Origins 2010 Expanded Coverage: Morton’s List

I wasn’t sure what my first activity at Origins would be. When I walked out of the Media Room, eyes agape at the sights around me, I spied a room adorned with caution tape and lit in a dim and appropriately mood-setting fashion. As I went to walk by, I made eye contact with one of the denizens. (By the way, if you ever want to not participate in an event at a convention, do not make eye contact with the people who are running it. I was down for something new, so I’m not upset that I didn’t heed this advice. But, I digress). “Come in here. Play!” I shrugged and walked in.

Morton’s List is billed as an end to boredom, the killer of those weekend nights when you and your friends are sitting around and either can’t think of something to do, or when no one steps up to begin the process of the doing. A graphic from their website lays it out very simply:

As you can see, it’s not rocket science.

Now, these quests go all across the spectrum of things that can be done, with some of them actually taking months or years to complete. There are also some shades of grey when it comes to the legality of some of the actions that could be undertaken to complete the quest (you like how vague that sentence was?) Anyone in the group, the Inner Circle, can say no to a rolled quest if they have a moral objection to it, but since part of the point of the game is to have fun and do things you might otherwise not do for that fun, the reaction you get to saying no to a given quest completely depends on the group you’re with.

When I played, we rolled two rather tame quests. The first involved creating a “magical spell” and since we had to operate within the confines of acceptable behavior for a convention (Morton’s List had been banned from GenCon until recently, due to actions undertaken by players of the game at said convention), we went with making wishes in the form of blowing bubbles. As well, we asked convention goers if they wished to make a wish by blowing bubbles. Day 1 was a slow convention day, but we all accomplished that task.

The second one involved going to a coffee shop of some type and ordering something ridiculously complicated and likely impossible for the barista to produce. Following that, we were to make a big scene about how the lame coffee shop couldn’t provide us with the oddly-named drink we requested. We opted to tone this one down as well, and decided to assign a letter of the alphabet to each player, then have that players order something beginning with that letter. It might sound lame, but the whole point of the game is to have fun, and we did that, so there.

The premise of the game is interesting. I mean, I can see when something like this would come in handy. That having been said, you mileage may vary, depending on your group of friends and what you choose to undertake. The quests can result in some undeniably immature behavior, but any game can bring that out in its players, so that’s not unexpected. Just make sure you’re having fun; that’s the point. The creators of the game are obviously not responsible for what you decide to do when presented with a quest, so if your fun crosses legal lines in your particular municipality, then that’s on you.

For the audio of my time playing Morton’s List, click this long string of text, here.

If you are so moved to find out more about the game, then head over to their website:

[tags]games, rpg, rpgs, role playing games, convention, Origins[/tags]

6 thoughts on “Origins 2010 Expanded Coverage: Morton’s List

Add yours

  1. Wow, I remember when Morton’s List first came out years ago — yeah, a Gen Con sounds familiar — and the distributors were afraid to carry it due to liability over “the game told me to do something stupid.” (Some of the quests in the book were plainly illegal.) They loved being “banned from Gen Con” if I recall.

    It seems the idea would make a great mobile app, like a a FourSquare or a Gowalla. Did they mention anything along those lines for this new version?


  2. @Nundhal All I did was buy a an Olympus 6000-series voice recorder a few months ago and set it on the table. When we got up and left, I carried it in my hand.

    That little recorder has impressed me on multiple occasions.


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