Failure and RPGs

Another recent two episodes of Fear The Boot, talked about failure, RPGs and how it's effects are used in various RPGs from both the player and the GM perspective. Keep in mind that most of the people on FTB are traditional gamers, so their opinions are skewed based upon that; they talked a lot about death being the ultimate failure for the player; with railroading being the ultimate failure for the GM. Personally, I think the worst failure on both sides of the screen is when you are not having fun or are causing problems with other people's fun. I think that is by far and away the worst thing that can happen.

They got on a tangent on predetermined character death and how they didn't like it. They are a firm believers, for the most part, in the adage "Let the dice fall where they may." Now, two comments; if someone wants to kill off their character in a dramatic fashion and the GM sets up the scene so he/she can do that, why not? I have been gearing more towards story games where players can suggest scenes, so it would be well within their rights to set up a scene for the character dies. The second comment, is the "Leaf on the Wind" rule. It was mentioned on rpg.net thread about house rules. I stole it for my games. If someone wants to dramatically succeed on something without using whatever random element we use for that type of thing; they can. The only condition is that they must die by the end of the scene. My wife loved Firefly and when I told people at the table that rule, she cried, since she loved Wash so much.

As for railroading as a GM, I can understand part of that and for the most part agree that it isn't fun if no matter what your character does, they have no effect on the plot. The problem is that at times, it is hard not to railroad a little bit; but I try to limit it as much as I can. If you ever throw a dungeon into your game and the players have to go through the whole thing to get to the big bad, that is a touch of railroading.