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Monday, 23 November 2015

How Good is Dark Albion? Look at How it Wrecked Someone Who Despises Me!

I already mentioned that Dark Albion has had pretty well universal praise in all legitimate circles. But just how great is it really?  What about the illegitimate circles, the total cunts who despise me?   I mean obviously, no matter how good anything I do is, they'll just hate on it, like they did my previous also-good work?

Or maybe not.  I just got to watch someone spend a couple of weeks frantically committing himself to a Swine's worst nightmare.  This guy is from the somethingawful-related 'your dungeon is suck' website that despises the OSR, D&D, and 'grognards', and me and a few other OSR guys in particular (aside from myself, mostly Zak Smith and James Raggi, but they've also attacked Tenkar and several others), and he had written a horribly slanderous review of Arrows of Indra prior to this.  So of course, to keep up his pathetic second-hand fame of being popular among his goon-buddies by connecting himself to (attacking) my success, he made loud overtures about how he was going to review Dark Albion too when it came out, to make fun of how awful it was bound to be and how horrible I am.

And that's how he got roped into a multi-part review where it becomes blatantly obvious that he likes the book. He had started from the strategy of picking my book apart with a fine-toothed comb (to cement his ridiculous midget-fame as the expert-reviewer of his shithole of hangout), and so it was impossible for him to back down.  Yet he couldn't just lie about the material either because he would be found out; and he couldn't quit because then it'd be clearly admitting that the game is good.

So what did he do instead? He wrote pages and pages and pages where he desperately tried to cast the book in the least favorable light possible, and instead ends up highlighting everything about it, and it becomes obvious that his attempts to criticize the book are hysterical nitpicking and frantic grasping at straws while he's spending the rest of the time desperately reminding himself that he's not supposed to find this book cool because it will ruin him.

Fuck, that was fun.

No, I'm not going to link it, because shit-head included private information about me and of course his review is full of ridiculous overcompensating with personal and general insults that often veer into hate-speech, but if you really want to find it I'm sure you can.  Point is, he ends up giving it 5.5 out of 10.  Let that sink in: one of the people who despises me most, from one of the most infamously rabid OSR-hating websites dedicated to ruining me, in what is clearly an incredibly biased effort to defame me and my product, is extremely reluctantly forced to give it 5.5 out of 10 because it would have otherwise made it too obvious to give it anything less.

THAT is how good Dark Albion is.


Currently Smoking: Castello 4K Canadian + Image Latakia


  1. Sorry you have to put up with that kind of harassment.

    1. I don't let it bug me too much, it goes with the job. I don't have a problem with criticism, even potty-mouthed criticism, because I give it so I should also be willing to get it. I do have a problem with lies, or when they try to get to me by attacks on other people (which has also happened).

  2. Calling princeofnothing "somethingawful-related" when he is merely peeling your Onion seems a little harsh. Obviously the guy has affection for your online persona, and respect for your work ethic. How else could he have committed to a 6-part review of Dark Albion ? I only play in Mystara so I don't really have use for DA, but if anything that review made me want to read parts of it.

    1. I'm a huge fan of Mystara. Ran more than one epic campaign there. Of course, Dark Albion is quite different, but I'm sure there are parts you could integrate into a huge crazy-quilt place like Mystara.

  3. I've just read the Arrows of Indra review and he makes it sound pretty good.

    1. He also claims I committed plagiarism because I made an OSR game doing what OSR games always do.

      Anyways, this isn't talking about the guy's AoI review, but about his more recent Dark Albion review.

  4. I read the threat you did not link. It was lively and enjoyable. They roasted you good, apple in the mouth and all, and it was largely on point regarding Petal Throne influencing the system of magic in your game based on ancient India. I am not a fan of retro-clones. Every DM has his or her own philosophy, and expresses those difference in their view of the gaming via house rules. I have the original AD&D books, I have my own house-rules, and I enjoy writing my own material. Why do I need anyone else's derivative work? With regards to the Arrows of Indra, it is the Indra who got you in her web, and had the last laugh! The philosophical and symbolic significance of the Indra was lost on Gary Gygax, when he appropriated her for the D&D as Lloth the spider queen. Your depiction of India is shallow in the same fashion. Any work of art, or a fantasy game can be uniquely shaped with the philosophy and culture of its setting, and this is where your game fails. You would have done better to have read the Upanishads and to have incorporated the Vedanta, the Dravidian culture, and Sankhiya psychology into your game rather than make a yogi stereotype into your game's version of a monk character class from D&D. If one chooses to be an intellectual midget, then a mental dwarf he or she will become.

