OK, so I was catching up with all of last week’s OSR discussions and discover Zak’s fantastic post that I am sure you have all read by now. I think it’s a fantastic distillation of what I’m going for in the future. Not as aggressively as some, but nonetheless…
I don’t have a long post in me about it yet. But I will recount a situation where I felt I’d found the weird around a gaming table.
I ran Death Frost Doom last August for a bunch of old school gamers from the New York Red Box. A great bunch of guys, btw.
Without spoiling DFD, I can say that there is a place in the game where things behave very strangely but do not seem to use magic in the sense that people have come to understand it. It’s quite a shocking moment for the players, who have a lot ahead of them at that point. One of my players was convinced that he’d run into an illusion of some sort and kept trying to disbelieve and then doing things that would let me justify him disbelieving. And they had no effect.
I can’t speak for that player 100 percent, it did seem to knock them back a bit that something wasn’t behaving by the logic of AD&D/OD&D that we’d been accustomed to for quite a long time. Most of the party seemed intrigued, but they were also very cautious at that point.
I don’t think it frustrated anyone or made the game less fun–in fact it seemed to make it more fun. We are at a point where the rules have been around for so long that situations that suspend them put players into that “weird” valley.
Taking people out of their comfort zone without completely abandoning the rules might be another path to the weird.