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Return to Oz: Defining the Universe

I've written before about the world of Oz as created by Lyman Frank Baum. The setting has several appealing aspects for campaign building, including the fact that it's a well-known universe, much of it is public domain, and it ties together a bunch of different genres. In short, if you're looking for a non-traditional replacement for the Feywild, Oz is a great place to start. Also, Santa Claus lives there. More on him later.

nonesticamap.jpg

The Wonderful World of Baum​

If your only knowledge of Oz is the Wizard of Oz movie, you're in good company. And by all accounts, multimedia was always Baum's plan.

Baum started out as a theater producer and playwright, but found success in publishing children's literature. All the while, he kept working on producing films and plays. He wrote 14 novels in the Oz series, plus over 40 other novels, over 80 short stories, and more than 40 scripts. For Baum, Oz was the beginning but never the end of his vision. Baum regularly turned theatrical and movie scripts into books when they didn't gain traction on screen or in the theater, like The Marvelous Land of Oz and Tik-Tok of Oz.

But Baum always had bigger plans. He wrote about the absurd land of The Magical Monarch of Mo, of two children visiting a fairyland in Dot and Tot of Merryland, gave Santa a backstory in The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, followed the adventures of a gingerbread man come to life in John Dough and the Cherub, and warned about what happens when you get your wish in Queen Zixi of Ix. When those books didn't perform well, he placed all three worlds back into the same universe as Oz with his book, The Road to Oz, in which Santa Claus, King Bud and Princess Fluff (from Queen Zixi of Ix), and John Dough show up for the festivities. Later, Baum would try to escape Oz again with the adventures of Trot and Cap'n Bill in The Sea Fairies and Sky Island, but when those books underperformed, the two main characters landed in Oz in The Scarecrow of Oz. All together, these realms created the foundation for Nonestica, a made-up term drawn from the surrounding Nonestic Ocean mentioned in the Oz books.

Baum's fans took things further, adding kingdoms from his other fairy tales, specifically American Fairy Tales, which featured the story "The Queen of Quok." That story adds more kingdoms (Bilkon, Junkum, Mulgravia, and Macvelt), and with a few other short stories from Baum, rounds out the other lands on the fan-made map of Nonestica. Adding to this diverse landscape are the 26 books set in Oz that are currently in the public domain, which flesh out the four corners of that Empire.

Despite the fact that Oz books were very popular in their day, little after The Wizard of Oz is familiar to modern audiences. There's an entire shared realm outside of Oz that's just waiting to be fleshed out by enterprising Game Masters.

Putting it All Together​

I recently published my own Oz campaign supplement for Fifth Edition and there's an even bigger book funded by Kickstarter on its way from Double Critical. It's a lot of work to tie it all together, and not all of Oz hangs together naturally without some effort.

Nonestica is a hodgepodge of ideas and it shows on the map. The borders within and outside of Oz aren't particularly logical (they don't follow geographic contours), because they were made up and added as Baum (and later his successor, Ruth Plumly Thompson) wrote more books. It was not uncommon for a new species or kingdom to be introduced and never be mentioned again.

This dreamlike quality makes Nonestica a fluid place that lends itself to the concept of domains. We've seen domains used to good effect in Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft, but there are hints that the same premise will be applied to the Feywild with the upcoming book. The Wild Beyond the Witchlight mentions "Domains of Delight," a similar concept with lands that can open and close their borders and even move around as the game master sees fit.

Nonestica also encompasses a variety of genres. There are steampunk-style giants invented by the King of Scowleyow (from Mo), an island populated by failed inventions (the Isle of Phreex from John Dough), sea fairies battling fiendish monsters in the Nonestic Ocean (from The Sea Fairies), an academy of witches in Ribdil, Santa Claus' workshop in Hohaho Valley, and even a demon portal that spawns awgwas who bedevil the jolly old elf. There's just enough rough outlines to use Oz tropes in different lands.

