The Random Wizard asks us...
(1). Should energy drain take away one level of experience points from the character? Yes or No? If no, what should level drain do?
While I appreciate the cruelty of energy drain from a DM's perspective, I hate the busywork it immediately creates for the player. From my vantage that's undesirable -- it takes up valuable time at the table and breeds distraction from the flow of the game. So big NO to level drainage.
As an alternative, I would treat energy drain as a loss of material substance. Characters so afflicted would be like living ghosts -- able to pass through walls but unable to affect the physical plane without the use of magics. Additionally they would be vulnerable to attacks by entities dwelling in the Ethereal Plane.
(2). Should the oil used in lanterns do significant damage (more than 1 hp in damage) if thrown on an opponent and set on fire? Yes or No? If yes, how much damage should it do?
If a magical fireball cast by a fifth level wizard can do a minimum of 5d6 damage, a natural fire fed by an ample amount of lantern oil should do at least 3d6 within a 1d10 foot radius, I'm thinkin'.
(3). Should poison give a save or die roll, with a fail rolled indicating instant death? Yes or No? If no, how should game mechanics relating to poison work?
Only specific poisons should be insta-death with a failed save. Other poisons should be slow-working (eg. kill the character in a number of turns or days), or do different sorts of damage (eg. render the victim paralyzed or turn him into an INT 5 dunce).
(4). Do characters die when they reach 0 hit points? Yes or No? If no, then at what point is a character dead?
If Hit Points are supposed to represent a character's proverbial fight, then zero HP would be no fight at all -- meaning the character would be rendered defenseless and susceptible to a final coup de grace from his enemies. If not immediately executed, a character at zero HP might bleed-out and die on his or her own provided the wound is severe (criteria for "severe" could simply mean the character took a critical hit at some point in this combat).
(5). Does the primary spell mechanic for a magic user consist of a "memorize and forget system" (aka Vancian)? Yes or No? If no, what alternative do you use?
(6). Should all weapons do 1d6 damage or should different weapons have varying dice (1d4, 1d8, etc...) for damage?
I have no real opinion here. Damage inflation effects both sides (monsters and players) identically. Ultimately it just helps PCs die faster.
(7). Should a character that has a high ability score in their prime requisite receive an experience point bonus? Yes or No?
(8). Should a character with an strength of 18 constitution get a +3 bonus to hit points, or a +2 bonus to hit points, or a +1 bonus to hit points or no bonus to hit points? And should other ability scores grant similar bonuses to other game mechanics?
Low-balling ability bonuses is preferable to going crazy with them. Also, why should strength affect to-hit rolls? A bonus to damage makes sense. Maybe give players the option to apply their DEX bonus to to-hit rolls or AC.
(9). Should a character have 1 unified saving throw number, or 3 saving throw types based on ability scores (reflex, fortitude, will), or 5 types based on potential game effects (magic wand, poison attacks)? or something else?
I prefer the last, but the 3-type system works just fine. One saving throw seems silly and needlessly simplified.
(10). Should a cleric get (A) 1 spell at 1st level (B) no spells at 1st level (C) more than 1 spell at 1st level?
At least one spell. No spells is just mean.