Over on his blog, Coyote has a post about becoming too focused on what you’re doing in a game, and missing critical details.

I know what he means, both in computer RPGs and the pen & paper kind. Sometimes I’ve been too eager to follow up on something and missed a valuable clue in some NPC’s dialogue.

Or I’m blasting along the main line, only to realize I’ve missed an opportunity or two to complete some sideline tasks. Or there were people I should have talked to, and didn’t. This sort of thing typically happens in a big game with multitudes of errands.

Live gaming, well, that can be embarrassing, too. Coyote mentions dropping what he thought were obvious clues that his players ignored. Of course, what is obvious to the DM is not always obvious to the PCs. I’ve sat in that seat, myself.

And I’ve been on the other side of the screen, too. As a player, I’ve let DM hints go right over my head, being caught up in my own (or the party’s) theories. Or just being blank-minded and not realizing the hint for what it was. Wow, does that make me feel dumb.

Of course, no one is perfect, and we all slip up now and then. Has this happened to you at one time or another? How is it that we miss these details? Are they not emphasized enough? Too subtle?

Or maybe is it that, even in this multi-tasking world of ours, we can really only focus on one thing at a time? That we pick some path to follow, and develop tunnel vision, missing what’s out there on the periphery? What do think?

Attention Is Everything on Coyote’s blog