What will become of the Baron? Surely this time he will not escape.
February 27, 2009 10:22 AM   Subscribe

A man whose bravery and fame is matched only by his commitment to truth, the great Baron Münchhausen has permeated all artistic mediums of any worth: books (on-line and off), films (old and new), cartoons (french, english), an animated short film, an online graphic novel, even a game of role-playing -- if you are so despicable a person as to, for no other reason than the amusement of yourself and your fellows, slander the Baron's name with lies of your own invention. Though a similarly-named syndrome would falsely imply otherwise, he is an entirely honest man who exaggerates as little as he boasts, and as to the latter I have assurances from no less a personage than the Baron himself that his humility is without equal in the 7 earth continents, and 2 out of 3 of the moon's.
posted by TimeTravelSpeed (22 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
He's real?! I thought he was just an idealized legend like Paul Bunyan and Barack Obama.
posted by DU at 10:35 AM on February 27, 2009

We can't start escaping at a time like this. What would future generations think of us?
posted by organic at 10:44 AM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Of course he's real. He's what inspired me to dig a tunnel from New York to San Francisco to start a trans-continental burrito-delivery business. It certainly would have worked had it not been for those perfidious mole-men.
posted by GuyZero at 10:46 AM on February 27, 2009 [2 favorites]

I can only view the links by proxy and it's gradually doing me in.
posted by Abiezer at 10:56 AM on February 27, 2009

The Gilliam film is still my favorite retelling of the tale.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:02 AM on February 27, 2009

Somehow, I hadn't connected the Baron with the syndrome. But the movie now makes me think of Penelope, but only as an amateur compared to the good Baron.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:02 AM on February 27, 2009

I too hold the Gilliam film dear. I've come to understand the unfavorable reviews over time but it still touches me.
posted by mwhybark at 11:14 AM on February 27, 2009

GZ, last I heard, it was working just fine.
posted by mwhybark at 11:15 AM on February 27, 2009

Oh man, here comes my Meta thread. Sooo busted.
posted by GuyZero at 11:34 AM on February 27, 2009

I've played the game in the Role-Playing link. It huge fun, but it relies on players who have no fear of improvisation. Sadly when I played, out of six players, only two of us could maintain the steady stream of balderdash, horse-feathers, piffle, nonsense and flim-flam necessary to a compelling game.
posted by lekvar at 1:06 PM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

I think I'm going to have to watch the Gilliam version this weekend.

Favorite BvM Quote: Your reality, sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever

and Uma Thurman as Venus... come on now.

posted by Lukenlogs at 1:06 PM on February 27, 2009

lekvar, that game seems like it would be the most awesome thing ever if you could get enough people together who could keep it up.

Hmmm, maybe improv classes would help.
posted by JHarris at 1:35 PM on February 27, 2009

Cool fact: Richard Asher, the doctor who gave Munchausen syndrome its name, was the father of Jane Asher (actress and ex-girlfriend of Paul McCartney) and Peter Asher (from the British Invasion duo, Peter & Gordon). Unfortunately, it appears he committed suicide in the late 1960s.
posted by jonp72 at 2:14 PM on February 27, 2009

You forgot to mention (or I missed the mentioning of) the two novels--one by Rudolf Raspe, and a later one by Gottfried Bürger. I've read the latter, and loved it.
posted by Squid Voltaire at 2:17 PM on February 27, 2009

I thought he was an invention of Gilliam's. A way to make a Don Quixote story. This fpp rocks my ass off.
posted by shmegegge at 2:36 PM on February 27, 2009

My exposure to the role-playing game is actually what motivated this post. I played it once unofficially as a car-game and it turned about to be surprisingly fun. My friend who introduced it to me said you could basically expect to suck on your first go, but the more you play (and drink) the better and more relaxed you get. I, and the other players, all play other table-top RPGs so it was a pretty natural game to pick up.
posted by TimeTravelSpeed at 3:07 PM on February 27, 2009

Thanks, Squid :) Didn't know about the Gottfried Bürger novel, but the Raspe one is linked to twice in the FPP (the first being an online reprint complete with illustrations, the 2nd goes to amazon).

Do you know how the one by Gottfried Bürger differs from Raspe's? Is it an "expansion" on the Munchausen stories, or another compilation of the original tales? There was another interesting book by John Kendrick Bangs (also linked to in FPP) that seems to be borrowing the character and creating original tales (though I haven't read it to be sure).
posted by TimeTravelSpeed at 3:22 PM on February 27, 2009

Paging Hogshead to the thread. Hogshead, to the Baron Munchausen thread.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:41 PM on February 27, 2009

Hey - just wanted to add my voice to say that the role-playing game is superb. It's basically a story-telling game, where you challenge the person to your left to make up a Muenchhausian story. ("Tell me, my dear Duchess, of the time you seduced the Maharajah of Lahore with nothing but a vole-gnawed hambone...?") Other players can chip in with challenges to improve or derail the story, etc.

I've played it with both roleplayers and with non-roleplayers, and it's always been fun. This game is like Blade: it's a "daywalker" - an RPG you can play with both RPGers and the "straight" world.

The book in which the game is described is also magnificent - it contains many variations of the game, as well as beautiful witty and touching asides on the power of story and the imagination, the role of adults in fomenting the imagination of children, etc. (Great art, too.)

However, the game does indeed require extroversion, as well as a sleek mendaciousness, both characteristics as often found in the drunken roisterers you'd find in the worst class of plebian gin palaces, as in the good Baron himself!
posted by laumry at 2:58 AM on February 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

Dammit, Popeguilty, you need to page louder.

I am responsible for all the parts of the role-playing game that cannot be laid at the door of the Baron or Gustav Dore. I am enormously gratified to hear people's comments on it. I am sure, also, that my illustrious ancestors John and Edward Wallis would be glad to hear that the folly on which they spent so much of their money, reputation and alcohol has finally found a degree of fame.

For those who believe 'The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen' is too hard to play in its undiluted form, the new edition (a facsimile of the suppressed 1808 printing) contains a much-simplified set of rules devized by the Baron himself. It is titled 'My Uncle the Baron' and is suggested for the use and enjoyment of—I quote—'children, the inbred, and those who are very drunk'. Now available in print form from Mongoose Publishing, or downloadable from e23.
posted by Hogshead at 12:17 PM on March 12, 2009 [4 favorites]

e23 has a PDF preview of the game and - my word - the type is lovely.

Gentlemen's Edition long gone, eh? Alas.
posted by mwhybark at 3:17 PM on March 18, 2009

The game is also being offered at DriveThruRPG; they even advertised it in the email I got today.

I don't know why I'm on their mailing list, other than having signed up for the offer of a free PDF of Ars Magica five years ago.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:06 PM on March 26, 2009

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