pnvq12
 member, 48 posts
Tue 5 Dec 2017
at 16:28
Re: Decision Making
So I'll lead with a disclaimer and admit that this is not going to be a popular opinion but it is what I have done in these situations when GMing IRL. When I give my players a decision I give them all one opportunity to come up with something and then if nothing is decided I make up a much worse option and they are forced to contend with it.

GM: "You all can A) Go investigate the ruins for clues or B) Go into the sewer city and try to kill the Big Bad."

Players: "Whatever everyone else thinks" x n

GM: "Okay so the Big Bad sends their forces to the surface. Half of the neighboring town is engulfed in fire and 100's of deaths now rest on your shoulders. Roll initiative."
engine
 member, 497 posts
Tue 5 Dec 2017
at 16:55
Re: Decision Making
In reply to pnvq12 (msg # 6):

No, I really like that. It's along the lines of "send in the ninjas/guys with guns" or "blow something up." It takes away the troublesome need to act, and replaces it with the need simply to react.

I'd just want to do it in a way that wasn't retributive and flowed well from the narrative, rather than jumping ahead.
pnvq12
 member, 49 posts
Tue 5 Dec 2017
at 17:01
Re: Decision Making
I think the issue with that is that you could have spared yourself the effort of asking if you were going to act in a non-retributive fashion. It's no different than what you would have normally done.

Perhaps it's worthwhile to gauge your players willingness to make decisions and then adjust your GMing style accordingly. I've run the full gauntlet of letting my characters make virtually every decision they could to leading them by the nose and seeing how they react.
steelsmiter
 member, 1821 posts
 BESM, Fate, Indies, PBTA
 NO FREEFORM! NO d20!
Tue 5 Dec 2017
at 17:10
Re: Decision Making
I'm a reactive GM, but I've found that players doing nothing is a thing worth reacting to, so why not pile it on?

EDIT: actually just this morning, I gave my player an Advancement point for in character staring at her cell phone ignoring her surroundings, because 1) It plays to the horror genre to have horror victims, and 2) Makes sense for the character specifically.

This message was last edited by the user at 17:16, Tue 05 Dec.

Ramidel
 member, 1350 posts
 Err on the side
 of awesome.
Tue 5 Dec 2017
at 17:39
Re: Decision Making
pnvq12:
GM: "Okay so the Big Bad sends their forces to the surface. Half of the neighboring town is engulfed in fire and 100's of deaths now rest on your shoulders. Roll initiative."


My answer is that that's likely a little too fast. To borrow a term from Powered by the Apocalypse, that's a "hard move." It doesn't give them something to respond to, so much as it gives them a consequence that they can't answer.

"The Big Bad sends their forces to the surface, hungry for the flesh of the living" would be better - that's a soft move, it immediately gives them something to fight, and it sets up a clear consequence for failing to answer it effectively. If they fail to deal with this, that's on them.
pnvq12
 member, 50 posts
Tue 5 Dec 2017
at 17:56
Re: Decision Making
In reply to Ramidel (msg # 10):

I see what you mean Ramidel and I think that sort of approach is more appropriate for a PbP forum setting like RpoL. Personally I've always been a fan of hard moves, at least in this context, because its not so much that they can't respond to the situation its that they didn't respond to the situation. I usually operate under the assumption that decisions are not made in static OOC time. If we spend some number of IRL minutes deliberating to no end what the group should do then I translate that to a passive group of PCs who simply did not act in a meaningful way for some period of time.
gladiusdei
 member, 596 posts
Tue 5 Dec 2017
at 18:34
Re: Decision Making
The real difficulty comes over the long term.  Having to force one decision isn't that big of a deal.  But if your players repeatedly sit and wait for a push instead of acting on their own initiative, it can really suck the enjoyment out of a game.  I guess time shows which players push the game on and which don't, but it is really draining on my motivation to gm when game after game becomes me moving my own game and conversation along.
evileeyore
 member, 57 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Tue 5 Dec 2017
at 18:51
Re: Decision Making
Mr Crinkles:
*** This has never really been a problem for me -- it's actually usually t'other way: I make a choice and then everyone gets mad at me <grin>.

See, I've always found the opposite.  i make a decision and take action and everyone sighs in relief.

Or laughs as it falls apart and they have to rush in a save me.  Either way, things get moving.

quote:
*** Now this one, what I've done here on Rpol if the players can't work it out is, I use the die-roller. IRL, I generally just give people a deadline and say that if they won't choose, I will -- same thing, really, except IRL I don't use dice.

