OK, well, I just skimmed through all this, didn't see anything like this so here are my suggestions to humanize one's characters.
1. Wasteland is a pure role play game. Provide a place where we can literally type up a background story for our characters, allowing us to edit and add to it as we please just so we keep our thoughts strait.
2. (Using fallout lingo) I believe the addition of character "perks" would be awesome.
These perks would not be randomized, like with stats, but selected by the player (with so many required to be chosen) at the very beginning and then locked, promotions may be implemented for character progression either by slowly pecking away at negative affects of a perk OR by slowly acquiring a new perk.
--Brief, ill thought out example:
-blind: cant see, accuracy with all ranged weapons goes down the toilet and perception decreases, but has great hearing and therefore increased___
-deaf: cant hear, decreased perception, but increased guns capabilities since he can ignore the loud noises
-pacifist: will refuse to attack any human(oid) enemy, but is really good with negotiation.
-extreme pacifist: will refuse to (or is unable to) attack any enemy, but is really good with negotiation and has increased medical and support abilities.
-racist: npc characters another race may leave your party or attack your group (targeting this character specifically), may refuse to give another race medical attention, but this character has increased fighting damage against people.
-camper: increased stats for___ but ___
-body builder: increased strength and can be intimidating (some enemies may flee), but greatly decreased agility.
Point being each of these has a pro and con, creating both interesting strategy and characters with some level of depth beyond the player's imagination
3. Design NPCs to act, in some way, as a "foil" for your own characters. Be it in the way characters in the party react to each others perks, or in some other, similar way.
4. beter NPC interaction period. I often found myself feeling just a tad confused or uninformed in Wasteland. Improved interaction with npcs could help. (e.g. fuller explanations of situations, more information given about an npc, more pacifistic interaction choices like negotiate for the first few rounds in battle.)
5. periodically, forcibly separate characters. Like one fell in a hole or is separated temporarily somehow. Letting the player control a single character for a minute or two may provide opportunity for choices that help develop the player's character. Ending with the group reuniting or the character's death.
SOOOOO..... ya, any thoughts on these ideas? My goal is to somehow enhance a pure rpg experience by this