You are here

Oblique Strategies for GMs

1 post / 0 new
Oblique Strategies for GMs

[resurrected from the S-G archives]
So, as people know, Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt once created a deck of cards called "Oblique Strategies" to serve as prompts for creativity. Although mainly intended for use by musicians, the ambiguous nature of the cards' contents can often be applied to other artforms, including painting, dance, and - to a lesser degree - story-weaving.

That's where we come in. Below I've listed the contents of the original Oblique Strategies deck. Some of these cards work just fine for GMs, requiring neither modification nor translation. But some of em need work. Let's address those.

How to Play: Select a card that seems difficult to apply to GMing, and then - using metonymy or metaphor, complex conceptual Fourier translation or sudden flash of irrational insight - rewrite it. If we rewrite all of those "problem cards", we'll be left with a GM's Deck we can print out and use to test the limits of copyright law. Yay Hegemony!

OBLIQUE STRATEGIES - by Eno & Schmidt

  • A line has two sides
  • Remove specifics and convert to ambiguities
  • Don't be frightened of cliches
  • What is the reality of the situation?
  • Are there sections? Consider transitions
  • Turn it upside down
  • Think of the radio
  • Allow an easement (an easement is the abandonment of a stricture)
  • Simple subtraction
  • Go slowly all the way round the outside
  • Make an exhaustive list of everything you might do and do the last thing on the list
  • Into the impossible
  • Ask people to work against their better judgement
  • Take away the elements in order of apparent non-importance
  • Infinitesimal gradations
  • Change instrument roles
  • Accretion
  • Disconnect from desire
  • Emphasize repetitions
  • Don't be afraid of things because they're easy to do
  • Don't be frightened to display your talents
  • Breathe more deeply
  • Honor thy error as a hidden intention
  • Only one element of each kind
  • Is there something missing?
  • Use 'unqualified' people
  • How would you have done it?
  • Emphasize differences
  • Do nothing for as long as possible
  • Bridges -build -burn
  • You don't have to be ashamed of using your own ideas
  • Tidy up
  • Do the words need changing?
  • Ask your body
  • Water
  • Make a sudden, destructive unpredictable action; incorporate
  • Consult other sources -promising -unpromising
  • Use an unacceptable color
  • Humanize something free of error
  • Use filters
  • Fill every beat with something
  • Discard an axiom
  • What wouldn't you do?
  • Decorate, decorate
  • Balance the consistency principle with the inconsistency principle
  • Listen to the quiet voice
  • Is it finished?
  • Put in earplugs
  • Give the game away
  • Abandon normal instruments
  • Use fewer notes
  • Repetition is a form of change
  • Give way to your worst impulse
  • Reverse
  • Trust in the you of now
  • What would your closest friend do?
  • Distorting time
  • Make a blank valuable by putting it in an exquisite frame
  • Ghost echoes
  • You can only make one dot at a time
  • Just carry on
  • (Organic) machinery
  • The inconsistency principle
  • Don't break the silence
  • Discover the recipes you are using and abandon them
  • Cascades
  • Courage!
  • What mistakes did you make last time?
  • Consider different fading systems
  • Mute and continue
  • It is quite possible (after all)
  • Don't stress one thing more than another
  • You are an engineer
  • Remove ambiguities and convert to specifics
  • Look at the order in which you do things
  • Go outside. Shut the door.
  • Do we need holes?
  • Cluster analysis
  • Do something boring
  • Define an area as 'safe' and use it as an anchor
  • Overtly resist change
  • Accept advice
  • Work at a different speed
  • Look closely at the most embarrassing details and amplify them
  • Mechanicalize something idiosyncratic
  • Emphasize the flaws
  • Remember those quiet evenings
  • Take a break
  • Short circuit (example; a man eating peas with the idea that they will improve his virility shovels them straight into his lap)
  • Use an old idea
  • Destroy -nothing -the most important thing
  • Change nothing and continue with immaculate consistency
  • The tape is now the music
  • Be dirty
  • What are the sections sections of? Imagine a caterpillar moving
  • Intentions -nobility of -humility of -credibility of
  • Imagine the piece as a set of disconnected events
  • What are you really thinking about just now?
  • Assemble some of the elements in a group and treat the group
  • Shut the door and listen from outside
  • Is the intonation correct?
  • Look at a very small object, look at its centre
  • Children's voices -speaking -singing
  • Feed the recording back out of the medium
  • Towards the insignificant
  • Simply a matter of work
  • Not building a wall but making a brick
  • Revaluation (a warm feeling)
  • The most important thing is the thing most easily forgotten
  • Idiot glee
  • Be extravagant
  • State the problem in words as clearly as possible
  • Disciplined self-indulgence
  • Always first steps
  • Question the heroic approach
  • Lost in useless territory
  • Always give yourself credit for having more than personality
  • Faced with a choice, do both
  • Tape your mouth
  • Get your neck massaged
  • Do the washing up
  • Convert a melodic element into a rhythmic element
  • Spectrum analysis
  • Twist the spine
  • Left channel, right channel, centre channel
  • Lowest common denominator check -single beat -single note -single riff
  • In total darkness, or in a very large room, very quietly
  • Would anybody want it?
  • Retrace your steps
  • Go to an extreme, move back to a more comfortable place
  • Once the search is in progress, something will be found
  • Only a part, not the whole
  • From nothing to more than nothing
  • Be less critical more often




FICTIONEERS.NET is brought to you by
As If Productions.

To Support this Site


Hey y'all. If you ever feel like supporting a project on Patreon, I would really love it if you considered this one. Every little bit helps. You can even do a one-time donation by clicking here to drop a tip in the jar. Thanks.