I am a huge fan of the Genesys Dice Pool System (got to know it through Star Wars), it's easy to pick up and very narrative. It's supports the story telling part and I've made tons of good experiences with it even when playing with TRPG firsties.
The last year and a half my group and me were playing the 5th Edition of Legend of the Five Rings, which uses a different system: The rings do not symbolize characteristics and concepts like brawn or strength but approaches of how to solve your problems, for example the Air Ring means you do something in an elegant, precise and cunning manner. You can combine every skill with every ring, so if you are looking for some knowledge and you describe that you try to remember something, you roll the test by using your Earth Ring. When you say, you want to analyze the problem, you use the air ring. Same goes for combat: when you want to fight defensively, you use your Earth Ring, when you plan to feint, you use the air ring and when you attack violently and full of passion, you use the fire ring.
What I like especially about this system is again the fact, that it supports narrative play.
So a friend of mine and me sat down and came up with basic concepts we'd like to use instead of the typical characteristics. The skills would lose their tie to certain characteristic and every skill can be combined with every approach. We came up with these five (however, we can imagine using more, it's just a try to adapt the five rings to more general concepts). It's important that we tried to find words that immediately give you a feeling for what you are about to do, so even when the word is not diretly applicable to every situation, it gives a certain feel for the approach.
Intuition: You tend to listen to your gut feeling and try to listen t o your heart when doing things.
Passion: You give everything and maybe a bit reckless. However, you surely are creative when doing things.
Finesse: You do what you want in an elegant, precise and cunning manner
Flexibility: You are quick to adapt to given circumstances, showing some sort of mental and physical manouverability
Stability: You keep your calm and serenity, act thoroughly and without unnecessary haste. (to be honest, stability is the word that's hardest to describe for me, we settled on the German word "Ruhe", which may be most directly translated to "calmness")
Maybe there are some more concepts we could think about, but I want to keep it short and simple.
So let's take a skill like streetwise (which is currently tied to Cunning). Let's imagine our group is on the run and tries to hide in the buzzing humdrum of the little alleyways and the streets of this city. You can see the towering guards, searching for our group. Our player describes:
I try too use the crowd and blend in, I am nimble enough to blend in the crowd - Here, I'd ask the player to do a check based on Flexibility and Streetwise
I look around, find some old rags. I put them on, so they won't recognize me - Here, I'd ask the player to use Finesse.
I make a run for it. They won't be able to follow me! - Passion, clearly 🙂
I surely do remember some better way to get out of here, don't I? - This would be stability
Okay, let's go with the flow. Something will turn up eventually. This would be intuition.
So far whe hadn't had the feeling that there is something missing.
So now for my quesions: Which rules have to be adapted? It's been a while for me to have played the game but so far I came up with the following points:
Health and Strain are modified by the characteristics, aren't they?
Melee weapon damage is modified by brawn
Anything I am missing, because these three elements could be solved easily 🙂