The Land of Oz

         There are a few definite things known about the Land of Oz. Oz is a small country which is roughly square and takes maybe a week or two to walk from one edge to the other. It is divided into four kingdoms: the Munchkins to the East (blue), the Quadlings to the South (red), the Winkies to the West (yellow), and the Gillikins to the North (purple). At the center of these is the Emerald City and its environs, where the ruler resides.

         Outside of the Emerald City, the countryside is generally rural. The people raise various grains and vegetables, along with some domestic animals (cows, sheep, and chickens, it would seem). Horses and dogs are unknown. More importantly, there are hordes of bizarre hidden areas scattered about where magical creatures and other oddities reside.


From The Emerald City of Oz:

No disease of any sort was ever known among the Ozites, and so no one ever died unless he met with an accident that prevented him from living. This happened very seldom, indeed. There were no poor people in the Land of Oz, because there was no such thing as money, and all property of every sort belonged to the Ruler. The people were her children, and she cared for them. Each person was given freely by his neighbors whatever he required for his use, which is as much as any one may reasonably desire. Some tilled the lands and raised great crops of grain, which was divided equally among the entire population, so that all had enough. There were many tailors and dressmakers and shoemakers and the like, who made things that any who desired them might wear. Likewise there were jewelers who made ornaments for the person, which pleased and beautified the people, and these ornaments also were free to those who asked for them. Each man and woman, no matter what he or she produced for the good of the community, was supplied by the neighbors with food and clothing and a house and furniture and ornaments and games. If by chance the supply ever ran short, more was taken from the great storehouses of the Ruler, which were afterward filled up again when there was more of any article than the people needed.

Every one worked half the time and played half the time, and the people enjoyed the work as much as they did the play, because it is good to be occupied and to have something to do. There were no cruel overseers set to watch them, and no one to rebuke them or to find fault with them. So each one was proud to do all he could for his friends and neighbors, and was glad when they would accept the things he produced.

You will know by what I have here told you, that the Land of Oz was a remarkable country. I do not suppose such an arrangement would be practical with us, but Dorothy assures me that it works finely with the Oz people.

Oz being a fairy country, the people were, of course, fairy people; but that does not mean that all of them were very unlike the people of our own world. There were all sorts of queer characters among them, but not a single one who was evil, or who possessed a selfish or violent nature. They were peaceful, kind hearted, loving and merry, and every inhabitant adored the beautiful girl who ruled them and delighted to obey her every command.

In spite of all I have said in a general way, there were some parts of the Land of Oz not quite so pleasant as the farming country and the Emerald City which was its center. Far away in the South Country there lived in the mountains a band of strange people called Hammer-Heads, because they had no arms and used their flat heads to pound any one who came near them. Their necks were like rubber, so that they could shoot out their heads to quite a distance, and afterward draw them back again to their shoulders. The Hammer-Heads were called the "Wild People," but never harmed any but those who disturbed them in the mountains where they lived.

In some of the dense forests there lived great beasts of every sort; yet these were for the most part harmless and even sociable, and conversed agreeably with those who visited their haunts. The Kalidahs--beasts with bodies like bears and heads like tigers--had once been fierce and bloodthirsty, but even they were now nearly all tamed, although at times one or another of them would get cross and disagreeable.

Not so tame were the Fighting Trees, which had a forest of their own. If any one approached them these curious trees would bend down their branches, twine them around the intruders, and hurl them away.

But these unpleasant things existed only in a few remote parts of the Land of Oz. I suppose every country has some drawbacks, so even this almost perfect fairyland could not be quite perfect. Once there had been wicked witches in the land, too; but now these had all been destroyed; so, as I said, only peace and happiness reigned in Oz.

For some time Ozma had ruled over this fair country, and never was Ruler more popular or beloved. She is said to be the most beautiful girl the world has ever known, and her heart and mind are as lovely as her person.

Life and Death in Oz

It is very difficult to die in Oz. Fortunately, things don't die easily in Oz. For example, if a character is ripped into small pieces by a Rak, all of the little pieces will still be alive! The person can't be put back together, unless they are a walking puzzle. This is another big Oz joke. If characters get damaged in accidents, they are out of commission, but still alive in little pieces. No one ever starves in Oz, but sometimes people get awfully hungry.

OzConomics

The Tin Woodsman comments on OzConomics in The Road to Oz:

"If we used money to buy things with, instead of love and kindness and the desire to please one another, then we should be no better than the rest of the world," declared the Tin Woodman. "Fortunately money is not known in the Land of Oz at all. We have no rich, and no poor; for what one wishes the others all try to give him, in order to make him happy, and no one in all Oz cares to have more than he can use."

