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Part 3/5 of the FATAL Review Rebuttal. --Lord Knockwood the Mad

There's also the issue that the average human being will have had experience with women, as opposed to the Dunwich-dwelling inbred shack cavemen that wrote FATAL. They borrow stupid generalizations about women from ancient philosophers because they don't have the stones to say what _they_ want to say about women; namely, that they are good because they have penises and women are just there to be slaves to them. This is just pathetic on a Biblical scale.

It's been covered before, but since Darren is redundant, I'll reiterate that ancient and medieval sources, including ones with which I disagree, are cited to be historically accurate. This supports the premises of the game.

Burnout: I have to point out that I rather enjoy the company of females, as do most Fatalists. They bring a whole different approach to the table as far as conversation and just hanging out than do males.

The races: Don't particularly care about them; all of the mythology that they're shitting on has already been done, and done better, by D&D. Worse yet, the game has monstrous PCs - this in a game that claims historical accuracy, but can have monstrous PCs in the same game as human PCs. As a matter of fact, the game isn't so much historically accurate - y'see, that would actually require work - as it is historically related, in the same way that humans are distantly related to microbes.

Races have been lightly researched, and sources have been cited, referenced by footnotes. That's more than I can say for any other game.

Burnout: What readers should know is where Darren focuses on historical accuracy here, he forgets to notice the part about mythical accuracy. When you combine the two you get a world of human PC’s with monstrous PC’s.

Sartin: Yeah, the races also sucked a hot one. Oh, look, you can be an "anakim" half-demon-kinda-character. That was so cool when SenZar did it. SEVEN. YEARS. AGO.

SenZar had anakim? I doubt it, though I admit I've never observed the game.

Except that even SenZar Demonians were never this lame. "Most anakim are the result of an incubus or succubus mating with a human. These anakim are more commonly called cambion. Oftentimes, cambion children show no signs of life until they are seven years in age"? Right.

Actually, yes, right. This is historically accurate. About the "no signs of life" part, I don't believe that was in the source cited as a footnote, but it was found on-line. I hesitate to use on-line resources, and am sorry that I cannot support it at this moment. If this were the only thing criticized, I would look it up. Suffice it to say, I did not invent this part.

Would-Be Mortal Mother: Oh, no, a stillborn! Oh, wait, I died during childbirth.

Lord Asmodean, Master of the Seven Phalluses: Huh. We should keep it around for seven years, just in case!

For some reason, anakim are also the only monstrous race to not have Bodily Attractiveness or Facial penalties. Despite that they also have to roll d10 weird physical traits on a d100 table. Hmmm...

Bear in mind that an incubus or succubus is an attractive demon.

09: The anakim has cat-like eyes. The character loses d8 Facial Charisma since the eyes are so large and round..

Huh. Okay:

18: The anakim has the legs of a goat.

24: The anakim has the odor of rotting flesh extend one foot away from their body.

25: The anakim has eyes that are permanently bloodshot.

54: The anakim has gils on the side of their neck, allowing them to breathe underwater.

64: The anakim has a third eye in the middle of their forehead. Having three eyes improves Vision by 1d20 points. Since 50 Vision points is perfect Vision, these bonus points are applied in this direction.

66: The anakim is accompanied by an odor of feces which extends 1d6 feet from their body.

I wonder why those and many other disgusting or deforming results aren't worth an attractiveness penalty. "Historically/mythically accurate" standards of beauty sure are a bitch to figure out, aren't they?<o:p>

Jason's right, I'm putting it in.

More good ones:

40: The anakim causes humans within one foot to desire anal sex according to their sexuality.

As usual, in case you forgot someone was holding a gun to your head and making you read FATAL. Or that sexuality can be argued to include "Does not desire anal sex from either gender".

It is numerically impossible for an anakim to be asexual. Jason's back to senseless arguments again.

Burnout: I think he means the anakim doesn&#146;t desire anal sex. Not the fact the anakim doesn&#146;t desire sex, period. And the fact is that any anakim with a debauchery score of less than 70 will not desire anal sex.

45: The anakim is cannibalistic. Eating vegetables will make this anakim nauseated.

Uh, I think "carnivorous" is the word you're looking for there.

Nope, I meant cannibalistic. Is that too complicated for Jason to consider that a cannibal may eat the meat of other creatures, but that eating vegetables will nauseate them? Apparently so.

95: The anakim has abnormal hatred for females. Whenever within 1d100 feet of one, the anakim must make a Drive check at TH 30 or attack with the intent to kill.

That's nice. Given the contempt FATAL in general already shows females, I'd hate to imagine what it would consider an "abnormal hatred" of them. And that 1d100 thing. What the fuck? Every time a female might get within 100 feet, does he have to roll to see just how many feet she can come before he has to make the Drive check? Or does he just roll once, when the character is created? But why make it so totally random?

It is nice, when taken in context, which Jason fails to consider. For example, he failed to mention:

"94 The anakim has abnormal hatred for males."

If Jason considered this one, then his claim of contempt for females is biased, not the game. Soon, anakim traits will be included in the FATAL Character Generator, and it will be apparent that you should only roll once. I wish Jason weren't so easily confused.

Burnout: It seems the emphasis of this review though: To take things out of context and pass it off as misogyny or lack of research.

