The Hall of RPG Oddities — Where is Dating Included? Part the Second (Really NSFW)

The Sad, Silly Saga of F.A.T.A.L., Part 2


How 4Chan reacted to FATAL.

Having spent some quality time with my “serious” writing, gotten some encouragement from my would-be agent and hung out with my girlfriend and other very real, very pleasant people of the female persuasion I think I’ve reached the point where I can once more lower myself into the open sewer that is (was?) Byron Hall’s masterpiece, F.A.T.A.L. (From Another Time, Another Land — NOT Fantasy Adventures to Adult Lecherey! How many times do I have to tell you?)

FATAL Metal Mayhem!

Once more I’m reminded just how utterly disingenuous Byron’s big name change was. Initially, the man was not only proud that he had come up with such a stupid acronym, he actually celebrated it by recording his idea of a musical theme song for the game.

Esteemed thrash-metal god that he was (see his bio in the previous posting) Byron apparently felt that his off-key growling “FANTASY ADVENTURES TO ADULT… LECHE… REEEEEEEEE” accompanied by some fat-fingered fretwork while a drum machine pounds incessantly like an broken jackhammer in the background wasn’t a good fit for the game’s new title, and removed the song from on-line. Fortunately, a number of people actually downloaded this little slice of heavy metal history, and one even posted it on youtube, and I’m embedding it here for your ongoing enjoyment. Be advised that there are disturbing images in the video, but none are anywhere near as disturbing as the game itself.

Knowing me, I’m sure you’re wondering why I haven’t posted the lyrics and it’s because I’ll be damned if I can figure out exactly what they are. There’s the expected stuff about chopping of your head and similar, as well as the aforementioned gargling of the game’s name, but as to the rest of it, I agree with the original review that said it sounded like the Cookie Monster chasing a drum machine down a flight of stairs.

Hymen Resistance and Retard Strength

Does it come as any surprise that this guy plays FATAL?

Does it come as any surprise that this guy plays FATAL?

Character generation continues for another 100 pages or so, and for the most part it’s a dreary slog through endless tables, mathematical formulae and entries like “Height and Weight of various fantasy races have been computed by consulting biology, physiology, and zoology textbooks that refer to the Cube-Square Law, and the proportions to larger and smaller creatures. For example, as a creature increases proportionately in size, its surface area increases by a ratio of difference in Height squared, but the Weight increases by the ratio of the difference cubed. When a muscle is increased twofold in all 3 dimensions, its volume and weight are cubed, but the muscular power is only multiplied by 4, since cross-sectional distance determines muscular strength, not volume and Weight. The fact that the percentage of bone weight to body weight increases with creature size has been considered, as well as the fact that more muscle is necessary at larger creature sizes in order to do less when compared to body weight. The interesting implications of the Cube-Square Law on larger and smaller creatures is that smaller creatures will be strong for their size (such as an ant being able to put 40 times its body weight over its head), and larger creatures will be weak for their size. For more information, see the References section at the back of the book.”

Now I don’t know about you, but when I read an rpg book the first question that pops into my head is whether the designers strictly followed the Cube-Square Law when determining racial height and weight rules. Since Byron has conveniently included a list of references to assure us of his scrupulous and unbending demand for historical and scientific accuracy, we can all now see his genius for ourselves.

And so the body generation rules drag on for page after page after endless page, with detailed rules for determining such vital statistics as Body Mass Index, Body Part Proportion (i.e. the length of your hill troll PC’s left foot), Most Attractive/Repulsive Feature (possible features include “crotch” and “buttocks”), Breadth (or armspan), Eyesight, Head Circumference, Hand Size, Facial Features and so on. Note that I found such rules to be one of the Arduin Grimoire’s greatest charms, but as with most things FATAL, Byron Hall takes the concept, drives it into the ground, stomps on it, piles on dirt, stamps it down and seals it all in concrete.

It is two specific sections of the body generation chapter that gamers and reviewers found noteworthy. The first is the “Freak of Nature” table. I quote the rules for generating a “Freak of Nature” here verbatim: “Roll 1d1000000 (6 dice that are 10-sided) to see if something about a character is a freak of nature. If the results equal 000001, then the character is a freak of nature who has survived; most freaks of nature are killed when their deformity is discovered at birth. The player of a freak must roll 1d100, and consult the table below:”

A sweet, beautifully rendered illustration from the section describing aging. A frightening contrast to the nightmares that fill the rest of the book.

A sweet, beautifully rendered illustration from the section describing aging. A frightening contrast to the nightmares that fill the rest of the book.

After the ludicrousness of actually rolling a million-sided die to determine a character’s “freak” status (Byron’s use of the English language is stunning, believe me), there are a grand total of five (yes five) actual results on the table — funnel chest, hermaphrodite, pigeon chest, polydacytly and a supernumerary nipple. Yes, an extra nipple. All of these result in minor penalties such as -1d10 Bodily Attractiveness or -1d10% strength. Not only do you have to be spectacularly lucky to be what Byron so sensitively calls a “freak of nature” he can’t even think up anything interesting for the table, preferring instead to give the character another minor penalty to a stat.

So after all those pages of tables we get to the section that raised eyebrows, blood pressure and gamer’s ire — the infamous “Sexual Features” rules.

The rules are, we are assured, “optional.” Of course, the “optional” nature of the rules was added later, after the rpg community’s initial wave of outrage, disdain and hysterical laughter. Prior to Bryon’s come-to-Jesus moment, he was convinced that rules for nipple length, areola hue and penis circumference were indispensable elements of any modern (and of course historically accurate) roleplaying game. I think we can also see Byron’s personal views showing through, as “medium” hued areolae add +1d4 to a female’s (and only a female’s) Bodily Attractiveness Modifier, while “dark” ones subtract 1d4.

