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Mastikator
2014-10-20, 09:27 AM
Is this rule too stringent?
During combat each player has 10 seconds to decide what they do, if they don't decide then it's "defensive action" (whatever that may mean).

Is 10 seconds too little or too much? What are your thoughts on disallowing players from bogging down combat?

Vitruviansquid
2014-10-20, 09:31 AM
Ten's a small number. But for some groups, a time limit is necessary.

But I expect that, for all groups, the players will let you know if it's a bad rule much more vocally and accurately than this internet forum could.

draken50
2014-10-20, 09:34 AM
Is this rule too stringent?
During combat each player has 10 seconds to decide what they do, if they don't decide then it's "defensive action" (whatever that may mean).

Is 10 seconds too little or too much? What are your thoughts on disallowing players from bogging down combat?

I would say that's pretty low all told. Especially considering that the first person in the initiative order would have been the character who was able to act in a coherent manner the fastest, not the player. I've used a small timer that lasts a minute, and that alone added enough time pressure that even my most over-thinking players were able to determine a course of action and go with it. I do think some measurable, preferably visible time-limit does help, but yeah... 10 seconds is rather low, it's not like the players themselves are in the midst of a life and death fight, they're just trying to imagine it.

Jay R
2014-10-20, 09:43 AM
It depends on the situation.

If the player actually was the character, seeing what the character sees, and with all the training the character has, six seconds is too much - the round is already over.

But it takes more time for an untrained person looking at miniatures and having to ask which one just attacked and which one is about to attack, for instance. And it's harder to absorb that verbal description than it would be for the character to simply see it. So it takes longer.

Also, anytime I'm bringing in a person new to this system, they need extra time. So does somebody stretching his limits by playing a character type he's not familiar with. Also kids often need more time.

By contrast, somebody who isn't paying attention to the game has lost any sympathy for the situation.

My general rule for a gamer experienced in this system and playing a character type he's comfortable with is to allow some quick explanation time, and then ask the player what his character does. After what seems like enough time (my guess is about twenty seconds), I will sometimes say, "OK, Mike, your character looks around, and will take his action at the end of the round. April, you're next. What does your paladin do?"

But I'm postponing the action, not deciding it. If I decided it, I would feel like I couldn't have the NPCs take advantage of it. If I merely postpone it, they are free to attack.

Kelb_Panthera
2014-10-20, 09:52 AM
Ten seconds is a little on the short side.

Realistically, if it's ten seconds per turn per person, each player has approximately a bit under a minute. For some, I dare say many, that may not be long enough to process the changeing situation and make good decisions about what action to take.

I'd suggest 15-20 seconds per turn. If you can't figure out what to do after a minute and a half ~ish you may be overthinking. 30 seconds pushes you close to two and a half minutes and that, imo, would be generous but still keep things moving at a good clip.

JusticeZero
2014-10-20, 10:12 AM
People are acting like the actual action is instant. What you are saying is actually 10 seconds of hemming and hawing, then about 20-30 seconds of actually doing the action. 10 seconds may or may not be enough to ask a tactical question, but it's very generous the rest of the time.

hamlet
2014-10-20, 10:26 AM
t my table, I've always applied a countdown rule. If, when your turn comes up, you sit there without giving me something, an action, an idea, anything more than "Uhm . . .", then I start to count back from 5. If, by the time I hit 0 you still haven't responded, your character stands there stupefied.

Now, it doesn't have to be a whole action reconciled in 5 seconds, just something like "I know what I'm doing just let me look up a rule . . ." or "Can I . . .?" Just an indication of some real engagement with the game.

It really does work wonders, and yes, on occasion somebody gets angry about being "pushed," but it does a lot to move things along and, from time to time, add a real sense of urgency to combat.

Segev
2014-10-20, 10:28 AM
If the party is supposed to be coordinated, I would let the players ask you questions to establish the status of the combat at the start of each round, then give them a minute to discuss actions and then another minute to write down on index cards or something what their characters are doing. Then run through it. If an action has become invalid, give that player 10s to state a new action or hand you a new index card (he can have been writing since the action became invalid).

If the party is not supposed to be coordinated, don't give them the minute to discuss tactics.

Mark Hall
2014-10-20, 10:30 AM
Ten's a little fast, as others have said, but I could see applying it to the terminally indecisive and chronically inattentive.

Vitruviansquid
2014-10-20, 10:36 AM
I wonder if a less bothersome way to achieve the same results is to ban everyone else from talking during a player's turn. In my experience, turns slow down because other players try to intervene, complicating the situation.

Berenger
2014-10-20, 10:44 AM
It is important to note that such a rule does absolutely nothing for the "realism" of combat encounters (this is a surprisingly common misconception). Having said that, the appropriate time frame can differ dramatically. Factors include, among other things, the complexity of the gaming system, the players familiarity with said gaming system and the complexity of different class features. You should really just ask your group which time frame they prefer prior to the session. You won't find a magic rule that works equally well for every group.

Galen
2014-10-20, 11:31 AM
Is this rule too stringent?
During combat each player has 10 seconds to decide what they do, if they don't decide then it's "defensive action" (whatever that may mean).

Is 10 seconds too little or too much? What are your thoughts on disallowing players from bogging down combat?Depending which character and what level. If it's a Barbarian whose choices boil down to "attack the Orc" or "attack the Orc chieftain" and "power attack" or "no power attack", that's reasonable. If we're talking high level caster with many spells prepared, I don't think it's reasonable.

Of course enforcing the rule on Barbarians and not enforcing it on Wizards is in itself not reasonable because it creates hierarchy inside the party, and just emphasizes the fact that character classes aren't equal. My advice, if there is even one character in the party for whom it's not reasonable to expect a quick decision, don't enforce quick decisions in general.

Deaxsa
2014-10-20, 11:38 AM
Is this rule too stringent?
During combat each player has 10 seconds to decide what they do, if they don't decide then it's "defensive action" (whatever that may mean).

Is 10 seconds too little or too much? What are your thoughts on disallowing players from bogging down combat?

If i ever implement this rule (which i do, occasionally,) i make it clear: you have 10 seconds at the beginning of your turn to tell me what you're doing, or the turn is lost. after you tell me what you're doing, we can figure it out. In other words, all of the time that others spend on their turns can be used to decide your actions, and the consequences of the actions don't have a time limit. For me, it's more a way to force a player to make a decision, rather than drag the game on for some insignificant choice the player makes.

JusticeZero
2014-10-20, 12:13 PM
If we're talking high level caster with many spells prepared, I don't think it's reasonable. The high level caster has an entire round of people fighting to figure out what they're doing. I have no patience for people hemming and hawing and looking through notes when their turn comes up. It's a combat, it's fast and chaotic. I like being able to accomplish more than one fight in a night.

Knaight
2014-10-20, 12:27 PM
It really depends on the game. For simpler games which don't use grids at all, 10 seconds is often ridiculously excessive. For extremely complicated games, 10 seconds might be too little.

Mastikator
2014-10-20, 12:40 PM
People are acting like the actual action is instant. What you are saying is actually 10 seconds of hemming and hawing, then about 20-30 seconds of actually doing the action. 10 seconds may or may not be enough to ask a tactical question, but it's very generous the rest of the time.

Right, you have 10 seconds to make a decision, if that action then takes 5 minutes to calculate then so be it.

But it's not just to push the chronically indecisive to take action, but also to just stress the players a bit.

Amphetryon
2014-10-20, 12:41 PM
Is this rule too stringent?
During combat each player has 10 seconds to decide what they do, if they don't decide then it's "defensive action" (whatever that may mean).

Is 10 seconds too little or too much? What are your thoughts on disallowing players from bogging down combat?

