I'm off to "the Big City" today, so not much time for a deep thought post. How about we take a look at how things went with some recent polls?
THE LOCATION FOR THE ADVENTURE LIES BEYOND TREACHEROUS WATERS. CAN THE PLAYER'S SHIP SINK ALONG THE WAY, KILLING EVERYONE?
Yes - If it happens, time to roll new guys (31%), No - The story would be over before it began (69%).
See - I tricked you - I put in the words "story" in the second answer, a clear tip off that making rulings to fit some notion of a predetermined story is the wrong answer, prima facie. By now you should realize story is irrelevant; no player characters have plot immunity. If they choose to hop in a boat and head into unsafe waters without precautions, of course the ship can sink. Blub blub. That all being said, I appreciate the well-thought out comments in the post - many folks were fine with raining havoc down on players that sailed unwisely into ice-berg laden northern waters, but rather than making a sinking ship equal instant death, they advocated a wide range of complications - ship damage, lost cargoes, lost resources, man overboard, forced to abandon ship to a lifeboat, tons of options that still get the point across. I'll be a wiser judge with all your useful suggestions in hand.
WHAT'S YOUR PREFERRED METHOD FOR ABILITY SCORE GENERATION?
3d6 in order, no adjustment (44%), 3d6, rearrange and adjust (14%), 4d6, rearrange and adjust (12%), Modern point buy (7%), Something else (21%).
3d6 in one form or another was the popular choice in my circles; from the comments, I got the sense the folks that picked "something else" were doing 3d6 with the adjustment scheme from Moldvay BX, and I probably needed to call that out specifically - BX called for 3d6 in order, limited adjustments, but no rearranging. From previous polls, I get the sense by-the-book AD&D sits around 10-15% in terms of active play so the 4d6 result makes sense. I see a lot of Advanced Edition Companion in use with classic D&D versions.