Monday, November 23, 2009

Railroading in rpgs

So my players recently acquired the macguffin they needed, only to have it snatched from their hands. Stepping outside they were confronted with a force they could not defeat, and were tied up and their object stolen. Now the question is, was this railroading?

I suspect some of my players might argue that it was, but I disagree. First of all, there were very good reasons for the people to be there (that my players are currently unaware of)- they didn't magically appear, although it did seem like they did. Second of all, the players weren't actually forced to do something. There were several ways they could react. I admit, I wanted them to react by giving up the macguffin, as it leads to a fun little arc that'll tie us up for christmas, but if they hadn't, they might have escaped. They didn't try in the end, and it would have taken some ingenuity, but I probably would have allowed it. (if they had done so I probably would end the session to plot out how that might go instead, as we were near the end anywhere). They also had the option of charging into a fight. I had made it very clear that the odds were unbeatable, but one of the advantages of WFRP is that if the players do do something quite so stupid, you can just deduct a fate point each and keep on playing, while in other systems the mechanic isn't quite there.

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At 10:00 pm, Blogger Nicholas said...

Yeah, the problem with that kind of situation is it's hard to tell from a player's perspective if the incident is just supposed to happen, and any attempt to deviate would meet with very harsh punishment. Still, if it advances the story it can be forgiven

At 9:58 am, Blogger Mr K said...

Mmm, I suppose so. I have no great issue with players deviating from my plans (well, provided they do sane things), but I imagine its not that obvious when theres a bunch of people pointing crossbows at you. Admittedly there weren't a terrific amount of options there....


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