Supposedly, there is no money in Oz. Since almost everything (guns, files, candy, etc.) literally grow on trees, there is little reason for manufacturing. However, in The Wizard of Oz, Emerald City residents used pennies, nickels, quarters, dimes, dollar bills-just like in Kansas or Nebraska. The humble author's uneducated and baseless opinion is that the Wizard introduced money during his short period of rule, and Ozma eventually eliminated its use in Oz. People in Oz do work, but only for four hours a day. Everyone gets what they need (scholars see this aspect of Oz as symbolic of Marxism or populism).

Gold is the most common metal in Oz, and is used for many purposes since it is so pliable.

Laws

The one overarching law of Oz is 'Behave yourself!'. However, there are other additional sub laws. It is illegal for anyone in Oz besides those sanctioned by Ozma to practice magic (you need a license!). Surrendering to an invading army is also illegal. Treason is illegal. Picking six leaf clovers is also illegal, since they are often used by witches to create charms. The greatest crime in the Emerald City is to chop leaves from the royal palm tree. Anyone who does this will be killed seven times and imprisoned for life. When arrested, a person is put in a white robe with a peaked top that covers the body except for the eye-holes and taken to prison. Prison in Oz is filled with books, games, satin furniture, jewel encrusted walls, and a beautiful stained glass ceiling. The prisoner can choose from a menu with such items as whitefish and mutton chops. The prisoner receives a fair trial before Ozma, who is very merciful and fair. Gambling is also against the law. Anyone who can't stop talking, and refuses to answer questions with 'yes/no' answers are exiled to Rigamarole town (A Defensive Town of Oz). Excessive worriers are sent to the Flutterbudget town (the second Defensive Town of Oz). Fighting is also illegal. Murder is punishable by death, even when one animal kills another. The court system in Oz is like in America, with Ozma serving as a judge, Woggle-Bug serving as the Prosecutor, and Ozma appoints a public defender and a jury of peers. There are said to be no lawyers in Oz, although they sometimes seem necessary. Just like in the real world, the Law almost always brings sorrow, although Ozma is a just and fair judge.

Food

People in Oz don't eat chickens or eggs, out of great respect and admiration for Billina the hen. Characters in Oz must eat three meals a day. For each meal missed, a character must mark off a box on his or her or its wound indicator. Remember, it's often easy to find a hospitable stranger or lunchboxes growing on trees in Oz, as it is easy to make food with magic.

Gender Roles

Oz is dualistic regarding sexual equality. While it is ruled by women, most people still have the attitude that a woman's place is in the home, and corny chivalry is the norm in courtship. Play this up for laughs-but please understand that the author doesn't condone sexism and encourages sexual equality. Discuss with players that the sexism is really a joke, and Baum seemed to include it to poke fun at how hypocritical it was in the real world. Generally, while most men in Oz say that 'a girl should be baking cookies, not visiting Hammerhead country!' they NEVER have that attitude toward specific women they know as adventurers, rulers, or someone that DOESN'T want to do those activities. Of course, there are exceptions, but remember Oz is sarcastic, and uses some 'backwards' behaviors to make a statement about how silly these attitudes are in real life.

Ozma also determines where everyone in Oz must live. The people love being ruled by Ozma. . In reality, the rulers of the four parts of Oz, such as the Tin Woodsman, really only have nominal power, since Ozma's edicts take precedence over those of her subordinates.

Music

Like the earth of the early 1900's. Ragtime and classical are big, and music is listened to on phonographs. 'My Lulu' is a hit song in the civilized country. The national anthem of Oz is 'The Oz Spangled Banner'. The Royal Coronet Band is the royal band.

Language

Language-People in Oz talk in peculiar ways. One funny thing is the constant use of the word gay(happy) and queer (strange). Other silly things include newly created animateds constantly saying things like 'Gee, this is the first time I saw the sun!' when obviously they should not know what something is the first time they see it. But when freshly made animateds get too annoying, remind the players that they also don't know the meaning of danger when a big nasty monster comes their way. It is also common practice for animateds calling each other queer or odd, oblivious to how strange looking they are themselves. It also seems that Oz characters are always arguing about what is better: heart, brains, education, courage, conscience, etc. Stupid jokes are also good role playing (a sawhorse mangling words is 'a little hoarse', a bug on a sawhorse is a 'horse and buggy', etc)-award them with Experience Points when the whole party is cracking up. Animals can all speak English, but they all have their own languages. For example, birds have bird-language, which they can intuitively understand, but monkeys and humans cannot. Even people magically transformed into animals can intuitively understand the animal language. Friends are commonly referred to as comrades.

