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50 votes
Accepted

How can a DM communicate to the players that subtlety is needed in a mystery adventure?

Don't Hint. Don't Be Subtle. Seriously, don't. If the GM wants to run a covert detective mystery story, and the players think they are in a more traditional overt sword swinging story, no one is going ...
Novak's user avatar
  • 43.5k
38 votes

Being as careful as we ought to be takes too long and is boring, what can we do differently?

Sounds like your DM isn't communicating dangers effectively. It sounds like the problem is this: The DM is creating dangers, but leaving it up to the PCs to proactively investigate in order to ...
Quadratic Wizard's user avatar
32 votes
Accepted

How to reveal a time limit without videogaming it?

Time limits the players don't know about are useless. You don't know where your players are gonna go, or what they're gonna do. If you have events happen off screen that they can't foresee, there's no ...
Nepene Nep's user avatar
30 votes

How can a DM communicate to the players that subtlety is needed in a mystery adventure?

Good DMs don’t assume the player wants their character to be stupid If a player calls a stupid action, the DM should assume the player doesn't know it’s stupid and might not want to do it if they did. ...
Dale M's user avatar
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24 votes

Being as careful as we ought to be takes too long and is boring, what can we do differently?

It's not panacea, but do recon offline Our party is pretty close to what you describe, and so are our experiences. I'm the party wizard, like you, and like you have arcane eye. I've taken to do ...
Nobody the Hobgoblin's user avatar
23 votes

Can the Dominate Person spell be used for interrogation?

I think you could. You can use this telepathic link to issue commands to the creature while you are conscious (no action required), which it does its best to obey. You can specify a simple ...
Nick Brown's user avatar
  • 8,251
22 votes

How can a DM communicate to the players that subtlety is needed in a mystery adventure?

DnD isn't well suited to this. I steal a tool from Blades of the Dark. A progress clock is a circle divided into segments (see examples at right). Draw a progress clock when you need to track ongoing ...
Nepene Nep's user avatar
17 votes

Being as careful as we ought to be takes too long and is boring, what can we do differently?

There are a few things you can do: 1. Level the playing field Part of the problem seems to be technology; different people accessing in different formats/media. I played in a game with a similar issue;...
MivaScott's user avatar
  • 40.6k
15 votes

How can a DM communicate to the players that subtlety is needed in a mystery adventure?

Keep your voice down! You can have this little maneouvre for free. Player: Swaggers into tavern and slams door. "I say fair barkeep, have you seen Mr Scarybad lately?" Dungeonmaster: ...
Daron's user avatar
  • 674
14 votes

How can I moderate the flow of information in a discovery-focused campaign?

I have the following suggestions, after having been in one VERY successful game of this type for many years, and having generally tried to emulate that success (in varying results) since: If your ...
Novak's user avatar
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14 votes
Accepted

What value does an Inquisitive Rogue bring to a regular campaign?

The specification: Starting at 3rd level, you can use a bonus action to make a Perception check to spot a hidden creature or object or to make an Investigation check to uncover or decipher clues. ...
N. A.'s user avatar
  • 1,057
13 votes

Isolation and the unknown in modern horror/investigative scenarios

For keeping the unknown unknown, it can work to have motives for the PCs and/or for the unknown elements, to keep the unknown unknown. Examples I have seen in play which worked fine: The players are, ...
Dronz's user avatar
  • 5,902
13 votes

What are the best questions when using Speak with Dead as a tool for investigating murder?

The answer, I believe, really is "it depends". Remember that, in 5e, speak with dead has limitations: Answers are usually brief, cryptic, or repetitive the corpse is under no compulsion to ...
minnmass's user avatar
  • 18.8k
12 votes

How can an Awakened creature be detected as such?

Detect thoughts. This spell should get the job done quite easily: For the duration, you can read the thoughts of certain creatures. When you cast the spell and as your action on each turn until the ...
Thomas Markov's user avatar
11 votes

Isolation and the unknown in modern horror/investigative scenarios

Dronz's answer does a very good job of covering specific ways to keep the unknown feeling like it's unknown and not damage setting cohesion with questions like "but why doesn't the US Government know ...
a computing pun's user avatar
11 votes

How to reveal a time limit without videogaming it?

