Dungeons and Dragons

I've been thinking a lot about Dungeons and Dragons lately.  My last post which was a general life update I mentioned that I'm still playing fairly regularly in a Dungeons and Dragons game which I've been enjoying a lot.  We're playing 3.5, and it's been a lot of fun for the past several years, even if in the past few months we've slowed a bit due to scheduling problems, still we're playing on Sunday and I'm pretty excited about it.  We stopped the last session mid-battle and we're soon going to begin infiltrating the frozen fortress of an undead evil dragon in order to keep a powerful artifact out of the hands of an evil cult.  What could be more D&D?

But! What's gotten me extra excited about "D's" lately though is the impending release of 4th Edition, which comes out tomorrow.  I was originally planning to pick up the Players Handbook tomorrow night, but now I may wait until Saturday as I'm probably heading over to Falls Church anyway to mow my Mom's lawn while she's out of town, so I figure I'll head
to my old nerd store.  Which I still feel nostalgic about, even if none of the people I used to see regularly still work there (come back Timus!), and others have had some rather negative experiences there lately.  They still have one of the best bookshelves of role playing game books in the area (and they aren't shrink-wrapped for no reason so you can flip through them before you buy 'em).  Hopefully demand won't be so great that they'll be sold out by Saturday.
Some people have been worried about 4th Edition, and there is certainly some worry with any new release like this.  But most of what I've seen so far about the game makes me very hopeful that it'll be even more streamlined and fun than 3/3.5 was.  There are some pretty big changes and I know some of my friends would probably prefer it to be even more simplified and more like True 20, but as even my friend Ben (who really likes the True 20 idea) pointed out, for Dungeons and Dragons you should keep a certain level of defined classes and other iconic elements, otherwise it's just not quite D&D.
Some people are also worried it'll be too much like an MMO, because they seem to have taken a few ideas from things like WoW.  I think that's a pretty silly concern for a couple of reasons.  First of all if an idea is good and it makes things more fun, I don't really care where it comes from, and second, a table top role playing game with good friends and a good game master will never really be much like an MMO, unless that's the way the group wants it.
I have no idea when I'll get to play a bit with 4th Edition, as my current game is 3.5 and I don't see us translating this game into 4th Edition (it'd be a lot of work, and my character would be nearly impossible to translate without some serious house-ruling, since he has two levels of Psion, and Psionics aren't out for 4th edition yet, hopefully it won't be a multi-year wait for that).  Though I'd love to try out a short one or two session adventure with some people, just to see how the game works.
I've also been thinking about what sort of character I want to play next.  I've generally always played rogues, and I still love them as characters (I still don't know how other character classes handle having so few skill points), but I think in my next game I'm ready to try out something different (It's been fun adding a few levels of Psion to my current character, has given me a taste of more spellcasting-type classes).  I'm sort of tempted to play a pure Psion next, and I think that'd be pretty interesting, Sorcerers also seem pretty fun to me.  But I think I'd really like to try out a martial class of some sort.  I've always thought that playing a Monk would be an interesting role-playing opportunity, and I like the simplicity of fighters, and the idea of having lots and lots of feats, I also like psionics a lot so a psychic warrior might be fun too, but I think ultimately I might want to try out a Barbarian or something like it for my next game (but who knows what I'll want to try by the time that happens).  I love the idea of playing a "noble savage" sort of archetype, especially one modeled after some of my favorite parts of Conan.  That is, someone who's main strength is brute-force martial combat, but who isn't afraid to use some sneaking and rogue-like tactics to accomplish his goals when the need arises.
Anyway,  I've got a lot of other thoughts on  D&D and role playing in general but I'll end this now, and end with a few questions for you dear readers.
So are you excited about 4th Edition?  Have you been playing any interesting games lately?  Been looking at anything interesting?  Any other nerd-gaming thoughts?

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Stephen B @DrOct