All people in Oz speak the same language, but they often insist on having interpreters to interpret the language of a different part of the country. Ham this up, having conversations in English, only to have the 'interpreter' change what is said. For example:

Scarecrow: Ask this strange Pumpkin headed lad what he wants.
Interpreter: What do you want?
Jack Pumpkinhead: Why, a green bowtie!
Interpreter: The Pumpkinhead asks why one of your eyes is crossed!
Scarecrow: Why, how rude!

You get the picture. Eventually, everyone remembers that everyone in Oz speaks the same language (you can require a Brains roll of difficulty 1 for players that are REALLY sick of this). Little details like this helps to maintain the whimsy that makes Oz unique.

Culture

People in Oz frequently say America must be a queer country, since animals don't talk, and there are no patchwork girls running around. The favorite sport of Oz is quoits.

Abandoned Houses

It seems that in almost every Oz book, when the party is tired or out of food, they find an abandoned house with nice warm beds and delicious treats. However, there is almost always a mean resident out picking daisies or something, that returns shortly to cause the party trouble. However, once in a while let the characters find such a house and don't cause them any trouble, just to keep them off guard.


Places

OzOgraphy

Oz is square in shape, surrounded on all sides by a deadly desert (anyone who touches the sand of the deadly desert is immediately turned into sand and killed). It is bordered on all sides of the deadly deserts by many strange countries. The countries noted in this text, including Ev, the Domains of the Nomes, Gargoyle Country, and the Ripple Lands are to the West of Oz, past the deadly desert. It is divided into roughly four portions, with the Emerald City being in the center of the square. It has roughly half a million inhabitants. The flag of Oz has the four portions with their respective colors, and a green star in the middle to represent the Emerald City.

It is important to note that much of the lands of Oz are unexplored. Most of the land of Oz is wilderness with small villages. It is difficult to say 'how far' or 'how long' it takes to get from point A to point B; Mr. H.M. Woggle Bug , T.E. remarks:

'Oz geography is quite unique, I must say. It appears that fixed geometric relationships between destinations in physical space are hardly static; rather, they are subject to the forces of OzDynamics. OzDynamics means that certain fixed landmarks stay the same in more urban areas, and the general boundaries of areas remain fixed. However, the landscape and spatial relationships of objects in a wild, uncivilized country are always subject to dynamic change. Travelers should note that maps can be useful for finding the general location of a specific landmark; however, the legends that tell of distance conventions are hardly accurate most of the time. OzDynamics can cause a new and bizarre people to pop up at any time. This is due to the fact that Oz is not well explored; according to my geography students who take geography School Pills regularly, only 15.99993345% of Oz is thoroughly explored, and only 3.3532455% of road maps drawn are thoroughly accurate! Clearly, OzDynamics makes travel less of a routine, and more of a voyage of discovery.'

East-Munchkin land

Everyone here wears blue all the time. Houses are commonly big, round, and blue. All the plants are blue, including bread trees (that grow loaves of bread) bun-trees, cake-trees, cream-puff bushes, blue buttercups which yield excellent blue butter and chocolate-caramel plants.

Grim Forest of Munchkinland

The forest is so thick that the sun cannot be seen. The Yellow Brick Road runs through the forest. It is infested with Kalidahs, lions, tigers, and bears. The houses here are a little decrepit, and there are not that many. There is a huge chasm in the middle of the forest with sharp rocks at the bottom (+5 ODF). Jumping or flying over it seems to be the only way to pass. There are also lots of pits, which were crossed using fallen trees in the books. Great for dramatic tension-have a character trapped on a log in a fight with a Kalidah, with a slip meaning a very long fall. In the center of the forest is the home of Dr. Pipt. At the end of the forest ( if one is moving toward Emerald City) there is a great river that must be navigated to get to the other side.

After the river, there is of course the poppy field. The scarlet poppies are among all of the multi colored flowers that carpet the ground. Each turn breathing PC's are in the field, they must roll their Fortitude versus ODF 2. When they reach incapacitated, they fall asleep until they are discovered and removed from the poppy fields. It takes 5 rounds to run out of the field. Using a field of poppies in other places in Oz can add dramatic tension if there is a time limit on the adventure and no one to bail out the party.

The yellow brick road, which leads to Emerald City, is of course still in Munchkinland. The bricks are uneven in places, and sometimes missing altogether. Sometimes it warps. The party sees all the landscape markers it has past, in reverse order! Walking backwards for a stretch will solve this problem and put them back on track. The books are vague on how long the road is-it supposedly takes 'several days' walking to reach the Emerald City.

