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AstralFire
2009-06-19, 11:41 PM
On account of the railroading.

- Three minutes in. Haven't met last party member yet. THE IMPERIALS FIND US.
- Weird talking NPC leads us to safety, Imperials proceed to brutally Force Slam him and block everything we do. NPC lives!
- NPC takes us on a crazycabdriver speeder ride across Alderaan, which starts dragging on for about 30 minutes. DM is clearly enthused about this part.
- We finally get to the NPC's boss and the last party member.
- DM asks to 'skip the boring introduction and meeting stuff.'
- When we insist we want to roleplay it out...
- NPC's boss manages to either be immune to, or subtly dodge all of my Persuade, Perception and Mind Trick.
- We go on mission to rescue vehicle from impound. It seems that we can't actually disable the security droid in the impound, just turn them on the sleeping guards. That's fine.
- ...But we begin figuring out alternatives. Send the droid far away, use lightsabers to cut through the door. Set the droid to attack, but have it blare a warning way in advance.
- All of a sudden, the crazy dumb Rodian who talks like Jar Jar is a brilliant slicer who forces the droid to attack. I Mind Trick him with a natural 19 and a +9. He's actually immune to Mind Trick and is suddenly very smart. (Nevermind that I mind tricked him into letting another party member drive with a roll of 4 when we were tired of smashing into fruit stands.)
- The other Jedi in the party goes ahead to save the NPCs. DM actually stops the game and asks "what the hell are you doing?" I DON'T KNOW. SHE'S A JEDI. YOU JUST HAD A WARDROID ATTACK SIX SLEEPING PEOPLE ON THE ALDERAAN POLICE FORCE. What do you THINK she's doing?

Surrealistik
2009-06-19, 11:45 PM
That's hilarious. Do play on, if only so you can post more of this comedic gold from your experiences.

Froogleyboy
2009-06-19, 11:45 PM
Whoa, that goes beyond railroading. It's more like, Youre just listening to the DM talk about a good story.

Surrealistik
2009-06-19, 11:46 PM
Whoa, that goes beyond railroading. It's more like, Youre just listening to the DM talk about a good story.

Lol, given the content of the original post, that's a pretty liberal and strange definition of the word "good".

Chineselegolas
2009-06-19, 11:49 PM
Ouch.
Umm... Bring popcorn to the next session and sit back and watch maybe.

Zeta Kai
2009-06-19, 11:53 PM
Your DM clearly has a very specific plot in mind, & doesn't have alternatives planned. The DM also isn't very good at guessing what you guys are gonna do next, or didn't factor that into their awesome-plot. Either way, the DM's play deserve to be sabotaged. I would murder the first important NPC that you can find. Be they a lowly messenger with vital information or a wealthy noble who wants to give you a job, kill them before they canhand you the next plot coupon against your will.

I don't say this to be cruel or combative. But a good DM should never let their players see that they are being railroaded. A good DM leads with a subtle hand, & should be shamed for being blatant or unsophisticated.

TSED
2009-06-19, 11:53 PM
That's hilarious. Do play on, if only so you can post more of this comedic gold from your experiences.

I fully endorse this course of action.

d13
2009-06-19, 11:55 PM
Ouch.
Umm... Bring popcorn to the next session and sit back and watch maybe.

ACTUALLY bring popcorn and sit back, and only act when asked to, to see if the DM gets it xD

AstralFire
2009-06-20, 12:00 AM
He also tried to stuff 12 players into one game.

Oh, and he asked me to play a pregnant character. I thought he was joking, but I did it because I actually came up with some really fun concepts - like she was essentially force dead (sent to AgriCorps) with very little talent until she grew up and got pregnant and the baby's force sensitive... and she draws on the dark side in furious Momma Bear wrath due to hormones. It's a little bit weird, but I'm enjoying it, a lot.

It turns out he asked every single person playing in that group to play a pregnant woman. Even the people planning on men. Turns out he asked the same of his D&D group's women.

I'm afraid I won't be able to comply with the requests for popcorn - the other players and I got along great, we have amazing chemistry. We're packing up our character sheets and either finding another DM or one of us is DMPCing it. 'cuz that session was REALLY fun except when the DM spoke up.

Coidzor
2009-06-20, 12:03 AM
Wow. How long did this session run where you were forced to listen to an FMV?

...... ... ...

That's disturbing that he has such a fetish for pregnant women...

FoE
2009-06-20, 12:04 AM
Impressive. Most impressive.

The DM has railroaded you well. You have controlled your impatience. Now, release your anger! Only by finding another game can you destroy this campaign.

AstralFire
2009-06-20, 12:04 AM
I think it went about 2.5 hours until Jar-Jar the Rodian suddenly took a few points in Badass spontaneously and our private messages to each other consisted of:

Player 4: ...
Player 2: ...
Player 3: ...
Player 1: ...

Coidzor
2009-06-20, 12:06 AM
I think it went about 2.5 hours until Jar-Jar the Rodian suddenly took a few points in Badass spontaneously and our private messages to each other consisted of:

Player 4: ...
Player 2: ...
Player 3: ...
Player 1: ...

So this was in a PbP game? ... ... Weird.

erikun
2009-06-20, 12:09 AM
Star Wars, I'm guessing? Sounds like time to pick up your group and move elsewhere, possibly even asking one of them to GM.

The pregnant thing is kind of creepy, too. :smallannoyed:

AstralFire
2009-06-20, 12:12 AM
So this was in a PbP game? ... ... Weird.

Instant Messenger game.

I'm going to go shower now. I need to cleanse myself. *shudder*

d13
2009-06-20, 12:12 AM
I'm afraid I won't be able to comply with the requests for popcorn - the other players and I got along great, we have amazing chemistry. We're packing up our character sheets and either finding another DM or one of us is DMPCing it. 'cuz that session was REALLY fun except when the DM spoke up.

Then get some popcorn and eat it instead of random snacks?

You get to share it with your mates, and so! xDDD

TheThan
2009-06-20, 12:40 AM
It’d be great if you all brought popcorn, but seeing as this is a IM game. It looks like that’s not an option. I agree his fetish for pregnant women is creepy. Also he’s not a very good railroader, I mean Vader never showed up… seriously though if you wanna throw a shoe in his cogs its not that hard. All you have to do is wander down the first dark alley you find, and totally ignore everything else that seems to be happening. It really is like watching a train wreck, its horrible but so fascinating you can’t look away.

Ganurath
2009-06-20, 12:43 AM
Kill the Rodian.

Worira
2009-06-20, 12:46 AM
Ah, but he's a Magic Ninja Rodian.

Zeful
2009-06-20, 12:47 AM
Your DM clearly has a very specific plot in mind, & doesn't have alternatives planned. The DM also isn't very good at guessing what you guys are gonna do next, or didn't factor that into their awesome-plot. Either way, the DM's play deserve to be sabotaged. I would murder the first important NPC that you can find. Be they a lowly messenger with vital information or a wealthy noble who wants to give you a job, kill them before they canhand you the next plot coupon against your will.

I don't say this to be cruel or combative. But a good DM should never let their players see that they are being railroaded. A good DM leads with a subtle hand, & should be shamed for being blatant or unsophisticated.

Except if the DMs railroading badly, like this one is, people you aren't supposed to attack will be invicible.

AstralFire
2009-06-20, 12:49 AM
I was strongly considering having my character blast him in the face with lightning, but she was busy going after the other Jedi to make sure she wouldn't, y'know, die.

Was planning on blasting him in the face with lightning anyway after I pulled my friend out of the mess, but then he went 'Immune' on us. Something tells me he'd survive the Force Lightning. Didn't matter. That was the point at which we all started making excuses to leave.

Ganurath
2009-06-20, 12:49 AM
Ah, but he's a Magic Ninja Rodian.It's the effort that counts, in this case. How can the DM respond?

TSED
2009-06-20, 12:57 AM
I was strongly considering having my character blast him in the face with lightning, but she was busy going after the other Jedi to make sure she wouldn't, y'know, die.

Was planning on blasting him in the face with lightning anyway after I pulled my friend out of the mess, but then he went 'Immune' on us. Something tells me he'd survive the Force Lightning. Didn't matter. That was the point at which we all started making excuses to leave.

Conspire with your co-players to all surround, flank, and ready actions to attack the magic ninja rodian at the same time.

12 players, right? You will probably get a crit somewhere.

Worira
2009-06-20, 12:59 AM
Forget attacking him. Surround him, then hoist him into the air and carry him off.

Gadora
2009-06-20, 01:26 AM
Well, if it weren't for the fact that you've already said the group is leaving the GM, I'd suggest playing on, but conspiring with the other players to have one PC suicide any time it looks like the GM is railroading. That would either completely wreck the tracks, or make the game so ridiculously silly that it might actually be interesting.

MCerberus
2009-06-20, 01:44 AM
..whew... That's more like railgunning. I'd personally bring out my favorite bard trick: ask for a roll for EVERYTHING. Every round is perception check. I'm not that knowledgeable in any Star Wars RPGs, but there's got to be something similar to knowledge checks.

Uin
2009-06-20, 03:48 AM
Thats a shame Astral, since the boards all helped with the character. I am a railroad DM, I'm too much of a nub to run something openworld stylee (I run games in a community so I'm never guaranteed the players to do something plotless anyway), but I do let players at least try to use any of their abilities to resolve any given situation in different ways.

Dagren
2009-06-20, 04:21 AM
If he tries it again, make *choo-choo!* noises? :smallbiggrin:

Fitz10019
2009-06-20, 04:38 AM
The DM needs the feedback that he is railroading. Maybe he has no idea that is a bad thing to do, and no appreciation of how boring it is for players. The "Choo-Choo" approach is fine, if you want to broach the topic with a bit of humor.

J.Gellert
2009-06-20, 04:54 AM
Huh, weird. That sounds like my old DM. Except for the pregnancy part. That's.... creepy.

Josh the Aspie
2009-06-20, 05:55 AM
This... actually sounds like an experience I had with another DM when he and his then-girlfriend (now wife, who also happens to be my sister-in law) decided to take turns running sessions in different nations, with a giant wilderness between them, and we keep bouncing back and forth, with a WHOLE lot of mood whiplash. One area was 'heroic king dirrects all actions' where we were expected to basically be good little soldiers for a mercenary's guild and act like well-drilled and very loyal soldiers, while in the other it was intended to have large amounts of political intrigue, and have slow-reveal of the rail-roaded plot.

Yep, not only were they bouncing us back and forth between the cities, railroaded by convention, with no explination, but much of each session was railroading internally.

Also, the main DM wound up specifically ruling that all necromancy is Evil, which deep-6ed a huge portion of the character and plot development of the other DM.

Further problems? The necromancy campaign wound up basically revolving around splits in the royal family that that DM PC was involved in, family wise. And the military campaigns? We were basically railroaded into specific choices and FEELINGS.

We went up against a bunch of mercenaries, were doing well against them, but they wound up suing for a truce... and the DM wound up pushing us to at least talk with them... and of course when the terms of the truce went better for them than us, and we had -previously- had the advantage... and we had to cede some of that advantage to negotiate... he had also told us that it was pretty obvious that if we didn't work out some kind of peace deal, they'd mop the floor with us... even though we had been winning, I got the feeling that if we -did- take the mercenary group on, he'd have upped their power level. And he also told us that it was obvious these were honroable people we felt would honor the truce, and that it would be a good idea to do this.

Another combat? He threw about 3x our numbers of advanced orcs at us. Pathetic strength really, but huge numbers that caused combat to drag on... and he mandated that despite the fact that I was high up due to being an Elocator, had clear sight, and had a COMPOSITE LONBOW out, that the orc that broke formation and ran HAD to escape 'for the plot to work'. There couldn't have been one of their number that had been off in the distance watching the combat (drummer, child there only as part of a coming of age ritual, anything) ... though that would still have been horrid... no, one that had been in the combat HAD to escape, no matter what we did.

Another combat encounter: Kython. Loads of them. Overwhelming forces. He PLANNED for them to be able to kill all of us off... and yet, as they were advancing, despite some of our worries, we still managed to take huge numbers of them out, and thin them down considerably. We may well have been able to win on our own... until he threw -another- wave of them at us, just to have them be blown up by the dwarven / gnomish artillary squads to popped out of no-where to 'save our sorry rear ends' (paraphrasing). Ug. And while they were 'impressed with our skill, to some degree' they also only showed it in a patronizing way. He did this 'in order to give us contacts, for later'.

Hell, had they shown up part way through, and had we worked together, side by side, any bonds with said 'contacts' would have been stronger, and I would have been far more okay with the whole thing. As it was? A group of mid-to high level PCs required bailing out, or bowing to 'awesomeness' of a group of the DM's favored NPC's multiple times.

Oh, and how did we originally enter the campaign? Bar brawl. (I wound up ducking under the table, striking out from under it, and also tossing chair legs to other PCs. Heh. I was a halfling. Then the guards came in, broke it all up. We were then invited to join the local mercenary's guild. I shrugged a bit. It wasn't my thing, but I was looking for money, and other folks that I had struck up a conversation with and who had been with me in a fun fight were joining, might as well show up and listen to the pitch. If nothing else, should be good for a good laugh. Well, I was right about the second bit.

The guild as a whole was described, and... well... seemed very... regimental military to me. We'd be paid a bit just for joining up in the first place, and if it turned out lame and absurd, I figured I could just bail, since there would be no long term contract... so I was still at least skeptically willing to give it a try, until...


(him) "so just put a gold piece into this hat, you'll get your badge, then you can go down to the quarter master, and he'll give you ten gold."

(me) "So... why not give me the badge, and I'll pick up 9 gold?" "No, you need to put a gold coin in first."

(him) "Why not let me pick up 10 gold from the quarter master, and put 1 in?" "What garuntee do we have you'll put your gold in?"

(me) "What garuntee do I have you'll give me my 10 gold?"

(him) "My word." The DM said in a deep, intone filled voice.

(me) "Not good enough." I said.

(DM) ".... what? Er... do you want a... sense motive check or something?"

(me) "No, just that his word isn't good enough for me."

(DM) "Er... he seems completely honest and serious."

(me) "Of course he is. He's running a scam. They always do."

(DM) "It's not a scam"

(me) "Then it's a piece of beurocracy so idiotic that it shakes my foundation that this guild is going to do anything but get my character killed. I don't pay people to let me work for them, I've avoided those scams in real life, and this character has high enough wisdom and intelligence scores not to fall for it either."

(DM) "It's not a scam."

(Me) "Then they are fools. And unless they are monumental fools, should be willing to have a functionally equivalent exchange occur that takes no more than a minute or two to settle."

(DM) "Look, it's a magical effect. For the badge to be keyed to you, you have to put your own gold piece in with the intend of joining the guild."

(Me) .... .oO(That just makes it WORSE) "You're... serious?"

(DM) "Yes, completely."

(Other PC) "Here, I'll pay for him, I know he'll pay me back." *Drops in a gold coin*

(DM) "Nothing happens. HE has to put it in."

(Me) "... I take the gold piece out, look to her and say... 'If this is a scam, you don't get paid back. You know that, right?'"

(Her) "That's perfectly fine."

(Me) "Fine. I say in character. 'This is idiotic, and I WILL leave if this is the typical kind of beaurocracy you have going here. This is NOT my gold piece, it is hers.' and then drop it in, while glaring at the guy in charge."

(DM) "A badge forms, all fine and dandy."

(me) "Hrmph."

AstralFire
2009-06-20, 06:43 AM
I'm getting a very strong feeling of 'random BS he made up and got backed into a corner trying to rationalize' from that last bit. XP Wow, that's pretty bad.

Narmoth
2009-06-20, 07:10 AM
Well, dm-ing is a hard job. I remember when I baced half of the encounters (car chase) on the npcs in the car being chased throwing molotov coctails on the pursuing pcs in a jet driven car. Of course, the jet pulled the molotov coctails straight through the engine without dmg, and the encounter was ruined.
My point: if you're a dm, be prepared that your fancy story will change drastically. If you don't want that, write a book or something

Josh the Aspie
2009-06-20, 07:26 AM
That's part of the feeling I got from it too. No one else noticed this, or they just passed over it, and accepted the stupidity... but I've read about those sales companies that try to get you to buy the samples to use as an example sale set... and I had, less than a month ago, wasted 2 hours of my life on a sales pitch from a financial company trying to convince us to PAY them up front to let them start an application process for a government license I'd never heard of before (Pay $100 up front, get paid $500 in your first few weeks of training). We were then told we'd be working to give advice to their customers for free, and then get paid a nominal reward IF they actually decided to buy service packages with their company... so I was rather sensitive about JUST how scammy this was.

As for the campaign I almost actually pulled out a Star Wars line, while looking at the badge. "I have a bad feeling about this."

Really, if he was a more sophisticated DM, I would have expected the mercenary guild to be an evil organization trying to bind people to some sort of Eldrich magic, and bind us or steal something from us with the act of us dropping the gold in the hat, or at least keep tabs on all the adventurers in the area, with badges that include arcane eyes for the wizard that created the hat.

Oh, and that's not the worse instance either.


Eventually, we were told that there was a threat to the forest in the area. Okay... if people leave, they're fine. Who cares about a stupid forest? I'm from a desert ravine. Oh, right, the ONLY character in the group my character likes, is a druid. This is the one that put in the gold coin for me, and who has been giving me a challenge to cook gold-based food for her psudo-dragon familiar which insists on eating gold (best RP in the whole campaign, which often got shut down by the DM as being suppurfous and stupid). Okay, because -she- cares, I care... somewhat.

