Friday 12 March 2010

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 an RPG based on the classic Keith Martin Fighting Fantasy gamebook Vault of the Vampire.

Brad is the GM, and Rob plays his character, Abraham Van Bragging.

Previously on Dickass DM: Whilst travelling through the village of Mortvania, the fearless adventurer Abraham Van Bragging learnt of a supposedly vampire infested castle, and the hot yet relatively trampy babe the evil Reiner Heydrich had recently captured. Journeying deeper into the crypt, he discovers an ominous crunching sound...

Read Part One
Read Part Two
Read Part Three

Rob: Make for the landing!
Brad: You reach the landing, hurry down the stairs and make your way back to the courtyard.
Rob: The best I can hope for is someone eating Kellogg's Crunchy Nut. And that might convince me to stay and eat with them.
Brad: You take out the Crypt Key and head towards the forbidding Crypt with its heavy, iron-railing gates and leering gargoyle heads. A huge shadow looms over you and you spin around in panic - but it is just a low-flying bat, silhoutted against the moon. Nothing dodgy about that, right?
Rob: Totally not...
Brad: The moonlight is a sickly, diseased yellow tonight, and there are other flittering things in the pale light and the shadows round you. You insert the great iron key into the massive lock and the heavily barred gate swings open. It is pitch-black below and you must have a light-source: your lantern. You descend stone steps, covered in dust, cut between walls which are cobwebby and moss-covered. The walls have pale deocrations and, at intervals, leering gargoyle faces which seem to be looking at you - or is that just your imagination? Rats scurry about in the distance; as you step down into a tunnel at the end of the steps, you notice a small pile of bones at which they have been gnawing. They look not unlike human bones. With a shudder, you walk on until you reach a door, and you open this with your keys. Before you is a corridor in which you can see doors and alcoves in the distance.
Rob: Wall of text OF HELL!
Brad: Feel free to heckle any time. That's why you're here, right?
Rob: That was my heckle...
Brad: As you advance, you sense there is something wrong with your footing - and you just manage to step back in time from a covered pit trap. Skirting round it, you continue safely along the corridor. Some ten feet further along you stand before two doors, one on either side of you.
Rob: Balls, I thought the only choice I'd face was "Gloating" or "Silent Reverence" when killing him.
Brad: The door to the north has a dusty plaque which you read after clearing away the cobwebs; it says simply "Boris The Drunkard".
Rob: Isn't that a song by The Who?
Brad: OF HELL! This doesn't sound too promising, right?
Rob: Not really...
Brad: The southern door has a plaque which reads: "Chancellor Conrad Schmidt, The Meanest Man in Mortvania". Ahead of you, you can see a T-junciton with north and south turnings, and also a door at the end.
On the street with Paper bag
Surrounded by abusive slag....
Drinking cans of Special Brew
Might drink one or maybe two...
Boooris the Drunkard...
Brad: Which way do you want to go?
Rob: Let's warm up by killing a tramp. Go for Boris' room.
Brad: You unlock the door with your keys. Probably the most common sense decision.
Rob: Unlocking a door with keys, or kicking a tramp to death?
Brad: Tomato, tomato...That really doesn't work written down, does it?
Rob: Not really.
Brad: The door opens into a small, bare, stone chamber, with a plain stone sarcophagus in the centre.
Rob: I investigate the sarcophagus.
Brad: That's pronounced sar-co-fay-gus. Your prise the lid off the sarcophagus. Inside is an ordinary skeleton, but there is also an ornate brass bottle, and the seal round its stopper looks intact.
Rob: Hmmmm, how likely is this to be moonshine?...
Brad: There's no way that drinking centuries-old booze you find in a vampire's crypt in a cursed castle can be a bad idea, right?
Rob: I open the bottle.
Brad: Inside the bottle is a well aged brandy which has magnificent restorative powers. You can drink now, or keep it for later?
Rob: Drink it now, actually.
Brad: Boris may have been a drunkard, but he knew a good pick me up when he found one, and you should be happy to drink to his memory! You feel your injuries healing.
Rob: On to the Chancellor's tomb! Grave-robbing has had no side-effects as yet!
Brad: You open the door, to gaze on a horrid scene: the stone sarcophagus in this bare room has been smashed open, and a half rotting green thing which may once have been a human is crouched close by the door, gnawing on a bone. Immediately it leaps, snarling, to attack you. An overwhelming stench of rotting fleash nauseates and weakens you. Do you want to fight it, or run away?
Rob: Escape!
Brad: This is a foolish decision! The monster was already close by the door, and you have no time to flee in this way. The Stench Ghoul hits you.
Rob: ...Why give it as an option?
Brad: Your mother. That's why. Your faith is useless against this Stench Ghoul, a creature fired by a malice that has grown insatiable over years of imprisonment, so you must fight! Beacuse of the nauseuous stench, you are at a disadvantge.

The Stench Ghoul hits you, smelling badly.
You strike it with your knee.
You hit it with a "Yo Momma So Fat" joke.

