Fantasy without spells.
That's right - I'm coming to the conclusion that I'd be happier if my setting didn't have magic, or at least didn't have what RPGs generally describe as "spellcasting". The more I think about what turns me off about D&D-style western fantasy - a magic sword for every warrior, wizards chucking lightning bolts at their foes with impunity, priests healing the injured several times a day - I just don't like the idea of mere mortals having that kind of power, least of all on a reliable, predictable basis. I want magic to be scary and incomprehensible. I still want monsters, though.
In a lot of ways, the feel I want is what's depicted in the ultra-violent manga series Berserk, around the time of "The Golden Age" story arc. (The series ramps up the D&Disms shortly afterwards, with the main character befriending an elf and a wizard, among other things.) But early on, the world of Berserk is much like Europe during the 13th century or so, with mercenary bands doing the business of war and terrorizing the populace when work is slow. Whenever anything supernatural occurs, it's monstrously demonic in nature, and met by most of the protagonists with disbelief, confusion, and abject terror. That's more or less what I'm going for.
So, for the moment, I'm thinking of a human-dominated world, where magic is a fantasy, but horrific monsters lurk at the edges. There's still room for a sorcerer or two in this world, I suppose, but they'd be more monster than man.
You know, this concept has a lot in common with the so-called Cthulhu Mythos. I could say that's because BRP's currently the system I'm planning on using for the setting, but I think it's really just the influence of the aforementioned Berserk along with Princess Mononoke and similar films.