That diversity goes beyond the surface and extends to the sky, where numerous "skylands" are detailed, from the pink-vs.-blue divided Sky Island to the militaristic Airlanders who possess blasting horns, gunpowder, and flying staves. There's much below ground too, including the Kingdom of the Nomes (a lot like D&D's dwarves), and a multitude of "hollow world" realms that exist in their own ecosystems, like that of the plant-like mangaboos, the silver people of the isles, and the burrowing flamefolk who live in lava.

Substituting Nonestica as a fairy land to replace the traditional Fey lands usually associated with Seelie and Unseelie has its own hazards. But with a few tweaks, you can add Nonestica to your game.
  • A Nonestican Campaign: Nonestica is so diverse that an entire campaign can easily be set within its confines. Because new domains within Faerie pop up all the time, it's possible that Nonestica contains your campaign rather than the other way around.
  • The Nonestica Continent: Although Oz was often positioned as being somewhere else, it was possible to physically reach it from the modern day world: Dorothy's house was picked up by a cyclone and the Wizard's balloon landed there. As other authors added to Oz's mythology, characters arrived in other ways (such as falling down through the earth). Oz could potentially be a magically-protected continent in your fantasy world.
  • Another Plane of Existence: The easiest solution is to just make Nonestica its own plane of existence. Many elements of Oz's geography moved around or contradicted themselves; using domains and borders, this fluidity can be more easily explained. There are several magic items in Faerie that allow transportation across worlds; often, characters stumble upon a powerful magic item or spell without recognizing what it does, only to accidentally use it to transport to Faerie.
  • A Dreamland: The Wizard of Oz movie positioned the realm as being part of a dreamscape. Characters might arrive via the Dreamlands into Oz, leaving only when they awaken.
In the next article we'll discuss some how to deal with some of the baggage that Oz brings along with it when adapting it to a D&D campaign.

Your Turn: What books have you adapted to your campaign?
 
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Michael Tresca

Michael Tresca

BoxCrayonTales

Adventurer
All of D&D is. It’s Ren Faire. Which is as American as Oz is.

Yes it's bizarre to me that people think D&D fits Tolkien better than Oz.

Middle Earth is a consciously religious setting written by an English Catholic about a mythic European past. It is very definitely not a setting of power fantasy, so if D&D is inappropriate for Oz, it's inappropriate for Middle Earth.
Neither fits, yeah.

The Americana influence was most obvious in basic D&D with its emphasis on frontier settings (e.g. Keep on the Borderlands). But the PC races were mostly Tolkien (e.g. humans, elves, halflings, dwarves).

D&D was initially a strange mishmash of influences from Americana, Tolkienesque fantasy, and pulp fiction, but those influences quickly gave way to an increasingly isolated self-referential aesthetic. The peak of this is probably the GameLit based on D&D, particularly any fantasy anime made since 2010.

I don’t like the aesthetic because it feels like surrealist self-satire. E.g. the anime Tower of Druaga has a whole city pop up around the titular tower whose economy is based on farming the monsters and goods it produces ex nihilo.
 

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talien

Community Supporter
I'm curious how you feel about the Wicked series, which hasn't surpassed the original Wizard of Oz in popularity, but I think with the musical has become the most famous Oz property next to the WoO itself.
I've seen the Wicked musical, but haven't read the books. I think Wicked is the most modern and popular attempt at revisiting Oz, unless you count the wicked witch showing up in Disney's Once Upon a Time series. Wicked brings something new to the whole story by flipping the tale on its head, which I think is great. I enjoyed the musical. Only later did I understand just how far it strays from the original books.

For many Oz adaptations, there's a lot of author bias that to me feels unnecessary. Or to put it another way, most adaptations seem more interested in telling their own story with their own characters in an Oz setting, rather than telling an Oz story. There's lots of esoteric characters in Oz that rarely see the light of day, because most adaptations just want to stamp "Oz" on it for name recognition.

For an analysis of the modern incarnations of Oz, check out this paper: https://etd.ohiolink.edu/apexprod/rws_etd/send_file/send?accession=bgsu1236369185&disposition=inline
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Funny to be reading this today. I was reading through the War for the Crown Adventure Path for PF1, and in volume 1, there's a monster that looks suspiciously like the Wheelers from Oz. They are called the Onyvolans.


