I have run MG twice. The first time was a one-shot with a group of people who all knew each other fairly well, and we had a blast. There was all kinds of table chatter and color and cool in-character speak.
The second time was last week, and was the first session of an ongoing game. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t the great game I had hoped. It was with a group of people who mostly didn’t know each other, and there wasn’t a lot of talk amongst the group, table chatter, or in-character speak, cool or otherwise. Like I said, we didn’t mention character’s names at all during the session. Now I know, some of the onus is on me as GM. But part of the reason that first game went so awesomely is that the players were fantastic and really brung their game to the table.
How, as GM, can I help my players to play hard and not just wait for me to give them the Ob and then roll? Maybe it’s just the first session, and maybe it’s that we don’t know each other too well. I could be over-analyzing, but this is my worry right now when it comes to the game going well long-term.
Ah shit, maybe I should just kick them square in their Beliefs, Goals, and Instincts.
But also: Make sure everyone gets there a bit early. Make some snacks together. Chat before the game. About the game, sure, but also about a movie you saw or whatever else. It’s weird sitting down to game with people you don’t even know… Break the ice a little and you’ll have an easier time with the game.
One of the best ways to get people to RP is to RP yourself. Animal and Mice obstacles are useful for this. You can describe the animal’s actions. You can use the animal to really get in their faces – “The raven swoops down, looks at you cock-eyed and then makes a grab for the mail bag!”
Mice can be used even more descriptively. You can roleplay out conversations and use them to engage players. Nothing gets players into the game better than an impassioned plea from a dubious NPC.
Weather and Wilderness obstacles are much harder to use to engage Beliefs and encourage players roleplay.