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[[quoteright:308:[[Webcomic/{{Subnormality}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/railroading_4430.png]]]]

->''"262. I am not allowed to make choo-choo noises when the GM tries to force the plot."''
-->-- ''[[http://theglen.livejournal.com/131998.html 1,950]] Blog/ThingsMrWelchIsNoLongerAllowedToDoInAnRPG''
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%% One quote is sufficient. For additional entries please use the quotes tab.

Being the GameMaster of a TabletopRPG campaign is a difficult business: Regardless of whatever exciting {{Story Arc}}s you've planned and worked out in advance, there's no guarantee that your human cohorts will proceed according to plan. After all, if they don't know what's going to be in store for them, how will they know to get their characters to the right place at the right time instead of, say, getting SidetrackedByTheGoldSaucer?

The answer is called Railroading: In short, the GM takes any measure necessary to ensure that there is only one direction the campaign may proceed -- ''his'' planned direction. This can manifest in any number of imaginable ways; some of them subtle, others ... not so much:

* Planning out connecting geographic areas in a linear fashion, to ensure that there is only ''one'' given path from town A to town E (there will simply be no sidepaths or other locations to explore);
* Adding a BrokenBridge (or three) to prevent the players from reaching a destination before the GM's plot demands it;
* Having random [=NPCs=] remind the party to ContinueYourMissionDammit (even if only BecauseDestinySaysSo) if the players haven't left a town quickly enough;
* Locking the players in a ClosedCircle (at least for a time) to buy time for other events to happen meanwhile;

...The list goes on and on, the exact possibilities limited only by the GM.

In practice, the use of Railroading is generally regarded as one sign of a poor GM, as forcing the players down a single predetermined path (like cars on a railroad track, hence the name) runs against to the collaborative nature of a tabletop RPG in the first place, where every player is allowed an equal voice in dictating what happens next. If players discover the Railroading and rebel against it, they are going OffTheRails. (And if going OffTheRails triggers a RocksFallEveryoneDies, then the something about the campaign has [[EpicFail failed on a fundamental level]].)

On the other hand, while complaints of Railroading are directed primarily at difficult or unimaginative [=GMs=], there are also difficult and unimaginative ''players'' for whom a swift kick in the caboose might be the ''only'' way to get them to do something even as simple as leaving the tavern in the first town (or immediately coming straight back to it). A subtle GM who knows his players and makes an effort to maintain at least an illusion of free will and exploration, and really ''does'' make stories that are That Damned Good, can probably get away with herding a few cats. ([[RolePlayingGame Console and PC RPGs]], which by their very nature are predetermined stories, [[TropesAreNotBad do this all the time]].)

And plus, maybe the story is just worth going on the railroad for. Players may not object to railroading if the story's good enough to excuse the lack of perceived freedom, or if the ride is fun enough. TropesAreTools after all - it's been pointed out that you have to be somewhat linear to actually make a story work.

In a similar vein, an occasional Railroading can do wonders to kick-start the campaign should players have run out of steam and be left with absolutely ''no'' idea how they should proceed next; a GM pointing the players down the nearest track and hoping they can play it can get the campaign moving again, to the benefit of everyone involved. Experienced [=GMs=] know when it is (and is ''not'') appropriate to Railroad the campaign -- a good measure is that if the players are currently having fun, there's probably no need to interfere.

SchrodingersGun can also be a useful tool for a subtle GM to silently railroad players without their awareness. If the GM spent a lot of time secretly preparing a dungeon to the North of the current town, but the players suddenly decide to go South instead, the GM may be able to -- surprise! -- secretly decide that this dungeon was instead in the South all along, and the players reach it just as the GM planned anyway. This form of Railroading (sometimes dubbed "railschroding") can be an effective tool, as the players are the ones driving the 'train', unaware that the GM has already thrown all the switches so that it somehow ends up in the same place no matter which direction they take it.

Of course, one advantage a GM always has over a console or PC RPG is that his players probably aren't going to restart the game from the beginning and realize he was leading them by the nose the entire time. (Note that for players or [=GMs=] who treat their tabletop game exactly like a [[VideoGame console RPG]], Railroading is 100% par for the course.)

NoSidepathsNoExplorationNoFreedom and ButThouMust are VideoGame analogues.

