Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Gonzo Gaming and the OSR

The OSR is carried upon a strong current of gonzo play—outlandish charts, insane ideas given flesh, and hallucinatory episodes that produce games which feel like Jodorowsky's Dune. I have no problem with this, I love this idea—but my mainstay in gaming in something a little more concrete. This is an understatement of hyperbolic levels, since I tend to map out every inch of land and record the most minute details of political systems whereas the Gonzo Gaming mantra is generally to make something up on the spot and if you're stuck consult a table full of wholly insane options to help you.

That being said, I don't generally gravitate to that type of gaming. The last gonzo setting I designed/thought of running was Zaan (specifically engineered to resemble something that a 14 year old kid might draw in the margin of his notebooks) and the last one I thought of playing in was the fabulously insane Planet Motherfucker. NORMALLY, however, I have a laserlike focus on detail and require my material to provide me with hundreds of pieces of information, nay thousands, that most people don't fixate on.

Somehow, gonzo gaming seems to be much more liberating, or at least it does right now. I've been working on the 10th Age off and on with three or four months here and there in between intense development sessions, for around FIVE YEARS. I love the detailed, fussy thing that has resulted, the vast alternate otherworld of medieval (and early medieval at that) influences. But sometimes I get tired from running something that requires an attention to detail usually reserved for insane librarians and archivists. I look out into the vast web and see things like the beautifully worded Hill Cantons and wonder why I can't spew that sort of inspired insanity in my games.

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