For me not to have an avatar on the battlefield (even when you obviously can make any of brothers as such) is a fine way. It takes away a lot of frustration when he’s die. I’m not a fan of loading games and retrying battles only in few exceptional situations mostly to try some new moves and tactical decisions and the enemy is fit for that in numbers and equip. But even so the avatar could increase the loadings and repeating of same battles more time that would make the things go dull very fast. For me it would ruin the game imo.
But I can see how the non combat avatar could be a very huge success with non combat skills or equipment. Where you could have additional perks for barter reputation better hirelings etc. That could be very nice, especially if it comes together with the non combat personal and reserve that the devs already wanted to implement. These perks could determine (controll) the speed how fast and how many NPC you can have even wall them behind perks. Same goes for the tactikal pre battle fromation, you could make a perk that could increase the area or even move it a bit perhaps change a bit the starting point so you have highgrounds more often. This I find could benefit the game, and would make an avatar, and bring more layers to management, more perks for non combat.
About creating your own mercenary. Yes JA had that but the created ones never felt alive for me. There were no instances where I’d pick a created one instead a premade one with at least a bit of story or “personality”. Cuz let’s be honest there was not much of personalities, just a basic behavior patterns. They did not evolve or change. Fidel was always “leave me alone i’m busy” independent of the progress you made. In BB the sellswords personalities are only in backstory and the background everything else is made up by you, they don’t even speak to you in voice. Long time ago there were discussions about having the ability to construct your first three mates and eqip them with a limited char customization something like one of rimworld mod does. You can search it up if you interested in how it ended I honestly don’t remember.
You can hardly connect this custom character creation in the world. But sure there is a barber so the visuals could be changed np. All is left the stats and backgrounds. To do that you’d need a scouting agency where you could buy or rather place a specific order for one or more stat-background setups and they’d scout them for you if such a candidate would appear anywhere in the world. Or even a training hall where they’d make the exact one you wanted for money and in some time (to train the candidate as you wish).
That might work aswell. It wouldn’t be instanly recruiting and it would cost not only money (maybe a minimal renown requirement) but also time and by time I mean weeks. With the possibility for them to have not only the positive traits but also a chance or even deliberate balancing with negatives. And the stats instead of a fixed amout would be ranges. With all this these special breed warriors would be extra dear to players not only cuz of their attributes but as materializing wishes and it might end in endless reloadings and replayings when these guys die.
A role character does change things both the immersion and your personal relation to the game. About the immortal leader unit. Now that I call BS. Your guys are immortal in the first battle. I can understand that it’s purpose is to show the basics of fighting still it already steps on the games spirit of hireling life expectancy. You simply can not have an immortal unit. Even if it resets and such. You are either the leader of the band and give orders or you are one of the many dead man walking and the ai plays the worldmap. Can’t be all.
It will change the gameplay, it will literally add a free meatshield that can not be killed a constant unit that you can not lose. The worth of current brothers is so high cuz they can perish any moment independent of their lvl or gear. An unkillable unit would throw all away. About loadings you asked, I don’t load even when my most favorite characters die cuz that is also an irreplaceble part of the game when your hero chars die opening the road to success for all others. MB had immortal hero units, and that was a huge BS for me. In the end having a party of almost only named chars with high lvls was simply rolling castles in their way. There was even less need to load since you could personally go up and kill most of the enemies while just getting injured and have all others be immortal too. In JA well that is a bit different there were extra big gaps between characters. And non of them was immortal. Still it was quite hard to lose a good character since he’d had objectevly better everything than the enemy, if positioned well they had no match.
This is what I think could work and wouldn’t. For me it is.