So over on the GURPS forum the other day, we were talking Dungeon Fantasy party makeup.
It seems the usual situation is a "freak show." Pixie barbarians and half-ogre wizards and infernal scout-ninjas and catgirl swashbucklers with imbuements.
To me, it's doubling down on gonzo. The situation is pretty out there (you're plundering strange treasures from even stranger monsters.)
The characters? Way out there. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles out there.
But for me, that falls flat.
I personally don't think that gonzo + gonzo = double gonzo. Or zowie + zowier = more zowie.
I tend to thing that gonzo + normal = gonzo.
So if the party is a freak show, the situations need to be a bit normal. It's interesting to see what happens when the half-demon has to deal with normal stuff.
It's interesting to see the farm boy with his uncle's old bill from the wars plumb the depths of the dark dungeon and encounter strange critters.
It's less interesting to me to see the half-demon in the dungeon.
I totally understand this isn't normal. It's usually the half-dragon half-infernal ninja-assassin-wizard descending into the depths of the earth to fight the strange critters.Then I was scanning some older (3.0, 3.5 era) Dragon magazines and noticed the same "party of oddities" approach. So this is not new, or uncommon.
I'm fine with that. It's a totally fine way to play, if that's what you want. I don't think this is wrong or unfun. But to me, the clash between "I understand my character totally because he's so normal, but this situation is downright weird" is my favorite way to play.
Weird creature dealing with normal stuff is okay, too, but I'd rather play the human investigating Cthulhu than the Son of the Starspawn investigating Chtulhu.
To each his own, obviously, but I'm curious how common my approach - restricting the player options to "fairly normal" and exposing them to weirdness is, compared to opening up the whole raft of strangeness for PC and encounters alike.