Some definitions of "Railroading"...

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Treebore
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Some definitions of "Railroading"...

Post by Treebore »

Really irritate me. The latest example is, restated by me, is a case where the GM did not tell the players what spell(s) the bad guys used to sneak up on them without being spotted. BEFORE the encounter is even resolved. I'll tell my players afterwards, but not before or during an encounter.

Seriously, someone defines that as "Railroading". Clearly someone who better never play in my games, because in this case I'd be a "Railroading Master".
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
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Arduin
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Re: Some definitions of "Railroading"...

Post by Arduin »

I never tell the players something like that. How would they know unless they got the info from the foe?
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Treebore
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Re: Some definitions of "Railroading"...

Post by Treebore »

Arduin wrote:I never tell the players something like that. How would they know unless they got the info from the foe?
Exactly. I cannot see how this could possibly be a case of RR, but someone believes it is.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

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Arduin
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Re: Some definitions of "Railroading"...

Post by Arduin »

Treebore wrote:
Arduin wrote:I never tell the players something like that. How would they know unless they got the info from the foe?
Exactly. I cannot see how this could possibly be a case of RR, but someone believes it is.
LOL! Pretty wild.
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Just Jeff
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Re: Some definitions of "Railroading"...

Post by Just Jeff »

I know railroading, and Treebore, that's no railroading.

There's a classic example I was looking for but couldn't find. The PCs talk to the townfolk, who complain about a dragon. "That's too tough for us." But no matter which direction they travel when leaving town, they run into the dragon.

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Re: Some definitions of "Railroading"...

Post by Ancalagon »

Treebore wrote:Really irritate me. The latest example is, restated by me, is a case where the GM did not tell the players what spell(s) the bad guys used to sneak up on them without being spotted. BEFORE the encounter is even resolved. I'll tell my players afterwards, but not before or during an encounter. ".
I wouldn't tell mine at all. They can figure it out as the campaign progresses... or not.
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Arduin
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Re: Some definitions of "Railroading"...

Post by Arduin »

If that player wants to really know what railroading is have 'em watch Spectre of the Gun, Star Trek the original series...

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Relaxo
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Re: Some definitions of "Railroading"...

Post by Relaxo »

Fascinating.

Tree, I sounds like that player thinks "Railroading" is whatever they don't like for some reason.
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finarvyn
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Re: Some definitions of "Railroading"...

Post by finarvyn »

The problem with many terms used in gaming is that not everyone got onboard the conversation early on, and once these terms get used folks who are familar with them quit defining them so newcomers have to guess and often get them slightly wrong. Common examples of this are "grognard" and "sandbox", and certainly "railroading" fits the bill as well.

Railroading should be obvious -- a train has a single track it can take and can't really divert from that path for any reason -- but for some reason it is interpreted by some to be when you have a pushy GM.

Railroading by its definition tends to produce not-fun adventures because the players feel like they are watching a movie instead of playing a game. Your example clearly isn't railroading because there are no limits to player choice.
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Re: Some definitions of "Railroading"...

Post by serleran »

Quit railroading this topic to be only about what you define as railroading. Sheesh!

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Re: Some definitions of "Railroading"...

Post by Just Jeff »

Thinking about it this morning, perhaps the GM in question should show his players what railroading really is. ;)

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Re: Some definitions of "Railroading"...

Post by Treebore »

I was wondering if maybe the posters game group in question is very young. I wonder this because when my kids were younger, about 5 or 6 years ago, so 15 or less, they accused me of RR them because the dead mage the tower belonged to actually made it hard for people to find his treasure room. So the fact that they had to hunt down the "keys" to get into the treasure was a RR to them.

I even went so far as to tell them if they feel RR they could always come back once they were of a level to turn stone to mud, Passwall, etc... and maybe then they could get in without the keys.

They decided they wanted the treasure now, so jumped on the train to riches.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

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nwelte1
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Re: Some definitions of "Railroading"...

Post by nwelte1 »

I can vouch that Tree is the railroad master. The capture of our party in A1 was all part of his evil plan of railroading us. There is no way that module was written with that necessary predetermined outcome to occur. Grrrrrr.... I will never let him live that down.

Kidding aside, sometimes a little light railroading is good for the group. (i.e. they stall out of ideas, don't move the story forward, or the party is working through a series of modules). I prefer to keep it at a minimum and very subtle. I think for the most part the groups I run take it in stride. It also helps that when they throw a curve ball at me, like using a cloak of etherealness to completely by pass an encounter/module/adventure, I take that in stride too. (Yes, this is directed toward you Aramis.) Flexibility makes it fun for all.

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Re: Some definitions of "Railroading"...

Post by Aramis »

nwelte1 wrote:I can vouch that Tree is the railroad master. The capture of our party in A1 was all part of his evil plan of railroading us. There is no way that module was written with that necessary predetermined outcome to occur. Grrrrrr.... I will never let him live that down.

