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

30 seconds is an option. It can work. And I would take the bolded a step further, 30 seconds for certain players. Other players don't need it.

I can say this, having implemented the 30 second rule several times, there is a point to it where it no longer creates fun tension, but rather anxious tension, which in my experience, has never been good. It just makes the player that has a hard time deciding or a player that loves to reassess and do the "ultimate" tactic frustrated.
If the indecision is an anxiety thing, time limits are the worst approach.

Getting them to realize the don't need to optimize every action, or just that their default action is always good, will work better. Unless the anxiety is really bad, which gets into disability territory.
 

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If the indecision is an anxiety thing, time limits are the worst approach.

Getting them to realize the don't need to optimize every action, or just that their default action is always good, will work better. Unless the anxiety is really bad, which gets into disability territory.
Doing only one thing in those cases is exactly what not to do. This is a game. There is no pressure to make the perfect move. It is why I use grim realism rules. Characters are expected to die. Especially in the low levels. With this in mind, players are more easy going on the optimal as they expect that there will some losses. So there is no fuss for a mistake. And when the habit of going with the flow is taken, even the slowest and anxious player adjust to a more faster pace. Applying first the minute, then the thirty seconds timer with explanations as to why will alleviate much of the angst some people might have.
 

nevin

Hero
I have a couple players who just can't seem to take their turns in combat at anything faster than the speed of growing grass. It's excruciating. For one, it's because he is kind of a scatter brain, but still wants to play complex spell casters with cool abilities (he is playing a circle of spores druid currently). Another is a builder -- I first met him playing HERO in the mid 90s. He builds these highly specific characters then can't remember exactly how he constructed their Thing they do. The third is just not paying attention half the time (we play on Fantasy grounds). 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.

Last night was a new low: we spent 2 hours on a single fight with 5 3rd level PCs versus 2 chuuls. (Never midn they should have just escaped since there was a way out and there is no XP in this campaign for fighting.)

Those who have solved similar problems: how have you done so?
2 minute egg timer. roll initiative, as you go through initiative if someone can't make up thier mind in 2 minutes, they through indecisiveness go to the end of the initiative cycle. once everyone else has gone they get two more minutes. That means in a 5 player game they get at least 12 minutes to decide what they are doing. If they can't decide start the next round they lose their action. Had to do this in the first long term campaign I ran. After 6 or 7 games that way I retired the Egg timer and only used it when people got stuck and wouldn't make a decision.
 

p_johnston

Explorer
So I had a similiar problem with a player who would play bards and take forever to try and decide what spells, who to inspire, etc. It was compounded by he also occasionally had problems following what was going on when it came to his turn. I tried the 30 second thing (used an hourglass) but what ended up working best was if a player was taking to long on their turn I just start to count down from 10. If I hit 0 then the Character takes the dodge action and we move on. Eventually my players got trained that if started counting they would end up almost immediately making a decision.
 


If the indecision is an anxiety thing, time limits are the worst approach.

Getting them to realize the don't need to optimize every action, or just that their default action is always good, will work better. Unless the anxiety is really bad, which gets into disability territory.
Fortunately for my groups, it was never a disability. Just a part of their personality. And, in the end, it just made them frustrated. Once we resolved that was who they were, the table reverted back to a peaceful state.

That said, there is another thing that worked that I just thought of - declaring an end to the session. There were many times we had half an hour until the session ended. So, I (or the DM) made it clear if we run the combat, it needs to end. For whatever reason, this greatly spurred the tactic aficionados to "speed play" (for them), and even pushed the normally quick players.
 

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