As a kid and most of my teens my D&D was all kinds of Gonzo. I used City State of The Invincible Overlord, Tegel Manor, and a variety of early Judges Guild products as my D&D wheelhouse. In those early days I did not give a damn about verisimilitude, and didn’t even know what the hell it was. Right out of the gate I think we were doing weird fantasy in our games by default, long before James Raggi used the term for his games.
But that was not to last. Just growing up made the gaming group increase the realism a bit, and once again as usual I put the blame for my own game world becoming more “real” on girls entering our gaming circles. Pretty, pretty girlies. Endless dungeon gauntlets and constant killing, combined with apeshit occurrences in-game that made little sense seemed to turn girls off. Role-play became a bigger factor then. The gals wanted to develop relationships in the game world. They seemed to respond better to things that made some sense, not just the weirdo whims of adolescent fantasy-minded boys. So in my game world shopkeeps and bartenders stopped being 10 level wizards or retired 9th level paladins. Magic shops began to become scarce. Dungeons existing for no other reason than to massacre adventurers became rarer. I stopped using Thor, Zeus, and other gods of myth and injected my own that made sense for my setting. Verisimilitude reared its ugly head. Thus has it remained over the decades. I kept an eye on things making some kind of sense in my world.
Well, I’m sort of getting turned around on that. I've had a couple of years off from running a regular D&D campaign, focusing on Sci Fi and other types of fantasy. After all those years of making my game world sort of low on gonzo, I’m getting a desire to go silly once more when I get back on the campaign track. Not that everything in the game world is going to go apeshit all of a sudden. But I want to have my main city stop being so much like Gondor, and go back to being more like Lankhmar. Weirdo shit around every corner. And my first step is to utilize the full gonzo nature of Tegel Manor. That setting will be the focus of my next campaign I think. Gonna make it MY Ravenloft! On a trip out of town the other weekend I actually got to test the waters with it outside my regular group a bit. That taste has me ready to go full bore with the wacky, brutal mansion on the gang in the not too distant future. Oh, of course I will try to throw a little gravitas with it in the form of better explanations of why certain things are the way they are, but Tegel seems the perfect way to hit the group over the head with my new gonzo outlook.
Really, life is getting too short for obsessing on verisimilitude in a game of pretend.