McLennan and Sartin's Review of F.A.T.A.L.

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.


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There is no God, and the proof of this can be found in a .pdf file from Fatal Games.
—The iconic first line of the review
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As You Know, F.A.T.A.L. is known as the worst tabletop game ever written.

The story goes that author Byron Hall, along with his "contributors" Torturon, Burnout and Psychotic Messanger of Doom, trolled the forums at RPG.net, causing the community there to request a review as negative and abrasive as reviews can get. The result is an MST of the game's sourcebook, in which RPG.net members Darren McLennan and Jason Sartin savage FATAL, its creators, and its fans.

The McLennan/Sartin review can be found here. Hall and Burnout posted a rebuttal to the review, archived here.

Tropes used in McLennan and Sartin's Review of F.A.T.A.L. include:

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McLennan: You will never, ever find a female character in this game who isn't a prostitute and/or proclaimed slut, because that's the only kind of women that exist in these dipshits' imagination.

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McLennan: Also, for x=(c)(number of words in review)*ycc+kill me you fucks kill me.

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  • Blatant Lies: At one point it's mentioned that during Hall and his posse's trolling of the RPGNet forums, he and the others fought back against claims of being basement-dwelling virgins (an insult that has its own Unfortunate Implications, but nevermind) by claiming that they were all married. To really hot women. Many of whom had done modeling work. And some who were doctors and had worked in mental hospitals (this was to justify the "Retard Strength" trait by claiming it was a real thing). You could imagine how believable most people found that.
  • Brain Bleach:
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McLennan: (STOP PUTTING IMAGES IN MY HEAD THAT I CAN'T GET OUT LATER EXCEPT WITH A BULLET.)

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Sartin: 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.

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  • Did Not Do the Research:
    • After finding that every aspect relating to prostitution is sourced by one book, Sartin looks into it and discovers that said book only covers prostitution in Southern France of the 1400s. He promptly calls out the game for extrapolating the culture of one time and place into an entire world.

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Sartin: Yes, people, this is what passes for "research" and "historical accuracy" in FATAL.

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  • Sadly, Sartin also falls to this trope once in the review, when he claims that it's impossible for a non-erect nipple to have no length whatsoever. In fact, there's a minor medical condition in which a person's nipples, while not erect, retract into the body. Still, you can't fault him for not wanting to examine every aspect of this "game" too closely.
  • Don't Try This At Home: Sartin helpfully informs the audience that they are professionals, and that you should not try projectile-vomiting blood at home.
  • Dumb Muscle: McLennan finds that "retard strength" is a thing in this game; one formula calculates the odds of getting a burst of strength, and the odds are inversely proportional to Intelligence.

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McLennan: I hate the author. I really fucking do.

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McLennan: FATAL was written for FATALites, not you or me or anyone else whose IQ doesn't begin with a decimal point.

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Sartin: So, basically, saying that this game should be burned is an insult to fire.

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  • Overly Long Gag: When McLennan reaches the section on magical items that turn the wearer into various, extremely hateful ethnic stereotypes:
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McLennan: Just to pick up, I was feeling guilty about how hard I was being on them.
Now I want them fed to rats. For this:
[description of Armor of Jewy Jewbacca]
Big fucking rats, while we're on the subject.
[description of Armor of Nigrous Nincompoopery]
Rats with the bubonic plague.
[description of Armor of Gookums]
And I want them fed feet-first.
[description of Armor of Greasians]
Then I want those rats fed to some other rats.

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  • Pet the Dog: As negative as the review is, it makes sure to point out the parts of the game system that aren't as illogical as the rest of the game, particularly the use of class-specific abilities to gain levels rather than generic XP and the sole table for crucial fumbles, which is open to player interpretation rather than exhaustively laid out across many tables as with every other mechanic.
  • Queer People Are Funny: Defied. McLennan is decidedly not amused when he discovers that the lowest possible rating for Vocal Charisma is "gay".
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McLennan: Good for them, because I was just thinking "Wow, this game is complete shit and its authors are complete shit, but I wanted a soupçon of homophobia to go along with it.

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  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: A view taken up by both McLennan and Sartin. They are utterly repulsed by the fact that the game so gleefully glorifies rape; even more so when its creators justify this stance with grossly misinterpreted research sources and statistics.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin:
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McLennan: [A]nd, for an extra kicker, the authors got the difference between a brazier and a brassiere confused, so that we have braziers of flattening, droopiness, staring and so forth. Idiots.

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By the way, did I mention that this book is 900 pages long?
'Cause I'm going to be bringing it up as this review progresses.
A lot.

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  • ...but the book's length is only vaguely alluded to from that point on.