A look back at Origins 2006


It’s Sunday night and I’m beat. Origins was quite an enjoyable show. Much less busy, less pressured, less like work than GenCon. There was a bit of time to play, a bit of time to eat (the North Market rules!), a bit of time to shop, a bit of time to chat. Turn, turn, turn.

Kat and I were scheduled to run 8 sessions of With Great Power… One session only attracted one guy (I ran him through a one-hour system tour), but the other seven had enough folks to actually play. And from nearly each session somebody came to booth to pick up the game.

But, I’d left off at Friday morning….

I did the booth stuff Friday morning, then rushed off to run a noon session of With Great Power… Unfortunately only one guy showed up. His name was James and he was more than happy to sit through a one-hour system tour. I showed him all the basic ins-and-outs of the game and refunded him a generic token for his time. Kat and I managed to get in a little shopping for Dalys & Sohely. It’s nice that you can see the whole exhibit hall in a couple of hours, rather than a whole day like at GenCon.

At 8pm Kat and I each had a session of WGP scheduled. We assumed that between the two tables we’d have enough to make a single game. We joked about drawing the short straw to see who ran the game and who got to scurry off to play in Iskander’s excellently disturbing Consiracy of Shadows Blood Opera scenario. When we showed up, I had 4 players (including James) and Kat had 5. I ran my alien-invasion scenario “They Came From Beyond!” and had a blast! Everyone understood the kind of story we were going for and the game rocked! The alien turncoat and the last remaining supervillain died in order to defeat the alien menace, and the last remaining superhero managed to resurrect the superteam that had died before the story had even started. The three players besides James were New Yorkers Jessica Hammer and her friends Robert Scott (an artist) and, I think, Amy. Excellent players, all.

In a odd bit of synchronicity, both Kat and I had double-ties in enrichment stakes in each of games. What that means is the player and the GM each played the same ranked card in an enrichment scene, so the original Stakes had to go up. Then they tied again, so the Stakes went up again. A great way to drive a game hard.

We were up kinda late with that, and Saturday started off moving slowly. I couldn’t make it to a panel on superheroes and their arch-nemeses because of a scheduled event. But the game went really well, included James again. He brought a friend from home, so I’m pretty sure he liked the game. That game also went really well, with Liberty Belle being arrested for trying to assassinate her father when she had actually subdued the assassin. Good stuff.

The Saturday crowd gave me the feeling of GenCon on Thursday.

Saturday night was something I was anticipating and anxious about for a while. Running Universalis for Peter Adkinson & friends. I brought Kat with me and we ran the game for Peter, his dad Gary, Rennie Arturo, the GenCon programming head, and Rennie’s assistant Jeanette, who had never done any role-playing before. The session was good, if slow. We made this cool fantasy world where the men were dying off because magic caused sterility and the women ran the wars because men were too precious to waste on the battlefield. We probably did too many tenets. It took us three hours before anyone added something to the story that caused an “oooh” at the table. But we did get there. Both Peter and Rennie were thorough and insightful in their questioning. They both said they thought they understood it much better know and could delve into playing it at home.

Didn’t get to bed till nearly two. This morning started early. There was booth stuff in the morning, then a noon panel on “Superhumans or Supersaints.” Morality in superhero stories and RPGs. Fellow panelists were Jim Lowder, Steve Kenson and Steve Long (of Hero Games). It went really well, as we delved into the philosophical aspects of power, responsibility, truth and justice. The bit where I got to show off a little: Don Concoran and Joann were in the audience. Don asked “How do your games address the moral dimension of supers?” Steve Kenson talked about how complications get you hero points in M&M. Steve Long talked about how Disads get you build points in Hero and not using your Disads penalized you xp in Hero. I talked about Suffering and Enrichment scenes and Stakes. Don followed up with “How much of your book is devoted to that moral dimension?” Kenson: “3 pages” Long: “There’s a few sidebars, plus more stuff in the supplements” Me: “Well, if you don’t count the index and stuff, over a hundred pages.”

Ya gotta love a great setup. Thanks, Don.

After that, did some last minute shopping and then some podcasters came to the booth. They were from Fistful of Comics and Games. They played the 10-minute demo, then interviewed me. One of them even bought the game. I may have rambled on, but all this public speaking has to be good for me. Like eating your broccoli, right?

I actually kinda like the press-stuff. Maybe I’ll listen to more podcasts.

Then it was breaking down the booth, loading up the car, and watching everyone else leave. Went to dinner with the hometown crew, caught up with how they’re con experience went, packed things up, and wrote this.

I liked my first Origins. It’s a unique show. It’s got its own flavor. It’s a taste I like. I’ll be back.


10 Responses to “A look back at Origins 2006”

  1. Con Season is Upon Us.
    Thanks for reporting on Origins, Michael. It is quite appreciated. When I went about three years ago or so it felt like the biggest little con around, if that makes any sense.
    Con season is officially upon us.
    I can’t wait for Dexcon, my first of the season.

  2. Thanks for coming this year, Michael! I thought we had a very good con, and it was certainly personally successful. IPR will be going back next year.

  3. I really enjoyed Origins. Quite apart from the fun monkeying at the booth, it was great to hang out with you and Kat et al., and really, really entertaining being ripped off by you in Kat’s cool Everway LARP.

  4. Some praise I have yet to note to you so here it is…
    Ya gotta love a great setup. Thanks, Don.
    No sweat. I just hope my little plug wasn’t too obvious 😉
    WGP is one of the most profound supers RPGs to come down the pike, imho. Why? In one scene of the comic Wolverine takes a bad sword blow and staggers into an ally to heal while the villain hunts him down, hoping to catch Wolvie while at his weakest. In another issue wolvie gets shredded, sliced and diced and his healing factor just keeps him a step ahead of hundreds of bullets or a thousand cuts. In rpgs this would never really happen. There is a internal consistency that says if X doesn’t put me down it never will.
    WGP focuses on the story and what is important, the themes and conflicts that arrive from being a hero. Once you strip everything else away your left with what matters in a comic and those “inconsistancies” melt away. Why did wolvie’s powers change? Because the story needed them to! No other game in this genre accomplishes that! I thought it time there existed an open forum that recognized that.
    ‘Cause it would have been cheesey for you to have done it. 🙂

    • Re: Some praise I have yet to note to you so here it is…
      Thanks. ::blush:: Now I’ll just have to pry you away from Artesia for a few minutes every con so you can pitch my game. 😉
      Of course, after having just read the first Artesia TP, I can see why you and so many others are so enthused about it. That Smylie guy spins a great yarn!

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