We've got a new D&D group that have met for a few sessions now. I'm a player but will be the DM after a few more sessions.

One of the things we seem to be struggling with is the decision making (particularly with interactions between NPCs both monster and human). There seems to be a huge amount of deliberation out of character on what we should do and lots of "I told you we shouldn't have done that" style comments. One of the big problems is it slows down play. It also didn't help that only me and the DM have read the rules.

So my question is what steps can I take as both a player and later a DM to speed up this process and reduce decision making time?

My character in this case is a socially inept wizard (pre generated sage). It makes it hard to lead the group and just start wandering off in a direction as I'm obviously vulnerable etc. I'd like to change Mr personality so I can try to lead conversation and decisions but not sure how to do this and for the group to give me some authority to follow my lead.

Can anyone offer any suggestions?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you mean times when the PCs are off planning, or do you mean when they're in the middle of a conversation with a guy and they have lengthy IC/OOC asides he's apparently standing there during? A short example might clarify what we're talking about. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Jan 23 '16 at 14:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ [Related] How can I avoid players spending too much time planning? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 23 '16 at 18:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm putting this on hold till you clarify. The two answers below are very different because they're answering two different questions, either of which may be your real question. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Jan 24 '16 at 3:11

It sounds like your group is suffering from analysis paralysis. It's more common in games like Shadowrun that focus on preparation for big jobs, but it can certainly happen in D&D.

As a player, I wouldn't try and get authority. I've not seen a successful case of a "party leader" actually leading, and players often get annoyed by a character moving off on their own.

Your best bet as a player is to (paradoxically) speak to the other players OOC. Letting them know that the discussion seems to be taking a while and maybe even voting on a course of action might help. If the feeling of "metagaming" bugs you, consider the fact that your characters are highly-trained adventurers who have become good at working together; your OOC decisionmaking just simulates their IC teamwork.

As a GM, you have a much better chance of improving things. I often have players hyperanalyze decisions, and as the GM you can guide the decisionmaking. There are a number of things a GM can do to break up the decision stalemate:

  • Provide an explicit set of choices without actually railroading: "It seems like you can do X, Y, or Z, unless you can think of another approach." Usually they'll take one of your choices.
  • Resummarize their discussion. Often discussions can go in circles, and this can be broken up by quickly summing up the arguments they've made and the options they've considered.
  • Tell them what their characters would know. You can have them make Wisdom or Intelligence checks, or just tell them outright. Their characters' world knowledge can tell them when a course of action is particularly foolhardy or ignorant.
  • Limit their ability to have discussions in some circumstances. If their characters have time pressure or are in a situation that precludes conversation, remind them of this or let them know that anything they say can be overheard.

And don't be afraid to review parts of the rules that they don't know! I actually think it's unrealistic to expect all players to read the whole rulebook, but they should certainly know the rules that pertain to their character.

As a postscript: I'm not sure if you're considering this, but I recommend against keeping your PC as part of the group while you're GM, and especially recommend against putting them in charge. It's best to keep the focus on the other players' characters.


I always handle it like this: do they have time to argue about something or not?

For example, if the characters have to meet the prince of some country in three hours, then I let them argue as much as they want about what they should do or don't, because well that's what their characters would do.

However, if (for example) they fall into an ambush and the leader of the enemies asks "So, are you with the king or against him" I don't let them argue at all (well technically they can but if they do he will hear them). Another example are rounds of combat, I usually require that (at his/her turn) a character acts pretty quickly, since if he stops considering every possible scenario clearly he couldn't have done that in game reality.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This seems to miss that the asker is currently a player. This will be useful when they switch to GMing later, but being a player is the distinguishing feature of this question that makes it not a duplicate of “How can I avoid players spending too much time planning?” Could you revise your answer to include advice for a non-GM player trying to improve this situation? If you don't have anything to add for a player in this situation, may I suggest you remove and repost this to that question about how to handle this when GMing? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 23 '16 at 18:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ "I'm a player but will be the DM after a few more sessions." I thought the OP was asking the question to handle this in the future, not now as a player. After all, it's the DM who controls the flow of the game, a player can't (and shouldn't, in my opinion) interfere with that. \$\endgroup\$ – AnalysisStudent0414 Jan 24 '16 at 10:56

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