Contrast OffTheRails, an attempt by the players to ''escape'' a GM's railroading, and QuicksandBox, what happens when the GM gives too ''little'' direction.

Not to be confused with the RailEnthusiast's favorite hobby.

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicStrip/KnightsOfTheDinnerTable'': B.A., the put-upon DM, engages in some blatant railroading in one strip. His players catch on after hours of failed exploration, when they sneak a peek at the map of the countryside that B.A. drew, and realize that the road to the dungeon is a ''straight line'' with impassable forests and mountains on either side. Unfortunately for B.A., his players tend to assume that he's not only a KillerGameMaster, but the kind of guy who will put huge piles of treasure in the game world ''just'' to screw them out of finding it. This means they tend to interpret his ways of saying "NothingToSeeHere" as a SuspiciouslySpecificDenial, leading to such incidents as the Portal Of Death, and the time the party managed to kill themselves with the dungeon's ''Garbage Chute''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fanfic]]
* ''FanFic/TheInfiniteLoops'': Some of the universe can be more forceful when it comes to making Loopers follow their stories, but the Webcomic/GirlGenius Loop takes the absolute cake. When Twilight Sparkle Loops into it, she's incapable of going against the story, no matter how hard she tries. And it makes her very angry indeed. By the time she gets to Sturmhalten, she's had enough. By Mechanicsburg, she's gathered together the rest of her universes' Loopers, and has managed to overpower the Loops temporarily. Then she gets hit by a lightning bolt, and dies before she even knows what happened.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* In ''Film/TheCabinInTheWoods'', Hadley and Sitterson [[spoiler: use mind-influencing gases and remote-control doors to separate the five teens or lure them outside as the ritual demands]].
* In ''Film/TheIronHorse'', Bauman the land speculator really wants the railroad built over land he owns, which obviously will make him a lot of money. He is prepared to take violent action to make sure this happens, including murdering anyone who finds the pass in the mountains that would allow the railroad to bypass his land.
* In ''Film/StrangerThanFiction'', Harold, having discovered himself to be a fictional character, tries to stay at home watching TV all day so that the plot cannot progress, [[TheCallKnowsWhereYouLive only for a bulldozer to knock down the wall of his house]]. Which is actually a plot point, as it is when they discover the novel is about things happening to him, not what he does.
* In ''Film/TheTrumanShow'', the show's creators set up a MeetCute situation to force Truman to marry one woman, even though he actually loved someone else. This trope is integral to the whole movie.
* In ''Film/TheAdjustmentBureau'', the eponymous shadowy organization does this for all of humanity, having decided long ago that people cannot be trusted to run their own lives. [[spoiler: It's all a {{subversion}} in the end, because the goal of the organisation is to pressure people into ultimately rejecting the RailRoading in the first place so that they will fight for the right and responsibility to run their own lives.]]
* In ''Zero Charisma'', the protagonist is a DM who is very much prone to this, taking his campaign very seriously and allowing no deviations from it. This gets to the point that he's willing to lie about his own dice rolls to get his way; a practice known as "fudging".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' ''Choose Your Own Adventure'' [[ChooseYourOwnAdventure books]]. In one of them, about half your "choices" led to paragraphs basically saying "No, that's not the right decision. Go back and pick the other one."
** In the modern ones, they let you stumble around, not really having much effect on anything, while the Doctor saves the day. You can't even die, the plot won't let you!
* The two ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' Choose Your Own Adventure books infamously have only one path to get to the happy ending; every single other choice results in instant death.
* In ''Literature/TheHungerGames'', the Gamemakers use various traps and events [[spoiler: such as fires, force fields, and even necessary supplies]] as a way to make sure the participants have to meet up and fight because the audience doesn't like long periods of time with no deaths.
** Conversely, they also have events that prevent too ''much'' slaughter. For example, in Catching Fire, [[spoiler: a pitched battle goes on in the center of the arena between the two factions - so the center spins around, scattering the participants by hurling them into the water in various directions.]] Both sides regroup and withdraw, keeping the Game going for a while longer.
* 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]]''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action Television]]
