Last weekend we had another session with our Saltmarsh-group. We started playing from the book Ghosts of Saltmarsh but have by now deviated so far from it that it is a homebrew campaign. I still have some of the original storylines in there, and the hometown is still Saltmarsh, so it remains my Saltmarsh group.
I had prepped everything in the session already for the previous session, but during that session they decided to go have a chat with the sea-elves. And not go into my awesomely prepped dungeon, for which I made pretty maps in Inkanate! This session I would not have it, so I kinda railroaded their behinds into my dungeon.
Because they had places to go, even of they were not aware of it.
I know there are a lot of gm's and players that really object to railroading.
Railroading is a metaphorical term that describes a game master style in which player characters are forced by lack of options or through narrative to accept seemingly by fiat actions that affect the character.
Now, I usually object to it too, I prefer a style where the players are free in their choises of where they go and what they do. I have had plenty of sessions with prepped maps of locations and houses that no player ever entered. nd that is fine, because apparently they did not need to go in there for the adventure to take it's course. If the players really need to find something in location A but go to location B (or X-Y-Z) instead, fine, whatever they must find is now there. Or a strong indication that they need the something, but it is elsewhere. No adventure is ever set in stone untill it is played.
But there are exceptions. Sometimes what they need to find is rather special and tied to another story, and there is only 1 location in my adventure. Usually the plothooks and directions are clear enough. I think they were in this case, but apparently I failed to make things clear enough to my players.
Last session I think I did make it all clear enough at the end through some divine stuff, but they still did not go to the place I needed them to go to. They wanted to go sailing in the other direction. Fine: STORM! Big one, storm of the century is coming. It took a bit more, but at last they decided to follow the track of my train. I felt a bit sorry for not giving them any options but I knew that they are going to love where I was sending them.
The entrance to the dungeon was underwater, and all the rooms were 1-way railroad-traps with bitey fish and venomous anemones. The last room was not filled with water, it did have a pool with some pretty watery ladies. (They did not hand out words, should have thought of that...) After a bit of chatting I finally could flush my players straight into The Elemental Plane of Water.
This is the first time I have players go into another plane, and I am looking forward to the adventures they are going to have there.
I did a lot of research about that plane, compared the different versions of it and I have way too many ideas. But we will see where the currents take us.
Because this was such a great session, and my first gm-steps into a different plane I made a commemorative dicebag. I never made a commemorative dicebag before, so that's another first. It has waves and a seahorse and some fish. I also selected some dice from my tiny (cough) stash that seem to suit the theme.
And I now have a special Saltmarsh Dicebag.