Emerald City

From The Emerald City of Oz:

The Emerald City is built all of beautiful marbles in which are set a profusion of emeralds, every one exquisitely cut and of very great size. There are other jewels used in the decorations inside the houses and palaces, such as rubies, diamonds, sapphires, amethysts and turquoises. But in the streets and upon the outside of the buildings only emeralds appear, from which circumstance the place is named the Emerald City of Oz. It has nine thousand, six hundred and fifty-four buildings, in which lived fifty-seven thousand three hundred and eighteen people, up to the time my story opens.

The Emerald City, which is the most splendid as well as the most beautiful city in any fairyland, is surrounded by a high, thick wall of green marble, polished smooth and set with glistening emeralds. There are four gates, one facing the Munchkin Country, one facing the Country of the Winkies, one facing the Country of the Quadlings and one facing the Country of the Gillikins. The Emerald City lies directly in the center of these important countries of Oz. The gates had bars of pure gold, and on either side of each gateway were built high towers, from which floated gay banners. Other towers were set at distances along the walls, which were broad enough for four people to walk abreast upon. Houses are built of green marble, and studded with green emeralds. The streets have lemonade stands, and people push green carts to move goods (there don't seem to be any beasts of burden in the city). Rooms in the main palace are very plush, with perfume fountains, velvet sheets, complete perfectly fitting green wardrobes, fresh flowers, and many silly books with queer pictures. While scarecrows don't care about beds and lions prefer leaves, human guests will love staying in the Emerald City.

An optical illusion wall separates the green country from all of the others. The only way to get through this infinitely high iron gate is to walk through it with the eyes closed or covered.

There is a Forbidden Fountain in front of Ozma's palace, with a clear warning sign. It contains Water of Oblivion, which makes it drinkers forget anything they have ever known. Of course, the people can still talk about what they don't know, since they don't forget to talk. By tricking the Nome King's army into drinking from the fountain, Ozma was able to prevent the invasion of Oz without any loss of life.

South-Quadling Country

The people here are short and fat. A mountainous, wild,dangerous place whose inhabitants include the Hammerheads and Fighting Trees. There is a lot of jungle here, but also fields of daisies and buttercups, vast sandy plains, and palm trees. The color of this country is red. Note that while houses, clothes, and fences are red, trees and grass are not. The city of the bizarre China People is also in this country.

Trick River

This river starts in Quadling Country and appears to flow into Winkie country. However, every 2 minutes it may start to flow in the opposite direction. There are many trees lining the river edge, so the party can grab onto a tree while the river goes in the wrong direction. There are also big red fish in the river, so if the party hooks onto one, they can move in the right direction, since the fish don't change direction.

West-Land of the Winkies

Yellow is the favorite color. The people are short, and prefer yellow. The Tin Woodsman rules the land of the Winkies from his Tin Castle. The castle has tin gates, tin trees, tin flowers, tin benches, and tin statues of his friends. Even the beds are made of Tin! The tin plants grow magically, and the Emperor has a pond of tin fish. The tin is so well polished it is as brilliant as silver. The castle has silver cloth hangings, fastened with tiny silver axes. In the center of the castle is a large silver oil can, that has carvings of the Woodsman's adventures on it. There is an Imperial Laundry to make clothes (and cloth animateds!) presentable. No one is allowed to kill anything here, even the yellow lilies, since the Tin Woodsman has such a good heart. His Tin Coronet band is also excellent. The birds are clockwork, made by genius Winkie tinsmiths. In his courtyard are tin statues of all of his friends, including Dorothy, Tick-Tock, Toto, and the Scarecrow, among others. The Tin Woodsman has an orchestra composed of Winkies, that play on tin instruments. The anthem of the Empire of the Winkies is 'The Shining Emperor Waltz', composed by Mr. H.M. Wogglebug, T.E.

Jack Pumpkinhead's Pumpkin Farm

Jack lives in a big, hollow pumpkin with a stovepipe running through the stem. He has a big pumpkin farm, which grows some small and some giant pumpkins, He also has a small graveyard, where he has buried all of his spoiled heads and marked them with gravestones.

The Truth Pond

Hidden somewhere is in the Land of the Winkies is the Truth Pond. Anyone who bathes in the water can have any magical transformation removed, so the character looks how he/she 'truthfully' does. Also, anyone who bathes in the Truth Pond is no longer capable of telling a lie.

North-Gillikin Country

Purple is the color of choice here, with grass and trees being purple. The purple fades to lavender when one gets closer to the emerald city.

