It’s been two weeks since Origins Magpie had a whirlwind of a time, and we wanted to look back on some of the awesome games and events we’ve had!
We had a blast running a smorgasbord of games! We had playtests, conversations, demos, and just plain awesome one-shots.
The games we ran included:
- Bluebeard’s Bride, a horror game based on the fairy tale Bluebeard, in which a young bride explores Bluebeard’s mansion and uses its contents to decide if she’s made a terrible mistake in her choice of husband.
- Cartel, a game about people hopelessly tied to the world of the cartels in Durango, Mexico. Based on a combination of Breaking Bad, El Mariachi, The Departed, and more. (The ashcan is still available!)
- Epyllion, a game of young dragons saving, protecting, and serving Dragonia through the power of Moon Magic and friendship.
- Masks, a game of teen superheroes, finding your own identity, and robot dinosaurs. The robot dinosaurs are important.
- Urban Shadows, a game of political urban fantasy and horror. Vampires and wizards and fae and mortals vie for power in modern cities.
- Zombie World, a game we’ve had in development for a bit now, and that’s real close to being finalized. It’s all about the zombie apocalypse, uses cards instead of dice, has random character generation mechanics, and a real tendency to bite.
Here are some highlights:
Mark Diaz Truman
Mark ran a bunch of Zombie World right up front, and it let us immediately hone some of the mechanics. Next up, he ran a few games of Cartel which went as you’d expect them—one game ending with an international incident thanks to a car bomb, collateral damage, and an overzealous Halcon (a sort of low-level errand boy for the cartels), and another with some good betrayal when the cook’s lab got busted, and the Halcon got thrown under the bus.
Then, in Mark’s final Zombie World game, he had a standoff for the ages. In his words: “One of my big bads rolls up on the prison and demands that everyone surrender. One of the PCs comes out and basically calls his bluff: ‘If you try to take the prison, we’ll fight. And that will cost you and your men.’ And… I was totally stumped. I couldn’t kill the PCs. I couldn’t walk away. Eventually I settled on: ‘I’ll be back in two days….’ Great game.”
Derrick ran some solid Urban Shadows set in Albuquerque, with one of the PCs having driven vampires out of town. But they were coming back, and the PCs were set up against them, to entertaining results, including what Derrick calls “one of the best exchanges I’ve seen in a game.”
NPC vamp: Hey, is this Carlos Ortiz?
Carlos’s player, Joe: Yeah.
Vamp: Carlos Ortiz, the vampire hunter?
Joe: Is there any other?
Vamp: Any other Carlos Ortizes? In Albuquerque?
Then, he ran some Cartel, pulling on classic source material from the Wire to set the PCs at odds, with the mentor of the Sicario (a sort of hit-person) and the mother of the Halcon directly struggling against each other. His favorite part? When the Sicario tried to hire the Halcon to do work without telling him anything about the jobs, leading the Halcon (thanks to some NPC prompting) to believe that the Sicario actually wanted to kill him. Hilarity ensued.
Justin ran two great games of Masks. The first one featured teen superheroes solving problems in the best possible way—FRIENDSHIP. After saving a bunch of children from the Scarlet Songbird, they found another super, Cygnus, blaming them for Songbird’s destruction and the danger that he’d put the children into. They read Cygnus and discovered that all they had to do to do to placate her was to share credit for the victory—which they did! They brought her into the team, deciding she just needed a friend, and took a team photo (with one of them still grimly mistrusting Cygnus).
In the other game of Masks, the Outsider (essentially an alien from another world) found themself in a dangerous situation when two kidnapped heroes were both pushed off either side of a 10th floor platform. The Outsider could only reach one of them, and the player literally rolled a die to see which they rescued—saving the man, and thereby ignoring the cries to save the falling woman hero. It worked out perfectly, both because the woman saved herself, and because the Outsider triggered a move to violate a cultural norm. Take that, patriarchy!
In Justin’s Cartel game, he had a classic confused mishap at the end of his session. El Cocinero (the cook, a drug producer) was trapped in the trunk of a car, put there by La Polizeta (a corrupt cop) on behalf of the cartel. But then, the Sicaria, not knowing the Polizeta’s double loyalties, went to free the Cocinero…only to have the frustrated, tired, and hurt Cocinero pop out of the trunk punch her in the face, and then hunker back down into the trunk, too tired and stressed to do anything else.
Marissa ran a boatload of Urban Shadows on her end, and drove her players through countless plots of insanity and mayhem. One of her groups tried to protect their city and their loved ones from a hostile wizard takeover. Another contended with earth-shattering prophesies that led them right into the middle of a battle between Heaven and Hell. A third tracked down some kidnapped fae, only to find out that their entire endeavor played directly into the twisted machinations of a manipulative wizard. And her fourth group played a dangerous game, gambling with lost souls and divine rights and ending up with a new found power, broken dreams, and a wedding to attend. All in all, in her words? “Awesome.”
