In the last episode titled, The Tillage People, the party arrived at a little farming town called Felderwin. When they arrived, they found out that there’s been a recent spate of arsons in the tillage surrounding the town. The party picked up the cue and dived straight into investigation mode.
I was careful to make sure that for every conclusion they need to make, there would be three clues pointing them towards that. I learnt this from The Alexandrian (highly recommended blog for any aspiring game master, btw), so here’s how I set up the clues that led them to conclude that there’s a shapeshifter in town:
1. One of the halflings told them that he thought he saw someone twice a few nights ago when he was out drinking. He wasn’t sure if it’s just his imagination, but he was a little spooked when that happened.
2. While shopping in an apothecary and interacting with the shop owner, the door opens behind them and the shop owner walks in, causing the former to run out the back door.
3. They spoke with the starosta (kinda like the mayor of the town), only to find him gagged and tied up in a barn elsewhere in the tillage.
The three-clues rule works because most players don’t pick up clues like you would imagine them to. There is always information asymmetry at the table and this rule ensures that they won’t miss out anything you absolutely need them to figure out. This is an essential to running any mystery scenario.