I'm still breathing, though some days I feel like I'm on life support. It's hard to keep up with work (which is demanding in a lot of ways), my freelance projects (which are just as demanding as I've come to expect), and my family obligations (which make the day job and the freelance writing look like child's play by comparison).
So, yeah. I'm here, I'm just busy busy busy. There are never enough hours in the day.
In the news:
D&D 4E is in the house. I haven't had a chance to play it, and I don't know when I will. I've got the core books and I've breezed through them. Overall, I'm not sure how I feel about it. I'm sure the game plays well, but I'm not sure that it's got the sorts of character options I've come to expect.
To me, RPGs are about character options. In a class-based system, especially, character options are king. They are what differentiate Fighter A from Fighter B. This is why I enjoyed kits in AD&D 2nd Edition, and what made feats (and to some extent, Prestige Classes) so valuable in D&D 3.X.
On the surface, D&D 4th Edition looks to me like characters are even more codified. Multiclassing is out, for the most part. Abilities are chosen from a very limited pool (though I'm sure that, with enough time and enough expansions, this will change). This means that one character will be very much like the next of his class. And, of course, there's the 4E/MMO parallel that everyone seems to be drawing. I can see why, and I'm sure it's entirely intentional. As it is, I'm on the fence.
Will I run D&D 4E? Maybe. I need to try it out at least once to make a final determination. As it is, I still like 3.X quite a bit.
My first D&D 4E article will be up on D&D Insider pretty soon. Look for Hazards of Dark Sun to appear very soon in Dragon Magazine.
In other news, I'm probably going to miss GenCon this year. However, I will be at Origins (for the first time) this coming weekend. I'm going with EA Mythic, and we'll be showing our game off. Drop on by and say hello!