When it comes to being dramatic in tabletop roleplaying, I part ways with a lot of people. Some people advocate for turning everything up to 11. Be as crazy and over-the-top as possible. Push the limits. Go bigger, get wilder, take things to the furthest possible extreme.
I’m not against it. The problem is that it’s hard to sustain. When you start off at that crazy peak, there’s nowhere left to go. No emotional beats to play with. It can be exhausting, and eventually it actually starts to get boring.
There’s a reason that most stories aren’t structures this way. Not novels, not films, not even comic books or video games. You need tension. That requires rising action, starting small and building up to the ridiculous extreme. It means shifting the pace, slowing down once in a while so the audience can breathe. People need a moment now and again to process. Dramatic doesn’t have to be bombastic. Sometimes, it works best when it’s quiet and small.
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Take Things to the Furthest Possible Extreme
RPGaDay is an annual event held each August. It asks tabletop gamers to use provided daily prompts to express something fun, interesting, and positive about the hobby. David F. Chapman (Autocratik), the award-winning game designer, created it.
About Dancing Lights Press
Dancing Lights Press is a lo-fi publisher of tabletop roleplaying systems and system-agnostic creative aids, including the best selling Building series, the DoubleZero action thriller system, and Hippogryph, a fantasy story game system with traditional roots. Our products embrace a minimalist aesthetic in design and presentation because roleplaying is an activity, not a collection of expensive rulebooks.