Book Review: Kobold Wizard’s D*ldo of Enlightenment +2, An Adventurer for 3-6 Players, Levels 2-5 by Carlton Mellick III*

I only wish the title of this book was a joke.

I want you to consider your reality.

Think about your life. About how you get up in the morning, about how you go about your daily existence, the chores you do, the jobs you complete. Maybe you have adventures and lead a life of excitement or perhaps yours is a more mundane, every-day-normal sort of affair.

Now I want you to consider what it would be like if you were sodomized by a magical d*ldo that opened your consciousness to the fact that you are nothing more than a fictional construct of a socially maladjusted, hormonally horny teenager, created for his amusement, and that every shitty thing that’s ever happened to you was because he made it happen. That you are nothing more than a mental masturbatory puppet for him to live out his own fantasies through your exploits and what this revelation might feel like.

Having considered this, now you know a little about the concept of this horrible, horrible book

KBDoE+2 is the story of Polo Pipefingers, a Halfling fighter, and his companion Delvok, an Vulcanelf who has been multi-classed to the point of complete incompetence, and the “adventure” they are forced to go on to first secure the aforementioned kobold wizard’s d*ldo of enlightenment +2, which has the power of revealing the true nature of the world to the characters inside it, and then later a more classic dungeon crawl. Along the way they meet two slutty elves (this is not a judgment statement against them, it’s how they are actually described in the book), rapacious orcs, gnolls who are very much into nonconsensual DP, and a host of other horrible characters.

I’m not going to go into details because, really, you don’t need to hear them. Except for the one dragon in the book who has fire-breathing penile dentata, that detail I can’t suffer with alone, but the rest, just trust me, you’re better off not knowing.

In general, KBDoE+2 is a story about D&D characters having the existential crisis that stems from the knowledge that they don’t really exist. Well, they exist in the context of their world but that they are works of fiction created by nerds and that they are not “real”. Or are they? This issue, along with questions regarding the nature of free will, are explored during what is sort of a stereotypical dungeon crawl. The conclusion of the story is that the adventurers, which now consist of Polo, Delvok, one of the slutty elves, a goblin (both of whom have been enlightened by being stuck with the d*ldo), and the kobold wizard who started this whole mess, conclude a magical ritual that somehow brings the players and the DM into the game.

Where they are summarily killed, either by murder in the case of Polo and Delvok’s players, or devoured by dragon penile dentate in the case of the DM.

Repeatedly saying “penile dentate” will do awesome things for my blog’s SEO. *sigh*

KBDoE+2 just doesn’t work in any of the ways you could interpret it. Let’s say you take it as a criticism of gamer nerds. Ok, I can see that, but the criticism seems cheap, easy and weak considering how horribly stereotyped the player characters are, like you packed the barrel so full of fish it’s at capacity and you then shoot it with a bazooka. The DM is a grossly overweight, wheel chair-bound nerd of the obsessive category, Delvok’s player has a learning disability and is the type of kid who likes to pretend he’s intellectual while failing to be even moderately intelligent. Mark, Polo’s player, is the most normal of the players but even he comes off as a stereotype of the kid who is only using the other gamers for something to do but would ditch them in a heartbeat if he had anyone else to hang out with. The only character with any real depth is Mark and even he isn’t all that deep, so, what really can be said about these characters that haven’t been said before?

KBDoE+2 could be a criticism of the negative aspects of escapism, using the first-person accounts of the experiences of Polo to highlight the negative connotations of it. I mean, the book opens with him and Delvok being sexually assaulted by she-trolls who use various pieces of equipment, and the magic d*ldo, to rape the two characters. And this isn’t the only rape that takes place in the book; Polo is raped by the two elves (who tell him, as they high-five each other, that they’ve given him an STD), the elves rape Polo and Delvok again, all of the adventurers are raped by gnolls. I really don’t know if I’ve seen so much rape in a book that wasn’t about war crimes or specifically about sexual violence. The criticism of escapism could come from the viewing the characters as victims of the perversions of the players, that the characters are individuals being exploited for the enjoyment of others not unlike gladiators in death sports.

It could also be further criticism of gamer nerds and their escapism, of the harmful, creepy fashion that it can take. The fact that the game is little but the DM’s sexual fantasies with a thin veneer of player-participation is put forward in the book with all the subtly of a brick to the face and so all of the negativity of what happens in the game, every rape, death, and shitty thing that happens (and, really, that’s the only word I can use for having two NPCs high-five each other over giving a PC an STD via unwanted, nonconsensual sex) reflects on him as an individual, and by extension gamer nerds in general. My problem with this is that the characters he’s then criticizing are so stereotyped, and flatly one-dimensional, that it’s more of a smear than saying anything interesting or smart about gamer geeks or their culture.

As a story KBDoE+2 kind of falls flat. You have a very meta story, with characters, who know they are characters, being played by players who are playing them as knowing they are characters (confused yet?), but the story is written from the perspective of Polo so even when the character thinks he’s exercising free will, he’s not. Only Mellick writes, several times, that the players start to get frustrated that their characters aren’t doing what they want. How, exactly, does that work? And then you have the climax where the players are somehow brought into the game, which is never really explained beyond “it happens”. Players entering a fictional game world is not a new concept but usually some explanation is given to satisfy the question of how they were able to do so and this book lacks it.

