I am trying for a Nearly Free Form Game concept. I have discussed this concept before in the past and have tweaked it a bit. In play testing this game really flowed. Many of the rules lawyers I know would not touch it for some reason.
When you want to do something you roll a D20. The higher you roll the better the outcome. How high you need to roll is determined by your described skill and the amount of difficulty assigned by the game master. A natural “1” is a complete failure and a natural “20” is a complete success. I did have a clunky chart that I have since gotten rid of.
WRITING INSTEAD OF ROLLING A CHARACTER:
When you want to make a character you need to forget all that you know about attributes, hit points, and anything else you have learned from other RPGs. Remember what you have learned on Free Form RPG boards on the Internet. If they work there they will work here. There is a dice roll mechanic but it exist “outside” the game itself. The players write up Characters and give the Characters reasonable powers and equipment based on the power level being played. The game master will have the final say on “how powerful” your character is.
First chose a power level of your character.
Depends on the setting...
Is your character the most badass swordsman of the realm? Is he a weary smugger on the lost galaxy? Is he a powerful super hero that can fly, lift trains, and is bulletproof?
Third elaborate on the character's concept.
Here are a few guidelines called the 8 Ms. Discuss the 8 Ms of the character concept if they are above or below average. If they are average then don't waste your time describing them.
-Might or how resistant to damage and harm.
-Muscle or how strong you are compared to an average human.
-Moves or your agility and speed.
-Mind as is how strong mind is and will power.
-Manipulation as in your personality and manipulative ability.
-Martial as in your raw brawling ability.
-Missile as in your accuracy at ranged combat.
-Mystical is your intuition and ability to manipulate arcane forces.
What is his physical description? What is his personality?
Forth discuss your Powers, Abilities, Devices, and Skills.
How powerful they are and what they do. It's fine to add an array of powers, devices, and abilities just don't go overboard. What do you have equipment wise?
Fifth is background.
Does your character have a life other than super heroics? What does he do for a living? What hobbies does he have? What is his social status and wealth? Many of these backgrounds will provide skills and abilities that may provide useful in some game events.
Sixth is Mental and Physical Condition
Does your character have a bad back? Is he afraid of the dark? Has he an addiction to drugs? Is he completely healthy? All these are noted on the sheet. This is also the area where you note damage from combat. With no hard numbers there are no hit points just descriptions.
Seventh is Possessions and Wealth
You and the game master get together and discuss your hero's possessions and wealth and then your income as well as personal items such as a home and vehicles.
Eighth guideline is all these “rules” are just guidelines! The point is to have fun!
Game Master Section
If a character tries to do something and is able to do with ease the charter succeeds. If there is a pivotal time in the adventure the Character rolls on the chart. The roll is not modified in any way. The result is read from the vantage of the skill of the character. For example if a skilled person and an unskilled person both roll an 8 it would mean different things for each Character. A skilled person may have his result described far better while an unskilled would not have done as well. A bad roll is not always a failed attempt to do something. It also can be a change of plot against the positive flow of the Story. This is actually a good thing as it makes very exciting stories.
Each player declares what they are doing based on their descriptions and power levels. Each player rolls and attack and defense plus any other rolls they are doing. The higher result usually wins unless the other player pulls a cool stunt or is just far more superior.
Damage is judged from the weapon used, the protection offered from cover, armor, and stamina and the result of the Plot Roll. Make it dramatic!
The effects of combat can be very detailed from a detailed description of each body area to a simple Uninjured, Scratch/Beat Up, Injured, Severely Injured, Incapacitated, and Dying. It all depends on how you want to run the game.
It is up to the players and the game master as well as the dice to figure out where your character stands. Mental states can be done this way as well.
You have to decide how much damage or effect was done according to the power and skill level described in the characters text minus any relevant defenses.