    1. I had been, for some time, wondering if you were mentally ill, or just a fucking moron. Now I've concluded you're both.

      First: this is about Dark Albion, not AoI.
      Second: I don't know what god you're thinking of or just made up in your own mind but INDRA IS A DUDE, as in, a male god. He's chief of the god and the god of Storms and lightning (India's version of Zeus, or more accurately, Zeus was probably the Greek version of Indra). He has fuck all to do with spiders. Indra doesn't have a 'web', he has a NET, which he uses to trap souls (that is to say, the illusion of material reality).

      Third: Since you DON'T KNOW WHO INDRA IS, or even what gender Indra is, you clearly lack any qualification to judge my "depiction of India". You've proven yourself to be a mental defective unqualified to talk about anything, you fucking cunt.

    2. I go for the Alan Watts interpretation of the dew covered web glittering in the sunlight. It is a functional, living version of the concept. The trapped souls see REFLECTIONS OF THEMSELVES in that light, get mesmerized by their own image, and are lost forever, just like you and your endeavors on the OSR scene and on YouTube. You are not the first to compare ancient Indian deities to ancient Greek ones, but it shows an utter lack of understanding of these drastically different ancient cultures, that you even attempt that.

    3. So, not even commenting on the fact that you thought Indra was a woman? I'm pretty sure you're not qualified to speak of my understanding, what with comparing your lack of being able to correctly identify the gender of deities versus my 20+ years of studying Religious History.

  5. Your experience 20+ years of studying religious history is clearly absent from the AOI game. It doesn't have any ancient India in it. BTW. You haven't read any of the main religious texts of Hinduism, so how can you claim to have studied religion for 20+ years? What religion have you studied? Catholicism?

    1. So my RPG setting that borrows virtually all of its setting material from the Mahabharata has no ancient India in it?
      I'm sorry, you probably don't know what the Mahabharata is, right?

      Dude, there's barely a veda or upanishad I haven't read.
      And again, you didn't know Indra was a guy. That should really be your cue that you're out of your league here, and that it's time to cut your losses and run. But no, here you are still trying to sound like you have the slightest fucking clue what you're talking about.

    2. You wrote that you did not want to make your AoI too Tantric. Funny, how you thought Tantric Sex, and I thought of Titular Deities. Now, had you had blocks of text describing demonic and angelic aspects of various beings, and how the players’ actions and style might manifest them, I would have bought your book.

      Other things that would have made your game interesting to me would have been to somehow integrate Purusha’s sacrifice into the AoI campaign setting, meaning that there had to be some kind of an overall motif, or direction. No linearity of railroad, mind you.

      Ancient Indians lived in direct competition with the wildlife, which presented large mammals that we take for granted in a new and terrible light. We are talking Man-Eaters (Tigers, who hunt human prey, stalking individuals for days before killing them) evolving into Rakshasa. Monkeys behaving as thieves, and herds of elephants behaving intelligently and raiding village granaries. Maneater as Raksheesh (there is a bit of local lingo for you). You missed that angle.

      Maybe it is too much to be asking for that sort of depth from an OSR game. You made a passable and even vivid b/x clone, but for whatever reason you chose not to go beyond the traditional D&D format with material that can yield you a major game and a possible franchise. As Mark Twain said – The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter-it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning. How appropriate!

    3. You mean like the difference between "him" and "her"?

      My 'angle' was to present Epic India as the Indians of the period saw it, which is pretty well what I did. That means pre-buddha, pre-tantra, no chakras, barely into reincarnation as an idea, and certainly not the Jungle Book. Oh, and Indra being male, of course.

      When you've written five successful RPGs, and been asked/paid to consult on a half-dozen others including the biggest one in the world, then you can tell me about what kind of RPG I should write. When you don't get the gender of the King of the Gods wrong, you still would need another decade or two of study to be able to tell me how I should write about Indian history/myth/religion.

