:) When I first read your comment, I just shrugged it off as your being a wiseass. But when I think it over, there’s a ray of truth to it… only it’s not a game I already played, it’s a book that made an impression on me when I was young.
The Hobbit. It and the Rings Trilogy are, of course, the source of a lot of RPG tropes, from orcs to poisonous spiders to magic jewelry. But I think The Hobbit, in particular, created in my mind the perfect fantasy exploration of other cultures and varied wilderness. Elrond’s elves, Beorn’s settlement, the Misty Mountains, and, best of all, Mirkwood. With meaningful discoveries all along the way. It’s not that there was no fighting, but killing left and right was not the core of the experience, and, in any case, it was not a book about gaining superhuman, god-like powers. And certainly not about fighting random baddies every few steps. And that process being the source of rising powers.
In my mind, the RPG genre has mostly gone off further and further in another direction, and I have often enjoyed it. I loved Wizardry. I liked Icewind Dale and Baldur’s Gate and a fair number of others, many of which I never finished but liked for a time.
But I guess I am searching around for a game that comes closer to the spirit of The Hobbit.
I’m still watching Let’s Plays of games suggested here, being very indecisive. Balrum sounds to have some technical tangles but also sounds like it has much of the spirit. Age of Decadence sounds very enclosed in terms of space, but very promising and I think I’ll end up playing it sooner or later whether it scratches this particular itch or not. Witcher 3 sounds far closer to my tastes than I had previously thought – but this bit about playing a guy with superhuman powers (and right from the get-go) I just don’t know.
But I really appreciate all the suggestions! Thank you all!