Sunday, April 29, 2018

Frostbitten and Mutilated: An Assortment of Hot Takes

This was originally a text document I was dumping hot takes in and I realized how 
tedious it would be to actually copy and paste everything. I probably will write a real 
review sometime (and I couldn't help myself and responded to some of my own 
Goofus-y hot takes).

Goofus Take: D&D is intrinsically colonialist, therefore Frostbitten & Mutilated 
(F&M) is a supplementthat expands the scope of colonial thinking within the 
OSR.

Rejoinder: Only if much of the actual content of colonialism (such as forcible religious 
conversion, the destruction of sacred sites, the construction of racial codes and laws 
delineating lesser and servile "rights" (if any) for the colonized; alongside the mass 
plunder of goods through compelled labor and enslavement) is disregarded?

Goofus Take: If not colonialist, the assumptions of the game are capitalist; these games 
promote acquiescence to capitalism!

Rejoinder: I don’t think anyone has really done complex economic modeling within RPGs 
(although Hot Springs Island does suggest the mass introduction of wealth into the world 
economy will have destabilizing effects). Prices are fixed (or sometimes there are 
adjustments for certain circumstances), goods are generic and relatively the same 
throughout the world, I don’t think that stock, credit, and complex financial mechanisms 
are either promoted or included in play because that would involve backending a lot of 
math? But also this is mistaking “gold/silver as xp mechanism and measure of 
accomplishment” with “gold/silver as intrinsic good.”

Goofus Take: Well black metal is a fascist genre so the game is fascist.

Rejoinder: Only if you go with a really particular read of Lords of Chaos and believe Varg/
Burzum is of singular importance to the existence of Black Metal. There is also quite a 
bit of Red and Anarchist Black Metal.

Goofus Refusal to Give Up: Varg has an RPG! Raggi said he would hire him! Burzum is
 darkness in Tolkien's old speech and this is somehow meaningful!

Rejoinder: Yeah, Varg is a colossal nerd with a non-OSR RPG that hasn’t picked up 
much of a fan base—although it sells as a curiosity the same way paintings by serial 
killers do. Fun fact (discovered by Claire): Burzum’s “Burzum (Dunkelheit)” straight up 
PLAGIARIZED the lines “When night falls, she cloaks the world in inpenetrable (sic) 
darkness. A chill rises from the soil and contaminates the air. Suddenly ‘breathtaking’ 
beauty has a new meaning” from Realm of Terror (1990) a Ravenloft supplement. 
NEVER have I wanted to bully an overrated musician more.

Goofus Take: ‘Amazons’ is cissexist because Zak does not rule on if trans women 
can be Amazons
&
Goofus Take: ‘Amazons’ is an attack on the reality of women because Zak doesn’t
 in text exclude trans women

Rejoinder: Maybe those rulings are best kept to the GM? I mean, Raggi defines a woman
in LotFP (if we take Vaginas Are Magic as word of god) as “someone (or something…) 
able to be impregnated and carry a child to term” (Raggi 2017, 6). This excludes 
adolescent, infertile and post-menopausal cis women as women (as a corollary that 
Raggi acknowledges). The follow up is that parasites qualify as pregnancy; so, yes, if 
yourun Alien everyone is a woman. Since rules are meant to be broken, disregarded and 
discarded: I assume Zak is leaving it up to individual GMs? He’s free to write an official 
ruling.

MOVING INTO THE ACTUAL BOOK

Goofus Take: The “Y” in “I Search the Body” blends into the r in “forgetting dust”; Zak 
clearly should surrender his awards because this is terrible design.

Goofus Take: Zak dedicates F&M to Cookie Corey and wrote about barbarian women; 
however, rather than promoting women, Zak is stealing the spotlight from women in 
RPGs

Rejoinder: There really should be more women making RPGs (I really liked “Gardens 
of Ynn” by Emmy Allen & it is probably the next thing I will write about when I am clear
of deadlines). It doesn’t follow that Zak is somehow stealing the spotlight by making
RPGs (and this claim is usually made by performatively left dudes who want 
their product to be fixated on?)

