Friday 30 July 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 a 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 Steve Jackson Fighting Fantasy gamebook Robot Commando.
Brad: So, what name are we giving your character?
Rob: Bragbot 5000.
Brad: So, you're telling me that Mr and Mrs 5000 named their little boy "Bragbot"? You're the pilot. Not the actual robot.
Rob: Oh...
Brad: It's still cool, dude.
Rob: Bragbot 3000.
Brad: Well, that makes much more sense. Fuck it.
Rob: Medi-packs in this only heal 1 Stamina?
Brad: Yes. Shit, aren't they? I'm assuming the reduction in healing power is to balance that this time you're in a Giant Fucking Battlemech.
Rob: When you put it like that...Yeah, fine.
Brad: You are a rancher in the land of Thalos.
Rob: Am I a jolly rancher?
Brad: You're jollier than most. Your people (and your enemies, the savage Karosseans) have built huge robots for many purposes. With a skilled operator at the controls, a robot can replace a hundred men - to mine ore, erect
Rob: Hehehe.
Brad: buildings, - move cargo, or just about anything else.
Rob: Hehehe, buildings...
Brad: The robots are also your best defence against the vicious dinosaurs of Thalos. Many years ago, the great lizards caused much destruction. I'm assuming the Dinosaurs and the Great Lizards merged at some point.
Rob: Probably. Or the Dinosaurs are Guns N' Roses, the Great Lizards are Velvet Revolver, that sort of thing. The Dinosaurs take an entire age to release an album, and there are none of the original Dinosaurs except the ginger one. Am I along the right lines?
Brad: But now, mankind has learned to tame the beasts,
Rob: Not to be confused with Cactus Jack.
Brad: and many of the folks of Thalos - like you - are dinosaur ranchers. I've got a feeling that the "hard sci-fi" of this isn't going to stand up very well. Fuck hard sci-fi. Give me Saturday Morning Cartoons any day.
Rob: If I have anything to do with it, nothing will stand up to scrutiny.
Brad: I mean, what would the point be in ranching dinosaurs? Apart from to spice up Pro Bull Riding on ESPN?
Rob: All the while, Scott Weiland gyrates around with an ex-dinosaur on guitar.
Brad: The ranchers use Mark 5A utility robots, known as "Cowboys", to herd the dinosaurs!
Rob: See? It's not just my guy with the numerical surname. This Mark 5A is a stupid name. What's wrong with "Mark Johnson"?
Brad: But wild dinosaurs are still dangerous, and all robots have guns to defend themselves.
Rob: What about my guns? What a crock. All I have is this glorious sword...
Brad: I'd have loved to have been on site for the production meeting of this.
"Dinosaurs, yes. Robots, yes. Swords, yes....but it's still missing something."
"How about cowboys?"
Early one morning, you are just finishing your breakfast when one of your assistants staggers into the kitchen.
Clank 200: So sleepy...
Brad: Clank sits down at the table, pillows his head on his arms and goes to sleep. You shake him, but you cannot rouse him. Alarmed, you go for help.
Rob: Shake him hard enough to make his ears bleed!
Brad: But everyone else you see is asleep. You Rush back inside and switch on a radio.
Rob: Ah, the Spirit of Radio...
Brad: But you can only get scraps of messages:
Radio: Everybody asleep...Korassean attack...
Bragbot 3000: Wait, who's broadcasting this message if everyone's asleep?
Radio: ...can't stay awake...
Brad: Soon there is nothing to be heard.
Bragbot 3000: Well, that answers my question.
Brad: You go outside again and pour cold water on several of your friends - but they just snore and mutter.
Bragbot 3000: Joke's on them, they'll wake up sodden.
Brad: Then, you hear a rumble overhead, like thunder out of the clear sky. You look up. Streaking overhead is the unmistakeable shape of a Karossean robojet.
Rob: Robojet? That's dire.
Brad: “Ah, the unmistakable shape of ...*crumple*”
You realise what must have happened. Somehow, the Karosseans have managed to put everyone in Thalos to sleep...everyone but you. Another thing you've failed at. Your parents must be so proud. For some reason, you are immune.
Bragbot 3000: Well, my parents would be proud, but they're probably asleep. assuming they survived that mine explosion.
Brad: Over the next few hours, you listen to the enemy communications and piece together the story.
Rob: How am I doing that? Do they do a podcast?
Brad: You're just...yeah. yeah, they do. In the past, the Karosseans had steered clear of Thalos; with its brave warriors and its many robots, your land was too tough to attack. But Minos, their leader, hit on a clever plan. His spies spread capsules of a virulent sleeping sickness - and before long - all Thalos was asleep. Soon you hear a broadcast from Minos himself, talking to his invading troops.
