answering the 13 orthodoxies because I am a highly trained bandwagoneer.
Your players arrive in an abandoned city – the first thing they do is enter a home, asking what’s left of the pantry. What do you say to them?
Wow the person who wrote this one just loves to talk huh?
"in a secluded glade is a ruined shrine of granite. vines twist up around the dwarven pillars, and a salamander lazily holds a spear in a pool of water in the middle. who knows what might happen if you drink of it?"
if it's a glade, you know its in a forest. if its secluded, you know its hidden. if its ruined, you know the stone is ancient and the pillars are cracked. if you see a pool of water in the middle of the forest, you don't know what it does.
Your players enter a dungeon you have prepared, and leave after being spooked by the monsters within. In truth, they are more than powerful enough to overcome the threats of the dungeon, and well-equipped to do so. One of the players asks you, “Do you think we’re ready for this dungeon?” How do you answer?
One of your players has a spell, speak with insects. They use it to speak with a spider, at which point another player points out that it shouldn’t work. The first player is obviously disappointed, and looks to you hopefully for you to overrule the other player. You don’t remember the actual details of how the spell works, but your rulebook is handy if you need to look it up. What do you do?
Whoever made this spell was a sorcerer, not an entymologist. They don't know about arthropod taxonomy. Anything with more than four legs is an insect in their book.
I'm not sure if I'm right, but to me my answers seem short and unadorned. I like to think this means I'm a quick, improvisational type who cuts right through the shit, but it's just as likely that I'm just lazy and uncreative. It's more likely than either that I'm both.
(response to 1) “There’s nothing in the pantry.”
There were millions of things to put in that pantry, and while that is not the most boring one, it is very close. not my style, I hope.
(response to 2) “The magistrate – only a petty official who has temporarily taken over this post, by the way – isn’t even tired – he’s an early morning sort of gentleman. Despite the early hour, the dawn’s rays still barely tickling over the hills, he looks well put-together. Not a hair is out of place on his head, and his sharply kept mustache suggests a morning ritual of wax-infused grooming. The man is already making steady headway into a stack of tidy paperwork as you arrive. You’re in luck, however – he seems to be in a good mood, which may make him more amenable to your suggestion than normal.”
I don't know how I feel about this. It seems at once very boring (just some dude doing paperwork with nothing cool about him) but potentially very interesting (some dude who gets up at 5AM and does work with pleasure cannot be normal. Maybe he's keeping up appearances despite engaging in illegal acts). I think as a player I would find this intriguing, and hope it gets followed up on.
(response to 3) “Sure you can have blue hair! I hope you don’t mind if nobody else does though – I didn’t really originally picture that sort of hair, and I’ve got so much else to juggle that I probably won’t add a whole lot of world responsiveness to blue hair. It’ll just be an aesthetic thing to help you better picture your character, not much beyond that.”
I think one only needs that first sentence. It seems to me the default state of character appearance is that it is unique, unremarkable, and useless. However, if this GM usually makes cosmetics more important than that, I can see the importance here. Not what I'd do, but if a GM were doing it, I would likely agree with them. Yes I did change my mind halfway through writing this.
Yeah this is good. I think that you can leave imagining up to the players and nothing will go wrong. As is true of all of these, I wouldn't do it this way but I agree with doing it in principle.
(response to 5) “Who knows? Haha.”
This seems a little mean. The players asked for guidance, the GM laughed. This is the closest I am to any of these to active dislike. I did the same sort of thing in my answer, but I don't think it was quite the same. Maybe I'm a hypocrite. Probably.
response to 6) “I would look it up in the book, and if it’s a regular question, I would add a sticky-note to that page so I could find it faster, to show my players what the rules say. Knowing the rules and when to look them up is important, and I want to lead by example.”
Yeah that's fair. If you can't trust the rules what can you trust? I think this is what I would do if I had extra time, like in a Play By Post or Play By Mail where I don't need an answer right now.
Imagine, briefly, that the responses in 7 through 12 all came from the same GM, within the same campaign. Are there patterns that emerge about how this GM runs? Would you want the GM to be more consistent and predictable about anything?