Oh, right. "Historical/mythical accuracy". Cause, you know, there's lots of myths where one half-demon hacked apart women when they got within 90 feet, but another half-demon could stand them as close as 15 feet.

Ok, ok, so we (I say 'we', because Ryan came up with most of these) took liberties here for fantasy. Just the same, the game does not contradict history, it merely expounds on what is accurate.

But whatever. There are races other than anakim, but Darren's right. None of it is worth caring about.

Still, it's cool to see that even in a "historically/mythically accurate" game, humans still have a lifespan of 73 years.

Again, it is obvious that Jason knows little of lifespan. While on the one hand, lifespans were short in the Middle Ages. They were also very long for many of the Ancient Greeks. How long did Gorgias live? Scholars speculate, what, 80, 90? What about Democritus? The same is true of countless others. This demonstrates that the human lifespan was not simply less-evolved, but that with proper nutrition and exercise, a human could live a long life. Also note that humans reach Middle Age at 31. This was difficult to determine, and I did consider the lifespans noted in several books. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough room to footnote every sentence. Research this on your own, but be fair and cover a wide variety of sources as I have.

And that on the Racial Hatred table, "hatred" is by far the most common attitude between races, especially for humans (despite their status as the most "neutral" race). In fact, the only races FATAL humans have anything less than total hatred for are themselves and all three races of non-dark dwarves and elves. Oh, wait, they only dislike anakim, despite that race's legendary, mythically accurate, deadEarth-like abilities to smell like shit, have triple-size penises, or be walking anal sex aphrodisiacs.

Well, some anakim smell like shit. The anakim are still human in form, unless altered by their trait table, and are still likely to be attractive. Finally, they are still half-human.

Naturally, humans have not just a lack of hatred, but a preference for each other. I guess there's either just one human race in FATAL (white, of course), or that all the interracial tensions that sadly exist even today weren't historically accurate enough to bother mentioning.

One assumption I have made in writing FATAL, and it won't be made explicit until the gaming world is written, is that all non-European influence has been removed. That's right, I've attempted to minimize Asian, Middle-Eastern, and Egyptian influences, as well as others. Therefore, corpses are not embalmed and buried, but burned. Asian spices do not exist, nor does tobacco or zombies. Consequently, the human race is Caucasian. This is not racism, but merely the result of restricting the scope of the game to only that which originated in Europe. Hopefully, you will not find food, plants, herbs, monsters, nor anything else originating from outside Europe.

In addition, there's huge areas of white space reserved for artwork, which I guarantee you will never be filled.

Darren's guarantee was being broken as he wrote those words.

Burnout: Just a side note, I have seen the cover page as it will appear in the final version and it looks kick ass. I can&#146;t wait to see the rest of the art.

You can find personality traits matched up with physical traits, in a bit of quackery that used to be called physiognomy. The guys who wrote FATAL never met a discredited science that they didn't immediately hump the leg of.

Oh, and here's the cream of the crop: You can actually roll to determine randomly determined sexual characteristics, including vaginal circumference - how much a particular vagina can accept. The fun part is, as these morons would know if they'd even been in contact with a vagina, is that a vagina can expand to any size - like, say, in childbirth, another facet of life which these chimpanzees in short pants forgot about.

Darren expresses his limited knowledge of the vagina. Although a vagina can expand, it may not have sufficient time to expand without ripping when encountering a manhood that exceeds its Vaginal Circumference Potential. I have known it to happen.

Burnout: Darren also states childbirth as his example. But, with his limited knowledge, he probably doesn&#146;t know that a lot of vagina&#146;s do rip during childbirth, being stitched up after. That&#146;s why most women can&#146;t have sex for a time after childbirth.

Sartin: Their knowledge of nipples is sadly lacking, too: "A nipple that is not erect may have no length whatsoever." Come on. Even recluses who wank to porn know better than that.

Jason's wrong, but offers no support anyway, so what's the difference?

And it's nice to see that both "nymphomaniacs" and "sluts" have separate modifiers to the Vaginal Circumference roll. That might keep them from rolling too low a circumference for even an average infant to pass through.

Burnout: Seems reasonable to me. The more sex someone has, the wider her vaginal circumference potential should be.

And I love that Vaginal Depth Potential: "A female&#146;s Vaginal Depth Potential equals her height in feet converted to inches (such as a female of 5&#146; 6&#148; becoming equivalent to 5 1/2&#148;), and then (2d20)% is added."

It doesn't amaze me that Hall felt this was so important that such a detailed rule was needed for it. If he's ever fucked, it was missionary and in total darkness.

I don't think it's very detailed. In fact, I think it's simple. FATAL could have more complicated sex.

Burnout: Well, it could be possible to injure a woman by going too deep. From personal experience I know the pain it can cause. But now thinking about it there should be a negative modifier to sexual adeptness because of the pain it causes.

And there's your Anal Circumference roll, in case someone needs to figure out if they can fit their penis or blade or fist (yes, there's a Fist Circumference roll, too) in there. Try to get out of rolling it, though, because you don't wanna read sentences like "Should any anus be stretched beyond the limit as determined by the table below, which differs from anus to anus, the orifice will rip to accommodate the incoming object. First, consider all relevant modifiers, then roll percentile dice and proceed to the following table" without the assistance of alcohol.

Burnout: This statistic actually got added because someone on RPGnet had a problem with the fact there were no gays in the game. So we had to figure out a way to add Quote Darren &#147;sweaty man love."

