Adam over at the Barking Alien posted a neat blog on the aspects of his game that he feels make it unique to his game-running style. I thought it would be fun to go all counterpoint with it. You might have to read Adam's first to get the context. Here goes:
1) I am out to get you: At least sometimes. As the DM I take my job of representing a believable and internally-consistent world seriously. As a player assuming the role of a daring adventurer, you will likely find yourself being willingly exposed to dangerous situations and individuals. I will play these to the hilt. I'll never implicitly or explicitly lead you down that dark tunnel for my own purposes, nor will I make it a habit to trick you into walking into the dragon's den when you have no hope of facing such a creature. But I surely won't pull any punches once you decide to go yourself. I don't see myself as a killer DM. I'm not, for instance, going to arbitrarily turn your allies and lackeys against you and make every inn a den of thieves and every seemingly friendly temple a secret front for assassins and cultists. But you must recognize that the world and the people in it have an agenda with or without your character. To succeed in any great measure is to plan well, take smart risks and enjoy the benefit of a little luck from time to time.
2) You determine the course of events as much or more than I: I'm a proponent of what we in these circles call sandbox play. To me it's not just about hex-crawling and exploration, though I find that interesting. It's about if I've painstakingly detailed a remote hinterland region and your party ups and decides to move to the city and open up an equipment shop, I'm game. If I've developed the first 2 1/2 levels of a sprawling underground ruin and after one session you find it too dangerous for the expected rewards, you never have to go back to it again. If you want to ignore the political battles and intrigue raging about you, that's fine. You still may get embroiled, but it won't be because I've got this great adversary and storyline I want to try out, but rather that your involvement made sense or was in some way inevitable.
3) The answer is the answer: I appreciate Adam's sentiment that the referee should lean more toward adjudicating the rules and establishing a probability for something happening (even a very small probability) when the rules don't cover it. I also recognize that's somewhat part of the genre he generally plays in. Likewise, I don't like to tell players flatly "no" when they want to try something, as I believe it infringes upon their agency. But sometimes the answer is no. Sometimes your cool idea of re-animating the golem with a steel rod, a lightning bolt and some rock star flair will just be met with my blank stare. That's just how I roll.
4) There will be zombies: My players can probably attest to my love of the undead at all levels of play. That is they might attest to it if they have had time and opportunity to reflect on it much with all of the cracking of bones and eating of marrow going on.
5) Sometimes the game will drag: Indeed, sometimes an entire session will just flat out suck. I hate it when it does, and believe me nobody feels worse about it or takes it more personally than I do. This is the price you pay for more freedom as a player in my game. I've done my best to prepare an interesting but believable world and I'm setting you loose in it. Sometimes you will fumble about as you figure out what you want to do. Sometimes I'm ill-prepared to deal with what you have decided. Sometimes you or I or all of us will just have an off night. When you play, at best, 2 days in 30 then these bad sessions hurt that much more. Players are encouraged to bring cured meats, fine cheeses and hoppy ales to all sessions. At least we can shoot bull and enjoy some time together on those hopefully rare occasions when the game just isn't working.