So we follow the trail, and wind up going to some sort of trader station, or in, or hunting cabin, in the middle of no-where, ask for the druid we were asked to meet, explain why we're there... and are asked why we should trust him.

(Others) *Try to come up with reasons*

(me) "Trust us or not, your call. We're here because someone said you wanted our help. You don't want it? Fine. I'm happy to go find something better to do."

(DM) *glare* (as ranger) "You are... disrespectful."

(Me) "And you've earned my respect... how? You're asking why you should trust us, and yet also demand we trust and respect you without any reason."

Later, the druid comes out, and basically starts talking about how, before he will LET us help, we have to earn his trust.

(Me) "Er... no thanks, I'd rather go do something else"

(Druid PC) "But... the forest. We can't abandon it."

(Me) "Look, if this guy wants our help, fine. I'll help because you want too. If he's going to make us jump through hoops so that -we- can help -him-, then he obviously doesn't want it, and any fate that befalls the forest is -his- dumb fault. What happens if we're too late to help the forest because -he- had us running around doing stupid errands not related to helping the forest?"

(Druid PC) *Blinkity blink, actually begins to think about this*

(DM) *glouring, as druid* "Silence! How dare you speak to me in such a way!?!" (as ranger) "Don't you know who this is?"

(Me) "The great white idiot of the forest? A bearded jerk who doesn't actually care about the forest he says we're trying to protect? Someone with delusions of mysterious grandeur?"

(DM) "HOW DARE YOU?!? You impudent little fool! Don't you know what's at stake here?"

(Me) "No, and I don't particularly care any more, with the way you've been treating us. We're not your lackies you big dumb-ass, and we don't have to take any of this from you!"

(DM) "He casts silence on you."

(Me) "Huh. No initiative roll?"

(DM) "Nope."

(Me) "That's a will saving throw, right?"

(DM) "No saving throw, he doesn't have too."

(Me) "Oh, then that means it's centered on a point in space, not me. I'll just float up and out of it."

(DM) "Nope. It's on YOU, and follows you."

(Me) "I... see. In that case, I just keep going up, and fly off. I'll wait until the party is done with this particular adventure."

(DM) "Oh come on, don't be a jack ass!"

(Me) "... Look, I have absolutely ZERO reason to stick around, in character, and this is painful out of character."

(DM) "What about the forest!?!"

(Me) "Um... it can burn? Maybe become a nice grassland in under a year?"

(DM) "Oh come on, you're just being a jerk now."

(Me) "Look, it makes no sense for my charcter to stick around, at all."

(Druid PC) "What about your friends? We might need your help."

(Me) *deep sigh* "Fine. I -don't- fly away. I'll come back down after a little while to cool off."

(DM) (As druid) "Now, as I was saying, before I was interrupted by your rude and disrespectful little friend."

(me) "I'm doing THIS in character." *holds up middle finger, silently, with a glare.*

(DM) "He ignores you."

(Me) "He does, huh?"

(DM) "Yes." (As druid) "Now, as I was saying, before I was interrupted by your rude, foul little thing."

(Me) "I moon the Druid."

(entire table) *Stares*

(DM) "... what?"

(Me) "No one can hear me, he's ignoring the finger, so I will place my hairy little but, nude, about 10 feet directly in front of his face."

(DM) "The ranger shoots you."

(Me) "... No initiative or attack roll, huh?"

(DM) "No."

(Me) "It hit?"

(DM) "Yes."

(Me) "Right. I still up?"

(DM) "Yes."

(ME) "I draw on, and attack the druid, in melee range."

(DM) "WHAT?"

(Me) "He attacked me. Combat has begun. Roll for initiative."

(DM) "He's a high level druid. He'll slaughter you!"

(me) "Depends on if the others back me up or not."

(DM) "Look. No, just no. You can't DO that. I don't even have any stats for them!"

(Me) "Right. Fine. Second option. I'm gone, out of the campaign. I'll wright up a beat stick with no int or wisdom."

(DM) "... what?"

(Me) "My character, is gone, and is NOT coming back."

(DM) "Oh come on, you're being a TOTAL JACKASS. He didn't even HIT YOU."

(Me) "You said he shot me."

(DM) "I said he shot AT you."

(Me) "So it was a miss?"

(DM) "It was a warning shot."

(me) "But it did not actually strike me."

(DM) "Well it nicked you."

(me) "So it did hit."

(DM) "Well, no."

(me) "So it missed."

(DM) "It hit your geat."

(me) "So he damaged my gear."

(DM) "No, it just sort of nicked a strap or something."

(me) "But it did hit my gear."

(DM) "No."

(Me) "So then it didn't."

(DM) "Well it kind of did. Look, just drop it."

(Me) "Did it, or didn't it? I need to know, because that IS going to determine how my character reacts."

(DM) "Josh, either stop being a Jackass, sit down, shut up, and listen to the druid, or you're not welcome in the campaign."

(Me) "Fine. Just tell me if he hit my character or not."

(DM) "No."

(me) "So, you, as the DM, are refusing to describe what happened in the game world."

(DM) "I already did."

(me) "It's a simple yes or no question."

(DM) "I've told you all I'm going to."

(me) Long pause. "You're serious."

(DM) "yes."

(me) "Then I am leaving the campaign, as is my character, and I hope the rest of you enjoy yourselves. Please have a nice night."

(DM) "thank you, I think we will."

I think both of us half expect the other to change our mind, the others seem to be in total shock, and some of them are trying to figure out some way to keep me from leaving.

(Me) "No, it's cool. I wasn't enjoying myself, and if you guys like this kind of campaign, go on and keep playing it. I really hope you have a great time."

I leave.

In my understanding, the sessions went on for maybe a month or two more, on a once every 2 week schedule, alternating between locations.

-----

Edit: Oh, and as for your DM, and the pregnancy thing. As a one time thing? Might just be a plot device he was trying to use for a campaign. Second time? A bit creepy, but maybe his poor DMing skills caused the other campaign to crash, and he thought it might work better in a different setting.

If he did it a third time? Yeeeeeeeaaaahhh.

Although I've got to admit, pregnant women have their own unique kind of sex that they can be when they are feeling alright, and if I ever have a pregnant wife of my own, I hope her hormones push her in a certain dirrection, rather than another. :P

Trying to have EVER character in the campaign be pregnant (or have smelly feet... or... anything... really) to fuel a fetish is fairly sad.

AstralFire
2009-06-20, 07:40 AM
Hey, can you spoiler that so it's easier to scroll through?

Anyway, that really sucks. I don't get DMs who ask to fastforward or try to skip over parts of roleplay - honestly you could have gotten some nice bits out of the mooning. :D If I'd been the one running the gold coin bit and I'd been caught with it as a stupid idea, I'd probably have said something like "it's a tradition" and weave a yarn about its significance to the guild. Anything's better than 'just cause', and all DMs have their moments where they do something dumb - just, the good ones roll with it.

Saph
2009-06-20, 07:42 AM
Hehe. That was hilarious. I thought I was the only one who wrote up session summaries that long. :P

It's a weird phenomenon, the "jerk NPC" syndrome. I've never quite understood why so many new DMs fall into it, but I've seen it over and over again.

- Saph

Josh the Aspie
2009-06-20, 07:48 AM
Above posts spoilered!

It's because anyone that disagrees with you, or your character/NPC, is a Jerk, and since they are acting like one, you can feel free to act like one too.

The DM obviously felt that both I and my character were behaving like jerks, and well...

Anyway, I can get a bit carried away in the retelling, especially when psudo-quotes help illustrate exactly what happened so nicely.

Oh, and the NPC did say it was a tradition at one point. "This is just the way we've always done it. It's tradition."

"Yes, well, it's still idiotic, and if you can't be bothered to come down with me to verify I have access to the 10 gold, and then let me give one of those into the pot, something is either fishy, or this guild is WAY to hide-bound."

Another: "Your companions don't seem to mind. They already put their gold in."

"Yes, well, if they all jumped off a bridge, does that mean I should too?" Pause. "Actually... for me, that wouldn't be so bad. I could just float there. Them? Most of them would go sqweesh."

AstralFire
2009-06-20, 07:49 AM
I've done that one a few times when I was starting out (since I DMed with a grand total of 2 half-hearted games as a PC under my belt.) Gruff jerks with a mild amount of authority are better at getting people they have no relation to, to act. Just like IRL. The trick is, there is a certain amount of difference between being a jerk and being good at being a jerk.

Josh the Aspie
2009-06-20, 07:54 AM
Yeah, the thing is, I have way to many jerks that have some form of authority in real life.

Politicians. Police. Corporate lackies. The IRS. The Census Beauru. School Beaurocrats who never send your original diploma, then when you ask for it 're-issue' it...

So when I play D&D, I tend to have any authority over my characters be something that is ENTIRELY my character's option, and periodically spell that out for the authority figure... that they have no power over me but that which I grant.

If you don't want that to happen? Start me in a low level campaign so that any town authority draft can STICK.

Of course, you shouldn't be surprised if there is a knife in the lung of the captor / authority figure the first time I have the opportunity to escape then.

Given that I've had a few doses of playing completely freeform games where there is NO authority figure acting over my characters, I've been able to mollify this abit.

However, this is one of the reasons why I will NEVER play 3.5 Forgotten Realms.

Elminister wants something from me? He can shove his hat up his neither regions using a staff of the magi for all I care.

Eurantien
2009-06-20, 08:15 AM
I DM a lot, and you could accuse me of railroading, as I have a set plot laid out, but ultimately my players are free to do whatever they want. They just have more fun if they follow my plot hooks. But there've been times when they've actually tried bargaining with the villian or killing a crucial NPC. I let them and improv. Your DM seems positively bizarre. Can't be much fun.

mikej
2009-06-20, 08:29 AM
In my opinion, the pregnancy thing is really creepy.

I've been plot railroaded before, it's not fun. I'd say something or just leave. Although, that's just what I'd do in that situation.

Paramour Pink
2009-06-20, 08:37 AM
Although I agree that the DM was overbearing, I don't think you were much better, Josh. I think this article (http://www.giantitp.com/articles/tll307KmEm4H9k6efFP.html) does apply to you.

tldr: Stop being so hell-bent against going with the story. It's not hard to find a grudging reason to let things flow. Your DM seems really inexperienced, so offering a big headache couldn't have helped the matter.

Chineselegolas
2009-06-20, 08:45 AM
Railroading isn't always bad. Only campaign I've run I railroaded most of it. Though for three out of the four players it was their first time so a firm guiding hand was needed for it to progress anywhere.

Jair Barik
2009-06-20, 08:53 AM
Anybody read DM of the ring?
Theres a lot of railroading jokes in that and many of them actually seem similar to your situation.

J.Gellert
2009-06-20, 09:01 AM
I don't mind going with the story.

But when the NPCs grab you and teleport you into jail without a saving throw... I wish the DM would have the decency to at least beat the living hell out of our characters first, even if he did it with ridiculously strong NPCs than the "power of Plot".

Seatbelt
2009-06-20, 09:05 AM
My last game was pretty clearly on rails. We had a direction to go in, we all had a general reason to go there, and we just ignored the fact that if we decided to do something else the campaign would struggle.

I ran a couple one-shot adventures after my Ravenloft game ended. The first one was pretty much a series of combat encounters and I just storied the players to each one. They were ok with it. The last one allowed more options, but it was still esentially a series of encounters the PCs had to get through, and there wasn't much beyond that if they jumped off the rails. We're all pretty busy people in my group, and we accept the fact that DMing is a lot of work. Its ok to wiggle around in the plot and find interesting solutions to problems. But what the DM has prepared is what we get to do, and if we mess with it too much there won't be any D&D that night.


We also tend to be a little more on the wargame side of things though. We have a little character interaction and then get right to the killing, usually.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-06-20, 09:07 AM
Yeah, the thing is, I have way to many jerks that have some form of authority in real life.

Politicians. Police. Corporate lackies. The IRS. The Census Beauru. School Beaurocrats who never send your original diploma, then when you ask for it 're-issue' it...


It's obvious that Josh has some minor issues in real life. Buttons to press, so to say. If the GM is his friend and socially competent, he shouldn't press the buttons. And if the buttons are pressed, Josh isn't the one I'd blame if the game is disrupted. (If that came out as offensive or demeaning, sorry).

But there are always alternatives. Case-by-case...
1) Why do you care about the mercenaries? Your superiors are taking the cost, not you. And your character seems very chaotic. Why do you care if your military middle management loses some abstract leverage in the truce? There's no personal risk to you.
2) Could you have made those attack rolls? If so, could you have killed the guy? If so, could you still have killed the guy if it were a drummer corps member? You already said there were alternatives, so just pretend one of these things happened and let it go.
3) Yeah, NPCs coming to the rescue is always a bad idea. Not sure what to say here.
4) If you think that's bureaucratic, don't ever visit Syria. Seriously, what you described there isn't that hard. All the walking you did was indoors, you were getting paid for the whole thing, you didn't have to do any paperwork, you only had to visit one person, it wasn't raining, you weren't forced to stand in the rain while your paperwork decayed, the time it would take I could count on my fingers in seconds... The only concern there is that the badge or gold piece may have been insidiously cursed, and if that's the case you could just forge a badge and throw the original out. It's one gold piece - getting scammed out of it isn't a big deal. You could make that much juggling for an hour or two.
5) You were being sort of a douche here. The other situations were understandable, but in this case there was a clear option - walk away. Walk away, save the forest by yourself, come back and watch the druids grovel at your feet. If the druid doesn't let you help the forest, he falls for disrespecting said forest, and you kick his NPC-leveled ass.

Alcopop
2009-06-20, 09:09 AM
That was a great read Josh.

And Astral i know how you feel.

I was in a campaign in which the GM would switch between railroading us and then killing us randomly with things he just made to show off (then of course we we're miraculously back to life) we ended up walking out of his session. That said he's gotten a hell of a lot better since, to a point where I actually look forward to his sessions. So there may still be hope.

OverdrivePrime
2009-06-20, 09:18 AM
Yeah, as mentioned above, Railroading doesn't have to be bad, as long as it's not blatant, and as long as the DM preserves the illusion that your character's independent actions can still make a difference. A smart railroader has a number of different plot tracks the train can switch to depending on how he or she anticipates the characters' actions.

One of my very favorite DMs, a guy I've gamed with for 15 years, is a notorious railroader - whether we're playing Star Wars, Rifts, D&D, you name it. After years of playing with him, most of us can set a timer when the BBEG's too-strong henchman shows up to wreck our day and figure out exactly the moment when the DMPC of justice and glory will show up to slap down the bad guy and pat us on the head. (Hint: the DMPC shows up 2 rounds after the DM asks, "OPD, how many hit points do you have left?")
Still, the guy runs absolutely amazing games, and even if you know you're just part of the saga that the DM is telling, it's a mess of fun to get to play a role and have some small part in the outcome. I've played in plenty of railroaded games by other people and they're usually not nearly so fun.

As for myself, I'm almost a total opposite. I strongly believe in a giant sandbox game with a multitude of metaplots running in the background. Usually I have the most trouble getting my PCs together, so I'll do a lot of work with them before the game begins so that I don't have to railroad - or start in a tavern - once the game gets going. If I'm lucky, one of the PCs will stumble onto some aspect of the plot by the third session, and usually they're chasing down a three or four plot trails after we've been playing for a couple months. It's definitely a lot more work as a DM, but I know my players find it rewarding because they feel like they get to write the story themselves. I tend to be more of a world creator, and after that I'm pretty hands off, simply acting as a referee and having the various factions act as they would normally until acted upon by the PCs.

Leon
2009-06-20, 09:38 AM
Nothing like those tales.
Most I've seen recently was a while back when the party had 2 female NPCs arrive and ask for our help in rescuing someone, we were all in and around the common room of the house and saw these two and apparently all the male PCs we suddenly infatuated with one of them

I had previously described my Archivist as not paying attention to them as they were people and people = trouble, these two would best off being ignored while someone else sorted the deal out.
DM said no your infatuated by them, i repeated the statement twice more and the conclusion was that i roll a Will save.

I had the final word- Nat 20 says I'm not interested (total save was 29 vs a DC 18) i happily ignored the Siren while the rest of the male population went on fawning over her



I'm running a Adventure that is fairly railroady over all but I'm making sure to allow the Party some leeway while pushing them towards certain events that are going to happen (and will happen even if they don't get back to see them start)

AstralFire
2009-06-20, 09:44 AM
I use railroading by definition to mean something that's unsubtle, blatant, and leaves no illusion of choice. Zeta Kai, as always, put it well. The 'plot mandate' is a powerful tool at a DM's disposal and I've used it far more times than I think my PCs will ever know - and that's the key, I don't think my Ashbane group ever guessed correctly once when I was doing such. (They complained about it a few times with some of the tougher encounters, but none of those were either, and they always came on top.)

I wouldn't have complained about the earlier stuff so much as that's a good way to make a strong hook, but when stacked on top of how he handled the later stuff... blech.

papr_weezl8472
2009-06-20, 10:18 AM
This story... oh, dear. :smalleek: It reminds me of a DM I had back in High School.

The railroading is about on par. That game, too, had 12-odd players, plus a half-dozen or so NPCs to round out the party. And these NPCs would be introduced in... interesting ways. We met a fiendish half-minotaur at one point, roaring furiously and moving as if to attack, and when I tried to pop off a Disintegrate the DM just... well, told me not to. (Not that it would have mattered. The fiendish half-minotaur had, and I am not kidding, 100 class levels, 94 of them barbarian). The fiendish half-minotaur subsequently joined our party, and I believe entered into a homosexual relationship with a half-drow NPC we had.

