View Full Version : DM Help Players who can't agree

2015-12-12, 06:20 PM
What can I do about two players who seem incapable of agreeing on a course of action? I've put them in a position where planning is important and there are some moral and political implication to their decisions and they've been going back and forth like crazy. The rest of the party so far hasn't been assertive enough to pressure them one way or the other. This basically needs to get decided before we can continue in the campaign but after hours of debate they really don't seem any closer to agreeing on a plan. I've seen assertive players before but they were willing to back down eventually or reach a compromise but these two are much more stubborn. Is there any way I can help resolve this without just telling them whose plan to go with?

Obviously your advice will be out of context as you don't know them but I'm just kinda stumped here and I'd appreciate anything.

2015-12-12, 06:29 PM
Does the party have a leader? Do they vote on stuff?

Time pressure might help. Either a real-life timer to make a decision in the next 30mins, or in-game - "you have one day to make your decision before the ship sails/messanger leaves/offer's off the table". The in-game choice might give the players the opportunity to gather additional information that might swing their choice.

2015-12-12, 07:52 PM
Some people just love arguing.

One trick is to throw in a distraction, after all you are not going to be wasting any more time than they are already, and see if that clears the air. This may work if it was just a question of face.

If that doesn't work, throw in some more information.

Another trick is to try and prompt the other players for their input - though this is tricky.

Finally though, you may have to guillotine the debate by adding a time constraint.

Jay R
2015-12-12, 08:39 PM
This is what wandering monsters are for. A long quarrel can be quickly ended by a dragon or some such.

2015-12-13, 09:43 PM
You could ask the other players a bit more for input too. Unless they have a party-hierarchy, the others have as much right to decide the course of action too and could potentially just tip the vote one way or another depending on how they feel about it.

The losing player might feel a bit miffed about it, but it usually passes.

It's also a group-thing. Nothing is as frustrating as a player sometimes when you suggest a course of action and the rest of the group just goes "Meh, sure, whatevs", every single time. (Trust me, I've been in the situation where I've had to call all the shots for a group, and I hate it)

2015-12-14, 08:06 PM
This is what wandering monsters are for. A long quarrel can be quickly ended by a dragon or some such.

This, or some similar distraction. Something to interrupt them and force them to spend a couple of hours (minimum) of playing time dealing with something immediate, which doesn't give them a confusion of possible ways to handle it.

You might be able to engineer an encounter that would nudge them one way or the other in their decision - but don't overdo it. The basic idea is to force a cooldown period. And by the time they've dealt with that, they will of course have very little time left before the clock runs out on their present decision. (And make sure they know what the default is, i.e. what will happen if they don't explicitly pick either Option A or Option B in time.)

Mr Beer
2015-12-14, 10:23 PM
Force deadlines? I seriously wouldn't let two people argue for hours or even more than 15 minutes if it's just derailing the game.