It may appear clear to you, but I think we're missing the key part to your argument here
The part of my argument that's important is that the player's resources (gold, units - in this case) were limited just enough such that the player actually gives a damn and tries to mitigate as much damage as possible, but said resources aren't limited to the point where the game is no longer fun. If I told you "rofl, you can't beat my game, it's too hard" and you beat it, you'd feel a sense of accomplishment as the player. In this game's case, the player is gently told "ha - if you don't play well, you're going to lose, not now, but 2 hours from now when you run out of resources" so when the player DOES play well, and they end up beating the game (or a boss, or achieving something in the game) they feel that sense of accomplishment. Yes, this doesn't directly correlate to jRPGs or other RPGs, but I just thought that their system was very well done, and that it would be a half decent example for this discussion.
As for actual RPGs, the way I see it, there's a few issues with attrition and the nature of RPGs. Here are some scenarios, issues, and possible solutions:
1. Character health/mana does not regenerate outside of combat -> if the player runs out of consumables, this means a lengthy trip back to town. If the player doesn't have enough money, they're forced to grind lower level areas until they have enough money or until they get stronger (common player response for a RPG - definitely a boring one, and I don't think this should ever happen). Possible solutions:
A. Monsters drop health/mana/restoration orbs when killed (very popular in action RPGs). Not enough to heal you to full every time, but enough so you can keep going.
B. Random spawns of restorative consumables on the ground (where you can pick them up and save them for later, or they automatically heal you). This encourages the player to explore, rather than waste their time grinding lower level mobs or going back to town for more items. (Hell, this actually reminds me of Halo, where your shields regenerate, but your health doesn't - the only way to restore your health is to keep exploring and hope you find a health pack).
C. When you're victorious in a battle, you receive a number of consumables that could be a percentage of how many you used. (Say, used 12 potions for a really hard fight, the player would receive 5-6 back in order to keep them exploring/fighting/biting off more than they can chew - but they wouldn't receive enough consumables such that they can spam heal themselves with items all day long)
2. Character health/mana regenerates to full outside of combat -> the problem with this when I see it implemented in some (keyword: "some.") RPGs is that this puts even more of a requirement on consumables than if your health/mana hadn't regenerated outside of combat. By starting every battle at full health and mana (basically, maximum strength or close to it), I guarantee you, 9 times out of 10, combat will be balanced such that it is much more difficult, and then you have the same issues as above, where you'll have to run back to town get more consumables, or whatnot.
Well, how the hell can you design a good system? Easy, by studying others'. I think BioWare did one hell of a job on Mass Effect 3. Basically, enemy strength is based off of your level, so there really isn't anything that is ridiculously hard because you're under leveled, or ridiculously easy because you're extremely strong. Enemies that are hard will be difficult regardless of level, enemies that are easy will be easy regardless of level.
In regards to attrition, you have an easy way to heal yourself and your squad mates if they die (Medi Gel). So how did BioWare limit the player's resources like the above game I referenced? Well, Medi Gel isn't the easiest thing to come by during a mission, and you can have a maximum of 5 (I think? it's been a while), so it's not like you can use them like candy. But here's the kicker, even if you run out of Medi Gel, you aren't done for. You still have your shields, and you can revive your squad mates if they die without Medi Gel (it just requires you being right beside them, reviving them).
That's another example, I hope I made it clearer than I did previously. I realize these aren't strict RPGs but hopefully someone can apply these ideas to RPG design and come up with some solutions that are better than the ones I listed above (because my solutions definitely aren't perfect).