(As a sidebar, it’s interesting to note that Anakim and ogres can have eight-inch wide areolae, and ogres can have nipples up to five inches in length. Picture that in your nightmares…)

Byron strays into creepy territory once more with the “Cup Size” table which ranges from of course AA (-2d10 to Bodily Attractiveness) to “>D” (which doesn’t affect BA at all). His justification is (naturally) “A scholarly study on female human bust size indicates that both males and females prefer a female with a medium bust size…” I’m sorry, Byron, but speak for yourself, dude…

An anakim carefully checking his victim's cup size for historical accuracy.

An anakim carefully checking his victim’s cup size for historical accuracy.


The creep-factor enters with the “Cup Size Modifiers” table, which is indexed for age and relative body type. You will be happy to know that an infant has a -75 Cup Size Modifier. And if you once more feel like taking a hot shower to wash the stains from your soul, just wait until we get to the next table, the “Vaginal Circumference Potential.”

Once more we have modifiers based on age, including “infant,” “child” and “puberty.” Tell me, oh God, please tell me what kind of fucking pervert would have the slightest interest in such a statistic? I’m not even going there. Byron Hall is one of the most vile human beings ever to stain the rpg community with his presence, including this motherfucker.

So with that piece of unutterable horror still in our minds, we scan down the “VCP” table and discover modifiers for “Age, Venerable” (+5), “Mother” (+1d20+5), “Nymphomaniac” (+1d20+10) and (wait for it…) “Slut” (+1d20 “if unsure”).

In the name of all that is holy and good, I feel utterly horrible after writing the previous couple of paragraphs. Rules for “Vaginal Depth Potential” follow (“No object may be fully inserted into a vagina if it is longer than the female’s Vaginal Depth Potential. In such extreme cases, internal damage may occur, though this is best left to the Aedile…”), as do Tongue Size and the crowning horror, “Anal Circumference Potential” and everything that goes with it.

We then have rules for a Ripped Orifice (“A vagina or anus that is stretched to twice its limit results in the necessity of a Health Check at TH20. If this check fails, then death occurs.”), Hymen Resistance (“Each player of a female character may, at their option, determine Hymen Resistance of the character by rolling 5d20… Every time a male inserts his Manhood into a female with an intact hymen, he must roll 1d100 to see if it breaks… He must divide Manhood Circumference by Vaginal Circumference Potential and multiply the quotient by 100. Apply this modifier to the roll…”) and Menstruation (“A common belief regarding menstruation is that it is punishment from the gods for being female.”).

Byron Hall and a friend discussing the size of each other's manhood.

Byron Hall and a friend discussing the size of each other’s manhood.

Next come rules for “Manhood,” and I don’t mean learning how to paddle a canoe and skin a deer. We’re talking penile dimensions here folks, and here Byron is in his element. “A manhood that is short but extremely thick is known as a chode. Most females prefer a Manhood that is thick so she feels it, but not thick enough to hurt, and long, but not long enough to hit tehe end of her vagina. Some females prefer veins, others do not want to see them. Some females prefer that the head, or glans, is large and puffy, while others do not care… Other details are left to the Aedile.”

As always, we roll “Manhood Size” on a table that is so scientifically accurate that it hurts. “The Manhood Size Modifier,” gushes Byron, “was solved with a polynomial using quadratic regression based on what Fatal Games believes is the smallest to largest possible Manhood relative to height. In the following equation, ‘x’ represents the category of roll (1-6=1, 7-12=2, etc. and ‘y’ = Size Modifier. Here is the equation: y = 0.205078125x2 + 0.683597375x – 70.888671875.”

Leave it to a perfectionist like Byron to work out penis size to the ninth decimal place. Clearly he feels that every tiny fraction of an inch counts…

And now at last we are reaching the end of the body section, and include a number of other useless statistics and tables. When we get to rules for pregnancy, we are informed that “Pregnancy occurs when a sperm of a male fertilizes an egg of a female.” Clearly, Byron knows the level of his intended reader’s experience. Rules for allergies and intoxication follow, with suspiciously detailed rules for intoxication from marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms.

We conclude with rules for a bunch of diseases, including Tourette’s Syndrome, which is not a phyical disease, but which Byron apparently finds hilarious, as it is accompanied by an illustration of a hot blonde with an unlaced bodice screaming “Cunnus! Perite! Canis! Nothus! Futue te ipsuni! Mentula!” (Roughly “Slut/cunt! Die! Dog! Bastard! Go fuck yourself! Penis!”) Nothing like a little random Latin to spice up an otherwise dull roleplaying session, eh?

Huge Hung Hero Hunks

Next comes the long chapter on Abilities, and it’s more of what we’ve come to expect from FATAL — long, drearily overexplained rules, thousands of words of unnecessary detail and the occasional moment of brain-numbing stupidity (“The standards for female Bodily Attractiveness have been referenced from Life in a Medieval Castle by Joseph and Frances Gies… Gies claims that “Nicolette… physically exemplified the medieval feminine ideal…” and quotes the source who describes the following female: ‘Her breasts so firm that they showed beneath her vesture like two rounded nuts; so frail was she about the girdle that your hands could have spanned her…’ A thin waist and large, round breasts are physical standards of female attractiveness, and are historically accurate.”).

The expected statistics — Physique, Charisma, Dexterity, Intelligence and  Wisdom are further subdivided into related abilities. Charisma, for example, consists of Facial, Vocal, Kinetic (“the beauty of [the character’s] bodily movements, gestures, stride, etc.”) and Rhetorical (“the potential to seem credible, to make one’s ideas or suggestions seem appealing by soliciting emotions.”).

Abilities are determined through the convenient formula (10d100/5)-1, which generates a number between 1 and 199. How Byron decided that this oh-so-convenient number would be the cornerstone of his masterpiece is beyond me, and God knows I have not played this turkey, but some reviews assure me that the system itself sort of works.

An example of how Byron thought Ability checks should work follows, once more in its absurd entirety:

Okay, what the fuck is supposed to be happening in this picture?

Okay, what the fuck is supposed to be happening in this picture?

