Monday, April 29, 2019

Azurth Mailbag: Death & Mayhem

This may well become a recurring feature here, assuming I get other Land of Azurth-related questions. Jason Sholtis of Pennsylvania asks: "How do you deal with D&D style violence and mayhem in Azurth and how does it support or thwart the tone?"

D&D is often characterized as "killing things and taking their stuff" and old school play at least tends to to pride itself on "high lethality." Neither of these things seem Azurthian at first blush, given the stated inspirations, so I understand why Jason might question how it all fits together.

First off, my Land of Azurth campaign is run in 5e, which is a bit more forgiving and less lethal (for the players) than older editions. This suits our campaign just fine.

Secondly, Azurth is a D&D world with those sorts of inspirations. It doesn't have an Ozian lack of death, for one thing. Azurth isn't a grim or dark world in any sense, but it's a bit like the Land of Ooo from Adventure Time! in that it is not as saccharine as it might appear on the surface. (And unlike the Land of Ooo, it doesn't have to hold the violence to levels acceptable to Broadcast Standards and Practices.)

I think there's fun in juxtaposing the children's book sort of elements with mayhem, but without doing a "dark" take in the traditional sense. So yes, the D&Dish mayhem thwarts the kiddie nature of some seting elements, but the setting keeps the action of the campaign form devolving into just another D&D world. They work well together.

Do you have a question? Leave it in the comments or email me.


What a Fine Hand said...

Will it have a Demon Cat that thinks it knows your name?

Trey said...

It hasn't yet, but it's not impossible.

Jay Dugger said...

Ah, that image of the falling Kalidahs shows my favorite scene in all the Oz books. Never understood why people found flying monkeys scary. Kalidahs--smart, big, fierce, and they regenerate fast!

As I recall that scene, our heroes only just managed to push the tree the pursuing Kalidahs used to cross the chasm over the edge. A narrow lead, spent not to kill the Kalidahs, but to buy time. After all, those Kalidahs were going to hit bottom, heal, climb up, and keep coming after our heroes.

A close second would be the Oz Squad comics with a fight between the Hungry Tiger and a Kalidah. "I'll heal," says the Kalidah. "I'll keep eating," says the Hungry Tiger.