Origins 2002 Report – Roleplaying Games

July 4th-7th, 2002

Special Guests- Jordan Weisman(FASA), Andy Chambers (Games Workshop), Carrie D’obro (Babylon 5), Dr. Reiner Knizia (Game Designer), Dave Arneson (Dungeons & Dragons), Kenny Baker (Star Wars), James Ernest (Cheapass Games), Steve Jackson (Steve Jackson Games), John Kovalic (Dork Tower), and Shannon Baksa (Star Wars – The Emperor’s Hand). Peter Adkison (WOTC) had setup a convention organization booth separate from WOTC and was learning the ropes in running a major  Convention, because later on this year (…or maybe even here at the show, he would end up buying GenCon, and he has run that game show ever since. Wizkids was really the big sponsor of the show this year.  I went Friday&  Saturday only, and purchased a two day badge.

Origins 2002 Report!

Wow! Where to begin… As of Saturday afternoon, before my departure, the Origins convention staff reported 10,000 guests had  attended so far! 

I picked up a copy of Metamorphosis Alpha, the 2002 version, from James M. Wards! Been meaning to re-acquire this awesome Sci-Fi RPG game for some time and had spent time on E-bay trying to get an original copy at a decent price with no luck. The new printing was just released, and you can get yours at Fast Forward Entertainment.

Fast Forward Entertainment is no longer in business. Jim Ward, however, is still very much around enjoying doing TPK’s for Gamma World, Metamorphosis Alpha, I’ll provide a GaryCon Update on his doings sometime next March!



Had a first look at the Alderac Entertainment Group D20 Farscape. Last year at this time there were rumors they had acquired the rights to publish the D20 version the Sci-Fi channels’ premiere Friday night show. After a formal announcement of that, and then a year of silence from AEG, I walked up to the booth and found a Fiery copy of the master that had just received final approval and went to print. Looks like GenCon may be the roll out for this! 

Alderac Entertainment Group




My D20 Game choice
That would be the Dieselpunk fantasy roleplaying game Children of the Sun  from Misguided Games. Sat in on a demo round at the convention to get a feel for the game, and was pleasantly surprised by a unique token process that was easy to learn, didn’t involve too much math, and didn’t feel cumbersome like some D20 games. The World of Raevich is richly detailed with dual development of eldritch magic and arcane technology. With eight new races, this shadowy new world awaits luminaries (Can you say players!) 
to unfold the mysteries of the dreamers!

 Sadly, misguided games no longer has an operational Gaming company...





Sneak Previews

Decipher also had their master copy of the Lord of the Rings Roleplaying game available for viewing, I took some time, and had a long look at the new RPG. Looks like a game I would enjoy sitting down to play or GM. Fully detailed with artwork from the movie, and many excellent illustrations, and that map!. I was curious about the magic system and inquired about that. You can combine spells for additional awesome effects, but designing new spells appears difficult, and the AEG staff was just coming up to speed themselves on the game mechanics so I wasn’t able to get in depth info. Looks good though!

Decipher no longer published the Lord of the Rings Roleplaying. You can order the “How to Host a Murder.” mystery game from them now in 2017…





Last , but certainly not least, Bastion Press had the sneak preview of their new Campaign World, Oathbound,  available for gamers to see. Like the other previews this was “At the printers”, meaning there is a very good chance everyone will be able to purchase this at GenCon. This one was a real surprise for me! The Domains of the Forge is a place where players are pulled from the world they are in to serve in a world where there is a trapped God. They may be there for a time, and maybe forever, if one is not… 

Oathbound is out of print now, but I really do miss Jim Butler and Steven Creech. For a time, they made some of the best RPGs and RPG supplements in the business!


Role Playing Games

From Faenworks in San Diego, You can get Kami’s Weather Generator, KWG is a fantasy weather generator targeted exclusively to game masters who incorporate weather into their role-playing games, and the only product of its kind that is easily customizable to present weather in various rule formats. Currently for Windows PCs only! If only I could get the weather they have in San Diego to stay here in Indiana!

Feanworks Website is now closed.

Ann Dupuis of Grey Ghost Press teamed up with Wizard’s Attic this year offering many games from different publishers at their booth! I had the good fortune  o listen to Ann along with an impressive panel of long time game masters, game publishers, and designers who hosted the GM’s Gamemastering Seminar on Friday. Sure would have liked to sit in on a 2-day RPG game with these folk at the gaming table!

