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Critical Failures

(Caverns and Creatures #1)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  6,918 ratings  ·  726 reviews
Tim and his friends find out the hard way that you shouldn't question the game master, and you shouldn't make fun of his cape.

One minute, they're drinking away the dreariness of their lives, escaping into a fantasy game and laughing their asses off. The next minute, they're in a horse-drawn cart surrounded by soldiers pointing crossbows at them.

Tim now has the voice and p
Kindle Edition, 316 pages
Published June 4th 2012 by DeadPixel Publications
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  6,918 ratings  ·  726 reviews

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Mike (the Paladin)
Oct 21, 2014 rated it did not like it
This book is based on a good idea. I've read other books based on this idea. I've liked books based on this idea. The plot idea of modern gamers being unexpectedly thrust into a fantasy world is an excellent one.

Sadly this particular book is crap.

I know there are players like the ones pictured in this book...there have to be. Every group no matter what, political, religious, sports, people who live in a given area or region, MMORPG players or table-top players has to have it's idiots. The ones w
Dan Schwent
May 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
When Tim, Dave, Cooper, and Julian play a game of Caverns and Creatures with a new Cavern Master, they get more than they bargained for. Trapped in the game world in the bodies of their characters, can they survive long enough to make it back to the real world and settle the pompous Cavern Master's hash?

Back in the day, around the time the oceans drank Atlantis, I played a fair bit of Dungeons and Dragons. Sadly, I recognize a lot of what goes on in this book.

Critical Failures tells the story
Jason Koivu
May 12, 2014 rated it liked it
In Critical Failures a group of friends meet for a little role playing, inviting a stranger to play with them. The stranger turns out to be strange indeed. Soon their fantasy game becomes very real.

This is almost the exact same premise as the '80s tv show Dungeons & Dragons, wherein some kids get swooped up into the game and must fend for their lives. More originality would've been nice, but as long as there's excitement and fun in the adventure that's all that matters. Oh, I suppose that since
Laura Ruuska
Mar 30, 2015 rated it did not like it
This may be one of the most terrible books I have ever read. It seems like it was written by a misogynistic, homophobic 13 year old boy, who thinks that swear words are effective vocabulary, and friendships consist of being unkind to one another and telling "your momma" jokes. The theme of the story, being a dungeons and dragons type story, may have been something I would have really enjoyed, if the writing hadn't been The Worst Thing Ever. I should never have bothered finishing this book. It ju ...more
Montzalee Wittmann
Critical Failures (Caverns and Creatures Book 1) by Robert Bevan is so hilarious, and I am not a gamer! I bought the book and then decided to add the $2 for the audio narration so my son would listen to it, he doesn't like to read but I thought he would love this story because he is a big gamer. I started listening to it while I did things around the house but got so into the story, I just sat down and listened and giggled. Nothing got done, I just took my tablet to bed with me and I laid there ...more
May 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: humor, wizards
Not a book for me. Again, the plot sounded interesting, a group of friends playing Caverns & Creatures roll some magic dice and get trapped in the fantasy world, with the same rules applying (leveling up, all the constraints on when they can use their spells etc) except if they die, they stay dead. The problem for me is that all these people are the folks you would immediately put on ignore if you met them in a game online. They would be the ninja pullers, the rager in a BG, the asshole spewing ...more
Darren Sant
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Critical Failures is an interesting blend of a novel. The story starts with a group of lads Tim, Cooper, Julian and Dave awaiting the arrival of a new Games Master for their weekly game of Caverns and Creatures, a Dungeons and Dragons style role playing game. As you might expect the author takes every opportunity to poke fun at the stereotype gamer, nerds with absolutely no prospect of ever finding a girlfriend. When the Games Master finally arrives, wearing a cape, they all take the opportunity ...more
Jun 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: guys, geeks, nerds, gamers
This is the kind of book you read after you finish a great book while you think about what to read next. It's not for everyone. It's for people who meet all of the following criteria: (a) males (b) those who have played dungeons and dragons and (c) those with a childish sense of humor (i.e. all males under 68 years of age).

Before you write to N.O.W and have my "Feminist of the Year" award revoked, let me explain.... this humor is not the stuff of "chick lit." It's not deep. It's not subtle. It'
Brian Foster
Aug 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
In Critical Failures, Mr. Bevan introduces us to a humorous tale of a group of slackers who, for not taking Caverns and Creatures seriously enough, are sentenced by the Cavern Master to experience it for real. Unfortunately for the players, they have to live with the consequences of their actions from when it was just a game.

