First playtest session!
So, I've playtested Eternal Prometheus for the first time! First, a brief introduction to the game if you haven't read it yet (go and buy it or grab a community copy!):
[Briefly, Eternal Promethei's a game where we play the quest of Promethea to steal the fire from the gods and give it to mortals. In it, Prometheus is played by a single player and would be the only PC, while the rest of the players are the Moiras, sort of GMs that set up challenges, ask questions and judge Promethea. There's no conflict resolution during challenges: Promethei just narrates how they overcomes it, while Moiras insert twists and ask questions, and after that Moiras vote virtues and flaws in Promethea's performance. When 2 Moiras vote the same thing in a single round, Prometheus grabs coins for either one of the virtue pools, or for the doom pool. After the final challenge, we roll virtues against doom pools to find out how does the story end for Promethei]
Now I'm jumping to some notes I've gathered after the session:
- A player dropped out of the session shortly before playing, so we got to be only 3, which I discovered isn't the ideal setup for this game: 2 moiras need to vote the same sin for the doom pool to grow, so with only 2 of them, all moiras should vote equally. Still, interestingly, in 2 challenges we (I played as a moira) voted the same sin, so perhaps there's an emergent property that makes players' votes attune. Still, I don't want there to be any chance the game ends with an empty Doom pool, so I'll have to fix that.
- The first challenge was the hardest, as the collective vision of how the setting is and how's the game supposed to work isn't yet fully formed, so it was kind of messy the first minutes, but we gained an understanding early on, and by the second challenge things ran pretty smooth. Last challenge was actually pretty easy to make up. My take on this is that perhaps moiras will need extra guidance for the first challenge. Perhaps more story cues for inspiration.
- We didn't use that much the challenge ideas, but did use some of the unexpected and question ideas, which seem to be useful. I might still keep the challenge ideas, as inspiration for the facilitator or if the leading moira doesn't know how to start a scene.
- Prometheus' player, Mauro, told me his role felt the most demanding one, and requiring a bit of creativity. He also told me he felt at first unsure about his narration role and boundaries, and I discovered, during play, that Promethea's role feels more GM-ish than moiras', which at most get to interrupt, ask questions, and set the scene. So in a future version I'll try to state clearly how's Promethei's player supposed to narrate.
- Heli, the other Moira, hadn't GMed before, and told me his role was interesting and fun, since he could just be cruel and mean to Prometheus, knowing the player in response could narrate just whatever he wanted.
- Overall, both players told me the shift in focus from conflict to a predestined path allowed them to showcase other aspects from Promethea and the situation, other than the logistics and minutiae of problem solving. They got to inspect Promethei's flaws and motivations instead, and this shift also helped showcase a path already determined by fate.
- In the aftermath, Promethea got to unlock 2 of the 3 "good" endings, which feels about right, mechanically. I was a bit worried about the math behind that, but for 3 players it seems to work fine. It might not scale properly for 5 players, though, I'll need to check that.
- I specifically asked Prometheus' player if he felt a bit of antagonism having the moiras vote the sins he displayed during challenges, but surprisingly Mauro said he felt that the moiras' vote worked for identifying what about his performance could be further explored and interested them. It's an interesting take on the mechanic I hadn't considered.
Overall, I'm quite happy about how the session, although I know my presence as a facilitator might have skewed the results. I've gathered a few notes towards a new version of the game, though I'd first like to play it with the standard set of 4 players.
Also, it's quite a huge step to have tested a published game for the first time. It's nice to actually play what you've written, to pull stuff out of the world of ideas and see what works and doesn't.
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