How many characters/sidekicks/companions/summons are commonly available per person in your game? I ask because a game where each person has only one character to control should generally expect faster completion of a turn from a player than a game where a player has herself, her sidekick, her pet, and the ally she summons to deal with each combat "round."

Altair_the_Vexed
2014-10-20, 01:38 PM
Right, you have 10 seconds to make a decision, if that action then takes 5 minutes to calculate then so be it.

But it's not just to push the chronically indecisive to take action, but also to just stress the players a bit.

You're deliberately trying to stress people out?

Hell, why not give them a random amount of time? Why not shout at them while they're trying to think? Let off firecrackers? Change the game rules without telling them?

Stressing people out on purpose is a bad thing to do when you're trying to play a fun game.

Aedilred
2014-10-20, 02:41 PM
I think what is a reasonable amount of time depends at least in part on how much information and in how much detail the GM is giving the players, too. Some have a very mechanical style and in order to get some idea of what's going on, which enemies look on the verge of death and which are looking unhurt despite having taken some punishment, which guys look dangerous, what sort of armour they're wearing, whether anything you're doing is likely to be effective against them, what the terrain is like, etc. you have to ask questions.

There's nothing necessarily wrong with that style in itself (although if you're being barraged with basic questions every round perhaps imparting some more information as standard wouldn't go amiss) but allowances then need to be made for the players to take longer over their turns because they don't have all they need to make an informed decision when their turn comes up.

That said, I'm generally in favour of imposing some kind of hurry-up on players, since otherwise they do (in general) have a tendency to overthink everything, make every action a group decision, or indeed stop paying attention and spend the time they're not actively doing anything getting distracted and needing things explained to them every round (the last can be mitigated by speeding the whole process up in general, of course).

TheThan
2014-10-20, 03:15 PM
I thought it was
“You only have ten more seconds to live”
Oh wait, sorry I’m channeling Kenshiro here.

Seriously though i think this has a lot to do with the nature of the response. Does the player have to respond with an IC action? or does he just have to respond?

If it's to get the players to move through combat quickly then I think ten seconds is a way too short a time. I'd go for 30 seconds for that. as sometimes players minds go blank and they just don't know what to do with their characters. sometimes coming up with an IC reaction to something can take time, and 10 seconds is sometimes too short, sometimes 30 seconds is too short for that matter.

if he just has to respond; ten seconds is plenty of time to say something like "hold on let me think!", or "I'm trying to pick a spell to cast", or "I'm trying to decide which path to take" etc.

icefractal
2014-10-20, 05:17 PM
If it's time to decide, not time to resolve, then I think 10s is ok. On the short end of ok - I might go with 15-20s before that to ease people into it - but it's possible. If you can't decide something in 10s, just Delay, then you have other peoples' turns to think about it.

I'd give the first person to go in a given fight longer, maybe 30s. Unlike the rest, they don't have other turns to be thinking during, and it seems backward that the quickest reacting character is the most likely to be forced to delay.

Kaun
2014-10-20, 05:27 PM
I used the 20 seconds to state action rule, for a long time. I generally don't need to anymore, my players seem to pay better attention now.

Mr Beer
2014-10-20, 05:32 PM
Depends but it's not inherently unreasonable to force players to move it along. You need to make allowances for noobs and possibly the easily distressed and/or characters overburdened with options. Some of that stuff can be solved outside the combat itself, by helping the players develop useful default actions.

I have sometimes used such a rule; also I would much rather play in a game where the GM forces action instead of allowing people to hem, haw, shuffle papers and flick through books for minutes at a time.

Silus
2014-10-20, 05:48 PM
Honestly as a player, being given a time limit to decide actions, especially in a system where strategy, teamwork and planning are really important, serves to do little more than stress me out.

oxybe
2014-10-20, 06:44 PM
I thought it was
“You only have ten more seconds to live”
Oh wait, sorry I’m channeling Kenshiro here.


There is never anything wrong with adding little bit of Omae wa mou shindeiru in someone's daily life.

10 seconds is too fast IMO for some characters. Things change from round to round and as a druid player, if the barbarian decides to jump into the middle of the enemy group immediately before my round comes, my initial plan to cast entangle might have just been bungled up.

I would say if you're having problems with turns taking too long, bring it up with the players and try to figure out what exactly is taking them so long. If it's unfamiliarity with the system or even character sheet, then pressuring them won't help.

If they're distracted, then that means either they don't care or are simply not engaged in your game and pressuring them won't help either of those cases.

Solve the problem at hand before throwing/applying solutions at the wall and seeing if something sticks.

If someone were to pull it on me simply to apply pressure or make things seem "chaotic" or "realistic", I would walk. Realism is the last thing I look for in a game of elf wizards, and chaotic is not what I would call a game where players act in the same, orderly round by round positions.

Demonic Spoon
2014-10-20, 07:03 PM
There are too many variables for most limits, especially one as small as 10 seconds, to make sense.


Example: Bill the Wizard plans to cast some kind of disabling spell on enemy caster.

Bob the Barbarian acts immediately before Bill the Wizard. Bob runs up to enemy caster, critical hits, and gibs said enemy caster. It's Bill the Wizard's turn and he has 10 seconds to evaluate the battlefield and decide what spell to cast.



If a player is just sitting there saying "ummm, umm....", then maybe just ask them "What are you going to do?" to get them to pick something. If they're a newer player and don't know what to do, suggest an action. If a player just screws around between turns and that's why he takes forever in combat, talk to him after the game.

Knaight
2014-10-20, 07:10 PM
You're deliberately trying to stress people out?

Hell, why not give them a random amount of time? Why not shout at them while they're trying to think? Let off firecrackers? Change the game rules without telling them?

Stressing people out on purpose is a bad thing to do when you're trying to play a fun game.
While stress might not be the best word for the phenomenon, this is a deliberate design choice in a lot of videogames, a handful of simultaneous playing board games, a number of board games with a timer, etc. The time restriction can make things more exciting, or even be the whole point.

Telwar
2014-10-20, 07:17 PM
The high level caster has an entire round of people fighting to figure out what they're doing. I have no patience for people hemming and hawing and looking through notes when their turn comes up. It's a combat, it's fast and chaotic. I like being able to accomplish more than one fight in a night.

I remember in 3.5, when playing my goliath rage-priest, his actions were actually fairly simple. Run up and hit something. Duh.

OTOH, actually figuring out my attacks and damage for my turn took up the entirety of every other player and NPC turn, what with Smites and Rage and Power Attack, to the point I really had no idea what was happening on anyone else's turn (which is annoying, because I generally pay attention to other people's actions and use them to inform my own actions).

It only occurred to me later that would've been a wonderful time to learn how to use a slide rule.

Tengu_temp
2014-10-20, 07:21 PM
Any kind of "you have a set amount of time to make your action, and after that time you lose it" rule would be a good incentive for me not to play with that DM, no matter what that time limit is. And when it's as stringent as 10 second? Yeah, I'm instantly out.

If people aren't too slow, you don't need such rules. If someone is being too slow, just tell them to hurry up. The most severe rule I'm willing to take is "if you can't think of an action in a certain amount of time, your action gets pushed for later in this round - let the DM know when you actually came up with one". But making the player lose the action for being too slow is just being an ass.

Fortis
2014-10-20, 07:34 PM
I can't speak for everyone, but I know that this sort of time limit, especially one as short as ten seconds, would rapidly drain my enjoyment of a game. I have a slow, methodical mindset, and I like to weigh my options carefully before committing to an action. And I find time limits very distracting to my thought process, especially if someone is verbally counting down. My mind just goes 'OH GOD I GOTTA PICK SOMETHING WHAT DO I DO WHAT DO I DO WHAT DO I DO!?'. I wouldn't find such a time limit fun, nor would I really appreciate the tension and chaos from it. I play games like this to get away from stress.

