I've been running a D&D 5e campaign where the levelling up has been done at certain landmark points or milestones. Regardless of your opinion on that specific system, it's reached a point where all my players asked each other, "What's your goal?"
And each of them basically said "I don't know… Get stronger?". So they decided to go to the wilderness to level up more. Now I have no problem with this, but I said to them:
"Look, if levelling up is the landmark, then we need to switch to XP levelling up, because you're literally trying to XP-farm when there's no 'landmark achievements' to even consider noteworthy enough to level you all up."
They said no, and that I should be able to feel-out when it's been enough time for them to level up (which sounds like me just keeping track of their XP secretly).
But they really want landmark levelling. But they refuse to do anything that might spark a story, because they need to level up first… But they really don't want XP-based levelling… The issue is circular.
Basically: I want to force them to either (1) actually try to make their own story, and therefore keep landmark-levelling, or (2) commit to just finding stuff to kill in the wilderness, and therefore warrant XP-levelling – but my players want both and neither at the same time.
What do I do?