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 Ian Livingstone gamebook Island of the Lizard King. Brad is the DM, and Rob plays his character, Brag Slytherin.
Catch up with previous Dickass DM installments here!
Rob: Then how do I know it did?
Brad: It silently wraps itself around your neck and starts to squeeze. You awaken, choking, and try to grasp your sword which is lying by your feet. You stretch out and your fingertips just manage to reach your sword.
Brad: By now you cannot breathe and your face is crimson with the veins bulging in your neck. You deperately hack at the vine until you cut through it and roll away out of its lethal range. You cough and rub your neck and watch the hideous vine drip purple sap.
Rob: I roll a bit further just to make sure!
Brad: Although you are lucky to have escaped the clutches of the carnivorous tree, you have not escaped injury.
Brad: Although still weary, you decide that it is better to keep on the move. As you push your way slowly through the undergrowth, the hairs on the back of your neck start to prickle and you feel that you are being watched. You stand back, sword ready, watching the leaves for any sign of movement. Then three dark-skinned men stop into view, each wearing only a crude loin-cloth.
Rob: I tackle the nearest one!
Brad: They are armed with stone clubs and long spears, but you are more alarmed to see that each wears a belt of shrunken human heads.
Brag: Where did you meet those midgets?! And what did they say that was that offensive?!
Brad: The Headhunters start to argue about who should kill you and earn the right to wear your head on his belt. Finally one steps forward!
You reject his submission for Cracked on the grounds that it's not in the form of a list.
Brag: Have you never written online?!
You criticise his choice of console.
Brag: A 3DO? Really?
You fuck him.
Brag: Weren't expecting that, were you? Be thankful it wasn't really hard!
First Headhunter is defeated.
The Second Headhunter approaches.
You use his last piece of bogpaper and don't replace the roll.
You beat him at SceneIt.
You beat him to death with a copy of SceneIt.
Second Headhunter is defeated.
Third Headhunter approaches.
You shoot him dead with a continuity error disguised as a .357 Magnum.
Third Headhunter is defeated.
Brad: The Headhunters have no items of equipment on them, but they have a hide bag containing bananas and coconuts. You save your own provisions and eat the Headhunter's food. You wonder if their village is nearby, and decide to climb a tree to get a better view. From the top you see smoke rising not far away in the south-west; perhaps from a village.
Brag: Given my fight with a vine, I anticipate this climb will go well.
Brad: Directly west, you see the trees gradually thin out, and away in the far north-west, you see the daunting shape of the volcano. You climb down from the tree and plan which way to head.
Rob: Keep going West. Sounds like some fun times exist over there!
Brad: As you hack your way through the thick undergrowth you hear the distant sound of drums coming from where you saw the smoke rising.
Brag: Rush are playing? Awesome!
Rob: Head south-west towards it!
Brad: The beating of the drums grows louder as you scramble through the undergrowth towards them. You also hear chanting voices and deep humming. You crawl forward as quietly as you can until you reach the edge of a small clearing. There are several bamboo huts in a circle around the edge of the clearing. In the centre of the clearing you see twelve Headhunters standing around a half-naked man tied to a post.
Rob: Only half naked? Keep moving.
Brad: One of the Headhunters, who is wearing a face-mask and head-dress, steps forward, his arms raised in the air. The drums instantly stop beating. Then a woman hands him a boneknife - the Headhunters are about to gain a new trophy.
Rob: I throw my...
Brad: There are too many of them for you to fight at once, and you feel helpless.
Brad: There is only one plan you can think of to distract the Headhunters, but is is dangerous.
Rob: Yeah! I take a burning branch from the fire in front of me and set some of the huts on fire! Arson FTW!
NOTE: E14 does not condone arson.
Brad: You crawl towards the fire, hoping that the Headhunters will be too engrossed in their ritual to notice you. Grabbing one of the burning brushes, you dash behind one of the huts and set it alight. Then you run to the next hut and set it on fire as well. The huts are soon blazing away - possibly with babies inside - and you watch from behind the next hut as the Headhunters run around the clearing, shouting instructions to each other in total confusion. The man tied to the post is temporarily left unguarded, and you run to him to set him free.
Rob: This had better work.
Brad: With one swipe of your sword, you cut through the vines holding him to the post, and run off towards the jungle, yelling at the man to follow. As you are running, one of the Headhunters sees you and throws his spear at you.
Rob: Why did I need to yell? Presumably he was right next to me.
Brad: The spear flies through the air, striking you in the shoulder and sending you crashing to the ground. You see the man that you rescued come to your side and pull the spear from your shoulder. He picks you up and helps you run for cover inside one of the huts, as the other Headhunters turn to attack you.
Brag: Wait a minute...
Brad: Inside the hut, the rescued man arms himself with a spear and a stone-headed club. His gratitude shows in a smile and suddnely he runs out of the hut, screaming at the top of his voice. You watch as he charges into a group of advancing Headhunters, stabbing and hacking at them in a mad frenzy.
Brag: That's a surefire way to get himself killed.
Brad: Before he finally succumbs to their blows, he manages to slay three of them. You stagger out of the hut to fight the remaining three Headhunters, but only one, the Chief, steps forward to fight; the others turn and flee.
He has a lengthy conversation with you about Mexican wrestlers, which distracts you from what you're supposed to be doing.
You claim he can't be Chief because he's not being carried around on a shield.
Brag: Also, where are your robes?
You ponder the lack of Lizards on the island...
You frape him.
"Chief Headhunter is really looking forward to the next season of Glee"
He removes your appendix.
Brag: I can get by with one!
You cut off his head.
CHIEF HEADHUNTER is defeated.
Rob: That'll do it.
Brad: You pick up the chief's spear and run back into the jungle the way you came. You are soon well away from the village and slow down to a walk.
I'm going to come out and say it: that was basically a war crime, dude.
Rob: I did kill a lot of people. Deserved though. I've accumulated a human shield.
That was fun.
Brad: You basically walked into an indigenous culture, disturbed their religious rites by burning their village to the ground - presumably women and children, too. Then you freed a prisoner of theirs - and you don't know what the story is there. He could well have raped his way through the local junior school and half of Toys R Us for all you know. You just let him go, watched him murder a fuckton of people and then killed the elder tribesman.
Well done. I never thought I'd say this, but you've actually topped that "tasering the fuck out of a nine year old" thing.
Rob: ...Thank you?
Brad: Slowly you hack your way through the dense jungle, not really certain of the direction in which you are heading. Later, you catch a brief glimpse of the sun through the trees, enough to orientate yourself, and turn to head west. Pressing on further west, you notice that the ground is becoming wetter and softer. Soon you are ankle-deep in water.
The trees thin out and you find yourself wading through thick black mire.
Rob: Lucky I'm tall...
Brad: The marshland stretches out in front of you as far as you can see. Suddenly you hear the sound of squelching behind you and are surprised to see a strange creature run past you. It is small with green reptilian scales.
Brag: Lizard Lad?!
Words: Brad Harmer & Robert Wade
You can become Brad's "friend" on Facebook, or you can "follow" him on Twitter. Depends how creepy you want to sound really.
This is intended as a loving tribute to Ian Livingstone, the Fighting Fantasy series, Island of the Lizard King, and all other gamebooks of yesteryear.