SEApocalypse

"Roleplaying is all about telling the GM's plot." A common misconception?

116 posts in this topic

 

It's not an either or, and that was my starting point, but inevitably people have to throw a bite down on something and at that point if you're so inclined it's perfectly ok to defend your viewpoint. I don't really think you could do a pure version of either form, and if you did then I think it would be something that wouldn't be as good as a hybrid that fits your group. 

Edited by Archlyte

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4 minutes ago, JorArns said:

That's a lot of assumptions.

yeah, it wasn't genuine either. I do think that running a linear pre-made game can make the world small, but it's totally fixable and not that big a deal. 

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33 minutes ago, Archlyte said:

yeah, it wasn't genuine either. I do think that running a linear pre-made game can make the world small, but it's totally fixable and not that big a deal. 

This from the GM who proudly prohibits his players from having access the vast majority of options available in the game. 

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Sandbox Playstyle
Imho a "good" sandbox has plot, not one, but severals, because in essence the history of a world is nothing else than a story, and emphasizing on causation of events in the sandbox is a key element to allow players to understand what is going on and to choose their own adventure from a bouquet of choices that the sandbox offers. 
The only real difference to a more rigid pre-written adventure is that you are offering the characters usually several plot hooks and see at which one they bite. Though if you just ask the group if they want to play "Friends Like These" or "Jewel of Yavin" next you are doing something very similar, just ooc instead. 

Anyway.
After 3 pages and just a few hours I am sure that it is not a common misconception, there are just different levels of flexibility and playstyles going around. And those can change the context of forum posts. Though I have the feeling that some see the sandbox as something totally random and boring, while actually playing themselves with a lot of sandbox elements at their tables. Guys, only Sith deal in absolutes. ;-)
Thank you for all your posts, it was interesting to read most of them. 

 

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19 minutes ago, Nytwyng said:

This from the GM who proudly prohibits his players from having access the vast majority of options available in the game. 

Lol just waitin' to jump in. It's apples and oranges. I will control the parameters of the game mechanically and in the composition of the starting situation. After that I don't do too much to constrain them, and that is why I have to get it taken care of in the beginning or it will come back to bite me in the ***. Maybe the pre made adventure thing is why people are so open to every option of species and droid, because it kind of doesn't matter. The railroad GM is gonna tell his story regardless, so let them play the cast of Wizard of Oz. At the end of the day they will end up fighting the boss right on schedule and after passing points a and b like it was written in the prep. 

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1 hour ago, Archlyte said:

Lol just waitin' to jump in. It's apples and oranges. I will control the parameters of the game mechanically and in the composition of the starting situation. After that I don't do too much to constrain them, and that is why I have to get it taken care of in the beginning or it will come back to bite me in the ***. Maybe the pre made adventure thing is why people are so open to every option of species and droid, because it kind of doesn't matter. The railroad GM is gonna tell his story regardless, so let them play the cast of Wizard of Oz. At the end of the day they will end up fighting the boss right on schedule and after passing points a and b like it was written in the prep. 

But a GM who dictates how his players respond to situations and penalized them for not doing it to his satisfaction isn’t a “railroad GM.” :wacko:

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Simulation and narrative are two pretty distinctly different things of our hobby. And you are actively trying to derail to topic. Feel free to start a new topic if you want to talk about the underlying element of taking away player agenda for "reasons". Or even better, just forget it. :P 

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He’s tried to pull that “thats narrative, this is simulation” dodge himself. I don’t buy it. While I appreciate the suggestion, I prefer to comment upon contradictory and/or hypocritical statements in the thread in which they’re made.

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Let me fix that sentence: "Roleplaying is about a bunch of friends having fun". 

However that fun comes from. If you like setting up a complete sandbox and your players like doing the creative work: fine.
If you like pre-made adventures and your players just want to play the roles in the pre-made story: fine.
If you and your players like something in between: totally fine.

Just why keep those "My way of roleplaying is correct and yours isn't" threads popping up everywhere?

