then we can spend fate manually if need be. There’s no automation for rerolling failed dice though.

Hah, this isn’t really an answer. But I’m not sure the order of operations matters much in terms of the math of the outcome.

The order of operations isn’t really the issue. Because ‘some rolls’ don’t allow for a 100% effective Best Procedure Arenjii has to allow mechanics that modify the original roll to be applied in any order.

I’ve had a tonne of edge case scenarios I’ve needed to puzzle out (mostly involving Astrology), and the comment quoted in the original post about not rerolling dice created by open-ended 6s throws a bunch of them into disarray.

Currently when a Open-Ended 6 is rolled a new die is added to the pool. This new die is treated just like any other, except that it doesn’t count towards determining the difficulty of the Test if an Ob is specified. If these dice are intended only to exist for the purpose of increasing the number of successes generated by the original 6 then that will require sweeping changes to the bot.

if you have a Discord account @luke, I’d be thrilled to show you the bot, I bet it does things that R20 never will :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:. I’ve put a lot of effort into it and it sounds like I’ll be putting in a lot more when I get my hands on a copy of BWA.

Sorry Danny, I’m not a member of the BW Discord.

Neither am I! But that doesn’t preclude using the bot.

Ah, I didn’t realize. I suppose it’s time to make a new Discord account then. I gotta make one for another group anyway.

Yeah, of course. I hope I didn’t come off too snarky.

Here’s Danny;s original post about Arenji (which includes a link to his Discord server dedicated to the bot). I’m sure Danny can help you get the bot where you want it (because I’ve forgotten how to do it!).

I honestly didn’t expect anything to come from that. Cool!

As Gnosego said there is a invite link to a public discord server in my original post, it’s pretty small; > 20 people.
If you’re worried about privacy you can use this link to add the bot to any server you have permissions in. from there you can invite or DM me and I can show you the ropes.