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'' has had numerous episodes (often involving the holodecks) where the characters attempt to [[OffTheRails escape]] the plot of the simulation/ shared dream/ NegativeSpaceWedgie only to be transported away and forced to finish the story.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* In a certain sick way, the MontrealScrewjob could count, VinceMcMahon and ShawnMichaels basically forcing events onto their chosen path in defiance of BretHart.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* 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.
* The gaming blog "The Alexandrian" gives excellent advice for averting railroading in tabletop [=RPGs=], called [[http://thealexandrian.net/wordpress/1118/roleplaying-games/three-clue-rule the three clue rule]]: "For any conclusion you want the [=PCs=] to make, include at least three clues." This is because (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) "the [=PCs=] will probably miss the first; ignore the second; and misinterpret the third before making some incredible leap of logic that gets them where you wanted them to go all along."
* The ''TabletopGame/{{Mekton}}'' adventure ''Operation Rimfire'' which read more like a script then an adventure. While it featured ten pre-generated player characters, five of them were pretty much useless. To make matters worse, two of the other characters (and one of the useless ones!) were indispensable to the plot, however, if the players didn't choose to play both of those characters, then important developments and revelations would be skipped or confined to NPC-only dialogue (And there is nothing less fun then watching the GM talk to themselves). The story leaves no room for deviation, basically forcing the players to do exactly what the script tells them, otherwise the plot simply will not advance. And finally, the worst straw is the villain's death: no matter what the players do, which pretty much amounts to ten people whaling on him at once with guns, rapiers and laser swords, he lives long enough to deliver his ''twenty seven line'' dying speech and then execute his master plan anyway.
* ''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''.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}'' is an interesting case, in that the point of the game is usually gleeful chaotic backstabbing, but the ''setting'' of an underground complex ruled by an all-powerful computer allows for some pretty iron-clad railroading if the GM so desires it.
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''
** Many adventures in early editions had various levels of this, but the original ''TabletopGame/{{Dragonlance}}'' modules ([=DL1=]-[=DL15=]) were by far the most blatant example. Most of the time the {{PC}}s could only do one thing due to the situation, and several times the Dungeon Master was specifically told by the module to take action to force the {{PC}}s along a pre-determined path. There were also dire results for the whole game world if the players did manage to avoid doing exactly what they were supposed to. For instance, there was a specific action in the first module which, if nobody did it, resulted in there ''never being any priests''.
** A number of adventures for the ''TabletopGame/{{Ravenloft}}'' setting start with the Mists of Ravenloft suddenly appearing around a group of {{PC}}s and carrying them off to that demiplane without any chance to avoid it. The adventure [=RQ3=] ''From the Shadows'' takes the railroading UpToEleven. The {{PC}}s are approached by a man who asks them to find and defeat a Headless Horseman. If they agree, when they confront the Headless Horseman the Mists appear and take them to Ravenloft. If they refuse, the man casts a Vistani curse on them and the next time they're on a road alone the Mists appear and carry them off. Once they're in Ravenloft the DM (Dungeon Master) is ordered to kill each of the {{PC}}s, either by having the Headless Horseman cut off their heads or having them be slaughtered by subsequent waves of monsters, including three beholders (!). The DM is told to cheat on die rolls if necessary to kill off the {{PC}}s. A short time later the {{PC}}s are brought back to life (sort of) by the lich Azalin and are forced to perform missions for him (if they don't they're permanently killed). If they agree to a mission they'll probably end up being all killed ''again'' (but not for real). The {{PC}}s are very unlikely to gain any ExperiencePoints from performing these missions and can possibly lose tens of thousands of ExperiencePoints while doing so through no fault of their own.
** In ''Egg of the Phoenix'', after the adventure is over, the titan Sylla suggests that the [=PCs=] let her take the Egg [[NoMacguffinNoWinner where neither evil nor mortal forces can find it]]. It's only a suggestion if the [=PCs=] agree, since if they don't, [[ButThouMust she will take the Egg anyway]] regardless of the [=PCs=]' response...or attacks.
* An early edition of ''Magazine/WhiteDwarf'' magazine carried an article on how GM's could do this for ''TabletopGame/WarhammerFantasyRoleplay'' in which it advised four steps: (1) Subtlety (2) Emotional Blackmail (3) Bribery with loot, and (4) Just dropping the plot and encounter in at the very next opportunity. It advised that the first three options rarely worked and that sometimes it was best just to skip straight to step four.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' releases Adventure Paths which are six-volume campaigns that carry player characters from first level to roughly 17th before the end, though this varies. Needless to say, even the most open-ended of them can have some heavy-handed railroading in order to ensure the players are along for the ride.
