Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas: The Board Game

The trunk of the car looked like a mobile police narcotics lab. We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers . . . and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls . . . Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can. The only thing that really worried me was the ether. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge. And I knew we’d get into that rotten stuff pretty soon.

-Hunter S. Thompson from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

The late, great Thompson’s masterpiece, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas has been a favorite of mine ever since my father gave me his battered, paperback copy to read in high school. All these years later its magical lunacy is still just as powerful as when I first found Duke and his attorney in the desert.

No surprise then that I am enamored of Jonathan Baldwin’s Rauol inspired, narcotics themed board game. A worthy display piece for anyone with a yen for H.S.T.’s particular brand of mayhem.

[via jwz]

“Shine On Me” Will Burn Out All Your Irony Receptors

Oh… my. Wayne just memed my ass out with the most astonishing OMGWTFBBQ music video of the year. Imagine what might happen if the rennies spiked your mead with DMT at Medieval Times. It is Epic. It is Über.

Meet Chris Dane Owens. He is here to fuck you, amigo. Fuck you earnestly, somberly, savagely, without the courtesy of a reach-around. For he is Legolas on a meth binge. He is Limahl with brass balls. His “Shine on Me” video is the prodigious, tumescent, chain-mail-piercing, pirate-booty-plundering, Adobe After Effects-abusing, alligator-exploiting, stock footage-pillaging D&D Destructo Dildo to the insidious butt plug of Brokencyde’s “Freaxx”.

Keep watching. Don’t click away. Follow that sparkly green Gretsch all the way to the finish line. Take it to the hilt, paladin.

Allegories In Digital: Keith Thompson

Even when he’s drawing space vehicles, the myriad of minutiae executed with sharp precision hints at Keith Thompson’s classical influences. I’ve spent hours browsing Keith’s incredible portfolio and getting lost in the stories written for most of the art on display. The worlds behind each piece feel thoroughly conceived – it’s clear the author mulled over each detail of the fable along with the art. Gorgeous detailing decorates mutants, deities and demons, some of it recognizable, like this machine-beluga or the violin necks in the legs of the lovely musician below.

When a talented skald of the Swedish courts, renowned across Scandinavia for his unparalleled musical prowess, revealed himself as a disguised woman, she was swiftly executed, and the embarrassing events were stricken from polite conversation. Her sudden return to court functions shook even the staunchest war veterans, but not enough to stay a second wary, though swift, summary execution. Upon further returns, each revealing the scald to be strangely repaired in a manner befitting tailor more than physician, the court began to almost embrace the eerie presence. This cycle of returns and executions leading to a more and more transfigured court poet became something of an exalted tradition.

Thompson’s work is largely concept art along with two sections of illustration work with some beautifully fleshed out pieces you must see to believe. I’m not posting those here simply because of how great they look full-size.  Click. Click, also. Here the old school is especially visible, with the pieces reminiscent of Arthur Rackham and Edmund DuLac –  two of my childhood’s favorite illustrators. Thompson uses traditional techniques he converts to digital in the process, which is described and taught in an instructional DVD.

Keith’s galleries of Vehicles, Creatures and Undead showcase fantastic creatures, some of which take the term “Bio-mechanical” in a new direction. Perfect example: the Luxury Nautiloid below. From Keith’s attached text, some key features:

Upper observation deck used by vacationers with eyes strong enough to look up at the light shining down from the water’s surface. Huge windows offer a commanding view of the seascape from the comfort of interior dining areas and lounges.The ship can move fore or aft and when necessary these tentacles retract and the surrounding plates close up. These extended, flared muscular hydrostats are often used to pull surface craft down into the water for the amusement of the more spiteful tourists.

Beyond the jump, more art and stories from Keith Thompson. Thanks, Alice!

Best of Craigslist: Sex in the Mushroom Kingdom

I must hear the fireworks. This is vital to the whole experience.

