Wondering what you guys think about the idea of allowing players to equip procedurally generated gear in an RPG that have "soft" rather than hard level requirements, with the catch being that if you are below the level requirement unpredictable and potentially calamitous things may happen. For example, lets say a strange alien gun that's listed as requiring level 10, but the game rules allow you to use it at up to 50% of the level-- level 5 in this case-- with some kind of warning (maybe the item shows up as red in your equipment slot). So you could use it at the risk of whatever negative side effects it may have, such as misfire, status effects or whatever, maybe with the chance dependent on how far away you are from the level requirement.
Reason for this? To enhance the setting and add intriguing twists on what is typically a boring progression path with procedural games, namely in that things are generated in a sort of goldilocks "just right" pattern that offers no surprises. Gear levels I think are mandatory to help encourage leveling, but the idea of finding the equivalent of "the Ring of Power" even at level 1 and still being able to use it, albeit with potentially disastrous consequences I think fleshes out the idea that the world is filled with old and potentially powerful / ominous things.