Van Bragging: Yo Momma So Ugly, I'd rather take her with me than kiss her goodbye!

You finger its sister.
The thing retaliates by fingering your sister.

Rob: ...Dude...

You stab it in the Balkans, and it dies.

Rob: I need to drink some brandy.
Brad: Wiping the last of the slime from the Stench Ghoul off your sword, you take a quick look around and find a leather bag in the sarcophagus. This contains five gold pieces, which you can add to your treasure. You head on down the corridor to the T-junction. At the Eastern end of the corridor is a black door with heavy iron bands; at the sides, to north and south, are small side-passages which also end in a black wooden door. Checking them swiftly, you find that the northern door has a plaque which reads: "Doktor Pieter Faustus, Physician to Count Wilhelm Heydrich". The other doors have no decoration.
Rob: North door. Let's go visit Pieter.
Brad: You enter a mausoleum containing a sarcophagus, and some wall-shelves and tables, covered with a bizarre array of items. You notice surgical equipment, blades, bottled specimens and freaks of nature, jars of fluids, and a number of severed limbs and heads, which appear to be in perfectly preserved condition.
Rob: Right. Cheery...I search the chamber.
Brad: You look around for anything that may be of value, but as you search the shelves you hear a strange bubbling, gulping sound behind you. Spinning around, you see a disghusting, greenish yellow, seething monstrosity, slithering from the sarcophagus and blocking your way to the door. Most horrible of all, in the depths of the foul, slimy mess you can see what could just be the remains of a human face!
Rob: Whose face? Is it mine?
Brad: Uh...Geddy Lee, for the sake of argument. It slides along the floor towards you, stretching out with limb like pseudopods to reach you. You must fight this horror!

The Thing ducks back from your blow.
Its mind is not for rent.
You strike it viciously.
You strike again, being careful not to put it down as arrogant.
The thing fights defensively.
You press the advantage.
Miscellaneous Rush joke
You win the combat, suffering no injuries.
Flawless Victory

Rob: Rock. I carry on searching.
Brad: Are you looking for something in particular?
Rob: Not really, just browsing. God, these pushy sales people...
Brad: As you rummage around, one of the arms on the shelves suddenly grabs your arm and holds it quite firmly. It's not hurting you, but it won't let go.
Rob: I stay put, and see what it wants.
Brad: Interesting reaction. Not very realistic, but I guess realism isn't on the cards here...The index finger of the hand is raised, painfully slowly, and it gestures towards the south. Out of the corner of your eye you see a bottled human head opening and closing its eyes, apparently trying to speak, but it can say nothing. Is it just me or is this one actually scarier and darker than House OF HELL?
Rob: In some ways, yeah.
Brad: Again the finger gestures to the south, and for an instant you think you can hear a whispering voice saying "Help". Then the arm falls back lifelessly from you, and the head does not move. This is unnerving. You abandon your search straight away.
Rob: Okay, I go through the south door.
Brad: You insert the key into the lock and push the door open. Inside, there is a row of simple tools with no markings or decorations, all identical. You have a strange sensation; your nerves are tingling, and a bead of sweat drips from your brow into one eye, making it sting. You rub your eyes to clear your vision, and when you look again you can see a pale, ghostly figure drifting towards you, gesturing to you to come forward.
Rob: Fucksake...
Brad: The apparition - seemingly a woman - is young, gaunt of face, and looking very determined! If life has taught me anything, it's to beware the phrase "seemingly a woman".
Rob: I know dude, I've been to the Philippines. I walk towards her.
Brad: The ghostly girl communicates with you by telepathy.

Jandor: I am Jandor, one of Katarina's victims. I was caught off guard and my magic could not help me before I was bled to death.

Brad: You shiver, contemplating such a terrible end.

Van Bragging: You were bled to death? Or you bled to death? I suppose they're the same thing, but details!
Jandor: There's no time for that. My tomb (gestures) - my magical ring of spell storing is in it. It will help you in your quest. All those buried here have been consumed by the Heydrichs over the years.
Van Bragging: Including Boris the Drunkard? And Happy Jack?
Jandor: Bring us our revenge.

Brad: You nod grimly to her; you seek nothing more! The youthful wizard's ghost watches as you open her tomb and take the plain gold ring from her skeletal hand. The ring originally had six spells in it, but now only three remain:

FORCEWALL conjures up an invisible sphere of force around you which cannot be passed through, and which moves as you do. It can prevent enemies from escaping; or it can keep enemies away from you for a time, if you wish to use it as protection.

GREATSTRIKE is a spell which is usable in combat when you wield a sword.
You cast the spell before you strike and, if you land a blow in that round, you blow does six damage, instead of the normal two.

SHATTER is a spell which will destroy any ONE creature that is made almost entirely of bones, such as a skeleton. You may cast it any time during a combat with such a creature.

