I think what makes a system great is modularity, variability, and fluidity. I am surprised those are all actual words. So, what do I mean by this? Lets break it down.
- Modularity - I think if a studio puts out a product, it should theoretically be universally playable across their line. Most companies do this, though I think White Wolf and Eden Studios did the best job. Technically d20 did this to the greatest extent, but those of you that know me know I don't particularly like that system. So, I think that if I am making a system, I want to use it for every line I release! Of course, certain modifications will have to be made due to the nature of the setting, but all in all it should be relatively easy to modify and convert.
- Variability - Every gamer is different. Some may want gritty realism, others may want something more akin to a Hong Kong blood opera. Blood, guts, and adventure are different in everyone's eyes, either as desirable traits in a game or deterrents in playing. So my idea, my passion, is making a system that has variable settings for each aspect. You can make something realistic and gritty or fantastical and cinematic, any everything in between. If I allow a system to be variable like this, I'll be able to reach and hook more gamers than if I was on a deterministic system. If I can work in something that will have heavy rules all the way to light rules, I can get the combat monkeys and the rules lawyers as well as the dramadorks and storywhores. It MUST be done!
- Fluidity - My biggest issue with d20 is the fact that it is so rigid. You pick a class, and though you can multiclass, you're pretty much stuck on a pretty predictable path. Levels are even more ridiculous, and totally destroy any sense of progression or realism for me. I prefer a nice point-buy, or even better, a skill progression device! Besides leveling and progression, a system should specifically flow. Rules should be light and the rules present should not stop the action. Any rules I add to be system will be there to enhance, not hinder, the story. That's probably going to be the biggest issue of them all.
P.S. - Rosie has opened up commissions again! You should go and check out her information concerning them. I have a ton already on my wall and they are friggin' gorgeous. I'll post pictures when she gets in town...which will be in THIRTEEN DAYS!!! Amazing stuff, go check it out.