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FATAL: "From Another Time Another Land" (formerly known as "Fantasy Adventure To Adult Lechery") is a tabletop roleplaying game by Byron Hall, published by his company Fatal Games in 2004, and has since become infamous as the worst tabletop game ever written. This reputation is founded on its incredibly-complicated and mathematically-intensive mechanics, terrible writing, and the massive level of misogyny, rape-fantasy, and racism included. (For instance, it may very well be the only RPG ever produced in which orifice sizes need to be calculated.)

Most people who are familiar with FATAL became so through the review of it posted on RPGnet by Darren MacLennan and Jason Sartin. The review has its own page on this very wiki: McLennan and Sartin's Review of F.A.T.A.L.

For those who are not faint of heart (and the morbidly curious, and the weird people...) the game itself, and the official theme song. Reading the rules as a vicious parody can be highly amusing, provided you know the originals - so many of the clunkiest elements of many once-popular RPGs are collected together: endless random tables for everything, superfluous math, pretentious idiosyncratic names for common concepts, and so on. Actually playing it is going to be another matter entirely (in part, for this very reason), but why in the world would anyone want to do that?

Although this game is prime Snark Bait, as are its creators, please follow the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment.


Tropes used in FATAL include:
  • Alliteration: Many of the magical items have names of this nature.
  • Aerith and Bob: The name list for humans is composed of standard European names, and the name lists for other races are comprised of fantastic names... except for Kobolds, which use common Indonesian names.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Averted. Females get penalties to their charisma stats as their strength increases, making Hot Amazon characters by definition less hot than they would be if they weren't Amazons.
  • Animorphism: Dwarves and Elves have natural shapeshifting abilities, allowing them to transform into certain animals.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 5, with the eponymous spell Fatal.
  • Armor Is Useless: You randomly determine an armor's defense bonus. Roll low and it actually subtracts from your defense. Oh, and if it's magical you have a 7% chance of being killed by its magical effect.
  • Blatant Lies: The intro says you only need to know a little algebra, "and even that is relatively rare." It also says you only need two d10. Both of these facts are filthy lies.
    • Ability scores are derived from averaging 'sub-abilities' rolled as 4d100/4-1[1] and modified by one of three different types of percentages, and conditions during the game may change your sub-abilities which means you need to recalculate your ability scores on-the-fly. Also, ability score checks are 3d10.
    • And you need more that "a little algebra" because you solve quadratic formulas to find out whether or not your rape slave is pregnant.
  • Boobs Of Steel: An enforced inversion in the case of the female characters.
  • Brawn Hilda: Any lady with physical strength.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: The entire rulebook reads like this. For example, while listing wrestling moves and explaining how each works, it inexplicably describes how to rape one's opponent in the process, then continues on with regular wrestling. Even the squick has its own sub-squick: Modifiers when calculating a character's Vaginal Circumference Potential include *1d20 if slut, *5 if old aged, and -95 if infant.
  • Character Alignment: Two axes, "ethical" and "moral", which are exactly the same as D&D's chaotic and evil respectively, just with different names.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: The rulebook encourages the Game Master Aodile to re-roll randomly determined results if the original result didn't make sense.
  • Class and Level System: The Professions system, essentially. There's well over 100 professions with possibilities for multi-classing, but the multi-class system is broken. Each level taken doubles the experience point cost of the next level, but only for that one class. At level ten, you can level up a new class to level 5 in less time it takes you to level up your current class to level 11.
  • Conservation of Detail: Averted. There's a lot of unnecessary detail here, cluttering up the game.
  • Conveniently-Common Kink: Sexual deviancy is a sliding scale, so anyone who does X is guaranteed to do A-W.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Averted. If you get wounded, you will feel it.
  • Cursed with Awesome / Blessed with Suck: The Anakim have the chance to gain many useful powers randomly at character creation (such as the ability to cast certain spells once per day at will), but the chart these are rolled on also contains disadvantages (mainly physical alterations that lower the physical or facial charisma stats), things that prevent the character from interacting with society (such as emitting odors), or things which make the character downright unplayable (such as traits which force the character to make Drive checks to resist the urge to kill members of a certain race on sight.)
  • Dead Baby Comedy: A lot of it was intended. In one grisly example, if a certain artifact is destroyed it "showers the surrounding area in baby parts".
  • Death by Childbirth: Possibly because you were raped by a sword and gave birth to a spear. This is an actual magical weapon quality. Plus the obvious, that the rules state that anything passing through the vagina that exceeds its circumference (like, say, a baby's head) has a chance of causing fatal rupture.
