It never fails. Spend a late afternoon designing a module/dungeon/adventure, watch the players take the right turn at Alberquerque, and wind up in a part of the world where you didn’t expect them to go. Ooops.
Oh, and then have your players ask — no, no… demand to play the following night. “Oh, no,” I say. “It takes me a week to get ready to do this sort of thing, and I have more stuff to do this week than you can possibly believe. You do not get to waste my time indiscriminately. That’s my job.”
1. I have a gaming group again.
2. They’re refreshingly naïve. Instead of listening at doors, they just barge right through, on their quest for a kidnapped little girl from their village. Their sorceror wastes his light spells by casting them on arrows and having their ranger shoot them down hallways. They’ve already alerted several different monsters in the place to their presence, all by blundering about. Makes life interesting for them, and for me.
3. They’re woefully ignorant about moral codes. The paladin suggests shooting arrows blindly into the darkness when they come around corners, and the other two players look at him like he’s mad. “What if we hit the girl?” one suggests. The paladin blithely says, “Then we tell them back in the village that we found her that way.” This is where I stepped in with a pithy comment or two. The paladin disavowed his earlier remarks. More specifically, he attributed them to the ranger, rather than himself. And we wonder where our politicians get it from… Ah, well. Behold, teachable moments!
4. Figuring out appropriate challenges for two fighters and a sorceror — if I don’t want them to go someplace, I just put in a trap. They were totally freaked out by the swinging scythe trap at the door of the library, and my sound effects weren’t bad, either. Someone could make a tidy bit of egoboo by making a set of mp3 soundtrack files for dungeon-crawling. Heck, they probably already exist.