So! Here are some things:
I have Nobilis 3rd edition! I like it, but my offer to run it for the locals was met with an echoing silence. Boo. My primary impression is that the parts that are based off Nobilis 2nd edition are clear, effective, and well-explained, while the parts that are new (Treasure, Projects) are the familiar impenetrable prose. It’s beautiful prose, no mistake, but it doesn’t explain anything.
And there’s a lifepath system for generating Nobles, which I initially rolled my eyes at but turns out to be awesome.
The art is exactly as bad as you have heard. Worse, possibly. That doesn’t matter, though, because the game is boss.
I have Everway! It’s the RPG WotC made before D&D 3.0 – a freeform storytelling game of fantasy superheroes that takes its inspiration from Planescape and classic mythology. Bearing in mind this game is from 1995 and it tanked on release I’m impressed at the ideas I can see germinating in there: point-based diceless stats, which you can also see in Nobilis; a move away from combat as the be-all and end-all; occasional spelling-out of the idea that player choices should drive the game and that all characters have a capital-M Motivation (both seen in Burning Wheel, among other places)… it says on the box “a visionary roleplaying game” and it really was.
Oh, and the primary* resolution system is something like a custom-drawn tarot deck of 35 cards. Flip the card, interpret it, move on. Clever! And very attractive. Heavily dependent on GM interpretation, though – giving the players explicit control over the outcome of their actions was still about ten years away at the time of this game’s writing – but I think, with a good GM, an interesting and flexible system.
*Well, not really primary. But it’s the one that stands out, and this isn’t a real review.
I’m playing Mage: the Awakening. If you want to read along with my exploits, I’ve started an actual play thread on RPGnet here.
Fatescape is coming along – I haven’t quite finished the magic section (the psionic stunts are missing) but it’s getting there. Now I just need to hack away at Equipment some more and it should be ready for another test run.