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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Divine Railroad -Toot! Toot!

I am afraid of railroading characters. I don't like to have it done to me - I don't like to do it to others. Simple (non-denominational) Golden Rule style.

That said, when I am running a game and there is a 'cleric-type' character (a character whose rationale is service to a deity) that character may sometimes recieve hints or insights. In my defense, I'll sometimes tell the player of an atheist or agnostic character what they dreamed of - and this dream may or may not have some bearing on the game situation - but more often in the case of the 'cleric' these dreams/intuitions/etc ARE relevant to play.

There have not yet been any visitation dreams, nor overt informational or instructional dreams - no
commandments or orders delivered. The player is always open to interpret (or not) as they see fit.

So I am wondering - am I a closet conductor using the divine conduit as an excuse to steer the player? And why is it that in this one instance (character is dedicated deist) more than any other I feel more inclined/justified to 'meta-play'?

1 comment:

kesher said...

I wouldn't call you a conductor, for what it's worth. :)

IMO, it's not railroading if the players are free to do what they wish with the dream or vision or intuition or whatever. I mean, maybe it depends on how "strong" the info is, and what your intentions are, but still, if you don't freak out if they ignore a hint, well, then no foul.

As for the cleric getting more game-relevant hints, if you're really worried about it, make yourself give him non-relevant hints and see what happens. Or make his deity give him a vision or command that causes tension for the character. E.g., I once had player with a vampire character who worshipped Vecna. During an adventure, the characters recovered a strange idol, which, in a vision, Vecna told him to steal and wait for further instructions. The player was committed to the character, so, amid much groaning from his fellow-players, mayhem ensued...