History Main / Railroading

31st May '16 10:08:18 AM GlassRain
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* This is of course a common trap many novice GM's fall into running their first TableTopRPG. Excited by the (to them) wonderful story they have set up, they can get flustered, irritated and downright stuck when their players either miss what they think are obvious markers on how to proceed next or just plain choose to do something the GM did not account for. While an experienced GM can subtely guide a party back on path, the novice often (and in-game wise illogically) ham-fistedly forces the players back on the "correct" path, either in story or fourth wall yelling/whining at the PC s.

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* This is of course a common trap many novice GM's fall into running their first TableTopRPG. Excited by the (to them) wonderful story they have set up, they can get flustered, irritated and downright stuck when their players either miss what they think are obvious markers on how to proceed next or just plain choose to do something the GM did not account for. While an experienced GM can subtely subtly guide a party back on path, the novice often (and in-game wise illogically) ham-fistedly forces the players back on the "correct" path, either in story or fourth wall yelling/whining at the PC s.



* ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'' is about playing mercenaries who are little fish in a big mess of secret wars between [[MegaCorp Megacorps]], so naturally their missions are pretty scripted (and it's also perfectly normal for an irresistable force to point a very big gun at them to push them into an adventure). ''Harlequin'' then one-ups this by explicitly stating that the BigGood has PlotArmor, just in case the shadowrunners decide that they've had enough of his games and aggravation. Many printed adventures in early editions of the game had sections called "Picking Up The Pieces", which had specific advice to the game master on how to get things back on track when {{PC}}s went off the rails. Even more than that, the players are essentially hired for jobs offered by their fixer (contact). While in theory, the fixer should have a number of jobs available to offer to the players, in practice, the fixer usually has ''one''.

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* ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'' is about playing mercenaries who are little fish in a big mess of secret wars between [[MegaCorp Megacorps]], so naturally their missions are pretty scripted (and it's also perfectly normal for an irresistable irresistible force to point a very big gun at them to push them into an adventure). ''Harlequin'' then one-ups this by explicitly stating that the BigGood has PlotArmor, just in case the shadowrunners decide that they've had enough of his games and aggravation. Many printed adventures in early editions of the game had sections called "Picking Up The Pieces", which had specific advice to the game master on how to get things back on track when {{PC}}s went off the rails. Even more than that, the players are essentially hired for jobs offered by their fixer (contact). While in theory, the fixer should have a number of jobs available to offer to the players, in practice, the fixer usually has ''one''.



* ''VideoGame/AnotherCenturysEpisode R'' takes great pains to recreate the final episode of ''Anime/MacrossFrontier'' -- to the point where the mission contains only about two minutes of actual gameplay[[note]]and even then, it's a RailShooter, which ''ACE'' doesn't normally do[[/note]] sandwiched in between seven minutes of unskipable cutscenes where the only difference from the ''Frontier'' anime is a throwaway shot of some of the other playable characters. This level is so infamous that the phrase "NOT SKIP MOVIE" (which appears during said cutscenes) became a minor meme amongst the ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'' fandom.

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* ''VideoGame/AnotherCenturysEpisode R'' takes great pains to recreate the final episode of ''Anime/MacrossFrontier'' -- to the point where the mission contains only about two minutes of actual gameplay[[note]]and even then, it's a RailShooter, which ''ACE'' doesn't normally do[[/note]] sandwiched in between seven minutes of unskipable unskippable cutscenes where the only difference from the ''Frontier'' anime is a throwaway shot of some of the other playable characters. This level is so infamous that the phrase "NOT SKIP MOVIE" (which appears during said cutscenes) became a minor meme amongst the ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'' fandom.



** In another hilarious example, the party is instead expected to help Gandalf out in his fight against the balrog and defeat it together, but Gandalf is an insufferable, overpowered GM character that none of the players like, so they have to be railroaded into doing so. Much to the relief of the rest of the crew, [[OffTheRails Gimli's player points out that their alignments mean they can't risk the opportunity to escape with the ring and promptly ditch Gandalf for "The greater good."]] The irritated GM then railroads the plot back on track by resurrecting Gandalf with an incredible power boost, to everyone's annoyance.

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** In another hilarious example, the party is instead expected to help Gandalf out in his fight against the balrog Balrog and defeat it together, but Gandalf is an insufferable, overpowered GM character that none of the players like, so they have to be railroaded into doing so. Much to the relief of the rest of the crew, [[OffTheRails Gimli's player points out that their alignments mean they can't risk the opportunity to escape with the ring and promptly ditch Gandalf for "The greater good."]] The irritated GM then railroads the plot back on track by resurrecting Gandalf with an incredible power boost, to everyone's annoyance.


