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Is railroading a symptom of design?

Started by Michael Pfaff, February 08, 2010, 09:44:10 AM

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David Berg

Hi Ron,

Is it GM Force if the players get tired of sending their characters somewhere other than where the GM had planned, because doing so always results in boredom?  Because that's the situation where I most often hear the term "railroad", and that's what Michael's initial post about D&D and challenges reminded me of.

here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development


Jumping in a little late to toss in my two cents....

I think that "railroading" is more a philosophy than a design element, although sometimes they go hand-in-hand. Certain types of adventures, such as tournament or convention games, tend to lead characters from point A to point B in a hurry since time is more limited. This isn't a function of game design, but it could be considered a function of scenario design.

For this very reason, I suspect that some games "play better" at game conventions than others do. For example, throwing together a quick D&D dungeon crawl plays well in 4 hours, but developing character motivation for a Sorcerer or Amber Diceless adventure is more problematic in that same 4-hour block. Not saying it can't be done, but some games fit well into tiny time blocks than do other RPGs.

Just my two cents.
Marv (Finarvyn)
Sorcerer * DFRPG * ADRP
I'm mosty responsible for S&W WhiteBox
OD&D Player since 1975