Ronin Round Table: 2014 Origins Awards

By Jack Norris

Hey everyone, Jack here. As we work on final proofreading and approvals for Dragon Age Set 3 I wanted to take a moment during this week’s Ronin Round Table to discuss the Origins Awards and in particular DC Adventures Universe, which I did some small bit of work on.

The Origins Awards are, unsurprisingly, an award show for RPG related projects that takes place at Origins, one of the larger and longest running game conventions in the Midwest. The Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design compiles nominees in various categories, from Best Roleplaying Game to Best Historical Board Game, and reveals the winners at the convention. It’s always a solid list of worthy competitors and this year is no exception. From Pelgrane Press’ 13th Age to Monte Cook’s Numenera to Battle Front Minatures’ Flames of War and Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day’sTable Top, there is a lot of fun impressive and just plain cool stuff up for awards this year. (Here’s the full list of nominees.)

I’m no stranger to Origins Awards for stuff I’ve worked on. Through the efforts of many talented creative teams of which I’ve been fortunate to be a part of over the years, I’ve managed to carve out a small bit of the deserved recognition for various games and products over the years. It’s always an honor and always a team effort, which is one of the great things about design.

So anyway, this year I get to sing the praises of two books that I truly love and can barely claim any of the credit for. Which is nice because it gives me a chance to talk about how awesome other people are. First is the Night’s Watch sourcebook for our A Song of Ice and Fire rpg. I really love this book. The Night’s Watch were one of my favorite bits about Martin’s books and I’ve always thought the Wildlings were characters with tons of potential for games and stories. With Night’s Watch, you not only get information on how to create and play the Black Brothers, but you also get information about using the Wildlings in your games as well. It’s also a darned pretty book, filled with awesome full color art that’s inspiring and evocative. Developer Joe Carriker and contributors John Hay, Lee Hammock, Ian Ireland, Michelle Lyons, and Brett Rebischke-Smith all did a bang up job on this one. Night’s Watch is up for Best Roleplaying Supplement this year and is in excellent company alongside Pelgrane Press’ Eternal Lies, Cubicle 7’s Heart of the Wild, Posthuman Studios’ Transhuman, and the final entry which I’m going to discuss here in a moment.

DC Adventures Universe is the final book in Green Ronin’s 4 bookDC Adventures series. It includes tons of information about the world of DC Comics along with various heroes and villains who didn’t make it into our Heroes and Villains volumes 1 and 2. Despite me only doing a handful of work on this one myself, it might be my favorite. This book is just so chock full of cool locales, characters, and ideas without a bit of wasted space… I love it. It also includes the most frustratingly difficult statblock I’ve ever had to tackle, Great Ten’s Mother of Champions. The rest of the Ten are no cakewalk to bring to life in DCA mechanics but Mother’s “Super-Fecundity” had me stretching my mechanics mojo to its limit. Seriously, I feel like Great Ten creator Grant Morrison owes me a beer. Or Ten. I also helped out with some other cool international heroes like Knight and Squire and some other bits, but most of the heavy lifting here goes to the superlative team of Seth Johnson, Darren Bulmer, Jon Leitheusser, Steve Kenson, John Polojac, and Aaron Sullivan. Other folks like James Dawsey, Prof. Christopher McGlothlin, and Leon Chang also helped out with creating the included heroes and villains, which include everything from Amethyst to the Faceless Hunters of Saturn. Even the Terry McGinnis Batman from Batman Beyond makes an appearance! It’s a great end to the series and well worth checking out for any M&M or DC Comics fans. Also, did I mention that one of my personal comic writer heros, Marv Wolfman (New Teen Titans, Tomb of Dracula, Crisis on Infinite Earths), wrote the introduction? How awesome is that?

So yeah, if you missed these cool products? Check them out. Hopefully they’ll do well at the awards but in any event, it’s great to see them alongside so many cool nominees.