Giving Spore: Galactic Adventures a try. Maybe making missions will help with my RPG writing and design skills. Granted, they're two completely different genres, but any source of inspiration/guidance is helpful.
I may be a bit of a masochist, but I love games/parts of games that try to kill you every single moment you play, akin to Tomb of Horrors. Have there been any notable RPG Maker games (Easy mode: CRPGs) with that constant feeling of impending doom?
With my project, I want the player to have access to all the tools they need to get from New Game to Credits as soon as possible; I want the player's progress to only be impeded by the player not knowing how to use the tools the game provides.