I'll be getting a late start this year due to a travel conflict; probably on Tuesday the 8th.
Because of the short time frame I'm going with some existing game mechanics. A few years back I made a prototype that attempted to adapt Thief (one of my all-time favorite games) to a turn-based game. You can play that version here.
This year's 7DRL goals are to add a random level generator and a narrative. For levels I've been buying books and reading up about Chinese courtyard houses. Here are some layouts I did by hand to try to get a feel for the things I want to generate:
For a plot I'm probably going to crib something from Barry Hughart's Bridge of Birds, so expect supernatural crime. I don't know that I can match his delirious prose style and I know almost nothing about ancient China apart from courtyard houses so it'll probably be a travesty.