Why to buy this book: It’s well written and fast paced. It’s easy to become immersed in the world. Besides that, it’s laugh out loud funny. Literally. My wife had to tell m
Matt Brown
Dec 21, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened
I had to give up on listening to this book about half way through. Just not to my taste I guess. I was hoping for something funny or witty, pointing fun at nerd culture while also embracing it with obscure references. Instead, I got an endless stream of obscenities from a group of shallow, unlikable characters with zero depth or backstory.

I am half way through this book and I can’t tell you anything about any of the characters. For example, is there a main character that the story centers aroun
Sep 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Sword and sorcery comedy novel, packed with slapstick, profane, and teenaged male humor, and if you're in the right frame of mind, it's utterly hilarious. (If you're not, don't pick it up. Not even if it's free.) The writing is deadpan, the editing and formatting decent, and the story and characters kept me up way too late reading. And giggling; my poor guy did get some sleep. I think.

The book does stand alone, but the ending is abrupt. It's clearly a set-up for the series, and honestly, the pro
Rachel Sample
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: series
This book is good for what it is: a fun, easy, entertaining read. My aunt, of all people, recommended it to me. I think she's played Dungeons and Dragons a total of two times in her entire life, but she has read every book in this series so far.
Even if you've never played a tabletop RPG (I've only played once), I'm guessing you would still be able to understand what's going on. The author explains the rules well without making it boring.
This book was actually much better than I expected. The h
Aug 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Should a Game Master use his magic dice to banish his four players into the world of their game, simply for not giving the game their undivided attention? How very rude! Really, people that own magical artifacts should be required to complete anger management counseling. Granted that all four guys seemed to want beer more than game play, and they were a little insulting to the guy that they invited to their game. But you’d think that someone that wears a purple cape and calls himself Mordred (ye ...more
Lilyn G. | Sci-Fi & Scary |
May 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Critical Failures is full of crude and rude and downright disgusting. It’s also positively hilarious at times, and the puns come out of nowhere and leave you snickering. It’s also got a smattering of entirely horrible innuendos in it, and while none of the characters are particularly charismatic (even if they did have a high die roll on that), they’re just real enough to find yourself rooting for them even as you want to slap them upside the head.

Whilst I’ve never actually played any of the tabl
Laura of Lurking
Nov 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Crass humour
Corny jokes
Super geek fest

I was on the unlucky end of dungeons and dragons, I started secondary school a year after they closed the group, but I have always had a fascination and played computer games when I can get m hands on them. This took me into the world and let me explore. Funny and light hearted, yet it made me feel for the characters even the rather… shall I say animalistic Cooper!

I would recommend this to anyone with a good sense of humour and either experience
Is this a masterpiece of human literature? Definitely not.
Is it hillarious from start to finish and will I continue devouring the sequels? In the "spirit" of the book, I'm gonna go with: Oh Hell Fucking Yes.

I admit, this is not for everyone, it's not deep or complicated, there's a simple plot, and apart from the main characters, there isn't anyone worth mentioning. However, if you like "Yo Momma" jokes, expletive references to shit, piss, dicks and tits, set in a fantasy universe using D&D mecha
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is a guilty pleasure kind of read. It was a hilarious romp through a Dungeons & Dragons type world with a group of foul-mouthed but funny losers. It will never go down in the annals of great literature, but as someone who has played D&D before it was a laugh a minute. Fellow nerds, please read this one. You'll laugh at least once, out loud, while reading this. I promise. ...more
Gary Butler
Feb 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
13th book read in 2015.

Number 107 out of 441 on my all time book list.

Follow the link below to see my video review:

Maria Kramer
Aug 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, adult, humor
This book is great...For what it is. It's not groundbreaking. It's not going to win any Pulitzers. But if you want a fun, quick, vulgar, extremely nerdy title, this is the book for you. Also, it broke me out of a reading slump, so there's that going for it.
Jonathan Gillespie
Nov 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Gamers, specifically RPG gamers
Recommended to Jonathan by: N/A
If the other books I've reviewed are polite visitors, then Robert Bevan's "Critical Failures" is the guy in the GWAR T-shirt that cussed out a neighbor, drank all the vodka, and passed out in the bathroom.