 

I personally like a mix. I play the Iron Gods adventure path in Pathfinder with a group of players, and we keep very close to the pre-written adventures. We have a lot of fun doing this.
Here in Star Wars I have a more sandbox-y approach, I let them go where they want to, but I have some plots and hooks set up, that will happen in specific locations. Some lead to pre-written adventures, and if I want some others to happen, I move them to the location the players travel.
And pre-written does not mean, that everything is proceeding as the emp.. author has forseen. Who are you to judge that this is a waste of time? 

Edited by MasterZelgadis
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8 hours ago, Nytwyng said:

He’s tried to pull that “thats narrative, this is simulation” dodge himself. I don’t buy it. While I appreciate the suggestion, I prefer to comment upon contradictory and/or hypocritical statements in the thread in which they’re made.

I am not sure if you scathing tirade roll was just a good one or if @Archlyte is into something. But I most definitely start feeling the strain of this encounter. ;-)

So you are not getting the difference between choices made in a system based on narrative reasons and those based on simulation? And want someone to take the time to explain the difference to you, right here in this not related topic, because someone said something which you don't understand? 

Edited by SEApocalypse
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1 hour ago, SEApocalypse said:

I am not sure if you scathing tirade roll was just a good one or if @Archlyte is into something. But I most definitely start feeling the strain of this encounter. ;-)

So you are not getting the difference between choices made in a system based on narrative reasons and those based on simulation? And want someone to take the time to explain the difference to you, right here in this not related topic, because someone said something which you don't understand? 

No, I understand quite well, thank you.

I understand the difference between narrarive and simulation. And I understand Archlyte’s hypocrisy, as well.

Once again, though, I appreciate your offer of assistance.

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basically GMs have a lot of different ways to play and run sessions and they don't like to be told their way of GMing is a worse way of doing it.

I run my sessions which have been going for a few years now as "Here is the long range objective[maybe a full season away], the medium range objective[Maybe a few episodes away], and the close range objective[Something that should be dealt with in this or the next session]" however the road to get to completing the objective is left up to the players to make which is freedom of choice for them.

Some GMs like to use the adventure books which have alot of great content in them not to mention some sprinkling of new equipment, gear, and NPCs.

Some GMs like the sandbox, make a simple setting, and then plop your team in and say go.

If they can GM session after session and the players keep coming back to play... well then objective fun complete yes?

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Been doing mostly well in my first GMing experience, thanks in part to reading up on a lot and knowing my players.

Different groups fall on different parts of the spectrum between sandbox and linear experience, and it can even change based on mood. As I see it, being put on a railroad is only a problem if the players notice it, and the more narrow you make the paths, the more likely they are to notice it. There's also a 'carrot and stick' part of the issue: It's generally a better idea to make a path interesting so they voluntarily follow it, rather than to punish players who deviate. If they do derail your game, it's important to ask or figure out why: If they just don't like your story, it's either back to the drawing board, or figuring out a way to make an interesting story out of their unexpected choices. If they cleverly solve your epic plot in the first session, let them have that victory and try to build a new story out of the pieces you prepared.

As mentioned by other posters, it is possible to do the extreme opposite and leave players in a directionless quagmire of a sandbox. You still want to throw out plot hooks for the players to latch onto, or discuss scenarios the players want to experience so you can have something you're confident they'll like. If you're more skilled at planning than improvisation, you can generally have those hooks lead the players towards a plot you have in mind. But if you and your players have enough raw improvisational skill to handle a Sahara-sized sandbox, go nuts.

I tend towards more linear experiences as a player, since I find they often feel 'deeper' if done right, though I do want a lot of wiggle room for dealing with the problems my character winds up facing. I haven't had a really good experience with a sandboxy GM yet, but I haven't had many groups to play with.

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Oh man, so much I'd like to reply to, but if I start quoting people from page 1, this post will never end. I'll just have to soapbox at no one in particular instead.

