whilst I agree that setting it to hardcore rules would make for a more interesting game for the more experienced player, you don't want to make life so difficult that newer and less experienced players are put off coming to the server.
All your questions have been answered in other posts: look around, specifically at the Tree on Knowledge.
Gameplay will almost definitely be at the Normal difficulty level, and will be an action oriented module, with roleplay elements tied in. Nonetheless, I would never call it a roleplay server, I hate enforcing my feelings/beliefs on other people, making them be in character 24/7. Be who you want to be, and say what you want to say.
Sweet if you put the server on normal game play can you remove the petrification immunities as it turns into 1rd per level rather than the permenant fixation it is on hard. it still gives you time to take a chunk out the hp but its now more like a kockdown rather than a pinata maker
2 things: 1) The server already is at normal difficulty level, and that IS how petrification works, at least for players. 2) HG 2 is now officially dead, we have the original running smoothly and have plans to keep expanding it. Funky