20 Questions: How I run Zounds!

Here’s the same list, for how Zounds! works (not all questions are applicable)

Untimately: 20 Quick Questions: Rules

Here are 20 rules clarifications that are likely to be needed anyways at some point.

  1. Ability scores generation method?
    Your Attribute scores are determined by your Template (Hero, Adventurer, Wise One), though you can improve them at creation or later by spending points.
  2. How are death and dying handled?
    In base Zounds! you only die if you feel it’s suitable (presumably you’ll have been rendered Out or Overkilled first, but that’s not strictly necessary); in grittier play any Overkill result means death.
  3. What about raising the dead?
    Absolutely, if you want it…though it probably comes with a price (you’re a ghost, or undead, or in the thrall of some necromancer, or under a geas by a deity).
  4. How are replacement PCs handled?
    They just show up, as soon as I can work them in. They start at 1 Boost less than the rest of the party.
  5.  Initiative: individual, group, or something else?
    No initiative, just go around the table.
  6. Are there critical hits and fumbles?
    Not as such.
  7. How do they work?
    If you’re Hindered that might be narrated the way other systems treat a fumble; if you score an Overkill, that might be narrated as a critical.
  8. Do I get any benefits for wearing a helmet?
    Helmets make it less likely that you’ve picked up a serious injury/new Complication when you recover from being Out.
  9. Can I hurt my friends if I fire into melee or do something similarly silly?
    No.  If it would be silly given the conventions of the genre you’re using, you’re supposed to refrain from doing it; if it’s plausible (e.g. you’re doing action-movie style adventure) then you might miss, but you won’t hurt your friends.
  10. Will we need to run from some encounters, or will we be able to kill everything?
    It would probably be wise to run sometimes, but if you insist on fighting then likely your worst case is capture rather than death, unless you’re playing it gritty.
  11. Level-draining monsters: yes or no?
    No levels, though there are some monsters that can infect you or even potentially re-write your character as a thrall.
  12. Are there going to be cases where a failed save results in PC death?
    No saves as such; there may be times when failing an unopposed task could plausibly result in PC death, but it’s generally up to the player to bite that particular bullet.
  13. How strictly are encumbrance & resources tracked?
    Again, the players are asked to keep things plausible according to their own understanding of the genre.  You can take extra resources with you on a quest, in order to sacrifice them along the way to overcome obstacles, but if you do so you risk losing wealth.
  14. 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 only get XP in between sessions, but it’s conceivable that you spend XP in the middle of a session; this could represent suddenly figuring something out or spending time training and researching during the session, or getting new assets.
  15. What do I get experience for?
    1 XP per session.  1 additional XP for “carousing” (volunteering to be hit with the plot hammer). 1 additional XP for being put Out , plus one if the whole party was defeated (defeat is an excellent teacher) . Possibly 1 or 2 for completing a long story arc.
  16. How are traps located? Description, dice rolling, or some combination?
    You mostly just spot them if you have an appropriate ability; particularly well concealed or planned traps might require a roll, or might simply succeed.
  17. Are retainers encouraged and how does morale work?
    Absolutely.  At low scopes, retainers are individuals and have a Will stat (and possibly their own or your abilities) to resist attempts to scare them or undermine their morale; at higher scopes, retainers will represent entire groups and will have a Morale stat for much the same purposes.
  18. How do I identify magic items?
    Try them.  Or use an appropriate ability to research them.
  19. Can I buy magic items? Oh, come on: how about just potions? Can I create magic items? When and how?
    Buying them depends on the setting, but is likely to cost an astonishing amount of money or agreeing to a quest in order to get a magician to custom make a magic item for you.  Wise Ones can create new magic items by research (that’s part of what they’re about); other templates might be able to depending on their particular abilities.  In any case, players will have to spend XP and not just money in order to get the items.
  20. What about splitting the party?
    Be my guest.  Unless you mean overland or in the city, in which case running errands that will get hand-waved is fine, but I encourage the players not to go on separate adventures as a courtesy to each other and to me.