FATE provides an incredibly robust set of tools that can apply to practically any genre, and they're tools that the group can "tune" to their own tastes. FATE is such a staple of gaming to me, though, that I feel like it's almost cheating to use it as an answer.
So here are a couple of other games with great tools, just to keep it all above board.
Kevin Crawford's STARS WITHOUT NUMBER and its spin-off games, OTHER DUST and SILENT LEGIONS are jam-packed with awesome tables for building your own sandbox game. Any GM who gets a little thrill when they see random tables should be buying these games. Straight up.
The sourcebooks for ECLIPSE PHASE are nothing short of stellar, no pun intended. They provide you with a world that's rich, deep, and complex. Absolutely inspirational.
And the game I'm spending the most time with lately is Jason Vey's AMAZING ADVENTURES, a pulp adventure variant of CASTLES & CRUSADES that really takes apart its parent game and shows you how to use it to play all kinds of different things, from Nazi-punching Indiana Jones action to Steampunk or Weird West or whatever floats your boat.
27. What are your essential tools for good gaming?
These days, I'd say my essential tools are:
- My spiral-bound notebook, where I write down ideas, flesh out scenes, and scratch out notes during sessions. I try to keep one of these for each campaign, but I need to be more vigilant about keeping them up.
- 3x5 cards to write essential elements down where everyone can see them, during a session.
- Spotify, so that I can have a mood-appropriate playlist going in the background.
- A diverse library of games that I can read for inspiration.
- Good communication with my players.
- Pretty dice. Because you can never have too many.
28. What film / series is the biggest source of quotes in your group?
Uh. The Simpsons, I guess? Even though it's many years past its prime, that show is still the cultural touchstone of our times. I can't even remember the last time I heard a Monty Python and the Holy Grail quote at our table, but someone tenting their fingers and hissing "Excellent" like Monty Burns happens on a regular basis.
And, as promised...