Entry for April 02, 2007: Byron and Ron visit, TMNT

Friends, I hope you had a good weekend. On Friday, 30 March 2007, Byron V.O. arrived from New York, where he had been attending a work-related conference. The patent lawyer and former member of the Boston-area social/gaming groups has been very good at staying in touch since moving to St. Louis last year, and Janice and I hosted him for the weekend.

On Saturday, Byron went to visit an ill niece while Janice and I did some shopping at the so-called Natick Collection and Shopper's World plaza near where I work. We had Indian food for lunch in the food court before running into Byron on our way back to Janice's and my second duplex in Needham Heights, Massachusetts.

That evening, I was pleasantly surprised at the strong turnout for a one-shot game in honor of our guest. As shown in the photograph above, the group included me (kneeling, front left), Brian W./"Le Cafard," Beruk A./"The Stranger" (standing, far left), Brie/"Daughter of Ether," Paul J./"Capt. Oblivious," Thomas K.Y./"the Righteous Fist," Brian A./"Cmdr. Confusion" (back row), Greg D.C./"the Electric Slide," and Byron/"Arcturus." Not shown are Dexter V.H./"Neutralizer-X," who participated by videoconference, and Janice, who took the picture.

The code-names after each person listed above are those of their characters in my D20 "Mutants & Masterminds" 2nd Ed.: "Drake's Port" superhero scenarios. In all, even with James B./"Sid the Kid," Doug H., and others missing, we had 10 role-players for a game scheduled on short notice!

Of course, that led to a slow start and some communications challenges in my basement, but I hope everyone enjoyed the session, in which the costumed vigilantes dealt with the ramifications of events depicted in Marvel Comics' "Civil War" and D.C. Comics' "Identity/Infinite Crisis" and "52/One Year Later" storylines. For more information, visit the Yahoo/eGroups Web club at: http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/DnD3VanishedLands/

Greg brought dinner from "Blue Ribbon Barbeque" in Newton, Mass., but unfortunately, spicy food two meals in a row was a bit too much for me and Janice, who spent Sunday recovering. Byron and I stayed up late into the night talking, mainly about his Egyptian Paladin "Ibrahim" in my D&D3.5 "Vanished Lands" fantasy campaign.

Yesterday, Steve M.R. and I demonstrated the "City of Heroes" online game for Byron. College friend Ron J.K. (who was visiting his brother in Brookline, Mass.) met Byron and me for lunch at a local "Bertucci's" Italian restaurant, followed by picking up Janice to screen the new "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movie. If you're a fan of the original comic books, the various television cartoons, or the previous movies, you'll probably like the latest revival of a 1980s genre franchise.

The martial arts action was well-choreographed, the computer animation was stunning, and the action scenes were fast-paced. The relatively simple plot takes place sometime after the events of the live-action flicks, and the decent voice cast included Patrick Stewart ("Star Trek: the Next Generation" and "The X-Men"), Sarah Michele Gellar ("Buffy: the Vampire Slayer"), the late Mako ("Conan: the Barbarian" and "Samurai Jack"), and Chris Evans ("Fantastic Four"). I'd give "TMNT" a 7 or 8 out of 10.

Although I won't be running the regular D&D3.5 "Vanished Lands: the Broken Chains" Arabian fantasy game on Tuesday night, I'll probably run another one-shot during Dexter's planned visit this coming weekend, when Janice will be visiting her extended family in Pennsylvania. In the meantime, I'll be enjoying the latest episodes of "The Dresden Files" and "Smallville," as well as "Avatar: the Last Airbender" on DVD. As co-worker Ken G. noted, so much genre entertainment to follow, so little time…