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* ''Webcomic/AwfulHospital'': Happens whenever Ms. Green gets fed up with the voices (that is, the suggestions coming from the comic's readers) and tries to defy their directions.
10th May '16 7:40:41 PM manofwarb
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** For double the pun, progressing along the main story ''requires'' you to find and interact with the faction called The Railroad. They are the only ones who can decode a certain chip to find the Institute.


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* VideoGame/MassEffect2 does this on two occasions. The first is right after finishing all four initial Dossier missions, where [[TheChessmaster The Illusive Man]] orders you to head to [[ThatOneLevel Horizon]], with no option but to go there. The second occurs after you have a total of eight recruited squad-mates and have completed at least five missions after Horizon. In this case, The Illusive Man orders you to board the Collector Ship. Only after the completion of that mission, do you have the freedom to do missions when you want. In both instances, this is justified as both of those missions are carried out while there is a narrow window of opportunity to strike at the Collectors before they scurry back through their special Omega-4 relay.
** The Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC railroads you over to the Broker's ship almost immediately after killing [[BestBossEver Tela Vasir]]. The Overlord DLC strands you on a planet till the mission is complete, albeit for a very good reason, while the Arrival DLC has you take Kenson back to her project base immediately after her rescue, to continue the DLC's plot. Again, this is justified as she says that an important task must be done by a certain time.
10th May '16 10:46:42 AM WillKeaton
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* In the ''Literature/LoneWolf'' gamebooks, the adventures got a ''lot'' more linear over time. Compare the pathways through early installments like book three, ''[[http://www.projectaon.org/en/svg/lw/03tcok.svgz The Caverns of Kalte]]'' or book seven, ''[[http://www.projectaon.org/en/svg/lw/07cd.svgz Castle Death]]'', versus later installments like book seventeen, ''[[http://www.projectaon.org/en/svg/lw/17tdoi.svgz The Deathlord of Ixia]]''.

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* In the ''Literature/LoneWolf'' gamebooks, the adventures got a ''lot'' more linear over time. Compare the pathways through early installments like book three, ''[[http://www.projectaon.org/en/svg/lw/03tcok.svgz The Caverns of Kalte]]'' or book seven, ''[[http://www.projectaon.org/en/svg/lw/07cd.svgz Castle Death]]'', Death,]]'' versus later installments like book seventeen, ''[[http://www.projectaon.org/en/svg/lw/17tdoi.svgz The Deathlord of Ixia]]''. Ixia.]]''
26th Apr '16 11:31:11 PM Odacon_Spy
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** In another hilarious example, the party is instead expected to help Gandalf out in his fight against the balrog and defeat it together, but Gandalf is an unlikeable, overpowered GM character that none of the players like, so they have to be railroaded into doing so. Much to the relief of the rest of the crew, [[OffTheRails Gimli's player points out that their alignments mean they can't risk the opportunity to escape with the ring and promptly ditch Gandalf for "The greater good."]] The irritated GM then railroads the plot back on track by resurrecting Gandalf with an incredible power boost, to everyone's annoyance.

to:

** In another hilarious example, the party is instead expected to help Gandalf out in his fight against the balrog and defeat it together, but Gandalf is an unlikeable, insufferable, overpowered GM character that none of the players like, so they have to be railroaded into doing so. Much to the relief of the rest of the crew, [[OffTheRails Gimli's player points out that their alignments mean they can't risk the opportunity to escape with the ring and promptly ditch Gandalf for "The greater good."]] The irritated GM then railroads the plot back on track by resurrecting Gandalf with an incredible power boost, to everyone's annoyance.
7th Apr '16 2:09:33 PM ProfN
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* Though ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'' got quite a large share of flak from players for being 'linear', earlier games were far less kind and subtle in their railroading. Walking too far from your assumed path in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyII'' resulted in you fighting enemies about ten times as strong as your current level, with no indication what patch of field grass was suddenly considered a 'new area' where you'd get a TotalPartyKill in five seconds. Going to the wrong place without the right key item in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII'' simply kills the party in a cutscene... [[spoiler: in two separate points of the game, no less.]]

