(D&D 5th Edition)
The Elemental Plane of Earth / Stonecroft / Bleak Falls. (I really need to commit to a name.) This is the 5th Edition campaign I've been brewing on-and-off for the last three months. It's heavily influenced by Darkest Dungeon, Mimir.net's lovely rundown of the Plane of Salt, my time spent living in the American Southwest, and my experience thus far with oD&D.
The gist is this: The players arrive at a remote village having heard tales of fabulous wealth in a dangerous nearby cave. They quickly learn that the cave opens into the Elemental Plane of Earth. The people of the village have been trying to keep this cave a secret, building a boom-town inside a gargantuan cavern and trading gems with foreign powers so they can avoid paying taxes to the crown. (In this remote village, it's a universally held belief that if the government found out about the gemstone caverns, they'd exploit it and tell the people to go back to dirt-farming. They're not wrong.)
Mechanically speaking, it's as pure a sandbox as anything I can conceive. The deeper you go into the cave, the more reward / danger you'll face. The heroes will likely have all the gems they could ever want, but they'll have to be clever if they want to trade them for other stuff without setting off alarms. And an evil character could always threaten to go to the King and spill the beans. Plenty of potential drama here.
Prep wise, this game requires three maps: One of the village/boom-town (it starts out poor, but the heroes can add things like ramparts or cathedrals, or hire alchemists to make a moat of acid), one of the caves (leaving room for random dungeons), and one of the countryside (populated with random encounters and bandit camps).
I've written most of the basics, but I want it to 'gel' before I share it.
(Swords & Wizardry)
Unnamed Planetcrawl. I want to run an old-school game in the worst way, and this is the feel I want for it:
This game is still in its infancy. I'm going to keep writing up planets until something coalesces. Posts like Azerat, Uralar, and Metum are all contributing to this goal.
This game looks like minimum prep for maximum fun. A collaborative sandbox wherein neither the players nor the DM really know what's going to happen until the session is well underway. Postnuke isn't really in my wheelhouse, but recall my earlier statement about not narrowing horizons. I think this would make for a solid weeknight game, when there's little prep time and there's only about three hours of energy left in the tank. I'll review it if it ever happens.
Ok, so it's Pathfinder. You got me. I've played through the first level as a PC and recall loving it. With a month to prep and a dedicated party who utterly loves dungeon-crawl, it's a really neat campaign I'd be happy to run. That said, I'm about to wrap up a campaign that's literally just a series of dungeon-crawls, so it's not next in the queue.
So yeah, two highly creative projects and two less creative ones, all of which results in polyhedral dice and inside jokes. The future is bright.
As an addenda to this, I figured I'd list the games I'm playing in currently.
Caldera of Tul'dah. A D&D 5th Edition homebrew campaign setting. It's an upbeat epic fantasy romp full of dead gods, secret societies, angry pirates, drug trafficking, sentient weapons and elaborate dick jokes. The setting is what I'd imagine a pirate-themed Magic: The Gathering expansion would look like. I play Luish, a gnome Sorcerer who accidentally became a very successful cult leader. We play most Fridays.
Yoon-Suin. An oD&D campaign wherein our DM mashes up the aforementioned Yoon-Suin with his vast collection of retro-modules (Deep Carbon Observatory, Keep on the Borderlands, Tower of the Stargazer, etc). I play Sigilis, a human Magic-User who recently quit his job and got a face tattoo. This is my first real foray into oD&D and I am loving it. We play twice a month.
And an honorable mention to those games on hiatus:
Rise of the Runelords. The classic Pathfinder Adventure Path. We've completed the first 1/6, but again, conflicting work and leisure schedules conspire to doom Magnimar to Thassalonian oppression. I play Angelica, a ditzy aasimar Cleric of Urgathoa with rockin' Charisma and dump-stat Intelligence. I adore her.
I was also flirting a bit with Shadowrun, but, well, c'est la vei. Plus that game is super complex and ludicrously unintuitive, so it's not very high on my list.