Also, as for those saying that players have a whole round to decide what to do? Sometimes, but sometimes not. I do use that time to plan out my next action, but the battlefield is a dynamic situation. There's time when the bad guy I was planning to beat up got axed by the PC just before me, and I had to pick a new battle plan. Or an ally just got hit into the negative HP. Or a fire started and began spreading. Or a cave in just occurred blocking off my chosen route. Changing situations dictate changing tactics.

Anyway, that's just my two cents. If my GM implemented this, I'd try to argue against it. And if they were adamant, I'd wish them luck, and leave to find another game.

Winds
2014-10-20, 08:17 PM
The variation in use at my table is: use the other PC/NPC turn to brainstorm some idea of what you're going to do. As long as you're engaged enough to react, all is well.

JusticeZero
2014-10-20, 09:47 PM
Anyway, that's just my two cents. If my GM implemented this, I'd try to argue against it. And if they were adamant, I'd wish them luck, and leave to find another game.Byebye then. It's a combat. They're dynamic and confusing. You have a whole turn of people moving to find something to do. Your character has SIX seconds, and they have to actually DO the action in that time. In combat, people with "slow methodical mindsets" get mowed down. I don't let people stop moving to think in sparring drills or paired sequence drills either. I'd rather have a bizarre and inappropriate response than a pause to think up a good one; the former is far more effective than the latter.

Mr Beer
2014-10-20, 10:16 PM
Byebye then. It's a combat. They're dynamic and confusing. You have a whole turn of people moving to find something to do. Your character has SIX seconds, and they have to actually DO the action in that time. In combat, people with "slow methodical mindsets" get mowed down. I don't let people stop moving to think in sparring drills or paired sequence drills either. I'd rather have a bizarre and inappropriate response than a pause to think up a good one; the former is far more effective than the latter.

I remember reading about the different approaches taken in officer training pre-WWII between the Wehrmacht and the British Army...the Germans believed that an adequate plan, executed aggressively and immediately, was better than a perfect plan undertaken in a week's time.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the Wehrmacht beat the piss out of the British pretty much any time they fought on roughly equal terms.

Alex12
2014-10-20, 11:13 PM
Byebye then. It's a combat. They're dynamic and confusing. You have a whole turn of people moving to find something to do. Your character has SIX seconds, and they have to actually DO the action in that time. In combat, people with "slow methodical mindsets" get mowed down. I don't let people stop moving to think in sparring drills or paired sequence drills either. I'd rather have a bizarre and inappropriate response than a pause to think up a good one; the former is far more effective than the latter.

There are a number of nontrivial differences between characters and players that make me strongly against time limits of the sort that you're supporting.

1.) Players are playing characters who are not them. People with "slow methodical mindsets" who take a while to come to a decision are not likely to become adventurers. That doesn't mean that tabletop gaming should be prohibited from playing tabletop RPGs, does it?
2.) Players are much less familiar with their characters abilities than their characters would be. How often do you play your character? Probably not more than once a week, in general, right? It's pretty easy to forget about specific abilities in that time, or forget about important caveats that your character would never have forgotten.
3.) Characters are seeing the world through their senses. Players are hearing the world described to them by the GM, possibly with the benefit of maps and minis and such. There's an inherent informational disparity there. There's a good chance I'm going to be asking questions if for no other reason than there's stuff I need to know that my character should just be able to see.
4.) Different characters have different sets of options available in different numbers. If I'm a Barbarian, I basically pick my target, "Rage:yes/no," and "Power attack:yes/no." If I'm a spellcaster with 70 different spells at my disposal, even just a quick glance at my spell list to figure out which spell I have is best for this situation is going to take more than 10 seconds, even though my spellcaster has those spells embedded in his brain, and has to make effort to forget about them, and may well also have literally superhuman intelligence. And I don't think anyone can honestly disagree that a single character's turn can dramatically change the battle. If my wizard is about to toss a fireball into the center of the enemy formation where the boss is, and then his fire-vulnerable buddy rushes in, crits, and cuts the boss in half, and my character's turn is right after his, I'll need to reevaluate the tactical situation.

Also, I play to relax and have fun. You throw a 10 second time limit at me, I'm gonna be more stressed and have less fun. This is the opposite of what is desired.

Mastikator
2014-10-20, 11:24 PM
You're deliberately trying to stress people out?

Hell, why not give them a random amount of time? Why not shout at them while they're trying to think? Let off firecrackers? Change the game rules without telling them?

Stressing people out on purpose is a bad thing to do when you're trying to play a fun game.

Cause that would stress them out a lot and I'm trying to stress them out a bit? I want them to feel like they're making split second choices, not like they're playing chess with unlimited time for each move.

mephnick
2014-10-20, 11:31 PM
Byebye then. It's a combat. They're dynamic and confusing. You have a whole turn of people moving to find something to do. Your character has SIX seconds, and they have to actually DO the action in that time. In combat, people with "slow methodical mindsets" get mowed down.

Man, you must be really good at casting magic and swinging greatswords.

I mean, your characters are I assume, so you must be.

JusticeZero
2014-10-20, 11:50 PM
Man, you must be really good at casting magic and swinging greatswords.
I mean, your characters are I assume, so you must be.
I'd say i'm fairly decent, actually. Better at some things than various characters, but it depends case by case. :smalltongue: Your point?

jedipotter
2014-10-21, 12:28 AM
There are a number of nontrivial differences between characters and players that make me strongly against time limits of the sort that you're supporting.

Also, I play to relax and have fun. You throw a 10 second time limit at me, I'm gonna be more stressed and have less fun. This is the opposite of what is desired.

I use 10 seconds for most players, 20 seconds for new players.

Way too many players are very slow. They are just naturally causal or relaxed or even lazy. They can take 5, 10, 15 or even 20 minutes or more to do something during the game. So if your game is only 5 hours long, then someone taking even just 10 minutes per action is a lot of time. Just think the six actions and this person will waste a whole hour of game time.

And some will even defend the slow person. ''Wow, I sat around for a whole hour waiting for that player to do something''. I just don't get it.

And on the positive side a lot of players respond well to the time limit. It makes people be ready to play. So when it's not their turn, they get ready, instead of doing anything else.

Vitruviansquid
2014-10-21, 12:48 AM
If it takes you like a full minute to decide what to do in a turn, I wonder what you were doing while the other players were on their turns. You *should* be paying attention and formulating your own move while other players are going. :smallconfused:

Still, I would usually want to compromise with my players on rules rather than kick them.

Sartharina
2014-10-21, 12:58 AM
Sometimes, I give my players a choice of four options on their turn - one of which is effective, and the other three being suboptimal traps. They are given a timer to choose which one they use each round. To help with the decision making process, they each get three tools they can each use once per session - Eliminate two of the trap options, call a friend, or ask the chatroom.

Altair_the_Vexed
2014-10-21, 02:57 PM
I'd say i'm fairly decent, actually. Better at some things than various characters, but it depends case by case. :smalltongue: Your point?

Hahaha haha ha ha! You're claiming to be a spell caster, and we should take you seriously?


Cause that would stress them out a lot and I'm trying to stress them out a bit? I want them to feel like they're making split second choices, not like they're playing chess with unlimited time for each move.

So, if I'm playing an INT 25+ character - or whatever you system uses to model way beyond human smarts - I still get 10 seconds to decide what I'm going to do?
What if I played an INT 3 character? I still get 10 seconds?

My point is that the character is NOT the player. The character is present in the fight, and can really see what's happening, rather than having imperfect descriptions and / or minis to show them a representation of what's happening. The character has a different intellect than the player - the player may want to decide based on roleplaying choices, rather than optimal combat choices. The character has options that the player only knows through reading rules - spells, combat moves, etc - the character can make decisions instantly and instictively about those abilites, whereas the player needs to weigh up the options based on the imperfect interface between game world and table.

