Monday, June 29, 2009

Origins 2009 (Semi-)Live Blog--Friday, Saturday and Sunday!

Wow. The remainder of our 2009 trip to the Big O went by in a whirl, and I'm only now starting to get caught up on all of my correspondence. But, that won't stop me from chronicling all the chaos for you, oh few-and-faithful readers!

After Thursday's late night, I managed to eke out at least a little sleep on Friday morning, before heading out for a demo session of Chrononauts, a game by Looney Labs. While I had seen Looney Labs (and their HUGE following) at Origins in previous years, I hadn't actually played any of their games. As such, Chrononauts was totally new to me.

I was fairly pleased. The game centered around a static, card-based timeline of historical events, which your time-keeper adjusts, screws-up, and repairs, based on the goals listed in his ID and his mission. Unfortunately, I was so engaged in the game, that I forgot to whip out my camera. No big loss, there, though...almost immediately after, I managed to meet up with Lionel and Ebbs (freshly back from playing a Ghostbusters minis game) and roam around the dealer room before...

Ravenloft. Man, oh, man--this one was a trip. Heading off into the lands of the mists with Karl and Will, we swiftly found out that our game was not, in fact, in the Madison room--rather, we were out in the lobby, on the big screens with the guys from d20Pro.

I had seen d20Pro's product last year at Origins--their dungeon utility software was a novelty, but I really didn't have much interest in it, as I have a gaming group able to play live. However, this was a rare opportunity to play in a setting I love, and I wasn't about to turn it down.

Nor was I disappointed. GM Dan, of the d20Pros, ran us through "The Ghosts of Mistmoor"--an old 2e Ravenloft adventure from Dragon magazine, which he had not only updated to 4e, but also adapted for use on the group's networking software. I took up the mantle of Amelia--a pistol-packing follower of the eponymous Rudolph Van Richten.

This game was intense. Between the natural horror of Ravenloft, and the inter-party conflict (ironically, over attacking/damaging party members), this game was well worth the 8 hour committment. Did I say 8 hour? I meant 10 and a half! After beginning just before 2, we ended at 12:15 on Saturday. After a climactic encounter with the ghosts of the Mistmoor family, and the treacherous Erebus, we triumphed over the curse of the mansion and headed out.

Unfortunately, though, due to a lack of players, we ended up having to cancel the Friday Midnight Madness WEGS session. Disappointing, entirely...I was ready for a new Nordling to take on the 99 Orks! No luck there, though, and we headed back to the Marriott for a few hours of sleep before the weekend started.


Saturday made for a unique day as Jules finally got up the courage to cosplay at Origins for the first time, in her classic Black Canary outfit. Surprisingly, there were a lot more cosplayers this year in previous years--mainly as anime charaacters, superheroes and various ren-faire warriors. The costumes were really quite good, and incredibly varied--you'll be able to see some of the better ones in my upcoming photo gallery!

However, the gaming started, with Lionel, Jules, and myself heading to a game of Settlers of Catan, played on the giant Mayfair games board. I must say, I felt kind of bad for the poor guy who ended up with us three around the board. He probably didn't expect such a brutal game! Our first session ended with a triumph for yours truly, while our poor new companion got roaded into the center of the island. The second game was somewhat more fair, as he and I tied by the end of the game.

After a rousing game of getting wood for sheep, the three of us headed off to North Market for a fantastic meal. I know I've spoken highly of North Market before, but I wasn't in the mood for curry this time (gasp!). This time, I was after deli-style, and I wasn't disappointed. Barry's NY Deli, provided me with a fantastic pastrami on rye, with homemade mustard, and a bowl of fantastic motza ball soup. Couldn't beat it with a stick!

That led directly for us to hit the next WEGS Power Hour, where Willy the 2's infamous crystal-blue dice awaited. Surprisingly, we made it out alive, from this lethal demo, though my previous warrior--Ghormash the Goblin Warrior--was out of Phew points. His enchanted daggers wouldn't be much use to him, without the ability to take a single hit!