Ditto.  If the Players demand I chose for them, I chose for them, and they won't like the choice.



pnvq12:
Personally I've always been a fan of hard moves, at least in this context, because its not so much that they can't respond to the situation its that they didn't respond to the situation.

Exactly.  If the Players demand I light a fire under them, I light a fire under them!

If they dislike the heat, next time they can decide to get out of the kitchen faster.  Or get used to burning.



gladiusdei:
Having to force one decision isn't that big of a deal.  But if your players repeatedly sit and wait for a push instead of acting on their own initiative, it can really suck the enjoyment out of a game.

And then that game ends and new one starts up with different Players.
Hunter
 member, 1404 posts
 Captain Oblivious!
 Lurker
Tue 5 Dec 2017
at 20:18
Re: Decision Making
Because we use a republican form of government, we're used to the idea of making decisions as a group.  Even though we agree to a "team leader", we expect to have input and a vote in the process.  The idea of absolute authority (whether a monarchy/nobility, military commander, or priesthood) doesn't mesh well with us and we're really loathe to let someone else take control.
engine
 member, 498 posts
Tue 5 Dec 2017
at 20:21
Re: Decision Making
In reply to Hunter (msg # 14):

That's fine, as long as players actually do take control, or at least move the discussion toward a conclusion, instead of just stonewalling or being a limp noodle.
LoreGuard
 member, 657 posts
Wed 6 Dec 2017
at 14:57
Re: Decision Making
With that in mind... then one of the other players (the GM) can take control... and become the villain in effect.  And thereby encourage the other players to rebel and try to take control of their actions back.  [grin]
icosahedron152
 member, 819 posts
Wed 6 Dec 2017
at 15:15
Re: Decision Making
I was ROFL at engine's description of this problem. It's a universal difficulty for GMs.

Getting players to post anything can be difficult, let alone getting them to make decisions.

From the solutions suggested here, I'd say the best way is perhaps to offer a vote - with a default:

Option A. Explore the Ruins.
Option B. Explore the Sewers.
Option C. Wait here until the Bad Guys come for you.
Anyone not voting in the next X hours will be assumed to vote for Option C by default.


That way, there are no surprises, the players know exactly what will happen if they don't vote. Additionally, early voters are merely expressing an opinion; those who leave it too late may find themselves with a casting vote. Best to vote early...
Gaffer
 member, 1513 posts
 Ocoee FL
 40 yrs of RPGs
Wed 6 Dec 2017
at 15:41
Re: Decision Making
engine:
I've heard players explain that they're interested in a roleplayed discussion, not a simple decision

Part of the problem is that they DON'T roleplay the discussion. The bull-headed barbarian and the arrogant mage and the weaselly rogue all act like they're afraid someone else will get mad at them. If they were planning with a bunch of NPCs they'd never act like that. The worst is when the guy playing the sergeant of the squad won't give orders.

I do roleplay such IC discussions. Like Ramidel, I have a tendency to take charge in games and push plans and lead discussion and make decisions. No one has ever really complained about that around a table, but after my daughter pointed out that I was always doing it, I started trying to make/pick characters who are not in a leadership role. Consequently, my characters often try to convince the other PCs with in-character arguments instead. It's a heavy lift.

As a GM, it's tough to overcome this tendency to never decide. Sometimes taking it out of IC and into OoC can help. I generally let them churn for a while until everyone has expressed an opinion at least once. Then I summarize the discussion and end with "What I hear you saying is that you want to..." I think this was Mr Crinkles's point. They generally agree, probably because it's then MY responsibility.

This message was last edited by the user at 15:58, Wed 06 Dec.

Gaffer
 member, 1514 posts
 Ocoee FL
 40 yrs of RPGs
Wed 6 Dec 2017
at 15:50
Re: Decision Making
evileeyore:
Or laughs as it falls apart and they have to rush in a save me.  Either way, things get moving.

LEEEE-ROOOOYYYYY...Jenkins!
Gaffer
 member, 1515 posts
 Ocoee FL
 40 yrs of RPGs
Wed 6 Dec 2017
at 15:57
Re: Decision Making
Having been in HR for many years and listened to supervisors whine about bad employees, given them instructions on what they have to do to get rid of said employees, then have them not do anything except come back in six weeks to whine about the same employee, I can tell you for sure that it's not just RPGs that suffer this problem.