For instance, a slovenly chambermaid offers herself to a strapping young character if and only if he can expediently repeat a tongue-twister of her choice. Driven by hormones, the young male agrees, and asks “What is the tonguetwister?” The chambermaid challenges “Huge hung hero hunks hastily hump horny heaving hot whores. How ‘bout it, huh?” To make an ability check, roll 3d10 and apply the Skill Modifier to the result. A 6 or less always represents failure or a fumble. This number may be compared with a difficulty threshold (TH) determined by the Aedile or the roll of another player. In the example provided above regarding tongue-twisting, the Aedile may have secretly decided the TH to be 20. The player of the strapping young character tests his character’s Enunciation sub-ability at the moment by rolling 3d10 and applying the Skill Modifier from Enunciation to the roll. He rolls 11 and the Aedile tells him that he tried to say it faster than he was capable at the moment. To the dismay of the character, the chuckling chambermaid abandons him for a lad with a more nimble tongue.

Evidently, making ability checks is not only simplicity itself, but it invariably involves sleazy sex of some kind.

Secondary (tertiary?) abilities derived from the primaries follow, in endless, endless tables. Under the Facial Charisma table and an entry for the term “butterface”, Byron once more shows what a charmer he is: “Although most who are unfamiliar with this term think it is ‘butterface’ when heard the first time, ‘but-her-face’ describes when every physical aspect of a female character looks good, but her face. This term should not be taken literally, since the character described by this term may not be female, or may have low Bodily Attractiveness as well.”

(Also on the table are ratings for facial beauty with descriptions such as “causes wetness” and “orgasm from viewing.” Still keeping it classy, I see…)

Why waste any more time with this horror, anyway? The chapter continues like this, but it includes one more footnote that really must be read to be believed. I’m not even going to bother coding the superscript numbers — it’s simply pointless:

Although the relationships between many variables in the tables for sub-abilities are linear, such as Strength and Damage, many are also curvilinear, such as sub-ability scores and Skill Modifiers. Most curvilinear relationships are calculated as parabolas. The parabolic formula that opens to the right is: (y – yc)2 = 4a(x – xd). The variable ‘c’ is the vertical distance from the vertex to y=0, and ‘d’ is the horizontal distance from the vertex to x=0. Finally, ‘a’ is the distance from the vertex to the focus of the parabola. For example, Skill Modifiers are considered to range from -99 to +250 over 200 categories (such as 1-6, 7-12, etc.) of sub-ability scores. Only Strength has 200 categories; other sub-abilities have 50. Therefore, the vertex is (1, -99), so consider the vertex in the equation: (y + 99)2 = 4a(x – 1). Now, solve for ‘a’ by inputting any other known point, such as the apex (17, 0), and: (0 + 99)2 = 4a(17 – 1). Hence: 992 = 4a(16). Therefore: 9801 = 64a. Finally, a=153.14. Consequently, 4a=612.56. Now, any point may be plotted along the curve: (y + 99)2 = 612.56(x – 1). For example, the highest Strength category (1,195-1,200, the 200th category) is: (y + 99)2 = 612.56(200 – 1). Next: (y + 99)2 =12.56(199). Next: (y + 99)2 = 121899.44, and is equivalent to: y + 99 = 121899.440.5. And: y + 99 = 349. Finally: y=250. All curvilinear relationships were calculated in Microsoft Excel.

Well, I’m certainly glad to see that playing FATAL doesn’t require any math skills. Yet another of Byron’s vile lies, but hey who’s counting by now?

Okay, after all the disgusting misogyny I figured we were due for a picture of a truly beautiful woman in armor. She can come riding to my rescue anytime...

Okay, after all the disgusting misogyny I figured we were due for a picture of a truly beautiful woman in armor. She can come riding to my rescue anytime…

The last horror I’ll visit upon the patient reader is yet another example of Byron’s sensitivity and intelligence: Retard Strength. Humans with Intelligence of less than 70, he tells us, are “retarded.” But don’t despair — roll 1d00 using the following handy formula — (lowest Slow score – retard Intelligence) x 3 = % chance of Retard Strength. If you succeed, presto! You get +2d10% Strength! Voila! Scientific and historical accuracy triumph once again!

Chapter 4 is a long, long discussion of FATAL’s equivalent of Alignment — Disposition. An individual can be Ethical, Neutral or Unethical, cross-indexed with Moral, Neutral or Immoral (yielding such alignments as Ethical Moral, Neutral Immoral, Unethical Immoral and so on). Byron’s example for Ethics predictably involves whether a married man will go to bed with a woman he meets on the street, an example I’m sure that Byron’s supermodel wife found amusing.

The whole thing reads extremely dryly, just like the rest of the book, and it’s followed by pie charts that list the relative proportion of each alignment per race, some with pie slices so tiny that it’s all but impossible to determine what the actual percentage might be.

Honestly, I skipped most of this chapter. Games like D&D may try to fit their characters into artificial alignment systems, but at least it provides guidelines for behavior and can be summed up in a couple of pages. Good ol’ logorrheic Byron takes dozens and dozens of pages to do the same thing, to the point where you just want to reach into the fucking PDF and shake him ’til his teeth rattle.

Chapter 5: Mind follows, with yet more alignment/temperament crap. Byron uses the medieval temperaments of sanguine, bilious, melancholic and phlegmatic to describe personalities, along with still more long tables with tiny print. He follows this with rules for various mental illness, from Avoidant Personality Disorder (one of my personal favorites) to bipolarism, OCD, dependent personality disorder, intermittent explosive disorder and the like. Needless to say, sexual disorders such as coprophilia, erotomania, erotophonophilia (obsession with sexual murder), pedophilia, raptophilia (obsession with rape, of course!), frotteurism, satyromania, sadism, masochism, urophilia, zoophilia and nymphomania are prominently displayed, and pretty much outnumber the non-sexual ones by a significant margin.

Once more, Byron’s obsession with “historical accuracy” falls bleeding by the wayside, as most or all of the disorders he includes were first described only in the last century or two. Though he insists that his description of women as sluts, whores and kitchen-lurking inferiors is absolutely required by his obsessive drive for accuracy, he nevertheless dispatches with any kind of contemporary treatment of mental illness, opting instead for a laundry list of modern afflictions, most of them involving sex and/or filth.

