|Another Dave Langford squib, written for an irreverent supplement to the UK games magazine White Dwarf back in that forgotten era when irreverence was permitted....|
It's well known that editors are callous rotters who take cruel delight in rejecting all the most glitteringly wonderful material. To give fresh talent a chance, I've been allowed to sift through White Dwarf's backlog of submissions. Scraping off the editorial coffee-grounds and vomit-stains was the hardest part: but here's a selection from those slushpile gems which didn't quite make it into print....
"I have a great idea for a totally new AD&D monster which was really great when I tried it on my pals, boy did they get carved up! It is called the Enotsgnivil, it has Armour Class -45 and 250+2 hit dice with a 75+5 normal attack plus four special attacks and nine super magical attacks which are as follows: (1) Instantaneous molecular disintegration in terrible agonies with no saving throw allowed and if you are reincarnated you can only come back as a vole; (2) Utter and complete...." [Three pages omitted here -- DL.] "... The Enotsgnivil is normally encountered in groups of between 50 and 75. Its alignment is a special one I invented, and makes Chaotic Evil look tame. My next great idea is a totally original and new character class based on this creature: all my best characters are now Enotsgnivil-mages and one of them just got to 257th level in only a day's campaigning...."
"... It's difficult to give high enough praise to the ingenious modular design of Vaults and Vampires, which lets you acquire a complete gaming system in cheap and easy stages. Module I (£27.50) contains the basic Non-Player's Handbook, comprising full and detailed explanations of how to buy the equally reasonably priced expansion modules II (How To Throw Dice) to CLXXVII (Acceptable Subjects for Limericks and Clerihews in the Fantasy Universe of VAULTS AND VAMPIRES). Of particular interest are the player-aid packages at a mere £15 each: those so far available are imaginatively titled Dice of Terror, Gameboard of Doom and Cardboard Counters of Chaos. Purchasers of all three also receive a Special GM's Pencil, normally costing £12.50. Even though I was involved in the design, playtesting, marketing and promotion of V&V, I can say without prejudice that ..."
"In the attached crates you'll find the manuscript of a staggeringly innovative fantasy, The Brotherhood of the Annulus, volume one of my trilogy Dictator of the Circlets. (Sorry this draft is in green crayon; I've been having mechanical problems with my Special GM's Pencil, but as fellow-artists I know you'll understand.) This is of course a further sequel to my great unpublished best-sellers Chieftain of the Toroids and Czar of the Hoops. The short, lovable, hairy-palmed 'boggits' who star in each book are brilliantly original fantasy creations, the most memorable of them being an alienated leper ..."
"After hearing the warnings of the Rev. Moral Graham of the Debased Early Primitive Fundamentalists, I felt it my duty to purchase and examine your disgusting magazine. Words cannot express the contempt in which I hold your vile Satanic practices. I carefully followed one of the rituals you described, and was truly shocked and outraged when all that appeared was a snivelling fire imp, instead of the promised battalion of major demons with which I intended to devastate Slough. A copy of this letter has been sent to the Advertising Standards Authority ..."
"This exciting Call of Cthulhu scenario was originally intended for EnigamiTM magazine, but after discussing it with them I felt that their editorial suggestions were quite unreasonable. I know you're more broad-minded, and appreciate quality when you see it! Believe me, it's gripping, enthralling stuff right from the title, Sex Slaves of Yog-Sothoth, and all the little things the 'other lot®' objected to are absolutely artistically necessary. What prudes they must be, complaining of innocent phrases like 'throbbing gristle', 'steaming loins', 'burst pustules' and 'Eh-Garighyghaxx, the Black Thoat with a Thousand Young'. Amazing, isn't it? But I know you perceptive people at White Dwarf will love it, especially the set-piece scene when the exploring party has to pit itself against the Challenge of Goats, Fetters and Lard. You'll boggle to hear your rivals even objected to the specially drawn artwork also enclosed -- though its authenticity is guaranteed: every position was carefully double-checked against both At the Mountains of Madness and the Kama Sutra.
"I understand you may prefer me not to mention Lovecraft because it is also the name of some shop. I am willing to make this change if you request it ..."
"BLUGH! SPLAT! POW! MARCUS ROWLAND! ZOT! THRUD! HELP! VROOM! ZZZAPPP! KILL! WOMBAT! OOF! CRASH! KZANG! DUNG! WHEEEE! KABOOM! LIVINGSTONE! GRUNT! BARF! THE END!
"The script's the difficult part of a cartoon strip: your staff artists shouldn't have any trouble running off pictures to go with the above. From the subtlety and craft of my dialogue you will already have guessed that I am of course L.Ron Hubbard, best-selling author of Battlefield Earth."
"The Ring of Incontinence was crafted in forgotten aeons by the enchanter and artificer Pid'l, who had an embarrassing kidney problem. Once donned it cannot be removed save by a Wish, and meanwhile the wearer's Charisma will be severely affected, in addition to the hazards of rusting greaves, rotted Y-fronts, etc. Legend relates that one resourceful adventurer overcame the curse of Pid'l by sewing a Bag of Holding into his jockstrap...."
"Hawking's Balls are stabilized versions of the arcane objects which posthistoric sages know as 'black holes'. A typical specimen might be a few centimetres in diameter, seemingly inert (children can play with them as +2 marbles) but concealing a mass equivalent to that of the entire Earth!
"The manufacture of such a Ball requires -- as material components -- a quantity of finely wrought iron having the weight of some 1.3 x 1026 gold pieces, and a virgin copy of General Relativity: an Einstein Centenary Survey (Hawking and Israel, 1979). Spells needed: enchant item, polymorph object (to reduce the planetoid-sized heap of iron to manageable size), levitation and permanency. To be adequate, the levitation spell(s) should be cast either by a single 1.3 x 1023rd level magic-user or by proportionally more MUs of lower level. Intelligent use of the ethereal plane is recommended, to avoid gravitational collapse resulting from the close proximity of more than 50,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 low-level mages.
"A typical Hawking's Ball trap would involve keying the stabilization spells to a common verbal cue, such as 'Expendable the Thief will now pick the thing up', or 'Oh no I won't!'. Thus triggered, the full gravitational potential of the Earth-mass black hole is unleashed, swallowing up and destroying the entire party in a fraction of a nanosecond, and continuing inexorably and unstoppably to absorb the dungeon, the country, the planet, the GM's screen...."
Editorial (discarded draft)
"We encourage you to send material for inclusion in White Dwarf, but would prefer fewer submissions tattooed on dead cats. If toilet paper is all you can afford, please use only one side -- to type on, I mean. Letters of complaint about Dave Langford should be sent in sealed asbestos envelopes marked RADIOACTIVE. We take every possible care of your manuscripts, but accidents can happen, and from time to time submissions may be inadvertently stacked in Sunbeam Road and napalmed. (Is that 100 words yet?)"
|First published in The Good Games Guide #1,
Winter 1985-6. Names taken in vain include Ian Livingstone, the Games Workshop
supremo, and Sunbeam Road, then White Dwarf's editorial address.|
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