Nerd up: Bakker's D&D campaigns. Railroaded?

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« on: June 04, 2013, 06:03:37 pm »
Quote from: Callan S.
I find myself terribly curious as to whether he was a massive railroader or not, when GMing? Railroading seems a trend rife across the roleplay hobby (how I define it is being given the illusion of a choice, when really you don't have one. Like a magician forcing you to take a certain card, except you know magicians are tricking you).

It's the 'writing up' of adventures that triggers my alarm - it's highly indicative of the prewritten script. Tracks laid in stone...err, if that works as an analogy! lol!

I'm particularly  curious as to whether, if he did railroad, whether he'd be one of those ones who buys into their own lie and would never acknowledge it?

Yeah, he writes all this psychology stuff, so would he end up in such a place?

That's why I'm terribly curious??

And if he didn't, I'm wondering about the format of play in his games?

I spent alot of time on indie-rpgs.com before it finished it's mission and closed up. Game design holds a fascinating issue for me. As I said, nerd up!

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« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2013, 06:03:43 pm »
Quote from: Curethan
I imagine his players never having a clue about what was going on. 
His written characterisations seem the most forcefully directed devices in the story (if that is what you mean by 'railroading') which doesn't leave room for the tradition of transporting the PC's into the narrative. 
I suspect that only the world building was really lifted from D&D and the plot, pacing and characters are built using more standard literary authoring traditions and skills.  He's talked about using things like the Illiad, LoTR and Dune as writing influences iirc.

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« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2013, 06:03:50 pm »
Quote from: Callan S.
Depends. As I measure it a forceful character isn't railroading, unless the GM simply deus ex's everything to do whatever the character wants. Like, say, being able to manipulate everyone whenever the NPC wants too...little things like that.  :twisted:

I mean, you can have a forceful characterisation without any particular power to influence anyone - eg, Esme.

Maybe he just ended up writting out persona's and dropping those into play.

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« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2013, 06:03:56 pm »
Quote from: sciborg2
Depends. Are the PCs the ones who discover the skin-spies? Rally the present day Great Ordeal?

If so, then yeah, probably lots of railroading. If the PCs are just a collection of scalpers or mercenaries, then I think the games could have been open ended.

Also, Bakker was probably playing D&D in the 70s-80s, which increases likelihood of railroading given that was sort what a lot of people thought the point of D&D was.

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« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2013, 06:04:03 pm »
Quote from: Callan S.
The world consp...the world railroads...

Ah, the 'point' of D&D. It's like a sort of bonsai version of real life, at so many levels!

It's funny, the characters in the books don't seem forced to any particular plot to me. But again the D&D paralel - a really 'good' railroader is sometimes called a master illusionist. Much like a magician can force you to pick a certain card (except it being a magician, you know your being tricked). Heck, you can still hear stories on various forums where a GM crows about how he 'got the players to do what he wanted but think they decided it themselves'. I've managed that a few times myself (I once wrote one side of NPC dialog and...it fit perfectly to what the player asked, in sequence).

The worst is the illusionist who has ensnared himself, who insists there is no railroad, as he brings his thick notepad of numbered adventure notes out. On the other hand, these are incredibly tight worlds - they don't suffer the banal deflation of the PC's going in one of the 359 directions which leads to ... shrubs, trees, goats, nothing much. I guess it's a quite open question in terms of the source of the writing and whether it ever got deflated by a very open world.

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« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2013, 06:04:10 pm »
Quote from: Imparrhas
How much of Earwan history did he say was in the campaigns? I could see the Three Seas work as a setting for a regular campaign without any Consult or Dunyain.

Anyway I like to imagine his railroading went something like this:
- Your character feels the urge to call the Scylvendi chieftan a faggot weeper.
- What? No he doesn't.
- He does! He does! He was Conditioned that way!
Then he takes out a spoon and reflects light into the player's eyes until he gives in.

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« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2013, 06:04:16 pm »
Quote from: Callan S.
Ever are men railroaded.

I tell you, a master illusionist can be damn subtle (particularly given how they can make the world bend over backwards to make you think it's your own choice). If he was an illusionist, I highly doubt he'd be so blunt and obvious.

lez-see - Home in on some group of NPC people a player feels attached to - then have the Scylvendi chieftain off to rape and kill these people and nothing the PC's say is going to stop him heading off to do it.

Unless you call him a faggot weeper.

Even that isn't the heights of illusionism!

Edit: On second thought that could just work as narrativism, if the player just decides to let the chieftain go and doing so is for everyone at the table valid and even fun play. Dang, mebe I've lost my illusionist touch...

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« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2013, 06:04:24 pm »
Quote from: Imparrhas
Ah yes. The old sympathetic NPCs as collateral. This is why smart players don't get attached to anyone. Either it's there to be killed for xp, it's there to dispense quests, it's there to buy and sell things or it's part of the landscape.

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« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2013, 06:05:05 pm »
Quote from: sciborg2
It's also important to remember that not everyone wants a campaign that isn't railroaded. A lot of people played CRPGs that had one path to the end game.

That's changed, but after certain point making the world a sandbox results in a superficial world.

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« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2013, 06:05:11 pm »
Quote from: Callan S.
I spent alot of time on a RPG design site, which means I've honed my opinionation down to a fine blade...

It's NOT railroading if the players know about it and have decided to accept it (rather than not play). A: Being on a track but thinking you have a choice when you don't and B: Being on a track and already knowing that and being cool with it are two entirely different things. And what really gets me is when the two are blurred, as an attempt to justify A. Ironically the cludging of the two different things under one singular name is itself rather like a GM forcing a choice.

At the forge forum they had a name for B and that was participationism. Participationism is cool and fine, should you choose to do it. It aughtn't be called railroading, just as much as tying someone up and whipping them should not be called assault and battery when it's mutually consenting (ie, BDSM).

Told ya I honed it... >:)

Quote
but after certain point making the world a sandbox results in a superficial world.
I think it results in a world where your PC/you the player have to care about achieving something quite deeply or not play. Ie, care already, don't expect the GM to be your fluffer.

Also you have to be ready to get your hands dirty, instead of trying to be a Harry Potter or John Crichton, thrust into a situation that isn't your fault so anything you do is not morally on your shoulders cause you're such a victim. I was having this conversation with a player/friend the other day where he mentioned Crichton and some guy who tried to hijack their ship under the guise of repairing it, for various reasons. Only latter did it occur to me to ask, would you play the hijacker? Play the person who does not have a clear cut 'I'm a victim so I get a get out of moral jail free card'. And even then, the hijack has less clear cut victim status, it sounded like.

Finally, ironically I applaud how 3rd to 4th edition became more like the game it kept using in the G after RP. But on the other hand it seemed to have trained players to not be proactive (railroading contributes to this as well) and do stuff. Players wait for a situation to be presented - they don't, for example say 'So this town would probably have a fountain, I go there, get some water and...', as in they figure something that is likely to exist and then start making plans with that (yeah, the GM might say there isn't a fountain, but that's the skill of it - figuring what will be there). This one is not ultra important, but the players are kind of crippled by it and hobble around if not resolved.

So PASSION! Or DO NOT PLAY! Do not expect the GM to entertain you and keep you stiff! Can't keep your hard on? Go home! Play a character who cares about something in the world (not a Dylan), or don't play.

Of course you might end up playing zealots, but I assure you the world wont seem superficial from that perspective!

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« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2013, 06:05:18 pm »
Quote from: Callan S.
Also I wonder if he was one of them folk who always GM's and never or very rarely plays...

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« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2013, 06:05:25 pm »
Quote from: Sideris
Sounds like me. I rarely play. Always GMing.