It seems that many of the blogs I follow are answering these questions, so I decided that I may as well play along...
1. Ability scores generation method?
3D6 in order.
At 0 or lower Hit Points, a character is considered to be at death's door. A successful Save vs. Death restores HP to 1 and the character survives with scars, wounds, etc. Of course, if the saving throw is failed then the character is dead.
3. What about raising the dead?
It is possible if you can find someone that can do it and you can afford the price.
4. How are replacement PCs handled?
I encourage the players to tie the new character into the story or the party by making them a relative, friend, or some other connection. Any new characters joining the party will typically be one level lower than the current lowest level PC in the party.
5. Initiative: individual, group, or something else?
Individual: roll D10 + Dexterity each combat round and the highest total acts first.
6. Are there critical hits and fumbles? How do they work?
Yes. They both work on my judgment call. A critical hit might do extra damage or inflict a serious wound. A fumble could be a dropped weapon, a broken blade, or something similar.
7. Do I get any benefits for wearing a helmet?
Hmmm....is it a magical helmet?
8. Can I hurt my friends if I fire into melee or do something similarly silly?
Oh yes you can. Silly is silly and has consequences even when it could harm your friends.
9. Will we need to run from some encounters, or will we be able to kill everything?
If you know what is good for you!. That is part of the fun, right?
10. Level-draining monsters: yes or no?
No. I have never liked the idea myself.
11. Are there going to be cases where a failed save results in PC death?
Yes! I want PC death to be a real possibility. I do not "go after" the characters but if they die, they die.
12. How strictly are encumbrance & resources tracked?
I am not too concerned with resources. I ask that all characters do spend the money on a few rations, a quiver (if it applies), and other essentials. I do not keep strict track of them but there are times when some resources get depleted. As long as a player is not trying to carry everything under the sun, I do not worry too much about encumbrance.
13. 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?
All experience is on hold until the characters go back into a town, settlement, etc. Leveling up will be done at that time if it has been reached. Training and new spells are done at this time also.
14. What do I get experience for?
I use a reward system inspired by and closer to the one found in Palladium Fantasy.
15. How are traps located? Description, dice rolling, or some combination?
Either - it just depends on how the players approach it. If they described actions that would probably detect a trap, then it happens. It they do not describe any actions, then their fate is left to the role of the dice.
16. Are retainers encouraged and how does morale work?
Retainers are neither encouraged or discouraged. Morale is checked after tight spots and any time a character treats a retainer "badly".
17. How do I identify magic items?
Attempt to use it correctly OR bring the item to a sage, high priest, etc. to help with identification.
18. Can I buy magic items? Oh, come on: how about just potions?
At certain times but there is no fantasy version of SEARS or ACE HARDWARE located in my campaign world.
19. Can I create magic items? When and how?
Probably not. I do not like magic items to be so common that people can just create a large supply of them.
20. What about splitting the party?
That is entirely up to the players and what they *think* is the right course of action.