Treasure Questions And Answers
Q) Will Adventures or other products ever offer new magical items?
A) Probably not. Whether magical, Elven, Dwarven or anything else, exotic treasures should be kept statistically basic. That may seem contradictory to the emphasis on imagination in our products, but it is indeed the only true path to a more imaginative game. Making new treasures, in other words offering new sets of statistics, only encourages one to figure out more details of numbers rather than figure out details of the story. The challenge of this game should not lie in balancing endless (and growing) stacks of statistics. The challenge should lie in role-playing, right? That said, the statistics become almost trivial, save for power level, and power is pretty linear, indeed any treasures can aid 'power level'. The details of the fantasy world which most games supply only through more treasures actually only makes those worlds more numerically complex. But here, the details lie in a treasure's history, who covets it, who fears it, and so forth. A growing variety of story-details makes for a much more rewarding game than all the new (statistical) treasures one could ever hoard in a library of costly rulebooks.
Q) Isn't a magic wand more powerful for a non-spellcaster than a true Magician? Isn't this unbalanced?
A) The ways a wand are described in the Book Of All Knowing are delicate and delusive, much like mastering a wand in itself. To clarify, the 'random spell casting' a non-caster can do with a wand still uses his own Spell Points. Furthermore, a true spellcaster can choose to use a wand in like manner, evoking a random spell he does not know, though he does not gain the wand's +3 bonus for such a random act. However, the true caster does indeed get the +3 bonus to cast any spell he truly knows. Whereas the non-caster cannot use the wand's +3 bonus under any circumstances. Thus, a wand is indeed more useful for a practitioner of the Arts as opposed to a novice, though not as much as, say, a staff (which is why Wizards prefer staves to wands).
Q) A 'ring of power' has 20 Spell Points a Round, it says. I take it that means it has a maximum 20 free Spell Points on hand on any given Round?
A) Indeed. A ring of power offers a 'cushion' of 20 Spell Points that replenishes itself each Round, but never exceeds 20. Note: In older versions of the game, a ring of power simply gave unlimited Spell Points (instead of 20). If you are one of those to posses such a rare copy of the rules, consider yourself powerful with such a treasure, but also expect your GM to (rightfully) hold you to all the rules in that book, including the inferior ones, and also expect him to try and remove you from that ring as soon as possible . . .
Q) Why aren't magical items and other exotic treasures more specific or detailed?
A) Such treasures, like all rules in Fantasia, are given more generalized categories, that way their statistical advantage remains intact while allowing a Player to add his own details to the treasure. As there are countless treasures out there, the rulebook cannot describe them all, nor should it try. As with weapons, armour, food and other basic rules and scores, exotic treasures remain archtypical, so that a Player can see their specifics however he wishes, and thus work best with the overall theme of his Character and thus his enjoyment of that Character. Moreover, to give specifics about any treasures would force a fantasy on someone. For example, to have 'ruby dagger of the Muses' on the magical items list would be cool for someone who just wants more magic, but if someone who has taken the time to develop a more in-depth Character, say someone who uses daggers but has Green Magic finds it, such a treasure would seem contradictory to him. Another way of saying that is, well, he likes green, why not keep the treasure as 'dagger +2' and allow him to say if it is made of ruby, jade, emerald, or whatever, and thus be more comfortable with his fantasy? Prepared adventure products give specifics as those details are tailored to a story and indeed often necessary to tell it, just as the GM should tailor treasures and other rules to suit the specific Player Characters in his game. The rules, however, should remain just that, rules, and not dictate the story one way or the other.
Q) On Table 76, Dwarves have no jewels, not even 'Dwarven tears', that give them a magical bonus, like all other magics do. Why not?
A) Dwarves do not use magic, and even if they did they would not share it. Indeed, not even amongst Magicians are all powers accounted for on Table 76. But for whatever reason that Animists, Necromancers and others do not find power in treasures, Dwarves in particular are practical and earthly, and all their jewels have a monetary value, rather than a magical one, their crafts enhanced not by the intangible, save for the spirit of whomever wields their weapons or wears their armour.
Q) A classic part of role-playing games is 'elven chain mail', but I noticed it's not in Fantasia. Why not?
A) There is a story behind this. Long ago, when the nature of role-playing was developing and descriptive details were being applied to game statistics, one form of magical armour that arose was inspired by Tolkien's 'mithril mail' which Bilbo gave to Frodo in Rivendell. However, many games took that gift as 'elven' mail simply because it was given in an Elven house. What they forgot was that the mail was given to Bilbo by Thorin, and that it was forged in the Lonely Mountain! Unfortunately, the myth has spread. Thus, in truth, everything that has been in the past so highly prized as 'elven chain mail' should by rights be 'Dwarven chainmail' or even 'mithril mail'. In Fantasia, this misconception was corrected by having Dwarven chainmail indeed, and avoiding the pitfall of having a separate class of Elven mail. Elves don't make great armour anyway. They travel light! And if they didn't, why would they make only chainmail and no other form of special armour? Fortunately, many games are correcting this, and adding 'mithral' or 'mithril' mail, though many a suit of 'elven chain mail' still clutters up the shelves of Ye Olde Magic Shoppe, as recorded in the sales notes (called GM Books), showing that misconceptions endure, new editions of games don't necessarily mean improvements, and that dogma dies hard.