Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Railroad to Oz

I am reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as part of my classics challenge.  I'm about a quarter of the way through, and I realized what a horrible adventure it would make.  From the point where Dorothy is told about the land of Oz it is made abundantly clear that she has no choice but to go to the Emerald City and speak to the Wizard if she ever wants to go home.  It turns out that Oz is a magical and wild place, in the middle of a HUGE desert.  So huge no one knows of anyone who has ever crossed it, not even the Good Witch of the North, and the only way that Dorothy can go is to follow the Yellow Iron Tracks... I mean Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City. 

Shortly along the Yellow Brick RailRoad she teams up with the Scarecrow, Lion, and Tin Man.  Such party introduction would require just about everyone to sit and wait their turn for what was probably a quarter to half the game session.  I don't know many players that would be willing to do that.  Maybe, just maybe, they were late and building characters at the table, and were introduced as they finished.  Maybe.  

Now, this isn't to say that Oz wouldn't make a fantastic setting for a game.  It already has!  I played in a game of D&D years ago where the DM literally sent us to Oz!  It was actually kind of frustrating until we figured it out where we were. 

The Sci-Fi miniseries Tin Man's re-imagining of Oz would make a fantastic dark steampunk setting.  I would probably run it with Deadlands or Mutant Future.  Most likely I'd use Mutant Future, as I own that one, and don't own Deadlands!! 

There is a lot to be mined from Frank Baum's creation, but it's worth spending some time to clean away the stuff that wouldn't translate well into a game. 

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