60

You have two problems: an agency problem and a knowledge problem. Agency The likely reason why your players weren't all happy with the outcome of the situation you describe is because you took away their agency. Generally speaking in D&D, the players' expectations is that they control their characters, not the DM. By taking a suggestion from one player ...


47

Psychology The phenomenon of overchoice may be the root of the problem. Particularly for a new player having a large number of options for her character to take is not helpful. Since you specifically say "[s]he can get by by going along with others' prompting" suggests this cognitive effect since she has no trouble choosing from a smaller list of options. ...


41

When this happens in my games, I give a very clear warning: "Folks, the in-character lamp1 is lit. Anything you say is now considered in character. Anything you say you'll do, you'll do." By locking down conversation to in-character conversation, this sort of rambunctious chatter can be reduced, or at least immediately given consequence. On the other hand,...


38

First, stop railroading them when they don't do anything. You're here to make the world do stuff, not make the players or the PCs do stuff. Making their decisions for them just teaches them that it's not really important to make those decisions themselves, and that's the last lesson you want people new to roleplaying to take away from the experience. Second,...


27

"prompting", "pressuring", "...she stops and thinks until I get impatient..." My first advice is to cool your jets, turbo. Nobody's poker face is as good as they imagine. Having the GM simmer and come to a boil as one tries to think is not, as the player herself commented, helpful. You fail to mention what the other players are doing during these ...


26

Time waits for no Bob. While he's agonizing over the decision, the world goes on. If the authorities are looking for the body, they continue to get closer to their goal. If the ship is headed somewhere, it continues to get closer to its goal. Bob can only wait until matters come to a head. Once the authorities get there / another trader finds them / ...


19

I'd recommend trying to organize a few sessions playing board games where players have more structured opposed agendas (Battlestar Galactica, Shadows Over Camelot and Dead of Winter are 3 that spring to mind). Then ask them if they want to try a similar idea in a pencil-and-paper RPG. It's possible they just don't want to play these types of games though, so ...


19

As others have mentioned, this is a play-style issue that needs to be worked out amongst the group to avoid hard feelings, misunderstandings, and frustration. However, if despite prior discussions/agreements you find you're about to face conflicting character reactions, there are steps the GM can take to reduce players ability to dominate such scenes and ...


19

This is something of an "auxiliary answer" because most of the question has been answered already, but I feel the need to add: Some people just don't enjoy intraparty conflict, even on a mild level. They want everyone to get along and have a good time. These same people will not enjoy competitive or 'diplomatic' board games. So when discussing this with ...


18

No, not always. It sounds like in your group, A has taken the lead, as the most experienced player, but that has good points and bad points. The good is that the group does things and progresses, and makes fewer mistakes; but the bad is that the less experienced players can be overshadowed or ignored, and don't get to make mistakes and learn from them. I ...


17

In the character creation process, give them (or guide them toward) goals that are overlapping and diverging although not necessarily diametrically opposing. (You can give them opposing goals, but that may lead to more conflict than you want, and set-up a win-lose dynamic.) Another way of saying this is to give multiple PCs stakes in the same NPC or in-...


13

I have had very good results by taking advantage of Character Knowledge. Consider a situation where a rookie player is controlling a veteran adventurer when they encounter an obvious trap - a golden idol on a suspicious pedestal, a pulsing mass of alien biomatter, promises from Mister Johnson that the job is a milk-run. The character would immediately be ...


11

I will try my best to answer this question. I have somewhat limited experience as a DM, but I have conversed with some other DM's, whose games I usually play or watch, about a variety of hypothetical problems, solutions, and otherwise. In any event, I have here some options for you to take a look at when the game grinds to a halt. Plot Twist! Plot Twists are ...


10

A lack of self confidence1… Or What if what I say is stupid and makes me look stupid and … It could be that the player is feeling that she is lacking in the self confidence to make the "right" choice. Not everyone has the confidence of voicing their opinions, much less making decisions on a fictional character they care about in front of people they ...


