When I first started playing Dungeons and Dragons the Book of Vile Darkness had just come out and many of the people that I was gaming with at that time were enthralled with its contents. I can still remember sitting on the back of the Little Caesar's car with the Bus when Momma's Boy came over to us and started his stuttering speech that he thought made him sound tough. "Hey, hey, have you guys read the, ah, BVD yet?" He was shifting his eyes around as though he expected a cop to roll up any minute and ask him if BVD were a drug. Come to think of it I believe that's what I asked him.
"Heh, no. See, like, the BVD is the Book of Vile Darkness. An' it's like, this book, see? Where, like, Wizards put in all the shit you need to run evil."
The Bus hated the Momma's Boy more than most and asked in a mocking stutter, "So is this book, like, the one you used when, like, you were trying to fuck fourteen year old girls?"
Momma's Boy broke his cigarette and sulked away as Little Caesar and I laughed at him. The Bus had a tendency to be direct and biting when he didn't like you. His boyfriends would later tell me that he had a nasty temper but then again the Bus like weepy little men who would make even the most melodramatic woman stand up and ask them to sack up so I never put much stock in what they said.
Later that night I was sitting on a bench outside Elton's Lifetime Loser Lounge when the Master Planner came over. The Master Planner was near six feet tall, bald and loved a good fight: he was and is my best friend. I slipped him a cigarette as he slid next to me on the bench and we got to talking about the Book of Vile Darkness.
"The Bus," I said, "seems to think that the BVD is nothing more than a waste of money."
"Real horror, he says, is in the Book of Exalted Deeds."
It would be a couple of years before I even bothered purchasing either the Book of Vile Darkness or the Book of Exalted Deeds. In retrospect neither of them have been very useful to me over the years as each is a cluster-fuck.
I understand that for many people in the third era camp that the Book of Vile Darkness represents a watershed of creativity for the edition and for Monte Cook in particular. It has been my opinion that such people have their heads firmly stuck up their collective asses. My wife, however, disagrees with my flat out dismissal of the book; so I'm going to go through it in the next couple of posts and see if it's Monte's supporters who have their heads up their asses, or me.