Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, off to a good start - Page 6
Page 6 of 7 FirstFirst 1234567 LastLast
Results 51 to 60 of 69
  1. #51
    Member
    Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)



    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Posts
    813
    Quote Originally Posted by Burnside View Post
    To me the glaring flaw in this adventure as written isn't to do with the house. It's the three lizardfolk on the Sea Ghost. They explicitly start out non-hostile to the adventurers (mistaking them for smugglers). But the writers of this adventure - and indeed the entire follow-up adventure, Danger at Dunwater - don't seem to anticipate the possibility that the heroes would take any course of action other than immediately butchering them on sight.
    Maybe change it to two humans and a lizardfolk to cause some hesitation. Or trust that, now that lizardfolk are a playable race in 5E, your players won't kill them on sight.

  2. #52
    Member
    Waghalter (Lvl 7)



    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    133
    Quote Originally Posted by Prakriti View Post
    Maybe change it to two humans and a lizardfolk to cause some hesitation. Or trust that, now that lizardfolk are a playable race in 5E, your players won't kill them on sight.
    Oh my players almost definitely won't kill them. The problem is that the adventure assumes they definitely will kill then, and makes no allowances for them NOT doing so. Parlaying with or interrogating them would render 90% of Danger at Dunwater moot.

  3. #53
    Member
    Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)



    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Posts
    813
    Quote Originally Posted by Burnside View Post
    Oh my players almost definitely won't kill them. The problem is that the adventure assumes they definitely will kill then, and makes no allowances for them NOT doing so. Parlaying with or interrogating them would render 90% of Danger at Dunwater moot.
    Ah... That is an issue then. Even the most obvious solution--having the lizardfolk take up arms and fight to the death--is imperfect, since unlike in 1E, players can knock targets unconscious at 0 HP.

    So if the players go that route with the intent to interrogate the lizardfolk, what do you do? Do cyanide pills exist in Greyhawk? Um... I guess they do now.

  4. #54
    Member
    Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)



    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Surrey, UK
    Posts
    2,078
    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    The gameworld doesn't have a life of its own. It's authored. As a general rule it's the GM who authors it, and who decides what is or isn't realistic in respect of it.

    So the gameworld responding "realistically" (ie as the GM thinks it should/wants it to) absolutely can be railroading.

    The stumbling over the clue sounds like it might be second-tier adventure design and action resolution, but witnout more I don't see how we can tell whether or not its railroading.
    If the DM authors "how would people realistically respond" it's not railroading, it's responding to player decisions. If the DM authors "how can I change the world to keep the PCs on the pre-defined story" it is railroading.

    In this situation, you could have the smugglers try to assassinate the players, and one of them having a map to the ship, thus putting them back on the railroad tracks. But that would make the players' decision to burn down the house meaningless.

    There is also the meta-interpretation of the players' actions. Burning down the house they where asked to investigate could be interpreted as a way of saying "we aren't interested in this story".

  5. #55
    Member
    Titan (Lvl 27)



    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    20,755
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Farquhar View Post
    There is also the meta-interpretation of the players' actions. Burning down the house they where asked to investigate could be interpreted as a way of saying "we aren't interested in this story".
    Maybe. Maybe not. Easiest way to find out is to ask them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Farquhar View Post
    If the DM authors "how would people realistically respond" it's not railroading, it's responding to player decisions.
    I think of railroading as meaning the GM is the one who decides all the outcomes. Whether the GM does that by deciding what s/he thinks is realistic, or in some other fashion, cuts across the issue. It doesn't determine it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Farquhar View Post
    In this situation, you could have the smugglers try to assassinate the players, and one of them having a map to the ship, thus putting them back on the railroad tracks. But that would make the players' decision to burn down the house meaningless.
    Why? (Assuming that it was meaningful in the first place.)

    I mean, the assassination attempt could easily be railroading (depending on context). But if the players haven't taken any actions with the intention of affecting the ship (eg because they didn't know about it), then the GM deciding that the PCs (and thereby the players) now learn about the ship isn't forcing any outcome onto play.

  6. #56
    Member
    Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)



    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Surrey, UK
    Posts
    2,078
    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    Maybe. Maybe not. Easiest way to find out is to ask them.

    I think of railroading as meaning the GM is the one who decides all the outcomes. Whether the GM does that by deciding what s/he thinks is realistic, or in some other fashion, cuts across the issue. It doesn't determine it.

    Why? (Assuming that it was meaningful in the first place.)

    I mean, the assassination attempt could easily be railroading (depending on context). But if the players haven't taken any actions with the intention of affecting the ship (eg because they didn't know about it), then the GM deciding that the PCs (and thereby the players) now learn about the ship isn't forcing any outcome onto play.
    The DM always decides the outcome, but they should take into account the actions of the players' when doing so. Railroading is when the players' decisions have no effect on the outcome. I.e. the outcome is the same no matter what the players do.

