elf: Life's a die, and then you bitch. (Gamer Geek)
[personal profile] elf posting in [community profile] sps
Author: Al Bruno III
Title: The Binder Of Shame Presents: The RPG.net Rants (Link to Smashwords listing)
Genre: Nonfiction, more-or-less. I believe (gods, I hope) there's some exaggeration and/or embellishment going on here.
Topic: RPG Gamers. Specifically, 80's tabletop games with bags of differently-sided dice.
Copyright Status: Effectively CC BY-NC-ND; disclaimer says "This free ebook may be copied, distributed, reposted, reprinted and shared, provided it appears in its entirety without alteration, and the reader is not charged to access it."
Content Warnings: this book contains instances of homophobia, sexism, ableism, fatphobia, various other -isms I'm probably blocking out, and outright gross & disgusting behavior. However, the narrator seems like a genuinely nice guy (not a creep who claims to be nice) who is working against all those things.

I recommend skipping the Smashwords version (well, except to drop a note to the author) and downloading the RTF I put at Google Docs instead. I cleaned it up.

It needed fixing, and it was totally worth it. If you did gaming in the 80's, especially if you bounced between systems looking for that perfect one that would allow *everyone* to enjoy every game, you need to read this book.

First, the content. Note from the author:
I began with these gaming anecdotes that I shared on the forums of RPG.net, a relatively safe haven for me at the time. They were strange little tales told in a kind of screenplay format that I used when I sketched out story dialogue.

The first one was pretty simple but as they went on they became more and more grandiose but they were raw and fun little bits of humor. I never bothered to proofread the things or set up any real kind of coherence or internal continuity ....
So, yeah. This is a collection of forum posts. The grammar's spotty; the formatting of the ebook is obviously a slapped-together patchwork of "I threw these files together and uploaded them to smashwords."

It has MS Mingo & MS Gothic fonts in places, which made my Sony reader display ?? at the end of every paragraph. I DID NOT CARE.

Sometimes the words ran off the edge of the page. I DID NOT CARE.

Once in a while, the first line of a section was in smaller, serif font instead of the sans-serif Verdana that was standard. I DID NOT CARE.

It crashed my Sony three times. Now, I cared ... enough to go download the RTF version and FIX IT so I could read it on my Sony.

So, what's it actually contain, other than atrocious formatting and a lack of commas around independent clauses? (Which aren't as bad as you'd think, because they're mostly in the middle of script dialogue.)
So months later we are all there in the basement of another of our players, whom I will refer to as El Disgusto, and I have been talked into trying to run Lords of Creation again. There are five players- Psycho Dave, El Disgusto, Deviant Boy, The Amazing Boozehound and Weasly Crusher.
El Disgusto: "I want to make a ninja!"

Me: "Well you could be a master martial artist but I'm not sure if a ninja is exactly..."

El Disgusto: "A ninja! I want to play a ninja! What kind of a game is this where you can't pick what you want?"

Me: "Ok you can play a ninja."

Deviant Boy: "I'm going to play a stripper."

Me: "Ok then."

Weasly Crusher: "And I'm his character's cousin. She's a stripper too."

Me: "Great... just roll up those stats then."

Psycho Dave: "I'm going to play a former Navy Seal. He has medals of honor and no one knows that in his spare time he kills hippies and midgets."

Me: "That's very interesting, and he has the same name as you too. Great."

The Amazing Boozehound: "I'm playing a dwarf fighter... hic!"

Me: "No. No, see this is set in the modern era. There are no Dwarven fighters."

The Amazing Boozehound: "Oh."

Me: "So what was your second choice?"

The Amazing Boozehound: "What?"

Me: "For a character?"

The Amazing Boozehound: "Oh... lemmie think."

Deviant Boy: "My character and her cousin are having an affair."

Me: "Wh-what?"

Deviant Boy: "We're lesbian strippers."

Weasly Crusher: "We're in love."

Me: "I- I-"

And it continues like that. For just over 80,000 words.

This ebook gives me much happiness, because it makes me hope that every atrociously-formatted not-proofread ebook out there just needs to find its target audience to bring delight and joy (or angst and regret, depending on one's tastes) to some portion of the world that could never be reached by print. This *could* be edited to print-readiness, and published as a collection of essays ... but the target audience is small and shrinking. As an ebook, as a free ebook, it has a chance of reaching a great many of them. This is a book with niche appeal. Very strong niche appeal; I don't think I've ever read anything else that made me think, "I know six people who need to read this, NOW, and nobody else in my life needs to even know it exists."

If you played D&D, Champions, Gamma World, and anything by FGU or FASA in the 80's, and have fond memories of even the disturbing parts, go read this book! If those terms mean nothing to you ... um, this is not the book I'd recommend as a way to start understanding your gamer friends.
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