TL:DR? I strongly dislike this idea. I think it doesn't account for the roleplaying nature of the game. You want mess with people's stress as a pass time? I think that's bullying.

icefractal
2014-10-21, 05:13 PM
Slow turns do lead to a noticeable increase in disengagement, and a vicious cycle of even slower turns though, IME. When turns move quickly, people stay focused on the game during other people's turns, and stay up to date on the tactical situation, leading to making quick turns themselves.

When turns slow down and people have to wait a long time between their own turns, they tend to get bored and put their attention elsewhere - side conversations, reading books, whatever - and then when their own turn comes up they need to have the entire situation re-explained to them.

So for me, encouraging quick turns is not some sort of realism thing, it's about making the game better for everyone. I have seen multiple players driven away from a game by overly slow combat.


Keep in mind, this isn't some kind of huge penalty. You can't decide something, you go to Delay, you can come back into initiative and act as soon as you figure out what you're doing. And for everyone except the first player in a combat (who again, I'd give extra time to), you don't just have 10 seconds, you have 10 seconds plus several minutes from the people before you.

Also, I would consider asking questions about info that the GM hasn't conveyed already to be a legitimate part of resolving an action and not count against the time. So if it's really important what height the windows are, it's not like you're wasting your turn to find out.

jedipotter
2014-10-21, 11:25 PM
My point is that the character is NOT the player. The character is present in the fight, and can really see what's happening, rather than having imperfect descriptions and / or minis to show them a representation of what's happening. The character has a different intellect than the player - the player may want to decide based on roleplaying choices, rather than optimal combat choices.

But we are not talking about making super smart choices in the game, we are just talking about taking action.

DM: Six skeletons come down the hallway...
Homer: What? Um..ok. Um..whatever. Um...I don't know what to do.

OR

DM: Six skeletons come down the hallway...
Homer: Bart the Wizard will cast burning hands on them..um..um..um..though I forget what that spell does: picks up book *flip* *flip* *flip* *flip*

OR

DM: Six skeletons come down the hallway...
Homer: Um, I'll attack! Um, what do a roll? What is a D20? What number do I need to roll? What do I add? Oh, wait, Ned is texting me and wants to buy my Magic the Gathering card I have for sale. i got to take this, lets just like pause the game

Eric Tolle
2014-10-22, 12:21 AM
Cause that would stress them out a lot and I'm trying to stress them out a bit? I want them to feel like they're making split second choices, not like they're playing chess with unlimited time for each move.

I would accept that, ONLY if you apply the same result to yourself.

It's the Big Bad's turn? You have ten seconds to say what he's going to do. Otherwise, he spends his turn picking his nose while the PCs whale on him. Because if the stress is fun for the players, it should be even more fun for you, right?

JusticeZero
2014-10-22, 01:47 AM
I've never had any trouble with declaring an action for the villain when its turn comes up.

DeadMech
2014-10-22, 01:58 AM
I got my start in "pen and paper" roleplaying through internet forums and eventually chat programs... so my expectations are just going to be different.

Even at the best of times it wasn't unusual for a person to take minutes to read and comprehend the scenario going on and then minutes more to write up their turn. And it wasn't the people who took ten minutes who bothered me. Because the time they took let them make something that we wanted to read and be a part of. Something that immersed us in the world we were making and gave us insight into who is was that they were playing and their take on the people we played.

It was the people who responded immediately with nothing more than a single sentence that bothered me. Because it was that person who wasn't engaged in the game.

Probably helps that there was a place to talk out of character seperately. People who were waiting for their turn could talk to the others, comment and joke, throw ideas off the wall, and even be reminded of their turn.

Like I said. This wasn't a table. And even then there are limits to patience. If you can't be bothered to take even a couple minutes out of a day to sit down and take your turn in a forum game, or at least tell the others ahead of time that you are going on vacation, then you probably shouldn't have signed up in the first place.

Likewise if you show up at a table and then spend the entire night on your cellphone not paying attention, similar sentiments apply. But I'd rather see the source of the problem addressed than to just try to cover it over with a band-aid solution.

Sometimes the best part of the game is the rallying speech, or scrambling to find that +1 which may or may not exist that will determine a life or death moment, or pulling just the right spell from your books, or the pause building suspense before a fateful roll.

And sometimes, maybe most of the time, those things take more than ten seconds. Players being disengaged or paralyzed with choice is obviously bad but I don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Mastikator
2014-10-22, 02:32 AM
I would accept that, ONLY if you apply the same result to yourself.

It's the Big Bad's turn? You have ten seconds to say what he's going to do. Otherwise, he spends his turn picking his nose while the PCs whale on him. Because if the stress is fun for the players, it should be even more fun for you, right?

Have you have played where the DM starts flipping through the rule books to look up some obscure rule to make a decision? When I DM I don't ever think I've taken more than 2-3 seconds to decide what any NPC is going to do next, if I know they use special attacks then I have them written down in plain text before me.

I don't get where this anti-stress thing is coming from, have you EVER played a competitive game before? Did you notice that it stressed you out and that stress made you more focused and alert and it enhanced the experience? Maybe you're the exception to the rule, but that's basically what I'm trying to accomplish. Force players to make decisions and make combat feel engaging and fast paced.

Sir Chuckles
2014-10-22, 03:41 AM
Have you have played where the DM starts flipping through the rule books to look up some obscure rule to make a decision? When I DM I don't ever think I've taken more than 2-3 seconds to decide what any NPC is going to do next, if I know they use special attacks then I have them written down in plain text before me.

I don't get where this anti-stress thing is coming from, have you EVER played a competitive game before? Did you notice that it stressed you out and that stress made you more focused and alert and it enhanced the experience? Maybe you're the exception to the rule, but that's basically what I'm trying to accomplish. Force players to make decisions and make combat feel engaging and fast paced.

Except D&D isn't a competitive game, or at least it often shouldn't be, and stress making someone focused is not a rule. Many people do not play games to be forced into stressful decisions. I agree with setting a time limit on declaring actions, but slapping a chess timer onto the table often won't make the game feel engaging.

Mastikator
2014-10-22, 06:08 AM
Except D&D isn't a competitive game, or at least it often shouldn't be, and stress making someone focused is not a rule.

Not talking about D&D in specific. In a complex system like D&D I'd probably increase the time to 20 or 30 seconds.


I agree with setting a time limit on declaring actions

That's what I said, it even says so in the title. Once you start declaring your action the timer goes away and if it takes 10000 million years to the action and make all the calculations then so be it.


but slapping a chess timer onto the table often won't make the game feel engaging. Not applicable comparison. Nor relevant.

Kesnit
2014-10-22, 06:25 AM
I can't speak for everyone, but I know that this sort of time limit, especially one as short as ten seconds, would rapidly drain my enjoyment of a game. I have a slow, methodical mindset, and I like to weigh my options carefully before committing to an action.

Which is what you can do while the other players are taking their turns. There is no requirement that everyone be out of the room until their turn, come in, look at the table, and have 10 seconds to declare an action.


And I find time limits very distracting to my thought process, especially if someone is verbally counting down. My mind just goes 'OH GOD I GOTTA PICK SOMETHING WHAT DO I DO WHAT DO I DO WHAT DO I DO!?'.

If you have an action picked before your turn comes up, there is no time pressure.


Also, as for those saying that players have a whole round to decide what to do? Sometimes, but sometimes not. I do use that time to plan out my next action, but the battlefield is a dynamic situation.

This is true. If something like that happens, there is nothing keeping you from saying "Drat, I was about to get that bad guy. I'm going to delay until I can come up with another action." It shows you are engaged, but doesn't bog down combat while you think.

