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View Full Version : DM Help CASTAWAYS: how to get my PCs hooked without RAILROADING them??



Milommiel
2016-11-06, 03:31 PM
Hi guys,
I'm starting a new campaing for a group of 4 players; I did a couple of sessions.
I'll do a quick and simple review to get to the point faster:

The players are either fugitives or travellers in a mercant sailing ship called the Firefly.
They get lost in the sea as the captain takes another route and they are attacked by a Kraken.
They wake up in a lost island.

The point:
How do I get my player hooked to the plot instead of just trying to build another ship withouth railroading them??
How do I get them enter in the jungle?

I wonder if its enough to remind them they dont know how to build a ship, the sea is damn dangerous, they are lost, they have no supplies nor water...?
I suspect that once they encounter the least of the threats, common sense says: dont go deep into the jungle.
Maybe if the captain disappears, they have to find him as he is the only one able to reapir/build a ship?

Thoughts?
Thanks so much in advance!

The Glyphstone
2016-11-06, 04:33 PM
My first solution would be to pitch it to them OOC, and sell them on the idea of Lost-meets-Robinson Crusoe as a campaign. The only way to keep them on the island without railroading, implicit or blatant, is to be sure they want to be there (the players, that is).

Jama7301
2016-11-06, 04:52 PM
If there's another group of people on the island, you could give them an indication of smoke, or distant drumming. Additionally, adverse weather may drive them in-land if they can't find shelter on the shore.

Darth Ultron
2016-11-06, 10:00 PM
Well, this is why railroading exists: to get the players to play the game.

Of course, it would be great for the players to just ''get in character'' and ''play the game''. You can just sit back and wait for that to happen...but it might be a long, long, long wait.

Technically, anything you do as DM ''railroads'' the players. So you might want to just get over ''I don't want to railroad them'' or just ''railroad them but say your not and call it something else'' (A lot of DM's do the second one).

Is your plot in the jungle? Well, if you don't want to railroad, they you just have to sit back and wait for them to go in the jungle. Or you could make a ''plot hook''(aka railroading) to get them to go in the jungle.

Mr Beer
2016-11-06, 10:28 PM
If the island is a desert island instead of a jungle, they can't build a boat and will presumably want to investigate the temple on top of the sullenly smoking volcano. Add signs of life to the temple to prompt this.

CarpeGuitarrem
2016-11-06, 11:50 PM
My first solution would be to pitch it to them OOC, and sell them on the idea of Lost-meets-Robinson Crusoe as a campaign. The only way to keep them on the island without railroading, implicit or blatant, is to be sure they want to be there (the players, that is).
Yep, right here. Be up-front with the players. Give them your pitch, and make it something they're onboard for.

Spinach
2016-11-07, 12:11 AM
I concur. Give them the long and short of what the dealio is, let them get into (edit: mental) gear for the kind of rough synopsis you envision.

"You are stranded on an island. Do not be seen; there are eyes in the vastness of the ocean. The only way out... is to go deeper into the jungle."

Doesn't sound too much of a stretch than, say, "You are a group of adventurers came to this town after hearing about the story of a famed dungeon. What you find within its depth will blow your mind!" /endclickbait


I think it's a good practice to let them see the jungle as an extension of stereotypical dungeoneering experience, just using different set of Skills.

Mark Hall
2016-11-07, 03:48 PM
Me, I wouldn't concentrate on trying to keep them on the island... I'd just take a realistic look at how long it's going to take to make a seaworthy vessel, with minimal skilled labor and limited tools, and then let them try to do it. Even a basic raft (which they have to know won't be sufficient) is going to take several days, during which they're going to need to find food, water, shelter, etc., allowing you to introduce things that might compel their interest.

They start building a ship. Well, with the limited tools they have, they're going to get a -2 on their checks, increasing the average time. If they want to make better tools first, well, that takes its own time. That means they need food and water. If they're harvesting trees, then someone/thing is going to notice. Predators? Natives? Ancient demigods? All of these are fodder for adventure.

Wake them up on a tropical isle. Let them decide how they're going to play it. Don't force them to do what you want, but remember that they don't have the easy resources of their society. Unless they've got some high-level magical help, they're stuck until they can figure out how not to be stuck.

And, of course, there may be a kraken off shore.

kyoryu
2016-11-07, 05:09 PM
My first solution would be to pitch it to them OOC, and sell them on the idea of Lost-meets-Robinson Crusoe as a campaign. The only way to keep them on the island without railroading, implicit or blatant, is to be sure they want to be there (the players, that is).

This is really the best way to handle it.

Klara Meison
2016-11-08, 10:12 AM
Besides the OOC pitch solution, why not let them try building the ship? They'll need tools, like axes and such, and that means materials. And the mountain right smack in the middle of the island just happens to have visible iron deposits, not to mention stones (which you may want for stone tools).