Of course, no true discussion of FATAL would be complete without Hymen Resistance, too. This is a 5d20 roll for female virgins, the result of which is the percent chance per intercourse that the hymen will resist breaking. They must grow membranes pretty tough in FATALworld...the average roll for that is around 52%, and I'm pretty damn sure they break way more often than that. While we're on the subject, the length of the intercourse or the size of the man's manhood don't figure into the breakage roll at all. God fucking almighty. You can't even stick your dick in the realism here.

Burnout: I have been with 4 women in my life who had not had their hymen breached the first time. Now I can&#146;t say how this reflects on the period in which FATAL takes place. But at least for modern times it seems close to accurate.

Jason doesn't have to write "man's manhood," as if to distinguish it from a woman's manhood. However, Jason is correct that Manhood should affect Hymen Resistance. Thank you for offering constructive criticism, Jason!

You can also roll your Facial Features, Hair Thickness, Most Attractive and Most Repulsive Features, and quadrillions of other things that a sane game would be content to just let you choose, in the unlikely event you even cared.

I argue that it takes more role-playing skill and maturity to randomly determine your character, and play it accordingly. This also minimizes the likelihood that players will play the same types of characters time and again, and therefore forces them to explore role-playing better than other games. What is sane to Jason seems cheesy to me.

Meanwhile, the Skin Color roll runs the gamut from deathly pale to merely tan. No brown or dark or anything, though. Further evidence that FATAL is a white boy's club.

See above.

Oops, wait: That's covered a few pages later, with more nonsense gleaned from scanning a medical text. (A 15% chance of miscarriage? Uh-uh. Labor takes "up to" fourteen hours? Uh-uh.) And the real head kicker is that being pregnant reduces Bodily Attractiveness by 1d20: "Although in some sense a pregnant female is 'beautiful', her Bodily Attractiveness is negatively affected."

Burnout: I take it when Darren say&#146;s &#147;in some sense pregnant female is 'beautiful'&#148;. He means it like I think it would be, If my child was inside of a woman it makes her more &#145;beautiful&#146; but not in a sexual manner.

Sartin: Okay, rules analysis time again. Even a -20 (the worst roll for the pregnancy penalty) isn't that bad (granted, none of the female attribute penalties were that high, but it's the reasoning behind them that's the most ass-ramming). If you have an average 100 Bodily Attractiveness, pregnancy will reduce you to 80 at worst - not enough to seriously hurt your chances in the sack.

Sure, it'll reduce your Bodily Attractiveness skill modifier from 0 to -20. But a skill's final modifier is the average of the modifiers from all applying sub-abilities. Sexual Adeptness has three that apply, and Seduction has two, so your BA penalty for those would only be a respective -6 and -10 AT WORST. As skill rolls work on a d100 + modifiers roll, you can see that being knocked up definitely won't curtail your ability to seduce and sleep around.

Nice and realistic, like you'd expect.

Burnout: First off the range would be from 0 to &#150;21. And seeing that seduction is at a &#150;10 at worst that&#146;s 10%. Quite a bit. Second, sexual adeptness refers to how good a person is in bed. Which shouldn&#146;t go down that much cause a pregnant woman can do, with few restrictions, the same things a woman who isn&#146;t pregnant.

See, I was quitting about this time in Synnibarr, because I made the mistake of actually trying to read through it straight. I quit feeling frustrated for wasted potential. Here, I'm tempted to quit because this is just so embarrassingly stupid as to make me wonder if I've been somehow tainted by reading it; as if somehow I'm going to wind up treating women as alien creatures made out of stats rather than, as, you know, people.

Sartin: It helps if you picture the people at FATAL Games becoming the squealing subject matter of Deliverance 2. It won't wipe the misogynistic taint from your mind, but it's just.

Of course, there shouldn't be a misogynistic taint in anyone's mind, especially the reader, though I'm sure this is already obvious.

Extensive charts exist for getting drunk - you actually have to cross-reference your weight against how many drinks you've had and what kind of drinks they were in order to figure out whether you're buzzed, intoxicated or vomiting. Unknown Armies just gave you a 5% penalty every time you took a shot, because the people who wrote Unknown Armies descended from creatures who were vertebrate, and also apparently damned good at making role-playing games.

Unknown Armies doesn't sound very realistic.

Burnout: Hmm.. So according to Unknown Armies a shot affects a 100lb. person the same as a 350 lb. person. Yeah sounds like they know how to make role-playing games. Incredibly unrealistic, un-detailed games.

Sartin: The marijuana (and it's so hard not to believe they pronounce it "mara-jah-wanna") chart is a blast, too. Following the model for pissing, the total "inhalations per hour" versus the "time since last euphoria" are considered to give you a Euphoria Factor. And then, in a move only a sociopathic accountant could love, you have a long list of traits that get reduced by 1/4 or 1/2 or once or twice the EF. Blah.

But hey. Bet you didn't know that being high actually raises your Intuition.

Burnout: Having had years of experience in this field, this seems realistic.

Disease rules are found as well. Instead of actually using anything closely resembling a rational system for disease, FATAL simply creates a percentage chance of fatality, so that the bubonic plague has an equal chance of killing a starving beggar as much as it does of killing a bugbear. You know, historically accurate and everything.