More mind-numbingly pointless detail follows in the next chapter, “Sociability.” On the very first page, we get the following:

To determine a character’s birthday in a format of (month/day/year) for Neveria (a fantasy world), simply apply the following formula:

{1d20* / [(1d12 + 1d20) – 1] / [5100 – age]**}

* Note: Reroll results of 14 or higher. In Neveria, the year consists of 13 months because months are based on lunar cycles.
** Note: In Neveria, different cultures count their years differently. The formula used above represents kobold years (KY). If another fantasy world is used, consult the Aedile to determine a character’s birthday.

First off, I’m really glad that birthdays are measured in Kobold Years. Second, given Byron’s penchant for offensive perversity up to this point, I wonder whether the abbreviation “KY” was entirely coincidental…

Just like every other fucking thing in FATAL, social status, education, birthplace, marital status, family and even sexual orientation are all generated randomly. Mind you, this isn’t necessarily a bad idea, as I enjoyed the early manifestations of such a system in Arduin and in the old Central Casting books from Task Force Games, but I’m growing suspicious now, as if FATAL uses a rule system, there must be something evil about it…

Doin’ It Dark Elven Style

Speaking of dark elves... Believe me, if the rest of FATAL lived up to some of its art, this would have been a happier world indeed.

Speaking of dark elves… Believe me, if the rest of FATAL lived up to some of its art, this would have been a happier world indeed.

Byron then touches on the marriage customs of various cultures (and since FATAL is historically accurate, they pretty much all treat women as property), then moves on to the various races’ languages.

Again, more bog-standard fantasy blather here, with the following delightful entry regarding the “buggeric” language (the language of bugbears, natch):

Examples abound of new Buggeric words that have entered common usage. The kobold word for sodomy has been abandoned in favor of buggery, from which the name of the dialect is derived. Seeming to other races as though male bugbears are obsessed with sex, they refer to their flaccid Manhood as their little human, roughly translated. Male bugbears refer to their erect Manhood as their poop-poof, which is often shortened to pupoof, and said quickly. The variant poop-oops, now quickly pupoops, developed in response to finding feces on a Manhood upon removal from a rectum.

(Given Byron’s own description of male bugbears, it makes me wonder whether he himself counts one or two among his illustrious ancestors.)

And then follows another spate of tables (which I’m sure were among Byron and Burnout’s favorites) for determining “Debauchery.” And by “Debauchery” we mean just exactly how far a character is willing to go in pursuit of pleasure. Once more random rolls are the rule of the day, modified by various factors such as the character’s race (Anakim get a whopping +30, while dwarves and elves a miserly -10).

Byron is apparently a student of human (and I guess non-human) sexuality as well, for he ranks debauchery based upon what act the character will perform or allow to be performed. Lowest of course is “Refuse all sex,” but after that we start with handjobs, then proceed to receive oral, vaginal, digital, give oral (much more debauched than receiving it apparently), entertain multiple partners, give anal, give pain, urinate on partner, be bound, receive pain, be urinated on, defecate on part…

Okay, okay… Once more the staggering level of complexity and historical accuracy is making me sick. I also find it very instructive that Byron feels that willingness to be tied up is more debauched and kinky than giving golden showers, which strikes me as a bit odd, but then again I’m not a speed metal god with six college degrees who’s married to a supermodel, so what do I know?

Rules for Chivalry (no, really… fucking chivalry…) follow, along with guidelines for Courtly Love (no, really… fucking courtly love), types of communities and government. In a footnote Byron, in his never-ending quest to impress you with how literate he is, quotes Bertrand Russel, as well as Plato’s Republic as the basis for his commentary.

Byron then gives us several pages of information on racial cultures, with the usual emphasis on slavery, violence and sex (Dark-elven-style [sex] consists of the male entering the female from behind, who is on her knees with vagina exposed and head on the ground. This entry may simply be a result of Byron Hall never encountering a woman who wanted to see his face during sex, but that’s only speculation on my part).

For a dark elven female to become a citizen, she must masturbate a male and make him ejaculate a horizontal distance at least half his height. For a male to become a citizen, he must masturbate on a female and ejaculate at least 8 streams.

Holy shit — what the hell does that even mean? No, no… Don’t answer that. I don’t fucking want to know.

Rules for diverse things like roads, inns, schools, public baths, and the like follow, and wouldn’t you know it, but Byron seems really interested in telling us all about prostitutes:

Even respectable inns include whores among services offered. The staff of inns are usually slaves, including the doorman (doorwoman), bellboys and porters, waiters, wenches, and chambermaids (who double as whores, at the request of a guest).

Crime and punishment comes next, painstakingly detailed and divided up by race. Then comes a loooong list of crimes and how each race punishes it. The entry on rape in human cultures spends most of its time justifying and lovingly describing the crime, then telling us that it wasn’t all that big a deal, rather than simply describing how it’s punished. I include Byron’s comments in their entirety, lest someone accuse me of selective quotation. And it must be right, because he backs it up with the one book he read on the subject (the by-now familiar Medieval Prostitution):

Little latin phrases like this are sprinkled throughout the book. Just for historical accuracy, of course.

Little latin phrases like this are sprinkled throughout the book. Just for historical accuracy, of course.

In an average community, an average of 20 rapes occur annually. In 80% of cases, rapes are committed by between 2-15 characters. 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 her through the streets into 1 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. The rapists come from all levels of society, but the majority are artisans and laborers. Less than 10% of rapes occur by ruffians. In 50% of cases, human rapists are between 18-24 years old. The group is composed, on average, of 6 characters. Only 20% of rapes are committed by a group of more than 9 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.

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 or bad.

The social reaction to rape is rarely favorable to the victim. The human victims of gang rape are age 15-33. Child rape is rare. The rape of a child under the age of 14 or 15 is considered a serious crime, even though the female could marry at age 12. 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, then 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.