  • Depraved Homosexual: bisexuality, anal sex, and necrophilia are solidly painted in an overtly bad light. The game provides mechanics for such things to occur anyway.
  • Disability Superpower
    • You can get "Retard Strength", strength bonuses due to low intelligence.
    • The player may re-roll low ability scores, thus making them more capable, at the cost of acquiring deformities and mental issues.
  • Doorstopper: The official rulebook is 900+ pages long.
  • Empty Levels: The only benefit to advancing in most professions is additional skill points to spend on class skills, which means (due to the fact that experience required for each successive level doubles every level), one is best off advancing in several closely-related classes, rather than focusing on one and trying to max it out.
  • Everybody Hates Mathematics: The most advanced mathematics any character can understand is "Geometry".
  • Evil Is Sexy: Averted In-Universe; dark elves are repulsively ugly and rely on illusion spells to seduce other races.
  • Experience Points: You gain very small amounts of experience for jobs associated with that profession. They're all mostly mundane activities, so gaining experience can be very tedious.
    • Warriors gain 10-20 EXP AP per swing of their sword, while basket-weavers gain maybe 1 EXP per basket.
    • XP is also counted per class, meaning that if you have three classes that gain damage XP, you can be getting 60 XP per swing.
  • Eye of Newt: Welcome to Appendix 5: Ingredients. Newts, though? Ha-ha, you wish. It starts with specifications on sacrificial victims, so you know there will be no mucking around - and then goes piecemeal. "Nasal hair" is one of the mildest.
  • Fantastic Racism: There are extensive lists and tables of things regarding relations between races.
  • Fantastic Slurs: A long list of them is includes as part of the above-mentioned race-relations section.
  • Fartillery: Anakim Trait for a roll of 72:
    "The anakim may fart as loud as thunder. All creatures within a 10-feet radius of this anakim, except the anakim, automatically take 1d4 sonic damage and are stunned for 1 round, which can be avoided by passing a Drive check at TH 17. This can be utilized only once per week."
  • Functional Magic: Device Magic.
  • Game Favored Gender: Initially, Hall tried to claim that there was no game-favored gender because female and male characters got "small but equivalent" penalties on various stats. Then when he updated it after the McLenan/Sartin review, it was changed so women also receive a -30% penalty to strength whereas men got a *30% bonus to strength, thus resulting in a large stat-gap with no real balancing factor.
  • Gratuitous Rape: Certainly gives players plenty of opportunities, since rape is a non-issue in this game (except for the constant mentions).
  • Grotesque Gallery: One of the playable races, the "Anakim", are the children of demons and mortal women. As a result they gain random attributes like smelling of rotten meat, and causing everyone around them to have anal sex orgies in addition to more mundane (but still nasty) effects.
  • Honest Rolls Character: Stats have to be determined this way. Additionally, the rulebook suggests that everything except gender (ie. race, class, etc) be determined this way, but gives the Aedile the freedom to decide whether or not to enforce this rule. The honest-rolls method does result in possible oddities such as a character being at opposite ends of the spectrum in two stats that you would think would be related.
    • Stats may be rerolled, at the cost of acquiring a random physical or mental disability.
  • I Love the Dead: "Have Her Cadaver". According to Burnout, this was "included purely for comic effect".
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: It's possible to get a critical hit on specific internal organs without damaging the surrounding anatomy, or to critical-hit someone's navel, eyelid, or clitoris.
  • Indecisive Parody: The comments of the game's creators leave us unsure as to whether it's supposed to be a work of "historically and mythologically accurate scholarship" or "controversial humour".
  • Insistent Terminology: Loads of ubiquitous terms are treated this way. Among others:
    • The constant euphemisms for reproductive organs, most notably "fuckstick", "cuntpipe", and "Manhood".
    • They insist that the GM be referred to as the Aodile, the Aedile, or the MM (Maim Master). Experience Points are "Advancement Points".
    • Call a Hit Point a Smeerp: ...Hit Points are "Life Points"...
    • That isn't the character sheet, it's the character sheets. Which it is.
  • Jackass Genie: The "Wish" spell allows the player to wish for anything, which the GM then provides. The manual encourages the GM to interpret the wish in the worst possible way.
  • Jesus Taboo: The alleged setting is "like medieval Europe,[2] only with no Christianity" ...which is the cultural equivalent of "the Atlantic Ocean, only without water".
    • While Christianity itself is absent from the game, there are many spells such as "Walking on Water", "waves be still", and "multiplication of loaves and fish".
  • Kill'Em All: The "Fatal" spell, when cast, kills everything on whatever horrid world the game takes place on, including the user. All things considered, it's probably the most merciful action you can perform in this game.
  • Lamarck Was Right: The stats of a child are determined by applying a percentage modification to the average of their parents' stats.
  • Loads and Loads of Rules: A character "sheet" consists of 11 (single-sided) sheets of paper. Oh, and did we mention how the rulebook is 900 pages?
  • Lolicon/Shotacon: Invoked via faulty game mechanics. An omitted percent sign allows infants to have the same attractiveness of an average human.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Spellcasters. There's a nontrivial chance they'll kill or grievously wound themselves or a party member with every spell they cast, and skill has nothing to do with it. And let's not forget that one of the ways this can happen also happens to kill every living thing in the universe on the way.