Katherine ran Urban Shadows and had an awesome time introducing it to some new players who’d never played any Powered by the Apocalypse games before. In particular for her, she was thrilled to have one player realize that she could play a trans Latina werewolf and have all of those things matter in the game. The game was a classic “Aware’s kingpin father made some deal with vampires that resulted in the Wolf’s girlfriend/one of the Hallowed’s flock getting abducted by faeries” plotline. 🙂
In another game of Urban Shadows she ran, a group of hunters were kidnapping supernatural creatures for “games” out in the forests around Seattle, the Fae’s monarch was under attack from a rival court, and a wizard was trying to open a hellmouth under the city. It led to several storms coming together to smash into the city all at once, along with tons of debt-throwing and -refusing.
In her third game of US, set in Vancouver, the Tainted’s angelic patron sent him to kill a rival teenaged Tainted, whom the other PCs decided to protect. The climactic scene was a huge fight in Koreatown where the Tainted managed to summon the rival demon on his own—accidentally, of course. The Wizard perished, but used their end move to banish the demon to hell until he returned the teenager’s soul. Excellence all around.
For Jonathan, it was Epyllion all the way. His first game featured a clutch of young dragons investigating an unauthorized excavation of an ancient House Tessith temple. The clutch wound up in the bowels of the temple and negotiated with the king of the badger beetles. The badger beetles were the cause of the temple’s collapse, and through negotiation, the clutch got the badger beetles to stop their digging. All the drakes learned some important lessons and gained acclaim.
In his second Epyllion game, the clutch was ordered to track a missing airship. They were taken into action by Comet, an older dragon…only to have one of their number fall of Comet’s back. They had to go back for their comrade, and wound up caught in a squirrelope stampede. In the nick of time, they found the wrecked airship, rescued its Kebros test pilot, signaled Comet, and escaped before a corrupted snowl (snake-owl) attacked them.
In the third game he ran, the clutch was tasked to find a drake who should have become a council intern, but never showed up. They stole a library cart for a huge letter and a pomeranian-like deerwolf for directions to the intern’s family estate. After talking their way inside, they met the young drake, full of punk-rock attitude that belied their tiny stature. The missing drake was being kept safe by their family, fed immortality apples that would always keep them small, and held back from anything dangerous—all against the rules of Dragonia. The clutch concealed the truth to keep the family from punishment, but helped the missing drake to be free from their family anyway. Great games, all around.
Sarah ran four games of Bluebeard’s Bride over the course of Origins. Most of them (as a combination of the game and Sarah’s own sensibilities) aren’t really fit for recapping publicly, but some highlights included a child continuously vomiting a pinkish fluid against gravity onto the ceiling of one room…a nice older lady making cakes that the players ate before finding out the main ingredient was babies…hot lesbian sex conducted by licking magic book pages…a satanic ritual involving dog-headed men…and, in her own words, “everyone got pregnant via pie.”
Brendan ran a combination of Zombie World and Masks—and all games were awesome! In his first game of Masks, things took a turn for the interstellar time-traveling romp when an enemy was flash-forwarded into her future self and recognized the Beacon as a murderous monster, while the whole crew tried to reach the Outsider’s home planet to cancel her space betrothal…and they wound up fighting an extradimensional cat.
Then, in Zombie World, the colony suffered from a lack of food and medicine. The group split up to tackle multiple objectives, which led to a hunting party getting torn apart by zombies…a search expedition being captured by another nearby militant colony…and their own colony falling into chaos and argument when a child was discovered, sick and dying, and one of their number believed the child to have been bitten. Everything came to a close with one of the PCs being shot in the head by the leader of the militants, and deciding what dire moves would next be required to keep safe.
In the next game of Masks, the team wound up fighting Nano and Cygnus, a pair of teen villains trying to steal samples of the Transformed’s blood. They tracked their enemies to the Spider, a crime lord, and engaged in a big ole brawl, with the Beacon caught in a one-on-one fight against the Spider, and ultimately subdued the crime boss while allowing Nano and Cygnus to flee.
In the third game of Masks Brendan ran, the team wound up caught in the middle of a fight between Aquaria Panthalassa, a sea goddess, on one side, and Iconoclast and Carbine, trying to defeat and undermine superpowered people throughout the world, on the other. Despite their best attempts to talk everyone down, it kept devolving into more intense super-powered car-throwing, until the Janus yelled at Aquaria head on and faced her down.
(Also, the Beacon was named Copperhead, wore yellow, used a bow, and what the hell it made no sense. Great Beacon.)
Then, in Brendan’s last game of the con, he ran Zombie World and had yet more havoc ensue. The colony devolved into a witch hunt after a bunch of food disappeared, and one PC went to a dark place after trying to use any methods available to find out who had stolen the food. Ultimately they discovered it was all part of an attempt to take over their colony by outside enemies. They fought off an invasion, but not without losing two of their own, one who chased after the food thief and one who suicidally charged the attacking bus, intent on taking down the driver.
Con Season Continues
All in all, Origins was super successful for Magpie! We ran a ton of games, we got some feedback on stuff in playtest, we showed off some of our upcoming projects, and we got to hang out with some incredible people.
Now we’re in the process of preparing for our next big con—GenCon! See you there!