I ran my first MotW game last night (and actually my first RPG since mumbledy years ago when I was in college) and it went great!!!
first off a HUGE thank you to Mark Tygart for all the mysteries you have posted on your site. I was able to take the bones of your La Lorona mystery and throw the skin of a local ghost story on top and it made a wonderful first game! My players especially appreciated the fact that the mystery was based on an actual historical ghost story in our area AND an actual type of ghost instead of just some random thing.
Both of my players last night were seasoned RPrs, but this was their first time with a PbtA type game. they both agreed that they loved the simplicity and how fun it was to play and how easy it made it to stay in character and just play the mystery. Although one commented that knowing that a failed roll meant experience made them really want to just keep doing things that required rolls, so I’ll have to research more on how to handle that. (any advice?)
I read and re-read the keeper sections of the book and listened to a ton of actual play podcasts of the game and stuff about PbtA games in general (thank you +1 Forward, The Critshow, and Adventure Zone: Amnesty) which was a good thing because my players were awesome and we were able to keep the action going and the story moving and since I had prepared so much I didn’t have to stop a lot to read rules or choose moves to use on my players.
Mystery wise I feel like I was both over and under prepared: I had a lot more plotted out and planned for my mystery than I really needed, but I also found that my players kept wandering into situations that I hadn’t really expected or planned for, but I found that the game gave me a lot of tools to be able to handle them and improve seamlessly into the story and it was a lot of fun. Funnily enough when I was putting together the timeline for the mystery I found myself thinking about just skipping that step because it didn’t really seem all that useful, but then I found in game that it was super handy to know when and what order everything was going to happen and be able to hint and what was to come if the task wasn’t taken care of right away.
Also, as a keeper I feel like I liked my players a bit too much; thinking back I think I was a bit too easy on them. One player had A LOT of failed rolls and a lot of 7-9’s and I probably should have hurt her character or made things a lot more difficult for her than I did, but I was enjoying her character so much that I just couldn’t make myself. I will have to work on that in the future. Even with a monster that couldn’t do a lot of direct damage I feel like things could have been a bit more scary and dire for them, but I was also afraid of being to hard on them and scaring them away from the system. I’ll have to work on finding a better balance.
Most fun part of the night: one of my players was playing the Flake and kept introducing themselves as “Reverend” when asked by the other character, they explained that they had gotten themselves ordained online because it seemed like it would be more handy when interaction with people and getting information to be able to legitimately introduce themselves as a reverend – people were more likely to open up to a religious authority figure. Then later that night when the team realized that they needed magical weapons to defeat the monster and all they had brought were guns and a butterfly knife. Light bulb moment and a miraculous perfect 12 Use Magic roll later, cue an end of From Dusk til Dawn type montage sequence of them blessing all the weapons and ammo. (sadly it didn’t help the other character who had lost all of her luck by the end of the confrontation when a missed attack roll went right through the ghost and into her shoulder, ah well)
thank you so much to Michael Sands for making such a amazing and fun game!