Friday 24 July 2009

Dickass DM

Remember good old-fashioned gamebooks? They promised all the fun of a role-playing game, with none of the social interaction - what more could an teenage boy desire? The thing is, that while the gamebook became a great gaming experience in its own right, the only RPG it could possibly have simulated was one being GM'd by Satan himself. 90% of decisions led to certain death, and combat was often fatal.

Satan wasn't available, so Brad will be GMing Rob through our very first (and possibly only) installment of Dickass DM!. Today, they will be playing through an RPG based on the classic Steve Jackson Fighting Fantasy gamebook Starship Traveller.

Brad is the GM, and Rob plays his character, Captain Braggart.

Brad: Something has gone disastrously wrong! You look at the HUD on the bridge. Engineering is reporting a malfunction. The warp engines are locked at a 10% velocity gain. The ship is heading towards an overload. You try and comm through to Engineering. Engineering Officer Clank is trying to fix the problem, but it looks like it'll take at least another thirteen minutes.
Rob: That's really specific.
Brad: The Starship Traveller, only one day from retirement, is heading towards the Seltsian Void - a notorious Black Hole. Science Officer McSpindle has a suggestion, however.
Rob(Captain Braggart): Let's hear it.
Brad (Science Officer McSpindle): "Captain, if we try and swing the ship through the gravitational pull of the Black Hole, it may slow our velocity to manageable levels. The Navigation will have to be precise however..." (s)he says.
Rob: Sounds like a plot hook if ever I heard one.
Rob (Captain Braggart): "Sounds like a plan where nothing could possibly go wrong - let's do it!"
Brad: You rock the ship round to starboard. Pulling into the graviational field, it seems to be working! The gain comes down...10%...5%...0%...-5%......the crew cheers as you are the hero of the day. But you keep your eyes on the velocity indicator. -15%...-25%...The ship is being sucked off...
Rob: Lucky ship!
Brad: ...into the Seltsian Void!
Rob: Oh.
Brad: Someone hits the red alert button and the Star Trekky siren starts to go off. The ship shakes and whines like a heroin addict as you fall into the black hole!
Rob: "It's not my's society" that sort of thing?
Brad: There's a massive explosion, and you lose conciousness. Well, that's that. I'll roll you up some new characters.
Rob: You're kidding?
Brad: Yeah. I'm pulling a Silent Hill.
Rob: Making three awesome games followed by one that doesn't fit? Good luck with that, dude.
Brad: You slowly regain conciousness and look around the bridge of the Enterp...Starship Traveller, and see your crew coming to their feet.
Rob: Ouch, their feet blew off and they had to crawl to get them?
Brad: Yeah, Shoggoth attacks do that. Engineering calls in with a damage report. The warp drives are dead, so you're currently drifting in space, but they should be back online in twenty to thirty minutes.
Rob: Ooh, just enough time for an episode of a sitcom! What's everyone in the mood for?
Brad: Navigation Officer Crimsonshirt looks confused, The computer can't pinpoint where you are...the area appears to be uncharted. Science Officer McSpindle runs an analysis, and theoriese that you have travelled through a dimensional warp, and are now in a parralel universe. An episode of Married With Children later, and your warp drives are back online. The scanners indicate three potential systems to investigate. You can go onwards (life-bearing), port (life-bearing) or starboard (barren)
Rob: Starboard
Brad (Ensign Claretblouse): "What made you choose that, Captain?"
Rob: I flipped a three-sided coin. They exist in this reality, right?
Brad: Yeah, why not? You speed off to the new destination..boldly going where no copyrighted Paramount franchises have gone before! A red light comes on on your console.
Rob: If it's only one, it means the cable's not in properly. I switch it off and on again.
Brad: Engineering Officer Clank is on the line!
Brad (Engineering Officer Clank): "Cap'n! We need to reduce speed! The engine was more damaged that I thought! I cannae give her anymore cap'n!"
Brad: The sad thing is that he's from Rekyavik.
Brad (Engineering Officer Clank): "It's the Dilithi,,,Dilibrium Crystals, Cap'n!"