In my gaming group, no it's several overlapping groups actually, so make that gaming community, there's pretty much two prevailing campaign styles: The Fish tank and the Go places, stuff happens.

Go places, stuff happens: It's not as bad as it sounds, but this is usually when the GM hasn't put that much effort into planning the campaign, out of sheer laziness and/or as a deliberate choice to keep his options open and see where the characters go from there, and how to best work in their motivations and backstories. Usually only the first session(s) are planned with a basic "you are at X, doing Y, because of Z" based off session zero info. Usually, a grander scheme, like a villain or something is introduced fairly early on, and hopefully the players pick up the thread. From there the players basically take point and go where they or their characters want to go, and the GM basically moderates the pace by either derailing players with sidequests that need to be dealt with if they are too focused on going after the grander scheme, or basically having the grander scheme show up and prod them along if they get stuck navel gazing in what the GM planned to be a minor, dead end side plot. Of course, this is rather demanding of the GM's improvisational skills and it's important to be able to incorporate player input. If something (NPC, place, event) is planned as unimportant throwaway thing, yet the players engage and invest with it, you need to quickly rethink and make use of the fact the players just made it important. Needless to say, this works best with engaged players that essentially use their characters and party relationship dynamics to create their own sideplots, and GM flexible enough to go along with it.

I tend to sue this (non-)structure myself when GMing with admittedly varied results.
Harsh lessons learned, both as player and GM include that a little extra planning never hurts, and sometimes you need to bite the bullet and do little covert railroading if the campaign veers to far off track, and of course, the big one:

Communicate with your players (as @Absol197 pointed out ), preferably also in between sessions. I've come into the habit of keeping a group chat (Facebook or Skype or however you stay in touch) going for each campaign. It started out as way to easily schedule sessions, but has mutated into a way to shoot the breeze about the campaign in between sessions, and as a player perhaps announcing your plans to other players and GM and give them a chance to input on it. Might be a bit too meta for some, and the temptation to start role playing in the chat should probably be resisted. If one player says that it would be cool to use that new ship you got last session to become space pirates, and your character would have moral issues with that, don't launch into an debate with in-character arguments, rather point out that your characters background includes getting kidnapped by pirates and s/he probably wouldn't stand for that, and preferably add an "unless... (we become privateers going exclusively after imperial targets or become pirate hunters)". As GM, you shouldn't feel obliged to participate in every back and forth, but keep an eye it to keep up to date with your players' ideas and plans. As a GM it's also be useful to throw questions out there to the players in between sessions to help you plan ahead, like "Now that you've worked with these rebels, have your characters opinions about them changed?" or the more straight forward "So we had some starfighter combat last night, was it fun?". We usually try to have a little feedback round after sessions, but often there isn't the time for everyone to stick around. It's also a good place to discuss judgement calls made by the GM mid-session or just let people know about this cool new thing you found in the latest splat book and would like to have introduced.
And finally, don't be afraid to explain yourself as a GM. If you railroaded the players and they call you on it, apologize and explain that you couldn't think of a better way to get the story back on track, and ask them to trust you that it will be worth it.

The Fish Tank: As i managed to derail myself ranting about communication just now I'll save myself some time explaining the fish tank by dropping links to a couple of articles written by the ever awesome Rickard Elimää:

"The Fish Tank as an intrigue"

"The Fish Tank as a mystery"

The fish tank is pretty much the same thing as what @themensch called a "clockwork sandbox". The players are free to explore whatever they want, like a sandbox, but as the fish tank is centered around actors with their awn motivations and agendas, it will not sit around being static if the players leave it alone. As the NPCs and factions in a fish tank should have clear needs and wants that should interact or even conflict with the players and their goals. In practical terms, this is usually a more enclosed, static campaign, like a city, or even a single house (like a classic murder mystery), but can be scaled up for grand intrigues, especially in Star Wars, where interstellar travel and communication is fairly quick and easy. I've played in a number of these, but I have yet to run one planned as such from the start. That said, a "Go places, stuff happens"-style campaign could turn into a Fish Tank-esque scenario as the players move around and encounter and uncover more actors in what turns out to be a mystery or intrigue.

