Mmmh that's a lot of words to digest...
As a customer that starts his relationship with SD here, with elemental, my rational brain would have me asking for a refund. My cash is limited, my time is limited etc,etc...
But I guess I'll just follow my heart once more and wait you seem really serious about this.
I'll just add two cents, that will probably get lost in the thread but...
1) A Crisis can really be turned in an opportunity, our psiche, our world, the whole universe reacts by this principle. You JUST need to think differently (easy said)!
2) A follow up of the above, to turn a crisis into an opportunity you need to evaluate all from a different perspective. Find new ways to develop the game, get some inspiration around the net.
For example, look at what the community in civfanatics made with FFH, the game can suit your tastes or not, but that's a MASSIVE project, carried on by free-time amateurs and a loving community of peers.You have such a community, start thinking about some of them as "peers" (no, not me, I'm just the last one arrived).If you manage to understand how much a gamer that WANTS to play the game is committed, and listen to his/her gut feelings a lot can be accomplished.
When in doubt, go for flexibility. If you leave the room for modders to alter the fundamental of the game, nothing can be wrong. You can still give the game a "Vanilla" feeling that suits your tastes.
Ex, 1dN for combat rolls... Is just wrong. Not only because we have fragile heroes and such, but because of the TACTICAL combat itself.
To quote Sid Meier "A game, at the most basics, is just a serie of Interesting choices". Such math behind the game remove choices, because it makes so hard to evaluate risks vs benefits. This is Randomness. Good for a different (GC) combat system but not for what you want here. You still feel that is the way to go? Allow flexibility and one day someone will be able to make the perfect system out of it...
Well sorry, I wish I could say more, do'nt even know if you'll end reading this particular post, but here's my feeling.
Ride the tidal wave, do not let the water crush you and you'll find you have such a better view from the top.