Actually, the percentage chance is randomly determined, though Darren's right, race is not a factor. Then again, as much life as it wiped out, I doubt race would be a factor.

There's a chapter on morality - what the book calls "disposition" - which attempts to distill morality and ethics down into nine separate categories, including a cross-referencing chart for what disposition hates what and what a primary and secondary disposition work like in conjunction. If you ever have a pressing need to hurt yourself - the kind of deep-down hurt that lasts for days - go ahead and read through the chapter, 'cause it'll give you that feeling. Most of it is philosophical wank that probably got recycled from one of the Greeks, or summarized; not being a fan of philosophy, I didn't recognize anything in specific.

Not doing his job as a reviewer, Darren didn't read the footnote, citing Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics among other sources. It is ironic that he suggests the reader should read through the chapter, when he apparently did not.

Sartin: I would like to remark here that if you're going to make a "population count per alignment" pie chart, you should NOT:

a) Use only black and gray for colors.
b) Use SHADES of those two colors for each section.
c) Have NINE possible alignments to shade in.

Hell, this chart looks so bad, I'll just show you now:

The image used without permission is not here (mainly because I did not want to feel obligated for the sake of consistency to put the religious picture at the end of their review on my Website). Although it is currently in the available download as this counter-review is written, the image was replaced weeks ago. Jason is right, believe it or not -- the table was difficult to discern and its appearance was boring. Bear in mind that the game is available free during development, which means that he reviewed an unfinished product. The single table in dispute has been replaced with numerous tables, one for each race. Now, the dispositions of each race are represented. Another change that is still unavailable in the current download is to explain in a footnote the origins of FATAL's disposition system.

My gaming group used to play AD&D 2e, and all of us enjoyed alignment. One day as I was reading Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, it occurred to me that in it, Aristotle had provided a logical system for alignment. While his logic is outdated and flawed, I still found it to be interesting and applicable, especially since modern logic was developed long after the year for our game, and Aristotle's logic was widely used during the Middle Ages. In fact, Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics were, with a small change here and there, adopted by Christianity. Therefore, his work provides a perfect comparison between modern and ancient morals.

So, while beginning graduate school, I discussed the idea with my graduate advisor, and together we designed a questionnaire, and I wrote a program in C language to measure the responses of participants. I submitted the program to many Websites. When each participant completed the survey, a .txt file was created on their computer, and the program requested that they e-mail it to me. After a year, I had received over 300.

After I began developing FATAL in 2000, I converted my alignment-based study into the current FATAL disposition system. About the table made in Excel that Jason attacked above, the data was transferred from SPSS (Statistical Package of the Social Sciences), so the disposition system in FATAL is based on an actual sample of, well, humans.

Seriously, people.

Meanwhile, it's cool that FATAL says "individuality" and "randomness" are "unethical", while "conformity" and "patterned" are "ethical". (Yeah, let's get those "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means" cracks out of the way, too.) Just the phrase "Neutral Moral" makes me giggle, too, while we're on the subject.

Darren's assessment of half-assed recycling from Greek philosophy isn't bad, but the Disposition/Morality chapter is basically about Hall spending 25 pages bending "ethical/unethical" to mean "lawful/chaotic" while babbling about the deficiencies and excesses that can turn "morality" into immorality or evil. Gee, how innovative.

Again, Jason seems to know nothing about the sources I provided. I didn't have to bend anything. I am proud of my disposition system. I think the disposition system is the most innovative step in RPG's, because of how well it is historically-based, yet covers ancients to moderns (with the exception of some of Plato's thoughts, but that's another story).

I've figured out one thing in relation to FATAL and its claims to historical accuracy. When they say that they're historically accurate, they mean that they've gone through...maybe fifteen books at the absolute most, and that's being awfully generous. So, as a result, whenever you come to the conclusion that it's incredibly sexist, you can entertain yourself with a confusing, obscurantist bit of pseudoscholarship that basically suggests that it's your problem that there isn't a single spot in FATAL that refers to women as anything but whores. For a bit of fun, you could go through and counterpoint every single lame point he makes with about a hundred examples from FATAL that utterly disprove his point.

Burnout: Actually for every point in FATAL where a degrading term is used for a female there is also one for a male. If it&#146;s the problem you have with the whore occupation, then you need to be more open-minded and understand that they did and do exist.

Not me, of course, but somebody. (Oops - spoke too soon. Later on in the review, I'll be dicing that up as well. Silly me. Fucking FATAL.)

As usual, Darren does not support any argument, then moves along.

So, we get to the chapter entitled "Mind", in which personalities are divided according to the four medieval humors - sanguine, choleric, melancholy and phlegmatic, and how to determine which one you character is. In other words, instead of coming up with a character and using the system to help define him, you get to roll dice in order to determine which humors are dominant; which in turn are based on medical concepts so laughably outdated that Galen would have probably turned his nose up at them. (Galen, incidentally, is the Greek doctor who pretty much tossed anything at hand into a wound in order to see if it would cure it - including horse manure. He didn't know any better.)

First, I'm sure Darren meant "...which one your character is," but was incapable to express himself without error. As outdated as the system of temperament is, I just read _System of Nature_ by Baron D'Holbach, written in the 1700's, and he discusses the four temperaments. So, I guarantee that temperament is historically accurate for FATAL.

