Blog Comments

  1. Major_Muffin's Avatar
    *Clap, Clap, Clap*

    That was a really inspiring speech. And it makes me feel really bad for all the times i have ever pirated. No jokes.
  2. Blynbradden's Avatar
    I agree. Just because something is "free" doesn't mean it doesn't have associated costs. I'm sure it could be worked out to reduce the cost of TTW. After all, do you really need all those archived posts? or how about the images in the PbP games being held in the server? Naw, who needs those. I know I really like to see pop up adds for Viagra and GEICO on every page I load.

    But seriously. If you have more than 10 posts under your belt you should probably be able to afford a single dollar. More than 100, dig a little deeper. What about 1000 posts, sheesh that's a slushfund's worth of peek-and-poke.

    I'm committing to the princely sum of $20, or what I spent last month on red box movies I forgot to return the next day.
  3. coboney's Avatar
    Personally I'm cutting my games budget in other stuff. I have one final thing I'm written for but after that I'm just ignoring new games for a good while so I could donate and help support the site. Its been a place for me for the last 3-4 years which I originally found for profiler purposes similarly to Teksura (though I was referred by an existing member by a chance meeting on openRPG) and then in April 2010 when the chat went up I joined in there and found out how much more there was to the site. Before that I had been a bit .... uhh... avoiditive of forums as I found them slow and often full of wastes of time people but Tangled We has really changed my view on that!
  4. Teksura's Avatar
    Someone pointed out to me that Vecna, being all about secrets, would never give a direct instruction to his followers to spread the word about anything. I thought I'd add my reasoning here as well.


    Vecna is crafty and tricky, and never actually revealed his true plan to the party. While the party believed that Vecna intended to return to the natural world to rule over it, Vecna only wanted them to think this. The whole "go spread the word" thing was supposed to be an obscure clue that something was up, but I don't recall if anyone figured it out or not. The one who survived (Party Ranger, Ignatian), was instead secretly marked by the cultists. Any soul whose life was ended by him would be sent straight to Vecna. What would he do with them? That would be telling. But you can be sure it would be something that would be bad all around.

    The goal in saying that was to rile up the survivor. At best, they would go on a crusade to strike down as many Vecna cultists as they can find after getting back. Assuming they are hindering the god's plans, but in actuality, they are playing right into his hands.
  5. Ao's Avatar
    This sounds awesome, I'ma give it a try some time this week!
  6. Darren's Avatar
    Right I'm going to ask everyone to calm down. Railroading is one of the hot topics that can tend to raise emotions of people (especially those who've had bad experiences with it in the past), but that is no reason we can't keep the discussion civil and without attacking the other person.

    Personally while I tend to side with Teksura on the fact that I'm happy to coerce (or more accurately provide hooks I'm nearly certain they'll take based on personality and character background), I can kind of understand Sefarian's point that a player might be annoyed if he realises that you've been leading him along by the nose in that way.

    Me, I wouldn't have a problem with it and neither do any of my players, but it is definitely possible that some people might have a problem with it, so being open, not with the plot itself obviously, but with how you run games for example that you will tailor hooks toward your characters and make them appealing to take up and follow can allow people a chance to decide whether they like that kind of game or not.

    Darren
  7. Teksura's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sefarian
    No, I'm pretty sure I know exactly what it means. I think you're the one who doesn't understand what it means. To railroad a group is to trick, coerce, or outright force them to do something they otherwise wouldn't do. The term actually originates as a form of slang related to rape. Learn your cultural expressions before you cast stones.
    You might want to learn those expressions yourself before you attack someone over them. And rape? Really? That's what you think it means to compare a game to a system of transportation which only goes along one set path? I think you might want to check your sources on that one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sefarian
    What you suggest in your post is far more flawed then being honest with your players with what type of game you're going to run and having everyone design their characters with that in mind. By building a pretense that everyone is aware of and agrees on before the game starts, you prevent railroading before it even happens, because the group not only sees accomplishing the plot as their goal IC, everyone knows to begin with OOC what the game is about and expects it to go in that direction.
    Lets ignore the proper definition of Railroading for a minute and go with the rape-definition you seem to have made up (I can't find anything anywhere to link Railroading to Rape, but I'll humor you.)

    You're telling me that you believe it is not a DMs job to use subtle acts to guide the plot along the way. You're suggesting that having a situation where the party is attacked by bandits, and one of them happens to be carrying an unholy symbol of a cult which is planning something nasty the party can stop, is clearly railroading in its worst form. By way of contrast, you're telling me that using your authority as DM to force a party along a path they know ahead of time without regard to individual wishes or desires is perfectly acceptable.

