engine
 member, 536 posts
Mon 5 Feb 2018
at 18:45
Frustration with inaction
I need help. I ruin games I'm in, because I'm impatient, and then I get ranty when there's pushback against my efforts to get things moving.

It starts when there's a decision point. The GM wants to know what we want to do and invariably (it seems to me) every player says "I'm fine with whatever the party wants to do." Except the party doesn't want to do anything, because everyone only wants to do what the party wants to do.

For my part, I state my preference in as straightforward a manner as I can. That's typically met with some soft agreement, and a couple of other "Or we could..."s, with still no clear preference. I'm fine with my preference not being chosen. I'm happy to go with anyone else's preference. But there's no other preference clearly stated.

This would be rough at a table, but it's harder on play-by-post, where every round of inconclusive discussion can take days. I want something to happen. I quickly begin posting to move things in the direction of a decision, and it escalates from there.

I know I need more patience. I would love to just talk to my fellow players more about what they want out of the game and how we can keep it moving. Maybe they want other things and I can bow out when it's clear we're not a compatible group. Maybe there's a compromise. But even attempts to find out what people are after seem to get vague and noncommittal responses.

Any advice? Maybe I just need to hear "Chill out" from people, but if there's anyone who has felt this way and come to terms with it, I'd like to hear from them.
flutsman
 member, 21 posts
Mon 5 Feb 2018
at 20:05
Frustration with inaction
Sounds like you are a natural leader. Leaders often get impatient with those who are not leaders. Get used to this happening all the time, and perhaps develop some soft skills in summarizing and moving forward. In the scenarios you write about, after all that happened, my instinct would be to sum up and describe my plan as consensus. Like in this fictional example, you might write:

"OK, the original suggestion was to salvage a boat to use Lake Washington to skip past the zombie hordes infesting Bellevue. We talked a little about maybe instead jumping and doing parkour from roof to roof through downtown Kirkland. No one was really enthusiastic about that option, so let's move forward with the boat plan. Phil can stand guard, Ronny the Wrench will do the repairs, and Jessica the Scrounger is going to be searching for marine diesel fuel."

You acknowledge their contributions, but you also move the game forward. Also, if someone really wanted to do the parkour thing (which you say doesn't happen much) then you be willing to follow their plan. No matter what, move the game forward! Inaction kills games.

Also, Dude, Chill Out! (That's what you wanted to hear, right? See, I am acknowledging you  ;)   )
Dirigible
 member, 198 posts
Mon 5 Feb 2018
at 20:07
Frustration with inaction
I find this happens a lot in FATE games, which often have a lot of call for collaboration at the setting and NPC design level. Players often don't want to be too forceful in putting forward an idea, so I find as a GM it's important not to let the brainstorming and debate - such as it is - meander too much. Let a couple of post cycles at most go by, then make an executive decision.

From the play side, Auld School D&D and games of a similar mentality often had a leader or shot-caller role among the players for making the sorts of decisions you're talking about. Perhaps advocate for something like that and nominate yourself - just don't be surprised if it's a thankless task and expect mutiny if you're a knob about it. But the ever-elusive steady gameflow in PbP has to be worth some aggravation, right?
engine
 member, 537 posts
Mon 5 Feb 2018
at 20:13
Re: Frustration with inaction
Thanks. And yes, I need to be told to chill out.

Dirigible:
From the play side, Auld School D&D and games of a similar mentality often had a leader or shot-caller role among the players for making the sorts of decisions you're talking about. Perhaps advocate for something like that and nominate yourself - just don't be surprised if it's a thankless task and expect mutiny if you're a knob about it. But the ever-elusive steady gameflow in PbP has to be worth some aggravation, right?

I can certainly advocate for it, especially in games that are already trying to emulate that sort of play. And I don't need to be the caller, as long as there is one and they're obligated to deliver the party decision (and make one if there isn't a clear one).
steelsmiter
 member, 1837 posts
 BESM, Fate, Indies, PBTA
 NO FREEFORM! NO d20!
Mon 5 Feb 2018
at 22:10
Re: Frustration with inaction
engine:
I need help. I ruin games I'm in, because I'm impatient, and then I get ranty when there's pushback against my efforts to get things moving.

For my part, I state my preference in as straightforward a manner as I can.