Rob: Interspersed with his favourite pop songs I presume...
Brad: An elite force of a thousand warriors, with hundreds of robots, has invaded Thalos. But this is only the beginning. With the population helpless, Minos plans to loot your...
***Lady Gaga break***
Brad: country. That's how smooth it is on shows, anyway. Its riches and its robots will be his; its people will be sold as slaves. And only you can stop it! You know what you have to do.
Bragbot 3000: Oh good, pressure.
Brad: You walk back inside and buckle your father's old sword to your waist. Unless you'd prefer it on your back, a la He-Man?
Rob: Back works
Brad: Shin? Anywhere except the chest, really.
Rob: Well, yeah, that'd be fiddly. Like having short pockets on a denim jacket.
Brad: Food will be no problem - you know supplies will be easy to find - but you pick up a supply of five medikits. Then you head for the robot parking-area.
Rob: Parking area?
Bragbot 3000: Ha! They whinged when I paved paradise to put this here... The white zone is for immediate loading and unloading of robots.
Brad: Alone, you must defeat the Karossean invaders and free your land!
Rob: One sec. Gonna get a drink.
Brad: Way to kill the mood, Wadey boy...
Brad: What did you get?
Rob: Ice tea.
Brad: I have coke, because I can no longer function without caffeine. I'm like the Spacing Guild Navigators in the David Lynch version of Dune. In a big black canister full of the stuff.
Rob: I have decided to cut down on the coke today, I had some dentistry work done this morning.
Brad: Ah, I just don't go the dentist. I figure when I'm old, I'll just have an proboscis fitted.
At the robot parking area, you stop and look around.
Bragbot 3000: Where did I park my robot?
Brad: There are several robots there, but only two seem suitable for long-distance travel. You study they both.
Rob: Right. I doubt very much I'll miss out on a plot hook here, bearing in mind that they're both robots as opposed to one robot and one whisk.
Brad: You could take a standard "Cowboy" walking robot, which is not fast, but sturdy and adaptable, or you could take a light flyer, which is very speedy and manoeuvrable, but not really intended for combat
Rob: Cowboy!
Brad: Is that your answer or is your, frankly bizarre, type of Tourettes rearing its head again?
Rob: Mop-buckets!
Brad: We're going with A, because I don't have all night. Who the fuck am I kidding? Of course I do!
Rob: Cowboy, still, though.
Brad: This man-shaped robot is designed for dinosaur herding. It moves by walking. It has weapons for dealing with rogue dinosaurs, but they are not as powerful as those of a war robot.
Rob: I doubt very much that it'll be an issue. I anticipate no untoward combat will occur.
Brad: Yeah, what can possibly go wrong with this? We're just taking this through dinosaur infested wasteland to battle an invading alien army on our own. What's the plan?
Rob: What's the options?
Brad: You know that, although there are probably Karosseans everywhere, their base is at the Capital City.
Rob: Hmmm...Seems a little rash to go flying into the capital city...
Brad: But you can't just charge in there and attack them with your little robot!
Rob: Especially as my robot isn't a flying variety, and that would just be an expression...
Brad: You must prepare well before you make your move.
Rob: All right fine, let's build this well.
Brad: Fortunately, there are many cities in Thalos. You will be able to search the whole country for help, if need be, before you confront the invaders.
Rob: Sounds like a plan.
Brad: Two large cities are fairly close, The City of Knowledge, and The City of Industry.
Rob: Knowledge is for pussies, let's do Industry first. Capitalism FTW.
Brad: Indeed. You set a course for the City of Industry, a place of great factories and machinery. There, you reason, you might find a robot or invention that would give you an advantage over the invaders. After several hours of travel, you enter rocky terrain.
Rob: See, if there's fairness involved, I'll just find a lizard repellent. Considering how I was killed last time by, you know, local council inefficiency.
Brad: The path narrows, and you are forced to use both of your robot's hands just to climb. You wish you were in a vehicle that could just fly over all of this. Retard.
Suddenly, you hear a roar! Looking behind you, you see a huge Tyrannosaurus sprinting through the rocks at you! Jaws agape, it lunges towards you, and robot and dinosaur fall to the ground, grapping fiercely.
Rob: Robot vs Dinosaur fight!
Brad: This huge meat eater is the "King of the Dinosaurs", and attacks anything it sees to feed its savage appetite. You must fight it to the finish...

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