Was doing a little research into rpg design etc and decided to make a check list of do and don't factors. They are in no particular order as its all about what i find as i trawl the net.
- try to stay away from any mechanic that requires referencing a big important chart
- design the mechanic around the game
- Define your game in the text by what it IS and DOES, not by what it ISN'T and what it AVOIDS.
- Don't leave major setting elements for later. If it's important to the game, put it in the guide
- include a sample character
- include at least one intro adventure
- Don't describe something in the flavour text that cannot be duplicated according to the rules
- test the system rules for loopholes and potential abuse of rules
- Don't use terms before they've been defined. Don't introduce too much jargon at once.
- avoid tired old cliche's that have been done a zillion times before, unless you are intending to use them for satirical reasons.
- logical order and not scattered to the four winds
Make sure that the reader has a solid idea of:
1) What the game's about
2) What the characters are like
3) What the archetypical example of the game is
there - i think that's enough food for though. of course, those things were aimed mostly at dice and point type RPG, but i think they can apply as a good guide for fic based rpg which is what VR is :)