Vatsy and Bruno

By Shamus Posted Friday Apr 10, 2009

Filed under: Nerd Culture, Pictures 20 comments

Online Left 4 Dead is now a nightly tradition. This regular evening exodus from the infection zone to a joyous yet undefined safety are ruinously fun, to the point where I’ve spent too much time shooting zombies and not enough time writing content for this website. Perhaps you’ve noticed and you’ve just been too polite to say anything.

If you’ve been in a game with me, you may have run into lnwlf, Thufir, or thegrimone, all members of my perpetually fallow tabletop gaming group. But more likely is that you’ve run into Rutskarn (who you may recognize from the comments here) who is the most patient of teammates, long suffering in the face of my errant bullets (which are sometimes to the face) and my habit of hoovering up all the pipe bombs. I’ve probably played more games with Rutskarn than anyone else that wasn’t software written by Valve.

In these games we sometimes chat about websites and the running thereof. Rutskarn has his own site, Chocolate Hammer, which has tabletop-type stuff, some fiction, and good supply of cleverness. He’s stuck in the stage where he probably suspects he’s putting up good work but doesn’t know how to get people to come and see it. Having toiled* in obscurity** for months*** on this site, I can sympathize.

* “Toil” in the sense of doing something fun that might vaguely resemble work to someone who didn’t know any better.
** Aside from the readers I was able to beg from SDB.
*** It was actually a year and seven days between the launch of the site and the start of DM of the Rings, but who’s counting?

His big project is Vatsy and Bruno, a work of fiction that I will excerpt rather than attempt to summarize:

To whom it may concern:

We do not regret to inform you that this submission is unusable, unintelligent and frequently illegible. We do not regret that your mental seepage, poured in such an ungainly fashion on your half-cent-per-thousand-sheet paper, will not be gracing this or any future publication of the Writer's Guild World Newsletter. We do not regret that you willâ€"most probablyâ€"die alone, penniless, unloved and foul-smelling.

We do, however, regret that we were exposedâ€"even through this protective screen of incomprehensibilityâ€"to this most unspeakable body of work. We regret that our sanity and our lives can never be whole again after even a brief perusal of your first page. We regret that the stink of hideous purple prose and suspiciously fecal ink will forever saturate our desk space. Most of all, we regret that you had slithered, like a diseased rat infiltrating an unsuspecting granary, into this world on whatever dark day you were born (from the art inherent in your prose, we would estimate about a year ago.)

If we ever see the name “Vatsy”â€"or that name spelled differently, or any name with a superficial resemblance, or anything that even reminds us of youâ€"on any volume, essay, poem, or bill that ever crosses our threshold, we will ensure that you will not survive the night that follows.

Wishing you well,

The Writers Guild

I didn’t think to get permission to talk about his age, but I hope Rutskarn will forgive me for revealing that he is not old. I was shamed last night when I discovered his age and I realized I was not nearly as promising or as focused at roughly that same stage in life. The site is full of amusing self-quotes, witty phraseography, and a solid dose of non-LOLCATS brand humor, a resource which is all to scarce on the internet.

You could do worse than visiting the site. For example, you could not visit the site.


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20 thoughts on “Vatsy and Bruno

  1. Kerin says:

    Christ. At that age I was clever, but not particularly capable of producing interesting material (however much I tried.)

    And by that I mean that I thought writing commentary-tracks to bad fanfiction was funny.

  2. Volatar says:

    I actually have clicked on the link to his site through one of his comments on here once. (once of once I have ever clicked on anyone’s personal site link) I found some of the stuff I scanned on the front page to be very well written, with very good points and humor.

    I recommend the rest of you click it too, I just bookmarked it :)

  3. Clint says:

    “a resource which is all to scare on the internet.”

    I presume you meant “all too scarce”?

    1. Shamus says:

      Yes. Scarce. Along with diligent proofreading. Sigh. Fixed.

  4. Rutskarn says:

    Well, as of…(checks watch)…10:30, I’ve already easily surpassed my previous record number of uniques in one day.

    As for the age: eh, it’s alright to talk about. I figure I’m only about 2 months away from blowing the secret identity schtick altogether, to be honest.

    Speaking of proofreading: there’s a couple minor typoes scattered throughout V&B, as well as a couple stylistics inconsistencies. I’m about as poor at editing as I am at, say, line-dancing.

    Also: the site’s still a beast to navigate. Try the MVP page link on the right if you want the quick tour.

    Many, many thanks, Shamus, and I’ll probably see you in the zombie apocalypse soon.

