(reposted from a thread here http://www.swordsandwizardry.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=2284&start=0 )
I've been mulling over "my" rpg for some time, and had a burst of thought (and mild inspiration) in the past few days. So, I'm just going to sketch out some ideas here.
To make one thing clear, though, I'm building on S&W as the core framework, but it's not intended as retro-clone in any shape or form. It's a S&W + 3e + True20 hybrid. Simplicity with choice.
Abilities: I'm really mixed here; need more thought. I'd like to swap Charisma for "Presence", which I think is clearer and more in line with my take on it, but is it worth the confusion?
Classes: Classes are broken up into "Classes" (or maybe Roles), and "Aspects" (or maybe Classes"). Classes are more or less mechanical: warrior, adept, expert. Or warrior, mystic, rogue. Classes are "what" a character does (hit things, cast spells, other); Aspects are "how" they do it. Elf would be an aspect, as would Fighter, Barbarian, Knight, Wizard, Cleric, Druid, and etc. As characters progress, they can take on new aspects, or develop existing ones, so an Elf could become an Elven Wizard by taking on the Wizard aspect, or a High Elf, by taking on the High Elf aspect. See levels & tiers below.
Races: Subsumed into aspects, so a first level elf would be an Elf, while a 1st level human would be a Fighter, or Wizard, or Thief, or whatever. The Elf could take Fighter at third level, but will always lag a little bit behind in Fighter abilities.
Levels & Tiers: This is my eureka moment; I realize it may be not all that exciting to many people, however. I'm going to squish the game into 10 or 12 levels. Characters will get a new aspect at first level, third level, sixth level, and ninth level. Possibly 12th, if I go that high. These match up to the tiers: Adventurer, Heroic, Champion, Legend, (Epic?). Aspects will get new abilities, or refine old ones, at higher levels; other aspects will only be possible at higher tiers: Archmage at Legend, for instance.
Multi-classing: not sure of this. Have to think about it. I could ditch multiclassing if aspects brought certain abilities with them, so a Wizard warrior had some ability to cast spells or use magic, albeit at a much lower level than a Wizard adept.
Spells: Higher level spells are going to get seriously sorted and cut. I'm going to try and squish the levels down, but not necessarily spell power. Wish is pretty much out. Spell lists will be linked to aspects, with a base of "common" spells, so an elven adept will get common + elf spells, while a (human) wizard adept gets common + wizard spells.
Saves: probably a single flat save with bonuses/adjustments.
Damage: damage by class rather than damage by weapon.
Experience: one chart. Or, possibly, no chart. Use whatever chart you fancy. Or maybe using Achievement points, a la Engines & Empires.