Adventuring Questions And Answers
Q) Can't I share my food store with others? Though the food system keeps math to a minimum, indeed, what happens if there is one food store amongst the entire party? Surely one does not eat while the others starve.
A) In the case of rationing food around, a single store can be used for any number of people, it's just that each person eating off it constitutes an additional roll on Table 7, thus increasing its chances of running out, though the results of anything besides food consumption (or water, in the case of a flask) is ignored, and the initial result for weather or such things is retained for the entire party.
Q) How exactly does making a Critical Courage Check to stay alive work? And can the party do Combined Checks for this?
A) Making a Critical Courage Check to stay alive is not a miracle life-saver. It is there to give statistical backup to a dedicated role-player holding onto an already lost life. In other words, once dead, someone can hold on, but the end is already determined and is thus inevitable. This Check is not a secondary-backup Defeat Roll or anything that can reverse Death's decree. If a Character is declared "dead" by words in the rules, no healing will help him, miracle or otherwise (save for a true "Resurrection" Prayer), as he has already died, and simply doesn't know it yet. Only if someone is not declared "dead" by words in the rules can any other means of healing save him by replenishing his Health above 0. Furthermore, while a "dead" person obviously cannot take a normal Turn to make a Courage Check and thus he gets a "free" Turn each Round to continue making this Check, those who would help for a Combined Ability Check can only so add to the roll if they have the Initiative and take their normal (living) Turn to do so. If this were any different, it would mean that every Character is essentially invulnerable-immortal so long as he avoids rolling a '1' every Round. The Critical Courage Checks to continue living after death are to buy one a few Rounds to finish his current battle or to say farewell, not to stall for a half-baked resurrection.
Q) Please tell my GM they we can eat snow to substitute for water on long wilderness journeys.
A) Actually, snow cannot substitute for water in the long-term. If you ask a real outdoor survivalist, they will all tell you that snow does not adequately hydrate a person, as it is mostly oxygen. Furthermore, as your body must burn energy (and thus water) to heat itself, and body heat melting snow (in one's mouth, in a flask, etc.) is a losing equation, as more energy is used melting it than what would be gained by what would be melted. The happy compromise to this is that a party can use a campfire to melt snow, provided they have a pot or pan to do it with (or their helmet), and thus replenish water flasks. However, any pots or pans cost 3gp and have 8 Encumbrance. In addition, gathering the wood to make a fire every night will cost the party -2 miles from their Wilderness Movement Rate (balanced to +0 by the 2 miles gained if one makes successful 'firebuilding' Skill Checks).
Q) Why can someone swim 30' in a Round when a longboat only rows at a rate of 20'?
A) This is in earlier versions of the game, and has since been corrected. The idea was that movement, like so many other rules in Fantasia, is based more on drama than on practical, sensible reality. In a game sense, where excitement is key, if the action spills into the water and thus forces the Characters to swim, the situation is already extreme enough and they need some edge to save their lives. If all things were proportional to the reality we know, once the Player Characters went into the water, they would be done for, no matter how great or legendary they were. Fantasia is more mythological than it is practical. For example, one of the greatest heroes of our own myths, Beowulf, swam and fought under a lake for a long, long period of time, easily violating all human limiations. One might say that reality is somewhat exaggerated for the Player Characters. Or, one may ask why horses in Fantasia run slower than Elves and even some humans! Again, it is giving the Player Characters a slight edge over reality. It is, after all, a fantasy game, and reality takes a back-seat to what makes a story work.
Q) Why are Ability Checks limited to set difficulties of 10, 15 and 20? Why not everything from 10-20?
A) Originally, Ability Checks ranged from 1-25, and used the D10 instead of the D6. D&D went on to use a similar idea, but we have already been through years of playtesting that range, and found several problems with such a system. Most impacting of all was that if the range could be anything from 11-20, the pressure was always on the Game Master to make the perfect selection of difficulty. This put far too much demand on something as simple as an Ability Check. Moreover, it led to a natural progression of the GM steadily raising the difficulty for Checks in an effort to make further adventures more climactic than previous ones, and Checks that should have been easier than others ended up being more difficult, numerically speaking. The set difficulties of 10, 15 and 20 serve to keep the game simple, fast-paced and fun, as it is easier to choose between 'simple', 'challenging' and 'critical', a choice of three, rather than a choice of ten with such gray areas as 'rather difficult', 'very difficult', 'exceedingly difficult', etc. As for the use of the D6 as opposed to the D10, the range of 1-6 not only gave more credit to the actual Ability Score, but allowed for more balanced difficulties between the Checks.