Sartin: Incidentally, the four humors also inspired the names of the four Z'bri houses in Tribe 8: Sangis, Koleris, Melanis, and Flemis. Oh, and Tribe 8 is much better and more mature "dark" game than FATAL. It's probably more historically accurate, too.

Herein lies a useful lesson for game designers: if you're making a really shitty game, don't put in things that will remind people of much better games. (Although you have to admit it does let us recommend much better games, ones that make FATAL look like the shitwork that it is, ones that will reward your money with hours and hours of reading fun, as opposed to hours and hours of vomiting and trying desperately to forget.)

Burnout: FATAL is the best game I&#146;ve ever seen, so putting things into it that make you think of better games is impossible. And spending money on FATAL will give you hours and hours of playing fun. Which I find more important than the reading fun Sartin talks about.

I believe that what Shithead was thinking was something along the lines of "Okay, people in the Middle Ages tried to define people along these lines, so should I." But the problem with defining people's behavior according to their humors - I mean, avoiding the fact that it's blatant quackery - is that people don't fit into four categories. Neither do they fit into four categories with four subcategories each. Alchemy was essentially an intellectual dead end for science, and yet, in this day and age, we've got a man trying to use them with a completely straight face - not as a disguise for a better game mechanic, like the Nine Spheres from Mage, but as a method for defining people.

As for why temperament is used, see above. No, I obviously don't believe in it. If it is historically accurate that people classified according to four categories, then what was Darren trying to argue? By the way, behavior is a worse term to use here, compared to personality.

That creates a second disjunct in the game: There appear to be two different authors writing the game. One of them is somebody who's read a lot of medieval and Greek philosophy and mythology without a historical or cultural context to put them in, and appears to be sane, if not profoundly ignorant about history. The other is a drooling metalhead wannabe-rapist who's forced to get his jollies by masturbating over stat blocks involving sexual characteristics. I don't know who is who, or even if there are two people involved with this. Either way, it's scary, like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Jerkoff.

Multiple authors have been discussed above.

Sartin: Personally, I want to believe FATAL was created by an AI that was instructed to "Create the crappiest possible work that can still technically be considered a RPG", and the AI not only succeeded brilliantly, but even went as far as to start massive flame wars on RPGnet, as it studied the examples set by World of Synnibarr, SenZar, and most especially Rifts and realized that no RPG can achieve ultimate crappiness without obnoxious creators and fanboys to piss everyone off.

Naturally, the truth - that FATAL was created by actual human beings who weren't joking - is all the more depressing.

The mental illness section basically transcribes the DSM-IV's section on various mental disorders, but offers no particular rules other than "occurs over the next 5 + 1d100 months"; and, of course, there's tons of sexual dysfunction listed alongside megalomania and kleptomania, just in case we forgot that we were reading FATAL.

Burnout: Of course there are sexual dysfunctions. I don&#146;t see why it worries people so much to have anything sexual in an RPG, to have sexual characteristics alongside other characteristics. Ohh no. To have sexual mental disorders alongside other mental disorders. Ohh no. I think it&#146;s rather immature.

The section on medieval life is about as deep as a skillet; if you check the references that they cite for the section, for example, you'll find Life in a Medieval Castle / City / Village and Reign of the Phallus - but Reign of the Phallus is about ancient Rome and Greece, rather than medieval Europe. None of them are scholarly texts, to boot, and Reign of the Phallus is sharply critiqued even in its Amazon review for its sloppy work.

Actually, the _Reign of the Phallus_ bears a subtitle -- Sexual Politics in Ancient Athens. It is not about Rome, but Greece. I looked at the reviews on Amazon. The first review, entitled "History Corrupted by Politics" rates the book a 1 out of 5. He claims the book is biased, and then spends four paragraphs explaining a point that is unrelated to his initial claim. He argues that the Roman's valued and worshipped large manhoods, while the Greeks valued small ones. Since the _Reign of the Phallus_ only deals with Greek issues, it does not mention the Roman fascination, but it does mention the Greek. The reviewer spent 4 paragraphs saying that the book is accurate, and the reviewer didn't seem to know it.

The next review seemed to make a good argument, and one that is usually valid against historical analyses, but did not offer an example to support their claim. Whether they were right or not I do not know, but they failed to demonstrate it. The third review supports the book. Overall, the work is never accused of sloppiness, but I accuse the reviewers of it, as well as Darren.

Just in case you were in the mood for some more pain, there's a Debauchery chart, so you can roll dice - thank fucking God, 'cause I was worried that I wouldn't be able to suggest that FATAL's authors apparently use Rolemaster as wank material - to find out how far a particular character will go. To make things worse, it's a sliding scale, so that we find out that somebody who will entertain multiple partners won't engage in anal sex.

As can be expected, Darren gets it wrong. If a character has a Debauchery that indicates that they are willing to entertain multiple partners, they may also have a Debauchery high enough that they are willing to engage in anal sex. Darren was sloppy when he presented his argument. What he was unable to express is that he thinks it is unrealistic that according to the rank-ordering of debaucherous acts, that a female character cannot be willing to have anal sex, but unable to entertain multiple partners. Nothing is perfect, but when considering large numbers of females, I suspect they are more likely to represent the chart, than not.

Don't ask why, it's on a chart. It must be true if it's on a chart.

Sartin: Naturally, you can also roll to see if characters are heterosexual or homosexual. Even better, being a male with low Strength or a female with high Strength (or low Cup Size) will bend your modifier towards the gay end of the scale. It's nice to see these lame stereotypes being paraded in such a realistic, historically accurate game.

