31

I’ve seen this issue from both sides. As a GM, it’s really easy to say something ambiguous or describe something in a specific manner that the players interpret as “ooh, let’s check that out” instead of as “hmm, interesting, now let’s go”. As a player, I (which may not be the same for your players) find it fun to check out every little side thing even if ...


21

One way to deal with this is to nest a side quest within the encounter where they have overestimated the importance. Rather than making the encounter more significant than you originally intended, keep it the same, but offer them something else—perhaps the chance to help the lord or someone else in the manor with another matter entirely—so that the encounter ...


15

There are different ways on how to deal with this all of them valid. You will have to choose for yourself what fits right for your group and game. Depending on what your game and preparation allows, adjust the adventure to give players actions more significance. This will reward your players for their effort and I find that it generally improves the quality ...


11

There is no rule that the characters wasting time has to mean the players wasting time One technique for cutting this sort of thing short, especially if your time at the gaming table is limited, is to quickly gloss over the details by saying something like "OK, you spend half the day searching the mansion for the missing children, but find nothing even ...


10

There are a few options, depending on how much work you want to give yourself as a DM and your ability to come with things on the fly! The players find nothing other than what you originally planned for them to find. This is an option you already considered. There is no requirement for you to offer up additional rewards just because the players accidentally ...


7

This, to me, sounds like the answer would depend on what kind of DM you are. For some DMs, rolling with it and improvising something on-the-fly, whether that's coming up with a way in which the lord is related to the witch/children plot, or whether it's an entirely separate side quest, would be the best option, if you're the sort of DM with strong ...


5

Make it a laugh for the players. So the characters have this elaborate plan, scheme and execution to investigate the mansion. Let the players do exactly that. Without knowing exactly how you imagine the mansion I can envisage some investigation in the cellar (find a rat's nest that the inhabitants would be glad to be rid of just never got around to). Some ...


3

This depends on the style of play of the group, GM included. Investigations are proper challenges If you play so that solving mysteries and figuring out how things work is part of the challenge, then the players decide where they spend their effort and the decision might be good or bad. Here they happened to guess wrong. Sometimes they do guess wrong. This ...


1

I played years ago - never as a DM. I remember that the biggest thing for me was immersion. I remember trying all sorts of real-life type solutions that the DM couldn't have possibly anticipated. Luckily the DM was adept at accommodating this without distracting from the main story. My solution would be that they find a document that details the location of ...


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