I would really, really like to get a copy of Monte Cook's Arcana Evolved. For a time I owned the original version, called Arcana Unearthed, but I sold it right before my gaming dry spell ended. Monte Cook's core classes totally kick ass, his setting is interesting, and his magic system is a definite improvement without straying too far from D&D's Vancian roots. Even just importing some of the classes into a straight D&D game would rock. The Mageblade is a good sword-and-spell class, the Unfettered is as good a swashbuckler as I've seen, the Witch is crazysexycool. As far as I'm concerned the Magister class totally ownzors the 3/3.5 Wizard: niftier spells and no stupid familiar. And some of the classes would work great in standard D&D campaigns. The Runethane is spot on for a Viking-style rune magic guy. Barbarian/Runethane would be a tasty combo. Damn near every race and class has some potential use. But if I can't find a GM to run it or at least let me borrow stuff from it for a standard D&D game, then buying the book (a hefty $49.99 retail) dooms me to either owning another dust-gathering corebook or running a game I really want to play. But it's so painfully cool, I want a copy anyway.
Meanwhile, there's the Living Greyhawk angle I've been exploring. I know I could forego getting the 3.5 PHB if I really wanted to, but that still leaves Complete Warrior, Complete Arcane, and Complete Adventurer as potential purchases. (All reports point to Complete Divine being a dud. And who likes clerics anyway?) Those books I could get some actual use out of. At least if I was willing to take the plunge with the RPGA. Earlier todayI was checking out Verbobonc.net, the official site of the local Living Greyhawk region. I hate it that I'm stuck in a goody-goody region. If Illinois was part of the Wild Coast or the Bandit Kingdoms I'd be all over LG like stink on poop. Verbobonc is just a little too soft, a little too saccharine, like a hippy ripoff of Tolkien's Shire. I like to play sappy good guys from time to time, but my preferred D&D mode involves more Conan-esque blood and guts. Though I guess I could maybe have some fun playing the dark outsider, the grim spellmonger or northern savage that mysteriously sides with the good guys.