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railroading session?

   
railroading session?

I recently ran a session combining the world of Taldorai with the story of Tomb of Annihilation heres a summary of what happened but I think I ran it too closely to what I wanted to happen but on the other hand I needed to get the players to the main area of Port Nyanru. Thoughts?

Dream sequence - Seeing a figure on a throne with a eye blazing green and a missing hand directing another man to "Go retrieve my item and I will not interfere with your Soulmonger. Then everyone woke up in the same caravan headed to Emon
as we entered the city you saw rubble and destruction everywhere and smoke rising from the center of town. But they also see ordinary citizens helping each other and helping clear some of the rubble.
As they enter the slums to drop the caravan a figure in black (belonging to the clasp) darts out of a building. Before they can react a arrow strikes him dead. The leader of the yuan t Sellaki gathering in the street Sellak calls his warriors to delay the group. Several yuanti break cover and try to go after the man but see the armed party. Sellak threatens them with a fireball set in the middle of the civilians hiding near by but the warlock counterspells the creature. The fight goes well for the heroes but Sellak escapes.
staying a tavern to recover a courier comes to them as a summons to Alorra and the members of the council As allora is thanking them for there service she mentions that She has been feeling ill at ease with the rumors in the city she wants to prevent panic. As they talk Silvana stumbles in ragged and feeling the effects of the death curse. Allora agrees that something needs to be done Silvan has discovered the curse lies in chult.
Syndra tells the characters her story and makes her request.
“When you’re ready to depart, I will teleport us all to Port Nyanzaru, the only major settlement in Chult. I’ve been there several times before, so there’s little chance of mishap. Once there, I’ll stay with a friend named Wakanga O’tamu. He’s one of seven merchant princes who rule the city.”
Before they leave the warlocks patron is standing in the background whispering to him "Go find this Soulmonger it is interfering with your masters collecting souls. I do not like that the Whispered one is interfering with business. There may be followers that must die." Allura also mentions rumors of a wizard cult that purposely flaunt the rules of magic in place.

Wakanda gave some more information of where to look in the jungle for rumors of the soulmonger. A pyramid that grant boons if adventures complete its challenge, a mine with treasures guarded by a dragon may have special ingredients to resurrect the dead,a witch in the swamp who may contract a price to resurrect, and camp righteous where paladins of Vasselheim may have information about the undead. The general consensus was to go to camp righteous to find information on the undead. Then I ended the session with a alarm sounding meaning an attack was coming.

then here's the notes I had for the session
Dream sequence for all players - Seeing a figure on a throne with a eye blazing green and a missing hand (Vecna) directing another man to "Go retrieve my item and I will not interfere with your Soulmonger. plans to use the Soulmonger for their ascension." Describe various personal things taking on necrotic features Then they all wake up in the same caravan headed to Emon

as they enter the city they see rubble and destruction everywhere and smoke rising from the center of town. But they also see ordinary citizens helping each other and helping clear some of the rubble.

As they enter a figure in black (belonging to the clasp) darts out of a building. Before they can react a arrow strikes him with a chance to miss. Several yuanti break cover and try to go after the man but see the armed party. After the fight they discover the rogue has a list of items that he doesnt have on him ring, withered hand, small statue of snake, 50 gp the yuanti have some gold and the small statue. Sellak threatens them with a fifth level fireball set in the middle of the civilians hiding near by If it turns toward the players if toward the monsters Sellaks escaped and the yuanti hold the players off and then run away.

after the battle mention a tavern they can stay at wherever they end up a courier comes to them as a summons to Alorra and the members of the council As allora is thanking them for there service she mentions that She has been feeling ill at ease with the rumors in the city she wants to prevent panic. As they talk Silvana stumbles in ragged and feeling the effects of the death curse. Allora agrees that something needs to be done Silvan has discovered the curse lies in chult. Offer some magic items from the dragon Horde including....

Syndra tells the characters her story and makes her request.

