Phoenix: Dawn Command is an excellent RPG that I highly recommend. It takes a typical RPG and changes a number of factors to create a truly unique experience.
You know that campaign where the apocalypse is coming and only a huge epic sacrifice might save the world? In Phoenix: Dawn Command, each adventure is one of those epic moments! The PCs are heroes who died in a memorable way, and have been reborn as Phoenixes. They can die a total of seven more times and have superhuman capabilities – they would barely take a scratch from fighting off threats that would fell a mortal. However, they face the supernatural and overwhelming threat of the mysterious Dread. Nearly each adventure features challenges so epic that one or more PCs are likely to die. Instead of worrying about whether you might die, here you worry about making each death truly change the course of the apocalypse.
PC death is built into the game. With each death, you level up. The game is, interestingly, played with cards. Each character type has rules for the types of cards you can use and the benefits you gain with them. Special cards are chosen as you level. You get stronger until you reach your final death and are no more.
Phoenix feels different than most RPGs, even while it has some familiar aspects. It isn’t about the cards (these tend to quickly become second nature as you play) as much as it is about the story aspect of the game. Each adventure is a vital mission with important choices. Adventures are written to highlight these and create a strong collaborative narrative. Players are often asked to define aspects of the adventure so as to make them memorable. The game box includes an absolutely incredible campaign, where the secrets of the apocalypse and how it might be stopped are slowly revealed. So much of this game is groundbreaking and amazing, and well worth checking out. Check out my full review and how to use Phoenix's ideas in any RPG.