Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Twenty More Questions of Interest to My Players

These are more rules-oriented by way of Untimately, and originated as a response to the flavor-oriented questions that I answered previously.

Ability scores generation method?

3d6 in-order five times; one set of your choosing becomes a PC, two are saved to become backup PCs, and two are given to me the DM.  You can also add to your prime requisite by removing points from other scores at a 1:2 ratio, but no score may be lowered below 9 in this fashion, and you cannot raise scores other than your prime requisite.

How are death and dying handled?

Per the ACKS Mortal Wounds table, except that in general I roll the d6 for hit location when you are reduced to 0.  See my previous post on this topic.

What about raising the dead?

 This one is pretty much ACKS-standard; raising the dead can be accomplished by hiring a high-level cleric to cast Restore Life and Limb on the corpse.  There are almost always side effects, but I'm open to bargaining about the exact details depending on the wound. 

How are replacement PCs handled?

Replacement PCs can either be promoted henchmen, or can be created using the backup PC stats rolled during initial character generation.  You may spend some, all, or none of any reserve XP you have available to give this new character XP.  Generally replacement PCs enter play with 80% of their XP value as gold, or 3d6*10 gp if they have little-to-no XP.  Replacement PCs do not generally enter play during the middle of an expedition, but are found in town upon return from the dungeon.

Initiative: individual, group, or something else?

Generally individual for PCs, but if you have too many henchmen I may make you all act on one count for simplicity's sake (you meaning one PC + all of that PC's henchmen).  Each entire group of monsters usually acts on the same initiative count.

Are there critical hits and fumbles? How do they work?

Not really, no.  If you take the Weapon Focus proficiency, you do double damage on a natural 20; that's as close to a crit as you're going to get.  If you roll a 1 when throwing flaming oil, you light yourself on fire.  It's also possible for damaged or scavenged weapons or armor to break when you roll a natural 1 while using them.

Do I get any benefits for wearing a helmet?

Most armor is assumed to come with a helmet.  There is also the option of the Heavy Helmet in the Player's Companion, but I haven't released that for player consumption yet.

Can I hurt my friends if I fire into melee or do something similarly silly?

Probably.  This one is subject to bargaining.

Will we need to run from some encounters, or will we be able to kill everything?

Running is good exercise, and running adventurers are well-known by orcish nutritionists to provide meat low in fat and other undesirable chemicals.  On the other hand, some running adventurers may survive to reach levels where they're dangerous, or may be canny enough to have laid traps along the route of their retreat, and so adventurers who run should definitely be pursued with caution.

Level-draining monsters: yes or no?

No.  Monsters that would normally drain levels instead age you.  

Are there going to be cases where a failed save results in PC death?

There have been, there are, and there will be.  If you're making a save, something has gone wrong already, and you have one last chance to redeem yourself.  

How strictly are encumbrance & resources tracked?

Reasonably; I haven't done an encumbrance audit, but if you don't have torches or iron spikes on your sheet, you don't have torches or iron spikes when you end up in a random section of the dungeon.  

What's required when my PC gains a level? Training? Do I get new spells automatically? Can it happen in the middle of an adventure, or do I have to wait for down time?

Generally you need to return to town to level.  There is no training cost, however.  Technically we've been playing spell acquisition slightly wrong; there are no arcane masters available, and so my mages should be scrounging even more desperately for scrolls rather than rolling for new spells randomly when they level.  However, it is established that this is how things work for the time being; perhaps that only works for spells of up to 2nd-3rd level.  Beyond that, it's tough to find local wizards who have access to spells of that grade and are willing to loan you a book.  Arcanists are really the speed limiter on levelling, since learning new spells in this manner can take weeks (meanwhile, everyone else sits around and waits for the next crop of henchmen and military oil).

What do I get experience for?

Nominally, about 80% of your XP should come from treasure recovered from the dungeon, while the other 20% comes from monsters slain or otherwise neutralized.  In practice this ratio may shift around a bit, but the important thing is "Treasure good, monsters bad."

How are traps located? Description, dice rolling, or some combination?

Anyone can find a trap by searching a 10'x10' area for 10 minutes and rolling an 18+ on a d20.  Thieves are slightly better at it than most.  However, the best way to find traps is common sense and caution; if you go "Gee, if I lived here I would've trapped this," that means there's probably a trap and it's time to go poking around and finding it via description. 

Are retainers encouraged and how does morale work?

Retainers are very handy for staying alive and having backup PCs, but are available only in limited supplies, so my current players are somewhat competitive over them.  Morale is on 2d6 with modifiers for pay, employer charisma, and so forth. 

How do I identify magic items?

There are a couple of ways.  The Alchemy proficiency can be used to identify potions on 11+ (though historically alchemy is really hard in this campaign because apparently my dice hate alchemists), while Magical Engineering can do that plus identification of 'common' magic items.  If those both fail, things can be identified using the magical research rules, but that takes lots of time and lots of money.  

Can I buy magic items? Oh, come on: how about just potions?

Yes and no.  Magic items are available for sale...  in large cities with good markets.  Out in the Territories, you're lucky to find a single potion of healing available per month in any given town.  

Can I create magic items? When and how?

Magic items can be created by PCs.  I believe primary casters can start making scrolls and potions around 5th level, and fun stuff like swords and staves around 9th.  Half-casters like Nightblades start somewhat later.  Creating items takes a lot of time, a lot of money, monster parts, and a swanky (read: expensive) lab. 

What about splitting the party?

Oh, feel free to split the party.  You should ask the Stalwarts what happened the last time they did that, though (and they will tell you "Only half the party died!  It was a great idea!").

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