Literature: Binder of Shame

And that was how our party ended up being a dwarven fighter with a piece of broccoli for a head, a chick in a chainmail bikini, two wizards, the luckiest fighter in the world and a ninja brandishing the dreaded halfling on a stick.

Al Bruno III's series of allegedly-autobiographical stories about the Tabletop Games group he endured throughout his college years. Al himself, known as Ab3 on RPG.Net, is led to the group by his friend Weasley Crusher and rapidly finds himself forced into the role of the Only Sane Man of the group. Arguments, dysfunction, and Total Party Kills abound as they systematically ruin every game they can find, from Dungeons & Dragons to Call of Cthulhu to Rifts.

The title of the series comes from the philosophy of the Killer Game Master Psycho Dave: "Every D&D game has many binders but each D&D game must have a Binder of Shame and a Binder of Glory. The player characters that die heroic deaths are saved forever in the page protectors of the Binder of Glory. The characters that suffer, humiliating, soul-crushing deaths go into the Binder of Shame. It's a sign of quality GMing to have a Binder of Shame three times the size of your Binder of Glory."

This provides examples of:

  • Ambiguously Gay or Armored Closet Gay: Biff Bam; the one time he runs a game at his house he suggests that they deal with the heat by removing their shirts (and he's quite insistent on that); and he deals with players not liking his rulings by wrestling them to the ground; and he rules that failed SAN checks make the character act increasingly swishy.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Johnny Tangent/Short Attention Span Larry (probably different nicknames for the same person).
  • Awesome McCoolname: El Disgusto's character "Lord Baron Whoopass Von Badass".
  • Berserk Button: The author, when he GMs, doesn't care for Monty Python quotes, and now twitches violently every time someone mentions the word "ninja". El Disgusto has several too, but most notably anything that can be linked to his injury. "Half-cocked," anyone?
  • Big Eater: Blobert Smith.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Cheating Bastard compares stealing milk crates to "tearing the tags off of mattresses, trading bootleg videotapes and bestiality."
  • Butt Monkey: Weasley Crusher, and possibly Ab3 himself. El Disgusto's dog Lamont gets this treatment as well.
  • Canon Defilement: In-universe, any and every game based on an established setting.
  • Chaotic Stupid: The players take Chaotic Neutral characters as a free pass to "run around like a bunch of kill-happy lunatics".
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Most of them have their moments, but Johnny Tangent is probably the winner.
    Ab3: Night Ranger was a bitchin' band.
    Johnny: Really? I hate them, I just wear the T-shirt to remind me of my character class.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Collateral Darren, who believes resumes are useless except to make the paper manufacturers more money.
    • Distressingly, no one can actually think of any reason why his logic is wrong.
  • Delusions of Eloquence: Biff Bam is an exCELLerant example of this trOUPe.
  • Dirty Coward: Ol' Yellowbelly.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Psycho Dave turns Yoda into one of these in "Trapped in Jedi Academy."
    • "Yoda force chokes you until you black out."
  • Dude, Not Funny!: In-universe, Ab3 gets up and walks out once he realizes that Psycho Dave expects the group to help Hitler.
  • Dysfunction Junction: The entire damned group with the exception of Ab3
    • At one point it mentions that Ab3 went into deep denial and actually convinced himself that this was just what a roleplaying group looked like, that this is how friends treated one another. The epilogue and the extra chapter, both happening several years later, reveals that he's come to his senses and has found a group of of supportive, likeable people to play with instead.
  • Embarrassing Slide: Deviant Boy and Asenath's photos from a gaming convention include some of these. Though Ab3 seems to be the only one who's actually embarrassed by them.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Psycho Dave's games.
    • El Disgusto's house, too. It's littered with bottles Mountain Dew. And one day the group comes in and notes that the walls are a completely different color, which El Disgusto mentions is because his parents had them cleaned; apparently the previous color was the result of toxic mold.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: One player is known as "Cheating Bastard". He is.
