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Author Topic: GONZO in the Campaign Kitchen!  (Read 474 times)

SHARK

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GONZO in the Campaign Kitchen!
« on: May 22, 2022, 03:43:09 PM »
Greetings!

Well, I was thinking about this recently. Do you run a total "GONZO" campaign? Do you strictly run a fantasy campaign? Or, alternatively, when running your fantasy campaign, do you also include "spices" of GONZO?

For myself, I tend to run a fairly strict fantasy/Sword & Sorcery/Historical flavoured campaign, with very delicate and curated elements of "GONZO".

In my view, running a GONZO campaign necessarily embraces elements that weigh heavily against running a different style of campaign, so once the choice is made to go full-on GONZO, the commitment has been made, the die is cast, and you are kind of stuck with that as the campaign. Probably why I use GONZO elements very sparingly. *Laughing* However, I should also note that GONZO campaigns can be entirely awesome and fun! There are various elements of GONZO that I really love and enjoy.

What is your take on such campaigns and elements?

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
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Chris24601

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Re: GONZO in the Campaign Kitchen!
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2022, 07:55:33 PM »
You say it's gonzo... but for me, it was a Tuesday.  ;D

Steven Mitchell

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Re: GONZO in the Campaign Kitchen!
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2022, 08:16:12 AM »
Gonzo for me is spice, best used sparingly.  That's true for me as GM and player.  Now, I do use a fair amount of "fairy tale" logic as a fantastical element, which can be second cousin to gonzo at times.  However, as a general rule I prefer my fantastical elements to be predominantly mysterious and laid back (other than being fantastical) rather than over the top and overtly strange. 

I don't usually like "strange for strange sakes".

I somewhat get the appeal of gonzo, but for me it might as well be opera.  Yep, people like it for reasons, but that appeal usually goes swooshing right by me--the Barber of Seville being the exception that proves the rule.

Chris24601

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Re: GONZO in the Campaign Kitchen!
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2022, 10:57:01 AM »
My standard campaign setting is probably best described as a mashup of Thundarr the Barbarian and the D&D cartoon with elements of He-Man, Thundercats and Dragon’s Lair for seasoning… anything you might call Tolkeinesque or Conan-like comes mostly by being sources for the above.

Beastmen, Mutants, Golems (i.e. sapient robots) and Eldritch creatures (giants, dryads, unicorns, talking animals and dragons) are all available PCs. Sci-fi ruins, sky islands, lava lakes, gravity fonts (the opposite of gravity wells), massive ice walls, underground chambers miles across, perpetual storms and whirlpools and other magical anomalies are all things that just exist in the world (so much so I actually closed off the Otherworlds so the realms of the divine, dead and the damned are a mystery that must be taken on faith… make the world wild enough and those other planes are unnecessary).

FingerRod

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Re: GONZO in the Campaign Kitchen!
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2022, 11:59:22 AM »
I have occasionally used it tied with horror. Mega-dungeons and MA, where particular floors offer completely different environments, are also setup well for it. I have never run a full gonzo campaign. I would think you’d need really good players to make it work.

VengerSatanis

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Re: GONZO in the Campaign Kitchen!
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2022, 11:47:35 AM »
Greetings!

Well, I was thinking about this recently. Do you run a total "GONZO" campaign? Do you strictly run a fantasy campaign? Or, alternatively, when running your fantasy campaign, do you also include "spices" of GONZO?

For myself, I tend to run a fairly strict fantasy/Sword & Sorcery/Historical flavoured campaign, with very delicate and curated elements of "GONZO".

In my view, running a GONZO campaign necessarily embraces elements that weigh heavily against running a different style of campaign, so once the choice is made to go full-on GONZO, the commitment has been made, the die is cast, and you are kind of stuck with that as the campaign. Probably why I use GONZO elements very sparingly. *Laughing* However, I should also note that GONZO campaigns can be entirely awesome and fun! There are various elements of GONZO that I really love and enjoy.

What is your take on such campaigns and elements?

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK

An interesting parallel to RPG gonzo popped in my head as I read your post.  I've been watching the Monty Python documentary on Netflix that includes many clips of their Flying Circus tv show.  Last time I sat down to watch my DVD boxed set was probably about 5 years ago.


* You have more or less "straight comedy" which I liken to ordinary, non-gonzo fantasy.

* You have mostly "straight" comedy or fantasy with a singular element of gonzo.

* You have comedy mixed with gonzo, interwoven throughout.

* You have straight-up gonzo dominating the comedy or fantasy.



With each sketch and/or episode, the Monty Python gonzo varies considerably.  I feel like that can be achieved either with a series of one-shots or a campaign.  Although, a campaign should probably be a little more even.  One-shots are perfect for doing whatever seems right at the time.

Ok, let me know if that makes sense and feel free to riff off that or rip it apart, as you guys see fit.

VS



Rob Necronomicon

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Re: GONZO in the Campaign Kitchen!
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2022, 01:26:01 PM »
Used little and not too often, and if used I personally like it more horror or surreal as opposed to comedy.
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VengerSatanis

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Re: GONZO in the Campaign Kitchen!
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2022, 01:29:47 PM »
Used little and not too often, and if used I personally like it more horror or surreal as opposed to comedy.

The first example of horror/surrealism gonzo I can think of is The Twilight Zone.  Is that what you're imagining or something vastly different?

Rob Necronomicon

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Re: GONZO in the Campaign Kitchen!
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2022, 01:31:32 PM »
Used little and not too often, and if used I personally like it more horror or surreal as opposed to comedy.

The first example of horror/surrealism gonzo I can think of is The Twilight Zone.  Is that what you're imagining or something vastly different?

Yeah, man, or the early Outer Limits. Maybe mixed with some Cronenberg. :)
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" Marcello Truzzi.

Chris24601

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Re: GONZO in the Campaign Kitchen!
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2022, 01:44:13 PM »
My default level of gonzo is basically a mashup of Thundarr the Barbarian and the D&D cartoon with a dash of He-Man*, Thundercats* and Dragon’s Lair for spice.

* 80’s versions… though early 2000’s remakes are acceptable.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2022, 01:46:02 PM by Chris24601 »