There’s nothing wrong with a game that’s slowing down. Dungeon masters are only human and can’t possibly plan for everything. Dungeons & Dragons players also often have A.D.D. – which is the main reason TSR called the old version of the game Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. (A.D.D.)
So what’s a DM to do when the game slows down? Here a few suggestions:
9 ways to grasp you players’ attention
- Kill something or someone. It can be an anonymous NPC, a friend of the PCs, or the wizard’s familiar. Geez, I hate familiars. They’re really annoying.
- Give everyone a fix of caffeine. Energy drinks and coffee can work wonders.
- Whip out a gun. It’s a way to say “show the PCs an immediate death threat”. Anything that puts the life of one or more PCs in jeopardy is good.
- If your players suffer from an addiction to gamer’s crack and keep fidgeting with dice you might need a D&D chip & dip bowl.
- Go psychedelic. One of the PCs starts hallucinating stuff – realistic or downright crazy hallucinations, it doesn’t really matter. You can come up with a reason for this after the game.
- Introduce the campaign mysterious nemesis as charismatic, charming. Maybe he could send the PCs a note of apology because they have opposite goals and he might get in their way. Just go against the usual flow of the campaign. Fight the familiar!
- Use something from one of the characters’ background. They liked their characters. They worked hard on them. Use their work.
- Throw dice.
- Take a break. Not ideal for game flow but can revitalize the players and the session.