Your 1E-loving friend can play in your 3E-style game and not have to deal with all the options he or she doesn't want or need. Or vice versa.
As for the questions:
Level (1-20 or 1-30): Does it matter? If you only do 20, you will make a modular expansion to level 30. In fact why stop there? Or are you just trying to figure out where to put the big bad guys?
Powers (4e Mechanic – good/bad): Really you will use them, they are “spells” really. If you mean the AEDU system then they can be good. Again you mention modular – so I am assuming if I say no or yes I will have the option of adding them or leaving them out.
Note on balance - wizards were supposed to be powerful...and weak in the beginning.
Vanciant System (good/bad): See “Powers”. I am assuming the idea of a class that just memorizes the powers they can use for an encounter never crossed your mind. Modular.
Class Rolls (good/bad): Ahhh here is something to answer – Bad. Don’t force us to be the cleric. Some like it some don’t. Characters are part of a group, if a DM wants to have an adventure about 3 young wizards in a magic school, it would be hard using the rules…
Magic Has to be Mechanically (Important/not-important): So you want another polymorph incident on your hands? Both. Charm person should be defined to a small extent yet magic missle should be rather mechanical to a small extent.
Magic items are expected. But magic should be mysterious as well.
Ability Scores (good/bad): All hail the sacred cow of DnD… Even if it is a flavor it will be in the game.
The 14 Sacred Cows of DnD?:
1) The six ability scores—Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma—as the categories for measuring a character’s abilities.
2) Armor Class as the basic representation of a character’s defense.
3) Alignment (Law v. Chaos, Good v. Evil) as a personal ethos and a force in the universe.
4) Attack rolls made using a d20, with higher rolls better than lower ones.
5) Classes as the basic framework for what a character can do.
6) Damage rolls to determine how badly a spell or attack hurts you.
7) Gold pieces as the standard currency for treasure.
8) Hit dice or level as the basic measure of a monster’s power.
9) Hit points as a measure of your ability to absorb punishment, with more powerful characters and creatures gaining more of them.
10) Levels and experience points as a measure of power and a mechanic that lets characters become more powerful over time.
11) Magic items such as +1 swords as a desirable form of treasure.
12) Rolling initiative at the start of a battle to determine who acts first.
13) Saving throws as a mechanic for evading danger.
14) “Fire-and-forget” magic, with spellcasters expending a spell when casting it.
A lot of Classes (good/bad): Um, aren’t you just going to make more classes for more books – we like that.
Are we not going to be able to customize them? Meaning I can just take a kit or I can dive deeper and customize them thus giving an broad ranged of classes? Each new class can be customized! All you need for core is the basic ones right?
A lot of Races (good/bad): Serious? See “A lot of classes”
Ability scores for races (yes/no): 2nd viable question! Depends – some like it some don’t. I am assuming that you will find your spot on the spectrum with this claim of modularity and make it optional. Yes, because I can remove it.
Feats (good/bad): Sigh, modular. We are used to them, you don’t really need them and they could be removed, kept, or changed.
Didn't you cover this here?
Rules will be optional and using them will make the game more difficult
Modular: Feats, martial maneuvers, domains, school specializations... etc..
Hit Points (good/bad): This is a system changing question if you use something else besides hp then your damage rolls are going to change… But alas another sacred cow… My DnD wizard has 4hp – Keep them.
Healing Surges (good/bad): 3rd good question! – Good, it allows a group not to depend on a cleric, but having a cleric is still beneficial. Keep ‘em.
But you mention clerics and character healing here – sounds like you like healing surges.
Defense (AC/DR): 4th awesome question! – Don’t care what ever works for the game. Probably keep both, an AC with a DR ability.
Skill Challenges (good/bad): Um, a series of skill checks whether or not they are on the same turn or a succession of turns is a skill challenge.
What happened to this idea, like Fudge/Fate system.
Skills have to be (important/not important): Um thought you said this was going to be modular? Skills is something that you can make modular.
Skills/(saves) maybe replaced by your abilities... If so then they are not important and can be modular.
Novice - Journyman - Expert - Master - GrandMaster - Impossible
If the task is less than your skill you succeed. If it’s the same, you make it with a 15 or higher. Maybe 1 level lower you need a 20. If more than one level lower you fail…
You have a Strength ability score, an ability modifier, and a training rank. Whenever you make a Strength check, you use the training rank to determine if you need to make a check and, if so, that check’s DC. You then use your modifier to make that check (if necessary)...
Under this system, a skill or an ability contains its own DC. Let’s say I have a 16 Dexterity and expert training in that ability. I need to sneak up on a cleric who has a 14 Wisdom and journeyman training. There’s no opposed check. Instead, the active party, the sneaking guy, makes a journeyman Dexterity check. My expert training wins, meaning that I can sneak up on the cleric.
However, let’s now say that the cleric is suspicious of being followed. He takes a moment to scan the area and make a Wisdom check. That check’s DC is matched against my expert Dexterity. He is one rank below me, so he needs to make a DC 20 Wisdom check to notice me...
Let’s assume that I’m playing a rogue and I’m tracking the cleric in a shadowy ruin. The cleric, suspecting that he’s being followed, casts a light spell down the hallway where I’m lurking before he makes his check. The DM can then drop the DC down one level, to journeyman. The cleric’s target number is now 10. Just as in the system described last week, players (and DMs) are encouraged to engage with the game setting and come up with ways to tilt the odds in their favor.
Normal Chance to Hit (50%/75%): eh – almost a viable question. Because the min-max players will change this to how many 100% hits I get before I roll my first attack – who really cares? I want it fun and to fit the game.
Alignment (mechanical/fluff): Mod-U-Lar.
Save or Die(good/bad): 5 of 18 questions being viable is a poor poll. Only the BFD (Big Freaking Dragons) should have them or similar enemies.
If you read the Legends and Lore blogs then it sounds like you are on the right path? But this leads me to a question.
What kind of feedback do you want from us? All I have been reading here are the same old debats about who was better. Spagettie Sauce! Everyone wants thier own flavor and the mind doesn't know what the tongue wants...
I mean it sounds like you already have a system that a starts off rules light, players can create kit characters or customize them. You can add rule packages to increase customization and difficulty rating of the group (for game balance). Characters will have options to be run in the tactical sense or in the exploration of roleplaying sense. Magic might be a bit more mysterious (not connected to level advancement or fully defined [polymorphism 3.5]). Not to mention you are going to give some rules on modulartiy where I can choose to use or not use: Alignments, Level Caps, Skills, etc...