20 rules clarification
- Ability scores generation method?
For OD&D/S&W I do 3d6 assigned to the stats straight down in order.
If I am using AD&D/OSRIC, then I use a point buy system OR 4d6-lowest with the player assigning them as they wish.
- How are death and dying handled?
Back in the day, 0 HP was death, plain and simple. I am seriously considering that being the rule for my Sylvaeon campaign... this questionnaire is timely in that respect, because I have been considering this hard. I have used other methods, such as up to CON in negative damage (with possible Saving Rolls vs Death each round), but I am open to input here.
- What about raising the dead?
A rarity at best... an impossibility most of the time. However, I do have a “secret” rule, where Elves reincarnate anywhere from 40 days to 1000 years later!
- How are replacement PCs handled?
In Sylvaeon, I use the Arduin Hit Point System. Replacement PCs can easily adventure along with an established party and be able to take similar damage... of course, they do not have the same skills. If a party is extremely high-leveled, I may bump the starting Class Level of a replacement PC to ¼ of what the lowest party member has, if I am in a good mood that day ;)
- Initiative: individual, group, or something else?
D10 (counting down) individual initiative for PCs. I may roll a group initiative for similar monster types or individual for leveled humanoid PCs and similar. I allow DEX bonuses to be counted to the d10 if the current melee circumstances of a PC allow it.
- Are there critical hits and fumbles? How do they work?
Once more, back in the day, I have had many characters of my own die hideous and quick deaths because of a crit inflicted upon them using the Arduin Critical Hit Table (or even the Fumble Table!). I used to say what's good for the goose is good for the gander and have monsters and NPCs do critical hits the same way. Now I have modified it to double damage for Natural 20s for both monsters/NPCs and PCs, EXCEPT PCs may get a critical upon an opponent if they roll the max damage for their weapon type. I stole that last part from Michael Moscrip, because I found it was a reasonable option and limited the number of crits. Even though it isn't a perfect solution, it works in practice very well.
- Do I get any benefits for wearing a helmet?
Yes, your character has nice head gear and their noggin is protected from head-specific damage.
- Can I hurt my friends if I fire into melee or do something similarly silly?
Yes! It happens frequently in Sylvaeon when PCs fire into crowded combat or misfire, etc.
- Will we need to run from some encounters, or will we be able to kill everything?
There is a chance to “defeat” most encounters via combat or often times in another way. Ot everything is for killing and I give experience for overcoming encounters creatively. However, there are encounters that will bring almost certain death if they are not avoided or disengaged from. I let the dice fall where they may in such cases. I have been foolish enough to hang around when death was imminent, but there have also been times I have triumphed in the face of overwhelming odds, so I cannot blame my players for doing either – but they will suffer any consequences.
- Level-draining monsters: yes or no? No – I dislike level draining, but I do substitute other types of damage that simulate this.
11. Are there going to be cases where a failed save results in PC death? Rarely, yes, but that would be discretionary. I'd rather death resulted as a consequence of actions, not random chance only. It really depends on the actual situation. This question is a bit hypothetical and open-ended for me.
- How strictly are encumbrance & resources tracked?
For carrying treasure, yeah, I will use encumbrance. In Sylvaeon this is important, because the PCs are extremely mobile and currently have no base of operations to dump loot. Also, resources are critical in Sylvaeon. If you don't have rations and don't hunt or run out of water, you WILL die! Sylvaeon is a wilderness hex crawl and in wilderness environments resources are critical to survival.
Note to PCs: If you guys are keeping track, you would know that you only have one day worth of rations left (except Brynn, who has more) :D
- 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?
The PCs in Sylvaeon are in a constant state of training. I allow for leveling in the middle of an adventure. If there is a specific case for training or other requirements for leveling (rare) I will have them work that out in down time or in game time as I see fit. It could make for a nice little side adventure :)
- What do I get experience for?
“Defeating” encounters, for life-changing or special events, etc.
Sylvaeon is not always about how many bodies you can pile up, nor is it about loot earned. Experience for treasure is only given for how it is used, if at all. Usually, treasure is its own reward.
- How are traps located? Description, dice rolling, or some combination?
If you are actively looking for traps, both methods come into play at various times.
- Are retainers encouraged and how does morale work? At this point, retainers are antithetical to the philosophy of the characters in the Aeternal Realm of Syvaeon. The PCs are sworn to protect others, not to use them as fodder. If there are ever followers or hirelings that will be used in the game, how the CPs treat them affects their Wyrd, their reputations and a host of other things.
- How do I identify magic items?
Almost always by trying to use them or by subtle clues as to what the item is. I never announce “This is a +1 sword!”. What does that mean to the characters anyway? One could also visit a Loremaster or the Hermetic Order of Wizardry for possible insight, but this option is rare.
- Can I buy magic items? Oh, come on: how about just potions?
- Can I create magic items? When and how?
YES!!! This is encouraged. PCs creating spells, items and such makes me happy as a GM. They may need study time, components or whatever, but if it is plausible I am all for it!
- What about splitting the party?
That is often a bad idea, but sometimes it isn't. If the players want to do that, I will let them.