I've actually been meaning to do these for a while, and this seems like as good a time as any.
The Book of Vile Darkness: Introduction
The BoVD was, no joke, the first D&D book and second RPG book I ever bought, not realizing that I probably should have stopped at Changeling: the Lost. I was 13 or so and probably impressed by the mature warning label and all of the tits strewn about in the art. I was fascinated by it and it launched me into the waters of D&D and, later, the broader RPG community.
Anyway, it's ten years later and boy howdy does this book suck. There are some relatively good parts, but overall, it's mostly just laughably juvenile both in general content and it's approach to morality. As Nuns with Guns points out, this book was, as far as I can tell, the sole work of Monte Cook, so it's nice that we know who to blame. Written in 2002 for D&D 3.0, it was (I believe) the first such product with a "Mature Audiences" sticker prominently displayed on the front. Wizards focused on this angle when pushing the book, including issues of Dragon and Dungeon with special, sealed sections featuring "mature" content (I'll cover these and other miscellaneous content at the end), that prompted a truly hilarious rant from Tracy Hickman, along with a number of other flame wars and arguments.
Later tonight, we'll cover how cutting yourself is evil, and the mechanical benefits of doing so. Take us away, Monte.
Let this be a warning: Book of Vile Darkness is intended for mature audiences. The topics covered herein are not for the immature, squeamish, or faint of heart. This book deals with fictional gore, extreme violence, human sacrifice, addiction, corrupt magic, and deviant behavior. Its content is not a lighthearted take on “badness”—it is about evil, pure and simple.
I do not condone, endorse, or seek to glorify anything in this book as it might relate to the real world. This is bad stuff, and I’m not a bad person. Really.