Anyway, Grey Ghost will be releasing Game Mastering Secrets next month. GM Secrets, Second Edition, written by Aaron Rosenberg  includes everything a GM needs to know to plan and run any roleplaying game! You can find out more about GM Secrets 2nd ed., Fudge the Roleplaying Game, Terra Incognita and roleplaying in the world of Deryni at:

Grey Ghost Press

In the Western Genre, available from Citizen Games, released at Origins, D20 Sidewinder. I didn’t get a look  at the game at the convention, I can’t rightly say my opinion about it as I don’t have one! Still though, with ten new character classes, the need for grit, and promises of hair-raisin’ adventure, it looks interesting!

Citizen Games is now closed…

I visited with Brian at the Twilight Creations, Inc. booth, and watched a playtest round of Zombies!!! I had never seen this game before, but heard about it  from both sides of the Atlantic! How’s’ that for word-of-mouth advertising? Anyway, this is a fun fast moving miniatures game with role-playing elements in the process of making a successful jump into mainstream gaming! For Origins, the new release of When Darkness Comes “The Awakening” was a big hit as I also observed pick-up games being played in the Hyatt Hotel Lobby! You can check it out for yourself at:

Twilight Creations, Inc.


A perfect compliment for SpyCraft, Holistic Designs’ Afghanistan D20 includes rules for using sophisticated moderns weapons, and offers nine modern character classes, six prestige classes, more than ten new skills, forty feats, a complete adventure, ready to play, and campaign  info for optional uses of the setting, ranging from the distant past to the far future. Me, I’m using this gem for Spycraft. Need some mercenaries?, what about embassy guards, what about spetznatz?  Easily and quickly generated with this modern military adventure supplement.

Holistic Designs



Privateer Press, publisher of the Witchfire Trilogy had one of their writers at the convention, We spoke briefly about the trilogy,  and then turned to the upcoming Monsternomicon and The Guide to the Iron Kingdoms that is scheduled for publication.  This is a full metal game! A Dark campaign world filled with conflict between elves, dwarves, humans. The Steam and Gunpowder world concept intermingled with magic was intriguing and and has much potential, I would have liked the time to find out more about the Gods of the Iron Kingdom, and of the different peoples and what made  hem unique, and what motivated them. You can have a more detailed look at the Iron Kingdoms for yourself by surfing to:

Privateer Press




Coming in August MechWarrior: Dark Age from the WizKids. I didn’t play in the WizKids booth and get a cool prize from the prize pyramid (and it was a fantastic pyramid), but I have always liked BattleTech, so here is a sneak preview. Using the Combat-Dial system of WizKids you’ll now be able to play MechWarrior tabletop that includes infantry, hovertanks, and other vehicles that fight alongside the Mechs! The September cover issue of PC Gamer, available the last week of July, will feature a redemption offer for an exclusive, Limited Edition MechWarrior: Dark Age ‘Mech. 

Note: Wizkids no longer produces or carries the MechWarrior Line. They have lots of other most excellent gaming stuff, like this… for example…

WizKids Website


Cloud Kingdom Games publishes gaming products for role-players. If you like puzzles, riddles and intrigue, you’ve found the right place. For roleplayers, there is nothing quite like a riddle your players must solve to progress! They have plenty in riddles in the Riddle Rooms series of books. Be sure to check out Castle of Magic, the role playing board game as well!

Website No Longer Available

There were so many things to see and do at Origins, I simply ran out of time. Really! I spent one whole day in the dealers room and didn’t get to visit with all the dealers I wanted to! All that is presented here is in no particular order, just presented as whim or fancy struck me. For those of you I may have missed in spending some time to get to know, or in providing a comment, or gaming review, no offense was intended. If you would care to have me add you to this convention listing, I would be more than happy to. Just drop me a quick e-mail, or send a message to the E-Roleplaying snail mail address.       Tamerthya Blog Webmaster

Back to the Convention Pages Index

On the humorous side of roleplaying is the release of Chain of Being, The fantasy roleplaying game of epic absurdity. Using the Higher Arc SystemTM, or D20 you can rescue dragons in distress from gorgeous but morally reprehensible damsels, or find yourself in the employ of the queen, charged with collecting a 30% income tax from adventurers as they are exiting the dungeon. You can terrify, baffle, annoy, or have your opponents rolling on the floor laughing out of control, with your elaborate posturing before you attack, and much more… With the custom character class you can easily invent a whole slew of new character classes for your game. I can’t wait to see the campaign world that is included with Chain of Being.

