Let’s just admit it, we have all been there. Your eyes glaze over as the the rest of the party waxes not-so-eloquently on the number of arrows necessary or their insistence that 10 water skins per person is totally not excessive. Maybe, you have been stuck in that battle that never seems to end; there is a ridiculous amount of time it that takes other players to decide on exactly their next strike (the type of strike, the weapon, the target, wait, how was the wind blowing?, okay, a new weapon, and my strike would totally change, new target, the flavour). If you stopped reading during this paragraph or skimmed it, I don’t blame you. Our minds wander, our daydreams start, and we don’t always have our ‘head in the game.’
These are some tips that will keep your attention for the duration of your playing time.
1. Count the _____ game
Those who argue or hem and haw over every decision can be unbearable at times. And honestly a seated activity does nothing to naturally bolster your attention. I would like to introduce you to the counting game. It originated back in the recesses of my high school career, in the tutelage of my history teacher. No one else could make WWII sound so bland. Thus began the counting of ummms within his monotone syllables. Keeping a tally made you listen for something of substance. In role-playing, this could be counting of the “buts and nos” of rules-lawyers or even the “wells and reallys" of chronic over-preparers. This should keep your mind occupied on at least part of the game.
2. Plan your next 4 moves
In a slow-moving battle, it is easy to fall into the trap of daydreaming while others make their move. After they are finally finished, then it is your turn and you show up as vastly unprepared as them (though probably more unprepared because you have to stop thinking about that episode of Supernatural first). This perpetuates the inanity of it all. Instead, plan 4 moves. Write them down. Whichever one makes sense, do that one when it is your turn. Or even roll a d4; make it spontaneous. Plan something out. Use that time for the game.
3. Stand up
Seriously, it helps your body and your brain. Take a short dance break. Teach yourself how to dougie. Do anything to get your blood pumping again.
4. Help move the process along
I am telling you to speak up for all involved. You are all trapped in this time-sucking-sinkhole. Throw the other players a rope. Suggest that a small store probably doesn’t have 50 extra water skins lying around for each of you to have 10, so we don’t need to debate it. Tell the players that they are under attack (maybe look at them menacing or growl at them to get the point across) and their character’s first reaction may just be to use the weapon in their hands and strike the most imposing looking target. Give suggestions. You don’t need to direct their every move, but help put their heart back in the game. We all need a little help now and then.
And if none of the above works
5. Light something on fire
Drastic times call for drastic measures.
This is where Vanessa lights things on fire. Who is Vanessa? Well, she is a sarcastic, 30-something wife and mother. She likes things and stuff, but not simultaneously. When she isn’t involved in things and stuff, she teaches middle school math and art. She loves new teenagers in action. They make her laugh and shake her head and her world is much better with laughter. She thinks everyone should be roleplaying. She sometimes bothers her friends to help with her blog articles and other times it all comes from her head… scary. . She is also trying out this new twitter handle at @sarasma_nessa
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.