1630725877648.png
Either way, running a game in Oz would be cool. I didn't back the Double Critical KS, but was sorely tempted...
 

1. treat oz as a domain of dread. It's a place of horror, even if it is also a place of wonder.
2. There needs to be a dedicated soft golem species for characters like the scarecrow and jack pumpkinhead.
3. Warforged is for the Tin Woodsman and his military counterpart. Also Tik Tok
4. the cowardly lion is an awakened lion, but honestly I think I'd have more fun making him a wemic. :D
5. Gilikan could be a blast making them blond buckteethed goliaths. :D
6. Winkies are master tinsmiths and kinda yellow, but could easily be made into dwarves.
7. Quadlings are Halflings
9. Munchkins are either short (gnomes) or human sized (elves).

That should give us a baseline to work with.
 

The players don't want to play the original Odissey neither the Iliad but their homebred version of Xena: the warrior princess or Kratos: God of War.

I have said some times the TTRPGs are like a box of LEGO or another building toy, after you but it you can create how you want, and it hasn't to be like the showed in the cover of the box.

Maybe Tolkien was not the main source of inspiration for Gary Gygax but it was for a lot of players creating their homebred settings.

Do you remember the todd mcfarlane's figures of "Land of Oz"? I didn't dare to publish here the image of Dorothy.


f2e7a1ecb2b0e17586afa1c0a77d2c5c.jpg


6f2376358c193728980bdf9875fe637c.jpg
 



Tallifer

Hero
I ran across this terrific roleplaying game for Oz: many of the most important thematic ideas are easily transportable to 5E. One of the basic things is gaining strange and helpful Friends as you explore. Adventures in Oz

The whimsy of Oz has always influenced my own D&D campaigns, even when I ran 4E:

06 Tarot Cards scripted resized  cropped.JPG


(For more D&D illustrations, see my webcomic: Tales from the Gnomish Tarot )
 

jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
It’s a setting that deserves it own ruleset, not a retrofit to a ruleset with completely different assumptions.
It was adapted for GURPS back in the day (as a fan creation, not an official sourcebook), and that was well-received from what I hear.

That said, there is also this:


I have not tried playing it, however.
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
I've written before about the world of Oz as created by Lyman Frank Baum. The setting has several appealing aspects for campaign building, including the fact that it's a well-known universe, much of it is public domain, and it ties together a bunch of different genres. In short, if you're looking for a non-traditional replacement for the Feywild, Oz is a great place to start. Also, Santa Claus lives there. More on him later.

The Wonderful World of Baum​

If your only knowledge of Oz is the Wizard of Oz movie, you're in good company. And by all accounts, multimedia was always Baum's plan.

Baum started out as a theater producer and playwright, but found success in publishing children's literature. All the while, he kept working on producing films and plays. He wrote 14 novels in the Oz series, plus over 40 other novels, over 80 short stories, and more than 40 scripts. For Baum, Oz was the beginning but never the end of his vision. Baum regularly turned theatrical and movie scripts into books when they didn't gain traction on screen or in the theater, like The Marvelous Land of Oz and Tik-Tok of Oz.

But Baum always had bigger plans. He wrote about the absurd land of The Magical Monarch of Mo, of two children visiting a fairyland in Dot and Tot of Merryland, gave Santa a backstory in The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, followed the adventures of a gingerbread man come to life in John Dough and the Cherub, and warned about what happens when you get your wish in Queen Zixi of Ix. When those books didn't perform well, he placed all three worlds back into the same universe as Oz with his book, The Road to Oz, in which Santa Claus, King Bud and Princess Fluff (from Queen Zixi of Ix), and John Dough show up for the festivities. Later, Baum would try to escape Oz again with the adventures of Trot and Cap'n Bill in The Sea Fairies and Sky Island, but when those books underperformed, the two main characters landed in Oz in The Scarecrow of Oz. All together, these realms created the foundation for Nonestica, a made-up term drawn from the surrounding Nonestic Ocean mentioned in the Oz books.