  6. I could care less about the King of the Gods. I get it that pantheons are your strong suit and that you found a niche adapting them to the OSR D&D clone play settings, but you seem to have forgotten or disregarded, that Mahabharata was written as a response to or be cause of the Aryans spilling into the Indian subcontinent and bringing with the them cults of fire and of the ancestor worship, and that in the Pre-Buddha, Pre-Tantra, Pre-Chakra world of yours there was a thriving Dravidian civilization, which produced Yogis, and well as their own takes on psychology and politics. Of course, to include those particulars was to create a game with a greater depth and a vastly different scope, something that would have been more at home at the dreaded Forge than in your camp.

    Of course, you wouldn't do the jungle book, you just aren't aware that until well into the advent of the firearms, something as small as a wild boar could take a hunter's life in the middle ages. Games like D&D inflated the power of the sword and the ability of the average individual to use it. Conversely, a man at arms we all take for granted spent a lifetime learning to use that sword of his, and the rest were pitifully ineffective with it in comparison. Again, that would have been a different game.

    You adapted Epic Indian literature and the Olympic Pantheon for D&D play, and you wrote a game about the War of the Roses, but where the witches a real and therefore the role of the Inquisition is validated. What were the other two games you wrote? It seems to me that you did a "Great Books" type of a major at a Catholic University somewhere, which influenced how you study religion and how your co-workers reacted to you early on. That Dark Albion was rejected by a published of Carcosa should have come as no surprise to you - you created a competing product/setting. You didn't think of that?

    I understand that this is your life's work and that you are justly proud of it, what I don't understand is why you keep acting like you got your tit in the wringer.

    1. Dude, the Mahabharata was written BY the Aryans. There is nothing fucking worse than a man with a dangerously tiny bit of education. Your icon should be Brian the dog on Family Guy. You're a fucking moron who quotes shit you very clearly know nothing about in ways that might just trick the totally uneducated into mistaking you for some kind of intellectual; but then you also lack the self-control to be able to shut the fuck up when someone who actually knows the subject starts to talk.

      If you look at encounter tables in AoI, animals (including wild boars) feature prominently. There is nothing in history I'm not aware of, compared to you at least.

      Let's review what we've added to the list of "Things Brooser Bear Knows FUCK ALL About But Can't Shut His Fucking Mouth About Anyways": We already have you pretending to be an expert on Indian history without knowing the sex of Epic India's original main deity, after which the book is named.
      Second, you don't seem to know that the Mahabharata was a product of Aryan culture.
      Third, you seem to think that Lords of Olympus is "the olympic pantheon adapted for D&D play".

      Your guesswork is moronically wrong as well. I didn't do a 'major', I did an honors degree (that's a single-focus degree, no major & minor) in History and grad work in Religious studies, in both cases focused on the history of religion.

      You're also not familiar with "Forward... to Adventure!" and "Gnomemurdered".

      You should really, really stop. Every time you open your mouth you add another half-dozen points to your scale of blind ignorance.

  7. I study Eastern philosophy for insight, and it yielded quite a few. Things like reduced reaction times during athletics, and other intangibles in areas beyond athletics, just like it's supposed to.

    I was looking to see if the AoI was worth a read, but it's not. It's your angle mostly. The difference between myths, fairy tales, and D&D format is that fairy tales and myths are non-linear, while D&D is extremely linear, hardly moving beyond the arithmetics of addition and subtraction. With AoI, you managed to reduce the spiritual and symbolic down to block of game stats. You are not the first one, D&D been doing it since the first incarnation of its Deities and Demigods supplement.

    You missed the point with the wild animals as well. They figure prominently in your encounter tables, but I doubt that you made them an existential threat in the wilderness that they posed historically at that time. Not a big deal, especially since you made a serviceable B/X clone, and not a top notch game for thinking adults, and I shouldn't be knocking you for it.

    Your other work shows talent and diversity. FtA was your retro clone. Based on reviews, I think that you put it together well, I just don't know why I would need it, if I have AD&D and D&D B/X. Again, why bother with a retro clone, when you can get the original stuff for cents on the dollar?

    LoO, is your best work so far, again, you borrowed from the Amber Diceless system, but your source material appears awesome and I will pick it up if I ever need a reference work for the Olympic deities.

