Thursday, January 3, 2019


I've done quite a bit of tabletop role-playing in my life and one of the things that gets on my nerves is "Railroading". For those not familiar with the term, it means a set of situations where the Game Master gives the Players a single option and will not allow any other possibilities. In many instances, this can be handled effectively without making the Players, who are controlling the heroes of the story, feel like they have no agency. Playing around with their suggestions and throwing up barriers works, especially if the GM handles it with good humor.

Several instances of Railroading occur when playing through a module, which is a pre-written adventure. In most of those, there are a few options but only one correct one. The game that I'm running for the Class 1000 podcast is like this, which has certain events in a certain order. I try to work with the players, though, to make sure they feel engaged.

The major issue is with GM's that create their own story and they have such a great idea that the players just HAVE to go this way. Again, this can be handled effectively, but when the GM doesn't even give the possibility of other ways to handle the plot, it causes the players to get frustrated. This leads to a game that is completely against the point of playing. It's supposed to be FUN, but taking away the free will of the characters involved sucks all of the fun out of the experience, meaning that the game will fold sooner rather than later.

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