Keep in mind two major things before I begin. The first is; my bias opinions are so amazingly bias, you'll be amazed. I have favorites like everyone else, so please forgive me when I forget to touch on the most important topic of a specific game. I'm only human. Unless you hand me a character sheet of anything besides Hunter, then I am human...ish. The second thing is that I'm not going to be getting to all of the games. Dear gods, White Wolf has more options that sticks under the sun, and they aren't the only game producers out there. Again, I'm sorry if I don't hit on your personal favorite, but I'd love to hear about new games to force my roommates to play in. (Insert Evil Laugh Here)
First on my list, probably because I've been in so many campaigns lately, is Scion. Oh mother of pearl, this one is fun. As the child of a god and a mortal. Now the fun part starts right from there- wanted or unwanted, mommies and daddies in whatever order, loved, hated, noticed or accidental, everything else is now up to you. Sure; you start out as a newbie with above average qualities, and you often have to think around all your fights and problems. But the beauty of Scion is the amount of lee-way every ability gives you. You would think with a set list of deities and moves the lists of possibilities would leave something to be desired, but with god powers, it seems that the imagination you use when activating these powers is what changes each encounter.
While this could be said of just about any game, only in the most boring games will you find your stereotypical “ranger elf orphaned at young age by orcs, seeking to avenge family with longbow heirloom” situation. In fact, creativity is so encouraged, extra dice are given for making actions interesting and well thought out. ANYWHERE.
Plus, who DOESN'T want to see the son of Aphrodite get the shit kicked out of him by the daughter of Odin, or even Izanami?
Second is Mage/Werewolf/Vampire the Masquerade. I place these together purely to save space, because While Wolf made them all, and they can in some ways but combined (or at least in know some talented Gms who can). They are all kinda simple- Mage is a game about bending the rules of reality without getting the consequences of it, but it's fun, exciting, and often humorous when things go wrong.
Werewolf is about werewolves and the dynamic struggle of the pack to balance nature, the spirit world, and the human's world. Vampire is about the vamporic struggle to do what they want, keep the human population alive, and not be killed or caught. They rely more on a fantastic GM to weave a plot so vivid the people's character end up growing as a side effect.
The last one I poke is DnD 3rd edition.
I LOVE a good old game of DnD with a GM who's invented a world to play in. I had a GM once who invented who societies of people, complete with stats, leaders, social customs, area maps, quirks, basic foods that would be common, housing styles, and physical appearances. He created something never before seen by the players, so we all had to work as we played. It was the most fun I'd had in a while. In that circumstance no player can be dull, to survive their characters must grow too.
I'm still not sure what to do with 4th ed. yet. My brother has the theory that you have to play it as a whole different game, and I guess I agree...
And so I feel that the imagination is the trump card of the P&P world. Starving for creativity is the worst thing for any game to be, but here it matters most because of how much can be offered and how many limits can be removed at the wave of a hand. And don't forget the best thing- anything can be turned into a P&P game with some effort. The same DnD GM was building a Bleach game, although personally that's above my ability.
Signing out (and signing into WOW...)