You may remember my podcast last year featuring Doug Wall. He's been working on an Oz RPG system, and now the book Adventures in Oz: Fantasy Role Playing Beyond The Yellow Brick Road is completed and in hand.
Now, this is, of course, not a standard Oz book: it is instructions and guidelines for an RPG, a social interaction in which the players create their own adventure, in a dignified form of make-believe. A narrator creates challenges for the players, and using their imaginations, they come up with a solution, using their abilities, or using "Oz points."
As a newcomer to RPGs, I was glad to see that this book does not leave people like me behind in the dirt, assuming the reader is already RPG fluent. At the same time, it also provides lots of introductions for Oz characters and places, so RPG players who are not quite so familiar with Oz can glean enough information to go on, though it must be noted that there are major spoilers for Baum's Oz books.
There are extensive guidelines for creating a character and gameplay that I found to feel very Baumian, using logic to make challenges based on your characters and environment, and using alternatives to brute force to solve challenges. Some of the points made, I thought, might be of use to people interested in writing Oz stories.
To help RPG players, there are many tips for starting ideas for adventures (one of which was inspired by a tongue-in-cheek blog I wrote sometime back that did make an interesting point), and a scenario for an adventure called "The Jaded City of Oz," which made for a very good story!
Also, the book is illustrated with wonderful original artwork by various artists, depicting scenes and characters from the Oz books, and "The Jaded City of Oz." The artwork is wonderfully embedded into the book's design, making for a pleasing volume.
Altogether, this book is worth getting, unless you're just an MGM movie fan... But a warning, after reading it, you'll want to start having your own adventures in Oz!
Skeptics for Santa - I occasionally hear people discussing when they or their kids stopped believing in Santa Claus, and I can’t say I recall ever believing as such. I guess my...