I know I still have to do Part Two of the race-and-chase stuff, but I have some other things I'm getting ready to write about, too. And I realized that I need to post the background info needed for these "other things", so that they make sense. Basically, it's a simple version of my current thoughts on levels and hit points.
I've covered the topic before, but I've mostly covered the luck interpretation of hit points, although that's not quite the way I see it now. The hit point roll indicates your luck, but a hit point itself represents tiny things, not skills, exactly, but little instinctive actions a character can do to transform a killing blow into one that only wounds. The swordsman thrusts with his blade, right at your heart, but you twist aside at the last moment and it pierces your shoulder... that kind of thing. It's based on the idea of the attack roll as a roll to see if one of many swings, thrusts and slashes in a one-minute round is actually a killing blow.
What "level" represents specifically is your social status or reputation. When you return from an adventure, the tales you tell in the tavern, and the treasure you start flashing around, changes the way people see you, makes them think of you as more of a bad-ass. The confidence they have in you increases your confidence, which is why your hit dice increase with each level. Heroic status is weighted in favor of fighting monsters, which is why fighters have the best hit dice progression, clerics the second best, and magic-users and thieves come in third; M-Us and thieves have more confidence in learning than public opinion, so they basically trade half their hit dice for improved learned abilities.
But how does this viewpoint affect learned abilities, like spells or skills? That's the topic I want to think about more.