D&D General Players who take Excruciatingly long turns: solution?

Just be up front:

"Hey folks, fights are taking too long and we need to be quicker on our turns so that we can get more done in a session. Rounds are 6 seconds so they need to move faster. In order to speed up combat, I'm going to start...."

And then tell them the solution. That's not an unreasonable approach.

- You can have a timer. Foundry has a timer add-on that gives you 5 minutes and then a huge bell tolls. It also has a turn tracker so when your turn is done, it automatically moves control to next player.

- I have a DM who just prompts us when our turn is too long. "Hey, time is passing, I guess your character is choosing to spend time assessing the situation." Sometimes, after too much time passes, he counts down 6-5-4-3-2-1. And if you don't act, you go full defense. Do this a couple times and people will start being more efficient. The counting down feels harsh if you're on the receiving end.

- Timer( like the first suggestion). Once a certain amount of time has passed, character goes full defense.

I'm not a big fan of timers because some situations require a player to ask lots of questions when things aren't clear and sometimes answering those questions eats up their 'time'. When I DM I just judge the situation. I find, what takes up lots of time, is when a player is waffling on a decision. I just say, "well you better decide quick otherwise the monster is going to go and you won't get to do anything". Or, plainly, "Well, you have to choose now. Make a decision"

Lastly, sometimes a player might be about to describe what they are doing and another player pipes in and says,

"oh, you should really use your xyz power instead" and then then the two players start getting into a debate as to what is the best approach.

I rarely let this happen. I just tell the other players to play their own characters. They can debrief after the combat. In fact, I say, "sorry, they already decided to attack with their dagger. They can use their eldritch Blast next round." The times I let it happen is if a (usually new)player is obviously forgetting an ability that they might have.
 

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Sadly, the only solution I've found is to just not play with them. Sometimes it's not even their fault, but it doesn't change how annoying it is. I knew a guy that has OCD and had to calculate his attack modifier before every roll. It was a major pain, as he had the total modifier on his sheet, but his mind couldn't accept that number as accurate without double checking, even after just making an attack.
 

In addition to the wonderful advice given so far, you can also get new players. I know that sounds heartless, and you should definitely try some of the solutions offered above to give your struggling players a chance to address the issue, but sometimes it's okay to let players go.

Playing with your friends can be rough, because they are your friends and you want to play with them, but sometimes it's just not a good fit.

Call it a mismatch of play style (laid back vs brisk). The initial seperation will certainly hurt and feel guilty, but after some interviews and a couple failed recruits, you will find somebody who fits the group better. And then you can become friends with them.

TL;DR Finding good players and becoming their friend can be a lot less painful than trying to force your friends to be good players.
 


overgeeked

B/X Known World
Also: Not every action needs to be the most efficient/advantageous move. Sometimes characters make mistakes and, Unless you are playing a super-deadly system, that should be okay. If you take away the stress of having to do the ideal action every round, players will make quicker decisions.
I can almost feel the increased tension and sudden intake of air this post caused. For a seemingly large part of the player base making the single most efficient/advantageous move is the only reason to play and do to otherwise is seen as being a bad player.
 


Agametorememberbooks

Explorer
Publisher
I’ve had 1-2 players agonize over turns. It generally stems from their (self-admitted) anxiety and wanting to make the ‘best’ choice as determined by their own minds. I solved the problem by getting a 2-minute hourglass and I use it on every turn, including myself/the villains/monsters. I told them in advance it was to speed things along and everyone agreed that having the countdown helped them make more rapid choices while taking the pressure off from having to make the ‘best’ decision.
 

I can almost feel the increased tension and sudden intake of air this post caused. For a seemingly large part of the player base making the single most efficient/advantageous move is the only reason to play and do to otherwise is seen as being a bad player.
It's true. And, to an extent, having a player that consistently makes bad moves or has terrible strategy can be, at the very least annoying and, at the worst, very frustrating or destructive to the party.

But....

But, making an occasional mistake or choosing one ability that isn't the most optimal usually isn't game-destroying. People have to reconcile that. Some games are worse than others. In 5e, you can use most any ability and it will be 'good enough' - it's a pretty forgiving system. Cyberpunk, not so much.
 


Agametorememberbooks

Explorer
Publisher
It's true. And, to an extent, having a player that consistently makes bad moves or has terrible strategy can be, at the very least annoying and, at the worst, very frustrating or destructive to the party.

But....

But, making an occasional mistake or choosing one ability that isn't the most optimal usually isn't game-destroying. People have to reconcile that. Some games are worse than others. In 5e, you can use most any ability and it will be 'good enough' - it's a pretty forgiving system. Cyberpunk, not so much.
I think it also helps to remind the group that the game is team-based and the weight of every turn doesn’t weigh squarely on their shoulders. Plus, like many good comedies, sometimes making blundering errors can become outrageous wins so long as the DM is willing to help them play it off that way. One player in my group rolls more natural 1s than any human has a right to. We’ve turned it into a series of blunders that seem to work out in unexpected ways.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
It's true. And, to an extent, having a player that consistently makes bad moves or has terrible strategy can be, at the very least annoying and, at the worst, very frustrating or destructive to the party.

