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[ERROR] No.55581013 [Reply] [Original] [4plebs] [archived.moe]

How exactly do you not railroad?

Even when I tie events directly to characters backgrounds and design legit motives to be in/go to etc a place I get accused of railroading.

Start them in the same place? Tavern, boat, town, the same desert...railroading. jail? Railroading. Raft already on a river? Railroading.

How exactly do you start individual characters with no ties and no knowledge of one another in the first place?

No matter what I think of /tg/ calls it railroading. Even if I hand out purchase characters no matter what the scenario is railroading.

The only thing I can think of is to put them in totally random places in the world or let them each pick and then wait for them to find each other with no OOC knowledge and applying no motivation and hope they randomly come together and form a party, but Only if they want.

Seriously /tg/ if everything is called out as railroading, what is not, or is it even possible to start an rpg without it?

>> No.55581036

>>55581013
Just start them on a railroad. It's one of those closed room mysteries, they have to find out who the killer is.

>> No.55581069

People should not have unreasonable expectations. A normal D&D campaign is not going to be some kind of a sandbox, there's always going to be some sort of heroic plot unless you're a total degenerate and as long as there isn't a single DM-approved solution to every problem it's not railroading.

>> No.55581101

>>55581069
>running in an arc format instead of an episodic format
bleh.

>> No.55581131

>>55581013
Sincerely doubting anyone posted any of this about any of your ideas here, so ironically you seem to be railroading the conversation.

>> No.55581138

>>55581013
Do character gen as a group, require them to have a bond with two other characters in the group.
"This dudes my brother."
"You're a tiefling."
"Adoptive."

>> No.55581647

>>55581013
Stop listening to idiotic, entitled players who mindlessly bleat out buzzwords.

>> No.55581912

>>55581013
Why would you care what /tg/ thinks? Most people here have never actually played a tabletop roleplaying game in their lives.

>> No.55581965

>>55581912
>>55581647
>>55581138
These.

>> No.55582019

>>55581131
Nice but those are actual things I've done mentioned anecdotally in tg tales and I'm about to start a nother group do it read on my mind.

Eri mean you're answered is wrong because it's not on the topic I pretty narrowly defined, thanx but the dmpc well take it form here

>> No.55582070

>>55581138
> forcing traits on your pcs

How is this better than coming up with a legit characters story reason to be in more or less the same town at more or less the same time?

>>55581647
>>55581912
Don't tell me what to do

>> No.55582076

You gotta understand that taking things at face value on /tg/, much like the rest of 4chan as a whole, is a fool's errand and you need to personally make judgement calls about who is telling the truth, who is shitposting, who is being hyperbolic, and who is misinformed. That's not to say that everyone on /tg/ is wrong, but realize that we're still just people.

Railroading on a base level is when a campaign more or less progresses without any real input on the player's end and their decisions don't matter. You're getting hung up on the introduction, which is more of an issue on how to start things.

>How exactly do you start individual characters with no ties and no knowledge of one another in the first place?

Personally I stopped running games where none of the PCs knew each other years ago. It's not like everyone needs to be best buds, but going in as a cohesive group solves a lot of issues and lets the party grow their backstories out a bit more.

>> No.55582085

>>55581013
>No matter what I think of /tg/ calls it railroading
/tg/ is not the end all, be all of gaming. Look at your work critically; if it's good enough, it's good enough, despite what is said on the internet

>> No.55582092

>>55581036
You joke but I would be hype as fuck.

>> No.55582228

>>55582085
No I know tg is awful and having gone back in the 5e thread I want to delete my internet.

>>55582092
How about starting on a boat as randoms, everyone has a legit reason to be bound for whatever port (returning home, dukes errand, waypoint on a longer journey, all based directly on backstory)? The ship is wrecked on an island, starting gear may be salvaged from flotsam and party are only survivors.

>> No.55582273

>>55582228
>Shipwreck start
Cliche, but doable
Don't just handwave it in. Make introductions. Have some interplay from the PC's
Let them contribute to the whole encounter, saving supplies, steering the wreck to shore, maybe sighting the mighty beast that sunk them. Let them have agency and they will follow you into Hell

>> No.55582317

>>55581013
I love that artist.


>Start with a hex map.
>Players wake up with no memory how they got there, on a single one-mile hex, with basic supplies and a base of operations.

