To begin, I’m not sure there can be a truly universal RPG system that can, or will, fit each and every RPG possible. Every genre, sub-genre, and even playstyle within each (sub)genre is going to have its own flavour. For example, for a campaign set in a post-apocalyptic Australia, the tone, focus, and involvement is going to be vastly different if playing in the way of Tank Girl (silly hijinks) versus playing in the way of Mad Max (amped up action/adventure) versus playing in the way of Twilight 2000 or Wasteland (gritty, minutia, perilous). The rules of the system used for those campaigns needs to be designed to fit and support their unique flavour and to thereby draw out the specific feel of the (sub)genre. Between each type of campaign there are going to be differences.
That said, I do believe there’s still plenty of space for a core framework that can form the foundation for these different campaign types, using customization and specific sub-systems to appropriately mold the system to fit the (sub)genre and feel of both the world and the playstyle. Thus, creating more of a universal “toolkit” rather than a single universal “system.”
Unfortunately, what follows is not – yet – a complete toolkit. While the beginnings are here, more work is needed before it completely comes to fruition. However, the core resolution framework that underpins this toolkit is solid and ready to be released. And so consider this document a concept paper that describes and details a core resolution framework (the engine) that can power and propel a variety of games, offering benefits and advantages that can be leveraged to full effect in support of the features, facets, and feel of the campaign being played and, most importantly, the characters and stories being told therein.
I am excited for the possibilities Aurora offers to all manner of campaigns and I’ve already got several in mind to develop for my gaming group. In time I will share their development, using them as examples of how to add to this core engine to create a complete and full-fledged game system.