* ''TabletopGame/MarvelSuperHeroes'' supplement ''Uncanny X-Men'' boxed set "Adventure Book".
** In chapter 4 "Time Out" the {{PC}}s are at a charity basketball game when the supervillain Arcade performs a KnockoutAmbush by flooding the gymnasium with KnockOutGas in order to capture them. The module explicitly states that the {{PC}}s have no chance to avoid being rendered unconscious.
** Chapter 5 "Nightmare in New Guinea". The {{PC}}s are at an audience with the Mandrill when he decides to capture them. He and his soldiers open fire on them with [[StunGuns neurostunner pistols]] that cause unconsciousness. The game master is specifically told that if the {{PC}}s appear to be winning they should add more regular soldiers or even soldiers wearing PoweredArmor - whatever is necessary to capture the {{PC}}s.
** At the end of chapter 8 "Terror in the Amazon" the building holding the gymnasium from Chapter 4 appears in the sky and begins pumping out the same KnockOutGas that took out the {{PC}}s earlier. Again, the module says that the {{PC}}s can't avoid the effect of the gas.
* Any game line with a strong metaplot tends to have a lot of this in published adventures. The ''TabletopGame/OldWorldofDarkness'' had a particularly despised sequence of adventures revolving around [[TheScrappy an NPC named Samuel Haight]]. No matter what the players did, they were never allowed to kill Haight or stop him from achieving his goals, because he was scheduled to turn up in future adventures.
* Published adventures for ''TabletopGame/CthulhuTech'' are infamous for this. In particular, the GM is often specifically instructed to [[DiabolusExMachina make sure the villains win one way or the other,]] since having the good guys win would ruin the tone of horror and despair the game strives for. In another example, the adventure says that a particular character must become a LoveInterest for a PC.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* There's a magnificent lampshade of this in ''VideoGame/{{Portal 2}}'', in the game's intro, when Wheatley gets free of his management rail: "No rail to tell us where to go! This is brilliant. We can go wherever we want! Just hold on, where are we going, seriously. Hang on, let me just get my bearings. Umm, just follow the rail, actually." Many Valve games are designed in a very linear fashion, although the environments are well-designed enough to make it feel cinematic and interesting.
* This is a plot point in the ''VideoGame/{{Half-Life}}'' series. Gordon Freeman is constantly being railroaded by the G-Man. Episode 1 and part of Episode 2 are notable in that you managed to go OffTheRails (in-universe) courtesy of the Vortigaunts. The game itself still railroads you down linear passages, though. To lampshade this, Half-Life 1, 2, and Episode 2 start with Freeman stepping off of a train.
* ''VideoGame/TheStanleyParable''
** The game [[AnAesop deals heavily]] with this subject, and more generally with player decisions/options in video games.
** The pinnacle comes with the Confusion Ending's [[InsistentTerminology Stanley Parable Adventure Line™]]: a bright yellow line painted on the floor that you literally follow to the plot after you've skipped ahead to [[spoiler:the mind-control room]] one time too many. Of course, it takes you to [[spoiler:the mind-control room, and the Narrator huffily has you ignore it from that point on.]]
** The Confusion Ending even takes it one step further by revealing that [[spoiler: the Narrator is being railroaded as well, and he's none too happy about it once he finds out.]]
* In ''[[VideoGame/{{Banjo-Kazooie}} Banjo-Tooie]]'', it is possible to locate Terry's eggs and learn the "Hatch" move before [[DefeatMeansFriendship befriending]] Terry. If Kazooie tries to hatch an egg first, Terry will prevent this by objecting loudly despite being nowhere in the vicinity.
* A critic at one point complained about this in the ''Spider-Man 2'' video game adaptation, despite the [[WideOpenSandbox open world]], you're often ''timed'' whenever a story objective happens, forcing you to head over there.