In fact, I almost want to think they're the same DM, unlikely as that may be. I don't want there to be more than one of them out there. :smallfrown:

WordslingerGun
2009-06-20, 10:27 AM
WOW!

To be honest, when I first started DMing, I did the same things. Even now, I can be found muscling the players into doing certain things if they get a bit too distracted by their own devices. But still...I don't think railroading/gunning/orbital lasering has seen such craziness.

I agree wholeheartedly about derailing the DM's precious plot any way possible...I know I'd want it if I ever DM'd that way.

Vortling
2009-06-20, 10:41 AM
To the OP: Is this the GM's first time running a game? Or one of his first times? If so you may want to have everyone sit down and talk to him politely about the railroading. Lots of new GMs railroad badly and he may be just learning. Don't mention that you're all thinking of leaving.
If he gets defensive about your polite requests to not be railroaded so much, then bring up the leaving. If he's conciliatory, give him a session or two to make improvements. If no improvements are forthcoming, then head off and make your own group.
The trouble with ditching every single GM who does this is they never learn when their players just up and leave. Instead they'll continue in their ways until someone gets the guts to actually tell them instead of just disappearing from their games.

Logalmier
2009-06-20, 10:55 AM
This story... oh, dear. :smalleek: It reminds me of a DM I had back in High School.

The railroading is about on par. That game, too, had 12-odd players, plus a half-dozen or so NPCs to round out the party. And these NPCs would be introduced in... interesting ways. We met a fiendish half-minotaur at one point, roaring furiously and moving as if to attack, and when I tried to pop off a Disintegrate the DM just... well, told me not to. (Not that it would have mattered. The fiendish half-minotaur had, and I am not kidding, 100 class levels, 94 of them barbarian). The fiendish half-minotaur subsequently joined our party, and I believe entered into a homosexual relationship with a half-drow NPC we had.

In fact, I almost want to think they're the same DM, unlikely as that may be. I don't want there to be more than one of them out there. :smallfrown:


That... is one of the weirdest and most disturbing things I have ever heard.:smalleek: Why was the minotaur just standing there again? And why did he join the party?

Flickerdart
2009-06-20, 10:58 AM
That... is one of the weirdest and most disturbing things I have ever heard.:smalleek: Why was the minotaur just standing there again? And why did he join the party?
I guess when you're level 100, you just get really bored. though one could argue the minotaur beat up some gods until they told him that following this party would lead him to the love of his life.

AstralFire
2009-06-20, 11:01 AM
To the OP: Is this the GM's first time running a game? Or one of his first times? If so you may want to have everyone sit down and talk to him politely about the railroading. Lots of new GMs railroad badly and he may be just learning. Don't mention that you're all thinking of leaving.
If he gets defensive about your polite requests to not be railroaded so much, then bring up the leaving. If he's conciliatory, give him a session or two to make improvements. If no improvements are forthcoming, then head off and make your own group.
The trouble with ditching every single GM who does this is they never learn when their players just up and leave. Instead they'll continue in their ways until someone gets the guts to actually tell them instead of just disappearing from their games.

He has insisted, through multiple concerns and suggestions across both the Star Wars and the D&D game, that he is highly experienced and got frustrated when we suggested smaller party sizes, asked him to let us have some freedom RPing, etc... and alternatively blamed his lack of prep time or our lack of enthusiasm. (We were REALLY enthusiastic, but every time we got into a scene he got bored and tried to move it along into a combat - I was an observer in the D&D game the previous night.) It's just not a good match. He seems to enjoy running very Monty Haul - which is fine, but he presented his games as '70% roleplay'.

Vortling
2009-06-20, 11:11 AM
He has insisted, through multiple concerns and suggestions across both the Star Wars and the D&D game, that he is highly experienced and got frustrated when we suggested smaller party sizes, asked him to let us have some freedom RPing, etc... and alternatively blamed his lack of prep time or our lack of enthusiasm. (We were REALLY enthusiastic, but every time we got into a scene he got bored and tried to move it along into a combat - I was an observer in the D&D game the previous night.) It's just not a good match. He seems to enjoy running very Monty Haul - which is fine, but he presented his games as '70% roleplay'.
Then ditch him and make it explicitly clear why you're doing so. Direct him to this thread if you think it will help get your point across. Take the entire group with you if you can.

Xallace
2009-06-20, 11:12 AM
Everyone... was... pregnant?

Huh. Well, the idea of the pregnant mother granted powers because of her god-child is pretty schweet, I think I'll have to use that at some point. And good for y'all for voting with your feet (or, internet connection, as it were). Not enough people do that, it seems.

Now, if I may relate a railroading story of my own...

The problems began early. Four of us were told to make characters, level four, without any explanation as to what the plot or the setting was. We were told to just come up with whatever, and the DM didn't care about our backstories. Yeah, that raised me an eyebrow, but I rolled with it. I made a human Dread Necromancer, a man named Mortimer Ezekiel Black, who is considered among my friends to have the coolest name for a necromancer ever.

So the game starts, focused on my character. The area we're in is described as a large trade city. I'm asked if I've been here for a while or if I've just come to the town; I decide that I've only just shown up, literally at the gates as we spoke.

Two city guards popped out of nowhere and demanded that I come with them. My eyebrow raises again.

"I have my papers here," Mortimer says, shuffling through his bag. "There's no need t-"

Apparently, it wasn't visa-related. The king just really wanted to see me. Clearly confused in and out of character, I followed the guards to the castle and up to the throne room, where the king sat surrounded by guards (I believe the quantity was "in the hundreds"). I am introduced to two of the other player characters:

Captain Billy Shanks, captain of the stolen naval caravel Swordfish and wanted in at least 3 countries on charges of piracy, theft, and impregnation of royalty,

Barry Shanks, unrelated to Captain Shanks, a thief and mercenary, and

Mortimer Black, a...

"...gardener."

The DM's jaw dropped a little as he apparently tried to figure out what to do about this. He put the King voice on. "You're... a gardener?"

Mortimer nodded. "Why else would I have a shovel?"

The DM tried to be a furious king. He turns to the guards. "I told you to find soldiers!"

The guards mutter something in their defense. The King facepalms. "Well, you all at least know why you're here."

"Nope," Captain Shanks says. We're treated to the King yelling and the guards conversing again about their apparent lack of competence.

So what we're just then informed that this region was some combination of monarchy and theocracy- there is a King, and he was also the highest paladin in Heironeous' service. There was a small cult of Hextor on the outlying borders of his region and he needed them taken out. Of course, we're the ones who were supposed to do it. We'd be paid handsomely.

Barry Shanks piped up, pointing to the hundreds of guards. "Why don't they do it?"

"They need to protect me," claimed the King, as high paladins of Heironeous are hardly capable of defending themselves I guess?

"Furthermore," continued the King, "You will be taking my young brother, the Prince, on the journey with you. He needs training, and I need you all to protect him. You will be paid extra if he comes back alive."

The three of us share sideways glances. Well, my glance was sideways; Captain Shanks was trying to wrap is head around the implications of what the King just said, and Barry just shrugged.

So then the King tells us about how we will be attacking head-on (at this point in the story, I realize I keep changing tense. Sorry, English Majors!).

"Wait wait," Mortimer says. "It's four guys against a cult. A war cult. We're not going toe-to-toe."

"But it is the Heironian way!" The King exclaims.

"It's the dumb way," Captain Shanks says.

"And none of us are Heironian," Mortimer says. "We get plucked off the street with no explanation as to what's going on, told that we're going to fight for you, and then you decide to dictate our tactics?"

The King and myself argue for a while longer. At this point, I'm not sure whether it's the King or the DM who wants us to straight-out brawl.

I was almost for just walking out of the throne room right there, but Captain Shanks and Barry decided that as "strange" as the situation was, money from a King is good money. So, I decide to hang around, out of character because the DM looked rather PO'd with me for wanting to leave, and in character because Mortimer felt his presence might be necessary. A pirate, a mercenary, and a prince? Yeah, that would go well.

So some time later the team finds itself riding towards the "hidden" location of the cult. I decide I'd like to roleplay a little, get to know the other characters on our way there.

"...just saying it doesn't make any sense. King has a whole army, an entire church dedicated to fighting this particular cult, and not only does he not use them, he entrusts the heir to the throne to a group of commoners and vagabonds! ...no offense."

"None taken," Captain Shanks replied. The Prince remains oddly silent for the whole trip.

We arrive somewhere unspecified outside the cult's entrance, somewhere that we can't be seen. I pull out my disguise kit. The other party members ask what I'm doing. I explain that I think if we sneak in and take out the leader(s), we can minimize the potential deaths while still plunging the cult into chaos- at least for a time. Barry and Captain Shanks agree, a little reluctantly, but refuse to disguise themselves; they both would rather just stick to the shadows.

As an aside, the reason I had this disguise kit was because some churches had crypts rather than cemeteries- I needed a way to get materials.

The DM as Prince claims the plan won't work- he's too heavily armored and can't sneak. Additionally, he refuses to lie. Easy, I say, we'll pretend you're a Dominated prisoner. You just keep your mouth shut, I'll do the talking.

So, with myself disguised as a priest of Hextor, the two Shanks' sticking to the shadows, and the Prince reluctantly keeping quiet, we enter through the front... and are instantly hit by an arrow trap. Thankfully, it bounces off the Prince's armor.

Mortimer takes a deep breath, and we enter the main lobby. There, two priests of Hextor are walking towards us.

"Roll for initiative," says the DM.

"No."

"What?"

"I got all dolled up for these guys, I'm not letting my ranks in Bluff and Disguise go to waste."

The DM looked annoyed, but he agreed. He puts on his Prist voice. "Who are you? What are you doing here?"

"Quickly!" I say. "This man is an agent of Heironeous. I have him dominated, but I don't know how long it will hold."

Roll Bluff. Roll Sense Motive.

"Huh," says one of priests. "Alright, we'll take him. But if you're really a Hextorite, why did the arrow trap go off? You would have known how to avoid it!"

"It was-" is all I get out. I was going to inform them that the Prince had momentarily escaped my Domination effect, and needed to be locked away post haste. Instead...

"Enough of this charade!" The Prince shouts. "We fight!"
"Roll Initiative," the DM says.

Blank stares around the table.

"...what?" asks Captain Shanks' player.

"Yeah," the DM says. "The Prince didn't want to do this anymore."

So we fight. The Shanks' leap from out of "nowhere" and take down the priests in seconds. There is a loud clattering as armor and weapons fall to echoing stone.

"You're an imbecile." Captain Shanks says to the Prince. I hold my head in my palm. Barry drags the corpses into a closet nearby.

As we walk down the hall, trying to get to the high priest's chamber, we are unable to hide, disguise ourselves, or even explain ourselves, because the Prince keeps attacking people on sight. No, not even that- the priests keep attacking us.

I generally resort to non-lethal attacks, mostly casting Cause Fear on priests. I'm scolded because the panicked priests would "give away our presence."

Eventually, the last PC, an orc barbarian named CORMAG comes bursting through a wall to help in the fight. We don't understand it, CORMAG doesn't understand it, but no one really questions it. CORMAG was fun, and the rest of us (DM excluded) got some great banter out of the fight.

Calculating the EXP as we go, we realize about halfway through the fight that one of us would have leveled up. The DM tells him to wait for the battle to be over, as "leveling up in the middle of combat would be cheap."

Well, we clear the priests out of the hall, and I ask that we halt our advance for just a moment to consider. Captain Shanks decides to let the Prince know- once again- that he's an idiot. The Prince responds by telling the Captain he's an honorless scumbag. Captain Shanks tries to punch the Prince. The Prince responds with his sword.

So a fight breaks out between the two. CORMAG, having decided from the last battle that he likes the Captain more than the Prince, decides to help out.

Captain Shanks and CORMAG clearly have the advantage, nearly dropping the Prince into unconciousness. At this point, I start trying to yell over the din of battle to not kill the Prince, reminding the Captain that we get more money if we keep him alive. The Captain grimaces.

"It's almost not worth it, lad's a tactical liability." The Captain grunts, dodging a blow and taking another swipe at the prince. But just at that moment, the Prince runs CORMAG through, killing him instantly. We're not entire sure how, seeing as the Prince was a Knight built for defense, and CORMAG was a full-on Orc Barbarian.

I'm horrified, Barry's shocked, Captain Shanks is angry. The DM decides that killing CORMAG yielded enough EXP for the Prince to gain a level- which he does on the spot, and also fully heals his health.

Well, at this point we call shenanigans. It's a full 10 minutes of arguing with the DM to make him change his mind about the level-up. Captain Shanks knocks the Prince into the negatives, I supply a healing potion to both of them (which stabilizes the Prince, but doesn't let him regain consciousness).

After a couple more minutes debating our next move, the DM calls off the campaign, claiming "here is a good place to end." He's clearly angry, and he leaves for home while the rest of us grab some Chinese food. The Shanks', Mortimer, and CORMAG's cousin CORMAG would be making a reappearance some weeks later, but not with the same DM.

MrEdwardNigma
2009-06-20, 11:13 AM
Was planning on blasting him in the face with lightning anyway after I pulled my friend out of the mess, but then he went 'Immune' on us. Something tells me he'd survive the Force Lightning. Didn't matter. That was the point at which we all started making excuses to leave.

He'll never learn if you don't show him he's railroading. Besides, you can have a whole lot of fun with an awful, railroading GM. They're like hitmen: no matter what you do to them, you don't feel bad. One of the campaigns I'm in right now has an awful railroady GM, who also happens to be a complete wanker. I'm having a blast making my character get the train off the tracks.

Flickerdart
2009-06-20, 11:26 AM
Xallace, that was excellent. There need to me more gardeners like that in all games.

quick_comment
2009-06-20, 12:05 PM
In the example above, with attacking the cult of hextor, if he really wanted a battle, all that need to happen was this:

Players: We sneak in.
DM: As soon as you touch the bottom stair, an alarm starts going off throughout the entire complex. A disembodied voice starts saying "Intruder Alert, Intruder Alert, Alarm on the South Stairs. Set Condition One throughout the temple." Those of you with ranks in spellcraft recognize that you just set off a magic mouth keyed to an alarm spell. Roll for initatives, you can make listen checks to esimate how long you have before the guards are upon you.

Now if the players had rolled search checks, and evaded the alarm, you could simply have them run into a regular patrol, with some paladins of Tyrany. "We are bringing a dominated prisoner! Paladin: *Sense motive*, "That seems suspicious. Detect good!:\

Foryn Gilnith
2009-06-20, 12:11 PM
I got the impression that wasn't the railroading part. The railroading part was the prince insta-killing a PC and then breaking the "no immediate leveling" rule that had just been established. And maybe at the beginning with the king.

Zeful
2009-06-20, 12:20 PM
Players: We sneak in.
DM: As soon as you touch the bottom stair, an alarm starts going off throughout the entire complex. A disembodied voice starts saying "Intruder Alert, Intruder Alert, Alarm on the South Stairs. Set Condition One throughout the temple." Those of you with ranks in spellcraft recognize that you just set off a magic mouth keyed to an alarm spell. Roll for initatives, you can make listen checks to esimate how long you have before the guards are upon you.

You see I find that to be the player's fault. They simply stated they were sneaking in, which would have gotten them to make move silently/hide checks. They then ran into a trap, that they never stated they were looking for, that alerted the entire complex to their presence.

In short, it's not railroading if the enemies are smarter than the players. It just looks like it.

Artanis
2009-06-20, 12:33 PM
I got the impression that wasn't the railroading part. The railroading part was the prince insta-killing a PC and then breaking the "no immediate leveling" rule that had just been established. And maybe at the beginning with the king.

There was also forcing them to fight every encounter instead of giving them the chance of bluffing their way through.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-06-20, 12:36 PM
You brought along an inexperienced, haughty, heavily armored prince. It's realistic for him to be a ****. It's not realistic for him to put up a deadly fight when you knock him out and stop him. I excuse railroading if it at least makes sense.

TheThan
2009-06-20, 12:44 PM
Its one thing to have a plan set up, then have your pcs ruin it by affecting the outcome of an encounter. Its totally different to have a plan, and make sure the pcs cannot interfere with it at all. such as most of the above examples.

I have two great examples of plans going wrong:

StarWars revised edition:
The players are on a passenger flight towards the outer rim. Slavers attack their ship, so the party, (having just met each other) decides to steal one of their shuttles and make it down to the planet. So far so good, I intended for them to have a small hyperspace capable shuttle to get around. But as soon as they got on the planet, they sold the ship for cheep, which while it filled their pockets it also stranded them on the planet. Which is something I didn’t intend for them to do, in fact it totally threw off my game so I had to start improvising.


Star wars saga edition:
The players are on the trail of some goons that kidnapped the daughter of the local mayor. The Pcs tracked them to a warehouse, this is on Nar Shadda mind you, so there is a lot of vertical movement involved. I had planned on a high-speed chase though the twisted and winding “streets” of the vertical city. Unfortunately the pcs had different plans. They bluffed the guard into believing that there were about to be raided by Nar Shadda’s miniscule police force. Then two of the pcs waited around back for the kidnappers to make their escape. However this didn’t happen, instead they loaded up their speeder and attempted to flee the scene, (me setting up the car chase scene).
Then the unexpected happened. One of the pcs still in the front of the building takes a pot shot at the fleeing vehicle. Critical hit. Surprised I rule that the stray blaster shot hits an exposed engine port on the vehicle and it starts smoking. The other Pc in front takes his whip and tries to lasso the girl who was struggling with he captors in the back of the speeder. Another critical hit. So I ruled he managed to actually lasso the girl. Then the speeder goes flying off the platform and immediately takes the plunge. I tell the guy with the whip to make a strength check or be pulled off (he had the option of dropping the whip too). so he rolls, another natural 20. So I rule he managed to hold onto the girl and pull her out of the speeding… speeder. However her weight is pulling him towards the edge, and she is now hanging over the edge of the platform.

