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New DM, tips needed

   
There's two main pieces of advice I can give that hasn't been mentioned:

1) Things go slower in PbP, even if everyone's posting 1/day. As such, plan for adventures that don't take as long to get from point A to B as you would a live game. If you've ever read an Adventure Path by Pathfinder or D&D, that's too long to realistically run well in PbP the vast majority of the time.

2) Expectations, expectations, expectations. State clearly what you as GM want, how you intend to run your game, communicate when things change, and you'll avoid most problems. Railroading vs. sandbox? Just tell people what you'll do. Here's an example of what I wrote for my last game recruitment:

Quote:
Railroad v. Sandbox: You have your overarching goal. There will be multiple paths and options to get there, plus multiple ways to go about saving the Princess.
If this was too loose for someone or too rigid, then they probably didn't apply in the first place leaving those players who were cool with this response. It's not just railroading vs/ sandbox though, but your other preferences and style and you'll do fine.

In my opinion, the difference between railroading and flexibility is motivation. If you as a DM have a story you want to tell and you want it to go a certain way, provide the PCs with the real, lived motivation to accomplish what you want them to. Make them want to follow your story, and no one will ever perceive it as railroading. Railroading is simply a term used when the DM tells the players by fiat that they have to take a certain course of action. Don't tell them they have to; let them tell you they have to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farland View Post
In my opinion, the difference between railroading and flexibility is motivation. If you as a DM have a story you want to tell and you want it to go a certain way, provide the PCs with the real, lived motivation to accomplish what you want them to. Make them want to follow your story, and no one will ever perceive it as railroading. Railroading is simply a term used when the DM tells the players by fiat that they have to take a certain course of action. Don't tell them they have to; let them tell you they have to.
This.

A lot of this has to do with whether your players trust you, too. I've been in games (both here and real-world tabletop) where the GM took a decidedly "Me vs Them" stance. I've played games where the GM really wanted nothing more than to write a story and expected the players to walk through it. Neither resulted in much player investment, which led to nobody really having much fun.

The trick is, as Farland mentions, to hook the players. The last game I ran here before my extended hiatus little more than an extension of the Trouble in Nentir Vale adventure for 4th Edition. The difference was in the characters. Some had direct connections to the plot through their backgrounds. Other characters had direct connections to those characters (a "my friend is going, so I'll go to" sort of thing). Still others were ... less than enthusiastic about participating (from an in-character perspective), having very little direct connection to the initial events, but were given other hooks to follow as the adventure progressed.

When all was said and done, every one of the players had at least one thread woven directly into the otherwise very generic plot of the adventure. They were all eager to see where their stories led.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farland View Post
In my opinion, the difference between railroading and flexibility is motivation.
No, it's not. That's the difference between railroad and participationism.
Neither of these is "flexible" in any way, except in coming up with personalized inducements to follow the rails.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peacemonger View Post
2) Expectations, expectations, expectations. State clearly what you as GM want, how you intend to run your game, communicate when things change, and you'll avoid most problems. Railroading vs. sandbox? Just tell people what you'll do. Here's an example of what I wrote for my last game recruitment:

If this was too loose for someone or too rigid, then they probably didn't apply in the first place leaving those players who were cool with this response. It's not just railroading vs/ sandbox though, but your other preferences and style and you'll do fine.
Yes, and this is IMO the best way to do that. Nobody's time is wasted and the GM ends up with players that are looking to enable his or her preferred style. How much better can it get?







 

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