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GONZO in the Campaign Kitchen!

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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,


You say it's gonzo... but for me, it was a Tuesday.  ;D

Steven Mitchell:
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.

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).

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.


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