A choice of mechanics? | KingSpoom's RPG Design & Theory Junkyard

A choice of mechanics?

Choice is something I value in rpgs. However, most of the choices I make don't involve a mechanical difference, but involve a directional difference instead. For example: I need information from an npc. I can choose to use diplomacy or intimidation. This is a directional difference because my choice doesn't change the mechanics, it just affects which one is used. A benefit is that you can apply a lot of different flavor to any particular attempt. The downside being that nothing I say has any mechanic effect without the GM applying it.

So what am I talking about? I want the system to allow different options, without the need for the GM to gauge things (more than normal). Not only do I want to choose between intimidation and diplomacy, but when I choose intimidation, I want to have the option to risk the relationship with the npc for a bonus to the roll or to roll normally. All of this should be preset, though, and easy to apply.

Often, when playing rpgs, I feel disempowered when the only thing I get to do to save my character's life (or other important things) is roll a die. On the flipside, I don't want to be able to get what I want in every (or perhaps even most) situations by setting the stakes myself. I think what I want is a hybrid between a traditional and indie game. I see the industry (for the lack of a better term) heading further into the deep end of indie rpgs, though. I'd like to see a lot more sales numbers from both sides to get a better gauge of the situation.