How About Those Origins Awards…

I’m going to be more rambly and self-indulgent today, with a touch of sentiment, because I want to talk about Dresden’s Origins Awards. Or, rather, I want to vocally process said awards.

If you’ve been following the RPG sphere, you’ve heard by now that the Dresden Files RPG won the Origins Award for Best RPG and Our World won for Best RPG Supplement. (Probably heard on Twitter or from the fine folks at Critical Hits.) I mentioned the nomination earlier, and feeling like we’re in respectable company.

You might want to read Rob Donoghue talk about it first, since he was there and all.

I couldn’t go to Origins this year — the “cash delta” (the cost of going plus the cost of not making any money on days I have to take off since I’m a freelancer) was too high. I pondered making it work, by taking just one day off, flying in Friday early to arrive in the afternoon (it’s a seven hour trip from California), staying until Sunday morning and flying back. But that just seemed insane, and my year for insane trips was 2010. So instead I was home, spending time with a dear friend, hanging at Endgame playing Pandemic, when I get the news.

I got a call from Lenny, Amanda & Clark, and we talked for a bit about it in amazement (and a bit about me being missed there). We hung up, and I went back to curing the world of all disease.

It hit me that winning the Origins Award feels about as real as playing a CDC agent flying through Milan dispensing cures. Which makes me right now think for a bit why that is. I’ve explained to friends before that when Dresden won Golden Geek awards, I felt like it was my friends winning awards for their book. And I’m proud of them; it’s not said with disrespect or bitterness.

When I look at Dresden, I can see the parts I wrote, parts I edited, parts where I made huge structural changes, things like that. I know the conversations that took place to forge it. It was a hell of an effort. But I also know it was a drop in the bucket compared to the work Lenny Balsera did retooling Fate after years of Spirit of the Century being out and played with. I know the huge amount of groundwork that Fred Hicks and Rob Donoghue put into both Fate and the initial Dresden manuscripts. I know how indispensable Chad Underkoffler’s setting brain was to the project. Amanda Valentine’s prints are all over the thing, having edited us into clarity and consistency. Clark Valentine[1] saved the book by doing a lot of eleventh hour work when the rest of us were stretched too thin elsewhere. Kenneth Hite, Genevieve Cogman, Adam Dray, and of course Jim Butcher are all also to thank for this product and this moment in time.

Probably sounds like I’m throwing around faux-humility here, but it’s not about that. It’s more like I see myself like the doctor that delivers a child. The child grows up to win awards, and that’s cool. I can be proud, but it’s not me winning the award. Turns out I’m not the only person on the Dresden team that feels like this. And that makes me think that maybe the delivery room doc analogy is almost apt. Except, I’m not to doctor. I’m one of the parents.

The Dresden Files RPG is the collective child of the seven of us: Fred, Rob, Lenny, Chad, Amanda & Clark, and me. (Along with our allies of Ken, Genevieve, Adam & Jim.) None of us really won the Origins Award. Instead, our kid did.

That’s pretty fucking cool. I’m proud of my kid. Our kid.

With that, I’ve gone from feeling disconnected from the award (and the Golden Geek, and awards for other things) to feeling the right emotional context around it. I wish I could have celebrated with most the rest of the crew there[2], to be in that moment where we were all stunned at what just happened. But I’ll take sharing in the somewhat befuddled glow that we have as parents of this book.

I’ll end by thanking the Academy of Adventure Game Arts and Design, those that voted at Origins, and especially our fans around the world. Our book–our kid–would not exist without your support. And in that way, it makes this award as much yours as it does mine. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

– Ryan

[1] Remember how I talked recently about people who complain about not having time? Clark has a demanding day job. He and Amanda have kids. And he still finds time to work. He makes the time, even if it’s minutes. He has discipline the likes of which I rarely see.

[2] I was there in spirit.