Friday 4 June 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 Ian Livingstone Fighting Fantasy gamebook Armies of Death.

Previously on Armies of Death: Rich and stupid adventurer General Braggart has raised an army to march forward and destroy the forces of Shagglax the Shadow SDemon. They have taken passage aboard the stupidly named ship Flying Toucan, and picked up a Viking/pro-wrestling journalist along the way. Attacked by pirates, the brave General orders his troops to disemback and fight on land!

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

Read Part One Here

Brad: You see the pirate captain examining your troops through his telescopy and you smile, satisfied that he will be surprised to encounter such a strong force.

General Braggart: Wait, have they got guns?

Brad: Your plan works; the pirate captain shouts out new orders to his men, and you watch the pirate ship sail past the Flying Toucan, downriver and out of sight.
Rob: Sweet.

General Braggart: Right, so for reference men, just offering out the first pirate captain we came across worked wonders.

Brad: Captain Barnock begins to cheer loudly, until a coughing fit overtakes him and he has to sit down to recover.

Cripps the Barbarian: Hah. Fail.

Brad: We appear to have discovered the Ace Rimmer incarnation of Braggart. He's doing rather well. Too well.
Rob: It'll all come crashing down shortly. Don't you worry about that.
Brad: In less than half an hour, all your troops and baggage are aboard the Flying Toucan once more, and you set sail upriver for Zengis. It is late in the afternoon when the towers and rooftops of Zengis come into view.
Rob: Baggage? I figured that people would be smart enough not to go back for possessions, apparently not.
Brad: Captain Barnock appears to relax a little, knowing that he will soon be moored up in the safety of the town jetty.

Captain Barnock: Arrr. I be a terrible pansy.
General Braggart: Yep, with no concept of grammar it seems.

Brad: Before going ashore, you appoint a warrior as your second-in-command. Who will you pick?
Rob: Who are my choices?
Brad: Sir McSpindle, Omer the Viking, Cripps the Barbarian and anyone else you want to make up.
Rob: Omer the Viking.
Brad: Clank the Donkey, I guess.
Rob: I'm fairly sure McS was imagined in my head. No?
Brad: Who can keep track? We don't go big on consistency here. (cf. Starship Traveller). You tell Omer to lead your men to a field outside the town walls and to pitch camp there; you don't want them getting into trouble, and you want them well fed and rested for the next day's march.

Sir McSpindle: So...he's the second in command - with pay rise - and I still have to accompany you everywhere, even into the jaws of death? This blows.
General Braggart: Quiet, you!

Brad: You tell Omer that you will spend the night in Zengis in order to recruit more troops and perhaps find out some rumours about Shagglax the Shadow Sdemon.
Rob: Sounds Sgood
Brad: As your troops march down the gangplank of the Flying Toucan, you bid farewell to Captain Barnock.

Omer: Farewell, strangely cowardly captain!
Captain Barnock: Farewell, strangely attractive second-in-command!

Brad: You walk through the main gates of the town and decide to head for the nearest tavern, a place where you might expect to find both warriors and rumours. **Fleetwood Mac joke**
Rob: Why a Fleetwood Mac joke? In this book I can't go my own way...go my own waaaay...
Brad: As you walk down the narrow street between the old wooden houses, you suddenly catch sight of a gold ring lying in the gutter.
Rob: I pick it up.

Sir McSpindle: A discarded ring in a fantasy story? Is that wise?
General Braggart: Are you still here?

Brad: You examine the ring and see that it is enscribed with the number 45. Suddenly you feel a tap on your shoulder; whirling round, you are confronted by a huge bald man, looking angrily at you.

General Braggart: Stone Cold?!
Cripps the Barbarian: That ring must belong to Butterbean!

Brad: An ugly scar runs across his face from above his left ear to the bottom of his right cheek. His bulging muscles stretch his black leather tunic, and you are quick to notice that he is brandishing a battle-axe. Which is why we mentioned it last. Ahem. A throwing axe is strapped to his leg. He points an accusing finger into your face.

Ugly Man: That's my ring, stranger. Give it to me, or die.
General Braggart: What?

Brad: You notice that his fat fingers are far too big for the ring and decide that obviously he is lying.
Rob: Fight him.

Sir McSpindle: Good luck with that.
General Braggart: He's a bully, it's the only way to stand up to him.

Brad: The axeman stands back, cutting a figure-of-eight through the air with the battle axe which he wields in both hands.

Sir McSpindle: I'm pretty sure that's spiders you're thinking of.
General Braggart: No, that's to pull legs of...just fuck off, will you?


You pull his leg off, to prove a point.

Rob: Wow, that must have been a critical hit.

