Rampant Games - Choice in Character Development #2
Most importantly, the character development system needs to matter. A fighter should be able to stand toe-to-toe with a monster that would send the party thief running, an archer should be able to make shots that would put even the nimblest fighter to shame, and a cleric should be able to heal more efficiently than even the most skilled paladin. If the player can’t tell the difference between development choices, they become no more important than picking her character portrait.
To inspire thinking and out-of-game interaction, the character development system needs to involve real tradeoffs. If you want players to think about which weapons to specialize in, axes should be stronger but slower than swords. At the same time, the players need to encounter situations where strength matters more than speed or speed matters than strength. Otherwise, players will quickly discover which choice the game favors and focus on that.