* In ''VideoGame/BioShockInfinite'' you can always explore a little bit, find hidden caches, and even go back to the beginning, [[spoiler: until you enter a different universe,]] but there is a set plot, and the only choices you can make are what upgrades you want to make, which enemy to kill first, and when you want to continue on with the plot. Nothing you do will affect the ending. [[spoiler: In fact, the game deliberately invokes railroading with apparently important but really insignificant decisions to explore its theme about the illusion of choice in linear games, and the ending itself drives home the point that none of your choices mattered.]]
* Played with in ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime Ocarina Of Time]]''. Although the ''narration'' railroads you to complete the temples in a certain order, the gameplay itself is a little more open (so long as you grab the special treasure in each temple, you can do the Fire Temple and Water Temple before the Forest Temple and the Spirit Temple before the Shadow Temple, for instance). But first-time players would have no way of knowing this. Also, thanks to a [[GoodBadBug programming quirk]] the game only checks to see if you've actually beaten the Shadow and Spirit Temple and merely assumes you beat the rest if you did.
* ''VideoGame/TheHalloweenHack'': Varik can explore the town of Twoson, but he cannot leave it because there are really tough enemies on the outskirts of town. If he manages to get past these enemies, the exits are blocked off.
* This is a usual criticism of the ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' series. While the series is famous for its open worlds, the missions usually force the player to play them exactly the way the programmer intended, by doing things like making your opponent's car faster than yours no matter its model, making assassination objectives invincible until a forced chase ends or positioning your character in an inconvenient place through a cutscene so you can't have the advantage.
* The entire point of a rail shooter. They're pretty much movies where you do the gunplay.
* Certain amateur-programed, Flash-based games.
* The Franchise/{{Pokemon}} franchise has really started to nosedive into this territory. While [[VideoGame/PokemonRedAndBlue the first]] [[VideoGame/PokemonGoldAndSilver two games]] were barely linear at all, and even allowed you to do almost every Gym battle out of order, the subsequent installments have been using EventFlags more and more often, with the [[VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite fifth]] and [[VideoGame/PokemonXAndY sixth]] generations just outright abuse {{NPC Roadblock}}s as liberally as possible.
* {{VideoGame/Doom}} mod ''VideoGame/CallOfDooty'' is a reimagining of the first three levels of the game (so far) in the style of ''CallOfDuty'', while [[TakeThat taking many potshots at the series and modern military shooter tropes in general.]] The game also railroads the hell out of the player, starting a "GET BACK TO THE COMBAT ZONE" countdown if they wander off the tracks (which, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4yIxUOWrtw in the first level]], includes moving anywhere ''in a tiny room'' other than straight towards the exit!)
* Exaggerated in TakeshisChallenge. The player is given many, many things to do, but doing anything other than a precise series of [[GuideDangIt purposefully obtuse]] actions will either kill you right away or render the game [[UnwinnableByDesign Unwinnable.]]
* Ironically, for a game where you're playing a character fighting for freedom, the ''Franchise/AssassinsCreed'' series got progressively more linear in mission structure as the series went on. In ''AssassinsCreedIII'' assassinating Templars must be done in a specific, story-mandated way rather than killing them however you can. Ubisoft seems to have taken the criticism to heart for ''AssassinsCreedIVBlackFlag'' which is more open.
* ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'' is linear in general but the railroading reaches infamous heights with episode "Romulan Mystery", mission "Divide et Impera". If you take the time to read the text prompts it becomes pretty obvious pretty early that [[spoiler:the Romulan weapons research lab is really a medical facility]], but the game forces you to keep going and [[spoiler:become an UnwittingPawn enabling the Undine impersonating Admiral Zelle to KillAndReplace the facility's commander]]. [[Recap/StarTrekOnlineFoundryDivideUtRegnes "Divide ut Regnes"]], a FanSequel to the mission, {{justified|Trope}} it with MindControl.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/DarthsAndDroids'': After the players' (somewhat off-base) version of ''StarWars Episode I'' is finished, [[http://darthsanddroids.net/episodes/0206.html the GM's original plot]] is shown. So during an ArchiveBinge, you get to see how the GM accommodated his original plot points after ''severe'' derailing by the players. This actually shows that the Darths and Droids game master may not be perfect, but is a really good GM, changing his planned plot around the flow of the game and the choices of his players rather than the other way around. As of Episode III it is becoming increasingly obvious that he is becoming tired of the players taking their own paths, and he vigorously attempts to steer them back onto the rails. When R2's player [=GMs=], however, the railroading stick hits ''hard''. It is highly possible that [[spoiler:the destruction of Naboo]] is the GM's way of making sure that they ''don't'' go off the rails.