Oftentimes, stereotypes exist because they are generally true; this is why they gained support in the first place.

Meanwhile, anakim get such a big Debauchery modifier that they'll always roll at least "Give oral sex". Nice to be a member of a race that's guaranteed to suck, huh?

Burnout: Being an offspring of succubi or incubi, which are by nature sexual beings. So genetically the are more likely to enjoy more sexual things.

You can also roll a d10,000,000 in order to find out how many babies a particular woman will have, even though there are only five potential outcomes. Fucking FATAL.

Sartin: You have to wonder if Hall, exploding syphilis canker that he is, has ever actually played his own game. You know when you roll d100, you have to say "Okay, the red one is the tens" or whatever.

What's up here? "Okay, red is the tens, green is the hundreds, translucent red is the thousands, blue is the ten thousands, green speckled is - ah fuck, which one did I make the red one again?"

And, of course, this is yet another of those situations that comes up ALL the time in fantasy. I mean, shit. Seeing if there's that one in ten million chance you'll bear quintuplets happens even more often than starting the campaign in a bar fight-laden tavern.

Jason's last sentence seems to mean nothing at all. In case anyone's curious, of course I play FATAL, usually once every 3-4 weeks -- sometimes more, sometimes less. Unfortunately, Jason is unable to roll d10,000,000, which of course only consists of rolling 7 ten-siders, or one die 7 times and, say, writing down the results. At any rate, he can't handle it. One of the methods of attack for Darren and Jason is to find an obscure rule in FATAL, and then claim it would be used so rarely, it is useless. One achievement of FATAL over other RPG's is that the game covers rare incidents as well as common. Other game designers were too lazy to attempt to be more thorough. The more Darren and Jason do this, the more they support FATAL, which is ironic.

And even when you do read something that apparently came out of a more scholarly text, you know that what you're reading has been essentially pared down to the fundamentals - in other words, whatever will paint medieval society as a gigantic orgy and women as whores. For example, we're informed that even respectable inns will include whores among services offered; and that the doorman, bellboys, porters, waiters, barmaids and cleaning girls - and the cleaning girls also double as whores - will all be slaves.

Enjoy reading _Travel in the Ancient World_.

But there were very few slaves in Medieval Europe; serfs, yes, but they had legal rights. If you go by FATAL, Medieval Europe's economy was entirely based on whores and whore-related activities. Especially funny is the section on justice, where we see punishments for slaves in a society in which slavery, by and large, didn't even exist. If you commit slander against a married woman or priestess - and there were pretty much no priestesses in Medieval Europe - you wind up getting branded with an SL. The nimrod who wrote the section gets Roman law - which I doubt was this harsh - confused with the law of Medieval Europe. Even worse, the punishments come from the History of Punishment and Torture, which is basically designed to showcase the most sensationalist punishments without the appropriate historical context.

Since FATAL extracts Christianity, law is combined from Roman and Medieval times, and also explains the inclusion of slaves. Although I think the source I used is weak (_History of Punishment and Torture_), I am willing to read more scholarly sources. Does anyone have any good suggestions? Please e-mail me.

For that matter, in a game that claims to be the most historically accurate game out there, where the fuck is the Catholic Church? Where's the Inquisition? Where's the Hundred Years War? Where's Italy? Where's the Muslims? Where's the Crusades? Where's the New World? Where's the Black Plague?

Since the year of technology for the game is 1335, the Black Plague hasn't happened yet. Since Christianity has been extracted, there goes the Catholic Church, Inquisition, Crusades, and the Hundred Years War. Since anyone or anything that originated outside of Europe has been minimized or eliminated, the Muslims do not exist in FATAL. As for Italy, that's a question for the second book, _Neveria_, the gaming world, not the system itself. Although you won't see Italy itself (since it'll be a fantasy world based on history), but expect to see similarities.

Sartin: While we're at it, where's the Flat Earth, the Four Elements, and the universe revolving around the Earth? Don't forget that Hall is also unquestioningly accepting the conclusions of ancient Greeks on women. Why isn't he taking the Greeks at face value on everything else, too? Poor genetic material, I would guess.

I'm glad Jason asked. the concept of a flat earth, as well as the universe revolving around the earth, is in the book detailing the gaming world, of course. The four elements are noted in Chapter 11: Magic, however they were mentioned previously in the review, so the reviewers must suffer from a short attention span. I do not accept the conclusions of the ancients, but include them for historical accuracy. FATAL is a game true to its premises.

In FATAL? Nowhere.

Like I said, if the authors of this thing had even the minimal shame that you see in a dog dragging its ass along the carpet, they would remove any boasting about FATAL being accurate immediately. I'm not holding my breath.

The section on criminal punishments for rape: it's mostly enough to make you sick, especially since the motherfucker who wrote it describes rape as "taking his pleasure" - rather than as the act of vicious violence that it is.

Although rape is vicious violence, it is also the rapist taking his pleasure by force.

Sartin: Hell, I'm still noxious from how the motherfucker refers to FATAL as a RPG, rather than the miles-long monument to human worthlessness that it is.

Any thorough review of human history certainly calls into question the worth of humanity.

Burnout: I personally believe that even in the present, humanity is mostly worthless.