As others have mentioned, when making plans it's a good idea to use flexible set pieces that can be used in different ways depending on the approach the players take. For instance, when discussing my campaign in another thread (thanks @SEApocalypse!) I wanted to have a giant space cannon and falling space debris. I've thought about different options to use them, and I probably will throw at least one of them in if given the slightest opportunity. But I'm leaving it open exactly what role they will play depending how the story unfolds.

Phew.

Wait, not done yet, still on the soapbox.

To go back to the video in the OP, at the very beginning, he talked about players coming up and talking about their character, and how that is the natural focal point for a player. While it is, maybe we should talk about the responsibilities of the player, ie being a good player. The best two pieces of advice I've heard regarding this is:

* Make someone else awesome: Everyone wants their character to be awesome at times, which occasionally leads to annoying one-upmanship between players. To stave this off, focus on enabling the other players to be all they can be. Be Han Solo, giving Luke the chance to blow up the Death Star. Be the guy that throws the hero his dropped sword so he can finish off his nemesis. Pave the way for letting another character make his awesome entrance. Just plain tell NPCs about another character being awesome. If another player has put effort into a detailed character background, have your character ask their character about it, or just admire their cool customized gun. You might not even have your character actively help another's, if the choices you make as a player will. Be Anakin, charging blindly at Dooku only to be slapped aside with force lightning, so Obi-wan gets to duel him solo. Be Obi-wan, throwing your lightsaber to Anakin when he recovers and leaps to your aid.
This will always be appreciated, and when it starts getting reciprocated everyone gets to shine, and everybody wins. The destiny point and dice mechanics in Star Wars are great way to aid this as well.
That said, don't be afraid to ask other players to help you be awesome, and while it might seem dickish from your point of view if they say no, respect it. Remember, when it comes to your character, you might be biased. As an example (yes, I will now tell you about my character ;) ):

As we were taking off to make our escape in our trusty old Ghtroc, the inquisitor nemesis, lightsaber in hand, force leapt on top the ship. We were fairly carefully rising up from a narrow street, so there was limited room for maneuvering to shake her off, before she could put that lightsaber to use sabotaging our ship. I saw the opportunity for a cool lightsaber showdown on top of the rising ship and declared that my character headed for the roof of the ship. Another player immediately went, "cool, I'll tag along" but since I felt a little overshadowed in the previous fight, I asked him to hold off a little, and let my character have moment to (try to) shine before he leapt in. Being perfectly cool with that, he had a confused little scene with one of the npc crew, to have reason to delay a bit. The third player, however, who was piloting the ship, simply announced he was gonna swing the ships quad cannon around and blast the inquisitor to ****. I asked him if that wouldn't be cooler to have as our backup plan in the not-at-all-unlikely event we got our butts handed to us in a lightsaber fight, but to him, this was his moment, and he piled every bonus he could cram into that Gunnery roll. As it turned out, he succeded. -Ish. The inquisitor was hit several times, but managed to reflect any damage (at great strain cost) and use a despair to disable the cannon. My character got to have a little cool exchange of words and hold her own in a lightsaber duel for a while, before the other player's character joined the fight (only to have his lightsaber ignominiously short out), and I got my cool moment by using a Triumph to knock the inquisitor off the ship and into recurring villainhood.

So, basically, don't sweat it. It might work out fine even if everyone doesn't cooperate. On the other hand, if it doesn't even if everyone cooperated, hey, at least you cooperated.