So the party defeats the entire encounter I had planned, rescues the girl and makes friends with the mayor by rolling three natural twenties.

AstralFire
2009-06-20, 12:49 PM
Xallace, great story. XD

The middle bits weren't railroading; the King summoning them is pretty hackneyed, though, and the Prince killing the Barbarian is ridiculous.

MrEdwardNigma
2009-06-20, 12:52 PM
I personally thought the bit where CORMAG burst through the wall without knowing what he was doing there qualified as railroading too.

Heh, CORMAG's cousin CORMAG :smalltongue:

Lamech
2009-06-20, 01:57 PM
Xallace: Yeah the middle bits (especially with the dominate) weren't railroading. I personally would have told the prince to chill in the rope trick. Or given him a "special" vital mission that you all no one else could have accomplished, and that only he could survive due to his divine grace.:smallsmile: But I've just had too many bad experiences with guard missions in video games. Also ALWAYS check out character sheets ahead of time. Always.

I've been railroaded before, but never as bad as the first person. Thats horrid. And it can be quite fun as well, if the person's a good GM and gives you some options. Also helps if the whole party is easily manipulated. And trusts people with names like "the blood lord of souls".

Lewin Eagle
2009-06-20, 02:14 PM
You all misunderstand Xallaces GM.

If you think about it , it all makes sense:
The king didn't take care of the cult himself cause they aren't a threat to his kingdom, in reality it was a ploy to get rid of his son. (I don't know why, maybe cause his son is annoying. There are countless reasons to kill you kids.)
Naturally he couldn't just kill him in the castle, but an accident on an adventure can happen.(In this light a frontal attack does make sense.) So he told his guard to get a few adventurers but nobody to strong (that's the reason they just picked random people from the street). And he probably gave the cult a secret warning, so that they wouldn't be tricked by disguises.

Naturally the prince knows that his father hates him so he suspected that you had the order to get rid of him. That's the reason he tried to get you in as many fights as possible, to exhaust and probably kill you.
And he didn't suddenly get stronger, he just hold back before cause killing the opponents fasters means less damage for your group.

See if you just make up a few reasons and don't think to much it seems to make sense. (For a moment before you resume thinking.)

But I found Cormag bursting through the wall funny.^^

Anyway @AstralFire do you know why the gm was deadset on killing the guards with the droid? Why should it make any mayor difference for his story if a few guards die or not? But if it doesn't really change the plot it would be stupid to force it.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-06-20, 02:23 PM
Except that's not what happened, cool as it sounds. The GM was giving signals that suggested nothing of the sort was happening. He even said the prince leveled up in the middle of the fight, and that's why he got moar hp - even after explicitly stating that it would be cheesy to level up in the middle of a fight.

AstralFire
2009-06-20, 02:33 PM
Anyway @AstralFire do you know why the gm was deadset on killing the guards with the droid? Why should it make any mayor difference for his story if a few guards die or not? But if it doesn't really change the plot it would be stupid to force it.

He probably wanted to be able to levy more charges against us to increase the amount of military force devoted to catching 2 level 1 Force Users.


Except that's not what happened, cool as it sounds. The GM was giving signals that suggested nothing of the sort was happening. He even said the prince leveled up in the middle of the fight, and that's why he got moar hp - even after explicitly stating that it would be cheesy to level up in the middle of a fight.

He knows he's being silly by suggesting that we 'misunderstood' him.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-06-20, 02:39 PM
He knows he's being silly by suggesting that we 'misunderstood' him.

What sort of forumite would I be if I didn't react to everything seriously? Casting Detect Sarcasm would make me lose a class feature or two.

Lewin Eagle
2009-06-20, 02:53 PM
Yeah it wasn't a serious suggestion, I just like to make things up. The thing with the prince was stupid. If he wanted to end the fight he could just have made the cultists ambush them. (it's hard to fight each other if there is an outside threat and it would probably make sense for the cult to hear the fighting and organise a defence.) Or he could have let the prince die, but the first way doesn't require any real plot changes and is at least not as contrived as the sudden power up. (Though I would have accepted the power up if it was accompanied from yellow spiky hair and a yellow aura^^.)

@Astral Fire: Yeah that makes sense.

Coidzor
2009-06-20, 03:20 PM
Xallace, that was excellent. There need to me more gardeners like that in all games.

...a Dread Necromancer who is also an eccentric master gardener for real...

My god... that's... Brilliant...:smallbiggrin:

Josh the Aspie
2009-06-20, 05:02 PM
Although I agree that the DM was overbearing, I don't think you were much better, Josh. I think this article (http://www.giantitp.com/articles/tll307KmEm4H9k6efFP.html) does apply to you.

tldr: Stop being so hell-bent against going with the story. It's not hard to find a grudging reason to let things flow. Your DM seems really inexperienced, so offering a big headache couldn't have helped the matter.

I found a grudging reason to go with the story several times in a row. It was when my character, who was already holding on by a tenous thread, got insulted to his face multiple times, and then ATTACKED by the NPCs and not backed up by ANY of his allies, that bot he, and I, had enough.

I don't play masochists, and that's the level that I'd have to had altered the character to, to get this to work.

That... or go to the point where I am along simply to sabotage the mission, and blow the druid up by getting him to eat an exploding acorn... and I don't think that either would have enhanced the fun of the group any. I was NOT having ANY fun at all, and so I decided to leave, in the hopes that the rest of the group could, in my absence.

TheThan
2009-06-20, 05:07 PM
What sort of forumite would I be if I didn't react to everything seriously? Casting Detect Sarcasm would make me lose a class feature or two.

wait, you have that on your spell list?

*jealousy*

:smallsmile:

Josh the Aspie
2009-06-20, 05:19 PM
1) Why do you care about the mercenaries? Your superiors are taking the cost, not you. And your character seems very chaotic. Why do you care if your military middle management loses some abstract leverage in the truce? There's no personal risk to you.

Actually, I lost all reward, by not killing them and looting the bodies. WE got NOTHING out of that encounter. We were basically told to have our casters leave the wind-wall protected area, and take several rounds talking, to let some of our magical protections fade. We objected to this, on a tactical basis, and said we would be willing to accept the tactical risk of having one of THEIR warriors come into our combat lines, and let them re-form, but not to have our casters go into the enemy lines. DM said to do it. THEN he used the fact that we had grudgingly followed OOC directions to leverage our bad tactical decision, into forcing us to accept the terms of the truce the other mercenaries wanted... which included them taking all the gear of their fallen with them, thus leaving us with used magical items, wounds, and a pittance from the guild, since most of our adventuring reward came from killing things and taking their stuff.



2) Could you have made those attack rolls? If so, could you have killed the guy? If so, could you still have killed the guy if it were a drummer corps member? You already said there were alternatives, so just pretend one of these things happened and let it go.


Yes, and it's a potential that I could have made those rolls. And if there is absolutely NO chance of having ANY affect on the plot at all... why am I playing a roleplaying game in the first place, instead of a video game?



4) If you think that's bureaucratic, don't ever visit Syria. Seriously, what you described there isn't that hard. All the walking you did was indoors, you were getting paid for the whole thing, you didn't have to do any paperwork, you only had to visit one person, it wasn't raining, you weren't forced to stand in the rain while your paperwork decayed, the time it would take I could count on my fingers in seconds... The only concern there is that the badge or gold piece may have been insidiously cursed, and if that's the case you could just forge a badge and throw the original out. It's one gold piece - getting scammed out of it isn't a big deal. You could make that much juggling for an hour or two.


Yeah, okay, that's a little more beaurocratic than I have recent memory of, but in real life I have wound up walking between multiple buildings, or having to go back and forth between multiple buildings on different sides of a large installation to get my paperwork completed. And it's not the individual beurocracy that was the problem. It's the fact that this was my FIRST exposure to the guild, and it was a BAD first impression. There is the potential of a curse, there is beaurocracy, there is outright stupidity, and inflexibility, and they are unwilling to trust ME when THEY have the ability to make sure things go right, but expect me to trust them and their decisions implicitly.

I ASKED the DM before the session, if there was anything I would need to take into account when making my character. He said 'someone who would be willing to join an adventuring guild'. Okay. I made someone who would be willing to join your steriotypical adventuiring guild. I should have known that, as the type of Ex-marine that he is, that the guild would be a paramilitary organization, with beurocracy and that expects people to obey like they would military commanders, even if the PC has no real reason to do so.

Playing a chaotic character was a bad idea, and several times I offered to re-roll as a low-int, low-wis lawful character, which I felt was NECESSARY for proper roleplaying of being in a guild like this. He kept telling me to play the same character 'for continuity'.



5) You were being sort of a douche here. The other situations were understandable, but in this case there was a clear option - walk away. Walk away, save the forest by yourself, come back and watch the druids grovel at your feet. If the druid doesn't let you help the forest, he falls for disrespecting said forest, and you kick his NPC-leveled ass.

The druid had 'secret knowledge about the source of the threat to the forest', and so when I did actually suggest our going off and saving it on our own, the DM said we'd fail unless we worked for mister big bad powerful druid.

Josh the Aspie
2009-06-20, 05:20 PM
That was a great read Josh.

^_^ Thank you!

Foryn Gilnith
2009-06-20, 05:35 PM
*shrug* I said there were alternatives. Never said they were good.

Well, thanks for sharing your story. It's been enlightening.

Josh the Aspie
2009-06-20, 05:37 PM
The best alternative that the DM left open was the one I took. I left.

There HAVE been cases when I truly have ruined fun for other people, and I see and can recognize where and how I should have done things better. That spat with the DM was one of them. I should have left the campaign earlier.

Xallace
2009-06-20, 05:38 PM
Heheh, I'm glad the story was so well received.

Yeah, the middle parts weren't too rail-road-y (although the fact that we couldn't not fight was rather annoying for me), but I felt the beginning and the end qualified enough. I have worse rail-roading tales, though, but I don't want to hijack AstralFire's thread.


You see I find that to be the player's fault.

If memory serves, we didn't even get to say that we sneaked in; the DM told us we walked in and got hit by an arrow trap.

Myrmex
2009-06-20, 05:54 PM
I have worse rail-roading tales, though, but I don't want to hijack AstralFire's thread.

Everyone else does. :smalltongue:

Josh the Aspie
2009-06-20, 05:56 PM
But this is a thread about rails and derailing and kvetching about railroading DMs where people have already expressed thanks for additional tails! Of COURSE it's appropriate to de-rail the thread with a fun tail kvetching about your own bad railroading you've gone through.

Oh. Cool. A piece of beach glass... shiny...

Flickerdart
2009-06-20, 06:46 PM
Hm, I guess I have a story.


The players were all part of what was essentially the only semblance of authority in a nation, a mercenary guild. Now, I was playing a Paladin, and one who valued the country's interests more than that of the Guild. So when the NPCs kept doing retarded things like staging wasteful "tests" for their employees that ended up killing off half of them, the Paladin would call them out on it, and the DM would handwave it away. Then it came for my paladin's turn to fight in one of said tests, against a powerful sorceress. So, what do I do? Decide not to kill her, because she was obviously one of the Guild's finest, and the Paladin justified it as pointlessly killing a defender of the nation.
The DM puts up an illusion of two people, one of which my character is supposed to care about, tied to a pole and on fire. Funnily enough, the NPC he picked for me was supposed to be the leader of an enemy faction, impossible to capture this early on. Therefore, the sorceress's person was also illusory. So instead of letting her kill herself, I tossed a lance in front of her to stop her from running to save the captives.
Now, the girl has said s few things already, and she was evidently a foolhardy type that cares little for logic. But apparently the Paladin's words swayed her that one time (both before and after this she didn't listen to anyone) and she blasts the illusion with lightning, then does the same for the Paladin.
After that, all of the sudden, an effect comes into play that inflicts upon the other the damage that we take. The DM had figured out I didn't want to kill her, and would have her finish herself off. So I beat her into the negatives with non-lethal before she has a chance. The DM is furious, but lets her live.
After taking her to the hospital, without a chance to heal, we're teleported to a battlefield with the other PCs with the guild leader. We're in a forest, in front of us are enemies. The guild leader is powerful enough to kill them, but no, we have to do this. The paladin voices concern that the enemy (who is just standing out in the open) has men planted in the forest, and that they are now surrounded. The guildmaster just says "No, we're fine" without even a check or anything. He didn't even let me take my horse that I had as a stand-in before my Paladin mount was available.
So, the guild master pretty much shuts down any suggestion aside from "run in there and sword them down". Whatever, right? I Diplomacy him to summon me a damn horse, hop on the thing and charge the enemy leader. The enemy leader apparently had his spear set against a charge, though I won initiative. The set weapon missed my horse's AC, so then the guy (in the same action, mind) grapples me from the horse before I can even deal damage. Eventually the Paladin managed to break free and wail the guy down to single-digit hit points.
Then the guildmaster teleports behind the enemy and bisects him. Because aside from being a wizard, he's also great with a blade. Then we get teleported back and told to bugger off for a while.
Then we find out about a bigger gathering of said enemies, led by an ex-member of the Guild almost as powerful as the guildmaster. I suggest we have the guildmaster 'port us in. No. Okay, then we infiltrate them and sow discord in their ranks, without doing any killing, since one person can only cause so much harm. Also no. We have to go in there without reinforcements, against a superior force, and fight them all. No ifs, ands or buts. Mind you, this is a huge guild with lots of people just as strong as we are, and all the rest of them are sitting at home sucking their thumbs while the handful of us go out to deal with the guild's only enemy.


Fortunately, the game died at this point.

Stormthorn
2009-06-20, 07:00 PM
(him) "so just put a gold piece into this hat, you'll get your badge, then you can go down to the quarter master, and he'll give you ten gold."

(me) "So... why not give me the badge, and I'll pick up 9 gold?" "No, you need to put a gold coin in first."

(him) "Why not let me pick up 10 gold from the quarter master, and put 1 in?" "What garuntee do we have you'll put your gold in?"

(me) "What garuntee do I have you'll give me my 10 gold?"

(him) "My word." The DM said in a deep, intone filled voice.

(me) "Not good enough." I said.

(DM) ".... what? Er... do you want a... sense motive check or something?"

(me) "No, just that his word isn't good enough for me."

(DM) "Er... he seems completely honest and serious."

(me) "Of course he is. He's running a scam. They always do."

(DM) "It's not a scam"

(me) "Then it's a piece of beurocracy so idiotic that it shakes my foundation that this guild is going to do anything but get my character killed. I don't pay people to let me work for them, I've avoided those scams in real life, and this character has high enough wisdom and intelligence scores not to fall for it either."

(DM) "It's not a scam."

(Me) "Then they are fools. And unless they are monumental fools, should be willing to have a functionally equivalent exchange occur that takes no more than a minute or two to settle."

(DM) "Look, it's a magical effect. For the badge to be keyed to you, you have to put your own gold piece in with the intend of joining the guild."

(Me) .... .oO(That just makes it WORSE) "You're... serious?"

(DM) "Yes, completely."

(Other PC) "Here, I'll pay for him, I know he'll pay me back." *Drops in a gold coin*

(DM) "Nothing happens. HE has to put it in."

(Me) "... I take the gold piece out, look to her and say... 'If this is a scam, you don't get paid back. You know that, right?'"

(Her) "That's perfectly fine."

(Me) "Fine. I say in character. 'This is idiotic, and I WILL leave if this is the typical kind of beaurocracy you have going here. This is NOT my gold piece, it is hers.' and then drop it in, while glaring at the guy in charge."

(DM) "A badge forms, all fine and dandy."

(me) "Hrmph."

Sounds like a ritual or tradition to me. Your character must be a real wanker to get worked up about 1 gold piece and an initiation rite.

Flickerdart
2009-06-20, 07:04 PM
To everyone but an adventurer, a noble or a merchant, a gold piece is a lot of money. Take a look at how much a peasant earns with Profession or Craft.

Leon
2009-06-20, 07:16 PM
Wall O Text Crits for 500

Xallace
2009-06-20, 07:41 PM
Well, if y'all insist. There's quite a bit of build-up before we get to the really railroaded parts, but you can enjoy all outright bad the campaign was in the mean time.

So this campaign was back in Highschool, at the school-sponsored Gaming Club. Back when the gaming club was more DnD and less Halo tournies.

Anyway, I'm playing a human Wilder/Pyrokineticist, an honest-to-Pelor pyromaniac who was legitimately trying to control his need to set things on fire. I asked the DM if I was allowed to roll Will saves occasionally to stop myself from igniting particularly tempting targets.

Well this was a terrible campaign for several reasons, not the least of which was (as you probably guessed) the rampant railroading. More on that in a second.

The nearest I can remember, the party consisted of myself, an Orc Barbarian who liked to rip things apart with his bare hands, a Yuan-Ti cleric who did not understand the rules at all, a gnome rogue of questionable morals, and a sorceress who liked burning things. Sounds like a rocky start already, eh?