Before anyone says "but casters take time..." I'm playing a psion in a friend's game. I have a binder with all my known powers and powers from stones/dorjes in it. Every round during the other player's turns, I'm flipping through the binder, picking what I am going to do next. I almost always have my action before my turn comes around. If I don't, it's usually because the tactical situation changed suddenly.


It was the people who responded immediately with nothing more than a single sentence that bothered me. Because it was that person who wasn't engaged in the game.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but I disagree. If someone answers quickly, it doesn't mean they aren't engaged. They can be engaged and working on their response while everyone else is doing the same. So when their turn comes around, they're ready.


Sometimes the best part of the game is the rallying speech, or scrambling to find that +1 which may or may not exist that will determine a life or death moment, or pulling just the right spell from your books, or the pause building suspense before a fateful roll.

All of those are actions, and not the point of the OP's question.

Aedilred
2014-10-22, 06:58 AM
Sometimes the best part of the game is the rallying speech, or scrambling to find that +1 which may or may not exist that will determine a life or death moment, or pulling just the right spell from your books, or the pause building suspense before a fateful roll.

And sometimes, maybe most of the time, those things take more than ten seconds. Players being disengaged or paralyzed with choice is obviously bad but I don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
I don't think anyone's saying those things should stop. I might be mistaken, but I think it's been made clear multiple times that nobody's calling for a ten-second limit on declaring and resolving an action. The idea is that once the previous player's (or monster/NPC's) turn is over, you have ten seconds' thinking time, then you're up. It might take several minutes to resolve the action - if it's D&D 3.5, it probably will.

Which in itself is one of the reasons to try to minimise the time taken between actions. If you take on average three minutes per action, in a party of five it will take an hour for the party to conduct four rounds of combat. That's not counting monsters, NPCs or indeed summoned creatures, cohorts or the like. And if players are routinely taking a minute or two to decide what they're going to do before taking into account all the time spent calculating, moving things around, looking up rules, dropping dice down the back of the sofa, giving heroic speeches, dramatic pauses before rolling, arguing about the rules, and so forth, that's only going to get worse.

There's something frustrating about the way the game often seems to come to a screeching halt every time the PCs enter combat, especially for people who are relatively time-poor and for whom time taken out for gaming is an indulgence. A group of mine used to game over entire weekends and we'd still usually only resolve one or two combats in that time because they just took so damn long. Faffing about between actions is a waste of everyone's time. Which in turn means players disengage from what's going on, get distracted, aren't up to speed with what's happening, need things explained to them every round, and we enter some kind of nightmarish loop where it all gets longer and longer. You can't really control all the time spent resolving actions - there are ways to make the process more efficient, but relatively small proportional savings - but you can try to control the faffing about between them.

Ten seconds is too short. It doesn't have to be, but as a general-purpose rule I think it's too strict. What the limit should be will largely depend on the group, butthe idea behind it of imposing a time limit to try to keep players engaged and the action on the table moving is I think sound, and one that some of my games could have done with. That some people have reacted to the idea of not being able to take as long over their actions as they please as if it's a conspiracy to ruin their health frankly baffles me, but ok.

Knaight
2014-10-22, 09:36 AM
TL:DR? I strongly dislike this idea. I think it doesn't account for the roleplaying nature of the game. You want mess with people's stress as a pass time? I think that's bullying.
There are a number of games where time limits impose some level of tension, and that's what makes it fun. Racing against the hourglass in Taboo is pretty much the joy of it. Eking out that one last card 1/4 of a second before the hourglass runs out is great. So on and so forth. "Bullying" is a ridiculous characterization of that.

I would accept that, ONLY if you apply the same result to yourself.

It's the Big Bad's turn? You have ten seconds to say what he's going to do. Otherwise, he spends his turn picking his nose while the PCs whale on him. Because if the stress is fun for the players, it should be even more fun for you, right?
This is absolutely the case, and even more important on the GM side - they likely have multiple things under control, and operating slowly causes more of a delay than it does for the players.

Xelbiuj
2014-10-22, 09:55 AM
Timer should be your characters int times 3.

Actually, that wouldn't be such a bad rule.

Segev
2014-10-22, 09:57 AM
Expanding on my earlier suggestion to have players write their actions on index cards at the start of a round, giving them a minute to do so, you could also have them roll attacks and damage numbers as may be appropriate and record them, so all that has to happen on their turn are saves being rolled and numbers being compared.

Aedilred
2014-10-22, 10:19 AM
Expanding on my earlier suggestion to have players write their actions on index cards at the start of a round, giving them a minute to do so, you could also have them roll attacks and damage numbers as may be appropriate and record them, so all that has to happen on their turn are saves being rolled and numbers being compared.

Although writing down moves in advance can make for a fun game, I think it tends only to work well in games that have been designed around simultaneous action. In a sequential round-based system, this largely screws over players further down the initiative order who find themselves unable to react to events and find their actions will be redundant or worse. While you can try to compensate for that by allowing editing of such actions later, that probably slows things down more than just running the round normally would have done.

Likewise, I think getting the rolling done in advance not only kills some of the tension (which may or may not be a concern) but runs the risk of wasting time in itself: there's no point calculating damage or effect if the attack doesn't hit or the target is immune or whatever, and when the player rolls he might well not know the target's AC or immunities.

LaserFace
2014-10-22, 10:43 AM
Is this rule too stringent?
During combat each player has 10 seconds to decide what they do, if they don't decide then it's "defensive action" (whatever that may mean).

Is 10 seconds too little or too much? What are your thoughts on disallowing players from bogging down combat?

This seems very stringent to me in any RPG I've played. I don't have any rules regarding timely responses, although if I get the sense things are moving slower than they really should I make it known, usually with some kind of teasing, possibly with a Brooklyn accent.

The reason I find 10 seconds to be tough is that I think it takes much more time to absorb a given scenario audibly than it would visually, and I rely almost entirely on verbal description. Even if my explanation of an encounter is thorough, players might even have questions regarding details of the environment that I hadn't elaborated on, because they wish to use something to their advantage. Sometimes, I might not articulate the situation well or I might even make a mistake, and this can also cause a bit of slow-down as I make clarifications or amendments. If I'm taking this much time to give players a mental image, I think it's fair to give them a little time to make a good decision.

When it's purely down to decision-making, I don't mind when players take a little while to choose the proper spell to cast, or whether they should grapple instead of punch a dude, so long as it doesn't prompt people to start daydreaming while they wait for their turn. I feel like any hard and fast rule on timing ought to be reserved for a game which has a theme of people not having a lot of time to do much of anything.

Aliquid
2014-10-22, 03:03 PM
What's up with all of you?

Some people (myslef included) would like the added tension of a time limit. Some people would think it ruins the game... yet both sides are arguing that the other group is having fun the wrong way.

If someone thinks something is fun, don't tell them they are wrong for thinking it is fun. If they think something is not fun, don't tell them that it should be fun for them.

Check with the players. If they think a time limit would increase the fun then go for it. If they think it sucks then don't. If some like it and some don't... well then you got a problem.

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Edit
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As for the original question. If your players are up for it, start with 30 seconds for the first battle, then assess the situation. Ask them if that worked and if they think they need more or less time for the next battle. Adjust and repeat until you have a number that works. You might find that after everyone gets used to it you will need to adjust a bit more.

Altair_the_Vexed
2014-10-23, 04:30 AM
There are a number of games where time limits impose some level of tension, and that's what makes it fun. Racing against the hourglass in Taboo is pretty much the joy of it. Eking out that one last card 1/4 of a second before the hourglass runs out is great. So on and so forth. "Bullying" is a ridiculous characterization of that.
Comparing RPGs to Taboo is not fair (and ridiculous), unless you consider RPGs to be competitive games.

