Humor/ Editorial
Game Mastering
12 Votes


Hits: 6803
Comments: 18
Ideas: 9
Rating: 4.1667
Condition: Normal
ID: 4733


April 23, 2009, 3:33 pm

Vote Hall of Honour
Cheka Man

You must be a member to use HoH votes.
Author Status


Ways a DM Can Stall an Adventure


Have you ever been in a position where you needed a quick break but your players were too ancy to break as well?

DM’s!  Have you ever been in a position where you needed a quick break but your players were too ancy to break as well?  All you want to do is heat up your pizza, get some fresh air, or maybe even bang your head on the wall?  Give your players a silly and fairly useless problem that the team can discuss or deal with themselves or a situation that forces the roleplay to pause.

I present to you Ways a DM Can Stall an Adventure:


  1. Party member’s familiar or companion ate the party’s map.
  2. The party’s horses all go into heat.
  3. A felled bridge forces the party to find an alternate route.
  4. A hole in the raft or boat forces repair or a new boat to be bought or built.
  5. A party member is mistakenly thrown in jail.
  6. Someone put way too much spice in last night’s meal so no one is traveling today.
  7. Someone in the party didn’t realize that s/he just used poison ivy to… clean up.
  8. The party’s campfire starts to spread into a wildfire.
  9. An unforeseen eclipse occurs.
  10. The players wake up and all discover they are all missing one of their shoes.
  11. A special merchant or trader greets the party on the road (Provide a pre-created listing of equipment and cost).
  12. A fog bank rolls in.
  13. A barwench starts hitting on one of the party members.
  14. An ominous bird (raven or whatever fits for the society) begins to stalk the players.
  15. City guards start following you.
  16. A strange mist engulfs the group silencing everyone.  No checks.
  17. A bizarre rainshower drenches the party causing everyone to suddenly be caught in slow motion.  No checks.  It’ll take 15 real minutes before they can thoroughly dry off.
  18. A parade fills the streets: floats, jugglers, fire-eaters, candy-tossers, the works.
  19. One of the mounts gets stung on the nose by a bee.
  20. An array of fireworks suddenly shoot through the sky.  Look at the pretty colors and shapes!  Ooooh… ahhhhh…


  1. Automatic doors have jammed.
  2. Plumbing in Captain’s Quarters has backed up.
  3. Main bridge depressurizes.
  4. Main computer has decided to play chess instead of going into auto-pilot
  5. Food generator serves only beer.
  6. Garbage disposal clogs up.
  7. Air conditioning goes out and heater wont shut off.
  8. Hyperdrive system obtains a philosophical AI and challenges all commands.
  9. Cockpit’s lighting system has been wired with the music center’s equalizer.
  10. A pressure crack develops in the cargo bay.
  11. "Check Engine" light turns on.
  12. Batteries die on gravity boots while washing windows outside.
  13. Movie theater robot attendant becomes obsessed with Uwe Bowle films
  14. Submarine’s telescope is stuck.
  15. Oxygen tank gauges are broken.

Additional Ideas (9)

21-Meets a priest of Mathom, the God of Delays
22-Weapons jam/get stuck in sheath
23-Sudden attack of tiredness
24-PC steps on an iron spike
25-High winds in the opposite direction to the one the PCs want to go in.

2008-01-05 09:51 PM » Link: [4733#33544|text]
A series of Unfortunate Events (From Chards Folley, but some applicable here...)

26. Buckle securing a saddle releases.
27. Painful migraine headache arrives, temporarily impeding spells and most skills.
28. Important item dropped while in precarious position (while looking over bridge, etc).
29. Horse rears, startled by a figment.
30. Critical component (key, spell component, spare bowstring) misplaced.
31. Muscle spasms kick in, making precise efforts difficult.
32. Meat spoils, possibly causing food poisoning.
33. Beverage spilled upon something non water-resistant (books, tinder, small fire, etc).
34. Bug swallowed or enters ear.
35. An attempt to gauge direction or distance fails, badly.
36. Laces on footwear comes undone.
37. Buckle on armor releases or ceases up.

