After the players have created their characters, using character sheets to record ability scores and other information, the GM will describe the situation. Often, the characters are presumed to have already met and formed an adventuring party, but this is completely up to the GM. The GM's description of the beginning of the game might include a few details about the world, or this knowledge might be reserved for the players to discover bit by bit. Regardless of the level of campaign information, the GM will also describe the characters' immediate surroundings—a tavern, a wild moor, the top of a stairwell leading down into darkness, or whatever other situation the GM has chosen as the starting point for these adventurers' careers. After setting the scene, the course and success of the party is down to the players' judgment and creativity.
The players tell the GM what their characters are doing, such as “Leofric climbs the slope, sword in hand, to see what's at the crest,” or, “I light my torch and head down the stairs.” The GM responds by telling the players what the characters see, hear, taste, smell and feel. There will sometimes be peaceful encounters with non-player characters (NPCs), and the GM will play the roles of these, either playing the part or giving the players a summary of what the NPC says and does.