>Every time they move to a new hex they reveal the terrain of surrounding hexes. When they enter a hex, randomly roll for what is present.

>> No.55582475

>>55582273
But having done that is it at all reasonable to expect them to try to continue their journey towards the general area of the map they were bound for, or just lock a random island in some odd corner and insist on going there? I mean I let them and ad lived what I could but I feel like there should have been a reasonable attempt to continue their own backstory hooks.

>> No.55582523

>>55581013
I feel like there is more to this than presented, you've only given some vague Starting Scenarios.


Where the characters start should take some clues from their backgrounds (It makes little sense for a teetotalling, swore to chastity Paladin to be in a scummy Beer, Brothels and Beyond, for example), but generally the easiest solution is to assign that particular element to the players, let them decide why they're in a group, and where they want to start. Unless the starting point is out of character and required for the story, it alone doesn't make it Railroading.

Character Generation is rarely Railroading, but if you excessively limit the players' choices (You are all Fighters, no STR above 9) just to fit the narative you've chosen, that's probably Railroading. Handing out pre-built characters isn't usually very conductive to a good session, unless it's a one off, or testing a new system, because again, you're limiting the players' choices beyond expectations. (Generally limiting options to the core rules, or excluding specific supplements shouldn't be an issue, but some players take exception anyway. That is not, however, Railroading).


Railroading comes into play when the characters move from the Starting Scenario into the Main Story. To avoid Railroading, it's best to have more than one Hook to route to the Main Story, and if possible, more than one Main Story option. You want to have multiple options so that you can organically introduce the characters to the Main Story by letting them stumble into it, rather than being directly pointed at it. Having a second Main Story is useful in case your players seem uninterested in the first, or manage to continually miss/evade your prepared Hooks.

>> No.55582535

>>55582475
Our pursue the beat that wrecked them. Or try to report or send to family they didn't die - other than

>> No.55582539

>>55582523
For Example:

Should your players all show up with dubious rogues and scoundrels, they might start in the Traditional Tavern Starting Scenario. Your Main Story could be the Classic Kidnapped Princess Plot. To get them to the Princess Plot, you might have a Flirty Bar Wench drop hints about other Scoundrels Up to No Good to one character while Mercenaries a Table Over might be arguing about Political Intrigue, and perhaps there could be a Commotion Outside involving guards responding to the kidnapping. Your players could be directed towards a Reward for Rescuing the Princess by responding to any of these Hooks. If the players aren't responding, and you had a Second Plot, you could use some other prepared options, like a Mysterious Object dropped by the Flirty Bar Wench, or found after the Commotion Outside, to point them to the Second Plot.

However, if the Flirty Bar Maid told the characters they should go Rescue the Princess directly, and the Mercenaries a Table Over take exception to the characters declining to Rescue the Princess, leading to a fight, only for the characters to be pressed into Rescuing the Princess by the guards outside, that would definitely be Railroading.

Players need some level of choice and agency, and the key to avoiding Railroading is to either prepare enough Hooks and Plots that you can mix and match for them to choice from without straying from what you have to work with, or be a fast and fluid creator and make it up on the fly. You're going to have to improvise at some point as a GM, even with the most comprehensive decision tree ever made, Players will always find some alternate you hadn't planned for at some point.

>> No.55582557

>>55582535
Anything other than some random ass nowhere in a far corner of the map. (Phone typing issues)

>> No.55582583

>>55582539
>Players will always find some alternate you hadn't planned for at some point.
Which I fucking love, when it has anything to do with anything and isn't just "lol random" followed by "that was boring"

>> No.55582620

>>55582070
>forcing traits on your pcs
Telling them to have a connection is in no way shape or form forcing anything.
>a legit characters story reason to be in more or less the same town at more or less the same time?
So you're forcing me not only to be in a specific place, at a specific time, but I have to have a personal reason tied to your story?

>> No.55582623

>>55582539
I have no problem coming up with things, but everything I mention gets shit on by tg for Railroading. I haven't posted for a long time and maybe the meme or autists have changed because this is an actual decent discussion with good points eg >>55582273 which I did handwave and won't repeat

>> No.55582875

>>55582623

It's not just about coming up with things, it's about how they're linked together that makes the difference. If you're having trouble keeping the links organic and natural feeling, you might try an alternate approach, like having sessions more episodic. Shorter stories are easier to get the flow right, and easier to switch to a new story if the players don't bite the initial hook.

