[RPG] What do you do when your players guess your plots


So I'm a new GM and am running my first campaign.
I'm by no means running a terribly complicated game with Elizabethan parlor intrigue, but I do have a few twists that I'm excited to throw at my players.
Now in my experience a good plot twist has to be subtly hinted at beforehand and paid-off a ways down the road after the clues are dropped.

A few times now I've dropped what I truly believe to be subtle hints, an NPC's reaction with multiple interpretations, one letter in pile of letters all written out, etc.
But every time I do this they cling onto it and guess the payoff, weeks in advance.
I'm happy to have players who are engaged enough with the plot to notice these clues, and paying enough attention to the context to make the guesses.
But it certainly takes some of the fun out of it if I can't surprise these guys without a trap door or initiative roll.

Clearly I'm doing something wrong, what should I be doing?

Best Answer

You're not doing anything wrong. Having players guess a plot development doesn't mean they know (unless you're confirming their guesses — don't do that, that is doing it “wrong”). It just means they have put together the puzzle and think they know how it's going to work out.

This is fine! They don't know they're right until they get there. And when they do, as a player it's a great feeling to finally witness the plot unfold and think “I knew it!” It's actually its own reward, in many ways, so you don't want to take that away from them.

Let your players have their feeling of well-earned smarts. They will be on the edge of their seats until the reveal, wondering the whole way whether they will be proven right. This is way better than the opposite — and much more common — problem where you have players who never catch any hints or forget important clues.

Also, as a GM you have all the information, and it's easy to underestimate how easy it is to guess the big picture. This is deceptive though, and can lead you to overestimate how confident your players are in their deductions, and to underestimate how much mystery is left in their experience. In reality, as a player it's actually pretty hard to be sure you're right about your guesses. Even when I've been a player and turned out to have guessed 100% right, I have never been sure until the reveal. The GM's omniscient perspective is often misleading.