Ok, I don't know if I'm going to be of any help, but after reading the wiki, here it goes...
perma-death is great, I think it's the best option. but hey, people just don't like to lose all the time they had to develop the characters. so you can mix things up.
I always wanted to make a system like this one: If you die, you lose your character. But wait! You don't lose the entire character, you have two options now (actually three). The first: you can create a new pure character, as if you're starting the game again. The second: you can create a new character, but it will REMAIN 80% of all skills it had, and, of course, it will have the same class (fighter/mage/whatever) (and also the option to stop playing the game, that makes three
Stats: why not adding HP and MP there? this will give more options to develop your character. You can make a wizard that has FULL HP and less MP, so he could resist more but use less spells. And why not making a FULL MP fighter? it could use more of his "fighter spells" than being invencible.
Classes: you planning to make fighters decide either they want to use swords or bows, right? if not, archer please.
Monsters: just a tought, in all games I've played, only a few gave me the option to fight... other people. wait, not real people, but npc.
why not a... Bandit, or a Pirate? It's cool to kill humans (
I really wanted to know more of game programming to help you with the code thing, but, unfortunately, the only thing I can help you now is with ideas. I don't know if everything I said will ever help you, but if you need more ideas, you can count on me haha.