I finally got to play a game of Monster of the Week. It was the revised edition from Evil Hat and I was playing the Spell Slinger. The other Characters were an Expert and a Constructed.
During the game, both of the other characters were throwing around the Use Magic move a lot. In some cases, I thought it was justified, and even cool:
- Our constructed robot uses magic to try to peer into a closed room via the power outlet outside the door
- Our Expert uses his magical walking stick to keep a monster out of our room
But the questions started to pile up for me:
- Why would a character with a high Weird ever do anything but hurl magic around?
- What's so great about being the wizard when everyone can do it? Why did I bother taking walls of fire and lighting as core playbook moves?
I began to think that maybe we were running into a disconnect - the way I misapplied "Hack and Slash" as "attack" when I first ran Dungeon World, making PCs roll to hit when they weren't actually in melee.
It seemed to me that had I been running MotW as a Buffy-verse game, I would have put more fictional requirements on the move - it's Use magic not cast spell - so there has to be some kind of magic already present to be used.
My question is this:
Is there an implied requirement for special or explicit access in the fiction to a magical asset in order for the move to trigger?
What I mean is - the Spell Slinger is a Dresden-esque wizard - he provides access to his own magic, that's his thing. But the Expert? Should he have to have a book, an artifact, a place of power to trigger the move? And the Constructed - I can see a playbook move that says basically, "When you use technology to accomplish something outside of it's usual function, attempt it as with Use Magic" but otherwise - how does the robot cast spells?
If there were a Spout Lore analogue for MotW, I would think that a successful "memory" of a ritual, symbol, etc., could totally give the Expert that fictional access - but I didn't see one. Is it the Expert's Dark History move?
I'm more concerned about the principle of the game - how is the Use Magic move intended to be used? - than in any specific setting. Take what you know about the gestalt urban fantasy - Buffy / WoD / Supernatural / Dresden Files and assume that as your default setting.
Basically - I want help understanding Use Magic (and hey, if you can shed some light on Big Magic go ahead) in MotW.