Thursday, December 16, 2010

it lurks

I'll tell you about last night's D&D game in another post.  Right now I must instead warn the world, for I have seen it with my own eyes.

One of the regulars at the Friendly Local Game Store is Tim.  He's seems like a nice guy.  He was playing in my game for a few sessions when a schedule shuffle at the store but another game in conflict with mine.  Too bad, as he always struck me as the kind of player every DM loves: dude never hesitates to get himself and by extension the entire party in trouble.  When he and Wheelz dropped out in favor of another game a few folks seemed worried I would take offense, but I run my games specifically with a low buy-in and no major continuity hang-ups so stuff like that is no real problem.  I feel everybody should play in the game they want to be in and not worry about bruising my precious little ego.

So anyway, back to Tim.  This evening he has with him a forboding black-bound tome, maybe as thick as a metropolitan phone book.  Easily 800 pages in girth, maybe closer to a thousand.  It is presented to me as soon as I enter the joint with everyone already in attendance sporting a grin of repressed mirth.  Engraved on the cover are five sinister silver glyphs:

F.A.T.A.L.

Some sick, demented friend of Tim's printed the entire game, had the wretched thing library-bound and gave it to him as a gift.  The Seventh Seal is broken.  The Rough Beast slouches towards Bethlehem.  The world has come undone.

For those of you not in the know, FATAL is one of the three worst RPGs every written.  I am not kidding.  There are exactly three worst rpgs ever written and this is one of them.  One of them is Hybrid, which was written/is always being written by a schizophrenic.  Some places in the text seem to make sense, but any attempt to digest the whole thing makes it abundantly clear that it is the product of the mind of a literal-as-in-he-has-a-diagnosis madman.  The second one is Racial Holy War, an incomplete manuscript designed for nazi skinhead fuckwads to play out their sick, twisted fantasies of shooting people with darker skintones than their own.  The third is FATAL, the game that dares ask "What if Beavis got hepped up on caffeine and tried to write a fantasy heartbreaker?"  It's racist, sexist and simply horrible.

There are lots of broken, badly written games that I will defend.  Back in the 90's on RPGnet World of Synnibarr and SenZar got heaps of abuse but I think both have a lot of neat stuff in them.  Lot's of third tier material has good stuff in buried under half-formed ideas and poor execution.  FATAL is just shit.  If you want more info you should follow one of these two links.  Here's what you need to know in a nutshell: there's a rule for determining your potential anal circumference, i.e. how big your asshole will stretch when things are jammed into it.

So Tim says to me "You know, you could run that tonight if you wanted to."  I reply "That is a statement of fact.  I could run FATAL tonight if I wanted to.  I could also run out and get a Prince Albert but that ain't happening either."

You know what about this scenario really gets me?  It's not that someone killed a tree to bring this abortion of a game into material existence, just for a goof.  It's the library quality binding.  Pretty much every other game (except two) better deserves that treatment.  Makes me want to get some good books rebound, like an all-in-one DMG/PHB/MM/FF.