    You're speaking in such crazy absolutes, it is not possible to take you seriously. It looks like in your mind, the only 2 possible ways to DM are to tell the entire party what will happen (spoil the plot for them), or "trick" them into going along with what you have prepared by giving them good reasons to go that way. Now, obviously letting them make the choice to possibly find their long lost brother is railroading because they "would not otherwise choose" to find their long lost brother if the option did not exist.

    You're really something.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sefarian
    By contrast, you're being secretive, dishonest, and coercive with how you apply your suggestions. You tell them to make whatever characters they want, then you create a scenario in which they do what *you* want them to do from either coercion (Guilt Trip, Just kill them all), trickery (Backstory tie in, Just kill them all), or seduction (tick them off, just kill them all). That is definition of the term railroading. This kind of attitude is exactly why I've seen so many tabletop games online fail. People refuse to communicate with each other and just go off in different directions, end up on completely different wavelengths, people quit, and the game dies.
    The funny thing is, my most recent game started up because after a 3 year long weekly maptools game, real life constraints prevented more than 2 members of the party from continuing. It seemed like inviting new players into an existing level 16 party would not work well, so we put it on the shelf and may pick it back up if our lives ever align back up again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sefarian
    Furthermore, your interpretation of what I said is equally flawed to your concept of railroading. With your attitude, I'd expect you go to a game store, looking at a fantasy RPG, buy it, then go home and get upset when you can't play with spaceships. If you want to create a strictly plot driven game, make one, and don't be apologetic about it. If your players want to play sandbox, then don't go and make a plot driven game and expect them to want to play it. You're a DM, not a dictator.
    I wondered when the ad hominem would come out. Now that you find yourself unable to attack the argument, you instead attack the speaker.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sefarian
    A game that's exclusively based on doing what the PC's want to do all the time, every time is an incompatible concept with a game that's heavily based on an overarching plot. The sandbox PC driven game is a staple of the plot defined by the PCs -- they choose the events, and you adapt to them the best you can to keep *them* entertained. An overarching plot is the exact opposite. It *isn't* defined by the PCs, the PCs are defined by it. And thus the characters grow and adapt to it in different ways, much like the characters in a novel grow and adapt as the plot of their book goes on.
    The really adorable thing here is you are now forced to twist around things. While just a moment ago, you were arguing that the only 2 ways to DM were to spoil the plot or railroad it, you're now saying that the only way to run a game where you don't spoil the plot is to tell the players it's a sandbox game! Such a narrow minded point of view you have there. Naturally, the rest of us are fully aware that it is quite easy to have a game where you don't spoil the plot, and don't tell people they are playing in a sandbox. This is typically known as "the vast majority of games". How am I supposed to take you seriously when your entire argument depends on playing make-believe and pretending that the only way to run a game without laying down the entire plot to the party is to tell them it's a free-flowing sandbox? Did you ever consider that it is possible to do games just like pretty much everyone else does and just play them?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sefarian
    Imagine it this way. If you come to your players with the idea for a game of D&D that says, "You're farmers turned heroes stealing from the wealthy villain castle lord, and giving to the poor", an they agree to build characters for and play it, then you do your best to make sure the first part of the game cements that storyline as well as you can, odds are your players are going to want to keep playing that story to it's conclusion. In essence, you give them a path, then have it branch out based on *their* choices, so they can take it where they want it. *That* is how you make a story driven game. You do not open dozens of paths from the beginning to them, then use information or emotional manipulation to push them down one path specifically that they could have decided not to choose.
    You've pretty much said "you don't do this because I say so". However, you don't even once try to explain what is wrong with a DM taking part in the group story effort. You seem to see a DM as either the only storyteller (who must spoil the entire plot for the game ahead of time), or a guy with no control over anything who just rolls the dice for monsters. Have you considered that the DM is every much a part of the story-making process as the players? When making a story as a group- which is what you're doing when playing anything other than a dungeon crawl -everyone at the table needs to do their part to tell the story. It is the job of the DM to take what he knows about the party and present them with scenarios that guide them through the story. The DM must be aware of what his party is like, who the characters are, and what choices they might make. In this sense, a DM should know to avoid situations where a party full of Lawful Good characters needs to break into the records hall and steal forbidden documents in order to find the counter to the ritual contained within. In that case, another means of discovering the counter to the ritual must be made available, and it's hardly railroading just because you didn't tell people in the first session how they were going to find the counter to the ritual.