Or when my agency decided to take steps to 'empower' employees by organizing non-supervisory work groups to study and make policy, only to have them never reach a decision until the facilitator and I finally brought a pre-written policy to them and said "Does everyone agree?" They said yes without demur..

It's humanity, man, just humanity.

I will welcome our robot overlords.

This message was last edited by the user at 16:00, Wed 06 Dec.

engine
 member, 499 posts
Wed 6 Dec 2017
at 16:33
Re: Decision Making
In reply to Gaffer (msg # 20):

It's understandable in a situation with the potential for real consequences, like harm or threats or hurt feelings. Most people don't want to suffer those or cause those. I can sort of understand it happening in a game; I know people get attached to their characters, and I know losing or making mistakes isn't fun. But I feel like I get this reaction even when I promise the players that no matter what they decide, I'll aim to make it interesting for them.

Which is why I'd rather not simply say, oh, you didn't decide quickly enough so a bad thing happens. I mentioned dropping in ninjas or gunmen, but even that situation would be one that would present with an intention that it be fun, rather than punishing.

Maybe I could present choices in that way: "Any of these options could work and be fun, so please choose one of them. If neither the group or an individual express a strong preference in 24 hours, I'll pick one that will reveal itself as a clear priority."

This message had punctuation tweaked by the user at 14:45, Thu 07 Dec.

evileeyore
 member, 58 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Thu 7 Dec 2017
at 02:20
Re: Decision Making
Gaffer:
evileeyore:
Or laughs as it falls apart and they have to rush in a save me.  Either way, things get moving.

LEEEE-ROOOOYYYYY...Jenkins!

Playing a Sage in a game where our leader is a Cleric.  Great guy, but his post rate kinda sucks and even when he's steady he tends to just ... not lead.

So I learned the Warrior's hot-buttons so when I need to get things done I can push all his buttons and he LEEEE-ROOOOYYYYY...Jenkins for me.  Though, since my character is impulsive I'm usually charging along right behind him.
Dgorjones
 member, 52 posts
Thu 7 Dec 2017
at 18:46
Re: Decision Making
I was having a problem with party indecision in the C&C game I'm running.  I addressed it by implementing the following:

1. All PCs must be conceived to be able to compromise and work effectively in a team environment.  No chaotics creating problems.

2. Every month I designate a rotating temporary party leader.  The temp leader is responsible for making a final party decision after everyone weighs in.  If any of the players can't live with the decision, it's their responsibility to speak up and then the party will discuss options further.

I've found this approach to be enormously helpful in keeping my game moving.
engine
 member, 500 posts
Thu 7 Dec 2017
at 20:04
Re: Decision Making
Dgorjones:
1. All PCs must be conceived to be able to compromise and work effectively in a team environment.  No chaotics creating problems.

That's a good standard. It would seem to hinge on trust, though, and on everyone being on the same page. One person's prudent first strike is another person's chaos.

Dgorjones:
2. Every month I designate a rotating temporary party leader.  The temp leader is responsible for making a final party decision after everyone weighs in.  If any of the players can't live with the decision, it's their responsibility to speak up and then the party will discuss options further.

That's cool. Is this a table game? If not, do you make sure a designated leader is someone who posts frequently, so the game isn't held for them? If someone speaks up, is it enough for them just to block the idea, or do they have to offer an alternative?
CrazyIvan777
 member, 219 posts
Thu 7 Dec 2017
at 22:18
Re: Decision Making
engine:
Less charitably, it often seems to me that there's concern over the fact that every decision brings consequences, which in some games can be hugely open-ended, leading not just to inefficiencies but to death and destruction. My sense is that no one wants to get into a bad situation and feel like they're there because of a decision they made, suggested, or voted for - which I guess is what real-life decision points are often bogged down in.


