The social contract stuff Sean mentioned in the episode covers our social behavior toward each other as well: what kind of jokes are okay, how to handle IRL arguments, what is acceptable or not regarding substance s, what topics are not okay (IRL politics and religion or others). I don’t tend to have these conversations with people at my table, but it may be worth the effort when doing a campaign to keep things constructive and fun.
With the analysis paralysis, I have a very long post, please be patient.
One is just to set a timer, and if the decision is not reached in time, either nothing changes (the spotlight moves to another player), or in the case of a party-wide paralysis, the GM gets the initiative with a Random encounter, hazard, or some other nastiness. A flip side to that could be offering a benefit to making fast decisions, whether they work perfectly or not. Getting a few XP for being decisive, or finding some lose gold because you decided to open the trapped door without debating every possible outcome could be a way to encourage the opposite of analysis paralysis.
This approach can use a real world timer or just your judgement, but communicating the penalty/reward clearly is key. In WFRP 3e there is a party tension meter, which the DM can add to in cases when individuals are vacillating, or the party is arguing about what to do. There is some room on the meter before bad things happen, so folks have a chance to catch and correct their behavior. If they don’t, then the party gets a collective penalty. It can help people realize that an imperfect action can be better than waiting for the perfect thing. I think you can do something similar with a BitD clock or just adding some counters to a pile and when you have six counters than something hits the PCs in a resource or their adversaries get a boost.
And the flip side could be rewarding the fast actions “you guys blew through those rooms so fast these orcs are still putting on their armor” and now they have an advantage, even if they got hit by that glyph of warding because they were being so decisive.
I hope that is helpful!
Edwin defends a staller
I love getting caught up in what my fellow players are up to and think that the energy that comes from players being “in the moment” may be worth the pause while I step out of the movie and figure out what my character needs to do. I envy the skill good improv artists have that allows them to do both at the same time.
P.S. One my favorite secret doors I’ve “written “ in a published adventure stems from a play tester’s rolling well on a perception check while trapped in an unpleasant part of the dungeon. I frequently use checks to see if something exists rather than to see if the PC finds it. Because a secret door that isn’t found may as well not exist.
I definitely spent a good amount of time searching my memory for specific instances that I felt a Retcon was necessary in our games. I was having a hard time coming up with anything. Is it possible that every piece of lore I ever doled out was perfectly in step with the previously established story?…Most likely not the case. Then I thought, maybe the players or I didn’t care much about continuity in our games…That doesn’t make sense.
I then left the topic alone for a few days. I think I figured it out. Most role playing is a continuous ebb and flow of info to the players and back to the GM. I don’t consider it Retcon-ing if the info/lore hasn’t entered the story yet. The things written in my notebook are ideas of what may possibly come to be. I’m not afraid to switch gears or cross out pages of my plan. My players regularly reprimand each other for verbally contemplating about what is in the next room or what is going to happen next. The shout of “Stop it! Don’t give him any ideas!” is music to my ears. Some of the twisted machinations they formulate in their minds are far worse for them…I mean better tales to spin then what I devised the night before. (You know, half asleep at the table with my notebook and a 1/2 eaten package of Vienna Fingers.) Damn right I’m going to make their worst fears a reality.
As for dealing with “facts” that may have changed in a story, most people don’t walk around taking notes. They rely on their memory to recall “facts”. If I refer to a blacksmith they have met before as Charlie, and noone recalls his original name of Dustin. No harm, no foul. But, if a player immediately says “I thought his name was Dustin?”, I use the original name or make up a story why he said his name was Dustin originally. Lastly, if a player looks at his notes 10 minutes later and recalls the name, I simply say you must have been mistaken. Just like believing some fact in reality but you find you are incorrect. (definitely happening more often the older I get)
I personally don’t take great notes while busy weaving the story. That, combined with my players giving NPC’s and places nicknames within 15 seconds of hearing them. Such as; Budris the guard becomes Buddy. The village of Doggeton becomes Doggy town. Lara Soulforger the Paladin of Rittersoon becomes knight girl. I think you’re picking up what I’m puttin’ down. Other GM’s may not have this issue as often as I. So if my solutions are considered Retcon-ing, then I am guilty as charged. “But your honor, I swear I thought his name was Funkin Hoddypeaks.”
Feelin Good about Retcons
From a comment on Youtubes from Bromos, Sunstar Ranger on RPG editions
I like when the lore gets updated and moves forward. Like when 40k was stalled for over 30 years is now moving forward with the lore sure it’s expensive for publishers and fans. Yet at the same time people are going out to but new shoes before the other pair gets a hole in it but who cares. Same as buying new TTRPG editions 5e is basically BX meshed with 4e rehashed and moving the FR lore forward which is cool. I’ve been taking 5e inspiration to hack my own edition combining 0e, BX, BECMI, AD&D, 2e, 3.5, 4e and 5e together with some awesome ideas from OSR bloggers and ideas of my own for what I like to dub thee D&D Ultimate Edition (D&DUe) streamlined core rules but still able to Hexcrawl, Dungeon Crawl, Encumbrance, Low Magic, Grittiness Hirelings and Horde stomp!