And deliberately stressing someone out, against their consent (the only option the OP has been giving to posters who say they wouldn't enjoy it is to say he'd kick them from the game!), for your own enjoyment? Yes, that's bullying.


But we are not talking about making super smart choices in the game, we are just talking about taking action.
So by forcing people into taking quick decisions, you take away their ability to play their character according to their ability scores? If that's okay with you and your group, then why are you even using ability scores? The mental scores obviously have no meaning if you're forcing players to use only their own mental abilities.

Of course, that might be a valid game, which everyone round the table enjoys - but it's not a role-playing game, it's an adventure game.

GungHo
2014-10-23, 08:11 AM
You need to get the Haddaway ring tone and play it out while they try to decide. As soon you hear the lady sing "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, uh, uh ", time's up.

Raptor_00
2014-10-23, 11:34 AM
I would not enjoy a time limit set for actions. Most likely if a DM is implementing this, there are other aspects of them controlling characters I wouldn't like either.
If this was something I couldn't sway the DM from, I'd take a few actions where I'd just do nothing as I gathered my things. Most of my friends I play with would probably do the same and half the table would walk away. Might not end a campaign but it puts a damper on the night.
That DM just would not be compatible with the relaxed games I want to play. If I want stress and fast decisions, I'll go to work. D&D is not competitive to me. It's where I go to relax and have fun. And making snap decisions is not fun to me.
If people enjoy it, that's their game, and they are welcome to it. But it should be something brought up before a game starts.

Mark Hall
2014-10-23, 11:58 AM
On the other hand, while making snap decisions isn't fun for some people (completely understandable), consider being on the other side of the table, with the person who simply WILL. NOT. MAKE. UP. THEIR. MIND. They've had the entire round since their last action to think about what they're going to do. But every time it's their turn, they either have to be torn away from their phone, or will simply sit there, paralyzed by indecision, holding up the entire game (i.e. making things less fun) because they won't commit to an action.

I can understand not liking snap decisions, but the GM (and the player) have to consider everyone else's fun, too.

Narren
2014-10-23, 11:58 AM
You're deliberately trying to stress people out?

Hell, why not give them a random amount of time? Why not shout at them while they're trying to think? Let off firecrackers? Change the game rules without telling them?

Stressing people out on purpose is a bad thing to do when you're trying to play a fun game.

A little bit of stress can add to the enjoyment for many people.

If you run with the argument of "don't stress the players" then we need to abolish hit points, because the chance of death can stress out players. Actually, you may want to just ditch the dice so that there's never a chance of failure. That's taking it to the extreme, but so is throwing firecrackers at them.

Amphetryon
2014-10-23, 12:12 PM
A little bit of stress can add to the enjoyment for many people.

If you run with the argument of "don't stress the players" then we need to abolish hit points, because the chance of death can stress out players. Actually, you may want to just ditch the dice so that there's never a chance of failure. That's taking it to the extreme, but so is throwing firecrackers at them.

That's a lovely strawman argument, I must say. There's a significant difference between agreeing to sit down to play the game with the rules you can find in the actual book/SRD, and agreeing to sit down to the game, only to find that there are additional time pressures - indicated nowhere that I can find in the rulebooks or SRD - imposed on the players.

A closer analogy to the HP vs. time constraint issue, from my perspective, would be finding that the GM is planning to hit you on the head with a Nerf bat every time your character gets hit in combat - swinging harder or softer depending on how much damage was rolled - in order to 'simulate the stressful environment of an actual combat.' At a certain point, you're LARPing, not playing an RPG.

Narren
2014-10-23, 12:13 PM
Comparing RPGs to Taboo is not fair (and ridiculous), unless you consider RPGs to be competitive games.

And deliberately stressing someone out, against their consent (the only option the OP has been giving to posters who say they wouldn't enjoy it is to say he'd kick them from the game!), for your own enjoyment? Yes, that's bullying.

While I don't use a timer (though if a player starts thinking about their actions for a minute or more I'll warn them and then start counting down from five. We've got to get moving eventually) I routinely put my players in stressful situations. The stress adds pressure that adds enjoyment to the game for the players. I don't personally enjoy actually doing it, I only have a good time if the players are having a good time. That's the primary function of a DM, in my opinion. No...it's not a competitive game, but it IS a game. If there is zero stress then there is zero challenge, and at that point why bother playing?



So by forcing people into taking quick decisions, you take away their ability to play their character according to their ability scores? If that's okay with you and your group, then why are you even using ability scores? The mental scores obviously have no meaning if you're forcing players to use only their own mental abilities.

Of course, that might be a valid game, which everyone round the table enjoys - but it's not a role-playing game, it's an adventure game.

Since when does being smart make you faster under pressure? I know plenty of intelligent people that are slow on the draw. Honestly, the smartest person I play with is also the slowest to declare an action by a large margin. I like to give him time, because he usually comes up with an entertaining plan, but he sure doesn't do it in six seconds!

We get it....putting you on the clock would stress you out unduly and make you not enjoy the game. Understand that many people out there don't mind the pressure, and that doesn't make them "wrong" or "not roleplaying" any more than you are. To say these players are not playing a roleplaying game, but an adventure game, would be the same as me saying you're not playing a roleplaying game, you're playing a strategy game.

Narren
2014-10-23, 12:20 PM
That's a lovely strawman argument, I must say. There's a significant difference between agreeing to sit down to play the game with the rules you can find in the actual book/SRD, and agreeing to sit down to the game, only to find that there are additional time pressures - indicated nowhere that I can find in the rulebooks or SRD - imposed on the players.

Have you never played a game with house rules? I expect there to be numerous house rules that I'm unfamiliar with in every group I see. Some I may enjoy, some I may not. I've never sat at a table that used RAW.


A closer analogy to the HP vs. time constraint issue, from my perspective, would be finding that the GM is planning to hit you on the head with a Nerf bat every time your character gets hit in combat - swinging harder or softer depending on how much damage was rolled - in order to 'simulate the stressful environment of an actual combat.' At a certain point, you're LARPing, not playing an RPG.

That's just as silly as abolishing hitpoints or throwing firecrackers (actually.....thinking about it, some firecracker props may be kind of fun). The main point of the 10 second time restraint (and that's just to declare an action, not resolve it) is to keep the game moving. I agree that it's not a combat simulation, so we can take a bit longer than our character has to think, but we shouldn't take all day. You can argue that 10 seconds is too short, but do you really think that a player should have an unlimited amount of time to make a split second decision?

Aedilred
2014-10-23, 12:20 PM
So any time limit would be too much? Five minutes? Half an hour? As I've mentioned, ten seconds is definitely too short, but if a time limit is set that any reasonable player should be able to make a decision in, I don't see why it should lead people to walk away from the table. To be honest, if other players (whether I'm a player or a GM) were taking forever over their actions, I'd find that stressful, because I'd be thinking about all the things I could be doing with my life rather than sitting there watching this person be indecisive and worrying that the session wouldn't reach a satisfactory conclusion because it was all taking too long. It's not a one-way street.

Edit: I missed a few posts and have been largely ninjad.

warty goblin
2014-10-23, 12:28 PM
That's a lovely strawman argument, I must say. There's a significant difference between agreeing to sit down to play the game with the rules you can find in the actual book/SRD, and agreeing to sit down to the game, only to find that there are additional time pressures - indicated nowhere that I can find in the rulebooks or SRD - imposed on the players.

It's not in any of the editions of D&D I've seen IIRC, but I certainly own (and have played) RPGs which state that if you don't make up your mind quickly enough, your character doesn't do anything that round. I've seen it often enough I wouldn't even really say it's a particularly uncommon rule.

