Wednesday, April 23, 2008

For the Love of Dungeons

I've been playing a lot of old-school D&D this year and enjoying it tremendously. This has given rise to a little "secret" project that's slowly coming to fruition. Here's a little preview:

Update: to my surprise, this map has turned up on Hand Drawn Maps and been referenced on Metafilter. Go map!

Update: For the Love of Dungeons is published!

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Monday, April 14, 2008

The Otus/Elmore Rule

I was just reading Ed and Joe's blog Esoteric Murmurs, and found a post back from the end of February linking to a discussion about "how best to experience weird fantasy in a [D&D] campaign" on a forum called Knights & Knaves Alehouse. Ed calls attention to a particular suggestion made by a forum member called Kellri, the "Otus/Elmore Rule":
The Otus/Elmore rule: When adding something new to the campaign, try and imagine how Erol Otus would depict it. If you can, that's far's a good idea. If you can picture a Larry Elmore's far too mundane and boring, excise immediately.
(The link above goes directly to Kellri's post, not the first post in the discussion.)

This is a marvelously succinct and apt way of addressing the question... if you're familiar with old-school (Advanced) Dungeons & Dragons. What are some other ways of phrasing this, for people who aren't familiar with those defining D&D artists?

One thing I immediately thought of was the Muppet Show's dramatization of Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky". At the end of the linked clip, Scooter comments, "I tell you, this is the weirdest thing we've ever done on this show!" Unfortunately the clip is missing Kermit's introduction of the sketch, which Scooter interrupts with this exchange: "Kermit, have you seen the set? It's really weird!" "Of course it's weird, Scooter, we're the Muppets." "No, I mean it's really weird!" My personal variant of the rule, then, would be, 'if the Muppets would describe it as weird, it's sufficiently weird.' However, the Muppet Show is 30 years old now (yikes) and so arguably as much out of date a reference as Erol Otus is. 

So, what's your contemporary version of this rule?