An issue came up in the last session of my Pathfinder campaign – that of chronic PC impatience.
It happens especially when they go to cities and between major adventures. They go into a frenzy of trying to buy and sell and talk to everyone and do everything to the point where I have to start enforcing fatigue rules to get them to stop pounding on people's doors at 3 AM demanding magic item sales. Sometimes there is plot related time pressure but often there's not, but they still have a sense of everpresent haste.
In my current campaign, I saw this was happening a lot. Heck, the last huge multisession fight they got into was initiated by a PC going to visit the local wizard's academy in the middle of the night and waking people up to demand magic item sales (with no idea that it had been taken over by the forces of evil… He found out quick though). So I tried to give them an out, in the form of a friendly (as such things go) local crime figure they're aligned with who offered to take care of buying and selling and whatnot for them. I reckoned that would get it off our play session plates and let us get to adventure. "Sure!" they said. And then they immediately went out to do it some more! They literally made that deal with the guy at 3 AM, went to bed, woke up, and then demanded of him immediately whether he'd gotten everything on their wishlists yet. When he hadn't, it was out to kick down doors.
The character, and his player really, was getting frustrated. He keeps wanting to sell and or buy his stuff NOW. Well, I run a fairly realistic game world. If you want to sell something like that in a four hour span, then like in the real world you're going to get pawn shop prices. And if you want some specific magic item, you're not going to be able to find it in that span – especially if you have poor Diplomacy/Knowledge: Local skills. I also run fairly low magic so there's not "magic shops". I try to reward their persistence with some randomly generated magic stuff that some decent scavenging lets them find some gypsy selling or whatever, but this doesn't sate their desire for to-spec items. It's not just buying and selling, it's anything they end up wanting to do in a city (get information, start a criminal empire, etc), but that's a handy example I have that shows the syndrome. PC impatience vs. the realistic pace of the world.
Am I being hard-headed? I guess I feel like a lot of this, and I've said this out loud to the players, can be elided easily. Say you are looking for X – information on something, or a specific magic item, or a specialist person – let's all just say you send out feelers, loiter around in town for a week, and it'll probably show up. It doesn't have to take GAME SESSION time, it can be over with in one sentence of "We look for X for a week What do we get?" But for whatever reason, they don't want to "let time pass" – every waking hour is spent in high activity mode and they seem unwilling to say "right, we go to bed and then don't do anything specific for a couple days so that our items can be completed before we're wanted for some crime or another." This approach ends up making things take a lot more game time than a more relaxed approach would.
I understand that's easy to get into that mindset in a game – it's why in many computer games we set our character to "run" by default, why would you want to go somewhere slowly? But it does stretch my (and NPCs', in my world) patience when the group is a nonstop tornado – trouble in any 24 hour period is practically guaranteed.
Of course maybe I'm worrying about it too much – if they didn't want to waste game session time on it, they wouldn't; they're adults and I've explained all the above to them explicitly. And heck, I can't really claim it's unrealistic – adventurers in town are just like sailors or cowboys or soldiers on leave or whatnot; they have a short time to play hard before they head back out on the sea/trail/etc. and so they don't rest and cause trouble. But it seems to frustrate the players (well, especially the one) because he seems to think it's unreasonable.
A long wind-up, but the question is, how do I get PCs to accept the need to be patient and "let time pass" instead of always acting like insomniac monkeys on crack?
I don't consider time in towns to be some "downtime" thing; it's time spent in towns, no different from time spent on a ship or in a dungeon or whatever. Many of our adventures and plots and whatnot happen in cities. But maybe because a city does have a lot more to do they just wind themselves up and assault it all unremittingly…