I prefer it to be somewhere between ‘falls apart’ and ‘it won’t stay open to the page you are on’. You want me to complain about rulebooks? I’d rather complain about content and organizational issues such as alphabetical lists of spells as opposed to level-based lists (with an alpha index). Or two-columns per page.
“Doing a voice”. How many people “do voices”? Should they? How do you get better at “doing a voice” if that’s your thing?
As long as no one minds if I slip into a seriously stereotypical accent, I’ll do them. If its a serious and dramatic moment, I might not.
Breaks. How often do you have breaks within sessions?
When I notice that I am uncomfortable. If the session goes well, everyone forgets until we are all squirming.
Description. Exactly how florid are your descriptions?
Not at all. I try to stick to strictly physical adjectives such as color, texture or analogy to something that would be contemporary for the characters. I never use adjectives that imply the nature of something or a judgement. I avoid adverbs if I can.
I only give short descriptions unless someone looks closely, in which case they can tell me how they look at something, how close they get and how they go about examining something. This is what makes them start to get nervous.
Where do you strike the balance between “doing what your character would do” and “acting like a dickhead”?
If I think the PC’s actions could easily be construed as being a dickhead, I see if there isn’t some other way to accomplish something. Unless, of course, the atmosphere of the table/game encourages that. I probably get stepped all over as a PC.
PC-on-PC violence. Do your players tend to avoid it, or do you ban it? Or does anything go?
If I am not going to allow it, I generally warn folks at the beginning. Same if I will encourage it.
How do you explain what a role playing game is to a stranger who is also a non-player?
I don’t. If someone came to our table and asked, I’d let someone else explain.
Alchohol at the table?
If I am among friends, yes. If I am at a con or in a situation where people have either paid, no. And if I am running the game, not till it’s over.
What’s acceptable to do to a PC whose player is absent from the session? Is whatever happens their fault for not being there, or are there some limits?
I generally leave them alone.