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


Magic Wordsmith
I explain up front to everyone that it's their personal responsibility as players in a game with other people to take care to get their turns over with in a reasonable amount of time. This means paying attention when it's not your turn and deciding what to do before your turn is called. If your turn is up and you're not sure, you ask for suggestions and take a reasonably viable one immediately.

If someone can't do this, they don't get invited to future games.

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He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
Finally virtual gaming is hard, we finished up our campaign online and I hated it. Our combats had been decently efficient in-person (one person did like to game things out, the ranger) but once we switched online is was like pulling teeth to get people engaged with the action. It was exhausting for me.
That is interesting. I found virtual to speed things up significantly. I mean, once folks learned how to use the interface (some much better than others). The drag and drop compendium character sheets and automated clicking has been super welcome to my experience.


Magic Wordsmith
That is interesting. I found virtual to speed things up significantly. I mean, once folks learned how to use the interface (some much better than others). The drag and drop compendium character sheets and automated clicking has been super welcome to my experience.
Same. I even use VTTs in person because it is so much faster in my experience plus clean up is easier!


Just a point: I've run and been in games where the egg timer has been implemented, moreso to create a "panicked" pace.

However, there are some people (such as my wife), who have learning disabilities or other mental differences where this won't work and it'll be frustrating for them [my wife & youngest son need extra time because of high-functioning autism; additionally, for my wife, being an obsessive compulsive, if for some reason someone interrupts her declaration or train of thought, she sometimes has to start over]. It might not work for your "scatterbrained" friend if there's a real problem there, but I don't off-hand see it being a problem with the person not paying attention.

The other two players are getting fed up to the point I am worried whether they are going to jump ship. Note that most of this group has played together in some compacity for at least a few years.


Those who have solved similar problems: how have you done so?

There's lots of good advice from others in this thread. But if it doesn't work, keep in mind that breaking up the group is a valid solution. It sounds like half the group (including you) doesn't really enjoy playing with the other half. Maybe it's time to take the fast players, find one or two more, and start a new campaign.

I've had to do this before. The transition can be tough, but it's worth it in the long run. The old group can still get together, possibly for board games instead of D&D.

Thats me. I role play all day long if I can, but when combat starts, I'm all about getting things done. That other player would drive me bonkers too. It might be one or the other. The best route is likely to appeal to the sense of friendship and group interest from the slow guy. Its the only hope to right the ship because efficient guy is already in the lifeboat it sounds.
Thirding this, although half the time it's because my pcs would be all business during a fight - they're not going to chit-chat or have regularly emotional moments - they're focused on killing the other guy before they get killed, so they do that.

This is exacerbated by the fact that in 5e, you rarely have a ton of options to seriously consider. Maybe turn one for my wizard takes a little longer as I decide what concentration spell to use, but once I've decided on my tactics for the battle things get quicker. The environment rarely adds worthwhile options (especially since many dms do the 'make a skill check to get advantage' system, which is usually a wasted action when I could just attack twice) and most situational spells/powers can be ignored once you check that the situation isn't present. In Pathfinder 2e, I spend a lot more time thinking about my turns because there's a lot more to choose from.


setup easier fights. Less stress and expectation can help to play more loosely and quickly.

Make monsters flee or simply die when the PCs prove that they gonna win the fight. You can save some long and useless turns there.
This does not seem like a good solution for anyone. It's not as if my players don't enjoy the tactical aspects of the game, they just aren't quick about it.

I have two hourglasses. One one minute, and one 30 seconds.
Everyone new is on the *one minute timer. If you go out of time, your character automatically take the dodge action (total defence in some other games or whatever is closest to that.) I assure you that slow thinker starts to think faster. And it prevents the check cell phone syndrome. Players follow the game much more closely than without the time constrain.

If I see that a lot are taking just a bit less than a minute, I jump to the 30 seconds timer. Now things goes real fast. With six players we talk about a round that lasts 4-5 minutes tops, including my moves!
(Note: I am allowed 1 minute per groups of foes composing the opfor during a fight, 3 types of foes, 3 x 1 minutes for the DM or otherwise, my NPCs will take the same dodge action as the players).

I cast X spell... roll to hit/save and damage at the same time if single target. This means that the player rolls the save of his/her target. This speed up the play even more. Rolling to hit, then damage or then the save slows the game. Players still roll their own saves (they like to roll and it's half the fun ;) ) and I often use averages for filler monsters but for tougher foes, or "elite" I roll damage. This make my rounds quite fast. Try it.

*Warning: The first time you will introduce the "timer/hourglasses" be ready for an uproar. But as time will go on, your players will love it and even ask for it whenever a newer player comes in and takes a wee bit too much time. A rookie (a rare thing in my groups) is allowed a one minute timer but after a few games when he gets the hang of the game, he is down to the 30 second timer too.


I am trying to decide whether to make a general announcement on our Discord channel like, "Hey guys, last night's fight went really slowly. It would be helpful if everyone makes sure they review their abilities and tries to stay on task during combats. Thanks!" or if I should directly speak to individual players privately. Dynamic wise, we have all known each other and gamed together for years (decades in some cases) but this group as a whole is only new-ish (4 of the 5 played Avernus together).
Whether you speak privately or in a group depends on your group dynamics and the level of trust, but I would strongly advise against this sort of "drive-by" approach where you just toss out something you'd like to see happen. It's probably going to be necessary to talk through the issue with the slow players; first to make it clear that this is A Big Deal (the group is near to breaking up over it!), and second to zero in on exactly where things are going wrong and come up with solutions. Where exactly does Complex Caster Guy get hung up? Can Clever Combo Guy just write down the details of his combo? What leads Distracted Guy to always be distracted (I agree with @jmartkdr2, there's a good chance it's waiting for the other two).

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