[RPG] Using a rash decision to move gameplay forward


I DM'd my first game recently, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, and most of the group were pretty lax about the quality of it all, so it all went fairly smoothly.

However, there is one thing that stuck in my head and I want to try and come up with a way to deal with the group arguing what should be done next.

In my game, the group couldn't decide whether or not to take door A or tunnel B, and it was all getting a bit out of hand, so I decided as the DM, to take the first thing someone said as an action. So when someone said "Why don't we just kick down the door and charge in?" I said "Ok, so the Paladin is charging in!"

The group discussion ended fairly quickly but not everyone was happy about the outcome.

What I'm asking is if there is a better way to move the game forward when players are constantly bickering about what they should do.

Best Answer

When this happens in my games, I give a very clear warning:

"Folks, the in-character lamp1 is lit. Anything you say is now considered in character. Anything you say you'll do, you'll do."

By locking down conversation to in-character conversation, this sort of rambunctious chatter can be reduced, or at least immediately given consequence.

On the other hand, what this tells you is that the players don't have enough information. The best thing, in my experience, is to conspire against the characters with your players. Either give them more information about the potential choices, or tell them, out of character, what their choices will entail, and ask them to choose while their characters remain ignorant of their fate.

1Statement derived from the announcements aboard navy vessels about "the smoking lamp is lit".