2008-01-06 08:39 PM » Link: [4733#33571|text]
16. AI is sulking and angry (like Ancient Gamer when he feels wronged)
17. AI is lecturing everyone (like MoonHunter on a roll)
18. AI develops an intense fascination with geometric shapes and starts displaying them on all screens (like Kevin Cook on dice)
19. The cryobay is powered down and the power reserve lasts only a couple of hours, but does not have enough power to awaken the sleepers. After a couple of hours the sleepers will die so the PCs have to regain power somehow.
20. The autodoc has a minor bug and a female PC is mistakenly diagnosed as pregnant. Possibly it identifies someone truly ridiculous as the father too.
21. An incident has occurred and hazardous biological material is exposed in some parts of the ship. There is a lock down until the ship has been thoroughly disinfected. For some harmless fun you can throw in some mutations among the crew. Always fun to go a blasting.
22. A police vessel carrying customs officers dock beside the craft and the customs officers prove to be truly thorough. Lets hope the PCs can sit properly afterwards.
23. A refuge is identified aboard the vessel, but no one can find him. Even worse, in his stuff are some highly illegal drugs, and it seems he has stowed many kilos of the stuff in hidden places.
24. While docked at a space port they visited and had a party at earlier, one of the male PCs is faced with the beautiful girl he slept with... and her triplets. Seems like he is the father...

2008-01-09 04:36 PM » Link: [4733#33634|text]
haha, awesome! You should have kept going with the Citadel references haha!

2008-01-09 04:49 PM » Link: [4733#33636|text]
Well, make it emotional like EchoMirage, self-assured like Wulfhere, busy like Strolen (AI: I regretfully cannot comply at this moment, as I am busy scanning the database), or have it quote Cheka Man. Endless fun, but y'all get the idea.

2008-01-09 05:00 PM » Link: [4733#33638|text]
25-The PC's car is parked on a double yellow line and gets clamped
26-One of the PCs eats some dodgy food and gets the runs
27-A PC's gun/bow accidently goes off at the worst possible time

2008-01-09 07:32 PM » Link: [4733#33641|text]
Sci-fi +

28. The entire ship's mainframe crashes. Cue five days of hairpulling as all software is reinstalled from disk. ("Damn, I'm missing disk 4/7!" "Whaddyou mean, incompatible drivers. It worked last time!")

29. The custom officials at starbase epsilon-11-alpha are on strike.

30. Work on the space lane is ongoing. when queried, the workers are playing 3D pinball and drinking beer. No-one seems to be in charge.

2009-04-23 11:36 AM » Link: [4733#71465|text]
31. Party gets given a crate of rapidly reproducing lifeforms. (say, with a breeding rate about 10x that of rabbits.) Kudos to the Gizkas...

2009-04-23 12:22 PM » Link: [4733#71468|text]
32: Freak rain of frogs or other suitable animal.
33: Cloud formation in the shape of a giant hand giving the middle finger menaces the PCs
34: For a day, it rains from the earth to the sky.
35: Forrest Fire
36: PC gets caught in a particularly hard to escape snare
37: PC horse gets spooked and runs off
38: PC's horse loves apples and refuses to follow any commands while they are nearby. Of course, the PCs have to go through an apple orchard to reach their destination.
39: PC cuts themselves in an accident
40: Signs leading towards their destination have been vandalized to give false directions.
41: Signs leading towards party destination are destroyed and/or missing

2010-09-30 10:19 PM » Link: [4733#74816|text]

42: Rare bird tries to nest in a character's hair.

43: Character falls into pit.

44: Player receives 'prophetic' vision.

45: Water supply nearest to the party's camp causes vivid hallucinations.

46: Large explosion a good distance away- alchemedial experiment gone wrong.


2011-03-27 01:23 PM » Link: [4733#77196|text]

47)  I keep rolling dice, shaking my head, and telling one or two players that, "you think you hear/ see/ smell something".  This slows play down to a crawl as everyone gets cautious. 

