Oh, and, here's another thing I'd like to see in RPG's: flaws.
In Role Playing Games, you get to portion out your character's various virtues. Strength, dex, intelligence, etc. All the stuff you used to allocate your character in paper-and-dice D&D.
White Wolf's RP game systems also asked you to choose character flaws
. In VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE, you might have been sired while still wounded, so every morning you have to use blood to heal yourself. Or you could be crazy. Or haunted by a memory. The point was you were role playing a character, not just trying to max out stats.
Flaws make the man.
It would be interesting to put flaws into a console RPG. Make the player choose a flaw for his character. For example, your character panics. Faced with combat he might run away. Or run into combat prematurely.
Or, your character literally can't walk past an opportunity to gamble. You'd have to keep him away from gambling houses or he would find himself in a game until he lost his money. If he's within 50 feet of a poker game, he is drawn to it and can't do anything else until he's run out of money, or taken all the money. So he would have to avoid places that have poker games. (And there would of course be a mission in a gambling house.)
A character might have a phobia. He can take on monsters, but runs from animals. Or refuses to hurt animals no matter how dangerous or violent they are. Or goes into a berserk rage whenever he runs across a certain monster class.
Would that be fun to play? I would find it interesting -- it would put me more in the character.
I used to LARP. I wrote a one-night LARP called Camlann Eve
where every player had a taboo, and if they broke it, there were serious consequences. And quite a few of them broke their taboos. (Hint: if you are forbidden to drink blueberry juice, check what the DM pours into your glass at the feast?)
On the other hand, players might just find it annoying, I guess, if they're trying to "beat the game" rather than enjoy it.
I guess you could offer it as an option -- either you must take a flaw if you're playing in hardcore mode; or, if you take a flaw, you get a few extra points in stats.
Would you be interested in a game that made your role-play your character more?
The problem with flaws as you've suggested them here is that they remove player choice. Take the "coward flaw", and the computer decides what happens instead of the player.
On top of that, the best way of dealing with flaws is to avoid triggering them--something that's likewise true of flaws in most RPG systems. Flaws in fiction are interesting because a character either overcomes them, or succeeds in spite of them--not when a character avoids them.
Really, the best option is to use some sort of achievement system to reward objectivly poor behavior. So if the character has the drunkeness flaw, he might earn extra Experience Points for taking on challenges when drunk. If a character has the "animal friend flaw", he might gain XP whenever he avoids harming a dangerous animal.
A great RPG computer game is actually a White Wolf game. Vampire The Masquerade can be played through as a variety of types of vampires and they all have their own flaws which only serve to make the game more entertaining. There's also a possibility of frenzying, if the character loses too much humanity, you lose control and the computer pretty much takes over! Which can work out well, but it can also totally stuff you up, so its another added flaw.
So far as table top rpgs go a really great one is Scion, another White Wolf one, they really do encourage their flaws... And I'm lucky coz I have a GM who loves the pain and encourages us to play full flawed characters.
Flaws, in traditional games, are just more fodder for min/maxing. (i.e., Take a flaw to get that +3 build point and then try really hard to ignore it).
I would say you need to try Fate 3.0 system with Aspects and Compels (e.g., Spirit of the Century, Dreseden Files).
Or better yet try The Shadow of Yesterday (based on the Solar System) with Keys and Secrets.
For a good example try the Free RPG: http://www.onesevendesign.com/ladyblackbird/
Our group runs D&d in 3rd and 4th edition flavors. All the characters take on some flaw. Being perfect is boring. We had one character who could not stand being lied to. Unfortunately for the group he might not realize he wasn't being lied to. As soon as he detected what he thought was a lie (pure role playing, no dice rolling) he would go into a frenzy trying to hurt/maim/kill the person who lied. This is just one example, but it kept the party, and me the DM, on my toes. The role playing is usually the best part of playing. Combat is fun for a small bit, but the role playing, that's where the cheese is.
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