Sartharina
2014-10-23, 12:49 PM
I would not enjoy a time limit set for actions. Most likely if a DM is implementing this, there are other aspects of them controlling characters I wouldn't like either.
If this was something I couldn't sway the DM from, I'd take a few actions where I'd just do nothing as I gathered my things. Most of my friends I play with would probably do the same and half the table would walk away. Might not end a campaign but it puts a damper on the night.
That DM just would not be compatible with the relaxed games I want to play. If I want stress and fast decisions, I'll go to work. D&D is not competitive to me. It's where I go to relax and have fun. And making snap decisions is not fun to me.
If people enjoy it, that's their game, and they are welcome to it. But it should be something brought up before a game starts.

Aren't you also the guy who complained about not wanting to put up with people wasting your time?

Thomas Hunter
2014-10-23, 12:55 PM
Different people want different things from their games? Shocking.


I'm going to reiterate that the inclusion or lack thereof of a time limit depends entirely on the players. Some groups will love it, some will hate it. Even if used, there may need to be exceptions - a group of level two heroes fighting Kobolds will need a lot less decision-making and party coordination (which, let's face it, takes time) than a group of high level heroes fighting a Lich King, his Bone Dragon, and a small army of minions.

I personally feel that ten seconds is a bit harsh, and if I were to implement such a rule in my group it would more likely be a minute, with exceptions for looking up rules/unfamiliarity.

I will also acknowledge that there are times when people take too long. If they're consistently taking ten minutes to make a decision, even after being prompted to speed things along in battle and chats after the session, it may be time to implement a (lenient) version of this rule. I wouldn't try to force them to act immediately, but at least make sure they're thinking when it's not their turn.

jedipotter
2014-10-23, 02:56 PM
That's a lovely strawman argument, I must say. There's a significant difference between agreeing to sit down to play the game with the rules you can find in the actual book/SRD, and agreeing to sit down to the game, only to find that there are additional time pressures - indicated nowhere that I can find in the rulebooks or SRD - imposed on the players.


So I guess everyone chipping in equally for pizza, if they want to eat pizza, is something like that too. Page 42 of the game rule book does not say so, right? So mucher Bob can pay nothing and eat eight pieces of pizza?

The no cell phone rule is not in the rule books, so do you wait like for thirty minutes while Keven just ''has to'' talk to his girl friend?

How do you even get people to show up on time? If you say ''the game starts at 6pm'', they can just say ''forget you man, I'll show up when I feel like it. I don't want to play the game under your time pressure, and the rules don't say when the game starts. So, I'll be there, like, whenever....''

Alex12
2014-10-23, 03:11 PM
So I guess everyone chipping in equally for pizza, if they want to eat pizza, is something like that too. Page 42 of the game rule book does not say so, right? So mucher Bob can pay nothing and eat eight pieces of pizza?

The no cell phone rule is not in the rule books, so do you wait like for thirty minutes while Keven just ''has to'' talk to his girl friend?

How do you even get people to show up on time? If you say ''the game starts at 6pm'', they can just say ''forget you man, I'll show up when I feel like it. I don't want to play the game under your time pressure, and the rules don't say when the game starts. So, I'll be there, like, whenever....''

Those are completely different things and you darn well know it. Those aren't game rules, those are rules or conditions for the social interactions surrounding the game.

If I show up for a game, and that game has a known and established ruleset, and then the DM springs a rule on me that isn't in the official rulebooks that we've agreed to based on (especially if I don't find out about that rule until it comes up and screws me over because I wasn't expecting it) then yeah, I'm not gonna be happy if that rule interferes with my enjoyment of the game.

I don't think anyone's saying "everyone can take a half-hour for their turn every turn." But 10 seconds is absurd.

Just as an example, I had one time, one time, where the DM imposed an out-of-game time limit for in-game actions. The party accidentally triggered an elevator while one character wasn't on it, and the elevator started going down. The DM took out a timer and turned it on. One player, playing a literal ninja with insane Dex, asked "what?" because he didn't understand what was going on. Once it was explained what was going on in a little more detail, he understood, but because of the disconnect between being told things and actually being there seeing them with your own eyes, his character with better reflexes than anyone else in the party stood there dumbly. The DM, a guy who I consider to be a pretty good DM, better than I am in many ways, never used the timer again in game.

Thomas Hunter
2014-10-23, 03:17 PM
If I show up for a game, and that game has a known and established ruleset, and then the DM springs a rule on me that isn't in the official rulebooks that we've agreed to based on (especially if I don't find out about that rule until it comes up and screws me over because I wasn't expecting it) then yeah, I'm not gonna be happy if that rule interferes with my enjoyment of the game.


So, out of curiosity, would you be all right with a rule (more lenient than ten seconds; say, one minute) that HAD been brought up before? If, when laying out the details - what the game is, which sourcebooks are used, any restrictions, etc. - the DM had said "Also, to prevent excessively long combat, we'll be using one-minute turns, unless we need to look stuff up or something."?

Sartharina
2014-10-23, 03:18 PM
Those are completely different things and you darn well know it. Those aren't game rules, those are rules or conditions for the social interactions surrounding the game.If we're talking D&D... you may want to re-read the DMG. Especially the first chapter.

And - time limits on turns are ALSO conditions for the social interactions surrounding the game.

Raptor_00
2014-10-23, 03:41 PM
Aren't you also the guy who complained about not wanting to put up with people wasting your time?

There's a big difference between "you have 10 seconds to make a decision" and "come over for a game we're not gonna play".

Thrudd
2014-10-23, 07:30 PM
I agree with having a time limit on making combat decisions in D&D. This is not a strategy/war game. Planning and strategy are what happens before the fighting starts. Ten seconds may be too short, though, I'm more around 20-30. Players taking excessive time and/or not paying attention can be a huge problem and this is a perfect solution to that. Of course new players need some allowance while they are learning the game, but this shouldn't take more than a few combats.

I will always allow time to describe what their characters see and hear and answer reasonable questions, but I won't repeat myself incessantly or answer an unending string of questions on each player's turn, or allow repeated measuring and re-measuring and flipping through books. Spell casting players should know their spells and what they are capable of in general before the combat breaks out. I feel it breaks immersion and the flow of the game to descend into war-game mode and start measuring and calculating multiple options on every turn. I use minis as a visual aid for positioning and distance, I tell you what your characters see and hear, and you really shouldn't need much more info before deciding what to do, twenty seconds (per character) is plenty. I certainly don't take that long to decide the enemies and NPC actions.

It goes without saying that the time-limit rule would be explained to the players at the beginning of the game. I prefer not to hold players to a strict limit, but I will tell them about the limit so that I can say "ok, you're at the time limit, make a decision now", if I need to.

Alex12
2014-10-23, 09:27 PM
So, out of curiosity, would you be all right with a rule (more lenient than ten seconds; say, one minute) that HAD been brought up before? If, when laying out the details - what the game is, which sourcebooks are used, any restrictions, etc. - the DM had said "Also, to prevent excessively long combat, we'll be using one-minute turns, unless we need to look stuff up or something."?

I'd be okay with it, yeah. At the very least, I'd be willing to give it a shot and see how things go. If it's working for everyone and enhancing enjoyment, great, keep using it! If upon testing it turns out nobody likes it, then reconsider. Wouldn't be the first time I've had that sort of experience with a houserule. Test it out, if it works, keep it, if it doesn't, scrap it.

Altair_the_Vexed
2014-10-24, 02:18 AM
So I guess everyone chipping in equally for pizza, if they want to eat pizza, is something like that too. Page 42 of the game rule book does not say so, right? So mucher Bob can pay nothing and eat eight pieces of pizza?

The no cell phone rule is not in the rule books, so do you wait like for thirty minutes while Keven just ''has to'' talk to his girl friend?

How do you even get people to show up on time? If you say ''the game starts at 6pm'', they can just say ''forget you man, I'll show up when I feel like it. I don't want to play the game under your time pressure, and the rules don't say when the game starts. So, I'll be there, like, whenever....''

