Already, I can hear several people saying, "How can you like a game where you die at the end?" Well, I suppose it has to do with being a little relaxed and calm when it comes to games. Yes, I will be the first to admit that I do put work into my characters, I think up back stories and motivations for the character. Also, I will admit that having played the Temple of Elemental Evil--almost to the conclusion (long story and a separate post) --I have lost a fare share of characters. Yet, I still have fun because it is more than the characters, it is the experience of playing the game. Should every game end with TPK, NO! But, if through stupidity, rash action or dumb luck the character dies then so be it. One thing about people who find new rpgs, the 3x and onward crowd, so pleasing is that the players have more power. The PCs are the center of the world. They are ADVENTURERS!!! And, yes they can die, but it takes so much more for that to happen that if they die they feel like it was a monumental struggle that was epic. They would look at the older editions and see how easily you can die and they refuse. Oh well...
Anyway, on to the questions:
Answering the best way I can. Mostly going by 2E games I run, though also adding in stuff for a 1E game I want to try.
- Ability scores generation method? 3d6, arrange to taste, Roll nine times, the six basics as well as PERception and COMliness and then drop the lowest.
- How are death and dying handled? 0 is unconscious, -10 dead.
- What about raising the dead? it can happen, might cost some gold, or a quest.
- How are replacement PCs handled? roll them on and we will find a place for them.
- Initiative: individual, group, or something else? Individual on a d10 (Yes, I know it is "wrong" don't care.)
- Are there critical hits and fumbles? How do they work? 1 is a fumble, 20 is a crit when it comes to combat. Fumble is either a strike at a comrade, bowstring breaks or you might drop your weapon. Crits are rolling damage twice, then add in all modifiers.
- Do I get any benefits for wearing a helmet? And "called shots" to the head you get a bonus to AC. Otherwise, you can be stylish.
- Can I hurt my friends if I fire into melee or do something similarly silly? OH YEAH!
- Will we need to run from some encounters, or will we be able to kill everything? Gandalf said it best, "FLY you fools!"
- Level-draining monsters: yes or no? Yes (But, I am working on trying to figure out the mechanic behind them a little more.)
- Are there going to be cases where a failed save results in PC death? Yep.
- How strictly are encumbrance & resources tracked? Try to keep a track of things so you don't have a dragon's hoard in your backpack.
- 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? You do have to train, yet this doesn't happen every lvl. You get one spell automatically, which I will roll up. When you lvl: you get to roll up hit die and if your a caster you get the spell. Anything like more weapon skills or if I'm using other skills, then you need to wait for some down time.
- What do I get experience for? R-O-L-E playing, exploring, monsters, treasure-used to carouse and spending it on stuff. And, if you can make me laugh and entertain me you get a little extra. But, don't call it out or you don't get it. Also, figure out a magic item without using a spell.
- How are traps located? Description, dice rolling, or some combination? Give me a good description and I will tell you if there is a trap, or make you roll with a big bonus. You just roll die, I get bored and you start blowing trap finding rolls.
- Are retainers encouraged and how does morale work? Yes, retainers will be a good idea. Morale is by Grindhouse LotFP.
- How do I identify magic items? If you want to be boring, the spell Identify. If you want to try and do something fun and maybe get some xp, try to figure it our with the spell.
- Can I buy magic items? Oh, come on: how about just potions? NO. No. Well, there is a gnome who likes to sell them...I don't completely trust him, but I'm just the DM, the score keeper, nothing more. Potions, I guess you could find them or buy one or two from somewhere.
- Can I create magic items? When and how? You can. High level, and devoting time, blood and tears into it. This is something you need to do once you have moved past the dungeon delving stuff and gained a stronghold or lab--or a VERY NICE npc wizard will let you borrow theirs. For a fee...
- What about splitting the party? Well, if you wish to, you may. Was that thundering or are you rolling encounter dice?