No Plots Please, Im Playing an RPG

I have a lot of gaming friends who are writers. They don’t make games for a living, but they do a lot of writing for their work. Some are marketing tools, others write textbooks and manuals. A few have published stories and poetry. But most have tried to shoehorn game sessions and campaigns into a story-like structure. Certain required things that have to happen, have to happen because the characters have to do them. If the characters don’t actually do whatever it is, it tends to happen anyway.

This isn’t quite the same thing as railroading. Railroading happens more often during a particular adventure, and those only last for so many sessions. My Failed Sanity Check game that I have run at the last several PaizoCons (except for 2013, when Paizo eliminated volunteer sessions) is basically an escape adventure – if the characters escape, there’s a final battle and then its done.  The premise of escape presupposes being captured – so sort of a railroad. But you have to start someplace, especially if the game has to finish within three hours. Not the same thing as having a campaign in which your PC is a character in a story.