So I was just thinking about GMing, and how each game teaches you a little something. Here's three things I picked up from Countess of Fire:
1. NPCs need Beliefs, Instincts, and Traits too. For awhile I had difficulty figuring out what the Countess of Fire wanted, until I started writing mini goals for each session and reading them out to the players. These Beliefs should be explosive enough to make the player want to write Beliefs that contradict what you've written.Make the conflict boil right there in the Beliefs-writing stage, and then make your NPCs go after them with all the fiery passion of Hell. If you did your job right you've made a bunch of Beliefs that you think would be interesting for a bad guy to chase after, and your players made Beliefs they want the heroes to chase after, and these two sides will combine in a roaring conflagration.
When in doubt, make it personal, offensive, and downright evil to the player. You can't go wrong there.
2. When in doubt kick the players. Hard. At every last second you, the GM, are the opposition. It's your job to make the players sweat and bleed for their Beliefs. Is there smoke? Make everyone get +1 Ob for it. Is the your target next to a tree and you're swinging a sword at him? Give him a +1 ob so that way he doesn't hit the tree. Make it difficult, make it hard, because if you don't they, the players, won't get everything they can outta the system.
3. Make their failures trigger Beliefs and Instincts. "Oh, did you fail that Orienteering roll? *Evil chuckle* Your evil twin brother that you hate so much, but totally outmatches you, is now here. And he wants to 'talk'". Does your character have an Instinct about never accepting an insult? Make sure you insult him, and then sit back and see what happens. Even the cautionary Instincts, like daggers in boots and such, can get mileage, cause you can take away their gear and have them not notice it as consequences of the failure. Oh, and just cause one player failed doesn't mean you can't jump on another character's Beliefs and Instincts instead. In fact, it might be better that way, because then the other guy will wanna help out!