thread: 2009-05-07 : Explaining the Right to Dream

On 2009-05-12, Marco wrote:

My take is: no. If the GM has to resort to social violence - nullifying a player's or the players' input - in order to preserve the narrative, that means that the players aren't there with the GM about the narrative's value. Railroading shows serious creative differences in the group. Maybe social violence will solve them, but that seems like a long shot. My money's on long-term dissatisfaction.

My view is that railroading is always dysfunctional* to some degree so I agree with this—as a vision statement. On the other hand, I can't take you at face value as representing "the theory dialog" on this point:

If I posit that the GM is the 'guardian' of the vision and is /tasked/ with keeping people in line I'm sure that I can find a legion of people from the theory dialog who'll line up behind me and swear that's how their group did it (and that the group—save for them, the Narrativist—seemed happy). Well, maybe if I do it anonymously.

Furthermore, the current formulation: some element of narrative is held sacrosanct does NOT prevent the GM from running roughshod all over other areas in a way that (at least temporarily) frustrates the players but does not violate the specific sacrosanct elements of the dream.

So if we assume that one-drop-of-railroading will break any CA then, yeah, okay: tautologically no CA can survive it. If my example is the GM preventing the characters from taking a side trip to see something that interested them to "keep the game on track" (and this prevention causes frustration but not the dissolution of the game) then I don't see how that's incompatible with not challenging my badassery.

I think that railroading changes the dynamic at the table to a severity proportional to how out of synch the player is with the GM and how both parties handle the rationalization of intent. But if the players "suck it up" that formally breaks narrativism—I see no reason for it to formally break RTD.

* I know people report "happy railroading" I believe they are accurately reporting it, I just don't think it meets my personal bar for "railroading" when it's 'happy.'


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