An exciting long and fruitless search

One of the requirements of my unfolding story is that the party have a long and fruitless search for Randall Mourn in the Spiderhaunt Forest.

The challenge is how to make that exciting to play?

The adventure as written says that the party are pretty much looking for someone who cannot be found until the villain of the piece wants to draw the party in.

I am inclined to really draw this out with entire side plots and adventures rather than trying to emulate such a long search and then resolve it in a single weekend of gaming.

So here is a question for you all. If you were on a quest to find Randall Mourn would a period of side quests none of which actually find Randall be off putting?

7 thoughts on “An exciting long and fruitless search”

  1. I’m not sure. It might depend on what the side quests are, and whether the players think they are making progress. The occasional clue that advances, or appears to, the plot in some way might help – he was here, but you just missed him for example.

    1. That is harder as Randal is not actually where the players are searching. They have been given bad information. Or more accurately it is the right place but the wrong time.

  2. With something like this, I’d be inclined to have at least one of the side quests move toward another plot or squirrel something decent on one of them so the players still feel like they’ve accomplished something.

    1. I think this is the route I am going to go down. Make it rewarding for the characters even if they do not find their man.

      1. I don’t know who Randal is, but does the party need a side quest to gain an item or benefit that will help in the eventual encounter with him?

  3. The way the adventure is set up there is actually nothing the party can do to expediate the search. Randal is simply not there and furthermore he will only be findable once the villain of the piece wants to lure the party in. Randal is bait to all intents and purposes.

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