|There's a big difference between this. . .|
This is a real problem that affects even the best Dungeon Masters.
They are good Dungeon Masters because it's very hard in their game for a player to do a foolish thing.
Players, of course, do stupid things aplenty.
Foolish (adj.) resulting from or showing a lack of sense; ill-considered; unwise
Stupid (adj.) lacking intelligence or common sense.What we are talking about is how to avoid falling into the Fantasy Gap.
The Fantasy Gap
"A great city sits among the trees, surrounded by clouds. Strange fey creatures move among the high branches wearing what appears to be the forest itself. You feel a powerful sense of awe as the city looms above you."
|. . . and this.|
"A shadowy path leads further into the bandit woods."
What's the player\s action here? What's the first thing you do if you need to go down the path? Prepare for ambushes, right? Or are you checking for traps? How far can the characters see into these woods? Is there underbrush? Would you say you were checking the treetops?
These things seem trivial to ask, but no matter how many questions players ask there are always more they cannot ask. If the players don't ask a question, it's because the players have made an assumption, and I can guarantee not all of your assumptions will match mine. The Dungeon Master knows the right answers, and the players don't.
Any time the Dungeon Master is describing something in Dungeons and Dragons, it is imagined in each player's mind in a totally different way, a way that matches their developed consciousness. Good, skilled, players ask as few questions as they can to narrow this gap as much as possible.
This process of closing this gap is so difficult, the general trend in gaming has been to eliminate as much of it from the gameplay as possible.
Witness the birth of character skill gaming!
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