Weather the Cuckoo Likes

Atlas Games; by Robin D. Laws
"Weather the Cuckooo Likes" is a supplement to the obscure but exceptional role-playing game "Over the Edge". "Over the Edge" bills itself as "Psychosurreal Roleplaying", and "Weather the Cuckooo Likes" goes it one better: it endeavors to be the modern roleplaying manifestation of Dadaism. It describes the Cut-Ups, a band of psychic, artistic, and fringe-scientific pranksters who take it upon themselves to battle the various fascist-leaning factions all vying for control over the masses, maddening the control-freaks with humor and an inspired lack of linear thought. It comes off as a sort of Monty Python meets Naked Lunch in the world of R. A. Wilson's Illuminati triology, with James Brown singing the sound track in garbled, but still highly funky, Serbo-Croatian. I won't cover the exact details; it is the attitude that is important. The Cut-Ups can me many things to an "Over the Edge" campaign-- a source of astoundingly zany local color, a deus ex machina for consistency-challenged GMs, or even the inspiration for the PCs own exploits. Reading this woke up the trouble-making prankster kid in me who had been sleeping since high school. For that alone I thank Mr. Laws.

"Weather the Cuckoo Likes" also has a variant rules mechanic inspired by the cutup method used by Burroughs in the 60s. Instead of rolling dice, the characters are fed randomly generated words, and are evaluated for their ability to construct (non)sense appropriate to the situation out of them. It leads to situations and role-playing that rapidly spiral off into the surreal, and continues in the "Over the Edge" tradition of minimal mechanics that still manage to give the game a unique feel and provoke better role-playing.

I'm not a big fan of the artwork, but given the strength of the other material, it's hardly a complaint. For shaking up ossifying though patterns, I cannot recommend it, and the "Over the Edge" game, highly enough.

-- Kyle Thornton

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