I'm not sure where, if at all, this thread fits, so I'm putting it here, but mods, feel free to move or delete if I'm wildly off-topic.
My group's been playing Call of Cthulhu for almost a year now. We're (hopefully) drawing the London chapter of Masks of Nyarlathotep to a close soon, so of course we've got plenty more campaign to go before I have any planning to do beyond the machinations of the Crawling Chaos.
Still, I'm constantly thinking ahead, and I'm sort of inclined to give my PCs a choice after this. Actually, a few have expressed interest in running a session or two of CoC, so we'll most likely bridge the gap between Masks and whatever comes next with a few one-shots, probably the few scenarios I haven't read between Unbound Book, Mansions of Madness and The Great Old Ones. After that, though, I want to give them a choice.
One option, of course, will be to keep going with Classic-era Call of Cthulhu, in which case I'd run either Tatters of the King or a heavily-modified Shadows of Yog-Sothoth next. I'll also give them the options of modern (Delta Green) and Dreamlands (The Dreaming Stone) settings. But I also want to offer other systems and more varied settings.
My group is more concerned with roleplaying and in-character dialogue more than almost anything else. The more involved roleplayers of the bunch have elaborate backstories and planned arcs for even their most (unfortunately) short-lived characters. Even the Loonies of the bunch (and we have a few) play their caricature or cartoon character to the hilt, with much gusto and commitment. Investigation would probably come next, with combat and anything else with extended dicerolling coming in last.
This doesn't mean I'm particularly averse to combat-heavy games; We've never played anything but CoC, which doesn't focus on combat and arguably doesn't do combat particularly well, so hopefully we can be forgiven for not understanding the thrill of a natural 20 against all odds. That said, story and setting, and the potential for really great characters, are what matter the most to this group.
To that end, I've started considering what other systems I'd like to offer them: If we were going high-fantasy, I've heard nothing but lovely things about Pathfinder as a more customizable alternative to the newer D&D. For another horror game, I'd probably gravitate toward one of the myriad New World of Darkness games (let's face it, probably Vampire though Promethean fascinates me). For a Loony-satisfying dose of madness/chaos/humor, I thought either Toon or Paranoia sounded cool. For pure geekdom and (so I hear) level of customization, Mutants and Masterminds would be fun. And, finally, Deadlands fascinates me in tone as well as mechanics (the idea of using poker chips and a deck of cards is just such a nice touch for the setting).
So... anyone have any opinion on these games? Basically any pros and cons, for any of them, in terms of telling a fun and elaborate character-driven story, would be helpful. And before you ask, yes, I know personal, character-driven horror is EXACTLY what Vampire and Promethean are there for, I just worry about the degree to which those games will/do descend into melodrama or whinging.