Well, the plot of the campaign revolved around our quest to transport a princess from one city to another, supposedly because she has the power to stop a terrible weather-based curse that has come upon the land. Simple, right?

We get to the city, expecting a human town. Well, it is, sort of. Everyone in the town is a half-dragon. All of them, and not the same kind of half-dragon either. All sorts. Well, I find this particularly strange, and can't help but question it. Apparently, the half-dragon state is brought upon by something inside these small, ornate boxes. I am offered one by a local, told that it has the power to turn me into a red half-dragon. I politely decline, for fear that immunity to flames and the ability to breath fire would further degenerate my condition... also, I was a sexy beast with my 20 Charisma, and I wanted the emphasis to be more on "sexy" than "beast."

So within a short period, we meet the princess. She's half black dragon and, of course, several levels higher than us. That was the first red flag; I've been in several campaigns where we had to "escort" someone clearly superior to us in terms of experience, and they never ended well.

So we make our introductions, the princess is holier-than-thou and snobbish, yadda yadda. So now comes the second red flag, and so soon after the first! Our group is being particularly chatty at this moment, and as someone who DMs a fair amount I can understand that chattiness can be unwelcome. However, instead of calling us all to quiet down, the following takes place.

"All right, that's it." He says, frowning. "A dark-armored figure appears in the chamber. He wields a gigantic sword and- oh, you know what? It's Nightmare. Yeah, from Soul Calibur. So who's going to attack him?"

The group responds with a unified "..." and several looks of confusion.

"Come on," continues the DM. "I know you want to attack him. ...If someone doesn't attack him, I'll make you attack him."

I sigh, a little confused. "Alright. I knock an arrow and let it fly."

"Nightmare charges across the room, picks you up in his big hand and slams you into the stone. You're unconscious."

"I... what?"

"Yeah, you're unconscious for the rest of the session."


So... we leave in the same day, making our way west. By nightfall, we come to the town we will rest in. While the PCs greet or ignore the guards at the gate, trying not to bring too much attention to ourselves, the Princess decides on a different course of action.

She spits acid in a guard's face, melts his head, and continues on into the town like nothing happened. And apparently it didn't matter to anyone else, as absolutely nobody reacted. Not even the guard standing 10 feet to the left of the dead one!

Our first session was cut short, so for the next session we awake in the inn in the middle of the night to the sound of people dying and evil humanoids cavorting. We dash out into the street to see what we can do (no, we didn't check on the princess. Irresponisble? Yep). Goblins, and lots of them, are attacking the town with mobile siege weapons. Guards are dying left and right, and towns folk are either on fire or running or dead (or some combination there-of). Another PC, a new player, enters the fray, a bard! While he tries to direct the survivors to safety, our group takes out the goblins.

Only a few goblins remain, when we hear "Release the Wyvern!"

We spot two goblins barely holding a chained wyvern, which we somehow didn't see before. OK, in the chaos, I guess we could've missed it, I'll concede. But before the goblins can release their draconic secret weapon, I unleash a fully-augmented Wild Surged Mind Thrust into the beast. Apparently, it explodes.

There's no time to celebrate our victory, for suddenly the town guards descend upon us!

"You're under arrest!" they cry, trying to force ropes and manacles onto our troupe.
"On what charges?" I reply. I receive no answer, except that I'm struck across the back of the head and rendered unconscious.

I awake in a prison cell with the bard, who has been (rightfully) complaining that he wasn't even a member of the party. Both of us being rather unhappy about our unlawful imprisonment (and unaware of where the rest of the party is), we hatch a scheme to escape. The following dialogue takes place.

"Alright," says the bard. "I cast blink."

"I forget what blink does." The DM says.

"I turn ethereal at random, so basically I cast it and lean against the outer wall until I pass through."

"You can't." The DM says.

The bard and I share puzzled glances. "Why not?"

"This prison cell was built by mages to stop bards from casting blink."

"...Mages."

"To stop bards from casting blink, yes."

"Ooookay." The bard gives me a sideways glance.

"And," the DM continues. "You can't cast any of your spells on the guards. They're all level 30."

I cast a sideways glance at the bard.

"I can always just burn the place down..." I say.

"No," says the DM. "The princess appears, knocks the guards unconscious, and spits acid on the bars, melting them instantly. She tells you to be more responsible next time."

So at this point I was talking to the bard, a good friend of mine, out of game. We both agree that we'll try for one more session, and if it doesn't get any better, we're gone.

The next session, one of our party has been replaced by a monk. We've headed out into the wilderness, had some fights with cockatrices, and for the most part this particularly session hasn't been too bad. Then, we come to another town.

As we approach the gate, a number of construct soldiers come marching out from within. They form a circle around us, a wide one, but with only a single gap. A middle-aged man steps into the gap.

"I am the mayor of this town. Come with me," he says. "You're all my new slaves, and you will fight in our arena for my enjoyment!"

Now I have an item that allows me to cast Charm Person. I do so, of course, on the mayor. I try to keep it hidden.

"You will all fight." He looks at me. "Except you."

Unsatisfied with answer, the monk decides to knock the mayor unconscious.
He rolls a Natural 20. Excited, he rolls to confirm. Another Natural 20! Awesome! Someone brings up the variant rule that states if you roll 2 Nat 20s and confirm, it's an auto-kill.

We all laugh at the idea of killing someone with non-lethal damage. The monk rolls.

Natural. Twenty.

There is an uproar from the table and high-fives all around. All, as you might have guessed by now, except for the DM. He looks furious. Apparently, we just killed the mayor, despite it being non-lethal damage. Our laughter dies into unsure looks and muttered "what?"s.

The DM describes how the mayor crumples to the ground, dead.
"But thankfully," the DM says, moving an identical miniature into the space. "The town's back-up mayor is still alive."

We chuckle.

He was serious.

So the bard and I left the campaign that very day, never to play under that DM again. My only worry with this tale is that it was some time ago, and memory can change- if it doesn't seem as bad as I make it sound, trust me, it was worse.


EDIT:

Hm, I guess I have a story.


The players were all part of what was essentially the only semblance of authority in a nation, a mercenary guild. Now, I was playing a Paladin, and one who valued the country's interests more than that of the Guild. So when the NPCs kept doing retarded things like staging wasteful "tests" for their employees that ended up killing off half of them, the Paladin would call them out on it, and the DM would handwave it away. Then it came for my paladin's turn to fight in one of said tests, against a powerful sorceress. So, what do I do? Decide not to kill her, because she was obviously one of the Guild's finest, and the Paladin justified it as pointlessly killing a defender of the nation.
The DM puts up an illusion of two people, one of which my character is supposed to care about, tied to a pole and on fire. Funnily enough, the NPC he picked for me was supposed to be the leader of an enemy faction, impossible to capture this early on. Therefore, the sorceress's person was also illusory. So instead of letting her kill herself, I tossed a lance in front of her to stop her from running to save the captives.
Now, the girl has said s few things already, and she was evidently a foolhardy type that cares little for logic. But apparently the Paladin's words swayed her that one time (both before and after this she didn't listen to anyone) and she blasts the illusion with lightning, then does the same for the Paladin.
After that, all of the sudden, an effect comes into play that inflicts upon the other the damage that we take. The DM had figured out I didn't want to kill her, and would have her finish herself off. So I beat her into the negatives with non-lethal before she has a chance. The DM is furious, but lets her live.
After taking her to the hospital, without a chance to heal, we're teleported to a battlefield with the other PCs with the guild leader. We're in a forest, in front of us are enemies. The guild leader is powerful enough to kill them, but no, we have to do this. The paladin voices concern that the enemy (who is just standing out in the open) has men planted in the forest, and that they are now surrounded. The guildmaster just says "No, we're fine" without even a check or anything. He didn't even let me take my horse that I had as a stand-in before my Paladin mount was available.
So, the guild master pretty much shuts down any suggestion aside from "run in there and sword them down". Whatever, right? I Diplomacy him to summon me a damn horse, hop on the thing and charge the enemy leader. The enemy leader apparently had his spear set against a charge, though I won initiative. The set weapon missed my horse's AC, so then the guy (in the same action, mind) grapples me from the horse before I can even deal damage. Eventually the Paladin managed to break free and wail the guy down to single-digit hit points.
Then the guildmaster teleports behind the enemy and bisects him. Because aside from being a wizard, he's also great with a blade. Then we get teleported back and told to bugger off for a while.
Then we find out about a bigger gathering of said enemies, led by an ex-member of the Guild almost as powerful as the guildmaster. I suggest we have the guildmaster 'port us in. No. Okay, then we infiltrate them and sow discord in their ranks, without doing any killing, since one person can only cause so much harm. Also no. We have to go in there without reinforcements, against a superior force, and fight them all. No ifs, ands or buts. Mind you, this is a huge guild with lots of people just as strong as we are, and all the rest of them are sitting at home sucking their thumbs while the handful of us go out to deal with the guild's only enemy.


Fortunately, the game died at this point.

...Dang, man! That's painful!

Myrmex
2009-06-20, 07:49 PM
The DM describes how the mayor crumples to the ground, dead.
"But thankfully," the DM says, moving an identical miniature into the space. "The town's back-up mayor is still alive."

We chuckle.

He was serious.

....

/facepalm

AstralFire
2009-06-20, 08:14 PM
Xall, you should have knocked the DM down and spit acid on his head.

shadow_archmagi
2009-06-20, 08:33 PM
Every town I ever run from now on is going to have a backup mayor. He'll wear a sash that says "BACKUP MAYOR"


He'll live in a little glass case that says "IN CASE OF MAYORAL DEATH"


Our DM would like it if he could railroad us but he is fairly weak-willed and so the pair of us can overrule him and convince him to support our decision.

I believe the phrase "Shreoroading" has been thrown around; the idea is you don't tell your players what will happen. That way they have no idea that their efforts were pointless.


EDIT: Wait what? The *mayor* is forcing them to fight in an arena for his own amusement? Seriously? The mayor. Mayyorrr. How the hell do you have a small town small enough to be defeated by goblins, large enough to have it's own arena, facist enough to have people arbitrarily arrested and forced into an arena, and democratic enough to be lead by an elected official?

WHO VOTED FOR URIST MCARENAPANTS?

Myrmex
2009-06-20, 08:40 PM
EDIT: Wait what? The *mayor* is forcing them to fight in an arena for his own amusement? Seriously? The mayor. Mayyorrr. How the hell do you have a small town small enough to be defeated by goblins, large enough to have it's own arena, facist enough to have people arbitrarily arrested and forced into an arena, and democratic enough to be lead by an elected official?

WHO VOTED FOR URIST MCARENAPANTS?

I think it was a different town.

BobVosh
2009-06-20, 08:42 PM
Hmm, it is a small xenophobic community. Anyone from elsewhere is assumed evil, and they pray on the lawful by having arena fights for "crimes." The chaotic they worry about, espically after the "goblin incident."

Backup mayors are pimp btw.

Xallace
2009-06-20, 09:16 PM
Xall, you should have knocked the DM down and spit acid on his head.

Heh, unfortunately Gaming Club was in the physics lab rather than the chemistry lab.

I used a gyroscope. :smallbiggrin:


I think it was a different town.

Yep.

Panda-s1
2009-06-20, 11:04 PM
Every town I ever run from now on is going to have a backup mayor. He'll wear a sash that says "BACKUP MAYOR"


He'll live in a little glass case that says "IN CASE OF MAYORAL DEATH"
Aw man, I need to steal that idea.


Our DM would like it if he could railroad us but he is fairly weak-willed and so the pair of us can overrule him and convince him to support our decision.
Yeah, kinda sounds like a DM I know... *coughmecough*



"And," the DM continues. "You can't cast any of your spells on the guards. They're all level 30."

I cast a sideways glance at the bard.
Man, those are some guards. Not being able to have spells cast on them...


Apparently, the half-dragon state is brought upon by something inside these small, ornate boxes. I am offered one by a local, told that it has the power to turn me into a red half-dragon. I politely decline, for fear that immunity to flames and the ability to breath fire would further degenerate my condition... also, I was a sexy beast with my 20 Charisma, and I wanted the emphasis to be more on "sexy" than "beast."
Y'know, for a game that's supposed to be worse than it sounds, that's not bad. Though... I'm guessing the DM had something up his sleeve :/


Guards are dying left and right, and towns folk are either on fire or running or dead (or some combination there-of).
Oh sh*t! D: Running, dead townsfolk! IT'S A ZOMBIE HORDE!

Stormthorn
2009-06-20, 11:29 PM
I think he ment that they where either dead, running, on fire, running and on fire, or dead and on fire.

Seriously. The zombies wouldnt run. They can only make one action a round.

aivanther
2009-06-20, 11:39 PM
Wait, were the level 30 guards the one getting their ***es kicked by goblins?

I like the "you're unconscious for the rest of the session." Bit to, good times.

Oh, also how the princess can melt a dude's face is cool, but being locked up for no apparent reason means you need to be more responsible. Awesome DM there...did you put a potato in his tail pipe on your way out?

ResplendentFire
2009-06-21, 02:04 AM
I liked how the princess could melt 30th level guards' faces, but needed the PCs as an escort.

Sliver
2009-06-21, 02:12 AM
NO! Only the prison guards are epics with (probably only to those with negative effect) spells ward of some kind. What else would you do with your epic fighters? have them defend against some infestation? do a quest?!

And every high level NPC needs some low level PC to ignore when needed and bash around and just be a jerk to. That is how it goes, its tradition.. Oh.. wait..

ResplendentFire
2009-06-21, 02:13 AM
Of course, two 30th level prison guards could've defeated the entire goblin invasion.

Worira
2009-06-21, 02:13 AM
I suddenly have an urge to play as a high level adventurer who hires much weaker escorts, just to watch their adventures.

Sliver
2009-06-21, 02:36 AM
I suddenly have an urge to play as a high level adventurer who hires much weaker escorts, just to watch their adventures.

You have to be high level with high mental stats, a really powerful caster with a tardis and anything that no one ever needs except in one specific encounter. The escorts have to be other PCs of course, otherwise its not worth it.
You need to insist they will confort everything head on and if they try to act smart or sneaky, ruin it for them. And make them face puzzles that they have no chance of solving because of some vauge item they don't have, say its simple, pop out some random item and solve it, after they pondered about the puzzle for half of the session.
AND NEVER HELP THEM FIGHT. But if they turn against you, show them that you can defeat them all together without breaking a sweat, ignoring the questions of why the heck you need them with you at the first place.

hewhosaysfish
2009-06-21, 03:45 AM
...but being locked up for no apparent reason means you need to be more responsible.

I'm sure Xallace has learnt an important lesson from this experience and will think twice before saving the townspeople from goblin hordes and rampaging wyverns. :smallbiggrin:

Kyouhen
2009-06-21, 04:43 AM
You have to be high level with high mental stats, a really powerful caster with a tardis and anything that no one ever needs except in one specific encounter. The escorts have to be other PCs of course, otherwise its not worth it.
You need to insist they will confort everything head on and if they try to act smart or sneaky, ruin it for them. And make them face puzzles that they have no chance of solving because of some vauge item they don't have, say its simple, pop out some random item and solve it, after they pondered about the puzzle for half of the session.
AND NEVER HELP THEM FIGHT. But if they turn against you, show them that you can defeat them all together without breaking a sweat, ignoring the questions of why the heck you need them with you at the first place.

Remind me to set up an entire campaign based around this idea. I'll drive the PCs to hate their ward they'll be finding ways to kill her off in no time. :smallbiggrin:

sofawall
2009-06-21, 05:36 AM
I, as a new DM, railroad. I railroad the party into fights. They like this. I like this. It is good.

I let them, for instance, kill guards left and right. However, being level 3, they are quickly apprehended and jailed. The city (being a relatively large one) has the capability to imprison mages just as well as non-spellcasters. After being arrested and trying to escape, irate that their spells won't work, I mention this. Luckily, the rogue had maxed ranks in Open Lock, took 20 and busted out. Made a nice solo adventure.

The less-violent party members realize that this could happen again, however, and talk the rogue and monk out of killing randomly in other towns. I like this. They like this. it is good.

And I didn't even have to railroad them into not going on a killing spree.


But yeah, there are some horror stories here.

Nekogirl
2009-06-21, 06:57 AM
It may also be interesting to note that the GM that was the subject at the start of this thread also waited until 30 minutes after the game was supposed to start before telling another player that my character was not acceptable. Mind you, he was aware of the concept at the time he was planning the game. However, he waited until the day before the game to invite me to play.

So, I have to go and ask him if there was an issue with my character before he finally tells me yes. Despite the fact that he's not banning the use of any books, he doesn't like the race I selected and proceeds to rant about how bad the book I got it out of was and how poor a concept it was. At this point, I just stop listening.

He had, previously, jumped down my throat twice about trivial things. And now, this makes three. I'm guessing he has taken a dislike to me for some reason, although I can't think of why. And, officially, he has no problem with me. So, who knows.

Skeppio
2009-06-21, 07:04 AM
It may also be interesting to note that the GM that was the subject at the start of this thread also waited until 30 minutes after the game was supposed to start before telling another player that my character was not acceptable. Mind you, he was aware of the concept at the time he was planning the game. However, he waited until the day before the game to invite me to play.

So, I have to go and ask him if there was an issue with my character before he finally tells me yes. Despite the fact that he's not banning the use of any books, he doesn't like the race I selected and proceeds to rant about how bad the book I got it out of was and how poor a concept it was. At this point, I just stop listening.