Rob: Not the Digimon crystals! I just installed those to upgrade from the Pokemon chamber we were using.
Brad: Dilibrium is a naturally occuring mineral. The material can easily be mined, and you have a processor on board to convert the mineral to fuel. You'll have to find some of the mineral quickly. You could continue heading towards the barren system, or investigate a nearby asteriod cluster.
Rob: Nearby asteroid cluster, then.
Brad (Ensign Claretblouse): "Aye-aye, Captain."
Brad: The man at the sensors (Lt. Scarlet-Garment) runs the sensors over the asteroids. There is some dilibrium in the centre of the cluster, but at this range it's hard to determine exactly which asteriod contains the mineral. You could send someone out with a jet-pack, but that would be risky. Do you want to send one of your friends out alone into a morass of spinning, high-speed rocks, or do you want to continue on to the barren system?
Rob (Captain Braggart): "We need that Dirigible crystal, any volunteers?"
Brad: Jesus, we could more accurately title this Cunty Captain. No-one volunteers, and everyone looks around nervously. Who do you want to send?
Rob: Lt Scarlet-Garment.
Brad: Captain Braggart...he's a hero...gonna murder his crew down to zero!
Rob (Captain Braggart): "If I put the crew asunder, I don't have to divide up the plunder!"
Brad: You roughly shove Lt. Scarlet-Garment into a space suit, and then shove him, blubbering, into the airlock. The going appears easy at first...the asteroids are slower moving on the outskirts. Lt. Scarlet-Garment, still whimpering a little, avoids a few asteroids. Using a hand held scanner, he finds four asteroids all containing Dilibrium. Which one of the four do you want him to look at?
Rob: The second one...
Brad (Lt. Scarlet-Garment): "Yes, Captain. Tell my wife I love her very much, she knows..."
Rob (Captain Braggart): Very well. I'll tell her I love her very much.
Brad (Lt. Scarlet-Garment): "No...that's not you wish, Captain."
Brad: Lt. Scarlet-Garment begins work at the asteriod with hand-held excavating tool. He manages to get several kgs of the ore into his backpack. How he can tell that it's several kilos in zero gravity is anyone's guess...
Rob: Presumably visually. Experience counts a lot in deep-space ore gathering
Brad: He leaps off of the asteroid and back towards the ship. A small asteriod enters your vision travelling at high speed. You hit the communicator to warn Lt. Scarletgarment. He doesn't notice and the asteroid smashes him, to a splat, dispersing gore and gases across a small blast area.
Rob (Captain Braggart): Bollocks.
Brad: Your stunt double drops to his knees with a cry of "SCAAAARLEEEETGAAAARMEEEENT!"
Rob: Is the backpack any closer to the ship? i can always send someone else
Brad: You can send someone else out to retrieve the ore now orbiting Scarletgarment's liver, or you can continue on to the barren system.
Rob: How urgent is the digitalis situation?
Brad: I think that not attempting to retrieve the ore may just look like a convoluted, yet successful, attempt to murder Lt. Scarletgarment. I'll give it to you, as murders go, death by asteroid is a good one.
Rob: Sounds like a good point
Rob (Captain Braggart): "Redshirt #1, out you go"
Brad: (Science Officer McSpindle): "Do you have to refer to them as "Redshirts"?"
Rob (Captain Braggart): "Go back to your chemistry set and invent a replacement for Digiversum that we can make on-board using human waste...and don't fucking backchat me, cockface."
Brad (Science Officer McSpindle): "Aye-aye, sir."
Brad: Redshirt #1 jets out into the asteroid field. A few minutes later, you hear him shouting excitedly through the com. He's found a richer source of ore, just outside the central cluster. He jets across and begins mining. Unfortunately, it appears the quantity is iinsufficient, and he has to journey deeper into the cluster.
Rob: What happened to the backpack? where's the backpack?
Brad: I dunno.
Rob: That was my backpack!

To be continued...


  1. very very enjoyable!

  2. I wholly agree with James here. I very much hope the 'To be continued' at the end of this piece is actually a promise of a continuation and not just a pastiche on the conventions of the serial genre. Bloody hilarious, guys!