When we sat down to work on this game, we had specific goals in mind. We wanted to make a more streamlined game then some of our others - that is one that was easier for someone new to roleplaying games to pick up and work with, and also easier for long time players to pick up, skim and get right into using.
We didn’t want to lose any of the detail we appreciate in games, or the system’s ability to allow (or create) the suspension of disbelief that a good roleplaying game needs. But we had to reduce the number of numeric values (attributes as they are commonly called) because it was a sticking point in the minds of many people who decided not to use our other games. Numbers scare some people. Lots of numbers, even if you just look at them or add them together on occasion, looks like work to some people. We didn’t want to scare everyone (although scaring a few people is not a bad thing if its constructive in its results). We wanted to attract folks to using the game. Why? Because we don’t want to be the only Game Managers using the game for a gaming group - we want to share the experience and, hopefully, get to occasionally play as well as GM!
We also needed to reduce the number of dice rolls used during combat. This is hard to do while maintaining realism, as combat is one of the most complex things a roleplaying game has to represent, and has the most variable factors when dealt with in reality.
We also wanted to expand the range of possible characters that players and GMs could make. At the same time we had to make sure that players would feel the mechanics were fair, and did not require them to rely on the whims of the Game Manager in all things. To do this we had to remove some design limits that were imposed in our own game (and those of others) and still find a way of creating a sense of balance within actual game play.
We wanted a system that was colorful, fun, able to be both realistic and occasionally surreal or downright silly. It had to be modular so that other Game Managers could add in features, ideas amd details that they wanted for their specific game style, without destroying our vision on the game. For that matter, we wanted to be able to add in new features and specific mechanics to different settings, so we could explore different aspects of reality, from the burlesque to the sublime. Our system had to be Multi-genre, without being Generic and bland.
Finally we wanted a game mechanic that emphasized cooperation between the players, not competition. And one that offered a balance between the power of the players, and their characters, to affect the game world, and that of the GM when presenting the game world, and the plots the characters encounter as they go thru the exploration called “Life.”