"The problem is dungeon descriptions. I feel that I provide the necessary information, while leaving room open for exploration. I always choose my words carefully and provide, what I think, are clues without leading the player.
"As a Dungeon Master, I could care less if they discover the loose flagstone behind the throne. It's the 'looking up' and other non-sequitur responses that is the problem. Not once did I give any indication or subtle clue that there is anything on the ceiling.
"This is happening in every room. What can I do?"
Jay gave a description of what he says when the players enter the room. It is transcribed below.
"There are stairs that lead down into the darkness and using your infravision you see a 30x30 foot square chamber and in the center there is a table and in the back there is a throne with a skeletal warrior, sitting on the throne. He's covered in cobwebs, he's wearing ancient ornamental chainmail. There are four scrolls laid out on the table as well."Being a Dungeon Master is not only a skill, but an art. It is unlike other games where you must simply learn how to play.
One of those skills is putting yourself in the positions of a player.
People have a difficult time following and then acting upon narrative instructions. When things are presented as text blocks (old school modules, I'm looking at you!) players are left with general impressions. They can't act on these general impressions, so they do things that have worked in the past for safety ("I look up!") or they ask questions about information they have already been given.
This is why I only broadly describe the room. I would present the above room to the players as:
"You see a large room, containing a table with something on it, in front of a throne with someone sitting on it."All the players need to know is what is in the room that's unusual to manipulate. If I gave more information, they wouldn't remember it. Once they are asking about information, they will be doing so in a way that they can assimilate the information.
Everything starts off broad and blurry and then gets more precise as it gets investigated. I work off the classic example giving in the 1st edition Dungeon Master's Guide.