It is good to receive recognition for one’s best efforts. Never in a million years would I have conceived that a man of my humble stature and modest following would receive recognition for my service to the OSR. Like an early christmas miracle, the time has finally arrived.
John Tarnowski, an avid follower and close friend, has found the courage to speak out against my continued obscurity, and has spared no small effort in ensuring that my beautiful and detailed review of his magnum opus Dark Albion, finally gets the recognition it deserves. Paused midway in covering my laptop in thaumaturgical circles to ward off the Rune-Magical Wroth previously reserved for the most hated of storygamers and Uruguayan phone companies, none were more suprised then I to see a glowing endorsement of my critical review of his work. Stopping short of handing over his blog, John has stood up to the world, pointed and declared loudly that my review is proof of the greatness of his work. But one need not take my word for it. Take it away John!
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.
Uh…this was not the, i dont, er…
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.
This is outrageous! I was ensured this was a glowing endorsement!
And that’s how he got roped into a multi-part review where it becomes blatantly obvious that he likes the book.
Aha, there we are! One should think the fact that I described things as nice! Decent! Fucking Awesome! and the positive grade as well as the recommendation would have clued one in to this fact. I must ensure Mr. Tarnowski that there was no roping of any kind. I launched myself headfirst into it, and expected, based on his previous work, that I would not like it. One may draw one’s own conclusions.
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.
Clearly my midget fame would not have survived otherwise. A simple ‘I dont really feel like it anymore its too dull’ would have caused me to be cast out like a leper. It is men like you, John, that never lost Faith in me. This one is for you!
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.
John is correct in establishing my honesty and integrity as a reviewer. If I had told but the merest half-truth, the slightest omission, the legions of Dark Albion fans would have descended upon me like a horde of pestilent rats! Indeed, I shall go so far as to say I have never written a dishonest review in my life. Never a dishonestly slanderous one indeed! Of course, if I were the kind of awful person that writes horribly slanderous reviews, I would have figured out that by glossing over the good details and emphasizing the negative ones, by omitting especially good sections and providing no examples thereof and by maintaining a consistently dismissive and bored attitude I could have made the work seem much less interesting then it really is.
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.
I am aghast John. I have publicly and with great vehemence stated my preference for Carcosa, considered in YDIS circles to be a pedophile molestation game for psychopaths (ironically it is not well-liked among YDIS dwellers). But I am glad you feel my review properly highlights what Dark Albion is about. Also I have not reminded myself several times that liking this game will ruin me, especially not in part III, and since I deleted those few instances I can see no evidence of such a slanderous claim.
On other matters He is indeed correct, my endorsement of Dark Albion has cost me my YDIS membership, my complimentary nut bowl and Von and Bigby’s Lubed Fist will soon arrive at my doorstep to break my kneecaps and impound my Enemies of John Tarnowski honourary membership card. It is a great cost, but I shall pay it gladly…for the truth!
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.
John is too kind. I assure him they did and it was nice of him to direct people to it.
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.
I think in this case John is being too kind. I find it infeasible to say that of all his manifold enemies that clearly exist and all the websites dedicated to ruining him, I would be greatest amongst his many enemies that are dedicated to ruining him. Perhaps some word of his fans would clarify things:
Alec Baldwin, who is nefariously posting under the alias of Balec Aldwin had this to say:
Sorry you have to put up with that kind of harassment.
I take it gladly Alec. I take it gladly.
ViP, had this rather more thoughtful response:
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.
Perhaps I should have reviewed his game instead 😦
Calum M, whose avatar takes the shape of the science fiction novel Matter by the superlative Ian M Banks had this to say:
I’ve just read the Arrows of Indra review and he makes it sound pretty good.
It is not every day one is endorsed by not simply the greatest rpg designer in all of Uruguay, but also all of his fans. Truly this was a day of miracles. I could blame it on my detailed writing skill and analytical approach where I go over details with a fine-comb, otherwise known as ‘an actual review’, but in truth I must give credit where it is due. Thank you John Tarnowski, for officially recognising Age of Dusk as the number one place to go to for reviews of John Tarnowski’s Dark Albion by John Tarnowski. If you want to send me a review copy of your next work I shall deign to take a look at it but now that I am officially endorsed by the greatest game designer in all of Uruguay I am not sure I can find the time.
P.S this is kind of akward but if you receive a package via mail just don’t open it and if you do don’t let them eat after midnight.
Update: Some more comments from Jon’s fans.
A loyal fan of RPGPundit by the name of Brooser bear, whose avatar is a bear, had this to say:
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.
Well spoken Brooser, Arrows of Indra was indeed a great game!