Now just what that last paragraph has to do with the price of tea in China is anyone’s guess, but it really seems to me that Byron is spending waaaay too much time and effort excusing rape and essentially telling us that if we want to roleplay it in his game, well that’s just dandy.

Jesus, boys and girls… If anything would make me want to give up on D&D and Savage Worlds, it’s that paragraph…

For some strange reason known only to himself, Byron chooses to follow this section with a collection of delicious recipes, including Makke, Porridge, Dulcia Domestica, Gingerbrede and, of course (wait for it…) Rapes in Potage. Of course “rapes” is just another word for “turnips,” but Byron never misses a chance to use the term “rape” in a sentence…

How to Become a 21st Level Baker

Next comes occupations and skills, and they take up a vast majority of the rest of the book. Occupations more or less take the place of character classes, though what the fuck a Papermaker is doing out slaying ogres and participating in gang rapes is beyond me.

Experience is figured in Advancement Points (or AP). It takes 1,000 to reach Level 2, 256,000 to reach level 10, and 524,288,000 to exceed level 20. But how does one earn AP, you ask?

Well, by practicing your occupation, of course! Each Occupation has a number of tasks listed, along with how many AP the activity earns. If the character is a Baker, for example, he (and it’s most assuredly going to be a “he” given Byron’s obsession with women’s subordinate role) earns .1 AP for every loaf of bread baked. In order to reach level 21 therefore, the baker must produce 5,242,880,000 loaves of bread. If he bakes an average of, say ten loaves a day, he will reach level 21 in a mere 1,436,405 years. And after all that labor — slaving away for over 1,436 millennia — what have you got for your time? A fucking 21st level baker.

There are similar examples, to be sure. A Beadle (who apparently assists a Reeve in his duties) gets 100 AP for every month of service. That means that achieving the much more modest 10th level will take the aspiring Beadle a far more reasonable 213 years. A cook gets 1/5 AP for every meal he cooks successfully, meaning that a cook who prepares a hearty three meals a day earns a whopping 3/5 of an AP, taking only 73 years to reach the dizzying height of Level 5.

Oh, the joy of picking apart a broken game system… In stark contrast to the unfortunate Bakers and Beadless, an Assassin receives AP equal to his victim’s Life Points (aka “Hit Points”) x the assassination’s pay in silver pieces. Assuming that the assassin is being paid a mere 100 sp to kill a low-level victim with 40 LP, he earns an instant 4000 APs, an amount that it would take the unfortunate cook in the previous example over 18 years to accumulate. And so on.

Notably (and surprisingly) missing from the seemingly endless list of occupations is “Pimp,” but never fear — “Brotheler,” “Wench,” “Courtesan” and of course “Whore” are there in all their glory. The Brotheler is I guess the closest thing to a pimp we’ve got, and Byron lavishes several hundred words describing his duties.

This could be an illustration of what I'm going to look like in 10 years or so. Unfortunately, it's an illustration from FATAL...

This could be an illustration of what I’m going to look like in 10 years or so (the figure on the bottom, that is). Unfortunately, it’s an illustration from FATAL…

Courtesans, we are told, “are essentially expensive, intelligent, and skillful Whores (see Whore).” They earn 10 AP for each satisfied customer, so a Courtesan who entertains three clients a day, every day, will take 11 years to reach Level 8.

A Wench, may of course “perform as a whore to collect money for her master or mistress” and gets 1/10 AP for each satisfied patron. If she successfully serves food to 100 people per day, every day, our overworked Wench will reach Level 15 in only 2,244 years. But hey, hopefully she has a good retirement plan.

And finally, the Whore. She gets a full page and almost a thousand words where the lowly tinker gets only 250 or so. Needless to say, “For each successfully assisted ejaculation or orgasm, a whore acquires a number of AP equal to the adjusted number of her Sexual Adeptness skill check.” To reach Level 10, a Whore who rolls an average of 30 per skill check need only successfully have sex with 8,533 customers. Now this is clearly much more skilled work than that poor Baker, for at a rate of 10 customers per day, the enterprising Whore will make it to level 10 in only 853 days.

Leave it to Byron to be simultaneously misogynistic, sexist, offensive and boring in the same entry.

Consult the Urination Table

Next come Skills. Lots of Skills. Tons of Skills. Craploads of Skills. About 250 skills, in fact, ranging from simple shit like Climb and Hide to ludicrously detailed and/or obscure shit like Delousing, Sheathmaking, Tilemaking, Basketweaving and 33 (count ’em… 33) different types of Divination, from Alectromancy to Xenomancy.

Surprisingly there is only one skill for “Sexual Adeptness,” but that’s offset by the fact that there is actually a skill called “Urination.” Yes, there is a skill for how well your character takes a leak. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?…

While every character is capable of Urinating, it requires skill to urinate accurately or to maximize the distance of a stream of urine. Generally, this skill is for males, though under certain circumstances females may exercise their Urinating skill. This is best left to the discretion of the Aedile.

Whenever a character attempts to urinate on a target, and urination requires accuracy or distance, a Urinating skill check is made. 

Check: Roll 3d10 and apply the average of the modifiers from the Health and Hand-Eye Coordination sub-abilities. If aiming at a target, then the TH also represents CA.

2 factors determine most variation in urination: time elapsed since last urination and the weight of the drink considered as a percent of body weight. Consult the first table to determine a Urination Modifier:

For the record, there is also a skill called “Spitting” with similar rules. You don’t really need to see them, do you?

And of course there’s a skill entry for “Logic.” Let’s see what Byron has to say about Logic:

This is a science that deals with canons and criteria of validity in thought and principles of reasoning. Logic is divided into deductive and inductive. Things demonstrated deductively must be true, provided the logic is not flawed. Things demonstrated inductively are probably true. For example, if all chambermaids exercise fellatio, and fellatio always feels good, then it follows deductively that the fellatio administered by a chambermaid will always feel good. Of course, each of the 2 premises are logically flawed, since there may very well be chambermaids who refuse fellatio, and it is possible for fellatio not to feel good, such as by including fierce biting. Inductive or probabilistic logic may be characterized by the following basic example. If chambermaids typically give fellatio, and fellatio typically feels good, then I probably want to meet a chambermaid. Any time the validity of logic needs to be assessed, a Logic skill check must be made.

