So this is less "I need help" and more "here are a few ideas" and a little bit of a journal for me. If you have comments, please add them.
I am setting up a one shot for some buddies that have mostly just played D&D. I want to play more of a story game with them, but I also want to flex a little bit of game design muscle. I have as much time as I need to set this up. When I get it done, we will play.
So I am starting from the premise that I need something that has all the color of D&D. That is what they like. I also want there to be a really good conflict, and a lot of drama. My favorite indie games have been the darlings of most people here. DitV, Fate, PDQ, Mouseguard, and TSOY. Played only a few games of some of them, and only one game of TSOY and DitV.
I want to put in the intra-party conflicts of DitV. I want to reward mechanics of Fate and TSOY. I want to emulate Lady Blackbird, which I have yet to play but it looks awesome, both in format and in general length. I also don't want to just copy LB. I will rip it off shamelessly, but not a straight conversion. I will also steal most of the plot from a free con module for 4e that I found online.
So to start, here is my conflict.
An Undead/Demon Army is attacking the City
There is class tension between the Upper City and the Lower City
Guardsman Male, young, idealistic, brother to Gang Recruit, duty bound to City and Gang Recruit, lost parents, from Lower City, warrior
Guard Officer Female, noble, high potential, duty bound to City, paladin
Guard Mage Male, middle class, "Hidden love for Guard Officer", wizard
Gang Leader, Male, freedom fighter, "Robin Hood", lost family, sorcerer
Gang Enforcer, Female, foreigner, intimidating, big softie, brute, "Big, Buxom, Bold."
Gang Recruit, Female, "I can do it myself", resents her "sellout" brother, "Easy to look at, except when she doesn't want to be seen.", naturally skilled, thief
I'll add more as I go along.