Roleplay pacing in non-combat situations

So I am running the Baldur’s gate: Descent into Avernus module and my players are taking very long to approach certain situations. To set an example: There is a gate with two guards who are checking everyone who passes through. They need to get inside (because of their own choosing and also their own choice to do it through the gate specifically).

At this point the most talkative member of the group starts rattling over all these different strategies, some of the other members (2/5) are joining the discussion on how to do this. 30 minutes later we’re still at the gate having done nothing to get in but discuss strategies.

This can often take hour(s) to decide on a strategy. It seems like all of them love the freedom of play and strategizing how to approach a situation like this. Sadly, though, at the end of the session when we talk about that particular session they seem to all agree that that was boring. I don’t want to remove this RP encounters since I know some of them like this more than the combat but at the same time if all of them agree it’s too long I felt like I needed to do something…

I tried the following so far:

  • Making these RP encounters a small tad easier -> the players felt patronized since it felt easier than the rest of the campaign
  • Having an NPC who was following them help them -> can’t really bring up any ideas with inside information at which point im just in the middle of the discussion slowing it more down than speeding it up.
  • Use the environment to force them into a decision (gently) by RP’ing it (e.g. The guards see you mumbling in group and they grow suspicious, if you don’t do something they will come and investigate) -> they didn’t like that so they just moved away to discuss somewhere else.

I am not sure how to handle this and since they literally all are in agreement that these long discussions take too long I do wanna try and fix it, and yes telling them to keep it shorter if they don’t like it is something I did, but that resulted in a long discussion about wanting to keep all the freedom in the player’s hands.

I feel like 2/5 people in the group don’t really partake in these discussions (they seem a bit more shy) and the rest of the group simply feels bad for them yet doesn’t want to admit that and therefor claim they don’t like the long discussions either. So I’m just completely stuck…

I’ll gladly answer any questions and all that, and I’m still considering other options but any help or suggestions here would be greatly appreciated.

What pacing problems for the DM does Murder in Baldur’s Gate pose when running the adventure?

This question is directed at DM/GMs who have run the adventure Murder in Baldur’s Gate.

I am prepping to run this adventure, and it seems that this module’s ten phase / three faction plot structure makes for a variety of player and DM decision points and interaction with arbitrary sized groups of NPCs.

My objective is to do pre-emptive decision point preparation so that encounter size, pace, timing and CR all fit the plot. I’d like to use lessons learned from those who have run this adventure by identifying those points that most often slowed play down. (Once identified, mitigation can be applied).

I intend to run this in D&D 5e, but experience with pacing issues and their resolution in a 4e or 3.5 context should be highly relevant and are acceptable as answers.

If, as a DM, you ran this module/adventure during or after the playtest:

What pacing/adventure flow problems did you encounter as a DM when running the adventure, and how did you resolve them?