Goofus Take: Zak makes a joke about the cultural appropriation of Nordic cultures; 
clearly this is because he thinks cultural appropriation is a joke.

Goofus take: The background (pg 8) and the culture of the Amazons implies that 
Zak believes without men, women are incapable of culture.

Rejoinder: I probably am not the person to answer this because I’m into Monique 
Wittig and the Amazons society is appealing to me.

Goofus Take: The GM advice promotes adversarial GMing.

Rejoinder: Challenge =/= adversarial; if an area is supposed to be a howling white waste 
full of deadly things it makes no sense to play it soft? (also half the advice is don’t be a 
jackass at the table? But sure selective reading works?)

Goofus Take: The “Appendix N” doesn’t feature enough female fronted bands!

Rejoinder: Female fronted isn’t a genre? I would probably make a mix of Lotus Thief, 
Myrkur, Bolt Thrower, Mares of Thrace, and Wolves in the Throne Room (or Boreal, 
Leech, or similar) maybe some Ash Borer, Oathbreaker or Harakiri for the Sky. YMMV, 
but I think it is a solid list? (and my choices are def not all black metal let alone TRVE).

Goofus Take: some of the pagination (ex pg 16) gets lost by the artwork and shows 
sloppy copy-editing, it is unprofessional!

Goofus Take: Everything in this book would kill my PCs! Zak clearly likes his creations
too much & wants them to destroy your PCs party!

Rejoinder: Git Gud

Goofus Take: It is unclear if you need to kill all five heads of Nidhoggr or if killing one is 
sufficient

Goofus Take: Many species of owls (17% to be exact) are endangered (and 11% of 
species are near threatened, 2% are extinct); the description of owls as linguistic 
parasites encourages the harm of an endangered species.

Goofus Take: The Pearlholders are the thing Zak does where he snipes at critics (like the 
Cannibal Critics in Maze of the Blue Medusa) which is petty.

Goofus Take: Zak’s fascination with snakes evidences that he is a Scaly (and some
weird conjecture from there that implies this is inherently evil).

Goofus Take: Snow Leopards were only recently moved from “endangered” to 
“threatened” and Zak seeks to encourage PCs to murder them (in real life) with his
bestiary entry.

Goofus Take: The witches (Frost, Thorn, Dread) are recycled from Zak’s 2009 one shot 
dungeon Wolves in the Throne Room [and the three Perfect Sisters from Maze of the 
Blue Medusa]; Zak is coasting and/or lazy.

Goofus Take: Wolves are an important part of ecosystems and largely endangered or 
extirpated and Zak encourages killing them (and probably supports shooting them from 
aerial observation).

Goofus Take: Worms is formatted so Speed: Negligible / Armor: 10 appears as Speed/  
Negligible Armor: 10 and I am too stupid to figure out how this should be understood
despite writing this hot take.

Goofus Take: The “Groundhog Day” conceit is railroading and anti-sandbox design.

Goofus Take: The Dim Fortress is too linear.

Rejoinder: Tack some extra rooms on and mess with the floor plan but not the order? I 
think the ostensible point is that the Dungeon is a hugely foreboding place that is 
absolutely not supposed to be a megadungeon because of the ticking clock and the fact
that every combat in the damn place is pretty deadly so why bother with spreading it 
thin?

Goofus Take: The Sevenfold Tower is some narrativist indie game bullshit—it is totally 
designed for the sort of people who would rather act than face challenges.

Goofus Take: The Witch and Amazon classes are just repeats of the Alice class from
Red and Pleasant Land; Zak is a contemptuously lazy one trick pony who thinks repeating
the same design over and over again entitles him to celebrity and awards.

Works Cited:
Raggi IV, James Edward. 2017. Vaginas are Magic. Lamentations of the Flame Princess. 
Finland.

Smith, Zak. 2018. Frostbitten & Mutilated. Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Finland.