Baum's fans took things further, adding kingdoms from his other fairy tales, specifically American Fairy Tales, which featured the story "The Queen of Quok." That story adds more kingdoms (Bilkon, Junkum, Mulgravia, and Macvelt), and with a few other short stories from Baum, rounds out the other lands on the fan-made map of Nonestica. Adding to this diverse landscape are the 26 books set in Oz that are currently in the public domain, which flesh out the four corners of that Empire.

Despite the fact that Oz books were very popular in their day, little after The Wizard of Oz is familiar to modern audiences. There's an entire shared realm outside of Oz that's just waiting to be fleshed out by enterprising Game Masters.

Putting it All Together​

I recently published my own Oz campaign supplement for Fifth Edition and there's an even bigger book funded by Kickstarter on its way from Double Critical. It's a lot of work to tie it all together, and not all of Oz hangs together naturally without some effort.

Nonestica is a hodgepodge of ideas and it shows on the map. The borders within and outside of Oz aren't particularly logical (they don't follow geographic contours), because they were made up and added as Baum (and later his successor, Ruth Plumly Thompson) wrote more books. It was not uncommon for a new species or kingdom to be introduced and never be mentioned again.

This dreamlike quality makes Nonestica a fluid place that lends itself to the concept of domains. We've seen domains used to good effect in Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft, but there are hints that the same premise will be applied to the Feywild with the upcoming book. The Wild Beyond the Witchlight mentions "Domains of Delight," a similar concept with lands that can open and close their borders and even move around as the game master sees fit.

Nonestica also encompasses a variety of genres. There are steampunk-style giants invented by the King of Scowleyow (from Mo), an island populated by failed inventions (the Isle of Phreex from John Dough), sea fairies battling fiendish monsters in the Nonestic Ocean (from The Sea Fairies), an academy of witches in Ribdil, Santa Claus' workshop in Hohaho Valley, and even a demon portal that spawns awgwas who bedevil the jolly old elf. There's just enough rough outlines to use Oz tropes in different lands.

That diversity goes beyond the surface and extends to the sky, where numerous "skylands" are detailed, from the pink-vs.-blue divided Sky Island to the militaristic Airlanders who possess blasting horns, gunpowder, and flying staves. There's much below ground too, including the Kingdom of the Nomes (a lot like D&D's dwarves), and a multitude of "hollow world" realms that exist in their own ecosystems, like that of the plant-like mangaboos, the silver people of the isles, and the burrowing flamefolk who live in lava.

Substituting Nonestica as a fairy land to replace the traditional Fey lands usually associated with Seelie and Unseelie has its own hazards. But with a few tweaks, you can add Nonestica to your game.
  • A Nonestican Campaign: Nonestica is so diverse that an entire campaign can easily be set within its confines. Because new domains within Faerie pop up all the time, it's possible that Nonestica contains your campaign rather than the other way around.
  • The Nonestica Continent: Although Oz was often positioned as being somewhere else, it was possible to physically reach it from the modern day world: Dorothy's house was picked up by a cyclone and the Wizard's balloon landed there. As other authors added to Oz's mythology, characters arrived in other ways (such as falling down through the earth). Oz could potentially be a magically-protected continent in your fantasy world.
  • Another Plane of Existence: The easiest solution is to just make Nonestica its own plane of existence. Many elements of Oz's geography moved around or contradicted themselves; using domains and borders, this fluidity can be more easily explained. There are several magic items in Faerie that allow transportation across worlds; often, characters stumble upon a powerful magic item or spell without recognizing what it does, only to accidentally use it to transport to Faerie.
  • A Dreamland: The Wizard of Oz movie positioned the realm as being part of a dreamscape. Characters might arrive via the Dreamlands into Oz, leaving only when they awaken.
In the next article we'll discuss some how to deal with some of the baggage that Oz brings along with it when adapting it to a D&D campaign.

