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When and how should I get the players to cut back on their out of character chatter?

Now and then the groups I play in or GM can get rather chatty. They're talking and joking and chatting out of character which is always fun except when you're trying to get the game going. I've tried to just tell them to calm down but it usually only lasts a few seconds before someone burst into laughter. I tried to take them out for a break and a little walk when it happens. It works but it takes away a lot of gaming time.

So have you found a way to get the group in a serious mood?



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