Are any discount fares available the day of travel on trains or will you always pay full fare?
Depends on policies the country's rail system. It will vary from system to system. In general you will pay full fate since the limited number of discounted tickets will be gone. However, if still available you can get them.
Christi as mentioned it likely varies from country to country but I know in France point to points are offered for discount rates ( called PREMS) only in advance and are usually quickly sold out ,, leading to only higher and higher rate scedules..
If you really want the cheapest prices for most places buying last minute pretty well guarantees you will be paying full price.
That was my thinking as well. In order to keep the flexibility I like and 1st Class - which I like, the rail pass is definitely the way to go for me. I have priced it out both ways and the pass comes out a couple hundred cheaper than P to P (including res fees) and I am not locked into a set schedule - which I prefer. I read on here so often that P to P is cheaper than a pass but I think that most applies if you have and want set travel dates and travel 2nd class.
Christi, it really depends on the country, for example, point to point is usually much cheaper than a pass in Italy.
We are traveling for a month and are planning on about 8 countries. We enjoy being on the move and are hitting the highlights in several cities to determine whether we might want to return for a longer stay. We have a loose itinerary but like to be flexible - if we get tired of cities we can find a small town to visit.