Whether you have a "living world" or not, something needs to connect players to events I have had similar problems in my games: I want players to discover things for themselves, and ...
Upper_Case's user avatar
  • 21.8k
11 votes
Accepted

How to avoid alienation by expected but slow mood shift, and still keep players out of spoilers?

It's not possible to achieve all those goals. What you're asking for is, in effect, this: Given a setting that has a very well-established tone, can I run a campaign that pretends to follow that tone, ...
Mark Wells's user avatar
  • 22.2k
11 votes

How can a DM communicate to the players that subtlety is needed in a mystery adventure?

There's a long tradition in the detective genre where drawing unwanted attention is part of the plot; and often it's part of the plan -- "let's shake things up". The next thing we know our ...
Owen Reynolds's user avatar
9 votes

How to add more combat into an investigation-heavy campaign?

"When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand." That's something out of Raymond Chandler, one of the early pulp writers, but it might as well be Fate GMing advice. (I think ...
Glazius's user avatar
  • 41.1k
9 votes
Accepted

Why do you get so few questions when using the Action: Investigate a Mystery?

The move description explicitly states that the player is asking the questions of the Keeper: One hold can be spent to ask the Keeper one of the following questions The mechanics of the move ...
Dave Costa's user avatar
  • 1,809
9 votes

How can a character discreetly record a conversation for later playback?

In D&D, there's not a great way to record a conversation -- but there doesn't need to be, because there are several excellent ways to detect lies. Write down the conversation after it happens. ...
Dan B's user avatar
  • 90.2k
9 votes
Accepted

How can an Awakened creature be detected as such?

Detect Thoughts, as per Thomas Markov's answer, is the most intuitive solution. I've listed below some other, more obscure spells which could identify the crow as being 'awakened'. They're not obscure ...
Lovell's user avatar
  • 5,627
9 votes

Being as careful as we ought to be takes too long and is boring, what can we do differently?

From what your are describing the situation can be summarised as follows: Your current style of play, being careful feels long and boring to you. Not being as careful usually goes sideways and Is ...
Jorge Córdoba's user avatar
9 votes

What are the best questions when using Speak with Dead as a tool for investigating murder?

Asking about identity is clear Knowing the murderer is a very useful information so this is definitely the first thing to try. While the dead can only tell what it knew in life this will not always ...
Anagkai's user avatar
  • 16.6k
7 votes

How can a character discreetly record a conversation for later playback?

The Encode Thoughts cantrip. The Encode Thoughts cantrip from Guildmaser’s Guide to Ravnica allows you to “pull a memory, an idea, or a message from your mind and transform it into a tangible string ...
nick012000's user avatar
  • 13.9k
7 votes
Accepted

How do I find out who wrote a note?

You can make a Diplomacy check to gather information, asking people nearby if anyone saw someone near your dining room. You can make a Sense Motive check as you walk around and see if anyone acts ...
Dan B's user avatar
  • 90.2k
7 votes

How to reveal a time limit without videogaming it?

You need to create the circumstances the players find themselves in, so that you can reveal the clock Ask yourself the following questions: Who knows the truck is in that direction? Who knows the ...
SeriousBri's user avatar
  • 29.9k
7 votes
Accepted

How can I best reward players for finding secrets without breaking game balance?

Reward Them Appropriately Uncovering secrets definitely falls into the category of things that deserve to be rewarded, including rewards for experience, treasure, and Hero Points. Factoring the ...
brandon's user avatar
  • 14.9k
6 votes
Accepted

How can a character discreetly record a conversation for later playback?

A few options, but it would not be as direct as a tape recorder method: Keen Mind (feat) You can accurately recall anything you have seen or heard within the past month The issue with this one, ...
Just Another Guy's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

How can someone learn an item's history or the spells used on an item?

Object reading I don't think there are any published spells which explicitly function in the manner described, so your GM has probably invented this anti-tampering spell as a plot device. However, ...
Carcer's user avatar
  • 66.1k

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