We’ve all run into it at some point: You’re partway through a session, and your players are utterly and completely lost.

The main plot is a distant blip on the horizon, either way ahead of the party or way behind them — or it’s not even in their flashlight beam at all. If you don’t do something, it’s going to be a long night (and probably not much fun for your players, or for you). So what do you do?

Depending on your group’s social contract, what you do next will vary: have one PC roll to get a clue, just give your players a hint, have ninjas kick in the door, ask your group to recap what’s happened up until that point — there are tons of options.

As in so many situations, I’d start by taking a five-minute break. After that, my best bet is usually some variation on that last option: have my players summarize what they know, and then give them a nudge or two to get the adventure moving again.

How do you handle this situation when it comes up in your games?