“I was an adventurer years ago. I died once and was raised from the dead. I have since closed the door on that stage of my life.”
“The death curse you’ve heard about has struck me. I don’t know how much longer I’ll last before I perish. Clerics have no help to offer. They’re stymied by what is happening.”
“My contacts in the Harpers have learned that the cause of the death curse is a necromantic artifact called the Soulmonger. According to their sources, the Soulmonger is somewhere in Chult.”

Before they leave Warlocks patron Vul'Gon is standing in the background whispering to him "Go find this Soulmonger it is interfering with your masters collecting souls. I do not like that the Whispered one is interfering with business. There may be followers that must die." Allura also mentions rumors of a wizard cult that purposely flaunt the rules of magic in place in Emon.

After arriving in Chult describe the area and some rumors

Wakanda soon sees the group and introduces himself and the inns to find a guide and also mentions rumors.

A pyramid that grant boons if adventures complete its challenge, a mine with treasures guarded by a dragon, and camp righteous where paladins of Vasselheim may have information about the undead. mention that witch of the swamp may aid them if one of them falls and that there might be special materials in the mines. Just as characters decide on an action an alarm sounds out that there is an attack on the city. End Session

Did the players have fun? That's really the main question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thesloth View Post
Did the players have fun? That's really the main question.
This.

While the situation, as presented, may have been somewhat more linear than I would have liked (if I were one of the players), it doesn't really become a railroad until the players go off the rails and then are in some way forced back onto them.

It is okay to set up adventures or scenarios or plots that you think the players will follow. But if, for some reason they don't follow them, be flexible enough to figure out what happens next, based on what the players have done and where their apparent interests lie.

alright thanks for the input being a new gm I was not sure what to do to improve, all the feedback I received was "its fine" which is not helpful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drealynn View Post
alright thanks for the input being a new gm I was not sure what to do to improve, all the feedback I received was "its fine" which is not helpful.
It is very hard to get helpful feedback from players. It can help to use specific questions...

"Was there something that happened during play that you thought was cool?"

"Was there anything that didn't go the way you expected?"

"What would you like to see more of in the upcoming sessions?"

And even then, it can be very difficult for the players to express their concerns or wants, for fear of seeming pushy, or causing hurt feelings, or even just because they haven't thought thoroughly about the subject before.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Silverbane View Post
This.

While the situation, as presented, may have been somewhat more linear than I would have liked (if I were one of the players), it doesn't really become a railroad until the players go off the rails and then are in some way forced back onto them.

It is okay to set up adventures or scenarios or plots that you think the players will follow. But if, for some reason they don't follow them, be flexible enough to figure out what happens next, based on what the players have done and where their apparent interests lie.
This.

RPGs are best when they're a collaborative effort. You, as the DM, are primarily responsible for ensuring the game runs smoothly. It's up to you to determine what happens in the rest of the world while the PCs are doing their thing. You toss out plot hooks for them to take or not, and based on their decisions and actions, things happen. For example:

Let's say the main plot of an adventure requires the players to discover a sinister plot after saving a merchant from death in an alley. The hook is having the players walking down/past the alley as the merchant is yelling for help. Hopefully they take the hook and save the merchant, gaining a small reward, an important patron, and staring down the path of discovery that will ultimately let them save the city/region/world.

But what happens if they don't take the bait? What if they're focused on something they want to do and let the merchant die? Or what if the wizard gets all stupid and throws a fireball down the alley? You basically have two choices:
  • Allow the players to miss the hook.
  • Find another way to hook them.

If they miss the hook, they never learn of the nefarious plot. Maybe six months of game time later, the benevolent city council is murdered and the city is taken over by a despot. If nothing is done, the region is plunged into war when the king's army arrives to liberate the city. This is a perfectly acceptable outcome, and one that reinforces the idea that the world will keep spinning with or without the players' intervention.

Or, you can find another way to involve the players. Perhaps the organization plotting the overthrow has determined the PCs are a possible threat, and starts a series of assassination attempts on them. Space these attempts out at random times over the next few adventures. One thing that tends to pique players' interest is spotting the same shadowy figure running from the scene after Bad Things Happen to them. If they persist on ignoring these portents, they'll eventually face a group of assassins that are more than a match for them and at least one party member will likely die. Again - this is an acceptable outcome.








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