I've been thinking a lot about roleplaying lately, and had an interesting chat about gaming and GM and player styles last night with an old friend who played in one of my games in college. This afternoon after lunch with F&E I wandered up to Pandemonium and browsed there for a while; nice selection of anthologies in particular (I was pleasantly surprised to see Kelly's Trampoline anthology there, for example). Figured I'd glance over their RPG section, and ended up spending quite a while browsing there. There are a huge number of games out there, and many of them look interesting. I was particularly impressed with the Nobilis gamebook—a $50 or $60 book, but with astonishingly high production values. Oddly sized, glossy paper, nice layout and design, art by people like Charles Vess. I have no idea if the game's any good, but zowie, a very nice-looking book.
I was more impressed on a worldbuilding level, though, with a game called Fading Suns (no relation, as far as I know, to Cherryh's Faded Sun): far future setting with a vast interstellar human empire falling or fallen, and alien artifacts, and heroes arising from among the ashes, and so on; looked like it could be used as a setting for galaxy-spanning pulp adventure, but also looked like it could be a nicely serious epic galactic-scale saga kind of thing. Created by "the original developers" of Vampire and Werewolf.
The gamebook was $35, though, and it used some system they made up (I'd only be using it as a sourcebook, since I have no particular interest in learning new systems at this point), and most importantly, I just plain do not have time to run a game at this point. But it was awfully tempting, especially since I think it would make a great setting for a large-scale game that I've had in the back of my head for half a dozen years now.
In passing, I'd like to note that the thing that annoys me most about the current RPG industry is the way every single game must start with a 3- to 10-page fiction piece set in the world of the game, to introduce it to you. That was innovative when the White Wolf people started doing it, but mostly I find it tedious; as a longtime gamer and GM, what I really want is a five-paragraph precis of the premise of the game, and that can be mighty hard to find in among the fiction.
One last thing on this subject before I run off: last night, I came up with one version of Jed's GMing Philosophy In A Nutshell. It goes something like this: Throw together an interesting enough set of characters, played by people who are really interested in roleplaying, and let the story consist of the player characters' interactions, with the GM tossing in unexpected outside stimuli now and then if things start to lag.