Narrative Control – Episode 45 – Freeze

Welcome back to Narrative Control.  This episode Eric and I talk about what do when a player Freezes up at the table.  This idea came to us from Rob Donoghue’s blog post of the same name: Freeze (

Hosts: Sean Nittner and Eric Fattig

Length: 21:50

Show Notes

[00:00] My silly wanna-be cop intro.
[00:28] Intro to the show. What to do at the table when someone freezes up at the table.
[01:21] Our backlog of Rob topics from his blog:
[02:23] What to do at the table when someone freezes up?
[02:59] Reasons people freeze up: Asked to make an important decision (analysis paralysis) or if a player is put on the spotlight to role-play when they aren’t ready for it.
[04:00] A natural reaction to seeing someone freeze: Try to help, try to get the game started back up again.
[05:46] Rule #1: Shut your pie hole.
[07:10] Rule #2: A little patience won’t kill you.
[07:44] Take the time when someone freezes to reflect on what’s going on in the game.  See action and reflection in the episode about Ira Glass:
[08:22] Rule #3: Back their play. The Winner!
[08:46] And here we tease you.
[09:19] Back anyone’s play at any time.  It validates the other players.
[10:52] Why Sean hates every planning session in the universe.
[11:45] Why you would shut someone down… you’ve got a better idea… but it’s not.
[13:16] An example of Actual Play where this shutdown happens: The Walking Eye  3:16 Actual Play – Session 1  (Start at 2:13.)
[15:37] Your character is not the sum of what they’ve done before.  Find a way to make your character grow and interact with the new element.
[16:15] Backing their play is especially important when someone has frozen up, as their confidence is going to be low and they need support.
[17:00] What to do if the idea doesn’t fit in the game?
[17:25] Rule #4: Don’t Assume. Ask.  The 4th Commandment!
[18:37] Lots of reasons they might have frozen.  System, setting, situation…
[18:47] An old episode of Sons of Kryos where Storm wasn’t on the same page as the others.
[20:51] You know when someone freezes. The trick is to watch your reactions.

Direct Download: NC_Episode_045.mp3

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