Day 12: Which RPG has the most inspiring interior art?
During the early 90s and 00s, there was no game designer who constantly managed to be on the cutting edge of gaming ideas more than Michael Pondsmith. He pioneered several role playing game genres. His Cyberpunk role playing game captured the cool and gritty scifi genre of the same name with a game that managed to capture the feel of the genre in a way that made it accessible and fun even as it retained the realism of the inspirational media. His Mekton games and Teenagers from Outerspace brought Gundam, Ranma 1/2, and Tenchi Muyo! inspired gaming to tabletops. The Dream Park role playing game is underrated, but for my money, the best and most inspirational is Castle Falkenstein.
Quite simply, Castle Falkenstein changed the way I thought about gaming. It had a strong focus on storytelling and used CARDS...PLAYING CARDS as its game system. It wasn't the first rpg to do so, but it was the first rpg in my experience to do so. And it had style. The book was beautiful and evocative and captured the genre so perfectly. It wasn't just a Steampunk game, it was a Steampunk game that felt "of its era." It was Prisoner of Zenda meets Jules Verne meets The Wild Wild West meets Sherlock Holmes meets Spenser's Fairie Queene.
And the art perfectly captured that feeling and has inspired almost all of my subsequent gaming experiences. Whether I'm running a Superhero game or a Fantasy game, I've always got a little Castle Falkenstein inspired spice in the mix.