Found by Storm – a  m4w Craig’s List ad titled “Want it from behind while you play Super Mario Brothers?” The entire scene is too long and raunchy to repost here, but here’s the gist:

When you arrive the door will be open. Please come in close and lock the door and close the shades if they are still open. I will be in the bathroom and the door will be closed. Turn on the TV and the Nintendo. Remove all of your clothing. Turn off all lights in the room and kneel down on the bed so you are directly in the light of the TV.

After a bit of Goomba-stomping, platform-jumping, brick-smashing foreplay, Serious Business ensues:

When you reach the end of level one, make sure to trigger the fireworks. This is vital to the entire experience. I must hear the fireworks. When level 2 begins and Mario walks into the pipe, I will penetrate you.

But it’s not all fun and games! “I will continue having sex until the level ends. DO NOT take the secret level skip. If you die I will pull out and spank you until the level restarts.”

Creepy? Hilarious? Awesome? Fake? Whatever – I’ve found his soul mate!

Remembering Gary Gygax

Gamers everywhere are mourning the loss of Gary Gygax, godfather of RPGs. After recovering from the initial shock, my thoughts turned immediately to an old friend, author Wayne Chambliss, who knew the man personally. I’d like to thank Wayne from the bottom of my polyhedral heart for taking the time to share some of his memories of Gygax here on Coilhouse. ~Mer

E. Gary Gygax, the co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, died on Tuesday. He was 69.

I can’t say I was surprised to hear the news. Last July, Gary told me he was already a year over his “expiration date”—the six months doctors gave him upon diagnosing his abdominal aneurysm. So, I wasn’t surprised. But I am hurting.

I don’t know why I miss him so much. I didn’t know him well. I spent maybe sixteen hours with him altogether. Sixteen hours on the porch of his house in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Two long, summer days. Even so, Gary was an easy guy to like. He looked like a cross between Gandalf and Stan Lee, with a Lucky Strikes voice and a big laugh. He was a marvelous storyteller, an autodidact with wide interests, and, of course, the developer of an incalculably influential game system millions of people have been playing all over the world since 1974—including myself and at least 33% of this blog’s masthead.

The original Dungeon Master.

There are plenty of obituaries online right now that cover the basic facts of his life. The one in the New York Times seems representative: it contains no misspellings, but also very little of the man I knew, however slightly.

My friend Paul La Farge does a much better job. In a 2006 issue of The Believer (“Destroy All Monsters”), he tells the story of our first trip to Lake Geneva in a way that gets Gary Gygax right. For anyone even vaguely interested in Gary’s biography, Dungeons & Dragons or TSR, I strongly recommend Paul’s article. In my opinion, it is the last word on the subject. Moreover, its postscript is a more fitting eulogy for Gary than anything I could write myself—or have read anywhere else about him.

Maybe it’s simple. Maybe losing Gary is simply part of losing something even larger I will not, cannot, get back.

Remembering Magic: The Gathering

Shit, I loved that game! One of my happiest memories growing up was playing it with my dad. My favorite colors to play were black and green together; death and replenishment. I thought that red was for boneheads. I liked blue, but was never able to construct the kind of mindfuck blue decks that won you the game. And white was just… blah. Too pacifist. Green-white decks were for hippies. I remember liking artifacts; Magic was where I learned the word “ornithopter” from. Any time I opened a new pack, I prayed to find the coveted rare card Black Lotus; it would be like winning the lottery and I’d be filthy rich. I loved the artwork, which looks more crude to me now than I remember it being. Phil Foglio and Quinton Hoover were my favorite artists.

While I was a card-flopper, I was never a dice-chucker. I never learned how to play RPG’s because I didn’t know anybody else who played. But at the time, tons of card games were coming out right and left; games inspired by Lovecraft like Call of Cthulhu, the Illuminati card game inspired by Robert Anton Wilson, and the Netrunner game inspired by (ripped off without credit, I heard?) the work of William Gibson. This was my official exposure to all these artists and others, making Magic: The Gathering the official source of What Made Me Weird. My dad got me subscriptions to Scrye and Inquest, which had interviews with people like Clive Barker and Brom. In every issue of Scrye, they printed imaginary cards that readers made up, and I even remember submitting some of my own.