Origins 2010 Day 3 and Day 4


I sort of want to burn through the rest of my time at Origins.  I’m sure I’ll talk about it more in future posts and through other venues, but there are some noteworthy things from the 3rd and 4th day of the con.

World Building in an Hour
This seminar with Filamena Young and David A. Hill Jr. was basically a brainstorming session in the style that Filamena has experienced in her work as a feelancer in the gaming industry.  We tried to work as if we were writers pitching a concept to Filamena and David, our editors.  We started with a general statement about our genre – we came up a setting which was a non-Earth with about our technological level world populated by humans who are not connected to Earth in the wake of an apocalypse.

When then moved on to talk about the “currency” of the setting, which we decided would be the past itself, since as was pointed out, in a post-apocalypse world, the past was better than the now in ever way.  We talked about who the protagonists would be, and who would be the big groups, each motivated to go after the currency of the past for a different reason.

Our efforts were hampered by this guy who kept interrupting and answering every rhetorical question as if it was aimed at him.  If you’ve met my wife – he even moved Pam to tell him off.  So he was that serious.

Asshattery aside, I actually got a lot out of it, but I had to leave, because I’d seen a tweet from Ryan Macklin (yes, “Ryan Fucking Macklin from the Internet”, which he had custom laser-etched on a huge stainless steel flask that he bought at the con) who was going to be running a demo of The Dresden Files.  I got in!  The game was good. Here is our group – Chad Underkoffler was there too, but he was out of this shot.

That game was definitely one highlight of the con.  I played Salvador, a monster-hunting social-worker in Gotham City.  We went through abbreviated character-creation and a whole intro scenario, worked out at the table by Mr. Macklin.  It was good fun, and I’m very impressed with the way they’ve adapted FATE to Dresden.

I next returned to the vendor hall and went to find the Jolly Roger booth and talk to Jim Dietz about the state of Parsec, the rpg I started working on for him 3 years ago now.  We have new plans, and I’m ok with them –  they’re kind of a step down but also possibly a step in the right direction.  You can bet I’ll talk about the new plans for the game a lot in the future.

Pam was getting stir-crazy with con-fever, and so we left the con for a while and walked down the street to Com Fest.  Com Fest is a lot of fun – lots of live music and hippies and weed and dogs and delicious Jeni’s Ice Cream.

We returned to the con reinvigorated (and also overheated), and ended up playing board games with Pam, among others, a college friend we bumped into the previous day at the North Market.


I am a bad, bad gamer.  I slept in, mis-setting my alarm for the wrong day, and I slept through a demo of Free Market I was signed up for with Jared Sorenson running it.  This is one significant regret, but we’ll see if I can get some other chance sometime in the future.  (I did get a glimpse at the boxed set, since I only have the beta, and it is fantastically gorgeous.)

We arrived late and wandered for a bit.  Moods were fraying at this point, but we ended up in the vendor hall, which was a great thing.  The highlight was getting to listen to Rob Donoghue pitch Evil Hat’s game line to my wife with Fred Hicks interposing now and then.  It was a geek moment, and I enjoyed it.  We ended up with a copy of Don’t Rest Your Head, which Pam is very excited about (and I am excited that she is excited) as well as Action Castle, a one-page game by Jared Sorenson designed for up to 300 players at one time.

After another delicious lunch at North Market with our friend Sarah, we returned to the vendor hall seemingly Hell-bent on spending money.  It was a lot of fun – and I hate shopping as a rule.  We picked up a cool hand-carved wooden puzzle-box from New World Mugs & Woods:

We also went back to the Jolly Roger booth to continue talking with them, and in the meantime Pam picked up Clocktowers and Grave Robbers:

We also found copies of Lost Cities, which we had played the night before and enjoyed, as well as a copy of The Hobbit board game for only $15.  Being who I am, I could not resist.

We stopped by the Looney Labs room before moving on to the art exhibitor hall.  We ended up collecting a lot of business cards from artists:

We ended up talking to a lot of artists, and for us this was the sleeper hit of the entire convention.  I want to at least mention each of the artists we spoke to.  If nothing else than because I have designs – wheels within wheels.  I hope to work with some of them in the future on publishing projects.

We began by talking to Matthew Lee Keith, fantasy artist and web developer with Arcane Machinist.  He caught my eye with his graphite art as well as with the fact that he is a newcomer to the gaming art scene – meaning I might actually be able to afford some of his work.

Next to him in his booth was Lance T. Miller, who is not only an artist using vector art to great effect, but also a magician with custom-made playing cards serving as his business cards.  His vector art is an advantage because it is fully scalable without losing detail, meaning an image can be shrunk or stretched and not get that grainy effect you get with, say, all of the art in H.A.R.P.

