I have said before, but Dwimmerdelve is based a lot on the Mystery Dungeon series of Japanese roguelikes or other games in the same style. While I do plan to do my own little twists on the formula, I want to implement as many features from the series as I can. I think at this point most of the basic stuff has already been done, but I still have a ways to go. Anyway, a common feature of the series is to have a little puzzle/tutorial mode with hand designed puzzle maps, and special dungeons that the player basically need to complete from a fresh character (if the whole game isn't that way already). Both require the ability to "reset" the character. Now originally I had the game do this anyway after every death anyway except for any items the player kept in storage, which is the way Shiren the Wanderer handles things. But I decided that although all your carried items should still be lost and all the player's progress toward your next level, it was better to allow the player to keep their current level and skills and make level 1 challenge modes/dungeons for those who want a more classic hardcore experience.
So I needed to think about how best to let the player keep their progress mostly safe even if their character is reset. I found it the easiest (for now anyway) to just have a second actor who more or less is an identical copy of the first who's status can be discarded and reset at the start of a run. I did come up with a kind of neat idea for how that would work in lore actually. I decided to make puzzles and such take place in a special dream world under my control, hence why the player can't bring anything and the player's character reverts to their 'natural' state. It's not really their body, but a 'dream pawn'. As a bonus it also gave me a more direct way to play with the player! After all, I abducted them to play, but I mostly ended up standing around in my house in game not doing much. Not anymore! Now I can play in their dreams! Even added a little cutscene that shows me casting a sleepy spell on them, and they wake up in bed after.
That also gave me idea of calling the special level 1 dungeons "Nightmare Dungeons". I haven't made any yet, though I have a bunch of old bonus dungeon maps I made ages ago before I really started working on my game properly that might make some good ones. One of them was eventually changed into a normal dungeon, but some of them are a bit too weird to really fit in anywhere. Such as one being a sort of half lava cave half swamp and another being a sort of bathhouse with elevated walkways. Not sure if I should go with my original idea for them though. The way I designed them originally was they were all parts of one big dungeon, and one of the dungeon maps was a kind of 'hub' map with like 5 different exit teleporter places of different colors, each which would take you to a different map next floor, which would have an exit back to the hub. Each map had a completely different look and feel, but one thing they all shared was wrapping borders which could be disorienting unless you were looking at the minimap (wonder if I could make the minimap kinda scroll centered around the player and wrap around too, but eh, maybe later).
Anyway, still have lots to do before i quite have everything working the way I want it too, but the basic idea seems to work pretty well!