He had, previously, jumped down my throat twice about trivial things. And now, this makes three. I'm guessing he has taken a dislike to me for some reason, although I can't think of why. And, officially, he has no problem with me. So, who knows.

What race did you pick? Just out of curiosity.

Sadly, I have nothing of my own to contribute to this thread.

sofawall
2009-06-21, 07:07 AM
I mean, if was a Dragonwrought White Dragonspawn Kobold, I might understand.

Nekogirl
2009-06-21, 07:37 AM
What race did you pick? Just out of curiosity.

It was a Shard. I'll grant you the idea ran on the silly/cool border. A Force using R2 would have been hilarious.

But, I would have been fine with him saying it wasn't an acceptable concept, had he been up front with me. Instead, I have to find out from another player that there might be an issue. Then, ask him directly if there is. And, follow that up with him jumping down my throat for using rediculous material from a book that's "a waste to even own."

Skeppio
2009-06-21, 07:45 AM
It was a Shard. I'll grant you the idea ran on the silly/cool border. A Force using R2 would have been hilarious.

But, I would have been fine with him saying it wasn't an acceptable concept, had he been up front with me. Instead, I have to find out from another player that there might be an issue. Then, ask him directly if there is. And, follow that up with him jumping down my throat for using rediculous material from a book that's "a waste to even own."

I don't know what a Shard is, but that DM really sounds like a jerk regardless. I'd let my players pick some odd race-class combos and the like. I mean, the point of the game is to have fun.

mistformsquirrl
2009-06-21, 08:36 AM
Wow <~_~> This thread actually makes me happy for a few reasons hah <@[email protected]> mostly because some of my awful DM experiences aren't nearly so bad viewed in this light. (Sadly mine aren't nearly as entertaining - largely because the anecdote in question is quite old and thus my memory fails me on all the details >.<)

First I have to explain something -

My DM at the time, although not at all a stupid person, was something of an egomaniac. I mean as in genuinely seemed to think that he was the incarnation of Most Awesomest Person Ever, and thus whatever he said (game or otherwise) was of course - suitably awesome. Needless to say, disagreeing with this awesome did not go well in-game. >.>;

So anyway, with this firmly acknowledged:

I had a monk - my very first monk in 3.0e actually. My plan for him was to be a little different than most monks I'd seen others play. Rather than focus on training to 'be the best' (which most of our previous group monks had been doing) or DBZ style over-the-topness... I focused the concept on the old Sword and Fist Ghostwalker prestige class.

Now, Ghostwalker was essentially designed to let a player (or NPC) do the "Mysterious Wanderer" routine, and actually get bonuses for staying mysterious. Yes, it was a bit silly in implementation... but the idea was kind of cool; so I ran with it.

Anyway, long story short - Character is all built, and every time I've talked to the DM up until this point, he's seemed quite enthusiastic about the idea.

Session starts - "Okay so you're running down the road, exercising..."

"Uhm... I hate to bug you DM of mine... but err, that's not really how this character behaves in public... he's not one of those "MUST TRAIN HARDER" DBZ type monks, remember?"

"But... but that idea wasn't cool!"

"... but it's my character. He'd be walking down the path quietly, not sprinting like a nut."

He grudgingly gives in - but makes sure that every time he has to describe my character he's practically dripping with all kinds of negative commentary. (Yes, the DM is sitting there essentially insulting me at the game table for my character's personality...)

Whenever I'd talk he'd try to talk for my character as well <x.x>

Eventually we stopped playing and pretty much argued about my character's personality for about 2 hours before I up and left.

Yes that's right - My DM wasn't railroading the plot - he was railroading my character. Essentially attempting to play him for me, because apparently I wasn't 'doing it right' heh <T_T>

I always acknowledge that a DM has ultimate control of their game - but if you don't like my character concept *TELL ME* so I can either change it or drop out o the game <T_T> don't let me get started and try to re-mold my character into something more palatable to you.

This was of course just one of many such incidents; but for pure railroad, I think that one stands out.

That said, I've been:

Arbitrarily killed by said DM, just to advance the plot.

Killed by said DM offering players XP to kill me.

Killed by said DM for having a different character that was "not cool" by setting CR6s loose on a pair of level 1s. (A fighter and a rogue at that.)

Arbitrarily imprisoned because the plot can't advance if that doesn't happen. (Several times - including some ridiculously graphic torture scenes; which I wouldn't have minded if I had at least gotten to feel somehow 'defiant' because I survived... or were able to use later as something for RP. But the way it was set up... it was something that just 'happened' to my character, and then I was never allowed to bring it up again <o.O> I mean c'mon, you just handed me Grade-A angst fodder <,< at least let me ham it up if you're gonna torture me. Yeesh. I will also add that this DM had *entirely* too much fun describing these scenes <x,x> I mean good gravy - this is like, beyond BoVD stuff.)

Then again this is the DM who also didn't like Psionics to the point that he tried to have one of the other gamers burn my freshly purchased Psionics Guide.

Why I put up with all that so long I'll never fully understand <. .> Is it possible to develop roleplaying Stockholm syndrome? I put up with it for years <x,x> oi!

(I'd have minded the plot advancement railroading less if the other stuff hadn't existed I think. Give me a good plot and let me play my character and I probably won't be *too* picky about the rails I'm stuck on, but good grief...)

At least most DMs I've had since have been far, far better.

That said...

I sure hope none of my players are here lol <'x'> I think I do OK as a DM, but I recognize railroading is one of my own faults as well. (I try to let players do what they like.. but players can be REALLY damn creative <[email protected]> "... you blew a whole in the wall?! ... but... I... there's nothing... ... no >< The wall is intact, you'll have to go around. ... no I don't care that you just did eleventy billion damage, go around dammit!"

<;_;> I do try!

Skeppio
2009-06-21, 08:40 AM
Wow <~_~> This thread actually makes me happy for a few reasons hah <@[email protected]> mostly because some of my awful DM experiences aren't nearly so bad viewed in this light. (Sadly mine aren't nearly as entertaining - largely because the anecdote in question is quite old and thus my memory fails me on all the details >.<)

First I have to explain something -

My DM at the time, although not at all a stupid person, was something of an egomaniac. I mean as in genuinely seemed to think that he was the incarnation of Most Awesomest Person Ever, and thus whatever he said (game or otherwise) was of course - suitably awesome. Needless to say, disagreeing with this awesome did not go well in-game. >.>;

So anyway, with this firmly acknowledged:

I had a monk - my very first monk in 3.0e actually. My plan for him was to be a little different than most monks I'd seen others play. Rather than focus on training to 'be the best' (which most of our previous group monks had been doing) or DBZ style over-the-topness... I focused the concept on the old Sword and Fist Ghostwalker prestige class.

Now, Ghostwalker was essentially designed to let a player (or NPC) do the "Mysterious Wanderer" routine, and actually get bonuses for staying mysterious. Yes, it was a bit silly in implementation... but the idea was kind of cool; so I ran with it.

Anyway, long story short - Character is all built, and every time I've talked to the DM up until this point, he's seemed quite enthusiastic about the idea.

Session starts - "Okay so you're running down the road, exercising..."

"Uhm... I hate to bug you DM of mine... but err, that's not really how this character behaves in public... he's not one of those "MUST TRAIN HARDER" DBZ type monks, remember?"

"But... but that idea wasn't cool!"

"... but it's my character. He'd be walking down the path quietly, not sprinting like a nut."

He grudgingly gives in - but makes sure that every time he has to describe my character he's practically dripping with all kinds of negative commentary. (Yes, the DM is sitting there essentially insulting me at the game table for my character's personality...)

Whenever I'd talk he'd try to talk for my character as well <x.x>

Eventually we stopped playing and pretty much argued about my character's personality for about 2 hours before I up and left.

Yes that's right - My DM wasn't railroading the plot - he was railroading my character. Essentially attempting to play him for me, because apparently I wasn't 'doing it right' heh <T_T>

I always acknowledge that a DM has ultimate control of their game - but if you don't like my character concept *TELL ME* so I can either change it or drop out o the game <T_T> don't let me get started and try to re-mold my character into something more palatable to you.

This was of course just one of many such incidents; but for pure railroad, I think that one stands out.

That said, I've been:

Arbitrarily killed by said DM, just to advance the plot.

Killed by said DM offering players XP to kill me.

Killed by said DM for having a different character that was "not cool" by setting CR6s loose on a pair of level 1s. (A fighter and a rogue at that.)

Arbitrarily imprisoned because the plot can't advance if that doesn't happen. (Several times - including some ridiculously graphic torture scenes; which I wouldn't have minded if I had at least gotten to feel somehow 'defiant' because I survived... or were able to use later as something for RP. But the way it was set up... it was something that just 'happened' to my character, and then I was never allowed to bring it up again <o.O> I mean c'mon, you just handed me Grade-A angst fodder <,< at least let me ham it up if you're gonna torture me. Yeesh. I will also add that this DM had *entirely* too much fun describing these scenes <x,x> I mean good gravy - this is like, beyond BoVD stuff.)

Then again this is the DM who also didn't like Psionics to the point that he tried to have one of the other gamers burn my freshly purchased Psionics Guide.

Why I put up with all that so long I'll never fully understand <. .> Is it possible to develop roleplaying Stockholm syndrome? I put up with it for years <x,x> oi!

(I'd have minded the plot advancement railroading less if the other stuff hadn't existed I think. Give me a good plot and let me play my character and I probably won't be *too* picky about the rails I'm stuck on, but good grief...)

At least most DMs I've had since have been far, far better.

That said...

I sure hope none of my players are here lol <'x'> I think I do OK as a DM, but I recognize railroading is one of my own faults as well. (I try to let players do what they like.. but players can be REALLY damn creative <[email protected]> "... you blew a whole in the wall?! ... but... I... there's nothing... ... no >< The wall is intact, you'll have to go around. ... no I don't care that you just did eleventy billion damage, go around dammit!"

<;_;> I do try!

Wow, I'd seriously consider punching that DM in the face. I mean, what a colossal ass.

shadow_archmagi
2009-06-21, 09:22 AM
Punch him? No, you pick a page from his favorite sourcebook. You light it and then tie it to his face and say "PSIONICS IS UNHAPPY WITH YOU!"

Then you punch the fire out. Then you spit acid and melt his face.

EDIT: Oh, and feel free to steal my BACKUP MAYOR sash.

Xallace
2009-06-21, 09:27 AM
Punch him? No, you pick a page from his favorite sourcebook. You light it and then tie it to his face and say "PSIONICS IS UNHAPPY WITH YOU!"

Then you punch the fire out. Then you spit acid and melt his face.

EDIT: Oh, and feel free to steal my BACKUP MAYOR sash.

The edit made that the funniest image of the whole thread. 10:30 AM, and my day is already made.
EDIT: I think I need this image actually drawn.
---

Mistformsquirrl, you must be some kind of saint for holding out so long. I know my patience would have worn thing MUCH sooner.

Arcane Copycat
2009-06-21, 09:34 AM
Wow <~_~> This thread actually makes me happy for a few reasons hah <@[email protected]> mostly because some of my awful DM experiences aren't nearly so bad viewed in this light. (Sadly mine aren't nearly as entertaining - largely because the anecdote in question is quite old and thus my memory fails me on all the details >.<)

First I have to explain something -

My DM at the time, although not at all a stupid person, was something of an egomaniac. I mean as in genuinely seemed to think that he was the incarnation of Most Awesomest Person Ever, and thus whatever he said (game or otherwise) was of course - suitably awesome. Needless to say, disagreeing with this awesome did not go well in-game. >.>;

So anyway, with this firmly acknowledged:

I had a monk - my very first monk in 3.0e actually. My plan for him was to be a little different than most monks I'd seen others play. Rather than focus on training to 'be the best' (which most of our previous group monks had been doing) or DBZ style over-the-topness... I focused the concept on the old Sword and Fist Ghostwalker prestige class.

Now, Ghostwalker was essentially designed to let a player (or NPC) do the "Mysterious Wanderer" routine, and actually get bonuses for staying mysterious. Yes, it was a bit silly in implementation... but the idea was kind of cool; so I ran with it.

Anyway, long story short - Character is all built, and every time I've talked to the DM up until this point, he's seemed quite enthusiastic about the idea.

Session starts - "Okay so you're running down the road, exercising..."

"Uhm... I hate to bug you DM of mine... but err, that's not really how this character behaves in public... he's not one of those "MUST TRAIN HARDER" DBZ type monks, remember?"

"But... but that idea wasn't cool!"

"... but it's my character. He'd be walking down the path quietly, not sprinting like a nut."

He grudgingly gives in - but makes sure that every time he has to describe my character he's practically dripping with all kinds of negative commentary. (Yes, the DM is sitting there essentially insulting me at the game table for my character's personality...)

Whenever I'd talk he'd try to talk for my character as well <x.x>

Eventually we stopped playing and pretty much argued about my character's personality for about 2 hours before I up and left.

Yes that's right - My DM wasn't railroading the plot - he was railroading my character. Essentially attempting to play him for me, because apparently I wasn't 'doing it right' heh <T_T>

I always acknowledge that a DM has ultimate control of their game - but if you don't like my character concept *TELL ME* so I can either change it or drop out o the game <T_T> don't let me get started and try to re-mold my character into something more palatable to you.

This was of course just one of many such incidents; but for pure railroad, I think that one stands out.

That said, I've been:

Arbitrarily killed by said DM, just to advance the plot.

Killed by said DM offering players XP to kill me.

Killed by said DM for having a different character that was "not cool" by setting CR6s loose on a pair of level 1s. (A fighter and a rogue at that.)

Arbitrarily imprisoned because the plot can't advance if that doesn't happen. (Several times - including some ridiculously graphic torture scenes; which I wouldn't have minded if I had at least gotten to feel somehow 'defiant' because I survived... or were able to use later as something for RP. But the way it was set up... it was something that just 'happened' to my character, and then I was never allowed to bring it up again <o.O> I mean c'mon, you just handed me Grade-A angst fodder <,< at least let me ham it up if you're gonna torture me. Yeesh. I will also add that this DM had *entirely* too much fun describing these scenes <x,x> I mean good gravy - this is like, beyond BoVD stuff.)

Then again this is the DM who also didn't like Psionics to the point that he tried to have one of the other gamers burn my freshly purchased Psionics Guide.

Why I put up with all that so long I'll never fully understand <. .> Is it possible to develop roleplaying Stockholm syndrome? I put up with it for years <x,x> oi!

(I'd have minded the plot advancement railroading less if the other stuff hadn't existed I think. Give me a good plot and let me play my character and I probably won't be *too* picky about the rails I'm stuck on, but good grief...)

At least most DMs I've had since have been far, far better.

That said...

I sure hope none of my players are here lol <'x'> I think I do OK as a DM, but I recognize railroading is one of my own faults as well. (I try to let players do what they like.. but players can be REALLY damn creative <[email protected]> "... you blew a whole in the wall?! ... but... I... there's nothing... ... no >< The wall is intact, you'll have to go around. ... no I don't care that you just did eleventy billion damage, go around dammit!"

<;_;> I do try!


Wow, that's terrible. Worst I've had was my DM kill my character after 'he disappeared into the forest in the middle of the night, not telling anyone where or why he was leaving' for not only plot reasons, but plot reasons that were put there simply because he was yet to kill a PC in the 4 months of DMing. And he couldn't even do it directly!

Marillion
2009-06-21, 09:38 AM
You have to be high level with high mental stats, a really powerful caster with a tardis and anything that no one ever needs except in one specific encounter. The escorts have to be other PCs of course, otherwise its not worth it.
You need to insist they will confort everything head on and if they try to act smart or sneaky, ruin it for them. And make them face puzzles that they have no chance of solving because of some vauge item they don't have, say its simple, pop out some random item and solve it, after they pondered about the puzzle for half of the session.
AND NEVER HELP THEM FIGHT. But if they turn against you, show them that you can defeat them all together without breaking a sweat, ignoring the questions of why the heck you need them with you at the first place.
hehehe.

But seriously, I can see story-telling potential in that as a game. Some of the players are high-level mercenaries or guards or general adventurers, training the other players in the art of adventuring/guarding/mercernary...ing. It would require a lot of tinkering, and would be heavily predisposed to role-playing as opposed to hack/n/slash, but it has potential.

As for the acid-spitting princess, that could have been explained in-game by an incredibly over protective father who was willfully blind to the fact that his daughter is an acid-spitting, guard-murdering, generally unpleasant wench.

Sliver
2009-06-21, 09:43 AM
As for the acid-spitting princess, that could have been explained in-game by an incredibly over protective father who was willfully blind to the fact that his daughter is an acid-spitting, guard-murdering, generally unpleasant wench.

An acid-spitting, guard-murdering, generally unpleasant wench isn't really the image of daddy's little princess. Maybe he was just afraid of her? so he just some day granted her wish, to find some low level advanturers she could annoy and be far from him?

DamnedIrishman
2009-06-21, 09:43 AM
EDIT: Oh, and feel free to steal my BACKUP MAYOR sash.

http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/8153/jokey.png

SPARE MAYOR.

mistformsquirrl
2009-06-21, 09:48 AM
The edit made that the funniest image of the whole thread. 10:30 AM, and my day is already made.
EDIT: I think I need this image actually drawn.
---

Mistformsquirrl, you must be some kind of saint for holding out so long. I know my patience would have worn thing MUCH sooner.

I should have, but honestly it wasn't any virtue of mine that kept me there <x.x> it was a sore lack of friends and being entirely devoid of ability to stand up for myself! Still wish I hadn't wasted the time on that guy, but meh, live and learn.

