A bit from +Chris Perkins that works well with DW games, I would think.

A bit from +Chris Perkins that works well with DW games, I would think.

A bit from +Chris Perkins that works well with DW games, I would think.

“I exhibit a low tolerance for player indecision in combat. Combat is supposed to be fluid and fast, and nothing causes the game to grind to a halt faster than an indecisive player who can’t decide what actions his character should take on his turn. I will press the player with questions such as, “What does your character do?” If this doesn’t push the player to swift action, I ask, “Would you like to delay?” (which, if answered in the affirmative, lets me skip forward until the player decides he’s ready to jump back in). Other favorite sayings of mine include, “You can always use an at-will power” or “Do whatever feels right for your character.” Another thing I do is have a monster or NPC verbally taunt or insult the character, which often incites the player to take immediate action against the offending enemy (and also breaks the lull with a touch of roleplaying).”

–Chris Perkins, quoted from the midst of lots of good advice at http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4dmxp/20110901


8 thoughts on “A bit from +Chris Perkins that works well with DW games, I would think.”

  1. Is “indecision” players yelling at each other about silly schemes they want each other to follow?  Though I can appreciate the obfuscation, the players might read the blog post after all.

  2. It’s also less of a problem in DW since the flow of the game doesn’t differentiate between “combat” and “everything else” which means that a player can find or make an opportunity to do something non-combat related during a battle or action scene and still be relevant.

    Dungeon World does flex a lot of different improvisation muscles to that of traditional RPGs though, so there can be a learning curve there as that part of your brain limbers up and stretches in new ways.

  3. The main point here, I think, is not to really “punish”, but to not let one player get put on the spot and drag down the fun for everyone else while they struggle to think of something. When I see this as a GM in Dungeon World, it’s easy to manage – I just tell them to take a moment to think about it and turn attention to another player instead, trying to keep the pace of the battle moving quickly to make the situation feel more tense. I know as a player, I hate to make the entire group wait on my “turn” when I’m not sure what to do, so I think it’s a good idea to give people the freedom to think without the added pressure

    The problem, of course, is that D&D has “turns”, so in order to give a player breathing room you may have to “punish them” by having them delay. Or, if you know a way to goad a player into action in a way that they’ll be cool with, go ahead and do that. I know that I’ve pulled a “while you try to discuss intricate tactics during an intense battle, your enemy takes the distraction as an opportunity to… (insert whatever appropriate thing here)” before, and my players are usually pretty cool with it.

    But yeah, it seems to me like turning OoC indecision into IC can be used to great effect. In another field of gaming, the Walking Dead games are famous for this. It seems to me that it’s a good idea to break the walls between ‘character’ and ‘player’ a bit, because it’s an awesome way to get people feeling involved and invested.

  4. In 4E, I actually love the complex long turns where we all have to weigh a bunch of options. It’s why that complex power-based combat is cool, because you end up making complex actions to take advantage of your powers, your allies’ powers, the environment, and your enemies’ weaknesses.

    Which is kind of the “system matters” thing: the article reads to me as how to make a system that’s great at one thing do a different thing it’s no good for, instead of just using a system that’s better for what you want.

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