So I've been thinking about lowering the barrier for entry for RPG's, and that lead me to thinking of the idea of RPG tutorials. The best tutorials are those that are fun, and don't just stop you every five minutes to explain how something works but rather /show/ you how something works through play. The first portal game is a great example of this. Pretty mindbending mechanics but it teaches you the way of thinking in portals throughout basically the first two thirds of the game, leaving you a master when it comes to combining everything in the climactic final act. You don't even really see it as a tutorial but as part of the game itself.
It'd be really interesting to be able to achieve something similar with RPG's, or at least as close as you could get. But Tabletop RPG's tend not to have any sort of tutorial system full stop, let alone a good tutorial system.
So I'm interested to hear, how would you go about making a tutorial for an RPG or Storygame. Something where the players could start by playing through the tutorial without having to read through the whole rulebook. Do you think it's a good idea at all? Do you think it's possible to do well? In the case of games with a GM, could you make a single tutorial that taught both the GM and the players?
I think the difficulty is that the players actions aren't as constrained as they are in most games that feature tutorials, so it's hard to make sure that they are engaging with the tutorial in a way that helps them learn.
The way I can think of approaching it would be basically a choose your own adventure that combined life-path style systems and introductions to the game mechanics.
Another issue is potentially limiting the players creativity through the tutorial, would it be possible to make a tutorial that wasn't just an essentially railroaded mini-adventure? Maybe give the GM a kind of recipe for introducing the different mechanics by telling them the types of scenes to present to the player and letting them fill in the blanks.
Any thoughts, or examples you know of, would be appreciated. I think this is a really interesting subject and difficult to do well.