And on the upshot, since then I've started DMing myself, which is a lot of fun even if I'm not "Teh Greatest DM Evar" by any stretch.

Also -

Rofl @ "PSIONICS IS UNHAPPY WITH YOU" >< I wish I'd had the guts to do something like that at the time <,<m

Ahh well < . .>b

Crystania
2009-06-21, 09:52 AM
I have an on-going train-wreck of a railroading experience to share with you.


The basic setting is moden horror. Ala White Wolf. But, unfortunately, we're using a homebrewed system. White Wolf would be easier, but the GM is nearly wetting himself with how excited he is with how the system turned out. I've got a suspicion that he borrowed some of the system from someone else, since he seems to have forgotten to remove a page reference. It's kind of hard to refer to page 100+ in a 50 page document.

Anyways, onto the train wreck...

Cast - Me: tomboy, likes the outdoors, sun, exercise, gym class. Social outcasts 1 & 2. 1) Rich kid. 2) Goth wannabe. Social butterfly. Punk rocker. And, the conspiracy nut. I know these sound harsh, but that's boiling them down to their essential themes. Also of note, since I was recruited late into the game, and didn't know any of the other players, it was decided that it would be easier if I was the new kid in town. And, we're all high school students.

Prolog - The cast arrives at the local Borders-wannabe store, in search of a book required for the new school year. (Why the school didn't provide it is uncertain. I've only had one class that required a book be read before the start of the year, by that was an Advanced Placement class.) So, of course, the store is sold. There is another one, on the other side of town, that might carry it. (Time period as yet undetermined, but there is no Amazon.com) So, not knowing anyone, I asked to use the phone to call for a ride. Store clerk, says to hold on and goes outside. (I can't tell you how many times I've had that happen to me. *insert sarcasm*) So, she comes in, and gets side-tracked again talking to the other PCs I've yet to actually meet. They get a ride to said bookstore, while I'm still waiting for the clerk to locate the store phone. (Obviously, I was supposed to go with them, despite not being around the other PCs.)

So, I get the ride, and arrive at the book store/pot store/occult store. Run into the PCs this time. Hard to miss five other students all after the same book in a pot store. (*eye roll*) So, I find the book, and pay for it. We're all asked the same thing, "Is there anything else you want to look for?" (See my character arche-type.) My answer is no, as it is for most of the other players. Goth girl picks up a candle that promises to help her find true love, and the conspiracy nut finds a "legitimate" book on conspiracies.

(Not bad at this point, aside from the lack of intros and having to go to this store.)

Session 1 - Now, we're at a club. I have no idea why my character is there, since she's a bad dancer. But, I'm introduced to an NPC that is my character's friend. Some friend when she ditches me to dance/flirt with every guy in the club. So, I hang out at the juice bar and wait for her to take a break. Meanwhile, the other PCs arrive and start hanging out. On the other hand, I get chatted up by an overly pushy guy. He buys me a drink and suggests we go somewhere else. I try to blow him off. Despite a host of reasons over the course of the RP, he keeps it up. (Ok. I figure he's significant to the plot, so I go with it.) We finally leave, and he leads me over to a car where he proceeds to do the vampire feeding thing on me. The other PCs are OOCly ushered out to the parking lot where they see us making out. (Nice first impression for my character to make.) He looks up. *gasp* Blood! And, proceeds to one-shot the other PCs into unconsciousness.

We wake up in an abandoned factory with our hands in cable ties. Despite the debris and neglect, there is nothing sharp around to cut the cable ties off with. Introduce Big Bad, who proceeds to feed on the store clerk and an unnamed NPC. We're brought to our feet since we're next on the menu.

Cue the A-Team theme. (And, you have no idea how badly I wish I was making this part up.) A van smashes through a wall of the warehouse, screeching to a halt. The back door pops open revealing a hunter weilding a flame thrower, who proceeds to torch several of the vampires. A hatch pops open on the top of the van revealing another hunter who lobs molotovs at more. Other hunters rush out and start staking the ones holding us captive. I try headbutting the one holding me, but that gets lost in the GM narrative.

Now, we are taken back to the hunters' HQ. An impressive... suburban house. (Apparently, it's common for 10+ assorted people to all hang out at this house. Intro leader, run explanation narrative, and Q&A session. Also, equip PCs with "basic hunter gear." (Holy water, cross, and stake.) Then, we're told not to get involved. (*confused look*) We point out that we're already involved, and question why he explained things if we were supposed to go back to our normal lives. GM handwaves, and leader retreats to his study. Now, since my character was fed from, high penalty to all rolls, woozy, nauseous, etc, she's already rationalizing things by the ride home. She was drugged at the club. The stuff at the warehouse was probably a halucination. And, the leader's spiel, well that was crazy on it's own. Follow this up with explanation for why I'm home so late, why I walked out with a stranger, and why there was blood on my shirt. (I forget the first reason. Second, "I was trying to make friends, since we just moved AGAIN... *simplified version*. Third, it was just a drink someone spilled on her at the club.)

Session 2 - ...Will have to wait.


Let me know if you want me to go on. The railroading isn't too bad at this point, but it gets worse. Of course, I may be boring you to tears too. But, I'm in need of sleep.

Sliver
2009-06-21, 09:54 AM
This thread made me think.. Every authority figure out there should be working with his twin brother nay? Never now when some high-pitched nerd gonna roll a few nat-20 and rip your spine out with his bare heands, just cuz the die said he could..
Well if you are the last twin you just need to start searching for some new twin guys.. or dooplegangers or w/e.. polymorphing ooze..

only1doug
2009-06-21, 10:43 AM
Let me know if you want me to go on. The railroading isn't too bad at this point, but it gets worse. Of course, I may be boring you to tears too. But, I'm in need of sleep.

I'm always interested in hearing other peoples horror stories, makes me appreciate my good groups all the more.

for myself I had only 1 real horror GM and it was so long ago I don't really remember much of it (alcohol fuelled gaming sessions do have drawbacks)
One session I do remember

We were playing the GM's home-brewed "ultra-realistic" system.

the party were chosen by arena fight (handwaved away, we were the winners) by the king for a quest, we were to investigate the trouble in the sewers.
I was playing a low intelligence character fighter type and got crippled in the first fight (leg badly injured, couldn't keep up with the rest of the party), the door we had come through was locked with a puzzle/trap.

I returned to the door and banged on it to request assistance (no response).
I looked at the puzzle and told the GM that my character would try to solve it (then rolled a critical success against my (low) intelligence).
The GM shook his head and said that I had to solve his puzzle, that would open the door. I looked at his puzzle (for about 5 minutes) and then had my character push a sequence of buttons on the puzzle. The GM looked at me with hatred on his face and told me that I was supposed to be playing a low intelligence PC and to play my character.
(I found out later that he had bragged about how this puzzle was nigh unsolvable and that it would take us hours to solve it).

My character was patched up and sent back into the sewers and told not to return until we had completed the mission (and died in the next combat).

Great system, my fighter was in 2 fights, during the first one his leg was broken, in the second he died.

Xallace
2009-06-21, 10:53 AM
http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/8153/jokey.png

SPARE MAYOR.

WEAR IT. I wonder if I've begun something that I'll later regret...

kjones
2009-06-21, 11:02 AM
Let me know if you want me to go on. The railroading isn't too bad at this point, but it gets worse. Of course, I may be boring you to tears too. But, I'm in need of sleep.

Please, do go on. The setting sounds interesting, even if the execution is dreadful.

It seems to me that a lot of these railroading stories involve one of two elements:

DMPCs
Forced teleportation

There's no defense against the first, but recall that most forms of teleportation (in D&D of course) at least allow a will save.

Kris Strife
2009-06-21, 12:08 PM
I suddenly have an urge to play as a high level adventurer who hires much weaker escorts, just to watch their adventures.

Eh... I kinda did something like this once... We had a good DM, but he liked to have a PC with higher levels to effectively pull the other PCs collective butt out of the fire if they got in over their heads. It was a high level (15+ is high level right? That was the lowest level character) but I was the only epic level. A paladin, not a full caster though.

BRC
2009-06-21, 12:27 PM
I fail at railroading, but it usually ends up more awesome than I plannned


The Campaign: The players are part of an Inquisition in an industrial-revolution era DnD setting.

My Plan was for the players to get lured into a trap, a basement with an arcane locked door, a couple kegs of gunpowder, and a passage into the sewers. The idea was that they enter the room, the door shuts, somebody outside tosses a molotov in the window, and they flee into the sewers for a fight against some undead.
One of the Pc's says "Can I catch the molotov in my cloak"
I reply "With a reflex save, why not". He succeeds. In the end, I have to put on my puppy dog face to get them into the sewers anyway.

Earlier in the campaign, this same PC (An Urban Ranger) asked if he could cast entangle indoors, I said no, because there were no plants, he pointed out that he could use the carpet because he was an urban ranger, I say "Okay, but only if you make a DC (Ridiculous) Spellcraft check). He rolls a Nat 20, and my evil conspiracy strike force is grabbed and snared by shag carpeting.

[spoiler]
But, that's not the big moment, a moment I will always hold as a testiment to why you shouldn't railroad.

The PC's temporarily took over a new set of characters, guards onboard the inquisitorial prison ship Imminent Judgment. So I present, the Saga of the Imminent Judgment
[spoiler]
DRAMATAS PERSONI
A Hadooze Rogue, a crewmember onboard the ship.
A Paladin, just hitching a ride back to the Holy city.
A Gnome Sorcerer (Inquisitorial Investigator)
A Ranger (Inquisitorial Witchunter)
A Half-Orc Fighter (A Marine)
A Monk
And a Cleric.

The ship is carrying the Boss of the next adventure, a powerful, highly insane, druid. The idea is that the ship get's attacked by a bunch of crazy cultists and demons on a ship they conjured up using some supermagic.

So, the ship attacks, boarding Ramps lower, and the battle begins. My plan was to have all the temporary PC's fight a losing battle, die, and have the last survivor see the crazy druid dude get free, then get lightninged. My mistake, was telling the PC's they wern't expected to survive the fight, after all, these were temporary characters, their main PC's were still back at the city.


So the fight begins, the Rogue runs to the captain, and tells him to throw the switch that will fill all the prisoner cells with a Cloudkill, or somthing else to get rid of them quickly. The Captain shrugs him off, saying they can handle this. So the rogue, rather than returning to the other PC's, runs to the lifeboats and lowers one into the ocean. A random NPC takes a shot at him for desertion, but gets back to shooting demons and cultists.


So, back at the boarding ramps, the sorceror (Same player who had the ranger mentioned above), gets tired of waiting for people to come across the ramp, and decides to fireball the deck of the other ship. I have no idea what's on the other ship, aside from Demons and Cultists, so I say there is a shield around the ship that blocks incoming spells, like a bubble or somthing.

The sorcerer turns to the half-orc (Who has been hit with an Enlarge Person spell by the cleric) and says "Throw me".

I rule there are five cultists and one bearded devil onboard the other ship, or at least the part near them had five cultists and a bearded devil. The sorceror makes his Concentration check to Fireball in mid-air, hits the deck, takes a couple eldritch blasts, and fireballs again. The Monk then jumps between the ships and proceeds to engage the Bearded Devil, while the sorceror runs belowdecks, where I say he found abunch of cultists chanting around a big evil crystal thingy. He uses his last fireball to take out the ritual, then succeeds on his reflex save to avoid the ensuing blast. At this point, the evil ship starts falling apart and fading from existance, so the monk and the sorceror end up in the ocean.
So at this point I say that borders from other parts of the ship (These were two very big ships, and there was a second demon ship on the other side) freed the evil druid, who comes out wreathed in lightning. All the PC's, except the paladin, jump overboard. The Pally gets lightninged to death, and the PC's are sitting in the ocean.

Remember that Rogue who, rather than fighting, went for the lifeboat?

So, a fight that I expected to result in a TPK, ended up resulting in the only death being by-choice, and we had FAR more fun than if my origional plan had occured.


And that is why DM's should let their players go off the rails, because things get awesome.




Also, concerning DMPC's, my general rule is that, if it fights for the players, the players should get to control it. Whenever I have a Deux-ex-machina character show up or somthing, I usually hand the sheet to a PC, preferably one whose character was out of the fight, or who was in a support role like a bard.

Kzickas
2009-06-21, 12:46 PM
Please, do go on. The setting sounds interesting, even if the execution is dreadful.

It seems to me that a lot of these railroading stories involve one of two elements:

DMPCs
Forced teleportation

There's no defense against the first, but recall that most forms of teleportation (in D&D of course) at least allow a will save.

I'm fairly certain the it's now random amount of time later and you are *place your character specifically said she didn't want to go to* school of teleportation doesn't allow any kind of save in D&D or elsewhere

Coidzor
2009-06-21, 12:48 PM
http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/8153/jokey.png

SPARE MAYOR.

...Time to do that to luigi now...

Also, squicky vampire date rapists who can't even tell that the goth is the easiest prey... *facepalm*

Xallace
2009-06-21, 01:08 PM
...Time to do that to luigi now...

Also, squicky vampire date rapists who can't even tell that the goth is the easiest prey... *facepalm*

For real, dude mustn't have been a vampire for very long.

And Crystania, do go on; I'd love to hear the rest.

kjones
2009-06-21, 01:11 PM
I'm fairly certain the it's now random amount of time later and you are *place your character specifically said she didn't want to go to* school of teleportation doesn't allow any kind of save in D&D or elsewhere

I was thinking more of Flickerdart's story, where he was getting teleported all over the place. This happened in a Knights of the Dinner Table story as well, which is my canonical example of railroading.

Marillion
2009-06-21, 01:13 PM
I fail at railroading, but it usually ends up more awesome than I plannned


But, that's not the big moment, a moment I will always hold as a testiment to why you shouldn't railroad.

The PC's temporarily took over a new set of characters, guards onboard the inquisitorial prison ship Imminent Judgment. So I present, the Saga of the Imminent Judgment
[spoiler]
DRAMATAS PERSONI
A Hadooze Rogue, a crewmember onboard the ship.
A Paladin, just hitching a ride back to the Holy city.
A Gnome Sorcerer (Inquisitorial Investigator)
A Ranger (Inquisitorial Witchunter)
A Half-Orc Fighter (A Marine)
A Monk
And a Cleric.

The ship is carrying the Boss of the next adventure, a powerful, highly insane, druid. The idea is that the ship get's attacked by a bunch of crazy cultists and demons on a ship they conjured up using some supermagic.

So, the ship attacks, boarding Ramps lower, and the battle begins. My plan was to have all the temporary PC's fight a losing battle, die, and have the last survivor see the crazy druid dude get free, then get lightninged. My mistake, was telling the PC's they wern't expected to survive the fight, after all, these were temporary characters, their main PC's were still back at the city.


So the fight begins, the Rogue runs to the captain, and tells him to throw the switch that will fill all the prisoner cells with a Cloudkill, or somthing else to get rid of them quickly. The Captain shrugs him off, saying they can handle this. So the rogue, rather than returning to the other PC's, runs to the lifeboats and lowers one into the ocean. A random NPC takes a shot at him for desertion, but gets back to shooting demons and cultists.


So, back at the boarding ramps, the sorceror (Same player who had the ranger mentioned above), gets tired of waiting for people to come across the ramp, and decides to fireball the deck of the other ship. I have no idea what's on the other ship, aside from Demons and Cultists, so I say there is a shield around the ship that blocks incoming spells, like a bubble or somthing.

The sorcerer turns to the half-orc (Who has been hit with an Enlarge Person spell by the cleric) and says "Throw me".

I rule there are five cultists and one bearded devil onboard the other ship, or at least the part near them had five cultists and a bearded devil. The sorceror makes his Concentration check to Fireball in mid-air, hits the deck, takes a couple eldritch blasts, and fireballs again. The Monk then jumps between the ships and proceeds to engage the Bearded Devil, while the sorceror runs belowdecks, where I say he found abunch of cultists chanting around a big evil crystal thingy. He uses his last fireball to take out the ritual, then succeeds on his reflex save to avoid the ensuing blast. At this point, the evil ship starts falling apart and fading from existance, so the monk and the sorceror end up in the ocean.
So at this point I say that borders from other parts of the ship (These were two very big ships, and there was a second demon ship on the other side) freed the evil druid, who comes out wreathed in lightning. All the PC's, except the paladin, jump overboard. The Pally gets lightninged to death, and the PC's are sitting in the ocean.

Remember that Rogue who, rather than fighting, went for the lifeboat?

So, a fight that I expected to result in a TPK, ended up resulting in the only death being by-choice, and we had FAR more fun than if my origional plan had occured.


And that is why DM's should let their players go off the rails, because things get awesome.

And many high-fives were given...

Winterwind
2009-06-21, 01:55 PM
All of the groups I usually play in were great and completely free of such nasty gamemasters... however, at a roleplaying convention I've been to twice or thrice, I had the questionable "pleasure" of running into a member of this elusive species.
The game was ShadowRun, 3rd edition, and we had to, basically, protect some NPC.

Only then it turned out we didn't have so much to protect the NPC, as bear witness to the incredible awesomeness of this Mary Sue superbeing walking around, that was hunted by pretty much all big powers in the ShadowRun world - dragons, megacons, everything - and was a female android capable of casting magic, possessing instant regeneration, the ability to instantly create copies of itself and probably whichever other ability would have come in handy to prove this being was awesome.1

And the entire rest of the adventure was one big railroad; whenever there was a danger, we got pretty much told our actions, attacks, spells and whatever were totally ineffective at best - bullets bounced off of the armoured enemies and drones sent after us, spells didn't do anything, etc - and at worst we were simply told we were being knocked out (no checks, saves or anything like that allowed to prevent that), only to watch the android save the day.

