So I really want to know what's good about these things! I know there have been some discussions here, and there were a bunch at the forge, and if anyone wants to link to them that would be great. I get a lot out of threads like this on SG that I wouldn't think of or would poorly articulate. Clearly loads of people have played using these techniques and enjoyed doing so. I've certainly done a bang-up job using them in the past, but now I have techniques that work way better for me - any game that seems to really require lots of either I'd rather simply not run, and I never really enjoyed being on the playing end of them.
Let me throw out a couple caveats - obviously these techniques are going to be spectrums, and honestly on a 1-to-10 rating I'm probably a 3 or 4 most of the time, where I used to often be a 7 or 8. I've had fun with them and used them pretty well, well enough to have a small set of anecdotes to that effect if I need to employ them. So, I want to try to avoid coming off like people shouldn't be doing this.
That said, most of the frustration I've experienced as a player has come from playing traditional games where railroading and illusionism were prominent; many of the somewhat-bitter jokes people I know share about gming are essentially variations on characters going off the rails or aiming for goals we didn't want to accommodate. I just got the Tome of Adventure Design from the recent Bundle of Holding; the first principle of adventure design Finch espouses is maximizing meaningful player decisions, which looks great to me but would seem to be the opposite of railroading and badly undermine illusionism. Then reading Eero's Doyle/Watson breakdown (in this thread
) made me think - if the players don't have serious buy-in on the railroad or illusions then massive resentments build whenever the techniques aren't used perfectly, and games subsequently seem to have come out with more and more player entitlements to try to 'protect' against the gm's 'power,' while continuing to loudly proclaim Rule Zero as primarily the gm's prerogative.
So. Assuming there's a lot I don't understand (a safe bet), what is the good thing about railroading and illusionism? What is the killer app? Loads of people had play sufficiently functional to really enjoy - what facilitated that?
And - sorry if it looks like I'm calling you out, contracycle. You've been particularly vocal about these techniques in recent threads and I'd like to know more of your perspective, specifically, as well as anyone else that would like to weigh in.