Reflecting more on our campaign session of this past Friday, there were definitely several clues and hints to the workings of that area of the Troublesome Tunnels that were missed. But none of the clues missed were a show stopper; it definitely added some confusion to the proceedings, but it also added an air of mystery to exactly what was going on with the chamber, the statue, and the cairn.
I think that’s the way clues need to be. If you get them, great—they should be illuminating and rewarding. If you don’t, they shouldn’t be a show stopper. No single missed clue in a campaign should be a total show-stopper. In other words, you shouldn’t make any one clue a fail point; build redundancy into those circuits! As a Game Master, when designing your dungeon, you have to remember that it’s very likely that not everyone encountering your scenario is going to be on the same wavelength you were when you wrote it—and the more intricate and obscure your clues, the more likely this is to be true. Missed clues should frustrate, obfuscate, and perhaps deny certain rewards or avenues, but they should not kill a campaign on their own.