God. Byron must have been a really fun hotel guest. I’d say that the last sentence applies doubly to games like FATAL…

Also as expected are the lovingly detailed rules under Sexual Adeptness, possibly the most detailed and painstakingly microscopic rules for sex in rpg history. And that is not a compliment. In typical fashion, Byron manages to turn one of the most beautiful and fulfilling of human experiences into the dullest and most-soul destroying mathematics lecture by the dustiest and most decrepit tenured professor imaginable. I include the entire thing below simply to illustrate the utter horror that these rules have now become…

ParabolaCheck: Concluding the act of sexual intercourse or each sexual position, a character must make a Sexual Adeptness check concerning the quality of their performance, as does the partner(s). The higher the roll, the more the character has satisfied their sexual partner.

Roll 3d10 and apply the average of all relevant modifiers:

• Bodily Attractiveness (except in darkness)

• Facial Charisma (except in darkness, or with a sack over the head) [Keeping it classy as ever, Byron.]

• Kinetic Charisma (except in darkness)

• Contortion SP invested (depending on the position, and only if Debauchery exceeds 50)

• SP invested in Sexual Adeptness

• SP invested in the most appropriate Specialty (such as cunnilingus, fellatio, etc.)

• Tightness

 Tightness: For vaginal or anal sex, tightness ratio is a major factor of pleasure. To determine the modifier for tightness, divide Manhood Circumference by Anal or Vaginal Circumference Potential. Multiply the result by 100, consider it to be Base Tightness (BT), and use the following parabolic formula:

(BT – 80)2 = -4y + 120

Solve for y.

For example, if BT is 70, then:

(70 – 80)2 = -4y + 120

(-10)2 = -4y + 120

100 = -4y + 120

0 = -4y + (120 – 100)

0 = -4y + 20

4y = 20

y = 5

Therefore, the most sexual pleasure is experienced from a fit that is neither too tight nor too loose. The result from tightness is averaged with other modifiers and included in the skill check. Consult the table below to observe the performance of your character and the typical impression made on the sexual partner. Finally, in the case of multiple partners, a character’s satisfaction may be considered either partner to partner, or averaged for the entire experience.

Ejaculation: Many factors affect ejaculation, including Physical Fitness, Age, Scrotum Fullness (SF), and points invested in ejaculation control. The scrotum may accumulate sperm for 2-5 days before becoming full. The rate of filling varies with age. From being totally drained, the scrotum fills with sperm in 5 days while in puberty, 2 days for young adults, 3 days for middle age, 4 days for old age, and 5 days for venerable characters. Consider the accumulation of sperm as a percent, from 0-100. This is Scrotum Fullness (SF).

Each ejaculation drains a percentage of accumulated sperm based on age. Pubescent ejaculation drains 80%, young adults drain 50%, middle age characters drain 60%, characters in old age drain 70%, and venerable characters drain 80%. It is uncomfortable for a scrotum to contain 10% or less of its potential sperm. For example, if the scrotum of a young adult is full, then he will be reduced to 50% fullness with the 1st ejaculation, 25% fullness after the 2nd, 12% fullness after the 3rd, and 6% after the 4th. After 4 consecutive ejaculations, the scrotum of the young adult will feel uncomfortable, and SF is 6.

The number of ejaculatory contractions is (4 + 1d6). The distance that sperm is launched in the 1st contraction is affected by Age, SF, Physical Fitness, Facial Charisma or Bodily Attractiveness, and novelty. To determine Ejaculatory Distance (ED), progress through the following: Consider Base ED to equal the Breadth of the character. Age penalties include – 25% for pubescent and middle age characters, – 50% for old age, and – 75% for venerable characters. Next, divide Physical Fitness by 100, and multiply ED by the result.

When a male ejaculates, the attractiveness of the object he is watching affects his ejaculation. Now consider whether the male is looking at or imagining a face or body, and divide either Bodily Attractiveness or Facial Charisma by 100. Multiply ED by the result. The novelty of the stimulus for the male affects his ejaculation. For example, if a loyal husband only has sex with his wife repeatedly, then while she was exciting in the beginning of their relationship because she was new, she becomes boring in time and decreases his ejaculation [I’m sure this comes as welcome news to Byron’s supermodel wife]. A new partner or position may affect his ejaculation. If this is not the first time the male has ejaculated for this partner, then decrease ED by (1d10)%. If the position is not new, then decrease ED by (1d10)%. Finally, ED is affected by SF. Divide SF by 100, and multiply ED by the result. Each contraction launches sperm only (1d100)% as far as the last contraction. 

Vaginal Soreness: Sometimes vaginal penetration can cause the vagina to be sore after sex. Factors include Base Tightness (BT) and the duration of vaginal penetration. To determine BT, see Tightness above. Then, multiply BT by the duration of sexual penetration in minutes. Finally, multiply the result by 0.003. This is the number of hours that the female’s vagina is sore.

When speaking at Gettysburg in 1863, Abraham Lincoln captured the greatness of a nation and the nobility of a selfless cause in a mere 278 words. Byron Hall, on the other hand, devotes 448 words to determining how far a man can ejaculate. I’m sure that President Lincoln would be proud of the great nation that his words helped preserve.

Next comes equipment, and it’s the usual list, though of course it includes prices for and a loving description of the dildo:

This is how Byron Hall imagines beautiful elven women. Right before he and his friends rape  them.

This is how Byron Hall imagines beautiful elven women. Right before he and his friends rape them.

Dildo: Often called an olisbos, this tool is sold to single females by merchants. A dildo is made of stone and represents a Manhood in size and shape. A horny female may masturbate by feverishly inserting the dildo into her vagina. Prior to insertion, olive oil is applied to the dildo as a lubricant. BCT is 1 day for a mason.

