Brenden from the Untimately blog posted a list of 20 questions / rules clarifications a DM should decide (and probably inform the group of) fairly early in play.
I'll take my stab at answering:
Ability scores generation method?
- roll 4d6. keep the best 3 dice. do this 6 times. arrange as you wish. any score less than 7 you may discard and roll again.
How are death and dying handled? Zero is unconscious.
- 10 minus (plus?) con bonus for death. bleed out 1 HP per round unconscious until wounds are tended to.
What about raising the dead?
- if available no caster wants cash in return. they will want a major quest
How are replacement PCs handled?
- two level less than the lowest character level in the party for the replacement character
Initiative: individual, group, or something else?
- individual for the players. npcs will be grouped by type
Are there critical hits and fumbles? How do they work?
Do I get any benefits for wearing a helmet?
- probably not, because I always forget about their presence or lack there of.
Can I hurt my friends if I fire into melee or do something similarly silly?
-damn straight skippy!
Will we need to run from some encounters, or will we be able to kill everything?
not everything will be balanced and fair. it is not 4e ;)
Level-draining monsters: yes or no?
- no, but they will drain something else (permanent HP or stat drain, pending high level spell for recovery)
Are there going to be cases where a failed save results in PC death?
- yes, but rarely
How strictly are encumbrance & resources tracked?
- not very, but if you start carrying chests and rugs and statues, I'll be looking at your stats.
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?
- i've run games with both extremes. I prefer the happy medium of leave the dungeon, rest and increase to hit, saves, HP and spell slots. new spells or abilities must be taught by a teacher or training time.
What do I get experience for?
- killing or outsmarting your foes, GP (but not at 1 to 1 ratio), amazing role-play may kick in a small bonus, completing quest may kick in small bonus, making DM laugh so hard he fall out of chair may result in a small bonus, etc.
How are traps located? Description, dice rolling, or some combination?
- combo. observant actions may result in a bonus to find traps
Are retainers encouraged and how does morale work?
- if the party is small, probably encouraged. treat them well, pay them fairly and they will only need to roll when odds are greatly against party or things are going south fast.
How do I identify magic items?
- spells, bards, sages and the like. exact bonuses are not revealed, and will only be learned through active use.
Can I buy magic items? Oh, come on: how about just potions?
- potions and scrolls
Can I create magic items? When and how?
- potions and scrolls during downtime.What about splitting the party?
- are you fuckin' crazy!?!
Nobles - Okay, so there's this: Although on the surface I'm categorically against "balancing" a campaign, as I've discussed before, the above does give me pause...
17 minutes ago