This seems like the kind of player I need more of in my games. Proactivity, and straight forwardness. 'course my health issues don't help with the speed at which I (can) run games.
Kessa
 member, 540 posts
 Dark Army:
 Out to Lunch
Tue 6 Feb 2018
at 01:51
Re: Frustration with inaction
I'm inclined to agree that oftentimes games can greatly benefit from someone who takes a leadership role and just makes that needed decision, especially in games that tend toward the larger side, where even with responses from everyone it doesn't guarantee a clear consensus.

If someone strongly disagrees with the chosen course of action, this also gives them a prompt to be clearly vocal about it.

The only time I've seen pushing things forward become a frustration is when the PC is clearly making GM calls, or assuming other characters have done, or will do things as they've described and writing those other PCs actions into their own narrative. That's inching into a different can of worms, though.

The other way to approach it is via an OOC, or other similar thread/ PMs where you can maybe get to the heart of the issue of why it's all taking so long and work out your own system for handling things.
icosahedron152
 member, 841 posts
Tue 6 Feb 2018
at 05:19
Re: Frustration with inaction
I have personal experience of your impatience, engine, but rest assured it hasn’t placed you on my blacklist. As Steelsmiter says, we could do with more active and straightforward players. :)

The situation you describe is the bane of my gaming life - trying to get players to suggest activities or make a decision. Once one or two have made suggestions (such as a boat trip or a roof scramble), it becomes possible to push a choice, but if there are no clear suggestions at all, which is all too often the case, it’s near impossible to move the game forward, short of railroading the players into what becomes almost a GM narrative.

Unfortunately, I think flutsman has summed it up pretty well: “Get used to this happening all the time.” It’s human nature. I suppose that’s another way of saying ‘chill out’. The biggest job I have as a GM is kicking peoples’ backsides to post, particularly regarding options and decisions, but if you let it get under your skin, as you say, it ruins the game - for you if not for everyone.

There are three difficulties with the shot-caller or group leader: firstly, players will often see this as ‘unfair’. They’ll see it as favouritism on the part of the GM, and will see the frustrated player as ‘pushing themselves forward’ rather than seeing him/her as moving into a vacuum created by their own indolence. Consequently, either the game will degenerate into an OOC argument, or, rather than stepping up and offering IC challenges or alternatives, the other players will often sit back and let ‘Mr Mouth’ do what he likes, resulting in a game with one GM, one player, and a bunch of NPC-equivalents.
Secondly, if the GM makes the impatient player the party leader, but they are too impatient and leave the game, the GM then has to deal with not just an absent player, but an absent group leader, frequently leaving the game dead in the water.
Thirdly, as Kessa suggested, once a player with an impatient personality is given a degree of free rein, they can often take the bit between their teeth and start dictating the course of the game in the GM’s stead, which never ends well...

It has just occurred to me that perhaps we could take a lead from Ian Livingstone’s book(s). The GM could offer a set of options which the players vote on. That way, all you’re waiting for is a vote, rather than a suggestion. ‘Other, please specify’ could remain an option, to make the choice more open, but specifying an alternative idea is an essential part of that option. If nobody votes by Tuesday, the GM rolls 1D(number of options offered).

I suspect, though, the GM might end up rolling a lot of options dice, and we're back to the GM narrative or solo game...

Unfortunately, engine, there is little or nothing you can do about this phenomenon as a player (and not a lot as a GM). Try to lead by example, by all means, but “Get used to this happening all the time.” You can’t control other people’s actions, but you can control your reactions to their actions.
Aslanii76
 member, 155 posts
Fri 9 Feb 2018
at 17:54
Re: Frustration with inaction
I must be lucky and do not see it very often.  Someone usually reacts, which has a ripple affect.  Other times I as the DM, react to their do-nothingness.  The sound of horses thundering down the road - not yet in sight.  Something erupts out of the ground.  You all hear a snort followed by a brief puff of smoke -- a Dragon is staring you down.

I would be loathe to 'mouth' possible actions to the group.  I made the setting & the scene, they are failing to react.  I could see having them make a Wisdom roll to further explain what may be about to happen, or impart some knowledge.  But standing still with indecision = a target rich environment to the others.  Surprise !!

If this a group of new players ...  Then I would tend towards the above "make me a roll with an explanation" to get them acting.