From our trip to WEGS, we skipped over to dinner at the Convention Center Food Court before trying out something new to Origins: the BattleTech mech-battles simulator. On Tuesday, we got a glimpse of the event-coordinators setting up, and knew we had to jump in on this. We set a reservation for 8 of us, ready to rumble on Saturday evening.

And the results? Well, unfortunately for yours truly, PwnedAndy's Uziel mech didn't fare so well, falling multiple times beneath the missiles of Lioner1 and others. Ebbs, however, took home the gold, pulling in 14 kills while only dying 5 times. Fantastic results for him!

That was something of the beginning of some more misfortune for me, as my D&D game following--The Dragon Helm of Hador--was cancelled 15 minutes before the event began. Grr, indeed. As such, I met up with Lionel and Ebbs again, and threw down some Chrononauts--Lionel ended up picking up the card decks--in their room, before heading off for...

Trailer Park Wars.. As a group, we were pretty familiar with Gut Bustin' Games' "Redneck Life", but this one was even better. Set to build up your own trailer park empire, you build up amenities in your own park, while inflicting horrible tenents and natural disasters on other players' parks. I think we actually astounded the GM with our viciousness, as we hit the end-game with fervor, keeping one after another from winning with horrible glee.

After a late, late dinner on Saturday, we headed back to the hotel where we awaited the last day of our Origins 2009 Adventure.


Waking up a little later than hoped, we had to rush to get checked out, then to head off to our first game, an Intro to CthulhuTech. Unfortunately for us, this wasn't...well, a game. Rather, it was a paid-seminar on the intro to the game. Needless to say, I was a little disappointed--I had already bought a used copy of the game on a trip to Bookery and was wanting to know more about how to run encounters in the game, or to experience a play session. Not the case, so much.

However, our later game--CutThroat Caverns proved to put this one to rest. Another Smirk and Dagger game, our adventurers tried to one-up one another for kill after kill through tough monster encounters. After a bit of luck, and some good card-playing, my dwarf (Orn--with umlauts, even!) ended out on top.

After one more go-round in the dealer hall and our last Power Play session, it was time to head on home for another year.

Up next? Pictures from Friday through Sunday, and then my final Origins 2009 wrap-up. Stay tuned!


  1. Honestly I can't say I think you missed much as far as CthulhuTech. Admittedly I'm a curmudgeon by most people's standards, and as someone who worked as a freelance designer I'm even pickier.

    But CT... it was overhyped, overpriced and absolutely failed to deliver on any of the innovations the designers swore up and down they had made, and fall into several gigantic traps; for example they left important information for certain types of PCs out of the main book, and told you to get Supplement X (which may or may not have ever been released, I quit paying attention). Deadlands and Deadlands: Hell on Earth did something similar, but they core rules still gave you enough information to play characters of a given type, it's just that once the splatbook came out you had more options.

    Sure CthulhuTech is pretty, but it just didn't impress me much as an actual game.

  2. I haven't gotten a chance to play CT yet, so I'm going to hold my reservations till I can give it a whirl, but I can definitely agree with some of the things you're saying.

    They reference Vade Mecum, their first supplement, several times in the corebook, particularly in terms of additional mechs and psychic characters. That's kind of a rip off, to me, as you're essentially asking the reader to pay out twice (for two really pricey books!) for the core material.

    Plus, I would have figured that they'd at least have a convention discount or such. Their booth was selling all of their supplements for full price. The aforementioned Vade Mecum was $45! For a supplement! I'd much sooner just hit Bookery Fantasy and pick it up for 15% off, if I'm still interested.

    I still want to give the system a whirl--my biggest disappointment, though, was the fact that after playing our $2, we didn't even get to play it. That, above all, was the biggest rip-off.

    Thanks for the comment!