Entry for September 29, 2008: Gaming updates

Before getting into gaming updates, I must note the passing of actor Paul Newman. The Sting is one of my favorite films of all time, and I've been sympathetic to his political views and have bought many of his "Newman's Own" food products over the years. He will be missed, but his work lives on.

On Saturday, 20 September 2008, I hosted the latest D20 Mutants & Masterminds 2nd Ed.: "Drake's Port" superhero scenario, coinciding with the visit from St. Louis of former Boston-area resident and role-player Byron V.O. We've been playing Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition (D&D4e) for a while, so it was nice to have a change of pace and genre. In the past few years, such visits have occurred around Halloween.

After a slow start, the metahuman vigilantes met near my fictional New England city, explored the former mansion of the "Hudson Valley Vigilantes" and the (onetime play by e-mail) group "Evil's Bane," and fought Nazis! Thomas K.Y., who demonstrated our City of Heroes online characters for Byron and Beruk A. at his place in Lexington, Massachusetts, also made a cameo appearance.

On Sunday, Sept. 21, Byron and I were disappointed to learn that Dexter V.H. wouldn't be as available as we had hoped for a D&D3.5 "Vanished Lands: Holy Steel" teleconferencing session. Although Byron's Paladin/Wizard "Ibrahim" and Dex's Drow Ranger "Faelonia" have just entered Babylonia, their team has been hampered by chronic scheduling and technical difficulties, partly from family and work commitments.

The Monday-night D&D4e "Vanished Lands: the Faith-Based Initiative" adventuring party has been doing fairly well in fomenting rebellion in the barbaric city of Tekugi (see maps), despite previously mentioned player turnover. We'll see whether the would-be heroes are able to maintain shared goals after the departure of John C.M.'s heroic Warlord "Harald."

Members of my Yahoo/eGroups Web club and the larger gaming community have been involved in ongoing debates surrounding D&D4e. Potential alternatives include the Pathfinder RPG (a.k.a. "D&D3.75"), True20, Savage Worlds (which Brian W. likes) and GURPS4e. Beruk has even suggested using the D20 Star Wars: Saga Edition rules for D&D-style fantasy. Pathfinder, currently in beta testing, has gained a following. I'm currently leaning toward the streamlined True20 or GURPS, but at Greg D.C.'s recommendation, we're sticking with D&D4e for now.

This past weekend, other than running errands in Norwood, Mass., Janice and I spent much of our time cleaning our duplex in preparation for my family's visit later this week.

Coming soon: Space opera strikes back!