I liked where I was going with System 4, using definitive verbs to replace skills. In this set up, you say "I run over there", "I drive the car", "I intimidate the thug".
If skills have been replaced by action verbs, then Traits add adjectives to characters.
"I'm prepared, and I craft the device", "Although I'm injured, I tumble out of the way".
Traits might be linked to items, or they might be linked to people. traits can be linked to anything as a way to make it easier or harder to perform actions. But now I'm looking at what those traits are.
Obviously in a game where combat might arise, or where physical stunts might occur, then it's possible to become injured. On the flip side, it might be possible to pumped-up (or some similar phrase) to indicate readiness for physical action/conflict.
In a social game where status is important, a character with benefits in the situation might be respected, while one who is suffering in a situation might be disrespected. Being ignored might be an adjective that could go either way.
When prowling, the hidden character might gain benefits from being careful, stealthy or hidden, while they might suffer penalties from being observed or hunted. Conversely, a person who might be looking for such a character would gain benefits from being observant or aware, but would gain penalties from being fatigued or oblivious.
Someone investigating a situation might gain benefits from being informed, but might suffer problems if they are confused. A specific piece of information, might be useful, blackmailable (against a specific person), or enigmatic (if it isn't fully understood yet). Character might try to add beneficial traits to the information, and remove detrimental ones to make the data more valuable as they approach the climax.
Attached to a weapon might be the beneficial adjectives deadly, fast, sturdy, or impressive (each useful in different contexts), but there might just as easily be the detrimental adjectives cumbersome, slow, fragile or damaged. If a weapon is targeted by an attack (or if the user fails in their action), the damaged trait might activate. If a weapon already has fragile or damaged it is no longer useful at all (and if an item has the sturdy trait, this is removed before damaged is applied to the weapon).
That's already 27 possible traits without even getting into specifics. There could easily be scope for rule bloat here. Hence looking at static and dynamic traits. Static traits are the inherent parts of the game, the specific traits that are referenced in the rules. Dynamic traits are variables that are generated on the fly by a group of players as their story unfolds, there will be information in the rules to explain how to generate dynamic traits, and maybe a couple of examples, but nothing specific. I think I'll need to apply a cap on the static traits...maybe 40 in total. Divide them up into 20 traits that might be applied to characters, 10 traits that might be applied to items and another 10 traits that are applied to wider situations. Then we divide those categories into an even split of beneficial and detrimental traits. These numbers are faily loose at this time.
Remember also that traits can have a single or double level effect. So injured might break down into being minorly injured (level 1), before becoming a majorly injured (level 2)...then leading to removal from the story for a period. There's a lot of versatility here.
But these adjective traits will really define the core game, they explain what sorts of things characters might need to do to gain an advantage in the story, and what sorts of repercussions they might face from their actions.
More to think about.