My first problem is equipment. With regards to weapons and shields Petey covers this nicely, however it appears to me that equipping armour, boots, gloves etc. I will be expected to change the material on the character model. I would like to have separate meshes for my equipment, for different shapes/looks mainly, but this will influence other aspects of my game slightly.
There are three proven ways to do this.
First: Each armor set is its own mesh and the only other changing items are Hats,Weapons and accessories that can be parented.
The head is also a loose object, Mount and blade is example of a game made like this.
Second: You have a base mesh and armor is parented over the mesh, this is quick and easy to use, but uses more resources.
Third: You model each part on it's own -e.g. gloves, chain mail, pant, boots- then merge the meshes into one complete piece.
This is the most common method and often the best.
It has been a while since I used Unity but I think you use the Mesh.CombineMeshes function for this.