  • Extreme Doormat: Weasley Crusher is bullied by El Disgusto into buying pizza with the money he needed for insulin.
  • Funetik Aksent: Biff Bam's "habit of randomly mispronouncing things". The mispronunciations are capitalised so they're easy to notice.
  • Girlfriend in Canada: El Disgusto. It turns out she does exist—in fact, she's Asenath.
  • God-Mode Sue: In-universe (or in-game, rather) Biff Bam's favourite NPC, "Dick Marvil".
    • El Disgusto maintains that his ninja survives attacks because it hides in the shadows. Every. Single. Time. ("There are shadows in the afternoon!")
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: The Amazing Boozehound's wizard character used a cat on a string as a weapon, and El Disgusto's ninja used Weasley's character.
  • Groin Attack: El Disgusto apparently lost the tip of his penis when he frightened the dog into biting him.
  • Helicopter Blender: In "Reservoir Torgs," everyone has derailed the campaign and is on the run from the law. El Disgusto's ninja finds his path blocked by a police helicopter and attempts to jump his motorcycle over it using a crashed police car as a ramp.
    "But my character's a ninja!
    "Correction. Your character was a ninja. Now he's confetti, wet red confetti.
  • I Am Big Boned: Biff Bam was kicked out of the army because he was "a little too manly" and they were "intimidimated" by him. He's not fat, it's untoned muscle, and he's as strong as Olympic weightlifters...honest!
  • I Call It "Vera": The "Stick of Pain". Word of God is that the Stick of Pain was a wooden yardstick.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: Psycho Dave couldn't deny being "crazier than a crapfight in a monkey house" but objected to being called a "lousy Dungeon Master".
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: El Disgusto's philosophy.
  • Intoxication Ensues: "Once More With Filking."
  • It Tastes Like Feet: El Disgusto apparently smells "like clowns crying."
  • Jar Potty: The end of "A Night at the Inn, a Day at the Racists" reveals that El Disgusto has stashed a whole collection of bottles of Mountain Dew under the stairs, except it's not Mountain Dew in the bottles — as he explains, he doesn't like to go upstairs to the bathroom when he's watching TV, so he just goes in the bottles with the intention of throwing them away later. He hasn't thrown away a single one — some of them are crusted with age and other substances, which is exactly as disgusting as it sounds. This revelation, which capped off a truly nasty bit of gaming, was the "rock bottom" moment for Ab3.
  • Jerkass: El Disgusto and Psycho Dave mostly, but everyone in the last entry (even Blobert).
    • Arguably the Ab3 himself, with a hint of unreliable narrator, since it's clear his mindset wasn't too different before the end and he seems similarly willing to look down Asenath for her appearance.
  • Kick the Dog: Literally. El Disgusto is neglectful of and abusive toward his dog Lamont.
  • Killer Game Master: Mostly Psycho Dave, but everyone gets their turn.
  • Lame Comeback
    Blobert Smith: "Your xenophobic gibes grow wearisome."
    Psycho Dave: "And your ass smells like cheese, what’s your point?"
  • Large Ham: Blobert Smith, in more ways than one.
  • Life Embellished
  • Monochrome Casting: We don't get much information on what they look like (which is probably a blessing), but considering Psycho Dave's... err... proclivities, we'd probably hear something about it if any of them were something other than White.
  • Munchkin: Most of the players, but especially El Disgusto, who wants to play a Ninja in every damn game he's in. A ninja with a motorcycle. Cheating Bastard also counts, per his obvious nickname.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: See above. Most of the RP characters have at least a dash of this - see Deviant Boy and Weasley's incestuous lesbian stripper naval officers with matching toe-rings.
  • Noodle Implements: "Weasly had recently been expelled from college due to a freak accident involving a moped with faulty brakes, a Take Back The Night rally and an inflatable bath pillow."
  • Noodle Incident: "I don't owe you anything, I told you not to eat that damn salad in my car."
  • Nose Shove:
    "My character deals with his post-traumatic stress disorder by putting porridge up his nose on moonlit nights."
    "Why would he-"
  • Off the Rails: "The God Trip."