Your Turn: What books have you adapted to your campaign?
I honestly never knew Baum had written a WHOLE FRICKIN’ UNIVERSE for Oz; I knew there was some stuff beyond just Wizard, but had no idea how extensive it was.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester
That map of Oz is backwards. It shows west on the left and east on the right.

Baum always portrayed the Munchkin land (the East) on the left and Winkie country (the west) on the right - a strange quirk of Oz and its surrounding countries. There was a theory that Oz was perhaps on the inverse side of our world's plane, tying into Dorothy and the Wizard's journey through the center of the Earth to get back to Oz in the fourth book. But more likely it was due to use of glass negatives when copying the map.

Still, it's an important quirk of the setting, and unfortunately that you chose a "fixed" map to represent it above for this discussion.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
@Marandahir you got me to look at the map again, and I saw an island called "Orkland". IIRC, the Orks in Oz are nothing like Tolkein's orcs.
(Orks)

But what I was really inspired by was if Orkland somehow got invaded by Warhammer 40k Orks and then there was a full on invasion of Nonestica by the entirety of the 41st century. And how would that all play out? Guess the players will just have to find out...
 

Faolyn

Hero
I know Oz as a setting very well—I had read 37 of the canonical 40 books by the time I was out of grade school—but I've never taken the plunge into running an RPG campaign set in Oz. The issues involved are numerous: there's no money in Oz and no death;
Which is odd because in the second book (which I literally finished two days ago), they defeat a swarm of crows and loot all the treasure from their nest, which includes a ton of (American) bills--which they use to re-stuff the de-strawed Scarecrow. At the end of the book, Scarecrow becomes the Tin Woodman's treasurer.

I imagine all this got ignored in later books, however.
 

Jack Daniel

Legend
That map of Oz is backwards. It shows west on the left and east on the right.

Baum always portrayed the Munchkin land (the East) on the left and Winkie country (the west) on the right - a strange quirk of Oz and its surrounding countries. There was a theory that Oz was perhaps on the inverse side of our world's plane, tying into Dorothy and the Wizard's journey through the center of the Earth to get back to Oz in the fourth book. But more likely it was due to use of glass negatives when copying the map.

Still, it's an important quirk of the setting, and unfortunately that you chose a "fixed" map to represent it above for this discussion.

No it's not. James E. Haff & Dick Martin's map has been considered the canonical map of Nonestica since it was published in 1980. It appeared in all the Del Ray issues of the Baump and Thompson novels, and it's International Wizard of Oz Club approved.
 
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Jack Daniel

Legend
Which is odd because in the second book (which I literally finished two days ago), they defeat a swarm of crows and loot all the treasure from their nest, which includes a ton of (American) bills--which they use to re-stuff the de-strawed Scarecrow. At the end of the book, Scarecrow becomes the Tin Woodman's treasurer.

I imagine all this got ignored in later books, however.
That, and children buying green lemonade with green pennies in the Emerald City in the first book. :)

It's never said outright, but Oz's characteristic "no money, no death" is presumably linked to its status as a "fairy country," which depends on a fairy like Ozma being on the throne (since Oz was said to have "become" a fairy country when Queen Lurline left one of her fairy band, namely Ozma, behind to rule it). Whereas, while the Wizard was ruling Oz (and he being an ordinary mortal from the USA), the whole country was just less magical in general. (But that's also a post hoc rationalization that's never spelled out in the books. Really, Baum just didn't develop his ideas until later and then incorporated them into Oz as a kind of quiet retcon.)
 
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Marandahir

Crown-Forester
No it's not. James E. Haff & Dick Martin's map has been considered the canonical map of Nonestica since it was published in 1980. It appeared in all the Del Ray issues of the Baump and Thompson novels, and it's International Wizard of Oz Club approved.
I'm sorry, but editorial choices and International fanclubs are not the same thing as canonical choices. And that 1980s map is a fan map.

Baum very clearly put the Land of the Winkies on the right side of Oz, and the Land of the Munchkins on the left in the first published map in Oz, while in the same book, the cardinal directions of the witches very clearly state that East is Munchkinland and West is Winkieland.