Other Lands on the Outskirts of Oz

The lands bordering Oz are not quite as hospitable to strangers as Oz itself. Most people entering Oz from earth by way of the shipwreck, earthquakes, or other disasters often land in these outlands instead of Oz proper. If there is not a detailed description of the land in this section, there will be a description in Chapter 4: Monsters and Strange Folk under the entry of the creatures that inhabit the land.

Ev

In Ev, the rule of the King is Law. Therefore, when King Evoldo went to the Nome King for a gift of long life in exchange for making his Queen, 5 daughters, and 5 sons slaves, it was perfectly legal. Evoldo then threw himself into the sea and killed himself. The family was imprisoned by the Nome King, but was eventually freed by Ozma and her friends. Ev is a benevolent monarchy overall, and the Royal Family loves Oz a great deal. However, there are some malcontents, like Princess Langwidere, and there is no telling if their neighbors in the Nome Kingdom wouldn't want the finery of the Kingdom of Ev for themselves'More information on Ev and the Kingdom of the Nome King can be found in Ozma of Oz.

The Nome King's Domains

A large kingdom based on mining inhabited by the nomes. More information on the Nomes, including a description of their domain, can be found in the 'Bad Guys' section of Chapter 3.

Land of the Mangaboos (Vegetable People)

Naturally, the land is inhabited by the evil and cruel Mangaboos, living vegetable people. The only way out of the land is by traveling through the Black Pit to the Valley of Voe.

Valley of Voe

Borders the Land of the Mangaboos. The dama fruit grows here, and consequently most beings of this land are invisible. The people are kind, but there are also mean invisible bears and lions, who love to eat people (use the normal stats for these with the gift of being invisible, which causes characters to be at -3 to hit; the animals also must be able to see their prey, and cannot track by scent). Fortunately, the bears and lions are afraid of water here, and Leaves of Voe grow in great quantity (see magic items section). Talking to invisible people here will let the PC's know about these survival hints. Note that fish are visible here, since they do not eat the dama fruit. The only way to get out of the Valley of Voe is to climb Pyramid Mountain, or return to the land of the Mangaboos.

Pyramid Mountain

This huge, corkscrew shaped mountain is the domain of the Gargoyles. There is a sign clearly stating that the mountain is home to dangerous creatures, and visitors should stay out. There are steps carved in the rocky walls of the mountain leading to its top. There is an opening halfway up the mountain, and what is beyond is described in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz:

The opening in the mountain was on the side opposite to the Valley of Voe, and our travelers looked out upon a strange scene. Below them was a vast space, at the bottom of which was a black sea with rolling billows, through which little tongues of flame constantly shot up. Just above them, and almost on a level with their platform, were banks of rolling clouds which constantly shifted position and changed color. The blues and greys were very beautiful, and Dorothy noticed that on the cloud banks sat or reclined fleecy, shadowy forms of beautiful beings who must have been the Cloud Fairies. Mortals who stand upon the earth and look up at the sky cannot often distinguish these forms, but our friends were now so near to the clouds that they observed the dainty fairies very clearly.

The Cloud Fairies ignore the characters. However, the huge Rocs may not. The braided man, who makes Assorted Flutters for flags and Superior Grade Rustles for Ladies Gowns makes his home in a cave halfway up the mountains. The man is Half Crazy, and will ask the characters to take boxes of his fine products (which of course, are empty). He refuses to take money, since he couldn't possibly spend it on anything since he is living in the middle of pyramid mountain. The man is old, and has long gray hair and a beard braided with different colored ribbons. He will explain that he once sold holes for Swiss cheese on earth. When he invented the pot-hole, he thought he would become rich; however, he looked too far down into a pothole, fell though, and ended up in pyramid mountain. He also knows the weakness of the gargoyles, and will tell any characater that gives him a ribbon for his beard, which he will ask for in trade for his products.

Beyond the mountain is the land of the Gargoyles, as described in Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz:

"The Country of the Gargoyles is all wooden!" exclaimed Zeb; and so it was. The ground was sawdust and the pebbles scattered around were hard knots from trees, worn smooth in course of time. There were odd wooden houses, with carved wooden flowers in the front yards. The tree-trunks were of coarse wood, but the leaves of the trees were shavings. The patches of grass were splinters of wood, and where neither grass nor sawdust showed was a solid wooden flooring. Wooden birds fluttered among the trees and wooden cows were browsing upon the wooden grass; but the most amazing things of all were the wooden people--the creatures known as Gargoyles.

 


John H. Kim <jhkim-at-darkshire-dot-net>
Last modified: Tue Mar 21 17:19:35 2006