Let's say you and your friends want to try this roleplaying thing you've heard about. You're not in the mood for any particular genre- you'll play anything as long as it's good. You've even decided to see what the world of games has to offer outside of Dungeons and Dragons. So, what do you want and where should you look?
One important distinction in the world of RPGs is that of mainstream versus indie games. Mainstream games- Dungeons and Dragons, World of Darkness, GURPS- are published by large companies, have huge amounts of supplementary books, and are often available at good bookstores. Indie games- Dogs in the Vineyard, Unknown Armies, My Life With Master- are put out by smaller companies, sometimes consisting of only one or two people, and generally have to be purchased online or at a game-specific store.
As you'd expect, there are good things and bad things about both types of game. Let's take a look.