* ''Webcomic/DMOfTheRings'':
** The entire comic is a screencap comic about characters going through the plot of ''Literature/LordOfTheRings'' (which doesn't exist in their world, so they don't know it) with a very bad DM who is quite blatantly railroading them, with the players attempting to go OffTheRails as much as they can [[spoiler:(including attempting and succeeding at killing Gollum, Gríma and Saruman)]]. The work evokes a common mindset behind railroading:
--->'''TheRant:''' Players tend to stay on the rails better when you place obvious landmines on either side of the tracks.
** In one comic, the group attempts to interrupt Gandalf's conversation with Théoden...only for the DM to start over from the beginning, causing them to compare it to a video game cutscene. In another, they ask why he even bothers running an RPG if he already knows the exact story he wants to tell. His response is because they chip in for pizza.
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'':
** Roy categorically declares he's not going where the plot requires he go. It doesn't stick: [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0251.html Stupid Railroad plot]]. Interestingly enough, in the forums the author published a [[http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=291639#post291639 pretty detailed account of the battle]], proving that he actually thought the whole thing through rather than [[RocksFallEveryoneDies just saying the]] [=PCs=] lost.
** Much later on, General Tarquin [[BigBadWannabe thinks]] he's the BigBad and that his son Elan is TheHero. However, Elan makes it clear that he's not, and the Order's end-goal is to stop an EvilSorcerer from harnessing the power of a god-killing abomination. In order to impress onto Elan what Tarquin thinks is his proper role, the General decides to [[TheyWereHoldingYouBack kill the rest of the Order.]]
* ''Webcomic/ProblemSleuth'':
** Though readers' suggestions were still used from time to time, much of the latter part the work was based on commands the author decided to use regardless of whether they were suggested. Similarly, ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'''s plot is already planned out, though reader suggestions still appeared. Finally the suggestion box was shut down, and, apart from giving names to a couple of new characters, remained locked and will remain so for the foreseeable future.
** However, Andrew has been known for taking suggestions or rumors from the forums and putting them into the story, meaning the readers don't completely lack influence.
** The method of taking suggestions, a forum post, was an Artifact from JailBreak's origin as a forum thread. ''Homestuck'' became so popular that every time Andrew reopened the suggestion boxes to get the plot off the rails the forums would crash from the onslaught of attempted suggestions.
* ''Loaded Dice'' [[http://www.rdinn.com/comic.php?comicid=8 lampshades this facet of Steve's plot]] very early in chapter one.
* ''Webcomic/DAndDS9'' features a newbie DM who [[DarkAndTroubledPast seems to have it out for Sisko in the backstory roleplay scene.]]
* In ''Webcomic/RustyAndCo'', Mimic hates an adventure hook but as he leaves, he is literally hooked -- onto a landship, which runs on railroad tracks, and belongs to the foe he was being recruited to fight.
-->'''Mimic:''' An' here I thought "on rails" was jus' an expression.
* ''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.
* ''[[{{Webcomic/Morphe}} morphE]]'' wants to have interactive segments such as [[http://morphe.thewebcomic.com/comics/1884886/chapter-3-page-2-wits-composure/ Investigation Mode]] and the [[http://morphe.thewebcomic.com/comics/1901549/chapter-3-page-18-open-your-eyes/ second dream sequence]], however it is still a web comic which updates 3 times a week and all attempts to add choice, particularly in the dream sequence, are a case of ButThouMust and will inevitably lead to the correct conclusion for the next update to be in context.
* ''Away From Reality'' has [[http://wowafr.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/afr-209-blame-game/ Gord]] completing the [[DownerEnding Jade Forest questline]] from ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', and Blizzard (represented by an "evil M&M") is trying to guilt trip Gord, only for Gord to snap back that it literally isn't his fault. Blizzard wrote the storyline, and Gord was railroaded into that outcome, the only option he had was [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere quitting [=WoW=] and playing a different game]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''Roleplay/RubyQuest''. Poor Weaver gets accued of railroading a lot. Two of the most blantant cases [[spoiler: are ruses. The first is when Ruby pushes Stiches off the rail.]] The second is (this is a big one, you may not want to read it) [[spoiler: when Tom remains behind, only for Stiches to save their asses.]] And of course, Weaver does a huge TakeThat in the end. [[spoiler: Choo Choo]]
