My friend Von (who has a blog called GAME OVER and also writes at the House of Paincakes network) has written what I think is a very exciting role-playing game system. It’s only a few pages long and I think it blows the whole concept wide open and shows us exactly what is necessary in terms of the rules required for role-playing. Turns out the answer is “very little to nothing.”
It’s still in a formative stage, but I urge you to have a look if you’re at all interested in RPGs. It might change the way you look at them. It certainly did for me.