Play bold. Play vulnerable. Every character should have weaknesses, and the goal of the player shouldn't be to do their damnedest to cover them up at all times. A compelling character needs to fail every now and then. Don't be afraid to stick your character's neck out when you play, and embrace it when it bites them in the ***. Make the wrong choices, let your character be humiliated. If you have made a character with flaws and weaknesses, the GM should interpret this as "I want this to become relevant". This doesn't necessarily mean "play stupid" but one shouldn't feel the need to outsmart the GM at every turn, as it will only lead to either a doormat campaign where everything falls before you, or an adversarial relationship where the GM never gives an inch. Of course, some GMs will of course beat down the characters every chance the players give them and then complain about them being tactically unsound. That might be a fun game for some people out there.

I talked about this a bit at our local RPG theory group (yes, we actually have one of those, with couches and meetings and everything) and mentioned that one of my favorite moves when encountering a significant villain would be to take any opportunity to knock them off a cliff or something like that and simply go "Nobody could have survived that" and walk away without checking (see inquisitor mentioned above), inviting the GM to use them again later. This works just as well if they just fall down, defeated, by not checking/making sure they're dead before walking away. One guy at the meeting basically called me out for being a bad role player and called it stupid meta gaming, and he liked his games "hard", where it took "skill" to "win". It feels a little bit odd that his games and mine are considered the same hobby, but hey, to each his own. My advice might not be for everyone.

 

Ok, so that should be way past enough on my thoughts on the topic and possibly far into the realm of off-topic, but hey, at least it's not a single line non-answer.

Edited by penpenpen
Look at the size of that thing! Of course I made mistakes!

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I'd really like FFG to take a look at Curse of Strahd and Tomb of Annihilation and produce a similar 'Railroad with LOADS of Sandbox options'.. Ok, so a good GM can take one of the published 'ventures (BtR, GoD etc) and create a sandbox hike around it... and by good I mean a GM who is unmarried or lives on their own, without children or dogs to walk and all their free time is essentially their own, apart from cooking, eating, ironing, vacuuming, dusting, cleaning and sleeping :lol:

I have great ideas for stuff, but finding time to put pen to paper and get these things written is a different kettle of fish. All my plans are on hold until Christmas as I have two weeks on hols at home

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1 hour ago, ExpandingUniverse said:

 and by good I mean a GM who is unmarried or lives on their own, without children or dogs to walk and all their free time is essentially their own, apart from cooking, eating, ironing, vacuuming, dusting, cleaning and sleeping :lol:

Perhaps different tools & processes will help capture your thoughts?  Unless you're practicing mindfulness while doing those chores (an application of the technique I do not favor) there's lots of time to think on topics, then capture them with quick notes.  Some of my best ideas came from mulling over ideas mowing a pasture.  There's no Blank Page Trauma or Production Anxiety that many folks face when sitting down to force creation, the mind is free to wander and I can jot down little notes for later filing.  

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1 hour ago, penpenpen said:

As a dedicated GM, I never let any of these interfere with my creative process. Some say "useless slob", I prefer to call it "suffering for the art".

<simpsons>Sounds like you're working for you game, man!  Simplify!  </simpsons>

 

 

 

 

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On ‎12‎/‎7‎/‎2017 at 11:19 PM, MasterZelgadis said:

Let me fix that sentence: "Roleplaying is about a bunch of friends having fun". 

However that fun comes from. If you like setting up a complete sandbox and your players like doing the creative work: fine.
If you like pre-made adventures and your players just want to play the roles in the pre-made story: fine.
If you and your players like something in between: totally fine.

Just why keep those "My way of roleplaying is correct and yours isn't" threads popping up everywhere?

 

I personally like a mix. I play the Iron Gods adventure path in Pathfinder with a group of players, and we keep very close to the pre-written adventures. We have a lot of fun doing this.
Here in Star Wars I have a more sandbox-y approach, I let them go where they want to, but I have some plots and hooks set up, that will happen in specific locations. Some lead to pre-written adventures, and if I want some others to happen, I move them to the location the players travel.
And pre-written does not mean, that everything is proceeding as the emp.. author has forseen. Who are you to judge that this is a waste of time? 