You're right that the first glass image he made was the opposite - the normal orientation - but because of glass negative usage, this led to changes in the printings. Ruth Thompson often confused the orientation as some of the editors changed the compass rose by accident. But remember, Thompson was engaged in fanon creations within Oz. It's not her world.

The canon is important. It also is narratively interesting for the sake of roleplaying games set in Oz: explaining how east and west are opposite in Oz is a fundamental weirdness that's worth having as a detail. Some have thought it might be because it's through a looking-glass, or else that it's on the reverse side of Earth's surface, so East literally is West, in a Mystara Hollow World sort of sense. There certainly was a hollow world adventure in the early Oz Books - Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz.

I grew up with first editions of these books in my house, and this map from Tik Tok of Oz is the correct orientation. And it's a map drawn by L. Frank Baum himself. I'm sorry, but fan maps just aren't canon. They're fanon by definition.

Oz-and-surrounding-countrie.jpg
 
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Jack Daniel

Legend
The canon is important. It also is narratively interesting for the sake of roleplaying games set in Oz: explaining how east and west are opposite in Oz is a fundamental weirdness that's worth having as a detail. Some have thought it might be because it's through a looking-glass, or else that it's on the reverse side of Earth's surface, so East literally is West, in a Mystara Hollow World sort of sense. There certainly was a hollow world adventure in the early Oz Books - Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz.
What you're talking about here — the messed up maps, east "literally" being west — is never mentioned in a single passage of any of Baum's Oz books. Nowhere in the text. Not once. Methinks you're the one hung on up a bit of fanon.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester
What you're talking about here — the messed up maps, east "literally" being west — is never mentioned in a single passage of any of Baum's Oz books. Nowhere in the text. Not once. Methinks you're the one hung on up a bit of fanon.
No, East is not West in Oz. East is East and West is West. The fanon is flipping the map into an orientation that wasn't put in Tik Tok of Oz by Baum. That IS the mention. It's the map itself. The fanon is changing the compass rose to depict East on the right side of the map as above. That's just not what Baum created. He wrote of East as East because it's East. But on the Oz map, East is left, with North at the top of the page. That's all this is. I mentioned a few other fanon theories as possibilities. They're vastly more interesting theories for roleplaying purposes, but unlike the Oz club's arbitrary decision above, they're based in a map that Baum actually created.
 

I've written before about the world of Oz as created by Lyman Frank Baum. The setting has several appealing aspects for campaign building, including the fact that it's a well-known universe, much of it is public domain, and it ties together a bunch of different genres. In short, if you're looking for a non-traditional replacement for the Feywild, Oz is a great place to start. Also, Santa Claus lives there. More on him later.

The Wonderful World of Baum​

If your only knowledge of Oz is the Wizard of Oz movie, you're in good company. And by all accounts, multimedia was always Baum's plan.

Baum started out as a theater producer and playwright, but found success in publishing children's literature. All the while, he kept working on producing films and plays. He wrote 14 novels in the Oz series, plus over 40 other novels, over 80 short stories, and more than 40 scripts. For Baum, Oz was the beginning but never the end of his vision. Baum regularly turned theatrical and movie scripts into books when they didn't gain traction on screen or in the theater, like The Marvelous Land of Oz and Tik-Tok of Oz.

But Baum always had bigger plans. He wrote about the absurd land of The Magical Monarch of Mo, of two children visiting a fairyland in Dot and Tot of Merryland, gave Santa a backstory in The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, followed the adventures of a gingerbread man come to life in John Dough and the Cherub, and warned about what happens when you get your wish in Queen Zixi of Ix. When those books didn't perform well, he placed all three worlds back into the same universe as Oz with his book, The Road to Oz, in which Santa Claus, King Bud and Princess Fluff (from Queen Zixi of Ix), and John Dough show up for the festivities. Later, Baum would try to escape Oz again with the adventures of Trot and Cap'n Bill in The Sea Fairies and Sky Island, but when those books underperformed, the two main characters landed in Oz in The Scarecrow of Oz. All together, these realms created the foundation for Nonestica, a made-up term drawn from the surrounding Nonestic Ocean mentioned in the Oz books.

