#RPGaDAY2020 day 13 ~ Rest

Jazz musicians often say cryptic things like “how you play the rests is just as important as how you play the notes.”

Truth be told, the space in between notes is an important and dramatic part of music. Along with dynamics, (changes in volume) the interplay between notes and rests creates a good potion of the “feel” of a musical piece.

In RPGs, a good part of the fun is the building and resolution of tension. This can be orchestrated, it can be the product of mindful play, or it can happen as the result of events naturally coming to a head.

Two the the things that can kill that satisfying feel of tension and release are rolling too much, (never resting in application of the system as a random effect rather than using it as a guideline for comparison in less important moments), and never letting up on the action for a moment. Rolling all the time can become like a cacophony of notes where none stand out. When everything is important, nothing is.

Now certainly there are genres where the point is to never let up on the action, and to never give the characters a moment’s rest, keeping them perpetually off balance. That said, the effect of never taking a rest from the drama and pressure can be the same as rolling all the time. Nothing seems special or important.

So remember kids, get your rest, but don’t get complacent.

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