Well, here: look:


In an average community, an average of twenty rapes occur annually. In 80% of cases, rapes are committed by between two and fifteen characters.

Now, keep in mind: 80% of cases, two to fifteen rapes apiece - yeah, Byron's apparently let the glue sniffing burn out the part of his brain that's able to do mathematics.

Darren seems to be unable to interpret a simple sentence. If all cases of rape are considered, according to _Medieval Prostitution_, then 80% of them were committed by between two and fifteen rapists. The word "apiece" is Darren's, and reveals his shortcoming in reasoning. The section on rape in Sociality is referenced from the book just mentioned, including the statistics.

Sartin: It's nice to know that FATALworld apparently has Rape Clubs ("The first rule is we don't talk about Rape Club..."). Really.

They force the female's door at night, do not disguise themselves, and either rape the victim in her home and in the presence of terrorized witnesses, or drag the victim through the streets into one of their houses, where they have their pleasure all night long. In 80% of cases, the neighbors do not intervene. Almost all rapes involve extreme brutality, though they never attempt to wound or kill her.

Sartin: It's also nice to know that the average communities in FATALworld apparently have no guards, night watchmen, or law enforcement. Really.

As usual, Jason makes claims without support. In fact, an occupation entitled "Militiamen" destroys his argument. Finally, the gaming world for FATAL remains unavailable.

Burnout: Not to mention any bounty hunters or Knights that might be roaming the streets. Besides, what really gets me is they talk like there is a &#147;rapist&#148; occupation. I&#146;m not saying there should be. Just that I think they focus more on rape during the review than the game actually does. Rape is a horrible thing but it does happen and to ignore that fact is to ignore the worst of humanity. It would be unbalanced.

The rapists come from all levels of society, but the majority are artisans and laborers. Less than 10% of rapes occur by thugs. In 50% of cases, human rapists are between 18 and 24 years old. The group is composed, on average, of 6 characters. Only 20% of the rapes are committed by 10 or more characters. Half the male youth participate at least once in gang rape. Sexual violence is an everyday dimension of community life. There tends to be less in smaller communities such as hamlets and more in larger communities such as cities.

So the book said...

Sartin: It's yet nicer to know that half the males in FATALworld are rapists or former rapists. Really.

If identified, rapists are imprisoned for weeks, though no more than a month. If the victim withdraws the complaint, the rapist is freed immediately. Imprisonment for rape consists of flogging, unless the rapist is an outsider, in which case the rapist is banished. When freed from imprisonment, a rapist is not considered criminal nor considered to be bad.

Sartin: It's even more nice to know that rape apparently doesn't constitute a "serious" offense in FATALworld (given that the first paragraph of the Justice section suggests "hanging for serious offenses" for those who want to keep things simple, and the same section lists rape as the least severe of 45 crimes). Really.

The social reaction to rape is rarely favorable to the victim. The human victims of gang rape are between the ages of 15 and 33. Child rape is rare. The rape of a child under the age of 14 or 15 is considered a serious crime. The victim loses her good name in almost all cases, and encounters difficulty in regaining her place in society and family. If the victim of rape is single, then fewer males desire her as a wife. If she is married, her husband may abandon her. Priests comprise 20% of the clientele at private brothels and public baths. Some priests are even members of nightly gang rapes. The victim of gang rape almost never accuses them of committing sodomy.

Sartin: It's nicest of all that - ah, hell with it. FATALworld is a piece of shit with as much connection to reality (historical or otherwise) as urinal cakes have to real food. Really.

Obviously, Jason never noticed the footnote, nor read the source.

I soiled my review to put that in there. I thought that you should see the kind of people that you're dealing with.

Sartin: I share Darren's annoyance, and then some. I'd love to hear a reputable expert explain how all this could possibly be historically accurate. I wasn't kidding when I said rape is listed as the least severe of 45 crimes. Gambling, failing to pay your rent, vagrancy, and being a wife who keeps a fucking disorderly house are all listed as more severe.

Read _Medieval Prostitution_.

It might be possible to be more of a waste of skin than Hall is, but it'd take more work than climbing a mountain. I mean, really. Hall and his idiot fanboys aren't even wannabe rapists.

They're rapists' cheerleaders.

Think about how pathetic that is.

As said before, I do not support rape, but include it in the game for historical accuracy.

Burnout: I don&#146;t know anybody who would support or condone rape. In fact, if I knew a rapist, I would more than likely beat the hell out of him.

Medieval enlightenment on the women's rights was pretty weak, but Jesus - it was never this bad, ever. I'm sick to my stomach from having to read this shit; it's transparently poor scholarship and an even shittier attitude. They express absolutely no qualms about the victim, or what the aftermath of rape is; no, instead there's more statistics, so that they can further dehumanize what they hate. As a matter of fact, it's fairly obvious that the author just grabbed the sentences that supported his warped little views and pasted them into his .pdf.

Burnout: I find it much easier to dehumanize something like rape in a game. Makes it much less personal.

Oh, but you'll be glad to know the victim of a gang rape almost never accuses her attackers of sodomy. I don't know why it's useful information, but it's in there for some reason. You'd have to think hard, and also be under the influence of a great many drugs, to figure out why Hall chose to throw that in there. The motherfucker.

I have never 'been with' a mother. Notice that several paragraphs before, Darren quoted how the victim was considered by others, as well as difficulty in re-adjusting. He is self-contradictory, but doesn't seem to know it.

