Last night was a kind of slow session. In the previous week the players had pretty much cleared out the dungeon they were exploring, though they were still a bit mystified about the back story of the dungeon itself. This week they spent a good chunk of time wandering the halls searching for more clues or last bits of treasure before finally heading back to town to rest and split up the loot. That was pretty much the entire session, not one fight, barely any new treasure found, and lots of questions still lingering in their minds.
I’m never sure what to do in these cases. I could toss in some more encounters to liven things up, but it would just be random encounters that even further slow down their final exit from the place that’s now pretty much played out. I feel bad for them that can’t seem to quite figure out exactly what happened in the dungeon before they found it, but I’m certainly not going to just out and tell them. If they’ve either missed clues or failed to interpret the ones they have, I don’t feel like I should be adding more to try and nudge them in the right direction.
I suppose if I had one piece of advice for my players (and they do read this blog, so excuse me if I tread lightly here), it’s that the dungeon is not the only source of information about itself. When trying to learn to juggle, you don’t stare at three balls until you figure out how to keep them in the air all the time. Sure, you spend plenty of time throwing those balls up and down (and drop them fairly often), but also you go find someone else who knows how to juggle, maybe take a book out from the library on juggling, etc.
But that’s a bit of a tangent. I’m curious what other folks do when their players start doggedly going over the same part of the dungeon over and over, or otherwise beat their heads against a dead end. Do you just start tossing in monsters? Do you insert more information to try and prod them along? Do you just let them bang their heads against the wall until they finally move on? What’s the best way to keep the game lively?