Also, particularly for longer campaigns, keep notes on what hooks they avoided, just to keep from accidentally presenting them again. They might not even lead to the same thing, but repeated hooks are a warning sign of Railroading and players will begin expecting to be Railroaded, and once they have that expectation, everything starts to look like a rail.

>> No.55583202

>>55582620
>So you're forcing me not only to be in a specific place, at a specific time, but I have to have a personal reason tied to your story?

no you give me as much or little backstory as you want, and then we try to come up with a related reason for you to be in [area of DM choice] somewhere between the extremes of I make it up because your backstory was "barbarian from the hills" and you didn't respond to any PMs to you wrote a 10 page treatise on your anime/furry/waifu's history and motivations and I simply go, "well can you give me a reason to be in or around [town of DM choice]? Incidentally, there is a [your character's fetish] there.

Noting that for 1000% of the time it's way, way closer the former in IRL games.

>> No.55583367

>>55582875
>If you're having trouble keeping the links organic and natural feeling

The problem is not that but there is only so much I can prepare. If I spend my time flushing out a whole section of the map with rough enough notes things can be consistent whatever they do or ask and they go to some random ass postage sized depopulated island in the opposite ass corner of the map which isn't even in the same climate zone, the characters have no in game knowledge of and not a god damned thing is fleshed out on the map (because you know I thought it would be good to have something where I could have a volcano, a deserted Island, tropical paradise full of fetishes oddly existing in the artic, or dildo shop depending on whatever the fuck they wind up wanting to do later in the game)

I realize it's a very specific scenerio but it actually happened, every time I've brought it up on tg before I've been accused of railroading and I just don't fucking understand why it's my fault as a DM when the players are being fucking assholes and ignoring not some of the plot hooks, not most of them, but not even bothering to look for them, read their own sotry, talk to a single fucking NPC anywhere or try at all but simply the second they have a ship sail for the ass end of the map for no fucking character reason.

I mean even if I'm the worst fucking DM ever and can't pull organic out of a whole foods shouldn't the players have some tiny bit of consideration for the game?

I just- this shit has really bothered me for years and it's my first time going back in the chair since this and I've only ever gotten shit on for talking about it before.

>> No.55584066

>>55583367

As I mentioned initially, at some point you have to be able to improvise. Yes, players are going to find that weird little island on a map and decide it's their destiny to go there. Move a Hook or three over there or adapt a Secondary Plot to use that unmapped island. Take them into your magical realm if you have to. The point of mapping out Hooks and Plots isn't to cover every possible thing, but to give you a frame work to work from, and an emergency ladder when they go off to something unexpected. You need to be flexible, or your Players are going to get you frustrated one way or another.
Perhaps your Players have a different story interest than you? Sometimes big campaigns just aren't what the Players are looking for, or they really want a different theme or feel from what the GM wants to tell. Sometimes that can be more frustrating than anything, and from personal experience, frustration makes it hard to adapt, hard to anticipate Player choices, and that will lead to Players getting frustrated. Perhaps before starting a campaign, try to get a feel for what your Players want to do. /tg/ can be a good resource, but unless your Players are all hear, the most important voices for your group aren't going to chime in, and a lot of ideas here look good until you actually try them and realize they just don't work.

>> No.55585454

>>55581013
>/tg/
There's your problem right there. Why the fuck are you listening to retards and autists?

>> No.55585544

>>55585454
Because nobody like orc grill poster ever chimed in with anything reasonable in all the times it's come up.

>>55584066
thanks btw, I am wanting to do all these things and tried in the past, but I think this time I was overthinking it trying to eliminate all of the "railroading" from the get instead of focusing on being flexible from the point where the party is more or less in the same area. and handwaving, have to remember to avoid that.

and yeah you nailed part of the problem, I had prepped for flexibility but in the moment couldn't grasp moving a subplot/hook or anything to that island because it was just so asinine I couldn't get over my frustration. and that was before a single plot hook had been laid out- kind of like making the perfect deck of many things and then having players go "card deck?" I leave it in the muck. Are there any +3 swords that have fire though? Because THAT would be cool!

In any case give me some major cross streets and city country so I can move there and join your games.

>> No.55585557

>>55585544
forgot pic

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