Kidding aside, sometimes a little light railroading is good for the group. (i.e. they stall out of ideas, don't move the story forward, or the party is working through a series of modules). I prefer to keep it at a minimum and very subtle. I think for the most part the groups I run take it in stride. It also helps that when they throw a curve ball at me, like using a cloak of etherealness to completely by pass an encounter/module/adventure, I take that in stride too. (Yes, this is directed toward you Aramis.) Flexibility makes it fun for all.
Damn your eyes! :D

But as usual, Nwelte is exactly right. Bad railroading is when, no matter what the players do, a predetermined event occurs because it must occur for the module's story to work correctly. Good railroading is the DM leaving a trail of bread crumb clues and gentle NPC nudges, and incriminating notes found on bandits etc. to keep the story a) moving forward and b) moving in a direction that is fun and makes for an interesting experience.

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Sir Ironside
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Re: Some definitions of "Railroading"...

Post by Sir Ironside »

nwelte1 wrote:Kidding aside, sometimes a little light railroading is good for the group.
I like to call this refocusing the group. Sandboxes games are fine. They are my preference when GMing, but once a side adventure starts to take over the game, it is time to get back to the original plot. There is innumerable was a GM can do this without it feel like "railroading".
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Re: Some definitions of "Railroading"...

Post by Treebore »

See, for me, RR is when the DM makes it to where your choices do not matter. Like when I ran the beginning of Slavelords, the way it is written is I am to give the players no chance. They are to fail, no matter what.

I thought about it and was like, "The Slavelords are a rather large organization with very powerful leaders. Why do I need to RR this one encounter? I can just keep having the Slavelords come after the party until A) they are captured as the module wants B) the party gets tired of the numerous attacks and decides to stop them once and for all."

Each of these scenarios allowed the players the freedom to succeed or fail based on their own decisions and their own rolls. Now as original tournament modules I can see why they had to force it for time constraint purposes, but in a normal game we have all the time we wish to take. So why have it to where they must fail to escape the very first time the Slavelords try to capture them?

So that is how I approached it. I took what was in the module and had them organically respond to what the players did, and attacked. It just so happened that all but one or two PC's were captured in the very first attempt. So when the others were found, it was easier to capture them. Just I captured them because they actually failed their saves, and were actually beaten by their opponents, not because I did as the module said, and had them fail their saves regardless of their actual rolls, etc...

So to me, that is what RR is, the DM forcing a certain outcome no matter what the PC's do, actually roll, etc...
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

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nwelte1
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Re: Some definitions of "Railroading"...

Post by nwelte1 »

As an aside, Tree did a great job handling that encounter. Liked his approach.

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Re: Some definitions of "Railroading"...

Post by Treebore »

nwelte1 wrote:As an aside, Tree did a great job handling that encounter. Liked his approach.

:D

Glad I did a good job for at least one of you.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

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Relaxo
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Re: Some definitions of "Railroading"...

Post by Relaxo »

finarvyn wrote:The problem with many terms used in gaming is that not everyone got onboard the conversation early on, and once these terms get used folks who are familar with them quit defining them so newcomers have to guess and often get them slightly wrong.
that's a great point!
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Re: Some definitions of "Railroading"...

Post by Sir Ironside »

Treebore wrote:Really irritate me. The latest example is, restated by me, is a case where the GM did not tell the players what spell(s) the bad guys used to sneak up on them without being spotted. BEFORE the encounter is even resolved. I'll tell my players afterwards, but not before or during an encounter.
You're a nice CK. I wouldn't even bother to tell them just how they were surprised. There are more than one way to get surprised.

Same goes with magic spells. Even used directly, if they don't have a character than can identify the spell then the characters can only go by what they see. (Lightning from his fingertips = not good. Mind control, the secret killer.) I think magic should be something special. It is like seeing a scimitar for the first time. You can see that the scimitar and identify it as some kind of sword. But a weird kind of sword that you are unfamiliar with and don't exactly know all its properties, or how it'll work in the fight.

Monster's have also been trouble in my campaigns. There is an assumption that the characters know just what the monster is and the best way to deal with it. I contend that the characters can't know all the monsters and would be at a disadvantage when dealing with it. I go easy if they are fighting monsters within their sphere of the known world. Much more strict if they leave that comfort zone and the chances of running into something the don't know could be disastrous.

Oh look there is a bird. We are hungry. Lets go kill the bird and eat it. What they Hell? My sword rusted to nothing... Gaaahhh!

Leonard: Look there is some kind of large reptile blocking our way to the entrance of that cave.
Gary: No problem I got this.
Leonard: How's it going Gary? Gary? Why did you stop? Why are you all grey? Gary? GARY!? OMG! GARRRRYYYYY!"

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