You exchange blows.

General Braggart: I'm not gay!

You remove his appendix.

General Braggart: Not necessary, but it'll slow him down...

You set his MS Word dictionary to "English (United States)".

General Braggart: Again, this is just to slow him.

You tread on his bollock.

Rob: Nice.
Brad: The axeman is defeated. Whilst taking his axe, you spot a leather pouch on the axeman's belt; before you have time to open it, however, you see two town guards running up the street towards you.
Rob: Run off.
Brad: The guards call out for you to stop, but you run on as fast as you can, keeping an eye out for a tavern into which to dash. Two minutes later, you see a crooked wooden sign hanging over the door of an old wooden building.

Cripps the Barbarian: For Sale?
General Braggart: Do you reckon they accept rings?

Brad: A crude drawing of a dragon is painted on it, above the words "The Black Dragon". How crude, I wonder? So crude it actually more resembled a hard-drive?
There is much shouting and laughter coming from inside the tavern and you decide to enter at once. You climb a few well-worn stone steps and push open the heavy oak door.
Rob: Are there light oak doors?
Brad: Very thin ones, I guess. Even though it is daytime, the tavern is dark inside and candles are burning as the small grubby windows let in virtually no daylight.

Cripps the Barbarian: Is this a vampire pub?
General Braggart: Let's see, anyone sparkling? Yes, it's a vampire pub.

Brad: From the doorway you see that the tavern is bustling with life, although none of it looks too savoury.
Rob: Sweet only then. Fair enough.
Brad: Groups of cloaked vagabonds are huddled together in dark corners, while boisterous rogues, much the worse for the ale they have already drunk, sit in the middle of the tavern, insulting all who pass by them, including the harrassed barmaids who have to squeeze between the tables carrying their loaded trays.

Barman: We don't serve their kind here!
General Braggart: Who, my human friends? Good luck with that.
Barman: Your knight and your barbarian. They'll have to wait outside. We don't want them here.
McSpindle: Listen, why don't we wait out by the speeder? We don't want any trouble.
Cripps the Barbarian: I heartily agree with you, sir.
General Braggart: Suit yourself, queer.

Brad: You look from table to table and decide where to sit. You could sit at the bar, sit with a drunken rogue, or sit with three vagabonds?

General Braggart: This drunk looks like fun.

Brad: Don't let her touch you. You sit down at the table and greet the man sitting there; he is dressed in dark-brown leather armour over black robes. Oh. That kind of Rogue.
Rob: Nice.
Brad: But the man remains silent, the vacant expression on his face unchanged. His staring eyes remain fixed on the door as he raises his mug to his lips and gulps down his ale.

General Braggart: Well, this is the worst speed dating ever. What’s your name?
Rogue: I'm not interested in talking. Now shut up and go away.

Rob: Continue talking. I know a plot hook when I see one.
Brad: History says you don't. Remember Wisneyland?
Rob: I'm trying to learn.

Rogue: I said, go away!
Brad: The Rogue pushes the table back and stands up.

Rogue: You must either be deaf or stupid.
General Braggart: Can’t it be both?
Rogue: Maybe you can understand this!

Brad: He draws his sword. You respond in a similar fashion.
Rob: I draw his sword?
Brad: I said "similar". You draw your axe.


You give him a wedgie.
He makes you proof read his dissertation.

Rob: Urgh.

You get him a job at Cineworld.

Rob: That'll show him.

You get him a job as a door to door salesman.
You get him a job in a call-centre.
He is defeated.

Brad: The crowd of people who watched the fight inside the tavern do not look pleased at the outcome.
Rob: He's much weaker than me then, I did all those jobs and am still alive. Well, bollocks to him, he couldn't hack call centre hours.
Brad: You decide to make a dash for the door before they turn nasty. You run into the street, slamming the tavern door behind you, and carry on without stopping.

General Braggart: Sorry about the mess.

Brad: After passing a row of old wooden houses you come across a curious shop. A bi-curious shop. There is nothing displayed in the window except straw and an empty birdcage.
Rob: Hunh, that's odd.

General Braggart: Someone ate the bird, I assume.
Sir McSpindle: This must be Crazy Old Yoko's art gallery.

Brad: Brown paint is flaking off the window-frame and also the door, above which is a sign which reads: "Pets - Normal and Unnatural"
Rob: I go in.
Brad: As you open the door, a small brass bell tinkles above your head.

General Braggart: Gross!
Sir McSpindle: Gah! It's in my hair! Why do I follow you?

Brad: A thin, bearded old man is sitting on a stool behind a wooden counter talking to a large crow, perched on his hand.
Rob: I thought that said "cow" for a second.


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