This may be the result of the player feeling that their PC doesn't have the 'right' skills, or abilities for the situation at hand, that the NPCs outrank them [and therefore the PC shouldn't, logically speaking, take charge of the resources at their disposal), and/or that it isn't in character for their PC (personality, or perhaps 'role' wise) to act at that particular time.
Have you come across this gentle readers? I have. Sometimes two of these players will be in the same game at the same time, though that is rare.
What do you do about it? 'Cause frankly, my gut instinct - Punch them in the face - seems to be frowned upon in polite company. Go figure.
Why would you do nothing in a game? I can't fathom it. At least not originating from ones own self. What I mean to say is that if the GM is railroading you, if there is nothing to do, because nothing can be done to change the situation, OK that's out of your control. That's bad GMing in my opinion, although I guess if you let the players known this in advance, or find someway to cloak it in the illusion of choice its not so bad.
On the other hand, if it is possible to take an action, be it physical, mental, social, or supernatural, why wouldn't you do so? What is the purpose of inaction?
Part of my issue with this is that I am incapable of not thinking of dozens of ways to approach a give scenario. Seriously, I'm not boasting, since in my mind this is normal. I do not believe myself gifted in some way, but rather that this is what most people experience.
I am learning now that for many it is not the case.
A large number of players require a few moments to come up with a single decent idea. For some their own thinking gets in their way of coming up with a response to the problem before them.
The most typical situation I have seen (though by no means the only) is a social character being caught in the middle of a combat situation.
One of the key elements of gaming is to game. I'll let that sink in for a moment. Don't want to go to fast for the youngsters out there.
I can't tell you how many times in the last 5-10 years I've seen people who come to a game, to not really play. There are levels of course, just like anything else, and
It's like...like...like a post-apocalyptic landscape of people using the tools that As is often the case, a number of recent outside factors have inspired me to post my feelings on a particular gaming subject.
In this instance, it is a subject I've posted about before, but also one I've been meaning to have another go at. A post by my good pal Lord Blacksteel (who has been posting some especially thought, and opinion-provoking stuff recently), an experience I had playing in a one-shot game, and other such.