Rest
Time passing as the Object waits between Agents.

Definition

Objects are not in continuous, unbroken use. There is invariably some period of downtime between Agents. This is Rest.
  • During a Rest, the Object is inert.
  • To represent Rest in the game, players are asked to wait in silence for a time proportional to the Object's wait.
    • This is usually in the range of seconds to a few minutes, but it might represent years or centuries of time passing for the Object.
    • The player chooses how much time the Object will Rest.
  • As part of a longer Rest, players may be asked to choose a prompt about the passing of time.
    • This is chosen from one of two Tables: one about how the passage of time affects the Object and one about how the world around the Object changes.
    • After choosing a prompt, the player is asked to Change something about their Object.
    • The longest periods might ask players to choose multiple times from the Tables
  • Atmospheric music can be provided to listen to instead of silence.

Intention

While there is little to focus on in the Rest periods between Agents, making space for it mechanically helps to solidify that we're experiencing this story from the perspective of the Object. Whether it is reflective, meditative or boring, we get some small window into the experience of the Object during its long wait.
It also gives the idle minds of the players some space to look backwards & forwards to contemplate the shape of their story, which can be hard to make time for when writing continuously.
Finally, it's nice sometimes to have an excuse to sit quietly!

Example

In Artefact, players Rest after resolving each Keeper (Agent).
When they Rest, they choose from six periods of time to wait for. They might choose A Century, which would have the player Rest for two minutes in. A soundtrack is provided to (optionally) listen to during the Rest. They would also choose one prompt from a Table for this time period.
If they want to explore the world changing around them, they would choose from Shifts & Currents, e.g.:
  • Your name passes into common speech as a phrase, with a meaning somehow connected to your history. What is the expression and what does it come to mean?
Or, if they instead want to explore more direct consequences of time passing, they would choose from Dust & Rust, e.g.:
  • Gold and silver dull. Iron rusts. Colours fade to a sepulchral grey. What would your creator say if they saw you now?

Advice

Providing music is optional, and not always feasible, but it's a really valuable addition to the game if possible. Most people seem to find it much easier to listen to a song, however sparse the arrangement, than sit in silence. If you're able to provide original compositions, the tracks should match the periods a player could be asked to Rest and can be named as such (e.g. 'A Century', a piece of music two minutes long). Otherwise, providing an appropriate playlist of songs to stream, or even just suggested genres, is fine.
Artefact tends towards decline as a theme during Rests, and the Tables reflect this. This is not the only way to consider time passing though—you might want to show how technology develops or society flourishes with utopian ideals. In general, though, it's interesting if the changes that occur during a Rest are out of step in some way with the Object — it is becoming outdated, incomprehensible, taboo, etc.
Finally, it might be worth recognising explicitly that meditation is hard, and can be a difficult or isolating experience. This is also touched on in Safety.
Last modified 3mo ago
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