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48

Maybe I'm treating the question as more specific than it needs to be, but in your example it appears to me as though player 1's agency is being denied. Twice she stated her action clearly, and yet somehow she failed to get the results of that action back from you. You don't have to wait until all players are agreed before allowing a player to act. Now, OK, ...


20

(Background: I am also a Christian, along with several of the people in my gaming group.) tl;dr -- The fictional god of your fictional world is not the God of our universe. Make the fictional god clearly distinct from our God. Figure out how much of what the party knows about that god is true. Define what you mean by "God" in your game world. Your game ...


16

When you ask your players what they're doing, formulate the question in such a way as to suggest an obvious course of action other than 'nothing' as the default. When you ask a question like "So, what do you do?" you're implying that in order to act, players must declare that they act. (Less charitably, you're assuming that the default behaviour of player ...


7

"Talking is a Free Action" is a well-known and commonly cited means of justifying actions like these, and there are really two different mindsets you can look at it with. Talking is a Freeing Action One viewpoint is that by planning or overplanning, you're actually getting better into character and more able to play your part well. Like running lines in a ...


7

God is a being central to all creation, whose will, mind, and power are absolute and unrivalled, and yet so subtle that His existence and intentions are subject to doubt. Use that to your advantage: Be vague. Your players are dealing with an incomprehensibly complex being; They can't really expect to understand the true depths of His psychology. That ...


7

Make the NPCs a vital part of the story. Earning Trust Perhaps the NPC is there for the PCs during tough times. Receiving a "get out of jail free card" once in a while from a prominent NPC can go a long way into the PCs caring. Also, increasing the amount of dialogue and feedback between the PCs and the NPCs also go a long way into developing a ...


7

Assess the Needs of Your Group Where play styles and player preferences are involved, there's no "one size fits all" solution. Some groups do just fine if you present them with a sandboxy environment to interact with in any way they choose. They'll strike out because they're naturally motivated to do so. Others don't, and it sounds like your group needs ...


5

Encourage your players to have goals Most often when a game gets bogged down like this, it's because there isn't a clear goal for the party to focus on. Your players will respond in their own ways, by arbitrarily aiming themselves at something, by focusing on some alternate point of interest that affects only themselves, or by checking out of the game ...


4

The key to both parts of your question is setting limits on the number of options. The lack of clear and effective limits is what causes the kind of Scooby-Doo chaos you describe, and the only way to fix it is to set and enforce such limits. As a GM, how can I design adventures to minimize these moments? Adventures which minimize stalls are adventures ...


4

Have the players develop party tacticals. "When we're outside, this is our marching formation, and this is what each person is doing." "This is our watch rotation. If someone is severely injured, they'll stay out, but otherwise it goes in this order... this is how we set up our camp and watch posts." "These are the spell buffs [if you have such things] ...


3

One option would be to back the "crunch" level down a notch. Even if flight is central to the characters and campaign (S&R, bush flying, or similar, I'd presume, if a C172 is in play as opposed to a T-38 Talon or similar), it should be reasonable to presume that icing conditions, IFR vs. VFR, and other considerations that affect real-life flight would ...


3

Don't represent God directly. My recommendation is that to avoid violating players' external expectations of God you should use custom characters that represent His interests and work as His hands, rather than Himself directly. And this should make sense to your players. This is the reason why there are archangels, saints, The Pope, the pastor of your ...


3

Non-Combat Turn Order I've used this idea a few times with my groups, either in situations like you described where everyone seems to have their own thing going on, or when I really need to know exactly what everyone is doing at that exact instance (cough Tomb of Horror cough). I find it helps keep things moving and prevents the group's antics from makes ...


3

Before the phat loot, players had to go to mayors and governors to beg them for quests so that they could get rewards. After they get rich, make them pay for that expedition to Magic Africa to get the sacred idol of who cares. Or magic items, or more money, or whatever they find (they may even not get their money back in more loot, but they could gain ...


3

Some really good answers here. One thing I'm surprised I don't see mentioned: You say a large portion of why the player is so cautious is a previous encounter that went poorly, so now when he sees something similar he runs. I might put the party in a situation where I'm sure that they'll want to run, but make it so that they can't. Either they're somehow ...


3

The out-of-print Twilight: 2013 handles modern combat remarkably well, with an excellent focus on the psychological aspects of it. There is even an underappreciated mechanic of push vs hold every turn: If both sides push, combat continues. If only one side pushes, they gain surprise/advantage. If both sides hold, then combat hits a lull. The pace then ...


2

Make sure your characters have a robust history, personality and goals This is hard, and you'll basically have to choose which NPCs to keep bringing up, or let your players choose (so to speak) by seeing who they go back to. Some systems encourage this, such as World of Darkness. The following are mechanics pulled from World of Darkness that appear to be ...


2

In addition to considering the things you can do to speed things along, you might want to consider the things that you should probably avoid. The bit that sticks out like a sore thumb for me is: GM: Okay, are you guys going into the forest? Player 1: I am, yeah. GM: Okay, but are you going alone? Is anyone else going? By asking the confirmation ...


1

It can be a reasonable consequence, if that's how the group wants to play. In some games, you are expected to respond in real time to some events (such as social interaction, pause too long and it looks like you are lying, for example). In some games, that's not true. That said, it sounds like the GM is like "Hey, I'd rather planning time eat up only X ...


1

You may get a few different answers to this question because of differing opinions on the matter. Here's mine. As a person who is usually a GM, I allow players as much time as they want to plan an action as long as that is what they are doing. If the party is being productive and actually role-playing a plan, they are doing what role playing was intended to ...


1

I think you're best just using the METAR data from the real world, after all that's what the PCs would be using. It's easily available via the web (I use skyvector.com to find stations) and if they move a long way quickly you can get the data from the new location much more quickly from a laptop or tablet than you could generate realistic weather with dice. ...


1

I read Joes answer and do not quite agree with his stand point. In my opinion separating the in-game God you create/represent in your Campaign from the individual perception of God of your players is hard or impossible. TLDR; I think superimposing an 'artificial' conception of God in a campaign is not going to resolve the issues players may have with that ...


1

Keeping the party together when each character has an independent goal can be very difficult, so it shouldn't be your responsibility alone. Here's how everyone in the game can help keep things moving along. Leadership This is something where a single player can have a major impact on the flow of the game. And if you want players to have agency while ...


1

I know what you mean. You as the DM want to have a combat sequence of sorts. This is good as long as you're not steamrolling your players into it. It keeps momentum going. I recommend you have a talk with your players. Your players are real people. They understand its a game and once you point it out they will understand that they are working against ...



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