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Author Topic: How to do whimsical?  (Read 1603 times)

Ratman_tf

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Re: How to do whimsical?
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2021, 10:16:55 AM »
Xanth series? I read the first one, but it's been a long time.
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GeekyBugle

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Re: How to do whimsical?
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2021, 10:24:55 AM »
Paranoia is as close to whimsical as I get.

You really need the right group who are all on the same page for whimsical fantasy and perhaps that's best achieved by picking an existing setting that is known for its whimsy.

Like running a Star Wars game in Spaceballs with a table of Spaceballs fans.

Thanks!
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GeekyBugle

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Re: How to do whimsical?
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2021, 10:25:37 AM »
In a fantasy game, have fantastical elements that don't do anything much to advance the action or story but instead are a way to show the whimsy.  Animals that talk for no apparent reason--and are eccentric characters, also for no apparent reason except that is their character.  A cheerful dwarf in an easy hack and slash adventure.  A samurai hobbit who speaks bad Common--that looks out of place to no one but the PCs.  A female werewolf that can't keep a boyfriend and doesn't understand why.  There is a fine line between whimsy, farce, and outright silly.  Nothing you can do in one is guaranteed to not turn into the other, as it depends on the tone of the whole adventure, too.  It helps to start with a silly core idea then play it straight and understated.

The same thing works with plain vanilla humans, too.  It merely takes a bit more plotting to make something in their character both ridiculous and understated and obvious all at the same time.  A local lord hires the PCs to infiltrate a goblin warren--in order to steal their "primitive art" for his collection.  The goblins are played straight--except that they dress and act like the stereotypical egocentric artist.  They'll still kill you if they can.  If they capture you, they'll have you tied up and demand that you sit still while they draw the image on their walls.

It's possible from such a basis to begin to tie the whimsy into a regular adventure, too, depending on how you want to play it.  It help a lot, however, if the adventure is such that it could easily be overpowered by straight fighting yet the challenge is that it will work better if the players engage with the characters.

As with any comedy elements in an RPG (outside of something like Toon), a little goes a long way.   

Since you have Toon already, consider running a typical D&D adventure using it.  Run, say, Caves of Chaos with fighters, wizards, etc. made as Toon characters using Toon rules. But otherwise play it straight.  Getting knocked down and boggled isn't deadly, but getting captured and eaten is.  This game will most likely dissolve into farce, but it should be a good testing ground for where to draw the lines for something more understated.

Thanks, great advice.
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GeekyBugle

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Re: How to do whimsical?
« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2021, 10:26:39 AM »
Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels might be a good resource as well.

Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels might be a good resource as well.

I thought about Pratchett, but you'd need to be careful to use it in small doses.  Pratchett will throw in a couple of throwaway paragraphs on an incidental character that are so hilarious that you could build an entire whimsical adventure on the implied premise.  Go full Discworld, and at the table it will go to straight zany.

Thanks, the notes keep growing.
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GeekyBugle

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Re: How to do whimsical?
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2021, 10:27:17 AM »
Xanth series? I read the first one, but it's been a long time.

Never heard of it, will have to see if I can buy one.
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Stephen Tannhauser

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Re: How to do whimsical?
« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2021, 10:43:07 AM »
One thing that can also help: Pick the right background music. The Alexandre Desplat soundtrack to Moonrise Kingdom (another Wes Anderson film, and one of my favourites) sets a great whimsical mood that doesn't immediately have to go for farce or ludicrous silliness.

Anderson's films are also good because they help demonstrate that whimsy comes more out of earnest seriousness about unimportant topics than from deadpan snark about serious ones. The paladin who's more depressed about his poor singing voice in church than about how well he can cut down the invading zombies would fit right into a Wes Anderson movie, even though he doesn't think his issues are either funny or unimportant.
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GeekyBugle

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Re: How to do whimsical?
« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2021, 10:44:56 AM »
One thing that can also help: Pick the right background music. The Alexandre Desplat soundtrack to Moonrise Kingdom (another Wes Anderson film, and one of my favourites) sets a great whimsical mood that doesn't immediately have to go for farce or ludicrous silliness.

Anderson's films are also good because they help demonstrate that whimsy comes more out of earnest seriousness about unimportant topics than from deadpan snark about serious ones. The paladin who's more depressed about his poor singing voice in church than about how well he can cut down the invading zombies would fit right into a Wes Anderson movie, even though he doesn't think his issues are either funny or unimportant.

Thanks, will add it to my notes.
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Here is why this forum tends to be so stupid. Many people here think Joe Biden is "The Left", when he is actually Far Right and every US republican is just an idiot.

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therealjcm

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Re: How to do whimsical?
« Reply #22 on: October 05, 2021, 11:17:25 AM »
Plenty of excellent recommendations already listed, to which I'd like to add "Big Trouble in Little China". I'm not sure you could run anything other than a one shot in that style, as a big part of the whimsical element comes from the fact that the hero refuses to take the situation seriously.

GeekyBugle

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Re: How to do whimsical?
« Reply #23 on: October 05, 2021, 11:18:44 AM »
Plenty of excellent recommendations already listed, to which I'd like to add "Big Trouble in Little China". I'm not sure you could run anything other than a one shot in that style, as a big part of the whimsical element comes from the fact that the hero refuses to take the situation seriously.

Now, that's a great movie, will have to re-watch it.
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Here is why this forum tends to be so stupid. Many people here think Joe Biden is "The Left", when he is actually Far Right and every US republican is just an idiot.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

― George Orwell

Ghostmaker

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Re: How to do whimsical?
« Reply #24 on: October 05, 2021, 11:27:24 AM »
Plenty of excellent recommendations already listed, to which I'd like to add "Big Trouble in Little China". I'm not sure you could run anything other than a one shot in that style, as a big part of the whimsical element comes from the fact that the hero refuses to take the situation seriously.
You assume Jack Burton is the hero in BTiLC.

Wrong. Wang Chi is the hero. Jack is his sidekick :)


GeekyBugle

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Re: How to do whimsical?
« Reply #25 on: October 05, 2021, 11:31:10 AM »
Plenty of excellent recommendations already listed, to which I'd like to add "Big Trouble in Little China". I'm not sure you could run anything other than a one shot in that style, as a big part of the whimsical element comes from the fact that the hero refuses to take the situation seriously.
You assume Jack Burton is the hero in BTiLC.

Wrong. Wang Chi is the hero. Jack is his sidekick :)

And what a sidekick.
Quote from: Rhedyn

Here is why this forum tends to be so stupid. Many people here think Joe Biden is "The Left", when he is actually Far Right and every US republican is just an idiot.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

― George Orwell

Opaopajr

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Re: How to do whimsical?
« Reply #26 on: October 05, 2021, 11:42:42 AM »
Impulsively creative, but not mean-spirited.  ;)
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Oddend

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Re: How to do whimsical?
« Reply #27 on: October 05, 2021, 02:45:08 PM »
Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels might be a good resource as well.

There was also a series of Discworld point-n-click games.

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Re: How to do whimsical?
« Reply #28 on: October 08, 2021, 04:54:00 PM »
The World of the Last Sun definitely has a lot of whimsy. Its inspirations (besides stuff like Hollow World, Metamorphosis Alpha, and the Princess Ark) were things like the Wes Anderson movies, Rick & Morty, and Adventure Time.
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