Anyway, to the changes. I sticking with specific characters rather than the player making their own. As such, I'll be removing the classes and class specialization stuff. This'll remove the complexity of a character design stage as well as the complexity it would put into the items, skill, and magic systems.
I'm also switching the equipment system. Instead of using generic weapons (like longsword, axe, etc) I'm going to use specific weapons (like most console RPGs do.) This is where the design phase extension comes into play; before I could divide weapons into two segments: base weapon and enchantments, so I'd just have to come up with the base weapons and then add enchantments. Now I'm going to have to design specific weapons for each character.
Summons are being switched over as well. Instead of summoning an extra character to fight, they'll work like regular spells. You'll cast the summon, the creature/demon/etc will appear and do their thing and then disappear. This'll simplify the character system as well as the character control system.
The combat system is being changed; I was going to use a combat system like Baldur's Gate, but that makes a lot of things more complex (plotting monsters, a completely different user interface, and active combat are just a few things.) I'll instead, be using a random encounter combat system like most console RPGs. It'll be side-view, row-based (an example would be that you have a front row and a back row. Back row takes less damage, but also deals less damage, so it's optimal for magic users and rangers whereas the front row would be optimal for melee fighters.)
Since the old item system is going, I'm replacing the item crafting system with a relic retrieval type system. You'll gather pieces of relics and then take them to the Forgemaster to have him create the whole item.
I'm adding an abilities system. I myself love innate abilities (like regen and such), but I hate it when a game sticks you with an ability or two and that's all you get (Pokemon for example, but it makes sense to do it for that game. Just an example :P.) You'll start with a certain amount of ability points and then you'll gain more as you level up. I was contemplating adding trainers so that you could gain extra points, but that'd make the game WAY too easy because you could just train until you had enough points to activate all of your abilities.
The skills system will also be modified to reflect the other changes. Instead of the old, separated weapons skills, you'll simply have a weapon skill that upgrades when you use your attack. -edit- Also, it's no longer a "branching" system. The spells are being condensed; there won't be as many summons and there will be fewer skills. Each character will have specific skills that they'll learn at certain levels or acquire from certain people.
So, the tasks that need to be done before I can initiate development are: update the design document that I posted so that the changes are in it and then write the bestiary, items list, magic list, skills list, and abilities list (and by list, I mean filling out all of the information for each item, like the weapons strength and value, the skills mp cost, etc.)
I'm making a new header for the journal; it'll have my status and finish dates up for stuff.