The whole "nothing happens thread" spurred me to recall a little mechanical bit from an old game. Not everything in the game was awesome, but this thing was.
Gorkamorka is a miniatures skirmish game, in the 40K universe, with Orks. Basically, you create a gang, with trucks and motorcycles and really big guns, and you want to kick the crap out of the other guy. You can play it as a campaign, with a downtime system.
Got that? Okay, the cool bit:
In downtime, you could send characters to the doctor. Usually wounded ones. And the doctor would mess around with them, randomly; the doctor was a series of tables, with "you pick" as a fairly common but not universal option. You might send someone in for a leg wound, and have them return with a cybernetic jaw. And yes, I'm aware how dumb that might sound, at first read.
But something always happened, and it was always something cool. The people I played with locally at the time would send as many of their guys as they could out to the doctor, and basically gamble with them, to see what cool thing happened next. This was often a very bad tactical choice, but it was hilarious and crazy and fun. Really heavily tactical players would have just one guy they'd send out, and name him "Guinea Pig" or something like that; if he sucked, kill him off; if he rocks, he can stay home and the gang can name a new test subject.
I'm not sure what the takeaway design lesson is from that. I'm sure there is one, just not what it is.