In a few days I will be heading off to Origins with my family. This is my 13th Origins. As I look back over the last 14 years (I missed one year), it truly amazes me the experiences and friends that I have had and made at this convention.
The first few years I went to Origins I went with my cousin Ryan. I honestly had no idea what to expect from the con, and I suspect he didn't either. The first year, he didn't play any games and just sat in while I did. However, I think we both still had a blast - being introduced to Zombies!!!, All Flesh Must Be Eaten, and most importantly, Call of Cthulhu. (I should still apologize to my uncle for driving all over Columbus looking for Ryan Sunday morning while he was in a game with me.)
The next year Ryan came with my friend Brian. This year Ryan played, and the three of us had some great games. We introduced Brian to Call of Cthulhu and AFMBE, and those are still some of the most memorable games to me. I still remember playing a Marine in a CoC game and almost braining a Deep One that I was trying to knock out, and being Japanese Princess PePe in an AFMBE game.
The next few years are a blur. Our friend Tony replaced Ryan, and the three of us played even more Call of Cthulhu, run by the excellent Rogue Cthulhu group. More importantly was the decision for us start running games there.
Tony and I hooked up with the guys running shoggoth.net, Matt and David, and starting running Call of Cthulhu games at Origins. Our first year we ran the first (out of two) Call of Cthulhu RPG tournament with an amazing success. By the next year we had many more GMs working with us and were running over 80 games at the con. I remember many game sessions starting up with people lined up along the wall to try and get into a Call of Cthulhu game, when we were already overflowing with people in our current games. It was truly amazing.
I met so many great people through running games who I am still friends with - David, Matt, Bill, Michelle, and the late, great, John Addis; there are so many others too. Origins is where I also met, and roomed with, Oscar Rios, one of today's greatest Call of Cthulhu masters.
In the previous few years, my wife and daughters have started to come to the convention with me. It has become a yearly tradition for us. While this does take time away from me playing in games I otherwise might, I don't find that as a problem because I get to experience having new gaming experiences with them. My oldest has even shown an interest in trying some RPGs at this year's con, which I am really looking forward to doing with her. I know of another father/daughter duo that has been playing and running games at Origins for as long as I have been going; I will be ecstatic if I can ever emulate 1% of what they do.
13 Origins is a lot of conventions, with a lot of games. However, despite issues that inevitably happen at every con, each one has had its bright moments. Will I be going to another 13 Origins? Only time will tell. However, despite that, I know that I can look back at the amazing moments I've had and the friends I have made, and know that it has been time well spent.
See you at Origins this year! If you are going, try and find me and we'll play something!