Baum's fans took things further, adding kingdoms from his other fairy tales, specifically American Fairy Tales, which featured the story "The Queen of Quok." That story adds more kingdoms (Bilkon, Junkum, Mulgravia, and Macvelt), and with a few other short stories from Baum, rounds out the other lands on the fan-made map of Nonestica. Adding to this diverse landscape are the 26 books set in Oz that are currently in the public domain, which flesh out the four corners of that Empire.

Despite the fact that Oz books were very popular in their day, little after The Wizard of Oz is familiar to modern audiences. There's an entire shared realm outside of Oz that's just waiting to be fleshed out by enterprising Game Masters.

Putting it All Together​

I recently published my own Oz campaign supplement for Fifth Edition and there's an even bigger book funded by Kickstarter on its way from Double Critical. It's a lot of work to tie it all together, and not all of Oz hangs together naturally without some effort.

Nonestica is a hodgepodge of ideas and it shows on the map. The borders within and outside of Oz aren't particularly logical (they don't follow geographic contours), because they were made up and added as Baum (and later his successor, Ruth Plumly Thompson) wrote more books. It was not uncommon for a new species or kingdom to be introduced and never be mentioned again.

This dreamlike quality makes Nonestica a fluid place that lends itself to the concept of domains. We've seen domains used to good effect in Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft, but there are hints that the same premise will be applied to the Feywild with the upcoming book. The Wild Beyond the Witchlight mentions "Domains of Delight," a similar concept with lands that can open and close their borders and even move around as the game master sees fit.

Nonestica also encompasses a variety of genres. There are steampunk-style giants invented by the King of Scowleyow (from Mo), an island populated by failed inventions (the Isle of Phreex from John Dough), sea fairies battling fiendish monsters in the Nonestic Ocean (from The Sea Fairies), an academy of witches in Ribdil, Santa Claus' workshop in Hohaho Valley, and even a demon portal that spawns awgwas who bedevil the jolly old elf. There's just enough rough outlines to use Oz tropes in different lands.

That diversity goes beyond the surface and extends to the sky, where numerous "skylands" are detailed, from the pink-vs.-blue divided Sky Island to the militaristic Airlanders who possess blasting horns, gunpowder, and flying staves. There's much below ground too, including the Kingdom of the Nomes (a lot like D&D's dwarves), and a multitude of "hollow world" realms that exist in their own ecosystems, like that of the plant-like mangaboos, the silver people of the isles, and the burrowing flamefolk who live in lava.

Substituting Nonestica as a fairy land to replace the traditional Fey lands usually associated with Seelie and Unseelie has its own hazards. But with a few tweaks, you can add Nonestica to your game.
  • A Nonestican Campaign: Nonestica is so diverse that an entire campaign can easily be set within its confines. Because new domains within Faerie pop up all the time, it's possible that Nonestica contains your campaign rather than the other way around.
  • The Nonestica Continent: Although Oz was often positioned as being somewhere else, it was possible to physically reach it from the modern day world: Dorothy's house was picked up by a cyclone and the Wizard's balloon landed there. As other authors added to Oz's mythology, characters arrived in other ways (such as falling down through the earth). Oz could potentially be a magically-protected continent in your fantasy world.
  • Another Plane of Existence: The easiest solution is to just make Nonestica its own plane of existence. Many elements of Oz's geography moved around or contradicted themselves; using domains and borders, this fluidity can be more easily explained. There are several magic items in Faerie that allow transportation across worlds; often, characters stumble upon a powerful magic item or spell without recognizing what it does, only to accidentally use it to transport to Faerie.
  • A Dreamland: The Wizard of Oz movie positioned the realm as being part of a dreamscape. Characters might arrive via the Dreamlands into Oz, leaving only when they awaken.
In the next article we'll discuss some how to deal with some of the baggage that Oz brings along with it when adapting it to a D&D campaign.

Your Turn: What books have you adapted to your campaign?
As somebody who has 40 of the books in the series, most 1st edition, all hardcover, I absolutely love this!
 


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