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* Final Fantasy series examples:
**
Though ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'' got quite a large share of flak from players for being 'linear', earlier games were far less kind and subtle in their railroading. Walking railroading:
**Walking
too far from your assumed path in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyII'' resulted in you fighting enemies about ten times as strong as your current level, with no indication what patch of field grass was suddenly considered a 'new area' where you'd get a TotalPartyKill in five seconds. Going seconds.
**Going
to the wrong place without the right key item in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII'' simply kills the party in a cutscene... [[spoiler: in two separate points of the game, no less.]]


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** In perhaps the most obnoxious example, in the ending of ''VideoGame/{{Final Fantasy XIII-2}}'', much is made of the following decision: [[spoiler: whether Noel should go through with killing Caius or spare his life]]. The game even provides a button-press option to choose between the two. But this is frustratingly betrayed by the plot in an example of [[ButThouMust But Thou Must]], because [[spoiler: even if you choose to "spare" Caius, he commits suicide anyway and the exact same events unfold]]; this is doubly frustrating because [[spoiler: according to the plot, Caius has a death wish and only Noel can kill him, but suddenly he can commit suicide using Noel's sword without Noel's volition - a sword that was never at any point in the plot described as having special Caius-killing power - raising the obvious question: why didn't Caius just off himself years ago if he didn't need Noel to kill him? Argh!]]
4th Apr '16 8:01:08 PM delightfulCheshire
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*** This includes airships in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV''. The airship isn't going to modify 'itself' to enable traveling to the moon faster than today's ships can.
11th Mar '16 4:14:57 PM Steven
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* ''VideoGame/TheJourneymanProject'' has this right in the beginning of the game. You're supposed to head to your job via transporter and if you so choose, you can decide to skip work and teleport to another location. Going anywhere other than the TSA and [[NonStandardGameOver you're instantly uncreated due to a paradox created in the timeline]]. Only by going to the TSA do you find out why the paradox happens in the first place.
17th Feb '16 7:51:25 PM aidreamer
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* ''Webcomic/{{Erfworld}}'' is an unusual example, in that instead of a GM it is the ''universe itself'' (or more specifically, Fate magic) that is behind the Railroading. The gist of it seems to be that some individuals have no Fate and can do whatever they want, it won't really affect matters. Others have a Fate, and this fate ''will'' come to pass ''no matter what''. All attempting to go OffTheRails gets you is a more painful journey along your Fated path, as the universe thwarts any attempts you make to avoid the Railroading.

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* ''Webcomic/{{Erfworld}}'' is an unusual example, in that instead of a GM it is the ''universe itself'' (or more specifically, Fate magic) that is behind the Railroading. The gist of it seems to be that some individuals have no Fate and can do whatever they want, it won't really affect matters. Others have a Fate, and this fate ''will'' come to pass ''no matter what''. All attempting to go OffTheRails gets you is a stalled and more painful journey along your Fated path, as the universe thwarts any attempts you make to avoid the Railroading.Railroading. Even if you manage kill a fated unit before they can complete their destiny, the universe will eventually arrange for a superior replacement to complete the prophecy in their place.
3rd Feb '16 7:18:58 PM Gravidef
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** A similar trend occurs with ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkToThePast A Link to the Past]]''. In the latter half of the game, you're supposed to tackle seven dungeons in a specific order--but there's nothing compelling you to do that. Once you clear the first of the seven, you can pretty much collect the special items from each dungeon and beat the game however you want.
* Speaking of Zelda, ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkBetweenWorlds A Link Between Worlds]]'' deliberately goes out of its way to avert this trope. It does this by bucking the traditional formula of "use the dungeon item you received to reach the next dungeon"; instead, nearly ''all'' of the major items are available to you at the beginning of the game, sold by the merchant Ravio. You can choose to rent the items for a cheaper price, or buy them and thus ensure they'll be yours forever. While certain dungeons do require specific items (especially among the first three dungeons, which outright tell you what you'll need), the majority of the game's levels can be beaten with any combination of tools. Thus, you're pretty much free to do the dungeons in whatever order you like (the only exception is a certain dungeon which requires an item you can't get until you clear another dungeon).
15th Jan '16 1:46:50 AM Mhazard
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* Having random [=NPCs=] remind the party to ContinueYourMissionDammit (even if only BecauseDestinySaysSo) if the players haven't left a town quickly enough;

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* Having random [=NPCs=] [[NPCRoadblock remind the party party]] to ContinueYourMissionDammit (even if only BecauseDestinySaysSo) if the players haven't left a town quickly enough;
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