So, an idea occurred to while pondering the hero. If the 'hero' in an rpg is basically the adventurer, at least initially, then mayhap the manner and mode of adventure design needs changing.
A long time ago I came up with this idea called Adventure World. Adventure World was basically a setting bereft of theme and what I would refer to as deep content. It was essentially a world whose coherence was based upon satisfying the entertainment needs of the players and not that of a story. Coherence was not much of a concern, rather, like a series of unrelated though highly entertaining action movies, the motion and action were the guiding theme and the story element. It did not make sense in the manner that LotR makes sense, but more in manner that World of Warcraft does not make sense. (A note here. I do realize there are story elements to WoW but the story elements followed the game element, not vice versa.)
So, there was Adventure World. I can't remember what I actually named the place, but it had a name. In any respect, I was thinking of revisiting the concept and starting a city adventure. A 'Thieves World' type setting but with dungeons, dragons and other such craziness.
Anyway, just rethinking some adventure paradigms.
Track from the movie Beowulf! GO SEE/RENT/BUY IT. It is AWESOME!