You leave with the ghost's blessing. And jewellery and powers, I guess. You slam the door behind you. As you look northwards, you see a slimy trail of greenish-yellow muck seething from under the door to the north! You open the eastern door quickly and slip through.
Rob: Him again? Fucking hell...
Brad: You open the great black door to the east and step into a dank corridor in which there is an almost palpable sense of evil. Your lantern shows gleams reflecting ahead, and you see the yellowed bones of the guardian which is moving swiftly towards you.
Rob: say?
Brad: The huge, four-armed skeletal creature - a Major Thassaloss - carries a massive black scythe; great, green, glowing eye-sockets glower above the mindlessly grinning, slack jawbone of the skull.
Rob: SpellCasting!
Brad: Jesus...Which spell are you casting?
Rob: S-H-A-T-T-E-R.....B-Y-A-T-C-H!
Brad: The spell snaps the spine of the monster, destroying it instantly. The last of the malevolent green glow fades from the eye-sockets and the great black scythe falls to the floor with a crash. Three sets of stairs lead downwards from the end of the corridor: northwards, eastwards and to the south. Each set of steps is dusty, the walls are mildewed and the air is dank. A powerful sense of evil seems to pervade even the nooks and crannies here! Which set of steps will you follow?
Rob: EVIL NOOKS! Let's go North...
Brad: You take the steps down until you come to a door which bares no plaque or sign, although you can see that there are some scratch marks on the door, as if something has been removed or some creature has been trying to get in or perhaps has just defaced the door.
Rob: Oh, jolly good...Fuck it, let's open the door.
Brad: Okay...Why?
Rob: Why...not?
Brad: Just asking. You know, you'd figure with the claw marks and the fear and all, but..whatever. It's all good.
Rob: ...
Brad: You open the door into a chamber that is lit by a pearly globe of magical light, shining softly over a quartz-crystal coffin which stands of a magnificently decorated catafalque. One sec, I'm going to look that word up.
Rob: I think it's short for a cat made of oak.
Brad: "Noun: A platform used to display or convey a coffin during a funeral, often ornate.". So, it's a table, I guess. Inside the coffin you see a man. Of extraordinary height, almost seven feet tall and with flowing blond hair, he is smooth of face, fine of feature, and thickly muscled; the body must surely be enbalmed. Or Kevin Nash, I guess.
Rob: Check his quadriceps!
Brad: On the platform used to display or convey a coffin during a funeral, often ornate is a small ornamental shield with lettering which reads, simply, "Siegfried Heydrich". Although you can see no belongings of the blond giant inside his tomb, there might well be something concealed within it. What do you want to do?
Rob: I'm torn...part of me thinks I should open the coffin and try to twat him,
and then there's that whole "logic" thing niggling at me.
Brad: Yeah, is Siegfried the big bad guy, or is that Reiner? I'm not really paying attention.
Rob: I think that was Carl Reiner. I can't remember hearing about Siegfried. I think we've seen Roy and a tiger.
Brad: There was a tigerskin carpet, for sure. Anywho, what's the plan?
Rob: Try to open the coffin. Since when has ignoring logic served me wrong in these games?
Brad: There is no counter-argument to that. From the body, a ghostly double of the man rises and sits up, then moves out of the coffin to stand before you.
Rob: That's got to be terrifying.
Brad: Towering over you, the shade of Siegfried Heydrich stares grimly down and gestures for you to follow him - pointing to the coffin! You lift the lid and gently move the body aside.

Van Bragging: Just need to open this. Can you hold
Brad: Your shaking hands find a secret door in the base of the coffin; the gap is large enough for you to squeeze through, following the impatient ghost. I feel this adventure has jumped the shark.
Rob: Now there's fucking sharks too?
Brad: You drop a few feet down to a stone floor and, half-crouching, using your lantern you follow Siegfried's ghost along a short, narrow passage that opens into a kind of small shrine. Siegfried points to a small, rosy quartz vial of colourless liquid.

Siegfried: Holy water, you'll find that useful.

Brad: Then Siegfried looks at a very strange gilded bronze globe, lying on the white-clothed table before you next to a silver chalice.


To celebrate DVD and Blu-ray release of the Paranormal Activity on 22nd March, described by Harry Knowles from Ain't It Cool News as "one of the scariest at-home viewing experiences ever” (and you'd trust...some guy, right?)!

This is the story of Katie and Micah, a carefree couple who become haunted by an unseen presence in their house. They decide to investigate the increasingly bizarre and escalating intrusions by setting up a video camera to capture evidence of the demonic presence in their house, only to find much more than they ever imagined.

The Bonus features include, Alternative Ending, "Film Your Own Paranormal Activity" Short Films, and Introduction by Director Oren Peli & Audio Commentary by Director Oren Peli.

Thanks to our friends at Icon Home Entertainment, we've got three copies of Paranormal Activity to give away! For your chance of winning one, send us an e-mail to with your name and postal address before midday on Friday 19th March (UK time). The first three names drawn out of the electronic hat will win a free copy!
For more information on Paranormal Activity, and to join the support group visit

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