1: Social issue
2: Social issue
3: Social issue

In cases 2 & 3, of course you don't wait! You run their character while they're out of the game - same as your arrangements for if they didn't show up.
There's a world of difference between someone stepping out of the game to deal with real life and someone coping poorly with being put under pressure by some power mad git with a timer and a countdown.

Knaight
2014-10-24, 07:46 AM
Comparing RPGs to Taboo is not fair (and ridiculous), unless you consider RPGs to be competitive games.

The underlying idea of stress response has approximately nothing to do with whether the game is competitive or not. The time limit sounds fun to me, and if someone has an issue with it, well, that's a matter of taste differences. Sometimes compromise can be found (I'm not at all attached to the idea, it can be dropped), sometimes it's irreconcilable.

Kelb_Panthera
2014-10-24, 08:35 AM
While the game as a whole, be it D&D or otherwise, is not a competitive event; combat, inherently, is.

The players' characters are undeniably competing with the DM's NPCs for their very survival, if not higher stakes. This is inherently 'stressful' in a way that should make a minor time constraint trivial.

That said, there's rather a thin line between stress and excitement. A thin and subjective line, at that.

If you can't or don't want to deal with such a constraint, there's nothing wrong with that. However, some people will find that extra pressure exciting and enjoy it. Neither side is wrong.

The OP's question is directed, I suspect, at people in the latter group. I've already chimed in on that but I'll reiterate, 10 seconds is a bit short. 20 - 30 is probably more appropriate.

The Grue
2014-10-24, 11:36 AM
On the other hand, while making snap decisions isn't fun for some people (completely understandable), consider being on the other side of the table, with the person who simply WILL. NOT. MAKE. UP. THEIR. MIND. They've had the entire round since their last action to think about what they're going to do. But every time it's their turn, they either have to be torn away from their phone, or will simply sit there, paralyzed by indecision, holding up the entire game (i.e. making things less fun) because they won't commit to an action.

I can understand not liking snap decisions, but the GM (and the player) have to consider everyone else's fun, too.

We've all been in a game with That Guy. I had a campaign once where That Guy played a Druid, and every time he was up in initiative order he'd look up the rules for every spell he'd prepared, look up his animal companion's sheet, look up how Pounce worked(and get it wrong every single time), look up how Wild Shape works, then spend the next couple of minutes looking up monsters in the SRD. Add additional time trying to get his tablet apps to work properly.

Without fail. Every single time.

Sometimes, for the sake of everyone else at the table, the GM has to put their foot down and say "Hey, decide what you're doing." It's not about punishing less experienced or indecisive players, it's about making sure no one player monopolizes playtime. The needs of the many etc.

Narren
2014-10-24, 11:40 AM
http://oaf12.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/you-have-20-seconds-to-comply1.jpg

Mastikator
2014-10-24, 12:54 PM
That's a lovely strawman argument, I must say. There's a significant difference between agreeing to sit down to play the game with the rules you can find in the actual book/SRD, and agreeing to sit down to the game, only to find that there are additional time pressures - indicated nowhere that I can find in the rulebooks or SRD - imposed on the players.

A closer analogy to the HP vs. time constraint issue, from my perspective, would be finding that the GM is planning to hit you on the head with a Nerf bat every time your character gets hit in combat - swinging harder or softer depending on how much damage was rolled - in order to 'simulate the stressful environment of an actual combat.' At a certain point, you're LARPing, not playing an RPG.

You make it sound like the DM would be imposing house rules after the game started without mentioning it to the players beforehand. I don't know if that is a strawman or you've just had terrible DMs.

Sartharina
2014-10-24, 01:48 PM
Time pressures are suggested in the DMGs to speed up play and discourage taking too long.

oxybe
2014-10-24, 03:07 PM
We've all been in a game with That Guy. I had a campaign once where That Guy played a Druid, and every time he was up in initiative order he'd look up the rules for every spell he'd prepared, look up his animal companion's sheet, look up how Pounce worked(and get it wrong every single time), look up how Wild Shape works, then spend the next couple of minutes looking up monsters in the SRD. Add additional time trying to get his tablet apps to work properly.

Without fail. Every single time.

Sometimes, for the sake of everyone else at the table, the GM has to put their foot down and say "Hey, decide what you're doing." It's not about punishing less experienced or indecisive players, it's about making sure no one player monopolizes playtime. The needs of the many etc.

You tell "That Guy" to shape up or ship out. This isn't a problem with the game, but specifically one with that one player.

If you're having problems with one player, you fix the player and his issues (where excising the player is always a viable option if no other solution can be found) instead of penalizing the group with a 10 second time limit on decision of actions.

This way you don't end up punishing players who have nothing to do with the issue at hand.

If the fighter keeps having to recalculate his bonuses for charging with powerattack, you have him make sure that's already calculated and on his sheet beforehand so it's all ready to look up when the time comes.

If your druid keeps asking for the monster manual to grab commonly summoned animals or forms, have him print them out and by him for easy reference.

If your wizard keeps pageflipping for spells, they solved this problem in 2nd ed (http://www.trollandtoad.com/pd2942240.html).

There are practical solutions to problems, but very rarely have I found that adding extra stress on an entire group of people out to have fun is a good solution to one bad (or at least moderately inconvenient) apple.

Another_Poet
2014-10-24, 04:23 PM
One GM of mine has a simple request: have your Attack and Damage dice already in your hand when your turn comes around, and roll 'em both at once. If using a spell/power, look it up before your turn.

This seemed to work pretty well without a strict time limit rule, but then, we were all a pretty congenial group.

Jay R
2014-10-24, 06:56 PM
Sometimes, for the sake of everyone else at the table, the GM has to put their foot down and say "Hey, decide what you're doing." It's not about punishing less experienced or indecisive players, it's about making sure no one player monopolizes playtime. The needs of the many etc.

Agreed. My approach is to say, "You don't know what you're doing? OK, your character looks around to decide what to do. I'll get back to you at the end of the round."

If he's a reasonable player who is currently lost, no problem. The need to think it through legitimately costs him initiative.

If he's That Guy, he should learn that it costs him to continue to act that way.

Legato Endless
2014-10-24, 10:48 PM
We've all been in a game with That Guy. I had a campaign once where That Guy played a Druid, and every time he was up in initiative order he'd look up the rules for every spell he'd prepared, look up his animal companion's sheet, look up how Pounce worked(and get it wrong every single time), look up how Wild Shape works, then spend the next couple of minutes looking up monsters in the SRD. Add additional time trying to get his tablet apps to work properly.

Without fail. Every single time.

Sometimes, for the sake of everyone else at the table, the GM has to put their foot down and say "Hey, decide what you're doing." It's not about punishing less experienced or indecisive players, it's about making sure no one player monopolizes playtime. The needs of the many etc.

Agreed, but this brings up a related issue. Exactly how much of the table is this a problem for?

If you have six players, and one or two of them can't make up their mind, then you certainly could institute this rule...if you enjoy as using blunt cookie cutter solutions.

If the majority of your players are taking too long, and draining the fun out of the game, then sure, go for it. If you have a 'problem child' or two, placing a generalized rule is rather inelegant. Assuming your players possess a basic maturity to understand life is neither fair, nor would we all be happier if it actually were, i.e. not children, then generalized rules should be kept down unless the problem is truly endemic to the whole. Then it's better to focus on the players who are actually the problem. Perhaps they can be minded by a more responsible efficient player. Perhaps their character is a narcoleptic, and they do indeed skip turns every so often. Or if the issue is complexity, they are banned from using toys with an elaborate array of options until they show a more efficient handle on things, ect. If your group is majorly staffed with people who don't like being singled out...then the rule placement is unfortunately understandable.