I just had the opportunity to catch back up with this thread and I need to clarify that I had taken a dive into aggressive rhetoric and sophistry there for a few posts in my responses to a particular poster. So to be real and genuine, I would say that as I said somewhere in the beginning of this thread there are people who have a blast playing some pre-made adventure that any of them could have read beforehand...and I think that's ok. I personally can't do it, but a lot of people feel that is TTRPG. For me it is a waste of time, but I don't pretend to know what other people feel about their gaming time, and I know many people really have that ability to suspend disbelief and enjoy the crafted payoff of a pre-made plot. There is also what I consider to be two very valid forms of pre-made content even for sandbox or emergent play: the quantum ogre (as you mentioned with moving in front of the players), and the pre-arranged group start. 

I'm glad that groups have fun with pre-made stuff, but my preferred style was attacked and I didn't feel that was very cool.

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1 hour ago, Archlyte said:

I just had the opportunity to catch back up with this thread and I need to clarify that I had taken a dive into aggressive rhetoric and sophistry there for a few posts in my responses to a particular poster. So to be real and genuine, I would say that as I said somewhere in the beginning of this thread there are people who have a blast playing some pre-made adventure that any of them could have read beforehand...and I think that's ok. I personally can't do it, but a lot of people feel that is TTRPG. For me it is a waste of time, but I don't pretend to know what other people feel about their gaming time, and I know many people really have that ability to suspend disbelief and enjoy the crafted payoff of a pre-made plot. There is also what I consider to be two very valid forms of pre-made content even for sandbox or emergent play: the quantum ogre (as you mentioned with moving in front of the players), and the pre-arranged group start. 

I'm glad that groups have fun with pre-made stuff, but my preferred style was attacked and I didn't feel that was very cool.

I dunno. I never really got into prewritten adventure thinghy even though (or perhaps because) I started really early at roughly 8 years old. My first GM (my older brother's cool older friend) didn't have an adventure planned and just winged it masterfully. I guess that might have set the tone for me. Although recently I got back to GMing a group of friends where we have more limited time slots (freshly made babies are involved) I decided against the meandering pace of the improvised campaign and went with a prewritten adventure (for the Western RPG, due in english next year), because I wanted an end **** it, just not something that petered out and died slowly by being put on indefinite hiatus.

And, hey it turned out great. Of course, as no battle plan survives contact with the enemy, neither did the prewritten adventure survive contact with the player characters. ****, it didn't even survive my first read through without changes. But the structure stayed intact, and I know I was working to an end, and that was a load off my mind. And the final encounter (the villains escaping with the stolen piano on a pump trolley across the midwestern plains, trading fire with the PCs pursuing on horseback, trying to not hit the piano they're supposed to bring back to Chicago) was pretty much all me, led by the players actions, within the constrains of of the prewritten adventure (the railroad, the piano, the mission). Of course, to make this work without pregens, I pretty much had to set constraints on the character creation, but not much more than "You need to be in Chicago, and be physically capable and suited for a trip into the west, and preferably some detective skills. But you can't be any geek of the street. You gotta be handy with the steel, if you know what i mean. Earn your keep.*". We've kept those PCs around, because I have another prewritten in mind for them. This time I'll give them the basic premise for what and where they need to be to kick it off, and then we'll skip ahead in time a year or so, and the players get to fill in the blanks on how they got from the end of the last scenario to beginning of the next. Kind of like what tends to happen between sequels. And if never get around to picking that campaign up again, at least it didn't peter out.

Then again, with that in mind, I should perhaps picked a prewritten adventure when we jumped to Age of Rebellion, but noooo, I had my mind set on a starfighter campaign...

At least I learned enough to set a definite ending to work towards. And that prewritten stuff is awesome when you make your own.

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36 minutes ago, penpenpen said:

I dunno. I never really got into prewritten adventure thinghy even though (or perhaps because) I started really early at roughly 8 years old. My first GM (my older brother's cool older friend) didn't have an adventure planned and just winged it masterfully. I guess that might have set the tone for me. Although recently I got back to GMing a group of friends where we have more limited time slots (freshly made babies are involved) I decided against the meandering pace of the improvised campaign and went with a prewritten adventure (for the Western RPG, due in english next year), because I wanted an end **** it, just not something that petered out and died slowly by being put on indefinite hiatus.