    * Players' investigate the house and find a clue that leads to the ship

    * Players burn down the house and find a clue that leads to the ship

    Is a prime example of railroading, since the players' decision did not affect the outcome - it doesn't matter what they do, the outcome is the same. They may as well read a novel.

    Another thing to take into account is U1-3 is a subtle story. Players who burn down houses they are asked to investigate are likely to start a full scale war with lizardfolk in U2 then die trying to fight 50 unpronounceable-shark-people all at once without backup in U3. It might be advisable to send the players' into a different sort of adventure entirely.
    Last edited by Paul Farquhar; Tuesday, 28th May, 2019 at 01:40 PM.
    XP Celebrim gave XP for this post

  7. #57
    Member
    Time Agent (Lvl 24)



    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Colombus, OH
    Posts
    12,993
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Farquhar View Post
    The DM always decides the outcome, but they should take into account the actions of the players' when doing so. Railroading is when the players' decisions have no effect on the outcome. I.e. the outcome is the same no matter what the players do.
    This.

    * Players' investigate the house and find a clue that leads to the ship

    * Players burn down the house and find a clue that leads to the ship

    Is a prime example of railroading, since the players' decision did not affect the outcome - it doesn't matter what they do, the outcome is the same. They may as well read a novel.
    They'd be better off reading a novel. The novelist presumably decided on a good story, and a good story at least conveys the since that the actions of the characters lead to meaningful consequences. When we read a novel and things happen purely to accomplish some preconceived plot and characters are made to jump through the essential story hoops without much motivation and sometimes contrary to what we've been lead to believe the character would do, then we tend to think, "This isn't a very good novel."

    One of the problems I have with the U series as an adventure path, is that U2 in particular only is interesting if the players behave in the author's preconceived fashion. That is, the players are expected to go in blindly fighting the lizard folk, and then at some point short of killing all the lizard folk they change tactics. If the players never change tactics, then the adventure is fairly lame. If the players don't go in kicking the doors down, there is no adventure at all and the GM is provided such a minimalist idea for what the adventure should then be that it's likely to be unsatisfying even if they try to flex. In a module for low level adventurers, I consider this a very egregious flaw since the GM is often likely to be equally inexperienced.

  8. #58
    Member
    Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)



    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Surrey, UK
    Posts
    2,078
    When U1-3 where originally published pretty much everything else on the market consisted of "kick in the door, kill the monster, take the treasure", so actually having a plot at all was pretty innovative.

    I haven't run U2 with my current group, but from what I know of them (Star Trek fans) they would probably not kill any lizardfolk and would quite enjoy a combat-free session of negotiation and diplomacy. But you need to pick the adventure to suit the players, and GoS also includes some combat-heavy stuff.

  9. #59
    Member
    Titan (Lvl 27)



    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    20,755
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Farquhar View Post
    The DM always decides the outcome
    I think this is pretty contentious.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Farquhar View Post
    Railroading is when the players' decisions have no effect on the outcome. I.e. the outcome is the same no matter what the players do.

    * Players' investigate the house and find a clue that leads to the ship

    * Players burn down the house and find a clue that leads to the ship

    Is a prime example of railroading, since the players' decision did not affect the outcome - it doesn't matter what they do, the outcome is the same. They may as well read a novel.
    But if the GM always decides the outcome, and decides it based on stuff the players have no knowledge of, then they also may as well read a novel.

    If the players don't know about the ship, don't know that burning down the house will destroy clues to the ship, if they just decide to burn down the house for whatever reason, then the only person who is actually playing the game in deciding that because of the house-burning, the PCs find no clue to the ship is the GM. It's all just the GM making decisions off-screen. Which to me seems the very paradigm of railroading.
    XP Manbearcat gave XP for this post

  10. #60
    Member
    Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)



    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Surrey, UK
    Posts
    2,078
    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    because of the house-burning, the PCs find no clue to the ship is the GM.
    If not the DM, then who do you think should decide?

Similar Threads

  1. Podcast #40 The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh!
    By Abstruse in forum *General Roleplaying Games Discussion
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: Thursday, 21st March, 2019, 07:35 AM
  2. Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh 5e
    By Nebulous in forum *Dungeons & Dragons
    Replies: 62
    Last Post: Sunday, 30th August, 2015, 12:39 AM
  3. The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh
    By Bullgrit in forum *Dungeons & Dragons
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: Thursday, 27th June, 2013, 01:00 PM
  4. The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh - your experiences?
    By Quasqueton in forum *General Roleplaying Games Discussion
    Replies: 64
    Last Post: Wednesday, 2nd August, 2006, 11:09 AM
  5. Looking for map of U1 Sinister secret of Saltmarsh
    By Lorrin in forum *General Roleplaying Games Discussion
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: Monday, 5th April, 2004, 01:51 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •