I DM with my friends in high school, and I find it hard to keep their attention. Does anybody have any advice?
Thanks!First, ask for them to pay attention, then ask them what about the game isn't holding their attention.
From your own observation, what parts of the game are they tuning out on? What can you do to minimize those parts of the game or make them more interesting?
How long are people taking on their turns? One thing I've noticed at other tables is that players are planning what to do on their turn instead of acting, which is a huge no-no at my table. Your turn is for acting, not for planning or stalling by asking 20 Questions (another common player tactic when they haven't planned off-turn). I think a turn is 30 seconds or less, ideally, which means your turn comes back around in less than 5 minutes. If they can't stay off their phones for less than 5 minutes, they may want to check into getting help for smart phone addiction.The biggest issue at our table is players not paying attention when others are acting out their turns. Our DM is almost at the point of taking cell phones away LOL!
1) Time limit for a players turn: 60 sec max. (maybe even 30 sec. max). If there is only 2 minutes between your turns, you tend to pay more attention.
3) Consequences for not pay attention paying attention: If they are not pay attention when you describe a scene / environment / scenario, provide a consequence for missing the important information. Some possibilities:
- They simply miss important info. Explain to them later that they missed an important clue. Either directly or through context later.
- give disadvantage on relevant check for not paying attention; or give advantage on a check when a player uses your description to inform a check or action they want to do.
- give inspiration when a player uses your description to inform a check or action or similar
This is a great idea, I’m going to try it.The biggest improvement I saw at my table was to switch form asking the group "What do you do?" to asking individuals "What do you do?"
Now every player knows that in a given scenario they are gong to be asked what their character does, they can't just sit around let the bigger personalities at the table make all the decisions until initiative is rolled. So they spend more time thinking about what their character is going to do and the phones just took care of themselves.
I think this will help with my group’s indecision problem too. It reminds me of the thing where, in a crisis, if you say “someone call an ambulance,” everyone waits for someone else to do it, so you have to tell someone specific to call. It’s the kind of advice that, once you hear it, seems obvious in hindsight. Which is usually the best kind of advice.I also found it helped my players get more equal spotlight which has been a huge bonus to me game too.