Do we really have to drop Acid in Disney land?
Ok I admit that’s kind of fishing for clicks title, this is not about LSD or Disney, but it will make sense in a minute.
Lately I have been reading a lot of blogs and looking at what other people are doing and I have to admit, by comparison my campaign is bland as oatmeal.
I look at some of the sprawling mega-dudgeons that people have described on the net, the campaigns filled with dark and the nasty, and some downright strangeness, and I wonder am I missing something?
I like the aesthetics of some settings, like every fantasy Role playing game by games workshop for example, because huge armies of every description with just more spikes, skulls, fire belching war machines and banners a guy can count are cool as fuck. I like creeping monsters with dark tentacles that pop out of bento boxes and eat faces, also cool. I think however, for me, too much over the top is too much.
|For example....Roll For Initiative...|
Do not get me wrong if you are reading this and you want to run a campaign revolving entirely around steam punk dragons ridden by were-goat- zombies that shoot lasers from their eyes, have at it. There is no such thing as “WrongBadFun” in R.P.G.s .
My thought here is this in a fantasy RPG we already live in Disney land. Depending on your setting there are elves, Dwarfs, Gnomes, (in 4th ed Big Crystal guys? Wait what? )
Most everyone has a blade, some people can cast magical spells, not the dinky, look I made a flower appear bullshit magic, but real look I just made an unseen servant carry my stuff, and then threw a lightning bolt kind of magic.
There are bad guys lurking in the woods, they are owl bears, and orcs, and giant ants and all kinds of crazy things. Underground things get worse, the deeper you delve the worse things get, because your character does not belong there.
Shit is amazing even in the most mundane fantasy setting. Heck if I saw someone summon a familiar in real life I would shit myself, that person would become the single coolest person I know.
ME: “You talk to your cat? For real? Ask it why they all stare at walls so much.”
Fact is though, every monster isn't somehow first cousins to Cuthulu or working for the God of infinite pudding and skull humps.
When we overload our setting with too much strange and cool goodness we run the risk of that becoming mundane. The idea of an Orc creeping out of the darkness in a tunnel, holding a cruel knife, and leering at the party; should be terrifying, because the Orc is foreign non-human, feral, a killer, a hunter that’s smarter than a wolf and stronger than most men. On the other side of that coin if your world has a demon prince as the local green grocer, or a purple worm that roams the streets cleaning up loose trash and vagrants, it’s going to be that much harder to engage the players when a threat comes around. Worse yet the Gm coudl fall into the dreaded spiral of Bad-ass-itude, wherein every thing is so darn awesome, the Gm has to one up themselves in a never ending spiral of ever more over the top stuff. (yeah well this I know you have fought dragons before but this dragon breaths more dragons!)
Think about a campaigning setting like a pointillist painting. All the little dots of information work together to form an image, but if all the dots are Orange, even though Orange is awesome, it will be damn impossible to see what the artist is trying to present. If every thing is bad ass the really bad ass things the GM wants to show off, run the risk of just kind of fading into the background.
|Thank Goodness Mr.Van Gogh had more than just orange at his disposal.|
When layering on the cool stuff in a fantasy campaign sometimes it ‘s best to use a light hand especially at low levels so latter on when you want to awe your players, they are not already jaded from all of the bad ass shit running around.
The players already live in Disney land let them enjoy Space Mountain for what it is; a Gm does not always have to artificially enhance the setting, at least not yet anyway.
Hope you enjoyed reading.
Any questions and comments are welcome as always,