E’s Con Travels: Origins 2009 – Part One

origins2009badgeHi folks!

This was my first time attending Origins and I am having a blast (and am totally pooped!!).  I have been tweeting a LOT during the weekend, so this is the recap of the stuff I tweeted about (and possibly some more).


Drove up from MD to OH with DaveTheGame and our friend Jacob.   Long drive made fun by Jacob’s fast driving, saluting police cruisers, and The Driving Quiz.

Got semi-lost downtown trying to find the Drury Inn, but finally arrived, checked, in, and passed out.


Woke up way earlier than my normal wake-up time!  (Working from home spoils a girl!)  Donned my pink “Are you single?” Geek’s Dream Girl t-shirt and headed to pick up our press badges.  Hilarity ensued when the press badge lady had two badges for  Geek’s Dream Girl.com – one that said “E. Foley” and the other that said “E (needs rest of name) Fole.”  While the latter would be awesomesauce, I settled on the former.

Did a whirlwind tour of the exhibit hall. DaveTheGame was on a mission to pick up all the games he had worked on or playtested, so our first stop was Z-Man Games to pick up a copy of Arabian Nights.  It’s a choose your own adventure board game set in the 1001 Arabian nights era.  The box is seriously 8 pounds, mostly due to the huge story book.

He also picked up the expansion to Dominion, called Intrigue.  We played a TON of Dominion on Thursday.  Probably at least 5 hours worth?  The only time I won was at the very end of the night (technically early Friday morning) on the very LAST game we played, when I was half asleep.  What does this say about me?  No clue.

I got a high five from a lady who said she loved my t-shirt and my geek matchmaking mission.  That was pretty cool.

We went to Monte Cook’s talk on being a better DM, which sadly, wasn’t very well-attended due to it not really being on the schedule.  DaveTheGame transcribed the whole thing, so you can read it by clicking here.   Learn about the DM as “facilitator of the fun” and how to scare people when you’re running a horror game.

Second t-shirt interaction was with a guy from Monte’s talk.  He was like “I love your site, especially that article you didn’t write.”  Okay, he didn’t say that exactly.  But he said his favorite article was the one Pace & Kyeli wrote about great dates in Austin, TX since he’s also a Texan.

We were planning on doing the RPGA’s Ultimate Dungeon Delve event with some friends of DaveTheGame’s.  I was the Goliath Barbarian (rawr!) and DaveTheGame had done up all the character sheets in Character Builder (so they’d be RPGA legal and all purdy).  Turns out, over dinner we realized my character had no armor or weapons.  Oops.  Luckily, DaveTheGame’s friends brought a printer with them (wha?), so that saved the day.

We sadly did not defeat the UDD.  We got very close but needed more damage dealers (especially ones useful against undead).  Plans were made to re-attempt the UDD another day with new characters.

We popped into the Looney Labs Big Experiment to play some of their awesome new game Are You the Traitor?.  If you like Werewolf, you will like this game.  It’s really fun.  Then we played Dominion until it was time to go to bed.


With no big plans for the morning, DaveTheGame and I slept in until 9:30-10ish.   I donned my blue GDG t-shirt (sensing a theme?) and we headed out to the convention center to get breakfast, mill around a bit, and then go to Monte Cook’s session on dungeon design.

On the way, I got flagged down by the dude in the information booth.  I had been putting stacks of my business cards there, so my first thought was “Oh crap, he’s gonna tell me I can’t put stuff there.”   But it turned out that he was interested in learning more about what I do because people who were picking up the cards were asking HIM questions about me.  He wanted to know more so he could give people more information.  Ha!  Totally cool.  Info booth guy for the win!

So, Monte Cook, round 2!  He talked a lot about dungeons as flowcharts, being sure to describe choices to players so they can make informed decisions, and the fact that Bruce Cordell is the type of player who likes to open every door, no matter what the consequence.  I also have a totally awesome, totally out-of-context quote:

Don’t read Dungeon Magazine.” – Monte Cook

The context:   Someone had asked how to deal with players who have read the published adventure you are running.   That quote was part of the answer, but I threatened to tweet it totally out of context to see what would happen.  But I’m a good girl (swinging toward true neutral rather than neutral evil lately), so I gave you the whole story.

I’ll link to DaveTheGame’s report on the dungeon design talk as soon as he posts it.

All this talk of DMing has me itching to try my hand at it again.  Not sure what I want to do, tho.  Maybe Eberron.  We’ll see.

Had a great lunch with Monte Cook, DaveTheGame, and a nice couple we met at Monte’s session.  Many geek jokes were had and burgers were consumed.

Toured the exhibit hall for the second time.  DaveTheGame and I are drooling over the Dwarven Forge 3-D dungeon tiles.  They are absolutely gorgeous.    I spent time for the second day hugging this cute little guy and pondering buying him.  I took pictures of some things that looked neato like the Trojan Bunny, scary sci-fi mechanical spiders, and a dead guy next to fresh flowers.

We spent a good deal of time over at Bucephalus Games’ booth since DaveTheGame is good friends with one of the guys who runs it.  I fell in love with this little guy, who looked to be either rat-thulu or perhaps a rat mindflayer.   We picked up a bunch of games, a rat, and pre-ordered Oh My God! There’s an Axe in my Head!, which wins for best game name ever.

DaveTheGame bought me a pretty pink Looney Labs hippie flower.  Also awesome is the fact that a guy came up to us, asked DaveTheGame if he was my boyfriend, and then asked him how he felt about me wearing an “Are you single?” t-shirt.   So funny.

I really liked Platypus Studio’s status display flags.  They also had cool bendy dungeon walls.  The flags were VERY cool for 4e stuff.  Right now, we use magnetic circles of various colors, which sometimes means characters are 5 feet in the air by mid-encounter.   These flagpoles can stick to magnetic battlemaps (like on their display) or you can use stickytack to stick them to the mat or the mini’s base.    The flags stick to the magnetic pole and can tell you the ID# of the monster (useful if you’re fighting many of the same mini) and all status conditions.   Very nifty.

Nommed on some tasty Ethiopian food for dinner and Jeni’s ice cream for dessert.  Currently chilling in my hotel room, doing a bit of business online and rolling up a rogue so we can try the Ultimate Dungeon Delve again tomorrow!

About e

Since 2008, E. Foley of Geek’s Dream Girl has been helping geeks from around the world find love. She writes amazing online dating profiles for her fellow geeks and guides them through the perilous waters of the dating scene and out the other side. She's totally proud to report that she's even caused a couple geek weddings! She lives in Maryland with DaveTheGame, her adorable cats, Mr. Peanut & Don Juan, and Titania, Queen of the Cocker Spaniels. (Email e, or follow @geeksdreamgirl on Twitter.)

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