Yes, there they are… Construction rules for dildos…

Now Byron writes about combat and I’ll be damned if I even bother reading the fucking thing. I guess the rules probably work after a fashion, and I guess some people actually tried to play them, but I sure as hell wasn’t one.

Prominent among the combat rules however are the “Graphic Gore” (aka Critical Hit) tables. Here, we get such anatomically detailed (and largely impossible) wounds as:

The calf muscle is mostly removed, but still dangles by a thread and flops around. The rest of the lower leg is unharmed. Bodily Attractiveness – 30%, Agility – 50%.

The pubic bone is split from the front, and the hacking weapon opens the uterus. If pregnant, then she experiences a bloody and instantaneous miscarriage, and if the fetus is older than 3 months, then the baby is (1d100)% likely to emerge, at least partially, with the weapon. Within 1d10 minutes, the aborted fetus is covered by ants or appropriate flying insects such as horse flies. Bodily Attractiveness – 50%.

If the foe is female, then her breast has been hacked off. If pregnant, then milk squirts upon impact. Roll  1d10 to determine whether the (1-5) left or (6-10) right breast was hacked. Strength – 40% and Bodily Attractiveness – 50%. If the foe is male, then reroll.

Roll 1d10. The upper head has been either (1-5) partially or (6-10) fully dismembered from the lower head. The hacking attack entered the head through the face. If the upper head is only partially dismembered, then the hacking weapon exited the rear of the head, but either the foe’s (1-5) left or (6-10) right side of their skull remains intact. In either case, the foe dies instantly, and brains splatter forth.

The gluteus maximus, known more commonly as the ass, is pounded. If the foe is civilized, then for a split-second, they will be reminded of being a naughty child who was spanked. Roll 1d100. If the result 01-10, then the tailbone was broken and it will be painful for the foe to sit for 1d10 months. If the result was 11-20, then their rectum, known more commonly as their asshole or poop-chute, was pounded.

I would note, in poor Byron’s defense, that this crit system is markedly better than that presented in Fantasy Adventures to Adult Lechery, (which he defended most eloquently on-line, then radically changed in the following edition) in which various internal organs were damaged without any affect on surrounding or intervenikng locations, and the following can happen under hit location, Rectum:

The hacking weapon enters the rectum mid-stroke, and the opponent feels pain during the following 1d4 weeks involving defecating and, if female, during alternative sexual practices [since, in Byron Hall’s fantasy world, only women engage in such “alternative” practices]. There is a 25% chance that the hacking releases (roll 1d6: on a 1-5 this is the number of chunks released, on a 6 it is runny instead) chunks of defecation from the confines of the body.

Though it seems impossible, the later edition of the game is actually in slightly better taste than the previous one. Not much, though, as we shall see.

Okay, I’m really starting to burn out on this one again. The very thought that someone actually took a significant portion of their precious years on earth to design this is staggering and, in some ways, makes me feel slightly better about myself.

Whosoever Attempts to Play F.A.T.A.L. Shall Bleed from Every Orifice

Slaves! You will play FATAL, and LIKE it, or you will taste my whip again!

Slaves! You will play FATAL, and LIKE it, or you will taste my whip again!

Then there follows another endless list, this one of spells, all of which are either familiar, useless or offensive (for example, Perpetual Orgasm and Seal Orifice, which are both exactly what you’d expect). Many are all three at once, as hard as that may be to believe. Each one has its own little set of sub-rules and I’m pretty much not going to say anything else about them, since everything about this fucking game is just stupid.

Next (and we’re really getting toward the end, I promise) come magical items, along with (surprise, surprise!) random tables for generating objects and their powers. The table once more goes on for page after page, and most of the entries begin with “Whosoever touches this item.” Not “Whoever,” mind you — “Whosoever.” Byron’s mastery of the English language is truly impressive…

Okay, I’m sure you know what comes next. Here are a few of the more choice powers that an item can have:

Ejaculate Acid: Any male who touches this item will cum acid the next time they  ejaculate, as per the spell.

For an Erection: Any male who touches this item will acquire and maintain an erect Manhood even after ejaculation while in contact.

Wet Dream: Whosoever touches this item to a sleeping creature will cause that creature to have a sexual dream while in contact. For more information, see the spell description.

Actually, the number of offensive and/or sexual item powers is surprisingly reserved, considering how the rest of the book has gone (and what lies ahead). As I observed in my previous entry, there were originally a number of offensive and racist items which Byron claimed were included for “humor,” which clearly says a lot about him and his friends. They are notably absent from this particular version of the game, and no one misses them one bit.

In the specific magic item section, we have a few more delightful devices:

Cane of Unchastity: Whenever touched, this cane inspires the toucher to desire to repeatedly insert the cane in 1 of their own orifices, selected randomly, for sexual pleasure…

Rapeseed of Raping: If a character swallows this seed, then they will attempt to rape the next member of the opposite sex in sight regardless of age.

Stone of Spermicide: This black stone may be rubbed across the Manhood [Do you find it interesting that Byron always capitalizes the term “Manhood”?] of a male prior to copulation. If so rubbed, then the female will not become pregnant no matter how much sperm the male releases. This stone is (4 + 1d6) inches in circumference. If this stone is forced deep inside the vagina, then the female will not become pregnant, but it is very difficult to remove and may prevent the entire Manhood from being able to enjoy this moist cavity.

Women. Just how Byron likes 'em...

Women. Just how Byron likes ’em…

I’d go into more detail and pull down more examples, but I think you get the idea by now. We end up with some general guidelines for running campaigns and once more it’s bog-standard stuff. A sample adventure is included, which involves the characters rescuing a maiden from a troll in a cave. The maiden’s name is Sanuuicula (try saying that three times fast), but in the original version of the game she was named “Cuntrina.” Byron changed her name in yet another desperate effort to prove that he wasn’t a misogynistic motherfucker. Fail.

There’s a bit more, but do you really give a fuck? There’s stuff on natural substances, some stupid-ass mass combat rules, and FATAL’s handy-dandy eleven page long character sheet.