48)  I give an NPC with a bombastic personality over to one of the players to play, who will intearct with the players - give them a bread crumb of a clue, with the secret instruction that the player's normal character gets experience points based on how long they can entertain the players.  (Usually good for a quick bite to eat and/or an entire scene played out for a character doing something else). 

49) Bats. A swarm of them. 

50) Unseasonable weather.  Usually Rain. Lots of Rain. Buckets of Rain. Negative Mods to vision and motion rolls, with a roll for "catch a cold" kind of rain. 

51)  Fish - a school of them - falls from the sky.  (Fortian Event or OOP objects)


2012-02-29 02:30 PM » Link: [4733#80649|text]
Please register to add an idea. It only takes a moment.

Join Now!!

Gain the ability to:
Vote and add your ideas to submissions.
Upvote and give XP to useful comments.
Work on submissions in private or flag them for assistance.
Earn XP and gain levels that give you more site abilities.
Join a Guild in the forums or complete a Quest and level-up your experience.
Comments ( 18 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Murometz
January 5, 2008, 13:38
hehe, number 2. Five or six mares in simultaneous heat. Egads! :)

Yet another simple but useful and fun to read scroll, Stephie!
Voted manfred
January 5, 2008, 14:41
Muahahaha: 11. The players wake up and all discover they are all missing one of their shoes.

Now that is evil GM thinking! Speaking of stalling, I once derailed an entire session by providing unexpected treasure, and encouraging a shopping spree.

We need more of these!
January 5, 2008, 14:47
Updated: Fixed #5 as it was merged with #6.
Voted Kassil
January 5, 2008, 16:56
Bwahahaha. I love this. Derailing the plot when you haven't had time to prepare is a time-honored tactic...
January 5, 2008, 17:56
Updated: Added 5 new ones making fantasy an even 20 for now.
Voted Cheka Man
January 5, 2008, 21:48
Mathom's Thread *evil laugh*
Voted valadaar
January 6, 2008, 20:39
Awesome sub Stephie!
Voted Ancient Gamer
January 9, 2008, 16:17
I love you Stephie!

Kevin Cook
February 12, 2008, 11:50
18. AI develops an intense fascination with geometric shapes and starts displaying them on all screens (like Kevin Cook on dice)

Voted chilled
August 9, 2008, 8:32
awesome idea for a sub, loads of ways to give them some more hassle.
Voted dark_dragon
April 23, 2009, 12:08
Now suitable for 30 freetext...

Can't believe we previously stopped three short...
April 23, 2009, 15:01
Could of been the "silly" freetext.
Voted PseudonymDL
June 4, 2010, 8:25
You misspelled "antsy" in the intro
Voted Dossta
September 30, 2010, 16:28
While silly, this sub is pure gold. Great ideas for fun mini-quests or roleplaying instances while you're trying to catch your breath or deal with a curve ball that the players threw at you earlier ("Crap! They weren't supposed to kill him!")
Voted ScorpionJinx
August 5, 2011, 9:37

I like this article. I found it amusing and light with usable ideas. Is there any work on ideas for players to use to stall an adventure so they can take a break? I know everyone can really get wrapped up into a game, and no one wants to take a break in the middle of the action just because one of the other players needs to run to the bathroom.

I've missed out on some fun gaming sessions because I needed to take a break. I know stopping the game would not have been fair to the other players when the action is getting intense, but some players may have to bow out for several minutes, or fifteen if they have medical issues.

Voted Mourngrymn
February 28, 2012, 7:09
Only voted


Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

       By: StrangeLands

The small coastal town of Her-Desh has vanished - the bay where it once stood is now unspoiled countryside. Moreover, the locals claim to have never heard of the place. Perhaps the Priests of the local Temple can shed some light on the mystery...

Ideas  ( Locations ) | December 27, 2003 | View | UpVote 3xp

Creative Commons License
Individual submissions, unless otherwise noted by the author, are licensed under the
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
and requires a link back to the original.

We would love it if you left a comment when you use an idea!
Powered by Lockmor 4.1 with Codeigniter | Copyright © 2013 Strolen's Citadel
A Role Player's Creative Workshop.
Read. Post. Play.
Optimized for anything except IE.