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Twenty Quick Questions: Rules for my AR&PL Campaign

Entering the new year, I've been thinking a lot about ways to improve my campaign. Figured I could start by nailing down some rules/rulings that I've been waffling on. 

So let's answer Brendan S's old list of 20 quick rules questions

1. Ability scores generation method?

Roll for ability scores. 3d6 each, down the line. Strength, Dexterity, Charisma.

2. How are death and dying handled?

As you take damage, you first lose HP. Once HP is at 0, you take damage to Strength. Once Strength is at 0, you die.

3. What about raising the dead?

No readily available method. Would likely require a "venture into hell and drag them back out yourself" type of quest.

4. How are replacement PCs handled?

Rolled up immediately and brought back into the game ASAP. Quickness prioritized over realism.

Extra 1000 shillings added to your debt for funeral, paperwork, etc.

5. Initiative: individual, group, or something else?

Group. In cases where it's unclear which side would go first, players make a Dexterity save to grab the initiative.

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

No.

7. Do I get any benefits for wearing a helmet?

Not really. Armor isn't that granular. You're either wearing armor or you're not.

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

Yes. Target is determined randomly when firing into melee.

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

Do not expect to be able to win every combat. There are many monsters you are unlikely to ever kill in a straight-up fight. So run or think of a different way to defeat them.

10. Level-draining monsters: yes or no?

Yes. Although there are no levels, so they drain from max HP and max ability scores.

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

Yes, although the referee will do his best to telegraph the danger ahead of time.

12. How strictly are encumbrance & resources tracked?

Strictly but abstractly. You have 8 item slots. Each thing takes up 1 (possibly 2) slots. If you need more carrying space, hire porters, bring donkeys, etc.

See https://blog.thesconesalone.com/2018/07/a-simple-resource-management-system.html

13. 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?

There aren't "levels" per se. There are a few ways to improve:
  • If a single attack in actual, deadly combat takes you from max HP to exactly 0 HP, you gain a Scar and an extra d6 to your max HP, up to a maximum of 18.
  • There may be unions, guilds, secret societies that will let you join in on their rituals and gain abilities in exchange for payment or favors.
  • Some monsters may leave their mark on you, changing you in some way due to your interaction with them.
  • There are rumors of risky and expensive treatments that allow you to re-roll your ability scores.
  • You gain new spells by finding and carrying new spellbooks. They are not for sale anywhere.

14. What do I get experience for?

There is no XP. But you'll still want to seek out treasure. It's about your only source of income. You'll need it to pay off your debt, pay for daily living expenses, pay for equipment, buy favors and information.

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

Description. No rolling to detect or disarm traps. In general, the challenge is not in finding the trap, but in figuring out how to get past it.

16. Are retainers encouraged and how does morale work?

Yes. Daily payment in cash or equal shares of eventual treasure will be required. Danger, mistreatment, etc, will require a Charisma save to keep retainers from leaving or betraying you.

17. How do I identify magic items?

Everyone is naturally able to sense whether an item is magical -- but not its specific power -- upon picking it up. You must pass a Charisma save to understand its power before using it. Failure means the item is activated in the process.

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

Not in any store. And few people will easily give up the magic items in their possession. Theft and/or murder is how most people get them.

The more powerful practitioners of magic may be willing to take on an apprentice and supply them with some spellbooks. They'll expect pretty awful favors in return.

19. Can I create magic items? When and how?

Not easily. Costs a kingly sum and not many remember the lost art.

Snakes are books though. If you find an especially rare serpent that has a spell written on its skin, you may be able to write that to a new spellbook.

20. What about splitting the party?

Discouraged, except for very short distances and periods of time.

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