Questions tagged [railroading]

For questions about running games (or elements thereof) with pre-determined outcomes, including how to avoid its negative implications and how to do it well.

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18
votes
12answers
8k views

How to set up a “Forced choice” for players in a game?

I have come up with a plot twist to create a "wrong person, wrong place, wrong time" situation. That part is important, and I don't want to change it. However this obviously causes a potential ...
17
votes
2answers
449 views

How do I encourage my GM to relax her grip on the story and let the players have some free will?

I've been playing a number of different games with the same core group of friends for years now. We meet once a week with the occasional exception. For the last few months, one of our players has ...
3
votes
0answers
255 views

How to deal with DM that railroads you, and then says you skipped things? [closed]

Mid-campaign we approached a building, and then the DM railroaded us into a certain side room, says that we barged in, and the guards in the room shouted to a different room for backup. The DM then ...
7
votes
0answers
108 views

How to deal with a DM who pointedly ignores important details? [duplicate]

The campaign was intended to be difficult. We knew and accepted that up front, and it sounded like a fun challenge. But we never knew until we were already a fair ways into it how much of the ...
8
votes
3answers
228 views

One shot - how important is a happy ending? [closed]

I’m drafting a one-shot D&D/Pathfinder concept and the more time I spend writing it, the more I feel like the prospect of a downer ending is inevitable. The story concept revolves around someone ...
9
votes
4answers
620 views

How can I avoid “railroading” my players by giving them a limited set of choices with only basic descriptions?

I play Dungeons and Dragons 5e. I have a habit of highlighting certain choices, without realizing I'm doing it, because what I feel like I'm doing, is telling not showing. I have a problem with my ...
24
votes
9answers
4k views

How can I avoid railroading in a sci-fi campaign?

I run a fantasy campaign and a sci-fi campaign. I always find it much easier to create interesting content in the fantasy world than the sci-fi world. In fantasy, for instance, a dungeon can be many ...
22
votes
5answers
3k views

How do I keep a published adventure playthrough “on rails” without removing player agency? [duplicate]

Split from: How do I deal with players who make friends with goblins? I want to run a campaign "from the book" for a group of new players (played RPGs before, but stuff much much lighter then D&D,...
8
votes
1answer
877 views

How can I make a linear adventure feel like it's not linear? [closed]

I have been recently delving into D&D 5e and I decided to start GMing. So despite the bad criticism, I picked the two books of “Hoard of the Dragon Queen” since I wanted to see for myself what a ...
3
votes
1answer
497 views

Being Railroaded (Advice)

So, I'm in a Pathfinder campaign with my friends. However, some of us are not enjoying the campaign. This is mostly in part by the lack of player agency. The world is well developed but we're left the ...
10
votes
6answers
1k views

How to subtly railroad players to go in a certain direction?

Now I know that railroading is one of the cardinal sins of DM-ing, along with hard rules changes to fit your needs, and sloppily homebrewing every other custom rule. However, right now I feel like my ...
73
votes
7answers
11k views

Our GM won't let us affect the story; the more I play the less fun I have. What do I do?

I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice or anything on a GM situation. My current GM is running a campaign and it is very video game/anime like. It started out super fun and the deeper ...
3
votes
4answers
340 views

What can I do to give the players more freedom? [closed]

I'm a newish DM playing a fantasy RPG similar do D&D but a lot simpler, either way, it won't matter that much. I'm not very good at improvising yet and if i do it too much it may become a mess ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

My DM is hardcore railroading us - dropping excessive amounts of hints, regardless of our response

We are playing a D&D 5e game, and our DM is constantly dropping the same hints, and re-iterating the same details over and over again, to try and get us to go where he wants. I've played enough ...
31
votes
8answers
4k views

Can lack of planning railroad players?

There's plenty of questions on here about how to, as a GM, prepare less for sessions and learn to go with the flow your players create rather than railroading them into your plans. I'm interested in ...
2
votes
2answers
457 views

How much should I limit a plot-driving GM 'avatar'?

I am GM for a group of (mostly) new Pathfinder players who are extremely off-the-rails in their approach. This is fun, but made it nearly impossible to prepare for a session — they are as likely to ...
19
votes
13answers
8k views

How do I respond when players stray from my prepared material?

As a new DM I have had the problem of my players straying way off course to the point where it was not a easy fix problem that where I slowly can guide them back to the objective. An example of this ...
28
votes
3answers
9k views

How to deal with a DM who controls us with powerful NPCs?

I'm currently in a campaign run by a friend, and so far, I'm having a great time. However, he does do one thing that has been irritating to me, he makes all of the important allied NPCs far more ...
18
votes
8answers
5k views

As DM, how do you advise against a course of action without speaking out of character?

I have just experienced my first D&D game, and I was thinking about creating my own world to DM a campaign in. I'm trying to learn and research as much as possible for this. One thing is that, ...
28
votes
6answers
7k views

How to get players to do something without them feeling railroaded?

I'm DM'ing a play-by-post campaign and I'm at a point in the adventure where the group all meets for the first time. They've all had something stolen from them at the same time and saw a creature that ...
13
votes
4answers
11k views

How to effectively (pre)build encounters for a 'Sandbox' Setting

I have a dilemma for my user created (original) High Fantasy setting. I have every zone, NPC, region and it's potential creatures all designed and solid. It's been a long running RP over Forums for ...
49
votes
5answers
9k views

Why wouldn’t I just run away from the eldritch horror?

I am struggling with character motivations in Call of Cthulhu or similarly investigative horror settings. For some reason I seem to have issues imagining the reasoning behind characters who really ...
31
votes
5answers
5k views

How do I prevent my players from hopping on a railroad when I'm not railroading?

All my previous GMing experience is with tightly-plotted railroads, and my players are used to (and generally happy with) riding the rails. Right now I'm setting up a sandbox campaign to break out of ...
16
votes
5answers
3k views

How do I avoid railroading in dungeons?

Well, I'm a very big fan of 4E's character creation system and also its combat, but a problem I've found is that exploration seems pointless in this edition and everything's built around combat (...
26
votes
5answers
2k views

How to present players with options without railroading them?

We're playing Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition. I'm a new GM, mastering a party of mostly new players. I take campaign design rather seriously, and I hate railroading. I love coming up with crafty ...
28
votes
7answers
8k views

How do you deal with a DM who says “no” to everything?

I am in a campaign with several players who also DM, on a rotating schedule. One DM in particular has a control issue, in my opinion. He tends to say "no" to just about any action the PC wants to ...
20
votes
10answers
2k views

How to determine how much plot guidance is too much? [closed]

I've played in many games that were extremely railroaded. There was basically only one feasible course of action and we, as players, were expected to take that route. (The GM would get very upset if ...
31
votes
9answers
1k views

How do I help create story around the table without writing it?

I love RPGs. I think they can create some of the most fun and enjoyable stories, both from an out-of-game and in-game standpoint. I also realize that "story" is the result of the game played by the ...
6
votes
4answers
638 views

How to avoid the feeling of railroading in my campaign pregame?

This question is related to my other question. Please see that one for campaign background, rather than me repeating it all here. I don't want the players to feel "trapped" and forced into a "tunnel",...
37
votes
12answers
2k views

How do I allow player agency in situations with predetermined outcomes?

One of the current members of our group joined a little later than everyone else. His character's history wasn't developed too well, so I am running a one-off session so that the group can play out ...
58
votes
9answers
26k views

What is 'railroading', and what are its pros and cons?

What does the term 'railroading' mean? When some people use the term it seems to be considered to be something negative. Is it purely negative or does it have pros and cons, and if so, what are they?...