All the cool RPG bloggers have already answered these so now I join the dogpile.
(1). Race (Elf, Dwarf, Halfling) as a class? Yes or no?
Yes. But I am reconsidering now and sort of wish I’d made multiple racial classes (dwarf fighter type, dwarf thief type, etc.). It’s one of those areas where I discovered that my players have very different preferences from me. I’d be happy with four classes and race as a non-mechanical trait; they’d like to have rules for ensuring no two fighters need be “the same.”
(2). Do demi-humans have souls?
Maybe halflings do. It hasn’t really come up in play. I like the idea, as an alternative to level limits, that nonhumans can’t be raised or need extra steps to be raised, or just use different means like reincarnation, but in the heat of the game I just let Raise Dead work for everyone.
(3). Ascending or descending armor class?
Ascending. The one innovation of 3e I think makes total sense. Don’t get me started on bonus inflation though.
(4). Demi-human level limits?
I caved to my whiny players, so no limits. But my Platonic ideal of the game limits hobbits (and most humanoids) to 4th, elves and dwarves (and half-orcs, half-elves, and most monsters) to 8th, and humans ONLY to 12th. OK I guess a dragon or giant PC could hit 12th maybe.
(5). Should thief be a class?
Of course. And thief skills should be either things you almost never roll for, or things that are super-normal like 1980s ninjas.
(6). Do characters get non-weapon skills?
Sort of. Class abilities and a few bogeys you roll might give you a talent of some kind. Next time around I think I’ll try something like traits or backgrounds instead.
(7). Are magic-users more powerful than fighters (and, if yes, what level do they take the lead)?
Eventually. Depends on how smart the players are and what magic items they have mostly, but high level MUs can do some seriously outrageous stuff. Actually at third level things begin to shift because of Invisibility, but in my campaign the wizard really began to shine at 5th with Fireball. Would be a different story if the fighters weren’t protecting him though, and the fighter types tend to make it out alive more than anyone else, so based on actual survival rates, I’d say dwarves are the toughest.
(8). Do you use alignment languages?
No, but I don’t find them all that wonky, just depends on the setting. I think of them as dialects of Common that immediately identify one as Other or Us, and there would just be Chaotic and Lawful, no Evil, Good, or Neutral.
(9). XP for gold, or XP for objectives (thieves disarming traps, etc…)?
Yes! Actually I started with the former and slowly shifted to the latter. Low-level play should use gold = XP, mid to higher level needs to stop that or it gets crazy. Mostly now I give XP for player-defined objectives and monsters defeated. My players may not realize they are setting the goals though and think there is a ‘plot’ they are accomplishing.
(10). Which is the best edition; ODD, Holmes, Moldvay, Mentzer, Rules Cyclopedia, 1E ADD, 2E ADD, 3E DD, 4E DD, Next ?
For a free-wheeling DM: ODD or Moldvay
For the OCD DM: 1e or 3e.
For a role player: Moldvay, 1e, or maybe 2e
For a min/maxer: 3e
And so on… best for who?
Bonus Question: Unified XP level tables or individual XP level tables for each class?
Individual. Thieves should shoot up levels, paladins and wizards need to go more slowly.