Small God of the Dozens
Hmm. The approach of "taking as much time as we need" is only really applicable to situations where the players already know of the key's existence and location (Edit: general location, i.e. in the room, not in the drawer, which would be silly), and in that situation the action makes sense. They still might not have time of course, and consequences for time spent are pretty much always appropriate. However, I think that example is very different from investigate actions taken with no foreknowledge of the presence or absence of anything in particular. In that case the declaration makes no sense at all.Umm... Kind of? Like, very broadly speaking I guess any searching they do will take time, and if they find the key, then clearly the amount of time they spent searching was as much time as they needed. So in that sense, yes, taking as much time as they need to find it is viable, but difficult, under time constraints. But I was talking about “we thoroughly search the room, taking as much time as we need” as an approach to the goal of “find the key.” In any scenario I’m designing to be challenging, that isn’t going to be a valid approach, because some time pressure or other consequence for failure will be preventing them from spending an arbitrarily long time searching.
Those two types of examples seem to have been conflated a little bit in this thread, as examples move back and forth from one fictional state to the other.