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.


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.


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, 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.

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