But, what really got to me and turned me off about the book was all of the rape and sexual violence. There is so much of it that, at one point, I sat staring at the page and thought, “Another rape scene, really?” Not in any kind of outraged sense, but because there had been so much of it I’d become numb.

Rape and sexual violence have their place in fiction, just as anything that happens in real life does; they are, unfortunately, threats and fears that exist for us in reality and so they could possibly be dealt with in fiction. However, it’s my opinion that such things should be dealt with in a serious fashion, not just because such things are serious in nature, but also out of respect for someone who has experienced those horrible events. I mean, think about if you were a rape survivor and had been possibly given an STD by your assailant. How might it impact you to see two characters happy that they’d done the same to a character? I mean, the DM, and by extension the author, is gleeful in the rape. It’s almost like Mellick thought, “How can I make this edgy? I know, we’ll have gnolls gang rape a female character! That’s totally edgy!”

I know it’s bizarre fiction but I don’t agree with the use of it.

And, really, what was the point of all of it, the sheer amount of it? Was it to illustrate that the DM was a screwed pervert who dragged his players as nonconsensually through his sexual fantasies as he forced those fantasies on the characters? If so, then one or two instances of such things would suffice without having to have it happen again and again and again.

I’m not even going to go into the illustrations. I don’t have the heart, or the cruelty, to do so.

Regardless, this book wraps up with a trite ending that now, with their players dead, the characters truly control their own destinies and go off into a section of the world the DM hadn’t written to see if anything was there.

Do yourself a favor, don’t pick up this book.

Note: D*ldo has been written in such a way so I don’t accidentally block my own blog on certain systems.

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2 Responses to Book Review: Kobold Wizard’s D*ldo of Enlightenment +2, An Adventurer for 3-6 Players, Levels 2-5 by Carlton Mellick III*

  1. A Bear says:

    Hey there! I’m glad that you “enjoyed” it!

    You hit the nail on the head with the rape and sexual violence. It was absolutely constant. Never ending. Turn the page, yawn, yup, someone is getting boned again. After a while I started to get angry when that came up. ANOTHER one of these? Really? Hadn’t he made his point already?

    I think it was meant to be comedic, but it ended up just being stupid. Oh well.

    Something else that I found interesting: The DM creates his town and this dungeon, and we learn that the world is spreading out from there on its own. The DM hasn’t created these parts, they simply exist now because the world is, at some level, real.

    At the same time, Polo speaks to a gnoll near the end of the book and tries to convince her to resist the DM’s wishes and come along with them. Why? Because once the PCs leave the room she will cease to exist.

    No consistency.

    The one thing I do like about the book is Polo’s rather matter of fact, This Is Just Stupid attitude throughout the entire book. He knows what is going on, he knows it is stupid, and he hates his DM and player for it. Kind of like how I hate myself for reading the book.

    Wait. Oh god. I really hate myself now – because I’ve bought 3 copies of it so far. Am I encouraging Carlton to write more books like this? )o:

    Strangely, I found the illustrations to be the best part of the book – though I think that speaks to the quality of the writing more than the quality of the pictures. And, the character sheets, while cheesy, were a cute touch.

    Much like TBV you can see the potential of this book. It could have been a really cool social commentary on kids in bad situations, dealing with it by immersing themselves in fantasy. Maybe it could have been a commentary on stereotypes. But no – we got this instead!

    I think that is why I really hate books like KWDoE+2 and TBV. They are wasted potential. Disappointment. The same base concepts in the hands of a talented author could have produced something really cool! I first bought KWDoE+2 because of the title and I expected some silly, cheap thrill comedy, but it didn’t even approach that. )o:

    By the way, I went out of my way to find a terrible book of my own to read. I settled on Maverick’s Mate: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10565362-maverick-s-mate

    I’m finishing it up in the next day or so. I’ll give you a report at some point, hopefully by the weekend. It’s not terrible in the way that KWDoE+2 or Touched By Venom are, it’s just… Well, it ain’t good, that’s not what I’m trying to say, and it is really, really awful on many levels. The Mary Sue oozes from every pore of some of the characters. It does lack the rape scenes I guess and doesn’t sink to quite the same levels of depravity as the other two books, so that’s something.

    However: Hot, gay werewolf-on-man sex? Check. The most shallow characters and plot I’ve ever seen in my life? Check. A reference to blood as “the sweetest wine”? Check.

    Wait… “The sweetest wine”? I thought this book was about werewolves…

    Eagerly awaiting the next podcast. It was a great show despite some audio oddities, and I really appreciate the time and effort you put into it!

  2. mattmarovich says:

    Thanks for buying us the book and I only realized afterward that I forgot to thank you “on air” (though you did get thanks in an earlier one, but still!).

    Yeah, this one could’ve been better on so many levels. I get where he may have been going, but there were just too many issues.

    And there was also all the rape, but I’ll just be repeating myself on that topic.

    Let me know about that book and what you think about it.

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