I was instant messaging with Jim, trying to figure out where this term originated.
Was it the Unknown Armies game. It could have been refering to when Ben switched the Unknown Armies game from a mission-based game set in the metropolitan New York/New Jersey area to more of a sandbox-style (yeah, we used that term before the OSR championed it, thinking more of Grand Theft Auto) where we were founding a new branch of The New Inquisition in Miami.
It might’ve been one of the Dictionary of Mu playtest games at the ole Get Your Geek On-a-thon’s, back when Ithaca had a game store. Those games tended to kick the setting in the teeth pretty hard, as happens when you have four Sorcerers playing in 4th or 5th gear, leaving nothing at the table because it is a one-shot.
Was it the Riddle of Steel game that began at the Dueling Bridges?
What does matter is that the DelRosso Principle states:
“Kick this setting in the teeth.”
Nice and simple. It demands the players and the GM declare ownership over the setting and make it their own.
Jeff was kicking the Forgotten Realms in the teeth when he started his first session with the players finding Elminster crucified to a tower in Waterdeep. “Jeff, you need to let these players know that they are not gaming in the Forgotten Realms that are safe on their shelves. This is a different animal and those books will get them in the mood but will not save them.”
Kicking a setting in the teeth need not be that extreme. Pete subtly kicked the setting in the teeth when he circled up a Great Spider fence in our MoBu City game. “Oooh, the Weavers are involved in the crime world too? Neat.”
Invoking the DelRosso Principle is taking a published setting and making it your own. It is taking a collaboratively created setting and adding a nice flourish. It is changing the face of a fictional world through the act of pretending and the rolling of dice. It is taking a boxed set and making it a home, even if it is Dark Sun, a home that wants to see your characters dead. It is the act of making a fictional place a fun lens through which we can create and react.