Just a note: I recently dropped out of a game over this. Three other players, two completely passive, and one who needed to know -every possible thing- about -every- decision we made as a group, then would get aggravated if there was any negative fallout. We spent literally hours making any of the even-minorly-big decisions, which devolved into said player just talking with the GM.
I tried to make a somewhat-berserker-type, but the other character was (for reasons of RP) the 'leader' of the group, and it would cost me honor if I didn't let him lead. I left the group after two sessions.
pnvq12
 member, 52 posts
Thu 7 Dec 2017
at 22:21
Re: Decision Making
@CrazyIvan

I'm sorry to hear that but I think you made the right call. I think the core of thread is how to manage human nature. There will always be variations in willingness to lead, the desire to avoid blame and to mitigate consequences, and the variability in the personality of players. Ultimately I don't really think there is a "best" way to answer the original question, just the one you are most comfort with.
Fyrerain
 member, 85 posts
Thu 7 Dec 2017
at 23:08
Re: Decision Making
I'm not much on playing "leader" in game or in RL. Despite that, I've become something of a leader in several games, because I tend to do something... and then the indecisive just follow along.

That said, if my PC is mostly a follower, that's what he's going to do in group-decision situations... except in times when he's not directly supervised. And then he might slip off to do any number of things on his own.

But none of my PCs tend to be blind followers. They might go along to a point, then go off sideways to the plan if that makes more sense.

I'm not in favor of an assigned leader (barring military unit type games, where such a feature is built-in), because I might entirely disagree with them. A player-chosen leader is a different matter.

As a DM, if the party doesn't make a decision and initiate action, Something will happen, and it will happen sooner rather than later. It might not even immediately affect them. But a pensive (or written equivalent) of, "Okay, so no one's doing anything at all? Alright, then..." and promptly moving on to either the proverbial ninja arrival -- or just whatever's next that the PCs will notice, tends to make players hastily decide on some course of action!

This message was last edited by the user at 00:24, Sat 09 Dec.

Dgorjones
 member, 53 posts
Thu 7 Dec 2017
at 23:20
Re: Decision Making
engine:
Dgorjones:
1. All PCs must be conceived to be able to compromise and work effectively in a team environment.  No chaotics creating problems.

That's a good standard. It would seem to hinge on trust, though, and on everyone being on the same page. One person's prudent first strike is another person's chaos.

Dgorjones:
2. Every month I designate a rotating temporary party leader.  The temp leader is responsible for making a final party decision after everyone weighs in.  If any of the players can't live with the decision, it's their responsibility to speak up and then the party will discuss options further.

That's cool. Is this a table game? If not, do you make sure a designated leader is someone who posts frequently, so the game isn't held for them? If someone speaks up, is it enough for them just to block the idea, or do they have to offer an alternative?

Point 1 is part of my house rules for all games, over the table and PBP.

Point 2 (designating a temporary party leader) is something I have only used for my PBP.  We were periodically bogging down when the group was too passive in reaching a consensus.  Designating the team leader probably saved the game.  One key to this approach is the temporary leader isn't actually "in charge."  She is just responsible for keeping things moving from the party's side.  All of the players are free to object to anything the temporary leader decides.  Some of my players don't want this responsibility, so I just rotate through the other 4 players.  I used to try to rotate every 2 weeks, but I kept forgetting, so I recently changed to a monthly rotation.  I haven't had issues with infrequent posters.  One of the house rules for the game is everyone needs to post within 2 days of a GM update (barring illness, vacation, etc.).  If the temp leader forgets or fails to post, I've found a reminder PM to be effective in getting something posted for the party.

Also, the temp leader position doesn't come up in combat.  Everyone specifies their own combat actions.  The temp leader is there to keep things moving outside of combat.
Mr Crinkles
 member, 1132 posts
 Spectaculorum procedere
 debet.
Fri 8 Dec 2017
at 14:24
Re: Decision Making
Dgorjones:
2. Every month I designate a rotating temporary party leader.  The temp leader is responsible for making a final party decision after everyone weighs in.  If any of the players can't live with the decision, it's their responsibility to speak up and then the party will discuss options further.

*** I think this is a brilliant solution, actually.

Fyrerain:
I'm not much on playing "leader" in game or in RL. Despite that, I've become something of a leader in several games, because I tend to do something... and then the indecisive just follow along.

*** My problem is that while I don't want to be leader (ingame or IRL), I tend to end up being the leader 'cos of this. How I got to be Platoon Leader in the Army <grin>.
..............................................................................................

This message was last edited by the user at 14:28, Fri 08 Dec.

engine
 member, 501 posts
Fri 8 Dec 2017
at 14:49
Re: Decision Making
@Dgorjones

I like your description of the team leader idea, and I'll definitely keep it in mind. Maybe that's what a "caller" was always meant to be, and I just didn't understand.


Dgorjones:
Also, the temp leader position doesn't come up in combat.

Sounds good. I think this is a key distinction.