But....

But, making an occasional mistake or choosing one ability that isn't the most optimal usually isn't game-destroying. People have to reconcile that. Some games are worse than others. In 5e, you can use most any ability and it will be 'good enough' - it's a pretty forgiving system. Cyberpunk, not so much.
Only if your goal is to win instead of having fun hanging with friends. Or unless you define fun as winning. Which some do, unfortunately.

Some people play to find out what happens. Some play to see how much trouble their character can get into. Etc.

But this is all a tangent to the main thrust of the thread.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
In addition to the wonderful advice given so far, you can also get new players. I know that sounds heartless, and you should definitely try some of the solutions offered above to give your struggling players a chance to address the issue, but sometimes it's okay to let players go.

Playing with your friends can be rough, because they are your friends and you want to play with them, but sometimes it's just not a good fit.

Call it a mismatch of play style (laid back vs brisk). The initial seperation will certainly hurt and feel guilty, but after some interviews and a couple failed recruits, you will find somebody who fits the group better. And then you can become friends with them.

TL;DR Finding good players and becoming their friend can be a lot less painful than trying to force your friends to be good players.
I have my gaming friends and my other friends and never the two shall meet. Every gaming friend was vetted for their ability to play the game, use a VTT, and be hilarious. It works wonders for the play experience.

Too late to do that for the OP though it sounds like, so time for a conversation with those friends to get them to pick up the pace. The question is this a problem of them not paying attention or truly having some kind of decision paralysis?
 

A technique I learned at a con long ago, was that the DM had a table rule, if you are ready to role and roll by attack and damage and reply with something like "I do <action>, rolled a <##> to hit for <NN> slashing damage" You could automatically add a +1 to every attack roll.

Not sure how that would work in FG though. but could be done with a hot key or te modifier box easy enough.

But, first step is to have a talk. Personally I would do it with the whole table. But depends on the personalities.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Switch to group initiative. It's not like weakening the value of the Dex stat will be bad for game balance overall…
Concern there would be that instead of dithering individually they'll all end up dithering together trying to simultaneously plan their collective round and their individual actions.
 

Jeff Carlsen

Adventurer
A few have mentioned calling out who is on deck each turn, and this does help.

I also break up every round into a declare and act phase. At the start of each round, I ask the players what their intentions are in broad terms: melee, ranged, spell, other. They may, but are not required to declare a specifc spell or target. They can also ask questions or coordinate. Then I go through everyone's turns. While I'm talking to the current player, everyone else is allowed to looking things up and make rolls in advance. The effect is that players spend most of each round engaged and active, and individual turns also go faster.

In my most recent game, I stopped using individual initiative, and started relying on their declared actions to determine turn order. All ranged combatants go (including ranged cantrips). Then melee combatants. Then spellcasters. This gives the most complex actions the most preparation time and makes everyone aware of roughly who's going when. This allows for others to respond to the possibility of a big spell, or to effectively delay their actions to the right moment. For example, a ranged fighter might say, "I hold my fire until the orc is on the bridge", or the barbarian can say, "I attempt to choke hold the enemy wizard to prevent their spell".

I only call for an initiative roll at the exact moment it becomes necessary. If there are multiple sides acting in the ranged phase, I might call for a group initiative roll. If two melee combatants are facing each other, I have them each roll initiative to see who strikes first. Same with spellcasters, as the order of spell effects often matter.

Doing it this way, we fell into a rather natural cadence. The goal is to keep the energy high, keep the PCs thinking like a group, and reduce the board-game-like nature of D&D combat.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
Switch to group initiative. It's not like weakening the value of the Dex stat will be bad for game balance overall…

Concern there would be that instead of dithering individually they'll all end up dithering together trying to simultaneously plan their collective round and their individual actions.
In my old-school group I use group initiative, and there's one player who's always (barring extraordinary circumstances) the last to declare his action, and often needs to be prompted. To some extent I think this is him just wanting as much info as possible before acting, so he can make the best decision, but it does get a little slow sometimes.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I've never gone to a timer but what I will do is that if someone's taking too long deciding I'll bump them down the initiative order (and sometimes a player will even voluntarily self-impose this if indecisive); and if they get bumped off the end of the round then so be it: no action for you this round, on to the next. (we re-roll each round).

In other words, it's assumed that if the player is indecisive then the character is also indecisive.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Oh one thing that might help my group that I had not considered, is that I let everyone see the whole initiative ranking because I write it on a big dry erase board behind me. This is also where we keep track of effects of durations as to help remember when you get an autosave each turn or whatever. I think this helps everyone have a sense of when they're turn is coming up and the potentialities between "now" and when that turn arrives.
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overgeeked

B/X Known World
Oh one thing that might help my group that I had not considered, is that I let everyone see the whole initiative ranking because I write it on a big dry erase board behind me. This is also where we keep track of effects of durations as to help remember when you get an autosave each turn or whatever. I think this helps everyone have a sense of when they're turn is coming up and the potentialities between "now" and when that turn arrives.View attachment 251899
I love that there's someone named Cooter in or with your party.
 

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