Party Members two of my fav rpgs are Dragon Quest 3 and Final Fantasy 3(6) - and one of the major contributors to WHY i like these games is the fact you get to customize and choose your parties. We're gonna take that and go a giant leap forward - basically i envision a ton of recruitable characters, but not all are created equal and they aren't balanced with one another - you pick the ones you personally like for reasons of your own. If i was going to describe this, i would say building your party would be more like a sports game than any previous RPG. The main character is the HERO. you find party members that support and fit in your style of play and that work in harmony w/ the main character. If you're a mage, maybe you need a warrior to be a tank for you, or if you're a warrior, you might need a mage who can work as a support unit, or maybe you're a pure swordsman and just want a group of swordsmen at your side, its up to the player! But wait, there's more! not all potential party members are created equal. just like in real life, they will vary in strength's, weaknesses, etc. so it is up to the player to decide who they want to join in depending on their needs at the time and overall wants for the game. Another major factor in recruiting and party building is POTENTIAL. Yes, there is a potential system which i think will enrich the game and add a layer of depth that will increase the fun. Basically when you meet someone, not only will you (perhaps based on PERCEPTION/CHARISMA stats) see a "ball-park" figure of about how strong, smart, fast they are... you will also see if they have potential to grow into GREAT warriors/mages/thieves/adventurers/whatever. Now the double edge of potential is that it doesn't always come to fruition so there is a risk-reward factor in weighing your options in recruiting. Lets say you are going to fight a boss and you need an extra warrior along to help out - do you pick the good swordsman who is older maybe and doesnt have much potential to get better? or do you recruit the young inexperienced guy who might not be as good right away but has the potential to develop into an awesome swordsman? THe player will decide these things... Also, you have to think, magicians are rare so if you meet one, even if he sucks, do you snag him? I really like the depth these choices give as well as the range of experience and replayability it allows for players. BUT BUT BUT... how many do we get? well i was thinking in combat you get 3 party members but maybe you can keep 6 overall and swap them out depending on YOUR needs, injuries, deaths, etc. with instant healing not being a huge part of the game, balancing the health of your characters will add another wrinkle into the strategy of combat, etc. The guys not in the combat group would still gain EXP so maybe you could stash one of your high potential guys there while he grows. Also, re: potential, just because someone seems like they might have GREAT potential doesnt mean it will necessarily develop, its just a CHANCE to become much better. Maybe in the second half of the game you get a castle like suikoden where you can store an army and swap the 6 you take with you in and out whenever you're there.