Tonight’s sushi buddy is a weasel!
On my origami tour of the Campaign podcast, the next stop is Leenik, the Rodian who wears an eyepatch and wigs. If the Rodian of your choice in the Star Wars universe doesn’t happen to wear an eyepatch or sport a wig, just mirror the instructions for the left eye on the right, and tuck away the flap at the end that gets used for the Clark Kent curl.
I recently decided that it was about time I start learning how to “properly” diagram the models I present here. After a bit of searching, I ended up coming across several great resources.
Robert Lang’s Origami Diagramming Conventions. Robert Lang is a prolific designer, and is in fact one of my favorite creators in the space. He’s one of a handful of designers I can name off the top of my head, and has written some very insightful, thorough pieces on the art, and the science, of origami. The conventions presented in the article are, as you’d expect, some of the best around, and clearly detail best practices and the reasons behind them.
That’s a great starting place, and you can see bits of the conventions in my hand-drawn diagrams, though they’re a VERY long way from polished.
That said, to make professional-looking computer diagrammed instructions, you need software. I’m not crazy enough to try doing it in MS Paint, and I had a feeling that GIMP might not be the right tool for the job.
After asking around a bit, several people recommended checking out Inkscape, another free drawing tool. Almost immediately, I was able to find a YouTube series that details the basics of origami diagramming using Inkscape and I’m off to the races.
At current, I expect the steps for something like the simple bases (waterbomb, fish, bird, etc) to take several hours each to complete, but most pieces will one of those, or something very close, so I should be able to reuse much of that work over and over again.
I’m anticipating roughly 4-12 hours of diagramming per model, if not more, so I’ll be judicious about which ones I decide to spend the time to do.
Sometimes models are born out of silly conversations on Twitter! Kalum, of the Rolistes podcast, and I were talking about origami models and the T-16 came up. Fast forward a bit and here we go:
The Y-Wing presents a challenge because of the long flaps needed for the engines. Using a square to get the longest flaps means using opposite corners, leaving the folder with two very long flaps opposite each other for the body. Using the entire square ended up producing an unsatisfactorily thick model.
In the end, I simply divided the square in half into a right triangle. That provides the single point for the body and two for the engines/wings.
The result is recognizable but still inelegant. The body is still thick compared to the engines, and the shaping of the body makes it want to curl upward.
My next thought is to try a pair of rectangles, interlocked with a few locking folds into a T-shape. My default for rectangles is usually US Dollars. The linen material makes them easy to use for multiple doodles.
This is actually a relatively straightforward design challenge. You need a pair of long flaps for the bottom and top/cockpit and a pair of short flaps for the side wings. In this case, that means the classic Fish Base. It uses an open sink to narrow the flaps, then proceeds about the business of styling them into the recognizable bits.
One of my favorite things to do when going out for sushi is to make something fun from the inevitable chopstick wrapper. This evening I went for a scorpion, eschewing my usual rule against cutting/tearing. For a very long time, I stuck to notions of “pure” origami being a single uncut square. Then I got over myself. I still prefer an uncut square, but really, sometimes it just makes sense to make the most of the material you’ve got.
One of the benefits of having awesome game designer friends is getting to meet their other awesome game designer friends. I met Rich Howard online via listening to his podcast, Whelmed: The Young Justice Files then interacting with him on Twitter. He’s a fantastic person all around, and we’re now half of the team working on Descent into Midnight.
At his birthday party, I ended up meeting J.M. Perkins, a game designer currently working on the fantastic Salt in Wounds campaign setting, which blew away its Kickstarter funding goals, raising eleven times its funding goal.
J.M. and I got to talking about our gaming projects, and I mentioned that my passion and experience, while spanning many different arts, crafts, and game styles, has centered mostly around origami since I was about five years old. I was bemoaning the fact that putting origami and gaming together was difficult, because of the restrictions it places on the players in terms of setup time (even simple models can take a few minutes to fold), skill set (not everyone knows how to fold more than a paper airplane), and complexity (if you’re going to use folding or unfolding as a resolution mechanic, you have a limited number of actions you can resolve before the paper simply begins to tear at the creases, or becomes so thick as to become unworkable).
Fast forward an hour or so. J.M. has come up with an amazing title “Paper Talisman” and the basic outline of an evocative setting that brings together a bunch of the ideas that had been floating around separately in my head. If you ever get the chance to hang out and talk with J.M., by all means do so. I’m pretty sure I sat there with my mouth hanging open for at least five minutes of the conversation, looking back and forth between him and Rich in awe at the way everything was coming together.
So… without further ado, here’s the beginnings of Paper Talisman. The bits in bold still need to be worked out, but you can clearly see the direction the game is going.
You are 13 years old. You are the among the brightest and the best of the survivors of the magical apocalypse. Today is the day you venture out into the wastes to gather the McGuffin. If you wait any longer, the potential will leave you as your body changes and you become an adult like the others. You have been prepared, but what will you sacrifice to bring back what is needed?
One person plays the GM, and will be the person responsible for presenting the players with challenges. Each other player will decide the mantra, secret, oath, hope, or bond you will imbue their Paper Talisman with. Write it down somewhere other than on the paper you will use to fold the model, or simply memorize it.
Fold an origami model (need to playtest various models for complexity). As you make each fold, whisper the mantra into your talisman.
Once the model is complete, it is your Paper Talisman. It represents your youth, your potential, and your journey toward adulthood. It also represents your ability to change the world around you.
As you progress through the adventure, you can sacrifice the integrity of your Paper Talisman to accomplish great things, or avoid great harm, but there is a price.
Minor feats require temporary sacrifice. To perform a minor feat, unfold a portion of the model. If you stop to recuperate and open up to one of your companions, and they open up to you, you can refold it to become whole again.
Major feats require permanent sacrifice. The GM will tell you how you must sacrifice a portion of your Paper Talisman. Dip it in ink, burn it, cut it, tear it, eat it, etc. This should be an irreversible harm done to your Paper Talisman. The degree and method of destruction should be indicative of what’s happening in the narrative if possible, practical, and safe.
You are a young teenager trained to face the dangers of the wastes. So are your companions. Most obstacles should be overcome by a minor feat. But there are many threats no one could truly be prepared for. These are the things that will require major feats to defeat.
Aside from the inherent dangers of a land ravaged by the magical apocalypse, there are The Lost. The Lost are the young people who went out, just like you, but never came back, twisted by the dark energies in the wastes before they could return. They are a fearsome enemy. But they are not the most fearsome creatures outside the village. Their broken and twisted Talismans are horrors beyond imagining, and wild stories are told of the forms they take.
If you make it back alive without the McGuffin, you have doomed yourself and your people to a slow death. If you make it back with the McGuffin, you have ensured the survival of your people for another year, but at what cost?