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How’s that for pretty?  That’s off of the Magpie Games’s site, and used without permission.  Sorry!

OLBH (pronounced “Ol’ Beh” if you want to pronounce it in your head while you’re reading this) is a smaller book that can fit into a cargo pants’ hip pocket.  It has 130 or so pages with large print and minimalistic art (shadow people, like the person in the pretty picture above).  It’s a pretty quick read and has plenty of examples so it’s easy to get the rules down and get a game going in no time.  As a matter of fact, with the random tables, you don’t even have to think of a Threat or any Complications, you can have the book do that for you and just get going!

Of the three Missions in the book, I naturally gravitated (oooo, unintentional pun!) towards the Space Mission.  The other two options are Zombie Apocalypse or Snow Mission.  I love me some The Thing, but I wasn’t feeling Snow Mission.  Though now that I think about it, it probably could easily be adapted to a Mars settlement.  What’s Mars except a really really cold desert?  I mean, except for the unbreathable atmosphere?

AAANNNYYYWAY

Back to what I actually did.  So after picking the Mission, what was the Crisis?  Obviously the asteroid hitting the planet is cliche, but realistic and plausible.  I changed it around a bit to make it possibly of alien origin, just in case one of the other (non-existent) players want to introduce a bit of sci-fi into the mix.  Next, I had to pick what our limitation was.  Why were we four people (the game can play from 3-5, with 4 being ideal) the ONLY people who could save the world?  I actually rolled this one, and got Experimental Spaceship.  So the ship itself is a one-of-a-kind.  If it blows up, there’s no time to build another.  Then what’s the Plan?  Blow it up?  Eh, that’s what always happens.  Let’s just move the thing.  How?  Rockets.  Sure.  Oh wait, how about old NUCLEAR rockets!  Now that would make things interesting!

And now I have a game.

So character creation is a snap, for each of the four roles (Soldier, Engineer, Scientist and Doctor) you come up with the following information:

  • What you brought with you (a touchstone from Earth)
  • What you left behind
  • Which character on board keeps you sane?
  • Which character on board drives you crazy?
  • What secret would your character not have revealed to the rest of the team?
  • What fear does your character have that is likely to come up during the mission?

I decided to take on the role of the Scientist and made up all these things myself.

  • A signed copy of Carl Sagan’s “Contact”
  • Allegations of Professional Misconduct
  • Shirley Van Housen
  • Jessica Barnez
  • Wants to only push the Orb into Orbit to study it.
  • Of Being Alone out here.

The other three characters I made by rolling randomly on the Mythic charts for complex questions.  I got a whole lot of different answers, some more interesting than others.  Hopefully you’ll find them out during play, because bringing these facts/items up gains the players Story Points, which are used to survive all the Threats that will be coming up throughout play.  Ultimately those will be used to add dice to The Plan and at the end of Act II those dice will be rolled against the Threat, and we’ll see whether The Plan works.

Yes, a roleplaying game with a win condition.  Strange, but it REALLY gives you a reason to get those facts out and quickly to get those story points, and each die roll becomes, often literally, life and death, adding to the excitement of the game.

This post has been awfully dry and about setup, so I think I’ll stop there and start the game and just go with Scene I in the next post and see if you’ll pick it up as I go.

I hope you’ll root for our rag-tag group of Heroes.  Remember, the fate of the planet is in their hands.

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Hey, there’s an expansion, too!  More missions! Hacks! WOO!

It all began with an argument

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