That was probably the most disgusting thing I've ever seen in roleplaying. :smallyuk:


1 Side note: There are no sentient androids in ShadowRun since people are not capable of creating sentient AIs yet and the about three AIs that have been created anyway were pure accidents. Magic and technology are anathema and an artificial being should never be able to access magic. And technology is not nearly advanced enough to warrant instant regeneration or this copy ability.

Friv
2009-06-21, 01:57 PM
Fortunately, I haven't had many serious railroading experiences, and those that I have had were fairly mundane. I did have one GM who, while a decent GM otherwise, had a tendency to railroad, and one of the other players and I decided to trip him up a little just to see what he would do...


So, we're playing an Exalted game, meaning that we were world-shaking powers who had to worry about other world-shaking powers threatening us. Our group consisted of an old soldier who gained incredible ambassadorial and combat powers, and who could train societies with ease, a skilled alchemist-warrior who was a master craftsman, a stealthy and cunning assassin. We also had a new player joining soon. At this point in the game, we had drawn the attention of the Wyld Hunt while trying to get a god to like us so he'd protect our town (jerk). For non-Exalted players, that means a small army of demigods was combing the area looking for us. This is not an uncommon occurrence, but it's a good time to get the hell out of Dodge.

"Fortunately", there was a magical chaos-area ("Wyld") nearby that we could go hide in, and the plot necessitated our going there to resolve a problem that we'd caused earlier when arbitrarily poor description on an NPCs part caused us to give a plot-critical item to the wrong other NPC. Long story short, we went into a kingdom that was protected against the Wyld, and led them in a massive battle against the marauding fae streaming out of the Wyld to kill them. Killed the bosses, scattered the superarmy and kept it from getting in. Good times. The new player joined us as the sorcerer-king of the kingdom that we had saved, and it was cool.

So then the ST says, "Okay, guys, you've saved the kingdom, but there's a lot of monsters around that still can't get in and they're starting to surround the place. You're going to have to leave in the next couple of days so that you don't get trapped here; you can come back in a few months when the army's dispersed."

And we say, "Nah, we're good."

His facial expression was priceless. "But... you have to leave if you want to get home..."

And I say, "But there's still demigods combing the area for us. Hell, they're probably waiting for us. Seems much safer to hide here for the next few months and build this kingdom into something that'll give us a major edge and support the local area." And all of the other players agree, we don't have anywhere pressing to be.

He eventually gave in, hence why he's generally a good GM, but we had to end the session early because he had no idea what to do next and needed time to prepare.


For a much, much more disasterous Exalted railroad, though, you can take a look at the following:

http://exalted.xi.co.nz/wiki/wiki.pl?ExaltedThaumaturgicalCinema3000 (http://exalted.xi.co.nz/wiki/wiki.pl?ExaltedThaumaturgicalCinema3000)

It's not mine. It is brilliant.

wadledo
2009-06-21, 01:59 PM
All of the groups I usually play in were great and completely free of such nasty gamemasters... however, at a roleplaying convention I've been to twice or thrice, I had the questionable "pleasure" of running into a member of this elusive species.
The game was ShadowRun, 3rd edition, and we had to, basically, protect some NPC.

Only then it turned out we didn't have so much to protect the NPC, as bear witness to the incredible awesomeness of this Mary Sue superbeing walking around, that was hunted by pretty much all big powers in the ShadowRun world - dragons, megacons, everything - and was a female android capable of casting magic, possessing instant regeneration, the ability to instantly create copies of itself and probably whichever other ability would have come in handy to prove this being was awesome.1

And the entire rest of the adventure was one big railroad; whenever there was a danger, we got pretty much told our actions, attacks, spells and whatever were totally ineffective at best - bullets bounced off of the armoured enemies and drones sent after us, spells didn't do anything, etc - and at worst we were simply told we were being knocked out (no checks, saves or anything like that allowed to prevent that), only to watch the android save the day.

That was probably the most disgusting thing I've ever seen in roleplaying. :smallyuk:


1 Side note: There are no sentient androids in ShadowRun since people are not capable of creating sentient AIs yet and the about three AIs that have been created anyway were pure accidents. Magic and technology are anathema and an artificial being should never be able to access magic. And technology is not nearly advanced enough to warrant instant regeneration or this copy ability.

From my understanding, con games tend to be nothing but massive ego-fests for the person running them.

kjones
2009-06-21, 02:16 PM
From my understanding, con games tend to be nothing but massive ego-fests for the person running them.

Guilty. In my defense, I think I was 14 at the time. But if anyone reading this played a dreadful game of Spycraft at NorEasCon '04... I'm sorry.

(It wasn't that bad, and further in my defense, 1st edition Spycraft rules have a lot of silliness in them. But still.)

Winterwind
2009-06-21, 02:23 PM
From my understanding, con games tend to be nothing but massive ego-fests for the person running them.Actually, apart from this incident, all other games at this con were quite fun. Well, there was another poor game,
coincidentally ShadowRun as well, where the GM wanted us to infiltrate some installation but failed to give us any sensible ways to gather information about it on which to base a plan on how to accomplish that, leading to the entire group wasting about three or four hours of gaming time debating plans without being able to decide upon one (because they all were not based on any facts, since we didn't have any!), before finally going in and having to retreat just five minutes later when one of us was discovered and shot dead. Not a case of railroading though, just poor GMing in general.
Apart from these two games, the rest was perfectly good though. :smallsmile:

shadow_archmagi
2009-06-21, 04:51 PM
http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/8153/jokey.png

I will wear this now as a sign of thanks to the artificers who made it, but I will also say I'd like it better if it said SPARE MAYOR (although admittedly, there isn't much room. Still, I'm sure you photoshop jockies can do something with it.)

This is beautiful and I'm glad to have finally started a meme on this forum that I love so much.


EDIT: By the way, I took the liberty of posting the end of that story over on the Dwarf Fortress forums, where it has been much applauded.

Arakune
2009-06-21, 06:54 PM
http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/8153/jokey.png

I will wear this now as a sign of thanks to the artificers who made it, but I will also say I'd like it better if it said SPARE MAYOR (although admittedly, there isn't much room. Still, I'm sure you photoshop jockies can do something with it.)

This is beautiful and I'm glad to have finally started a meme on this forum that I love so much.


EDIT: By the way, I took the liberty of posting the end of that story over on the Dwarf Fortress forums, where it has been much applauded.

You need to post the meaning of your avatar too.

ResplendentFire
2009-06-21, 07:53 PM
I'm always interested in hearing other peoples horror stories, makes me appreciate my good groups all the more.

for myself I had only 1 real horror GM and it was so long ago I don't really remember much of it (alcohol fuelled gaming sessions do have drawbacks)
One session I do remember

We were playing the GM's home-brewed "ultra-realistic" system.

the party were chosen by arena fight (handwaved away, we were the winners) by the king for a quest, we were to investigate the trouble in the sewers.
I was playing a low intelligence character fighter type and got crippled in the first fight (leg badly injured, couldn't keep up with the rest of the party), the door we had come through was locked with a puzzle/trap.

I returned to the door and banged on it to request assistance (no response).
I looked at the puzzle and told the GM that my character would try to solve it (then rolled a critical success against my (low) intelligence).
The GM shook his head and said that I had to solve his puzzle, that would open the door. I looked at his puzzle (for about 5 minutes) and then had my character push a sequence of buttons on the puzzle. The GM looked at me with hatred on his face and told me that I was supposed to be playing a low intelligence PC and to play my character.
(I found out later that he had bragged about how this puzzle was nigh unsolvable and that it would take us hours to solve it).

My character was patched up and sent back into the sewers and told not to return until we had completed the mission (and died in the next combat).

Great system, my fighter was in 2 fights, during the first one his leg was broken, in the second he died.



GMs who start talking about extreme realism are a big red flag for me in so many ways.

DamnedIrishman
2009-06-21, 08:13 PM
This is beautiful and I'm glad to have finally started a meme on this forum that I love so much.


We should have Spare Mayor Week (or maybe just Spare Week) once Steampunk Avatar Week is over...

EDIT: It says spare on the back, honest. The number two is just to denote that it's the spare "spare mayor" sash.

The New Bruceski
2009-06-21, 08:20 PM
http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/8153/jokey.png

I will wear this now as a sign of thanks to the artificers who made it, but I will also say I'd like it better if it said SPARE MAYOR (although admittedly, there isn't much room. Still, I'm sure you photoshop jockies can do something with it.)



Mayor.bak?

Crystania
2009-06-21, 09:26 PM
Alright. So, the continuing wreck. ^_^


Session 2 - Our first day of school. As I said earlier, I'm the new kid in town. (This has since come back to haunt me.) So, we arrive at school, I meet up with the NPC flirt and get the riot act for taking off with some random guy. *eye roll and insert excuse* Fast forward to lunch. And, I run into the others from the warehouse. I join them, since that was easier than not. Throughout lunch the most I got was a "welcoming smile" despite attempts at conversation. (This will become a running theme.)

End of lunch, it's decided that we're all going to go visit the hunter who gave us a ride home. (Not sure how they knew where she lived, but alright.) And, I'm invited to accompany them. (Again, easier to just nod and go with it than buck the train. I forget what excuse I used, but I found a reason for my character to go along.) We get to her appartment, eat pizza, and do some more Q&A on vampires. Then, the friendly hunter decides it's time for training. And, off we go to the leader's house.

He's less than thrilled to see us again, and we get told to leave it alone. Friendly hunter and leader argue, but we get some actual weapons. (Choice of crossbow or axe. I take a crossbow. Stake/wooden bolt to the heart = win. Or, at least that's what we were told.) Now, we're off to the park, and it's suddenly the middle of the night. (This also happens regularly. And, a better example will be coming.)

As we're about to leave, big bad, his number 2, and a host of lesser vampires show up. (Mind you, we watched big bad go up in flames. But, fire apparently isn't as fatal to significant NPCs. Cue recurring bad guy theme.) We're told to hide upstairs. (Since that always works so well in B-rate horror movies. Personally, I wanted to go out the back door while the vamps were busy out front. And, overruled by the GM.) So, we're upstairs, watching through a window. (Lights on, of course. The other PCs refused to let the lights be turned out. This way it's easier for the bad guys to see us.) The good news is that the vamps run into a magical barrier. YAY US! ...Until big bad comes up and smears some blood on the barrier.

Resume A-Team theme as the front door bursts open and windows are smashed out for the assault. Meanwhile, friendly hunter comes upstairs and tells us to climb out the window. Again, I bring up the back door. But, we have no choice but to go out onto the roof. That way the bad guys are sure to see us. Great... We're cannon fodder now. Somehow they miss us clambering across the roof, and we make it to the ground with various bumps and bruises.

Our flight through the woods is cut short by number 2. Who proceeds to hit the friendly hunter, and put her into a coma. We try to run, but super speed voids that. Alright, time to try the wooden bolt to the heart. Somehow, I manage to hit, despite the penalty for an called shot. (Cue a "slight" rule change and obscure wording. We eventually figure out that it's only fatal as a coup de gras. We can't have the PCs one shotting vampires, afterall.) So, he pulls the bolt out and proceeds to smack us around. (He's so fast that he can attack all of us, of course.) So, I attempt to use the stake. (ICly, I figure I missed the mark.) Again, I hit, he's wounded from a few other bolts as well. But, it's not a coup de gras, so he shrugs it off too. He's bored now. So, he grabs one of the other PCs and flings her into me and we both suffer significant damage. We've been taught our lesson, so number 2 walks off.

As we start to pick ourselves up, we are met by a new NPC who's some sort of scholar/mystic. We go to the hospital, and make excuses for our injuries to the police, the doctors, and our parents. Then, we call it a night.

So, fallout from this session: Death of a mentor (not sure the leader qualifies as a mentor since he didn't actually do anything for us), loss of our only ally among the hunters. And, the addition of a smart NPC. I'll end up having issues with this NPC for assorted reasons. The least of which are questions posed are met with one of three answers: 1) Silence. 2) I don't know. 3) I can't do that.

Session 2.5 - The party. We all got invited to a party to celebrate one of the football players returning from an injury. I pick up a boyfriend (via GM handwave, but it gives me someone who will interact with my character. At least when the GM isn't preoccupied with something else.) And, we meet the Debutaunt. Of course, she is at odds with most of the other PCs. (No explanation given.) And, she tries to put herself between new boyfriend and me. *insert "accidental" soda explosion* I apologize and make various claims of being innocent. (None are believed, of course.) There is some interaction with one of the PCs basically consoling my character. She just acted like a jerk and wasn't exactly proud of it. We return to the party and notice a significant portion has cleared out. (Yay for social influence.)

Session 3 - The ghost story. We start off arriving at school. I have the pleasure of being greeted with laughter, snickers, stares. A new rumor has hit the school. I'm a slut. I find out about the rumor from the flirt. (There are several posts about how this rumor is all over the school, everyone's talking about me, etc.) Meanwhile, the police are investigating a murder on the football field. The rich outcast gets pulled out of class so police can search her locker and proceeds to be sent to the principal's office for having cigarettes. The debutaunt and the goth wannabe both witness a football player get stabbed by a floating pencil. (So, I'm RPing alone because we all know that will help insinuate my character with the rest of the group. I share homeroom with the flirt, but the GM is otherwise occupied with two other scenes.)

Finally, classes are dismissed. The PCs meet up in the parking lot, and I'm let in on the story. On the way out, one of the PCs also ran into a kid who was being bullied and picked up a book the kid was trying to get. The kid vanished before the book could be returned. (I'm guessing the bullies also vanished and were ghost images.) We proceed to get a name out of the book, and return to the school to investigate the name. A few split off to check out the football field where they pick up some blood stained grass. (Yes, this will be significant later.)

Inside the school, we find a year book and get the full name. We also notice a team photo that someone recognizes some of the ghost images from. And, we apparently piss the ghost off somehow because stuff starts flying around. I try to get the ghost to talk to us, saying we're only trying to help, and we mean no harm/disrespect. Bigger objects start to fly and we're forced to run. *Cue the infinite hallway* So, we run for the nearest exit, take damage. Repeat for 45+ minutes.

Back outside, the sun is setting. (Ghosts can warp time, right?) So, we go to see the mystic for advise on dealing with ghosts. Goth wannabe also makes the leap of logic that the debutaunt is related to the ghost. She can't explain how she came to this conclusion though. The mystic listens to the story and gives us two options. 1) Exorcise it with a human sacrifice. 2) Cross it over by reasoning with it. Now, we ask how to get it to listen, and get the first of many "I don't know" answers.

The blood samples mentioned early were handed over and revealed that one belonged to the football player who was killed that morning. And, the second belonged to some obscure student. (The group concensus is that the student was being bullied and that set the ghost off. But, otherwise is not significant to the plot. An hour or so later, we're returning to the club where we first encountered the vampires, so we can cast a spell to track the student.)

It turns out that the mystic is teaching the social butterfly magic. So, she casts the spell, but it goes wrong and out spew demon spiders. I start fighting them while the others cower. And, I ask the mystic to either seal the portal or banish the spiders. No reaction. One of the spiders lands on my characters boyfriend, bites and paralyzes him. Now, the mystic informs us that it's not fatal and should wear off. Of course, if the spiders aren't contained, they could start eating their prey. *insue more fighting and general panic in the club* Combat ends, and the spell is recast. We don't know if we got all the spiders, but it's time to move on.

We meet the student and find out that, yes, he was bullied by the dead student. End of his story. (Yes, unleashing a swarm of demon spiders was entirely worth finding out what we already knew.) So, we go visit the debutaunt. Turns out that she was related to the ghost and started the rumor about me.

Return to the mystic to get more I don't knows on how to proceed. Finally we decide to gather up the student and the debutaunt and go back to the school. (Yes, still the same night, and it's only an hour or two after sunset.) We go to the library, since that's where the book came from (and where the mystic lead us). Now, that all the pieces are together (football player BF, blood relative, and trigger), we can deal with the ghost. So, we all try calling the ghost out. ...Nothing. Mystic tells us we have to provoke it. (Because it was so reasonable the last time it was pissed. And, group concensus is that we don't want it pissed off.) Boyfriend steals a kiss and hits the student. Ghost goes ballistic, books flying everywhere as it possesses the student and pummels boyfriend into unconsciousness. (*facepalm*)

I try reasoning with it anyways, and get hurled across the library. At the same time a table goes flying at two of the other PCs. Finally, I manage to talk the ghost down and it crosses over. (Yay me!) I go to help the unconscious boyfriend. (What can I say, he was the most seriously injured and the one my character was the closest to. Of course, I'm treated to OOC remarks about ignoring the ones who got hit with a table. For some reason, we didn't have to explain these injuries or the mess that was made. But, we finished the arc and called it a night.)


No. This is not all of it yet. *sigh*

Xallace
2009-06-21, 10:28 PM
EDIT: By the way, I took the liberty of posting the end of that story over on the Dwarf Fortress forums, where it has been much applauded.

Ooh, have you a link?

Coidzor
2009-06-21, 10:46 PM
^: I too would enjoy a link to said thread.

Well, you know what they say... It wasn't the Irish or Chinese that built the railroads... It was vampires. :smalltongue:

shadow_archmagi
2009-06-22, 08:00 AM
http://www.bay12games.com/forum/index.php?topic=37635.0

Here you go!