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(tMW) Demo-games at Fastaval

Started by pedyo, April 19, 2006, 02:50:48 AM

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At this year's Fastaval -, I demoed two games of The Mountain Witch as part of the Indie-RPG workshop. Both demos went great and at least two of the players are very interested in trying the game for real.

First demo:

I ran Timothy's demo pretty much as it's written. The game took an hour, however, since I opened the perspective a bit and told them about some of the larger aspects of the game such as chapters etc. I had four players, three of which were very active; the fourth felt so out of place.
There were a couple of significant events: right off the bat, the players took to the narration – I asked them to narrate a small thing they did or said as they looked up at Mt. Fuji, and everyone had some interesting things to share. At the end of this scene, no one could doubt that these ronin had secrets! But it was done very subtle. Most notably, one of the players automatically used author stance to let the other players know details about her ronin that the player characters couldn't possibly know.
But the best part of the day came, when one player asked if he could use his "Unholy Lore" to test if he knew anything he could use against the tengu he was facing. We rolled dice and he got a success (I think it was a critical, but I'm not sure). He then looked at me, clearly expecting me to look up the monster in the book and tell him some details. But when I asked HIM to narrate, he got this weird expression – a mix between abject horror at not knowing what to say and pure bliss at the thought of the extreme freedom and co-authoring of The Mountain Witch. I could hardly keep my arms down. This was THE best moment playing tMW yet!

Second demo:

Two of the players from the first demo wanted more – so I ran a couple of disjointed scenes with them and one player more. Here, the most significant moment came, when all three players co-narrated their fight with ghosts of other ronin who had failed at the quest of killing the witch. The resulting fight was tense but also very funny and we all had our equal share in it – very good. At this point I was very tired and had to go to a meeting, so I had to stop the game even though they asked me to continue – all three wanted this to be a "real" game – from start to finish. Instead, we talked about the possibility of playing a whole game sometime in the future. Cool.

Trust worked very well in both demos – not only were the players conscious of the thematic significance of spending Trust, they also clearly had fun adjusting the Trust and explaining why.

On a personal note, I learned to relax a bit more – I now know most rules by heart and having run some scenes twice now, I think I've got a better grasp of what works and what doesn't. We didn't have any big fights, and I'm still worried that these may drag down the game – but on the other hand, they seem necessary to give the players the right amount of resistance.

Can't wait to play more of this excellent game – and I can't wait for Timothy to post more clarifications ☺ We need more Bangs!!

All the best
Peter Dyring-Olsen