    What I don't understand is, why, with all your talent and education, all of your study of religion, you couldn't get along with other members of a creative team, you were marginalized by other game designers, who almost booted you off your consultancy gig with WOTC. Your rants are unprofessional, worse, you got the hot air antics of Rusch Limbaugh, a fake, if there ever was one, a draft dodger.

    1. What the fuck are you talking about? You just need to resort to fucking lies now, you piece of shit? It's not enough to be dumbfuck ignorant, now you have to invent bullshit whole-hog from your D&D-hating fever-dreams?

      Who the fuck are you to judge ANY of my work?

      What games have you designed? What forums do you run?
      We already know that you KNOW NEXT TO NOTHING about eastern philosophy. You are COMPLETELY UNQUALIFIED to judge anything I've written on it. You make errors a 5-year old child starting out on his first big-boy book could avoid.

      In short, you're a fucking ignoramus masquerading as an intellectual. You're a lying sack of shit.

      And now you have bullshit fever dreams about me "almost getting kicked out" of my Consultancy gig. That never fucking happened, cunt. Prove it, or get the fuck out as a lying D&D-hating piece of human garbage.

  8. Your first mistake is that I hate D&D. I DM using the original AD&D first edition rulebooks, furthermore, I DM adult players, some are quite accomplished professionals, and my setting features real world religion. I had a Church going Christian Cleric and a practicing Islamic Magic User, both were satisfied with how I handled their religion in the game. Imagine that! I been playing since 1981, and over the years I evolved my own system and a setting, which features historical accuracy and unprecedented tactical realism in a fantasy game, and when I have enough of my own original material for a book (no raiding existing myths or pantheons, mind you), and by the way, I pitched it to a publisher, he liked it, and he will work with me to get it into print when I am ready. Consultants not needed.

    What I dislike is people, who turn into shit trying to make money off their hobby. I can sympathize with middle class impoverishment, but I have no sympathy for anyone punking out in a Gygax fashion. I dislike it, when people run blogs and forums to promote themselves and their product at the expense of real conversation.

    I get the OSR scene, but that is something that I wouldn't do myself, furthermore, you borrowing those spells from the Empire of the Petal Throne surely does not fall under the d20 Open Game License, so, why didn't you credit the source? You were justly panned for it, and yet you react to criticism like a primadonna. I actually don't care whom you ripped off and how, so long as the material is a worthwhile reading, but based on anything I seen so far, AoI is missing Indian philosophy and mysticism, so I will pass. I told you before, AoI is a vivid B/X clone, and your writing is good, just not the book I want to read. If AoI featured Enlightenment, Paths to Enlightenment, Yogic Trials etc. I would have bought it.

    The only thing that you managed to establish is that I am unfamiliar with the epic literature of Ancient India, but by the same token, you did not base your game on anything other than epic literature. It would have been an extraordinary D&D game, if you tried to go beyond it.

    Also, you haven't answered me, why should anyone bother purchasing OSR clones, when the original D&D books are available on e-bay at a tiny fraction of their original price.

    Normally, religious study and university education foster tolerance and open-mindedness, and you are just the opposite plus a good dose of snobbery! WTF happened? Did you go to school at a Pakistani Madrassa? Did Catholic Nuns beat you as a child? Are you an occultist trapped in a crystal tower? I thought Edwin the Evil Wizard in Baldur's gate was just a corny NPC, but they made a likeness of you, Bro!

    1. Let's start with what's obvious at this point: you're a troll. Almost certainly a something-awful/YDIS troll, trying to play dumb about it to pretend you're objective, but the combination of your language and your obsessive commenting on almost everything I write to try to attack it makes you really fucking obvious to everyone.

      Your argument now is that if Arrows of Indra wasn't actually an RPG about Epic India but about something completely different you'd totally like it. Which is a completely moronic argument.

      You obviously neither "get" nor like the OSR scene, which is why you're repeating moronic anti-OSR bullshit from the OSR-despising YDIS-goons.

      As to why anyone should bother purchasing OSR clones when they can get the original D&D books, I have no idea. That's why I've generally had no interest in 'clones' and I'm glad the OSR has moved completely beyond them. No product I've ever made or been involved with is a "clone". Arrows of Indra and Dark Albion are not clones. There is NOTHING like them in the "original D&D books". They are totally different. If you say otherwise, you either haven't actually read them or you're a boldfaced liar.