In Rogue, Fighter, Mage, (or RFM for short) you control a party of three characters as they descend through the Goblin Caves. I made this roguelike to explore ideas in timing and tactics, and it’s a success. In flavour and theme, it is a traditional RL: there are goblins and vampires, and just like in nethack you can pick up leather armor by pressing comma and put it on by pressing a.
But the mechanics are where I’ve made the multi-character play come alive. During your turn, each of your characters has around 8 action points, which they can use to move around and interact with the world. When you end your turn, any of your characters that are next to monsters will start to fight, and it’s not a given that you will strike first. Getting rid of the bump attack opens up a lot of design space. For example: a character’s initiative, and number of attacks can now be decoupled from their speed of movement. I’ve also played with this new freedom by messing with the spatial properties of items and weapons. If a wolf runs straight towards Fighter, and if Fighter is wielding a spear, then he will get a free attack off on the wolf before combat begins.
The most involved mechanic that I’ve introduced is a priority system for events (such as ranged attacks, traps and spells). Whenever spells are cast or whenever arrows are fired, you gain priority. You can then queue up any number of spells or actions of your own (aside from movement and actions like wielding or wearing). This lets you lay down covering fire, counter spells as they are cast, teleport away from a trap, and so on. Once you’re done with your counter fire, you press ENTER and the events start to resolve in reverse order (so, if your counter fire lands, you’re in the clear).