10

If you have a Deathstab McMurderBaron amongst your players who cuts his way through the encounters like a Great Wyrm dragon through a burrow of kobolds, talk to them. Ask for them about what they want from a game, and what you want to do with the game. If all players are on the same page as you, great! If not, you can do a few things: Figure out what the ...


10

There is not always a 'Caller' 'Caller' is the term I have seen used to refer to the player with the responsibility of declaring the final decisions of the group to the GM. 5th edition D&D does not require a speaker, nor does the DMG particularly encourage having one. Having a 'Caller' can be normal, but it does not seem to be usual at present There are ...


9

The players were discussing which route to take. While they may have been talking somewhat out-of-character (by discussing mechanics and whatnot), the players were discussing the situation. I would let them discuss what they feel the need to discuss. However I would also make a note of how long they are talking, and how loud they are talking. If they are ...


8

In addition to the suggestion of keeping the discussion in character, if the talk is taking too long ( and it's understandable that it will take a little while, but these discussions can run in circles and that's a good point to intervene ) you can take it a little further by reminding the players that while they talk time is passing in character. Maybe ...


8

In my experience, we stopped with that "forced group thinking" when we were first exposed to games where characters can be diametrically opposed. My first game of the genre was Steve Jackson's In Nomine. The setting was a one shot (adventure, not session. This spanned a couple of sessions) where there were multiple factions of angels and demons in a town ...


7

I don't know of any system like you describe. I wouldn’t really want one, myself. But what I do have, and use, is this: A quick and easy improvement on voting: voting against With thanks to CGP Grey, a really quick, simple, easy mechanism for voting on what to do is to have everyone vote against things they really don’t want. That way no one is really ...


6

Make it clear it's not a party game Right from the start and Out Of Character, be clear that intra-party conflict is not only a thing, but encouraged. Setup conflicts during character generation Ask leading questions when setting up relationships between characters. "What did Alice steal from you that you desperately want back?" "What did Bob do that has ...


5

Remembering from when I first started playing, here's what I can suggest: Firstly, source material - does she have a copy of the Player's Handbook, or could she be lent one? As Dale M's answer suggests, RPGs have near limitless potential for action, and that can be overwhelming for a new player, but also misunderstood by new playera. And then if the only ...


5

The first answer to questions like this is always "Talk to your players." Are they bothered by this? If not, then it's not a problem. They may in fact be relying on Violence McGee as a running gag to get them out of their endless negotiations. That said, the fact that this is happening may point to some problems with your campaign design. I ran the World's ...


5

Table Chatter vs. in character It is normal that if you play a role-playing game, you can not stay in character the entire session. Table chatter is important to role-playing games as the players - not characters - give each other advice and talk about strategies. As long as table chatter does not interrupt in-character performances and is not about bossing ...


4

Take advantage of the lull in action to prepare. In my DM experience, if we're more than about 15 minutes into the session then we're already a mile away from what I had planned and I've been making everything up off the top of my head for the last hour. So when my players get bogged down trying to figure out what to do next, I take advantage of that to ...


4

Don't make their characters do things for no good reason. I would say it is almost always a mistake to rule that a player talking about the possibility of doing something, means that their character is doing that thing. thatgirldm's explanation of "agency" covers that pretty well. I would suggest something almost opposite: Tell the players to either say ...


4

Time Consuming, but Worthwhile in the Long Term Run the new player through some short one-on-one scenarios that aren't time-critical - just you as the referee, and the player and xir character. Take the time to explain what sorts of knowledge the character has in the defined situation, and show/tell how you, "as the character", would reason out the possible ...


3

Here are a few tricks I use Change the question from "what do you do?" Ignore the others, focus on her and present the player with a few good options and do not let the rest of the table interfere with her decision. Instead of having a decision imposed on one person, build your adventure/story so that the party has to discuss together what they want to do. ...


3

Give the players secret side quests / objectives with attendant rewards (XP, magic items, etc). Personally I think GURPS has better mechanics for this style of gameplay than D&D. In GURPS, characters are built with psychological/social/physical advantages and disadvantages which they are required to roleplay. Experience is awarded by the GM on the ...


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