I actually had a fairly good time this weekend. The Sepia Throne game ended up going in a completely different direction than I originally planned. On the other hand, we actually advanced three of the character-specific subplots and got some progress on the primary arc plot.
We also has a round of social combat which I wasn't really expecting, but already had statistics for the key people on my side. Of course, it did point out that the social combat in Exalted is... rough in places. When do you stop the in-character roleplaying to do the role playing? Whenever we did a "make a roll" point, it seemed to interrupt things, which didn't feel right. Of course, we were also learning the rules, since social is just different enough that some of the rules feel wrong.
In the interrogation of three people, two had no clue what was going on, and the third knew a lot more. I ended up doing more mechanics on the know-it-all but for the other two... well, I guess I could have kept making rolls, but numerically they would have failed. Having 3 dice in an influence roll, no ability to flee, MDV 4, they would hit the willpower limit in two rounds flat. So, instead of dragging that part out, I had them make a conviction check (one did well, one botched), so I had the botcher spill his guts because he didn't want to get hurt. It seemed mostly right, but I wonder if I did it right if the first one was rolls and the other two "spilled their guts" as it were. I did make a point of saying that grunts #1 and 2 didn't know as much.
It was also one of my first attempts at creating an "intelligent" bad guy. I know one of the things I have trouble with is creating really intelligent people to attack the players. Mainly because I don't think I'm that intelligent, not compared to some of the group.
I also the players playing their opponents when the party split, it kept almost everyone busy during the split. I think that idea worked out pretty well, though I saw a few things that need to be figured out ahead of time. One is a little sheet on the NPC's motives and guidelines. That's harder because I know some of my players don't have a concept of out-of-character (OOC) knowledge. Most of them are pretty good about OOC (I assume Bodhi and SP are, it never came up).
I also need guidelines on what decisions can be made on the behalf of the ST concerning player-ran NPC's. I got a bit of resistance when I was interrupting decisions because I was trying to fit with the OOC knowledge of the NPC, but the player didn't know. True, the player didn't know, but I think I'll need guidelines or rules to say that "I'm in charge of them." Otherwise, I'll have to run them.
Related to that, 1 on 7 in Exalted doesn't work. The 5 on 7 worked out better, but when its 7 players against 5 grunts, it was a speed bump more than anything else. In the one case where one of the guys tried to get away, they couldn't. There was no way to escape when you have three people chasing you and you don't have Charms. There also really isn't good rules for "holding action" so I need to figure out something. The Guard action implies you can, but by the time you stop your guard, the action has already passed.
Well, part of being a storyteller is reflecting on what I should do next time. I plan on doing that.