I love the idea of playing fall of magic. I love the simplicity. I love the beautiful map and box and I love the tokens. I love how easy it is to start and to introduce new people to the game.
I love emergent character creation and emergent story, with just enough focus to get going and keep you on track.
What I cannot handle so well is the unstructured freeform of the scenes.
I would say that about 1/3 of the time we have trouble focusing, introducing credible opposition (because we know we can just solve it narratively?) and in general we linger on too long in the scenes.
Another problem is the nature of the Magus… either someone goes in too strong, defining too much too early… or we are all so respectful that we tiptoe around the issue and the Magus never gets really defined…
The game itself assigns the definition and resolution of a scene to a single player, encouraging cooperation and player input, but giving ultimate decision power to that player. This allows to overlay any kind of procedure or system to the scene without technically even “hacking” the system
So the question is: how would you add more punch to the scenes?
It could be a matter of somehow forcing shorter scenes, maybe banning in-character talk and telling the story in past-tense and third person to encourage some faster less detailed narration.
Maybe all you need to do is to add cards with dangling questions, characters and mysteries from previous scenes.
Maybe the author of the scene can decide to play in-character and ask all the other players to act as GMs of that scene (Wizard’s Grimoire style).
Maybe whenever you want to introduce a danger you should use a procedure such as “Think of an immediate and present danger threatening the life or possession of at least one character. Define the threat in such a way that even in your secret heart the character cannot escape the danger with the resources at hand. Leave it to the other players to come up with a solution”
So, how would you go about it?