And at last we approach the end of our long, long 900 page journey…. Random Magical Effects. There are… wait for it… 2,000 random magical effects, taking up page after page after page, and few if any are likely to ever be encountered by players.

The Random Magical Effects (which Byron once more insisted were intended for “humorous” purposes) neatly encapsulate everything that is ugly, vicious, sexist, misanthropic and stupid about this game. Below I include only a tiny, tiny fraction of them:

0011. A scratch n’ sniff magical symbol of a festering vagina appears on the forehead of the target.

0013. All adult females in the world masturbate tonight while thinking about the caster (aka Byron Hall’s favorite jack-off fantasy).

0211. All characters within 3d10 feet acquire a bonus of 1d10 with the Urinating skill.

0393. All characters within 3d10 feet acquire dissociative identity disorder.

0585. All characters within 3d10 feet become unable to defecate, except while sprinting.

0656. All characters within 3d10 feet fart and diarrhea squirts out.

0813. All characters within 3d10 feet now shit 1 bar of silver bullion on their birthday.

When I get depressed about FATAL, I look at this picture and imagine that the little guy is Byron Hall. Then I feel better.

When I get depressed about FATAL, I look at this picture and imagine that the little guy is Byron Hall. Then I feel better.

1021. All males within 3d10 feet now believe that rape is wrong. (What the hell did they believe before?)

1062. Fruit ripens in the cunt-pipe of the nearest female in 3d10 days. If eaten, Drive decreases by 1. (Once more, Byron shows what a skilled wordsmith he is…)

1077. The anal hair of the caster grows 1d10 feet long, and obeys the thoughts of the caster.

1370. The nearest female is now famous for servicing 3d100 males in 1 night.

1371. The nearest female is now naked, except for a leather collar naming her new owner.

1372. The nearest female must jack-off 1d10 ogres before she can sleep again.

1373. The nearest female must mention her breasts in each conversation.

1374. The nearest female must now speak through her vagina.

1375. The nearest female must perform fellatio for any male who batters her.

1988. Whenever the caster becomes invisible, their genitals remain visible.

A long list of phobias follow which, once more, no GM (excuse me… Aedile) will be likely to use more than once or twice in an entire campaign.

And at last we conclude our trip to hell with another long, long, long table — this one of random ingredients. It’s more of the same, including delightful items such as:

0041. Anally-inserted mast of a ship – reusable

0267. Breast-milk of a character in old age – expended

0282. Breast-milk of breasts larger than D-cups – expended

1799. Stew made of 1d10 puppies – expended

1906. Urine of a father who values the life of his child more than his own – expended

1988. Woman willing to do anything for the caster, and licking the caster’s foot at the moment – reusable

2000. Yeast of a vagina – expended

And truth be told, this is the revised version of the list, for the Fantasy Adventures to Adult Lechery version contained a couple of other items such as the dismembered sex organs of an old woman (though Byron of course used much more sophisticated terms for the item) and of course Byron’s favorite:

A sacrificial human or elven maiden with large breasts, long hair, and a thin waist, and with fresh semen implanted and seeping from three of her orifices must be tied or chained to a stone altar. She will die upon casting the spell.

Sexist? Us? Condoning rape and violence against women? Never! Racist? Fie upon thee! Byron Hall, Burnout and their motley crew of on-line apologists are simply striving for historical accuracy! The presence of a brutalized, multiply raped Playboy playmate as a chained sacrificial victim merely reflects the vast number of times such an individual has appeared in myth, legend and folklore! And if you dare suggest otherwise, well by God sir, we demand satisfaction on the field of honor!

Despite his insistence that his work was perfect and he wouldn’t change a damned thing (see the next entry for more details on FATAL’s reception and Byron’s colorful acts of self-destruction), he clearly pulled out some of the more blatantly offensive portions of his book, while of course leaving all the references to his favorite sex act and how all women are bitches and whores.

FATAL ends once and for all with a whimper — some tables for generating NPCs and sample names for different races.

More women in armor. For some reason I find this kind of picture very encouraging.

More women in armor. For some reason I find this kind of picture very encouraging.

And that, my friends, is FATAL. If Byron’s misogyny, his obsession with explicit violence and scatology, and his hastily but incompletely disguised racism were absent, it would still be one of the most insane pieces of detritus ever conceived. Without the offensive material, FATAL is a massive, unwieldy, broken and largely unplayable mess that seems to have been playtested only by Byron Hall and his sycophants, all of whom believe the hype that FATAL is the most realistic and historically accurate rpg in history, other entries like Ars Magica, HARN and Chivalry and Sorcery be damned. The sex, violence and borderline psychosis all combine to make for a pile of nauseating icing on an already disgusting cake.

Mind you, the story of FATAL doesn’t end there. It seems that Byron and his simpering catamites did not anticipate the disgust and outrage that their little turd blossom of a game would generate in the rpg community. Faced with anger, disdain and outright contempt, they did what any self-respecting artists would do when they see their creation — their beloved child, if you will — unfairly attacked by the unwashed masses. They counterattacked in the most forceful manner possible, and in the process conclusively proved what a bunch of sociopaths they truly were.

More on that in the next (and, thank God, final) installment. See you soon.

2 thoughts on “The Hall of RPG Oddities — Where is Dating Included? Part the Second (Really NSFW)

  1. Timothy Brannan

    Wow. I mean. Wow.

    You went through the whole thing. I remember when FATAL was released on an unexpecting and unready world. I read the original (and now legendary) reveiw. But this is review is of an entirely different sort.

    I both admire your skill here and feel sorry for you at the same time.

    Can’t wait for the next part!

  2. Anthony Pryor Post author

    I suppose a case could be made for asking me why in God’s name I have bothered to flay more flesh off of this particular dead horse, but the fact is I’ve been waiting 10 years to do it, so what the hell? Besides, it’s my damned blog 🙂 And I’ll be bringing the tale full circle with the story of Byron Hall vs., so stay tuned…


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