Sartin: It's his idea of subtlety. He can't exactly come out and say "Huh huh. Rape is cool!" in as many words, but he can present settings where the worst consequence for it is for pussies. (Forgive the horrible, horrible pun.)

And what's worse about this is that the author doesn't see his own bias; he'll go on and on about how well it's been researched, but all that he's done is read a few books and declared himself an expert. He confuses Rome and medieval Europe, he compresses some five hundred years worth of legal argument into a series of gory, cruel punishments, he ignores legal developments like the Star Chamber or the Magna Carta - and the result is a bitter stew of repressed misogyny and hatred. We're always kept up to date on the status of how women can be raped and degraded, but there's never mention of justice for women - and if the law didn't do anything to fix it, I can guarantee that the old justice of clan vengeance would have applied at some point. Shit, even in Biblical times the punishment for rape was death, no questions asked; why is medieval Europe so different?

I never declared myself an expert on history, but I definitely assert that a goal of the game is historical accuracy, and I will continue to read books on the subject and include material. If Darren wants to know why medieval Europe is different from Biblical times, I suggest he reads about it.

This started out as a funny review, but FATAL's starting to make me wish that the entire human race would just spontaneously combust and die.

Sartin: And since I already started the review at that point, I'm pretty much to where you're looking for things that look like FATAL players and setting them on fire. I'll end up incinerating a lot of dildos and basement-dwelling greaseshits on accident, but it'll have to do.

In case you're sick of hating the author for his misogyny, you can start hating him for his obsession with crappy rules. If you want to create a druidic circle, then you have to use the following formula:

Result = (Ae) + Ae(N1/2-1)

That quiet chomping noise you're hearing is the noise that my backbrain makes while it's eating my forebrain.

What the formula there suggests is something like number of druids versus time of season or something or other; I don't really care. If you have to do binomial equations in order to figure out how large a circle is, rather than abstracting it, I'm not interested.<o:p>

Darren's not interested in a detailed RPG. The equation does not consider the season. Obviously, he probably did not read it.

There's an exhaustive list of occupations, most of which I can't be bothered to go over; you can probably get the same list by getting a better system, like D&D 3rd Edition or Rolemaster or Age of Heroes - or WFRP, which does dark medieval fantasy a thousand yards better than FATAL - and checking the net for medieval occupations, rather than using FATAL's. (Like you have to be told.) You'll be pleased to know that whores gain experience for bringing their clients off, just in case you weren't feeling dirty already.

How else would a whore gain experience?

Burnout: Besides that, I would like to see any game that has as many PC occupations or classes.

Sartin: The "occupations" are basically FATAL's character classes. So along with mages, warriors, and druids, you could be a 5th level dicemaker or delouser or whore or whatever. Interestingly (never let it be said that I absolutely refuse to give credit where it's due), characters actually have to do things related to their occupation to get Advancement Points towards their next level, rather than the generic XP for adventuring in most games.

Except of course, that 'occupations' are a much better term than 'classes'.

It's not very compellingly done, though. I'm not sure what the point is of being, oh, a bailiff (10 AP for winning a case! 10 more each month your lord's manor is stocked!) or grocer (1/20 of 1 AP per unit of staple food sold!) when most of the combat professions get AP for inflicting damage (10 or 20 AP or more for hitting someone once with a big sword!). As such, all the mundane occupations did not need to be presented as 50,000 or so extra choices - D&D3's ubiquitous "expert" class was an elegant solution for such throwaway characters and jobs. And you fans of AD&D1's old "1 gold piece found = 1 XP" rule will love the Bandit, who gets far more AP for stealing/looting money than many occupations could ever score earning it (that bandits also get damage AP is just icing on an ass-shaped cake).

I doubt that I would ever role-play a bailiff or a grocer. However, FATAL allows you to do what you want. If you want to be a grocer, FATAL enables you. Concerning the bandit, Jason failed to notice that money is more rare in FATAL than AD&D. It is not easier for a bandit to gain a level, than a grocer. In fact, since FATAL is so fatal, odds are the bandit won't make it.

Burnout: Actually if you could find enough money to get any kind of plate suit, then you are very lucky.

Plus, the AP total for each level doubles each time. Which gets really annoying after a while. Even warriors who hack and slash all day or bandits who steal millions of silver per victim will take a long ass time to get the 524,288,000 AP needed for 20th level (but hey. If you can only make it to 262,000,000, that's almost good enough for 19th level). The Maim Master (FATAL gamemaster, alcohol help us) can speed things up a lot by opting to award bonus points for things like accomplishing goals and "group cohesiveness", but if you're interested in playing this game, those probably aren't your high points. Then again, if you're running this game, giving a shit probably isn't your high point, either.

More problematic is that FATAL is very generous when you change occupations. All you have to do is get to at least 2nd level with the one you have, and you can start over at 1st level with another one. Which means that when the AP requirement gets too stupid with your combat occupation, you can just switch to another, similar one and gain 5-10 levels (and all the attendant benefits) with the same AP it would have taken you to gain 1 level before.

It's always harder to become better at something the farther you go with it. If characters become a jack-of-all-trades but master of none, 2nd level in many occupations but never excelling at any particular one, then this seems to fit a pre-Renaissance era. Again, FATAL seems historically accurate.

Go to part 2 - Go to part 4