    As a DM, it's my job to drop the surprise twists and present options. If players can find another way, that's fine. You may not be comfortable with the idea of a player not knowing every detail about a game, but that's your style. And you have no need to attack others for not agreeing with you.
  8. Sefarian's Avatar
    No, I'm pretty sure I know exactly what it means. I think you're the one who doesn't understand what it means. To railroad a group is to trick, coerce, or outright force them to do something they otherwise wouldn't do. The term actually originates as a form of slang related to rape. Learn your cultural expressions before you cast stones.

    What you suggest in your post is far more flawed then being honest with your players with what type of game you're going to run and having everyone design their characters with that in mind. By building a pretense that everyone is aware of and agrees on before the game starts, you prevent railroading before it even happens, because the group not only sees accomplishing the plot as their goal IC, everyone knows to begin with OOC what the game is about and expects it to go in that direction.

    By contrast, you're being secretive, dishonest, and coercive with how you apply your suggestions. You tell them to make whatever characters they want, then you create a scenario in which they do what *you* want them to do from either coercion (Guilt Trip, Just kill them all), trickery (Backstory tie in, Just kill them all), or seduction (tick them off, just kill them all). That is definition of the term railroading. This kind of attitude is exactly why I've seen so many tabletop games online fail. People refuse to communicate with each other and just go off in different directions, end up on completely different wavelengths, people quit, and the game dies.

    Furthermore, your interpretation of what I said is equally flawed to your concept of railroading. With your attitude, I'd expect you go to a game store, looking at a fantasy RPG, buy it, then go home and get upset when you can't play with spaceships. If you want to create a strictly plot driven game, make one, and don't be apologetic about it. If your players want to play sandbox, then don't go and make a plot driven game and expect them to want to play it. You're a DM, not a dictator.

    A game that's exclusively based on doing what the PC's want to do all the time, every time is an incompatible concept with a game that's heavily based on an overarching plot. The sandbox PC driven game is a staple of the plot defined by the PCs -- they choose the events, and you adapt to them the best you can to keep *them* entertained. An overarching plot is the exact opposite. It *isn't* defined by the PCs, the PCs are defined by it. And thus the characters grow and adapt to it in different ways, much like the characters in a novel grow and adapt as the plot of their book goes on.

    Imagine it this way. If you come to your players with the idea for a game of D&D that says, "You're farmers turned heroes stealing from the wealthy villain castle lord, and giving to the poor", an they agree to build characters for and play it, then you do your best to make sure the first part of the game cements that storyline as well as you can, odds are your players are going to want to keep playing that story to it's conclusion. In essence, you give them a path, then have it branch out based on *their* choices, so they can take it where they want it. *That* is how you make a story driven game. You do not open dozens of paths from the beginning to them, then use information or emotional manipulation to push them down one path specifically that they could have decided not to choose.
  9. Teksura's Avatar
    It's hard to take you seriously when you outright say "Finding ways to make your players want to follow the plot is the exact same thing as forcing them to follow the plot when they don't want to." Your definition of railroading is flawed. Railroading is not defined as having a plot and giving the players a good reason to explore the plot. Railroading is defined as forcing the players down a path they specifically do not want to take.

    The alternative you suggest to avoid railroading is to start off in the first session with "Here is where you are, here is your objective wither you like it or not, and it's all cool and not railroading because I have some cool encounters and nifty challenges." I'm sorry, but I don't think railroading means what you think it means.
  10. Sefarian's Avatar
    Railroad

    1. V., to coerce, trick, or seduce others into a course of action that they would not otherwise choose. This includes, but is not limited to, specifically sexual situation
    --

    I totally get what you're saying, Tek, but the way you're presenting it here -- your options sound like just as much of a railroad as simply saying OOC "you're going to go do this because I said so,". Those are all not bad hooks for short term plots or side stories, but I've rarely seen them work for longer term campaigns that also feature engrossing stories.

    From my experience, if you're doing a very story driven campaign, the players need to have a firm understanding of where the plot is and what is going to happen in the immediate future right from session 1. Give them a setting, an objective to complete in said setting, some cool encounters, and nifty challenges to complete for the first few sessions, then let the paths open up for them to walk down once they've completed them.

    This not only lets you, the DM, figure out what direction your players will want to go, it gives you time to meld your plans to meet their own, and has the bonus of giving you some key events for establishing how the world's various factions will react to the players. You don't have to worry about railroading if the established point and goal of a campaign is set right from the get go, and it can allow your players tremendous freedom to accomplish it, if you sit back loose, and play the game from the other side of the screen in such a way that the player's choices, failures, and accomplishments dictate the road in which the journey drives down to it's destination.

