Yeah, that is fairly... depressing, I suppose is the word. Question, though: are you the same t3knomanser who posted about a Numbers D&D character sheet on David Weiss's blog? If so, that is exceedingly awesome, and can I have a copy? I should probably make my own copy, but I don't know much about spreadsheets, and I'd like to use your copy to learn from (and of course just use), if that would be okay with you.
Really? I haven't looked into it that much, but the guys I play with were pretty excited about it.
Personally? D20, in all its incarnations has some serious flaws. It's ancestor wasn't much better. My objections are these: 1) Levels - these are unnatural and unrealistic. They artificially balance/unbalance a character in ways that are finely tuned to a primary usage of a character type- min/maxing with style. 2) Hit Points - Tracking the health of a character is an important, and complex task. D20 oversimplifies this to the extreme. There's no degradation of performance as a character is injured. This is a common approach, but a bad one. 3) Alignment - C'mon, seriously. This is like picking out your character's zodiac sign for all the practical meaning it has. 4) Classes - like levels, these are bullshit. They create this false relationship between career and ability. 5) Unbalanced random-number generation - using a single D20 might be simple but it's got some disadvantages. It has an equal chance of rolling any number in range. When used for a skill check, that doesn't really flow naturally. No matter your level of skill, you tend towards an average. Multiple dice portray that more naturally- 2d6 has an average of 7- 7 comes up more than anything else. By balancing number of dice, die size, and modifier scaling (skill ranks), and difficulty numbers, we can weight the RNG to behave in a predictable and realistic fashion.
Basically, D20 emphasizes the game part of Role Playing Game. I'm more interested in the Role Playing part, and so I don't like D20. Of course, it all depends on the GM- a good GM can make a good game no matter what system is in use.
I'm a big fan of PDQ (Prose Descriptive Qualities) which is a quick-playing system that is used for a variety of environments. It's kinda like GURPS, but not insanely complex. PDQ abandons attributes and skills in favor of "qualities", which are just general pieces of information about your character. They're interpretive and have a "penumbra", for example, having the quality "cop" means you know how to use a sidearm and know your way around the law. The exact details of what that entails is up to the GM and player to negotiate. "Hit Points" are handled by degrading qualities (if our cop falls from a rooftop, he can place the damage in any quality, reducing its effectiveness- this can have storyline impacts later. For example, if he reduces his "cop" quality from "good" to "average", he can say that the next day at work, he was limping from his sprained ankle and was less effective).
Rules-lawyers don't do well in that sort of a system, because the rules are open to interpretation. Hack-n-slashers hate it. But I find that it gets out of the way of the RP part of RPGs.