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D&D General What wastes time at your table?

David Howery

Adventurer
haven't been an active gamer for quite some time, but the last group I was in, we had a married couple with a not quite 1 year old daughter, and we usually gamed at their apartment.... and the tyke seemed to always manage to find a way to crawl out of her crib and come see what we were doing, necessitating a pause so Mom and Dad could get her back to sleep... exasperating for them, but the rest of us found it all amusing...
 

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CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
haven't been an active gamer for quite some time, but the last group I was in, we had a married couple with a not quite 1 year old daughter, and we usually gamed at their apartment.... and the tyke seemed to always manage to find a way to crawl out of her crib and come see what we were doing, necessitating a pause so Mom and Dad could get her back to sleep... exasperating for them, but the rest of us found it all amusing...
Get that tyke some dice and a character sheet. They are clearly interested!
 


Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I slash him with my sword. I roll 12. I have a +7 attack bonus. That's... 16? Looks around, see other players making no with their head... Err.... that's... 19. I hit. Rolls his 3d6+5 damage. 4 and 5 that's.... 9 sighs all around and 3 so it's... 27, plus 5, that's 32. Other players interjects no, that's 17. Ah? Looks confused, concentrate on the three dice. Oh, yes, you're right, that's 17, sorry. Me: next player. Err, sorry, after rolling damage I can choose to add a maneuver dice... I decide that... rolls again...

My fights tend to last never more than 3 rounds, and one hour.

We had a guy like this. Eventually we gave him a spreadsheet that did the math for him for what AC he hit with his D20 roll and let him use average damage. He wasn't great at math in his head in the first place and then being in the spotlight as we waited just made it worse.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Don’t look up rules in play unless someone’s life is on the line. Make a call and look up the rule afterwards, amending things if necessary.

I keep getting this advice - but in reality even the longest seeming time to look something up is 3 to 5 minutes (and that is a high estimate). Usually, however, I give it about a minute and if I can't find it, then I just make a placeholder ruling. That works fine.

I can't imagine being satisfied as a player or a DM with "never look up rules at the table." 🤷‍♀️
 



iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I keep getting this advice - but in reality even the longest seeming time to look something up is 3 to 5 minutes (and that is a high estimate). Usually, however, I give it about a minute and if I can't find it, then I just make a placeholder ruling. That works fine.

I can't imagine being satisfied as a player or a DM with "never look up rules at the table." 🤷‍♀️
I think there are a couple of things at play here. First, it will almost never matter if the group gets the rules wrong. Second, sure, it's 3 to 5 minutes to look something up, but that's an extra 3 to 5 minutes of content you can get through for every instance this occurs at the table. Over time, this starts to really add up.
 


Retreater

Legend
Planning. Players will waste ages planning, trying to come up with a foolproof plan of action, only for it to go wrong literally at step 1 and have to make it up as they go anyway.
Back in the early 3rd edition era, I had a group that would want to plan for hours on end (literally). They were also suspicious that I would listen in and plan around their plans to foil them. So there would be sessions where the players would send me away from the table for hours to discuss strategy and solutions.
I'm not exaggerating at all.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I think there are a couple of things at play here. First, it will almost never matter if the group gets the rules wrong. Second, sure, it's 3 to 5 minutes to look something up, but that's an extra 3 to 5 minutes of content you can get through for every instance this occurs at the table. Over time, this starts to really add up.

I guess 3 to 5 minutes (probably really 1 to 3) every other session or so doesn't seem like that big a waste to me - esp. out of a 5 hour session with a pretty focused group.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Planning. Players will waste ages planning, trying to come up with a foolproof plan of action, only for it to go wrong literally at step 1 and have to make it up as they go anyway.

I hate this as a player SO MUCH! I am always the one arguing for a broad easy to follow or adapt plan - but there are players who want to create a super detailed plan with a ton of contingencies based on incomplete information and then either get mad at other players who can't/don't follow it and/or at the DM for "not letting their plan work."
 

I can't imagine being satisfied as a player or a DM with "never look up rules at the table."
I try and keep it to a minimum. If I look up a rule its usually because its either something I feel we've been doing wrong repeatedly, its life or death, its something I know will come up frequently or if a player is trying to exploit the rules.
 


el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Back in the early 3rd edition era, I had a group that would want to plan for hours on end (literally). They were also suspicious that I would listen in and plan around their plans to foil them. So there would be sessions where the players would send me away from the table for hours to discuss strategy and solutions.
I'm not exaggerating at all.

I don't get that at all. 1. It helps a GM adjudicate more quickly if they know what you are planning and is there is to answer questions that come up mid-planning, and 2. if you can't trust your GM to not foil your plans "just because," well, that is not a GM I'd want to play with.
 


prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
I don't get that at all. 1. It helps a GM adjudicate more quickly if they know what you are planning and is there is answer questions that come up mid-planning, and 2. if you can't trust your GM to not foil your plans "just because," well, that is not a GM I'd want to play with.
This. I have some creative players who sometimes get strange ideas, and if I think I see something like that coming, I'll ask what they have in mind. I've also made it clear they can wrong-foot their enemies without wrong-footing the GM.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
We had a guy like this. Eventually we gave him a spreadsheet that did the math for him for what AC he hit with his D20 roll and let him use average damage. He wasn't great at math in his head in the first place and then being in the spotlight as we waited just made it worse.
That pre-written THAC0 chart at the bottom of character sheets was really quite handy.
 

Back in the early 3rd edition era, I had a group that would want to plan for hours on end (literally). They were also suspicious that I would listen in and plan around their plans to foil them. So there would be sessions where the players would send me away from the table for hours to discuss strategy and solutions.
I'm not exaggerating at all.
Whats the point of playing if you send the DM away for hours? I wouldn't have left if I was DM and gave them no more than 5 minutes to come up with a plan. Talking about trying to "win" D&D.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Most time wasters don't bother me all that much but there was "The Analyzer" who played a paladin.

Every single round they had to try to figure out the absolute optimal set of things to do. As in, sit, staring at the battle mat for 5 minutes silently except for the occasional question. Then after finally throwing up there hands and saying "I guess I'll just attack" would then say ... okay let's see what I can do with my bonus action. Every time. :mad:
 

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