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I recognize that this may be a subjective question, but since its dealing with a published book I'm curious if there are things that I missed within the published material itself.

I'm running PotA for my group and they have tackled the Hidden Keeps. After the first one they went down into the depths (assuming it was the way they were supposed to go) and entered a dungeon that was significantly higher than their level 3 characters could tackle. I had to do a big fanfare of premonition for members of the party to realize they were not where they were supposed to be and let them leave the dungeon. Now the players are gun shy.

As a new DM, did I miss something? How was I supposed to gate this? Right now it looks like a design flaw in the writing. Should I expect this in future published works as well?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Upon reading the title I totally thought you wanted to cast Gate to drag forth a Prince of the Apocalypse. \$\endgroup\$ – Szega Apr 14 '17 at 23:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Szega I chuckled at first, but now that I think about it I can probably make the title better. Is "player gate" a better term? \$\endgroup\$ – Guy Apr 16 '17 at 22:45
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As you've probably noticed, there are recommendations all over the place for what level the party should be when they do an area. On the other hand, in the entire book, there appears to be one solitary, lonely, explicit statement about gating. On page 73:

The tunnel in area H6 leads to area E1 in the Temple of Eternal Flame. If you aren't ready for the characters to explore that temple, a force from the temple could emerge to drive the characters away. Or, you can allow the characters to descend to the Temple of Eternal Flame and discover how dangerous it is for themselves.

You can extend this advice to other areas, of course.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ My party also went in a temple which wasn't meant for them, level-wise. They realized that after the couple first encounters, and decided to retreat and try something else ! Let them try if they want to, they should sometimes fear what's lurking in the dark... :-) \$\endgroup\$ – Yotus Apr 18 '17 at 6:30
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I'm playing in PotA, and our GM just says, "You interrogate the prisoners? Okay, they tell you about all the horrible stuff on the lower levels. You really, really don't want to go down there." and we take the hint. This might not work as well for a party that puts the "murder" in "murderhobo", but we hardly kill anyone, so there are always prisoners to interrogate.

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