[RPG] How to set up a “Forced choice” for players in a game

plot-hooksrailroadingsystem-agnostic

I have come up with a plot twist to create a "wrong person, wrong place, wrong time" situation. That part is important, and I don't want to change it. However this obviously causes a potential conflict with the players deciding "this obviously isn't for us", or "I don't want to get tied up in someone else's business", and therefore leave a plot essential thing behind.

Note: this is going to be used in a cyber-punk setting, but I don't have a system for this yet, so I can't rely on any system rulings at this point.

Basically, I want the players to feel like they need to take a Macguffin, even though the setup is that it is clearly meant for someone else. E.g. a recording talking to a "Dave" when the party doesn't have a "Dave" in it, and likely never will. E.g.:

Dave, we found it. We've managed to get it this far, but you need to finish the job. This was meant for you, and only you can finish the job.

Obviously, there is a full potential for the party to think this is some kind of trap, and may need some reassurance from the DM that "no, this isn't a trap" (which is fine), but I don't want the player(s) to not take the Macguffin.

What techniques should I employ to force the party to take the Macguffin, effectively making this a "Press 'A' to continue" situation, without having to straight out tell them that it's plot centric, in a Cyber-Punk setting?

Best Answer

To me it sounds like this is the start of the campaign, so simply do that - start it off with this scene of them getting that thing, maybe even before character creation, so that they know they need to make a character that would make such a decision.

Or talk to your players. For a more concrete answer we would probably need information like

  1. who are your players,

  2. who makes the decisions in the party,

  3. what motivates them

    But honestly, if you give them the freedom of choice there is no way for sure that they follow your path. If you railroad them you do just that.

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