Friday, October 5, 2012

Time and Again

Last time, I took some time to write about the technology of Oz and how it relates to our own. Now I'm going to take a look at Oz history.

[21:17] <~Dan> Did you draw on elements from the entire series of Oz books, and does the game take place at any particular point in their chronology?
[21:17] <~Dan> Sounds like it's post-Wizard of Oz, at least.
[21:18] <+WizardofOzGuy> After a certain point in the series, about 5-7 books in, there develops a sort of status quo that never really gets challenged after that
[21:18] <+WizardofOzGuy> Ozma rules Oz, the Wizard and Glinda help
[21:19] <+WizardofOzGuy> Dorothy moves to Oz and has adventures with her friends

(WizardofOzGuy is me, of course)

In terms of settings details, I include everything I can from within the borders of Oz from all 14 of L. Frank Baum's Oz books. Which would technically make the "current" moment in Oz history just after Glinda of Oz, Baum's last book.

I think Dan asked this question to address the intimidation factor of having to learn yet another world's history and other details in order to play a new game. But there's not much necessary history to Oz. There is indeed some history to the land, but none of it is truly necessary to enjoying an Oz book or an Oz game.

I have made some suggestions both in the book and on the blog regarding "historical" gaming in Oz. Because some things do change over the course of the stories and some groups and Narrators might want to reset things to before a particular change. The example that springs to mind from the AiO rulebook is the Flatheads of Flathead Mountain. In Glinda of Oz, the story that they appear in, they start as Flatheads (people with no room for brains in heads that cut off just above the eyebrows) but end the story as Mountaineers (normal people with normal brains stored in the normal place). If you want to include Flatheads in your game, you will have to go back to when they still kept their brains in cans. Or pretend that Glinda of Oz never happened, which is much the same thing.

Exploring Oz in the Four Witches Era (before Dorothy's arrival) or during the Reign of the Scarecrow is more likely to change the tone or mood of your adventures than create any real factual issues.

And there's no clear calendar in the Oz stories. So even if one event happens after another, there are very few indications as to exactly how long that is. And then there's the concept of "fairy tale time"; The idea that time in fairylands flows at a different rate than the mundane world. The Wicked Years series does this to great effect. Although Son of A Witch details the growth of Liir from boy to man in the space between the first and second Oz books (and Maguire fits two more novels into that space as well), Dorothy is still a little girl when we meet her again in Ozma of Oz.


librarian said...

On a tangent, do you cover the lands outside of Oz but adjacent to it?
Per this wikipedia link here:
Ev, Ix, Boboland, Nome Country, Scoodlers (my favorites!), etc etc.

I feel like you have covered this in a previous blog post, but laziness prevents me from researching further...

F. Douglas Wall said...

I was intending to save that material for my Beyond the Deadly Desert supplement, which I tried to Kickstart last year, but funding has been eluding me.

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