We also took a look of the metalsmithing knotwork of Loren Damewood from my old stomping grounds of St. Petersburg, Florida.  She is far beyond our means at this time, but has a lot of beautiful work, such as Celtic knotwork chainmail pieces.

We ended up talking for a while with Doug Kovacs.  Turns out, he grew up going to a Presbyterian church, and though he is an Atheist now, we had a lot to talk about, or at least it seemed so.  He also cut us an incredible deal on prints of some of his work.  He broke our resistance, and we picked up a triptych of his works:

We ended up next coming to rest at the booth of Andy Hopp, the illustrator of Where the Deep Ones Are written by Kenneth Hite.  he chatted us up and invited us to come to Con on the Cob, and we ended up registering for it in October of this  year near Akron.  In return, we got both a tee-shirt and a print of some of Andy Hopp’s work.  Not only that, but if Con on the Cob is not the most fun we’ve ever had standing up and clothed, we can punch him in the stomach.

He has not been punched yet.

Next we ended up talking with Lydia Burris, looking at some beautifully eerie art. She has worked on a couple of books already, and said she was most excited by the prospect of her stuff being in print.  That’s exciting, because that is exactly how I feel.  I hope that we can collaborate in the future.  Here is her work on her bookmark, postcard, and two magnets that we picked up (at this point, we were running very low on money, but we wanted to support her in some small way).

Pam ended up visiting with Kelly Brightbill, and we ended our visit to the artist hall by talking with Allison Minor, who is as enthusiastic as she is talented.  She is also way out of our financial league at this point – certainly after a long convention.

It turns out that the art hall was a fantastic way to end our Origins 2010 experience.  I hope it leads to some future collaboration.

12 thoughts on “Origins 2010 Day 3 and Day 4

  1. Wow. That sounds like an awesome couple of days. I'm very curious about Dresden Files. I keep hearing about it. You sure picked up a lot of loot too!

    The best thing by far here is the artists though. I went to their pages and saw some promising stuff. I especially like the one you got the magnets from. with a slightly darker twist her art might work really well for Horror.


  2. My thinking is this:

    Lance T. Miller specializes in black and white vector art, which is what we're looking for with Horror. Vector art is awesome because it can be shrunk or enlarged without losing detail or getting grainy.

    His buddy, the graphite artist, had a lot of prints of various kinds of warforged-type creatures made from different materials. I think he might be really good for Mechified.

    Doug Kovacs is tailor-made to come up with Dusk Sage masks – his specialty is Green Man faces on metal plates. He also seems to have an eye that might be helpful for alien Karian landscapes, which I picture as subtly disturbing when you're out in the wild. For example, we could have a call-out mask for various kinds of side-notes in the text.

    We can't afford Andy Hopp, but maybe I can butter him up at Con on the Cob 🙂

    Lydia Burris has a lot of work in vivid colors, and each has a primary color theme. I would like her for incidental artwork in each chapter of Karia, since it will have a strong color theme throughout.

    One thing I'd like for Horror that we don't have – digitally distressed photographs of creepy stuff. These will be available for free online, we just need someone to distress them. Really push them around.

    I'm finding that what I imagine for our various projects is strongly influenced by art I see and artists I think we might be able to actually work with. Doug Kovacs and Lydia Burris seemed especially open and negotiable, and it was the first year at Origins for Lance T. Miller and Matthew Lee Keith.


  3. I'm thrilled you got something out of my panel, even with hiccups and and having to leave early.

    (Though, leaving to play Dresden with Ryan Macklin is something I can forgive. Hell, I would have left my panel to play with him.)

    Bless your wife for what she brought to the panel, drop us a line, and maybe we can find a way to run our game for you some time so you can see all that world building crap I do put to use.



  4. I can also vouch for my wife being interested in the seminar as well. She said 'despite getting kind of pissed off at that one guy, I actually got a lot out of it.' So that's also a good thing. Her request: more visual aids.


  5. Doug, Thank you so much for the great compliment! Feel free to get in touch with me about some of the projects you were mentioning. Meanwhile if interested, catch up with me on Twitter and FB, and we will definitely be at Con on the Cob. Hope to see you there. We are also very much planning on returning to Origins in 2011. We will see you at one of these events I'm sure.

    Again thank you for your kind words.



  6. Thank you very much for your kind and inspirational words regarding my graphite works. We met so many people with so many great ideas. I would count myself blessed to have just met so many creative people, and I can't even imagine how cool it would be to work on a published game. It would at that point be me living my dream.

    Thanks again,


  7. My pleasure Multimiller. I'd have said more complimentary things if I didn't have so much to cover in this post.

    We'll definitely catch up at Con on the Cob, and with any luck, Origins 2011.


  8. “All new – The Hobbit board game available exclusively in the UK first, from and other leading UK retailers. Gameplay by Reiner Knizia, art by John Howe. This is a truly authentic game. Please let us know what you think of the game? “


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