I don't understand how it is that people equate "railroading" or "illusion of choice" to "sin". It astounds me. If the players are aware and everybody in the group agrees to using these methods, then what is so wrong?
Also, I don't get how Matyr's example scenario is "railroading". Let's have a look at the bigger picture here:
There are 6 paths to choose from, all leading to different destinations. In 4 of them, the PCs encounter creatures, which appear in either path (the one the PCs choose, invariably), but not the others (the ones the PCs did not choose). I don't think it has been said, but I can safely assume that all four of those paths lead to different places. One might lead to a city, another to a forest, for example. It just so happens that no matter which one the players take, they will encounter creatures. Yet, in the end, it doesn't really matter.
What really matters is what the players did choose: the destination. The players didn't make their decision based on what they'd encounter. They said "We want to explore the forest!" or "We should check out the city, maybe buy some stuff!" The creature encounter is more or less filler (for lack of a better word), with a plot hook (which the players may choose to ignore), situated between places.
So we can then say that player agency was not removed simply because Matyr decided that an encounter would invariably happen at certain points; more often not, players don't get to choose when or if they encounter anything. He did present them with the choice of multiple destinations, which is something players can and should choose. What happens between those places is not up to them to decide. On top of that, he also lets the players choose how they approach the encounter, with the possibility of cleverly avoiding it. I have no idea how one could interpret this as "railroading".
Heck were it up to me, I might have put those velociraptors in every path. "What are velociraptors doing in a boat?" "Whoa, there's some mithral in this cave, but packs of velociraptors live here!" Both are potentially interesting starting points for adventures.
What would have constituted railroading? Well, if the players, before the game started, explicitly stated they didn't want to fight velociraptors, but Matyr had them fight some anyways, that would be railroading. If the players wanted to go into the cave, but Matyr flat out said "No, you must go to the forest!", that would be as well. I saw none of that. To be honest, I'm not entirely convinced he (or anybody so far, for that matter) is using the term "illusion of choice" in the proper context (no offence meant).
It seems to me like some people are taking offence to his style of play and trying to discredit it through association with something that has a negative connotation, by cherry-picking a specific instance and ignoring the bigger picture. Let's not forget that different playstyles cater to different players. There is no reasonable argument or debate to be had by continuing this line of thought; only emotions running wild and not thinking things through properly.
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Not all DM's are good at improvising and coming up with new encounters on the fly. It's a skill that needs to be learned, and more DM's need to try it.
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I think I notice a connecion between the people who use illusions or railroads and published adventures or organization play like LFR. I think this is because both of them provide the DM with the wrong kind of prep. This prep means the DMs must to railroad or use illusions. To stay on the prep, which is not good prep to begin.So my question for curious: Are you who likes railroads or illusion of choices introduced to DM-ing with publish adventures or also LFR? This is observation to understand better not accusation...
What I mean (damn english!) is LFR or publish adventures have a particular kind of prep that require you to use railroad and illusions a lot of the times. Obviously chaosfang you were expose to different game or way to prepare adventures. Some other people are not and so they use that model for their own preparations. So I wonder if these are connected. If you learn to DM with publish adventures or LFR or have no played any other way, maybe this makes people think that way is good. When the reality is you can run games with very little prep and also not a lot of experience in improvisation another way.
In my homebrew world that I have been running for a couple months now I have run to a small problem that I need advice on how to stop.The party, unknown to them, killed off a major part of the story I was constructing. Basically in some instances my party has out smarted me. They came across an old run down fort that a group of orcs was using as a staging ground. The group saw a horse tied up outside of the main gates. The cleric would not let them outright kill the horse. So the thief, who was a halfling, got under the horse and unbuckled the saddle before they went inside.After a clearing out the inner workings of the fort and chasing the "boss" outisde as he was fleeing. He fell off the horse and was knocked out. The party then killed him off. He was a level 6 half orc warrior, the party was at the time level 1, almost level 2.So I reworte a few things in my story, it is an odd complicated story. Basically a lich is tricking the orcs into going to war with the elves. The lich just wants a select few elves dead as they were the ones that killed him when he was alive. But over time he has grown to hate all elves. That is the short version.Anyways, I decided to show a little more of my hand, and had a Death Knight attack a cleric that the party was guarding on his way back to the capital city. The party ignored the skeletons and undead troll the Death Knight had with him, and went right at the knight. Thankfully none of them hit him so he basically ignored them as he pushed forward towards the cleric.So what would be a good way to discourage these player from attacking people and things they has no business in doing so without out right telling them, you can't kill him, you should run in terror ... or at most try and talk to him.
Okay, so chaosfang first ran LFR. Spaceinvader say it is railroads too. Matyr? Nerradetrok? Did you learn to DM with publish adventures or LFR too?
Were you expose to other methods or games before you decide there was a better way?I want to know if the people who like illusions and railroads have only learned to DM from LFR or published mod.
I don't understand how this is supposed to be relevant, to be honest.
And I really don't dig the comment about there being a "better way than illusions and railroads". The better way is whichever one works best for you and your group, be it railroading or sandbox, or anything in between. And even then, a group may shift between styles during a campaign.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />And there's the problem with Yagamifire... no alcohol. Just kidding. Yagami, you've got some good advice on campaign building. I used to think you just trolled everyone, but I've seen that's not true. At this point, I'm reading through what you have to say and sifting out what I think it important from how you say it.
However I think a lot of this is intellectual argument, that doesn't always pan out in the real world. Sure, it'd be nice if every DM was able to come up with exciting challenges at the players' whims, but not everyone can do that and do it well. I also think players should have a fair amount of input in world-building, and DM's shoudl have some small control over a Character, with the understanding that neither party will intentionally screw over the other.
If Matyr and his group are having fun playing D&D, then that's great. Based on what I've read of a LOT of poster's games, I would not have fun playing in their worlds/games. When LunarSavage was still posting, there was NO way I would have played in one of his games, but it sure sounded like he and his players had a blast with it.
There isn't one right way to play D&D. There is a wrong way, and that's for DM's to lay out specific tracks and tell players this is what's going to happen today and I'll have my super-powerful DMPC save the day. I think we can all agree on that.
Not all DM's are good at improvising and coming up with new encounters on the fly. It's a skill that needs to be learned, and more DM's need to try it. I have a session tomorrow that I'm planning for. So far I have: they can continue in to the cave looking for the merchant that they were asked to find, or they can skip it and move on. I've got stuff in my head as to what will happen if they DO continue in the cave, and some alternate idea if they continue on. And I've got a basic monster template to try and make stuff up on the fly. I hope it's a fun day for the players.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />@YagamiFire - When I say the DM has some control over the character, I definitely do NOT advocate that a DM should ever say what a character does. Never the actions. What I mean is that the DM may insert some NPC with a connection to the PC's background, depending on what that background is. And it's always something that can be tossed aside if the PC doesn't want to use it. Usually things like old friends, relatives, etc. Someone the PC may have a strong feeling towards, but maybe not. If the PC doesn't care, then it's likely just a case of Mistaken Identity and we move on to something else.
What I'm seeing so far, with just a few sessions with this new game, is that the PC's don't seem to have any plans for what they want to do. They have some history of who the character was, and some idea of who they want the character to become, but nothing in the way of how the character changes, where they will go and what they will do to get there. So, I'm providing a little direction for them by having adventures/quests offered to them.