Website for this is no longer available: Out of Print

Then there was Broncosaurus Rex, The Wild West Dino Fest! From Goodman games, this gem is a Sci-Fi Fantasy come true! Hombre, be sure to bring along your Complete Guide to Velociraptors, and your elephant gun when you visit Cretasus, You are going to need them both. Try to avoid the pickets of the yanks and rebs that are also grubstaking this territory, and just remember, gold doesn’t always make you a wealthy man… Coming in September, The Aerial Adventure Guide

.Goodman Games



Populate your territorial towns with the Cowtown Creator from Knuckleduster Publications, purveyors of fine frontier books, and trail-blazing interactive fiction. Suitable for use with D20, Fudge, and Deadlands,  the Cowtown Creator is a 250 page universal sourcebook allowing one to quickly generate a fictional western town, complete with floorplans. Included are rules for old west gambling games, character descriptions, and lists for generatin’ character names, saloon names, drink names, and much much more…

No Longer in Business

Pax Draconis is a pen and paper Science Fiction Roleplaying Game published by Technicraft Design out of Seattle. Origins was my first exposure to this. The initial pre-release was only 100 copies in size, so you may want to stop by their website to see if they still have copies left. Great Artwork! Everything you need to play in one book, with three more supplements planned!

No Longer in Business

Master Bard Jeff Colledge from Bard’s Production LLC presented Common Ground I, a GM tool for creating fully detailed maps with NPCs and patrons of any race complete, with equipment and spells. Common Ground I features Churches, Inns, and Merchants. 

No Longer in Business

From Fantasy Flight Games, D20 Dragonstar. A Space Fantasy game. See your favorite races as they reach out into the stars, explore, and conquer the galaxy! Explore the Outlands in starships powered by science, arcane rituals, and spells.  To play, all you need is the Starfarer’s Handbook, to GM, The Guide to the Galaxy, and coming in September for all, The the definitive resource for weapons, ships, and hardware, Imperial Supply. Fantasy Flight has sold Dragonstar to Alderac Entertainment, However they are still in business and produce and distribute a wide varoiety of games!

Fantasy Flight Games



Every year at the convention there are one or two booths selling new games, that within days of Origins simply vanish without a trace. What’s up with that? Last year it was 2132 A.D. This year, The Riddle of Steel. The product literature had no contact information on it, no address, no phone numbers, no post office box, and any website URL references were dead links by the time I had an opportunity to follow up on them. The amount of time and money it takes to put together a printed product, and then to rent a booth at the convention, then to staff the booth at the convention is considerable, and that energy shouldn’t be wasted! If there is a problem with the product or supplement  maybe a product re-design is in order, if there is legal issues, the product should be withdrawn from the marketplace for a time until a redesigned product or publication can be released.A few words for you…

As a game or publication designer, the convention is not where the bulk of the game sales will occur, and new game designers/distributors shouldn’t plan on attending the convention to make great amounts of money the first time at the booth! A few of the game companies there do make money on the spot, and some are extremely successful! They have had years to practice, and have refined their art, and know well the trade, and they know gamers! As a designer, if you had been with one of these companies for years, you would do well because you know the market. At the convention, dealers expend time in selling their product following

Rule #1: never turn down money! They spend more of their time demonstrating their products, 
and meeting people. Lots of people… game distributors, gamestore dealers, gamers, other game designers. Conventions are all about getting the word out about your game or product as the vast majority of people that would end up playing your game may never even attend conventions! Other people advertising for you is your single best marketing tool, and one true way to success!

You can of course go the difficult path and do it all yourself, but you don’t have to….The convention is good to get exposure for your game, Your best sales follow the convention, sometimes months later, and you’ll be able to hear all about the shortcomings of your game or supplement, but don’t let that discourage you, you can think of it as a learning experience, and adjust. Its’ just like practice in the gladiatorial ring, you’re gonna get cut once in awhile sparring, you know? One thing for sure, if your game is entertaining, fun, or is useful for gamers, (and you can let people decide for themselves) there is definitely a market for it, so don’t quit! Once you have made it to the convention, you are most of the way there! At least put up a regular mail address where people can correspond with you that are interested in your games!

Back to the Convention Pages Index