  5. R4byde says:

    I have to say thank you for the link, Shamus. That lad has a boat load of talent, it’ll be interesting to see what he comes up with next.

    Edit: Oh, and well done Rutskarn! Well done indeed Sir!

  6. Marmot says:


  7. Nick says:

    Haha, I’m “Zitch” in the screenshots! I need to get on the server more often!

  8. Rutskarn says:

    Marmot: I don’t know if you’ve played, or if you’re just much better than I am, but I’ve found it’s a hell of a lot harder to avoid friendly fire incidents in L4D than any other game I’ve played.

    You’re very much on edge, surrounded by hordes of fast-moving, bleakly-colored, human-shaped enemies. You’re usually conditioned to shoot anything that looks like an enemy that makes a sudden move, so a teammate can all too quickly suffer from a false snap judgment.

    Plus, if something cuts in front of you–say, when trying to avoid getting caught in the middle of a horde–or if you’re trying to shoot zombies that are clustered around an ally, it can get dicey.

    More than once, I’ve inexplicably just shot a teammate in the face. I was concentrating on the Tank about to come around and get me, or on the gentle sobbing of the witch, or on the faroff growls of a hunter, and someone sticks their head in my view.

  9. Veloxyll says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one to be concerned about the friendly fire incidents!

    There are so many zombies out there who deserve your bullets, why do you keep giving them to your friends :(

  10. Marmot says:

    Hehehe, no I’ve never played L4D, that was just a general assumption (think it can be high or low by various game standards). But thanks a lot for explaining it!

    Is there an option to play with friendly fire off btw?

  11. Rutskarn says:


    No, there is not.

  12. Galenor says:

    “Is there an option to play with friendly fire off btw?”

    If i recall correctly, if you play the game in Easy mode, you can unload clips into Louis’ face. He’ll yell at you, and the ‘Don’t shoot teammates!’ alarm pops up, but it will not do any damage whatsoever. It’s good that they kept the alarms in, causing the player to think they’ve done harm to their teammates and guilt-trip them into taking care, when actually, they haven’t done a thing!

  13. CrushU says:

    Actually those alarms go away when you listen to them more often. It’s a nifty thing of Valve’s coding that makes it stop popping up ‘tips’ when you’ve GOTTEN THEM FIFTY BAJILLION TIMES ALREADY.

    Most of my friendly fire incidents come from a player wandering into my line of fire.

  14. Dev Null says:

    I think you broke Chocolate Hammer with us hordes of obedient sheep Shamus – seems to be down atm.

  15. Rutskarn says:

    Yeah, a little.

    Eh, it was up this morning–it’ll probably come back around. I only found out when I was trying to post a second Pretty Pictures post.

  16. Shimoda says:

    As is frequently the case with computers, the server that hosts Chocolate Hammer is having hardware issues. Sigh.

    It should be back up shortly, and will be swapped out tomorrow. Sorry for the poor timing. In the future, we’ll try to schedule our unplanned service interruptions for a more convenient time.

  17. Pugio Rosso says:

    While friendly fire in L4D is pretty much unavoidable, there is one simple, yet very effective, move that is often relegated as a last ditch attack: the melee strike.
    First, with it you can still react to a figure suddenly popping in front of you without fear of damaging a fellow survivor, and then it’s extremely fast, stuns regular zombies for a couple of seconds, affects a small arc in front of the player, does not interrupt reloading a weapon, can block, stun, and push away Boomers and Hunters, making them stumble for more than 5 seconds* and can interrupt the Hunter Rend move, again without risking shooting your teammate, and allowing him more than ample time to get up and deal with that parkour-loving infected, leaving you free to deal with any other zombies that could be around you. ;)

    Another tip is to try and stay crouched as often as you can, allowing your fellow survivors to shoot over you.

    Pretty basic stuff, if you think about it, but it’s easy to forget it when you are getting swarmed by about 70 raving, blood-thirsty, fast-moving, screaming, partially-decomposed savages :D

    *(I’m not sure how long the stun lasts since I’m usually too busy not getting devoured)
    And regarding Chocolate Hammer, I only managed to read “Vatsy and Bruno: First Ink”: that would be because when I started reading the story, I just couldn’t stop until I was finished, way past 2AM.
    Frankly, I have no idea on how to review it properly: only thing I can say is that it was very well-written and very funny.
    Now that’s a website I will keep watching… starting tomorrow, since it’s getting terribly late.

  18. droid says:

    So there is a player named Decoy, but Decoy takes the least amount of damage, and does not disturb the witch.

    The real decoy must be Rutskarn.

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