Here's how I voted on Pen & Paper's Fan Awards.
Best New RPG: NobilisHogshead Publishing.
Pretty, thinky, and well-written. It was published by my friend James Wallis. It's merely a coincidence that he's my friend and I voted for a game of his.
Best RPG Supplement: NyambeAtlas Games.
An African-themed d20 campaign. This one's published by my friends John Nephew and Michelle Brown. Just a coincidence.
Best RPG Adventure: Dire SpiritsAtlas Games.
An adventure for Nyambe, written so that you don't have to have read (or even own) the campaign sourcebook to run, play, and enjoy the adventure. John and Michelle again. Coincidence.
Hall of Fame, Best RPG: RuneQuestChaosium, Avalon Hill.
RuneQuest debuted way back in 1978. It had:
prestige classes (rune lords, rune priests, and initiates),
unified skill-combat-saving-throw system,
ability scores for monsters,
1 in 20 hits are crits,
extra damage for lucky hits with spears and arrows,
ability scores that scaled up linearly without artificial caps,
a skill system that let anyone try just about anything,
"nonabilities" for incorporeal or unliving creatures,
armor penalties for skill checks and spellcasting (but not outright prohibitions),
templates for creatures,
affiliation groups (the model for Ars Magica's Houses and Vampire's Clans),
hardness for objects,
chance to be hit modified by Dex and size,
example characters used in examples throughout the rulebook,
rules for PCs making magic items.
In other words, RuneQuest was the RPG that taught me how to design RPGs. Even so the RuneQuest mechanics weren't perfect.
Hall of Fame, Lifetime Contribution: Robin D. Laws.
GURPS Mad Lands, major Over the Edge contributions, Pantheon and Other Games, Feng Shui, Hero Wars, Dying Earth RPG, and good work on a variety of game lines. Another good friend of mine. OK, it's not a coincidence. I like to hang out with people who have good taste in games.
March, April 2003