Have you ever been accused of railroading a party? A while back (before my self imposed exile from GMing) I was running a short adventure for a few friends. It was a 1st level adventure for "Just made up", wet-behind-the-ears adventurers. The beginning premise is that the party stumbles on a dead adventurer in the wilderness and find the deed to an inn. Once arriving in the town that the inn is located, they find that it is in disrepair, thus beginning the adventure to restore it and run it as an adventurer hot spot. After all, all those "You all begin in a tavern" adventures have to take place somewhere!
Anyways, as soon as they got the gist of the adventure they started making train noises and saying things like "I can hear the train coming" Was that a fair assessment considering how little they knew about the adventure itself? Was I actually forcing them down a path without realizing it? I know i'm out of GM practice, but I thought I was just laying the background and lead in for an adventure, not twisting their arm and putting them on the railroad tracks.
If that were the case, aren't all pre-made modules "railroading" the players into following a set path of some sort? By that logic, the only way to NOT railroad them is to say "You all begin at a tavern, now what do you want to do?"
|The Inn in Question|
I may have been a little overly-sensitive at the moment because I was nervous to run a game after so long away from the GM screen, but I didn't think that giving a party a lead in to the adventure was forcing anything on them. Especially considering the fact that moments later I explained to them that there were numerous things that needed to be fixed at the inn and each of the merchants in town that could help them would need "favors" and they were free to pursue them if they wished or work on their own. And yet I still got the vibe that they felt they were trapped into playing the adventure.
I guess I'm a little protective of my GM skills and when people aren't entertained or not into the adventure, I take it a a personal insult. Not from them, but from myself, that I didn't do a good enough job or my writing skills sucked in this case. Anyone else get the "Whoo whoo" noises at a game table?