* An odd FanFiction example: ''Pooh's Adventures'', a MegaCrossover series that is pretty much any movie with Pooh and his friends pasted into the film. They can't do anything to affect the flow of the film aside from suggesting the obvious, or downright stealing people's lines. One example is in Pooh's Adventures Of WesternAnimation/TheThiefAndTheCobbler, in which [[{{Pokemon}} Mewtwo]] tells Zig-Zag to watch out for the nails. He still steps on the nails.
* Happens a lot in ''The Literature/BinderOfShame''.
* Spoony of ''WebVideo/TheSpoonyExperiment'' relates [[http://spoonyexperiment.com/2011/11/06/counter-monkey-vampire-spoonys-jyhad/ an example of this]] from the ''VampireTheRequiem'' {{LARP}} group of Phoenix, Arizona. Unusual in that it's instigated by the other players rather than the GM, but the GM goes along with it and kind of implies that it's Spoony's fault for not picking one of the two Clans prominent in the setting. Spoony's [[WhosLaughingNow response]], which really [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome must be heard to be believed (which starts at around the 20-minute mark)]], ends up with the GM basically telling him "I think you should leave."
* ''Blog/ThingsMrWelchIsNoLongerAllowedToDoInAnRPG'' [[http://theglen.livejournal.com/89715.html 501-1000]], [[http://theglen.livejournal.com/131998.html 1001-1500]]:
--> 638. The DM is not impressed by me spoiling his well planned ambush by just casting Glassee on the door.\\
739. Can't make the blacks ops super easy by sending a couple of strippers to the guardroom first.\\
840. Even if it would have immediately solved the last six adventures, I won't throw dynamite in every well I come across.\\
977. Disable plot device is not a real skill.\\
1060. I will go into the villain's lair and take him out the old fashioned way. Not just wait outside his favorite bar with a rifle.\\
1071. I will go take out the villain's dungeon the old fashioned way, and not use magic to reroute a river into it instead.\\
1137. I have to go into the dungeon, not just send in dozens of summoned creatures every morning.\\
1241. It takes more than one pick pocket roll to totally derail the campaign.\\
1256. "Ignore the metaplot" is also not an acceptable super power.\\
1293. I can't avoid plot mandated ambushes no matter how hard I try.\\
1383. Portable Plothole is not a real magic item.\\
1404. I will not spoil the adventure's mandatory ambush by using the cheesy tactic of a "scout".\\
1413. Even if the dungeon has only one exit, can't just starve the villain out.\\
1432. Using my prior knowledge of the adventure to force the game along [[NoExceptYes while encouraged, is discouraged]].\\
1436. In case of premature termination, the dungeon boss has an identical twin brother on standby.\\
1449. Any plan that would quickly, logically and safely defeat the module early is doomed to failure.
* The party in ''StatlessAndTactless'' gets literally railroaded into visiting a town by way of an actual railroad.
** The party, chiefly Soo, is surprised that Joe of all people actually dislikes taking games off the rails despite being a massive troll. He insists that he'll never derail the plot but instead takes pleasure from "bursting into the engine compartment and tossing hyper-flammable babies' into the boiler".
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'':
** In the episode "Asspen", Stan is railroaded into an 80s-style sports movie plot, complete with contrived exposition.
** Similarly, in "Towelie", the boys have ''zero'' interest in playing along with Plucky Kids Save The Day action adventure plot the various protagonists feel they are in; they merely want to play their new video game system. However, they are eventually forced into it when their game system is stolen.
** Also in "Woodland Critter Christmas", Stan refuses to go along with the plot, but the InteractiveNarrator (played by [[JerkAss Cartman]]) doesn't stop harassing him until he does.
** DoubleSubverted when Craig tries to refuse but winds up doing the thing he said he refused to do anyway (either unwittingly or accidentally).
* The ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory'' episode "D&DD", a homage to DungeonsAndDragons, has Dexter being removed from his position as GM for this exact reason. When Dee Dee takes his place his company doesn't seem to mind, despite the fact that she railroads the game off genre. This is mainly because Dexter was being a KillerGameMaster who was blatantly cheating so his overpowered villain would win (and the players' reactions imply that he does this all the time). Dee Dee, on the other hand, was a much more benevolent GM, resulting in the game becoming a MontyHaul adventure.
[[/folder]]

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