Friday, 12 August 2011

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 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: I'm going to kick it's fucking arse. I hate toads already, and this hasn't helped, frankly.
Brad: This is, what, the second gamebook where you've ended up blinded, now?
Rob: Shit. I'm bad for two things in these books: blindness, and allowing innocent people to suffer heavily.
Brad: You know the Spit Toad will try to leap on you and kill you with its spiked teeth. You cut your sword blindly through the air and step back from the pond, running your eyes with your free hand. Although you cannot see it, the Spit Toad suddenly leaps at you!
Rob: I kill it...without realising.
Brad: The Spit Toad leaps at you at the same instant that you thrust your sword out in front of you.
Rob: I knew it!
Brad: The weight of the Spit Toad knocks you to the ground but your sword has found its mark; the blade is lodged up to the hilt in the Spit Toad's throat.
Rob: That'll do it.
Brad: It shudders in its death throes, while you crawl out from under its massive belly. Gradually your vision returns and you retrieve your sword.
Rob: Ah, temporary blindness is a new one.

Rob: Maybe I'll be lucky and only hurt innocents for a little while in this. I'm going to head west.
Brad: To your left you see movement; a small creature is running across the plain.
Rob: For fuck's sake; what now? A Jizz Vole?
Brad: As it approaches, you see that it is a small pig. The thought of roast sucking pig makes your mouth water. The pig is running very swiftly, and you will have to throw your spear fast.
Rob: Roast Sucking Pig? Something is fucked up in this world.
Brad: You sound like a vegetarian on Facebook.
The spear skewers the pig and brings it to an abrupt halt. You gather some wood and build a fire, eager to roast the pig.
Rob: I think we drove her to suicide incidentally. Result.
Brad: Really?
Rob: Nah, just kidding.
Brad: Shame. I'm a big fan of Charles Darwin.
Rob: I saw you Liked him on Facebook. I figured that meant you were a fan.
Brad: That's all the commitment anyone needs, these days. Liking things has changed now, though. It used to mean "I like this band/movie/comedian/food, and wish that to show up on my profile for purposes of social networking, or showing my friends what I like". It was a metaphorical patch on your Internet school bag. These days it means "I have a passing awareness of this band/movie/comedian/food. Please fill my newsfeed with spam each and every day".
Rob: I know what you mean. I really hate how popular Facebook became among twats and space-wasters.
Brad: Yeah, it was where the intelligent Internet users went, leaving all the Uruk-Hai on MySpace. Now there seems to be a similar migration from Facebook to Twitter.
Rob: I still maintain that the truly smart people just don't social network more than necessary.
Brad: When it is finally cooked, you sit down on the ground to enjoy a much-needed feast.
Rob: It's a much deserved feast, as well. I feel like this guy seems to have suffered more than most of my other characters.

Brad: Yeah, this is basically a Wasp Factory of a gamebook. With your strength renewed you set off west again. In the distance you see rising ground, and, beyond in the north west, the ever-daunting shape of the sleeping volcano. It is not long before you reach the bushy bank of a river running slowly south-east.
On the far side the ground is quite steep and tree-covered. You remember the message in the snuff box. You start to search amongst the bushes for the hidden raft and before long you find it. You drag it into the river and climb aboard. The river is not deep and you are able to push the raft up-river against the light current quite easily with the long pole you have.
Rob: Wa-hey! Good thing the water's not cold.
Brad: You have not gone far before you realise that you are not safe even aboard your raft.
Rob: It's not technically my raft....
Brad: You see a pair of eyes protuding from the water ahead of you, and suddenly a huge jaw lined with sharp teeth gapes open.
Rob: What's this, an AIDS Viper?
Brad: With great force, the crocodile slams into your raft, almost knocking you off it. The crocodile thrashes around in the water, its jaws opening and snapping shut in its desperation to bite you. Standing precariously on the rocking raft, you draw your sword to attack the vicious crocodile.
Rob: Is this Stumbling Combat?
Running Combat
Stumbling Combat

You remember when you were young, and you and Susie had so much fun
Holding hands, and skimming had a gold Chevy and a place of your own.
Rob: I have a gold nugget, I'm not completely without means now.

The Crocodile bites you really, really hard.
You do the biggest kick you ever got to a thing called the Crocodile Rock
While the other kids rock around the clock, you hop and bop to the Crocodile Rock.
Crocodile is defeated.
Brad: You pick up your pole and push your raft away from the floating carcass of the crocodile.
Rob: I won't bother looting him. I can tell he had sweet fuck all.
Brad: Your spear rolled off your raft during your battle with the crocodile.
Rob: Awww, what?!
Brad: You curse your loss, but push on up-river.
Rob: I eat a provision of salt!
Brad: On the right bank of the river you see a man dressed in tattered clothing. He is waving his arms around frantically and calling out to you.
Brag: ...Brian Recession?! Dude, it's been years! How've you been?
Brad: He looks as if he could be an escaped prisoner.
Rob: Steer over, I want to catch up.
Brad: As soon as you are close enough, the man leaps on to your raft. His eyes look wild and he is sweating profusely.
Brag: Hey buddy! How's things?

Brad: He is delirious with fever and it is impossible to communicate with him. Suddenly he pulls a dagger from his clothing and tries to stab you. You do not have time to draw your sword and must fight him bare-handed.
Brag: Woah, woah! Brian, is this about those shares I sold you? I swear, they were due to mature! I was so sure!
Brian Recession locks you in a Tazmission.
Brag: Can't...move...
You mock his Fiat.
Brag: Hah! It's a Punto! That's Italian for 'wankmobile'!
You take his mum out on a date.
Brag: And never call her again after being balls deep, I might add!
You punch Brian full in the face and knock him into the river.
He screams but does not try to climb back onto the raft.
You feel guilty about leaving him behind, but you must press ahead with your mission.
Rob: I hold his head under the water until the bubbles stop.

Brad: The river meanders gently through the low hills. As you sweep round the next bend, you see a group of mud huts close to the next bank.
Rob: These are the ones he mentioned in his note! One would hope.
Brad: You steer the raft into the bank to avoid being seen by any of the huts' inhabitants.
Rob: This set of huts has its own bank?! Sorry, that's a stupid thought isn't it? They would obviously share with some other local mud huts.
Brad: Jumping off, you creep forward through the trees to get a better view of the huts. Standing behind one of the huts, you see two tall reptilian creatures wearing armour and carrying whips and curved swords - Lizard Men! Mud huts and Lizard Men guards; you realise that the gold mines must be nearby.
Rob: Deal with the Lizard Men! Maybe they accept cash, has this bank got an ATM?
Brad: You slip quietly out of the cover of the trees to the corner of the hut. You peep round to see the Lizard Men still talking.
Rob: I eavesdrop.
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.

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