What best describes railroading as you understand it?

View Poll Results: What definition of railroading is the closest to the way you use it?

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194. This poll is closed
  • A removal of player choice which the player finds objectionable or innapropriate.

    124 63.92%
  • Any linear series of adventures, such as an adventure path.

    13 6.70%
  • Usurpation of player choice + linear play.

    57 29.38%
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  1. #1

    What best describes railroading as you understand it?

    What definition best describes "railroading" as you understand/use the term?

  2. #2
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    Whoa ... Raven! LOVE the jellyfish thing....

    I voted for the first, simply b/c a DM can, if he does a good job with the module/campaign, whisk the players along and they won't notice the linear plot thing. More than that, they may like it. It's kinda like manipulating the story in a way that everyone else likes it!

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    Railroading is when the adventure progresses the storyline regardless of character choices. The original Dragonlance modules are a good example of "railroading" the chracters.

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    Unfortunately, I can't agree with any of your poll options (and thus didn't vote), as none mention anything about "beyond reasonable limits" or similar.

    That said, RC, from reading the thread this was spawned from I think our definitions are close to agreeing.

    Lanefan

  5. #5
    I likewise did not vote because I did not find a suitable definition.

    Railroading has nothing to do with linear play. Many stories follow a linear progression. That's usually because we play as a party and we play together. It's hard to have multiple storylines going on at the same time. So .. how do you play non-linearly?

    As far as the other option ... I'm not even sure what that one really meant. If it means something like this:

    Railroading: The situation in which the DM manipulates the NPCs of the game to always funnel the party into the "pre-planned" course of events that the DM has prepped. A railroaded party will always go along the route of the DMs choosing eventually because it is the only direction the DM makes possible.

    Now, that is railroading. If that is what option #1 is supposed to mean, then I vote that one. Otherwise ... I didn't vote and I assert my own opinion.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Mycanid
    Whoa ... Raven! LOVE the jellyfish thing....
    It is called a "flumph" and orignally appeared in the 1e Fiend Folio. For more on flumphs visit this link: http://www.enworld.org/article.php?a=157

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Lanefan
    Unfortunately, I can't agree with any of your poll options (and thus didn't vote), as none mention anything about "beyond reasonable limits" or similar.

    usurpation ( P ) Pronunciation Key (ysr-pshn, -zr-)
    n.
    1. The act of usurping, especially the wrongful seizure of royal sovereignty.
    2. A wrongful seizure or exercise of authority or privilege belonging to another; an encroachment: in our own day, gross usurpations upon the liberty of private life (John Stuart Mill).

    (Thank you dictionary.com)

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanefan
    Unfortunately, I can't agree with any of your poll options (and thus didn't vote), as none mention anything about "beyond reasonable limits" or similar.

    That said, RC, from reading the thread this was spawned from I think our definitions are close to agreeing.

    Lanefan
    Agreed on this point. HappyElf's definition as I interpret it is too all or nothing with no room inbetween. His definition as it stands leaves as much room for abuse by the players as he feels railroading is abuse by the DM. I really think that people before they vote on this poll need to go read the thread that spawned it to fully understand where all sides are coming from.

    For me personally I see the merits of both sides, but as someone who DM's ALOT more than he plays I think again that if we took Happyelfs defintion at pure face value and didnt challenge it at all it places way too much power in the hands of the player and effectively nueters the DM. It's pretty obvious that our experiences are different and I'm not going to begrudge him his experiences at all. I'm just amazed at how different they are.

  9. #9
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    I voted the third option due to the inclusion of the phrase "usurpation of play." The caveat here being that I don't consider a linear sequence of adventures (like an adventure path) to be railroading; it is only when those adventures don't have any options except to basically become spectators in the predestined course.

    I'm not a big fan of linear path adventure series, but I don't consider it "railroading" which, incidentally, I feel is becoming a term similar to "munchkin" (i.e. someone who doesn't play the way you do, meaning they're not doing it right).

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raven Crowking
    usurpation ( P ) Pronunciation Key (ysr-pshn, -zr-)
    n.
    1. The act of usurping, especially the wrongful seizure of royal sovereignty.
    2. A wrongful seizure or exercise of authority or privilege belonging to another; an encroachment: in our own day, gross usurpations upon the liberty of private life (John Stuart Mill).
    Still doesn't mention anything about reasonable limits. If one defines "wrongful" in the above quote to equate with "any", as some on the other thread seem to have done, we're back to square one.

    I think my definition of railroading might go something like:

    Taking away or refusing choice, either on a small or large scale, beyond what a playable game reasonably expects.

    This allows different DM's and players to define among themselves what pre-defined parameters (i.e. pre-made choices, rules, or whatever) the game expects in order to make itself playable.

    Lanefan

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