This book spends a lot of time in said bathroom. Bevan answers the truly burning questions in the fantasy genre, such as "How badly does an orc's feculence stink?" and "What god does a dwarven cleric pray to when he forgot to designate one?" As you might guess, this one's not for kids by any st
Robert Brockway
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Short, breezy, and a whole lot of fun. This ain't an art book, and you won't learn a lesson about what it is to be truly alone or how humanity connects to the greater universe on a spiritual level, but you will read about slapstick decapitations and confused-horse-summoning wizards.
Nick Hamden
Mar 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Good concept. Sure. And technically realistic. Because everyone is an asshole. But the dialogue and language and manor of all the players just made this an uncomfortable and awkward read. There were some clever moments and some confusing moments. But I don't think I will go to volume 2.
Patrick Driscoll
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm going to copy and paste one of the reviews from here. The original reviewer explains why she rated this one star, which happens to be exactly why I'm giving it five stars.

"It seems like it was written by a misogynistic, homophobic 13 year old boy, who thinks that swear words are effective vocabulary, and friendships consist of being unkind to one another."
Let's get the bad out of the way: yes, virtually all of these characters are juvenile assholes who richly deserve each other, and the text is highly scatological, filled with body fluids of various types and “your mama” jokes. Highbrow literature, it ain't. It's not particularly well-written, nobody here is particularly likable, and it's an enormous farce. But it was entertaining enough that I wanted to pick up the second book right away when the first one ended.

There are a lot of angry game
Pauline Ross
Sep 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a really fun book. The basic premise: a group of friends are keen players of 'Caverns and Creatures', a game not totally unlike 'Dungeons and Dragons' (cough), but when they insult their new Cavern Master, he retaliates by sending them into the game for real. And so a half-orc barbarian, a dwarven cleric, a halfling rogue and an elvish sorcerer find themselves getting used to new bodies, learning to use their abilities, facing up to trolls, goblins, giant ants and a humourless town guard ...more
Mary C. Moore
Oct 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A highly amusing tale, Critical Failures brings us into a world where role playing suddenly becomes real with the help of a pair of magic dice. Tim, a young man with serious geek personality brings together his group of friends to play a version of fantasy role playing cards under the mysterious tutelage of Mordred, a creepy fat guy in a purple cape. The gang thinks they are just there for the usual night of beer drinking and role-playing. But one member, Conner, with a serious 'tude, pushes to ...more
Sharon Stevenson
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, humour
'Critical Failures' is the story of a geek called Tim who arranges weekly a role playing game similar to Dungeons & Dragons. Tim & three friends make the mistake of inviting stranger Mordred to play with them and they end up at his mercy when he puts them inside the game after they insult him.

It isn't hard to grasp any of the role playing game rules if you're unfamiliar with them, things are explained as the story moves along and it all makes sense. How exactly Mordred puts them inside the game
Joseph Thomas
Aug 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
Critical Failures by Robert Bevan is a humorous novel about four friends who are getting together to play a game of "Caverns and Creatures" or C&C (a.k.a. Dungeons and Dragons) with a new Cavern Master who they found online and never met before.

In no time the group gets on the bad side of the Cavern Master and as punishment he traps them inside the world of C&C as their characters. Soon they discover that their actions and choices have consequences and adventure ensues.

While the concept behind
Bronwyn Frederick
If you have a juvenile sense of humor, some of the sophomoric jokes will make you laugh. If you are a proud woman you will NOT like the way the female characters are written. Tolkien didn't write women well either, but at least the men in his stories didn't verbally abuse them and call them "bitches" for standing up for themselves. Let me state, as loudly as I can, I think Bevan is confusing his own misogyny with his characters'. If a woman is not villainized or victimized, she is made into a s ...more
May 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook, fantasy, 2015
typical d&d type of thing. Game starts, players get transported into the alternate world and stuck there. There is a fairly large amount of bad language. While I'm not perfect, my vocabulary is such that I don't need to say F*&k ever time I speak. Sadly, the vocabulary of some of the characters, one in particular (Cooper), is not so vast and therefore that is the main word in his vocabulary. ...more
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Other books in the series

Caverns and Creatures (7 books)
  • Critical Failures II: Fail Harder
  • Critical Failures III: A Storm of S-Words
  • Critical Failures IV
  • Critical Failures V
  • Critical Failures VI
  • Critical Failures VII

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