Risk and ConsequencesBoth dramatic and challenging occassions to roll very similar because of the Risk and Consequences. if you look at GURPS, the DMG's, or WOD or Fading Suns, etc... definition when to roll they focus on the scenarios. I wont dwell on this since most game systems say the same thing: TL:DR roll when its important.
What story are we trying to tell? Realism or Harsh realism doesnt mean rolling for every step until he crosses the street, but defining the realy decisive challenges in every problem. In order to focus on the real challenges, or the Drama, what can happen is that the "little Rolls" the GM rolls and decides what is more expedient and dramatic for the story. Rolls to Fast Draw, Stand up, trip, Spot a clue, etc... are left to the GM so that he can push the story forward... But thats only half of what is happening, players can speed things up with initiative - condensing actions and questions into their turn instead of waiting for feedback or permission.
Pacing and Logistics
There is a real logistical problem in Games when it comes to Dice Rolls. Rolling dice, counting, and zooming out to look at the big picture or zooming in to the details, all take time and effort. Ideally the GM spends most of his effort in the narration to build up drama and the dice is complimentary. When we narrow things to when it is dramatic it is easier for the GM, and creativity is the measure of success in the scene. Don't sweat the small stuff, unless wee are near the Climax of the Scene or the Story.
In ORP, DND and Fuzion or game systems that allow averages for the Defense Stat, what can happen is that the GM can just ASK the player to roll defenses and make attacks hit at an random and cyclical pace. You can apply it to GURPS or other Active Defense Game Systems as well, where in the attack doesn't really roll but Hit at an Unknown and fairly random pattern.
Ask for a Roll during a Focal Point
Sweating the small stuff can change the flavor or direction of the story in interesting ways. We want unpredictability when we try to predict the characters and players, and that's when we look at our dice rolls behind the screen and ask ourselves - is he not being challenged? Can his temperament take a few bad rolls? Can he creatively turn things around, in a scene that didn't go the way he planed?
We really do is measure the Players temperament and energy level. We gauge it, and as they get better and as we get better we throw more mishaps their way now and then to keep things interesting. What if she doesnt draw the weapon fast enough, how does he improvise?
Timer and the Player's Energy and Temperament Level - read them and see if they can take the challenge. If you have a GM tag team we have the advantage of having a better gauge of what they can do, and someone to think off other ways we can spin things based on their assessment of their improv-idea.
TL:DR roll during a Schelling Point.
SIFRP game by end of March
Since I'm GM-tag-teaming with Ziggy for SIFRP I'm excited to first dissect the Psychology of the Group and design the game for optimal Satisfaction, based on where they liked challenged.