  • Mind Rape: Some of the racist magic armor does this to the wearer.
  • Mood Whiplash: What claims (falsely) to be historically accurate scholarship is stuck next to things like the aforementioned racist armor and a spell failure table that among other things summons randy gay ogres, which Byron Hall admitted were only included For The Lulz.
  • No Woman's Land: The setting.
  • O-Ring Orifice: Averted by the various orifice depth stats.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Surprisingly, averted. White Dwarves are pretty much the same, but Black Dwarves have a strong influence of The Fair Folk in them and Brown Dwarves resemble the tamer, post-Fair Folk fairy tales.
  • Poe's Law: It's an RPG all about rape, misogyny, and racism. Who could take it that seriously?
  • Punny Name: "Have Her Cadaver".
  • Random Number God
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Averted most gruesomely. It's barely a crime (less punishable than a wife keeping an untidy house) and mildly punished but usually ignored... and instead the woman is punished. To boot, half the males in the world are rapists in the game's universe.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: There's a player-accessible function for this - the spell "FATAL". It destroys all life, everywhere.
  • Sophisticated As Hell: This is what happens when dark, edgy, Serious Business meets fart jokes. "Experience an accumulation of gas in their rectum", indeed.
  • STD Immunity: You'd think STDs would be pretty major in a game which places such heavy focus on sexual activity, but they're never so much as mentioned.
  • The Tasteless But True Story: The authors cited a book on prostitution in Medieval France as evidence that all of their sexual content is historically based.
  • Title Drop: The spell "FATAL". It's like they are trying to hint at something...
  • Toilet Humor: "Force Fart", which makes the target pass gas. Or random gemstone excretion.
  • Total Party Kill: One of the many, many magical fumbles results in killing off the entire planet.
  • Trolling Creator: They so are. Including many "arguments" why the game isn't as awful as it quite obviously is.
    • The whole "game" is an overextended act of trolling to begin with. Not because it's an evil parody of other games, but because it's the only task FATAL actually could do well. It's about the situation you can often encounter on /tg/: players arrived for a game with the new group and found out that their "GM" is furry with the whole forest of yellow trees or Yaoi Fangirl, and wants to run a fanfic-game instead, and of course have little to no experience as a GM to boot. A common reaction is for several players to go clowning, trying to burn the fanfic world and dissuade the pretend-GM from having anything to do with Tabletop RPG ever again. It's the only thing FATAL can do well - first the "plot" may fall apart simply because character rolled negative anal circumference, then the toilet jokes are delivered and then it's "destroy the world" time - there's the special spell for that. Everything else is either bait (mostly porn elements) or unplayable by design - which is noticeable if you know RPG stuff and actually have read the manual rather than scrolled through it looking for fanservice capabilities.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: There is a section on warfare in an otherwise character-focused game. Yes, warfare, as in army-on-army, not individual combat.
  • The Unfair Sex: Inverted with the "Chastity Belt of Cursed Impregnation". Cursed or not, this item impregnates anyone who puts it on.[3] If it's a cursed belt, then the unborn child will always be a girl. We may only guess as to why being forced to have a daughter instead of a son is considered a curse in the world of FATAL, but perhaps it's healthier not to. Simply living there may count as a curse either way.
  • Unusual Dysphemism: "Fuckstick", "Cuntpipe", and "Mouth-cunt".
  • Viewers are Morons: The book contains paragraphs describing to the reader what things like salt and cheese are.
  • What Could Have Been: Even the extremely negative MacLennan/Sartin review acknowledged that there were some good ideas to be found in this morass and some of the math systems, while labyrinthine, do actually work well.
  • You Fail Biology Forever: There's...quite a few issues here. For example, a slash to the abdomen that misses all "critical" organs has a 70% chance of causing your small intestine to spill out. This isn't considered a particularly life-threatening wound.
    • The cardiac notch is a small dent in the left lung wherein the heart rests. The author took this to mean that "the left lung is smaller than the right", and made it so a lung crit is twice as likely to hit the right lung as to hit the left.
  • You Fail Statistics Forever: Some events in FATAL are "(1d100)% likely" to happen. This means you roll a d100 to get the odds, and another d100 to see if it makes the odds. That is, you roll two d10 dice [4] and see which one is higher. You can see why the results are less complex than intended.[5]



Notes

  1. Four 100-sided dice, totaled up, divided by 4, minus 1
  2. ("Neveria", the official setting, is described in a supplemental PDF)
  3. (Given the awfulness of FATAL, it's safe to assume that the Mister Seahorse trope is in effect).
  4. (technically "a d100" is two dice already, unless you have one of those huge golfball-like novelty dice, but the principle is the same)
  5. (For the record, it's 50.5% to get a second d100 roll equal to or less than the first.)
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