Nethack was a roguelike. Is that what you're going for?
A story never hurts... but with a roguelike... no... story is not particularly important. Though a good story can make the game significantly more gripping.
|Random dungeons or fixed maps or a mixture? |
Random random random. Anything that needs to be "explored" should be random. A roguelike with fixed maps is a lame roguelike. Many roguelikes I've played have the overworld fixed.. but even that I don't like.
A lot of really good ideas for roguelikes are in Elona... particularly how it handled skills and experience. Though the game itself is pretty repetitive and boring. I'm sure it took a lot of its ideas from elsewhere, too (*cough*ADOM*cough*). Elona and ADOM are worth checking out if you're interested in making a similar game.
Shiren the Wanderer (SNES, Japan only, but a translation is available if you play on an emulator) had an interesting idea with "pots" that you could put items in. The pots needed to be identified like potions/scrolls/etc... and different pots did different things. In particular:
- ID pots identified items you put inside
- Transformation pots turned the item into a different random item
- Bottomless pot made the item disappear
- Weakening pot made the item weaker the longer it was inside
- Strengthening pot did the opposite
- Fusion pot "fused" two different items. (see below)
- Dividing pot duplicated the item you put inside (which actually was kind of game-breaking)
- etc etc
The gimmick was you could only put so many items in a pot... and you couldn't take items out (at least not without a "withdraw scroll")... you had to throw (and destroy) the pot to get your items back.
The "Fusion" idea was actually really neat.... weapons and armor in that game had special attributes. Like there was a sword that did extra damage to monsters with one eye... and another weapon that did extra damage to undead. If you stick them both in the fusion pot, you'd get a single weapon that did both.