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Our Last Best Hope – An Old One Awakens

olbh_frontcover-200pxLast night, my newly-budding Thursday night game group played our inaugural game, Our Last Best Hope. We picked “Giant Monster” as the scenario, and chose to set it in modern-day Las Vegas, but a Las Vegas with a touch of World of Darkness to it (one of the players wanted to be a werewolf). We chose “A dread Old One awakens and rampages the city” as our scenario, and our complication was that, killing the monster would result in the death of millions of people. Thus, we determined to lure it to Yucca Mountain and seal it within the vault there.

Interestingly, our scenes never really moved us far towards the actual threat– a lot of our scenes were of the “talking head” variety. A note to self for future scenes– encourage something to be happening in a scene.

Mechanics: My post-mortem is that, mechanically, I still don’t fully understand how to play/run Our Last Best Hope. For example, I kept needing reminders about how to calculate effects from the dice (high dice pool minus low dice pool, divided by 5, round up). I needed to consult the book to remember to pay 3 story points to bank a white 6. I needed to remember to give 2 story points for banking black 6’s. And so on. The big rolls at the end of Acts 1 and 2 were especially difficult. Act 1 less so, because we understood the “banking dice to the pool” mechanic. Act 2 was much more so, due to very difficult nature of the final roll.

I didn’t find rules for what happens when your last hero dies during the last threat scene, before the final Act 2 die roll. We decided to roll for the end crisis anyway, and got a failure (no surprise), with an outcome that left it open for a sequel.

Narrative: Within the game group, we had a shy new player, which was difficult. She does not have the “hang” of role-playing yet, so a lot of her interactions were very reserved and, well, shy. She explained the setup of the scene, but then wanted to close the scene without actually playing it out. There were enough scenes and threats like this that, by the end, we were just “telling,” not “showing.”

I’m hoping that, over time, we’ll be able to get her to role-play more and come out of her shell. I also think it’ll be easier when we have more players in the group (we were down by one last night.)

Conclusion: I still love this game, but I need to simplify it more so when I introduce it to new people, I can run it so smoothly, they think it’s easy. Also, I need to find ways to engage our new player in role-playing. Although she wants to learn D&D, I want to continue to encourage more story-oriented games for a while, to give her a foundation of “story before mechanics.”

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