Fastaval 2015 – Hope was the last thing in the box

12 apr

A spring-weekend I was in summerhouse when my phone rang. I couldn’t hear much due to the bad reception, but what I could hear, was a request if I would run another scenario at Fastaval. Due to the communication difficulties, it had to be a short discussion, so I said yes.

When I finally, the day before Fastaval, had a chance to look at the scenarios, I kind of wished I had asked about the length or at least had looked at it earlier, because 65 pages can feel like a marathon. Luckily it was interesting to read. I had never before heard about Terry Fox and as a running enthusiast, it was a fascinating story for me. But the fear was lurking in the back of my head: can I manage to prepare it properly.

The next day, when I had arrived at Fastaval, I was quick to ask if the prints had come. They hadn’t. I often went to the Info to ask for them, but the prints weren’t there. So it came clear that I wouldn’t have the chance to underline passages, making some notes for myself. And I could really have needed the notes. I had difficulties figuring out which parts I was supposed to read aloud and which ones were only GM-notes.

But the GM-briefing helped a bit and there we got the prints. All players showed up and we divided them into groups.

My group consisted or less familiar faces from previous years. I started by telling the background of the story, a little bit of warm up and asking them about their preferences regarding role-types and table vs no table.

To sum up the story: many years ago a guy named Terry Fox got his leg amputated because of cancer. He wasn’t satisfied with the treatment cancer-patients got, so to raise awareness, he decided to run from Canada’s East coast to its West coast on his artificial leg, a run getting known as The Marathon of Hope. He came little more than halfway, but died. He had become famous and many Canadians remember when they saw him. Many years later, in 2014, the characters found the artificial leg in a box at their work. They decided to take it as a sign that they should finish the run with Terry’s leg. All of them had their own struggles and their own individual reasons to run.

There were three types of scenes: 1. Running-scenes (/guided meditation), 2. Conflict scenes (where some of the characters’ issues could be triggered) and 3. Choice scenes (where the characters faced a dilemma).

For the running scenes, it was up to us whether we wanted to actually run or to sit at the table. Based on the player-group, I decided that we should run. For the conflict scenes, I might have been to eager to trigger the characters to create some dynamic. I admit it was not my best performance as GM, but the players seemed to have had an ok experience with the scenario.

It was a difficult scenario to run, especially when having had too short time to prepare, but I have heard groups that had a great experience with it. For my own preference I felt I had to talk too much as GM – I’m a very lazy GM, who likes to just facilitate the game and leaning back and just observing the players for most of the time. For me it would have been better with shorter introductions, shorter guided meditations (i.e. less GM talk) and the info about Canada in an appendix (making it possible to prepare the game in shorter time). But I find the story interesting and I like the idea. So for a group who likes telling epic stories, I think it can be a very good experience.

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