    For truer sandbox games (I.E. there is no overarching established plot, and the PC's do what they like), you don't have this luxury. As a result, from what I've seen, the only successful sandbox games are usually at lower levels, and tend to be pretty much monster-of-the-week (or, in this case, dungeon-of-the-week). These kind of games can be extremely fun, but they're not the sort of games where you talk about an engrossing story. Those are the kind of games where you get together, throw dice, get half drunk, and laugh yourself silly for six hours. That being said though, there is a manner of merit in the success of these kind of laid back, little-to-no roleplaying, barely visible plot, social experience games. I've seen such campaigns last for years, and create a lot of memories for everyone who participated. And in the end, for some groups, these sort of games are *the* way to go.

    What it comes down to, in the end, is knowing what *you* want, and what your *friends* want. If you want a long term, story driven game with a massive plot and detailed RP, but your friends want monster of the week while getting drunk, odds are you're not getting a long term, story driven game. The same can be said for the patrons of this website. Don't be wishy washy about what you're looking for in a game. It might take a bit longer, but you wont regret it in the end.
  11. Ao's Avatar
    That's a pretty darned good idea you posted there Tek. For sme reason though, I kept getting this picture in my mind of a whole party of animal companions and familiars trotting off on a sidequest. It puts me in the mind of one of those old animal movies like Homeward Bound.

    I then imagined a party composed of a ranger, a druid, a mage, and a shifter or something getting together. Your idea has some great potential for a published adventure geared towards the naturalistic characters.

    I like it.
    Updated 10-09-2010 at 06:05 PM by Ao
  12. Aerthos's Avatar
    As Rodgin, really. Sounds like a TON of fun though, especially since from a PC perspective the chance to control what is normally a "monster" can be a fun way to mix things up.
  13. Rodgin Kemph's Avatar
    Excellent idea. I may have to adapt this some time.

    On that note, I think you hit the nail on the head. It went just a little too long.
  14. Ao's Avatar
    That was some epic shit... 5 Stars! I put it on the front page.
    Updated 07-28-2010 at 02:02 AM by Ao
  15. TheTallestDwarf's Avatar
    When it comes down to it, D&D becomes amazing when epic things are even tried. Whether using physics to crush skeletons, riding a blind dragon, or swimming in magma.

    Epic is as epic does, it is better to die in a blaze of glory than it is to die in a dull manner.

    Die trying.
  16. Gunder's Avatar
    ^Agreed.
  17. Aerthos's Avatar
    Ditto that. If you can get players to start thinking about crazy things. When they actually start trying them... then everyone is having a good time, no matter how it turns out.
  18. archmagi1's Avatar
    at the moment they even TRIED to tame the dragon. its always epic when the party wants to accomplish something so 'impossible' seeming. success or fail, they'll remember the event. the luck that he survived, makes it that much cooler.

    excellent story, and one of the best uses of a skill challenge i've seen.
  19. Teksura's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Count_Dreadstone
    Very sound advice. Do you have any for DM'g to an extremely unlucky party? Had an encounter in my first OpenRPG session where the party was throwing crap dice almost exclusively. They still won, so it worked out fun... but string two or three encounters like that together and OY!

    XD
    As a matter of fact, yes. This is where making your DM rolls in secret can pay off. If you think the players are being especially unlucky, there is nothing wrong with lying about the monster rolls, and giving the PCs a bit of a break. Maybe that Zombie only rolled a 5, rather than a 15.

    Also, as a DM, you can play the monsters recklessly. If the party is getting screwed by their die, rather than poor tactics, you can have the monsters play a little dumber. Have marked enemies ignore the defender, and set off the marks, trigger OAs. It is also good to have an enemy willing to ignore the fact that they are presently flanked, and not bother trying to get out of it.

    I prefer the latter. It is perfectly reasonable that is a monster group does not see the group as a severe threat (Say, the party seems unable to hit them) then the monsters don't need to play as defensive as they normally would. Doing this grants the PCs extra attacks, which can help a significant amount. Plus, drawn out encounters where nobody hits anything are boring.
  20. Count_Dreadstone's Avatar
    Very sound advice. Do you have any for DM'g to an extremely unlucky party? Had an encounter in my first OpenRPG session where the party was throwing crap dice almost exclusively. They still won, so it worked out fun... but string two or three encounters like that together and OY!

    XD
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