    • In "The Dammed Treasure of Lord DeGreasey", the first installment of The Second Edition, Psycho Dave's character, a Deep One thief with 18/00 Strength, snaps the ribbed staff that used to be Weasley's character in half in order to destroy the tower and put a decisive end to Deviant Boy's utterly creepy campaign.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: To protect the author.
  • Only Sane Man: Ab3.
  • Only Smart People May Pass: Cheating Bastard's system from the chapter Monty Python Mishaps in the Deepest Pit of Homebrew Hell, which involves inverse drag coefficients, slide rules, and algebraic calculators. It takes two hours for the group to finish one round of combat.
  • Pet the Dog / Fridge Horror: Psycho Dave mentions that "even with the sniveling and whining" Ab3 has been his best player.
  • Porn Stache: Deviant Boy has an "abnormally thick moustache".
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Psycho Dave (an actual Neo-Nazi), full stop. Especially when he's playing NPCs as blatant stereotypes. Most of the other boys have their moments as well. This is especially obvious in "The Last Straw Trilogy Part Three: Once More With Filking," where they go after the author's future wife for being chubby:
    Ab3: "And you’re not a Goth of size?"
    Collateral Darren: "Women always put on weight when they’re in a relationship; this girl already has weight to spare. Stick around too long and they’ll be taking off the side of her house to load her into a flatbed truck to take her to the hospital."
    Weasly Crusher: "Look I don’t mean to be mean but you know how it is. The hotness of the girl you end up with is a symbol of how well you’ve succeeded in life. If you end up with a model it means you’ve got it going on, if you end up with a plain Jane it means you’re middle management. A fat girl, Ab3, that’s trailer park, man."
  • Pun: Schindler's Lich.
  • Punny Name: Weasley Crusher, Blobert Smith, and Collateral Darren (named after his Champions character Collateral Damage).
  • Really Gets Around: By the final installment, Asenath has slept with every member of the group except Ab3 at least once.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: Most notably, "The Day I Killed The Entire Party Before The First Combat Encounter", involving an incident with a character's motorcycle.
  • Rule 34: Deviant Boy's "Unified Porn Theory" involves attempts to find a single pornographic image which will appeal to everyone in the world. His first attempt:
    "It's a green-skinned large-breasted elf chick dressed like a Catholic schoolgirl ... and she's peeing on Mayor McCheese!"
    "Yeah, but it's missing something, isn't it? Maybe if it was two elf chicks ..."
  • The Scottish Trope: Invoked when El Disgusto's ninja summons Hastur when Cheating Bastard tries to kill him.
  • Stealth Pun: Weasley claims that if he met his D&D characters he would take them to Denny's "to apologise for the terrible rolls I make".
  • Stripperific: Asenath's outfit is described as "part schoolgirl outfit, part leatherwear".
  • Suicide as Comedy:
    "I trip and fall on my sword-"
    "Roll for it."
    "I fall on my sword again and again UNTIL THE HURTING STOPS!"
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Psycho Dave.
  • Too Dumb to Live: "So you want to take a shortcut through the Desert of Certain Doom?"
  • Total Party Kill: Their record is three in one night - Ab3 left when Psycho Dave suggested they try for a fourth time.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Ab3 puts up with the group because he thinks the bickering is their way of showing friendship. He comes to his senses and kicks them out when they start badmouthing his new girlfriend. The fact that they allegedly slipped him acid that same day probably didn't help.
    • Although he may have been in denial about that; one early story mentions that, in spite of having sworn off gaming at the end of the last story, he came back because his only other option was another group of friends who liked to go to crappy strip clubs, and gaming with these freaks was the cheaper of two evils.
  • A Wizard Did It
    Psycho Dave, regarding the broccoli-head incident: "It's magic, I don’t have to explain it."
  • Work Off the Debt: Ab3 is forced to wash dishes in a restaurant after the other members of the group leave without paying.
  • You Do NOT Want To Know: In regard to parts of Blobert's insane character backstories, among other things.

Alternative Title(s):

Binder Of Shame
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