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In Shadow of the Demon Lord, the rogue's Trickery feature reads:

Once per round, you can make an attack roll or challenge roll with 1 boon. If you attack with 1 boon from this talent, your attack deals 1d6 extra damage)

Similarly, the Backstab talent reads:

One per round, when you attack with a basic or swift weapon and you make the attack roll with at least 1 boon, the attack deals 1d6 extra damage

How does this apply to boons and banes cancelling each other out? For the purposes of these abilities, are you making attack rolls with x boons and y banes, or (x-y) boons?

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You have to have a net boon to get the extra damage. From pg 32 of the rulebook

Boons and banes cancel each other out, one for one. If 2 boons and 1 bane apply to a particular d20 roll, you make the roll with 1 boon (1 bane cancels 1 boon).

So since the cancel out you are making the roll with your (x-y) boons scenario.

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