And, hey it turned out great. Of course, as no battle plan survives contact with the enemy, neither did the prewritten adventure survive contact with the player characters. ****, it didn't even survive my first read through without changes. But the structure stayed intact, and I know I was working to an end, and that was a load off my mind. And the final encounter (the villains escaping with the stolen piano on a pump trolley across the midwestern plains, trading fire with the PCs pursuing on horseback, trying to not hit the piano they're supposed to bring back to Chicago) was pretty much all me, led by the players actions, within the constrains of of the prewritten adventure (the railroad, the piano, the mission). Of course, to make this work without pregens, I pretty much had to set constraints on the character creation, but not much more than "You need to be in Chicago, and be physically capable and suited for a trip into the west, and preferably some detective skills. But you can't be any geek of the street. You gotta be handy with the steel, if you know what i mean. Earn your keep.*". We've kept those PCs around, because I have another prewritten in mind for them. This time I'll give them the basic premise for what and where they need to be to kick it off, and then we'll skip ahead in time a year or so, and the players get to fill in the blanks on how they got from the end of the last scenario to beginning of the next. Kind of like what tends to happen between sequels. And if never get around to picking that campaign up again, at least it didn't peter out.

Then again, with that in mind, I should perhaps picked a prewritten adventure when we jumped to Age of Rebellion, but noooo, I had my mind set on a starfighter campaign...

At least I learned enough to set a definite ending to work towards. And that prewritten stuff is awesome when you make your own.

There is also a gigantic thing I had overlooked, the power of story. People will put up with a lot to enjoy a good story. I hadn't included that, and really I think that is actually the answer to the reason why people will surrender choices.

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On 12/7/2017 at 5:41 PM, Edgookin said:

The level of player involvement can vary so dramatically from group to group that it is hard to say how much the game is centered on the GM's plot.  I've run games where I throw out a couple McGuffins, a few opponents, and the players run around doing the entire story.  I've also run games where the players sit there until a plot hits them over the head, and then they call up the train office, buy tickets, board the train and stay on the rails the entire time.  It just depends on the group, and their interpersonal dynamics.

For me, the thing that keeps me up at night banging my head against the wall, this happens in the very same campaign.

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On 12/7/2017 at 6:57 PM, SEApocalypse said:

Sandbox Playstyle
Imho a "good" sandbox has plot, not one, but severals, because in essence the history of a world is nothing else than a story, and emphasizing on causation of events in the sandbox is a key element to allow players to understand what is going on and to choose their own adventure from a bouquet of choices that the sandbox offers. 
The only real difference to a more rigid pre-written adventure is that you are offering the characters usually several plot hooks and see at which one they bite. Though if you just ask the group if they want to play "Friends Like These" or "Jewel of Yavin" next you are doing something very similar, just ooc instead. 

Anyway.
After 3 pages and just a few hours I am sure that it is not a common misconception, there are just different levels of flexibility and playstyles going around. And those can change the context of forum posts. Though I have the feeling that some see the sandbox as something totally random and boring, while actually playing themselves with a lot of sandbox elements at their tables. Guys, only Sith deal in absolutes. ;-)
Thank you for all your posts, it was interesting to read most of them. 

 

What I have found to work, for me, over the years is:

I use:

  • Sandbox
  • Railroad
  • Illusionism
  • Lying
  • Cheating
  • Fudging
  • Manipulation
  • Crying
  • Begging
  • Linear Plots
  • Ignoring
  • Meta Gaming

Or anything else I think will keep the Players engaged.

To me, keeping the Players engaged is VASTLY more important than any RightWaytoPlay purisms people cling to.

YMMV

themensch, Archlyte, syrath and 2 others like this

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